Happy March

I woke up earlier than planned today and, in a particularly grown-up move, told myself to get out of bed and workout. So I did. It was about 4:45am when I rolled out from under my cozy covers, found the workout gear I had set aside earlier in the week but didn’t use, stumbled into the bathroom, and then headed down to the basement. By 5:30am I had made my way through a full body workout and was immensely proud of myself. I ended up being tired all day, but there was no way I was going back to sleep so at least I did something productive.

Tomorrow will be spent at a rink out-of-town, and I will likely have to leave the house around 6:30am to get there. I’m hoping to get home by 8:30pm but may not. As I’m heading to bed immediately (it’s just after 8pm here) since I was up so darn early, I’m laying out clothes just in case I’m unable to sleep all the way to when my alarm goes off. And if I don’t wake up early, I’ll have the clothes ready for a late day workout once I get home. I know I will be really low energy when I get home so it’s going to take some major self-talk tomorrow night to get onto the treadmill. I’ll let you know how it goes! I’m predicting that I will be working out much more predictably in March…


Day 5 of 28: A Nice Walk, and Pumpkin Pie

Not the pie I actually ate. Mine had WAY more whipped cream on it...

I woke up early today – but not on purpose.  I just woke up early.  So, I downloaded a few things from iTunes and headed out for a walk.  It was sunny, quite cool, and rather windy, so at the 4 minute mark, I started running for 4 minutes, walked for 2 minutes, ran for 2 minutes, walked for 2 minutes, then ran for 5.  At that point, my left IT band started to bother me, so I walked the rest.  All in all, I got in 35 minutes of cardio this morning.  That’s 5 days of working out in a row!

After my workout, I showered, left my husband and children behind, and hit the mall before it even opened.  Why the rush?  Well, WE GOT A SEPHORA!!!  The grand opening was yesterday, but of course I had school so I couldn’t make it.  I had so much fun there today!  The person who was helping me (her name was Katelyn) was awesome and helped me with eyeshadow, eyeliner, coloured mascara, lipstick, and a cool lip pencil.  I also picked up some moisturizer and a birthday present for my mom.  (I’m a total Sephora addict, if you didn’t notice :))

Today was the first big meal of the weekend.  I had 1 3/4 pieces of pumpkin pie.  So good.  I loaded up on veggies, had some turkey and cranberry sauce, and then it was onto the pumpkin pie.  I was hoping that the pumpkin pie would be balanced out by the fact that I didn’t have any starches at supper…

My plan for tomorrow: another walk, some body-weight strength training, and MORE PIE.  Yum. (No wonder the scale has been creeping up, right?)

Midnight Mini-Crisis

It’s currently 6am.  I am ridiculously sleep-deprived but too wound up to sleep.  I got about 5 hours of sleep Wednesday night and about 3 (maybe) last night.  Around midnight, my daughter came into our room and said her stomach hurt and that she’d thrown up.  Had she ever.  In her bed.  At least it wasn’t the carpet.

After cleaning things up, we put her in bed with her brother.  She came half an hour later and crawled in with us, saying her tummy still hurt.  We put her back in bed with her brother again – she wiggles a lot, so she’s impossible to sleep with – but once again she woke up around 2am, complaining of a stomach ache.  Still half asleep, I told her to go the bathroom, thinking it was just residual upset from the first vomiting episode, and luckily she made it there before she started throwing up, and, er, other things.  Just, yuck.  My husband was gagging just going into the bathroom.

After giving her a bath and cleaning up yet again (I did the bathing, my husband most of the cleaning), we put her to sleep in the bathroom on a pile of towels.  She came into our room and crawled in twice more.  Needless to say, the 3 hours of sleep I’ve managed have been rather broken ones.

Here’s my problem: I have a patient this morning.  He drives an hour to get to see me.  I am short on time and need to see him to get credits for the year.  My husband, being that he’s at the start of a brand new job and has a presentation this morning, can’t stay home.  Being that my daughter is sick, I don’t want to get other people with kids to watch her, because I don’t want to infect them (even though odds are it’s food-borne rather than a virus).  My husband can do paperwork from home in the afternoon, so I can manage to get to school, drop her off with him (he’ll be working at the hospital, which is attached to the university), write a quiz 12:30pm, and then see my patient in the afternoon.

I’ve texted and e-mailed my entire class to see if someone can take my patient, but of course except for one night-owl classmate who was still up (or else I woke him up with my text at 2:30am – I’m not sure), all of them are still probably snuggly warm, asleep in their beds (like I would like to be).  It seems like not that big a deal, right?  Just cancel the patient and stay home.  Except I really need to get these dentures made and missing even one class is a bit of a disaster at this point.  Plus, with my recent illness, I feel like a total heel calling in sick yet again.  Having kids just makes dental school so complicated sometimes.  Talk about feeling stressed out right now, and lack of sleep never helps with that, does it?

I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Oh, and no upper body workout last night.  Was just so tired from lack of sleep and had a really hard patient case in the afternoon, so I was late getting home.

UPDATE: My daughter is feeling better now, but yesterday was a rough one for me due to a severe lack of sleep.  One of my classmates didn’t have a patient and called me around 8:30am to let me know that she could see mine.  However, even though I had talked to him and he said he was coming, he didn’t show up!  Not sure if the weather ended up being too bad (other people said a couple patients cancelled because there was a bit of a storm outside of the city) or what, but when I tried calling him, there was no answer.  My classmate had also tried calling him and there was no answer.  Hopefully everything is okay on his end!

Dental School + Parenting = Tired Mom

No workout for me tonight.  It’s been a very long day and I’m exhausted.  Went to bed too late last night.  At around 1am, gentle jolts to my mattress alerted me that my daughter was crawling into bed with me.  I put her back into her bed shortly thereafter, because she wiggles a lot and kept kicking off the covers…I mean, because that’s what you’re supposed to do when your child crawls in with you so that they don’t become accustomed to sleeping in your bed.  More mattress jolts at 5:30am.  This time, I snuggled with her for awhile, but I was up for the day.  Way too little sleep for me. *Yawn*

That quiz I wrote this morning?  Passed it.  Can you believe my prof actually marked it within hours of us writing it?  She’s very conscientious.

While we’re on the topic of school, I have 86 days left in this school year, assuming everything goes well.  Only 56 days of classes left, and, best of all, only 16 days until February break.  As you may suspect from my multiple countdowns, I am really looking forward to the end of this school year.  It has been like a massive endurance test and I only expect it to become more intense over the next couple of months.  I’ve got quizzes and assignments and tons of labwork to do before break, but no big exams or projects, so I guess I’ve got that going for me.

Still, my schedule is not what I’d consider light.  Dental school is likely the most long-term stress I’ve ever had to deal with.  It could be worse, I know.  I also know that a year and a half ago I would have been sitting here in my office, stuffing my face with chocolate as a not-very-productive way to deal with my emotions.  A bag of M&Ms and Easter Creme Egg wrappers would have been mixed in with the unpaid bills and unfiled class notes currently littering my desktop.  I would likely have had a stash of Lindt chocolate and Mini Eggs in the cupboard, for “use” during studying.  I’ve come a long way, I think.

On the upside, despite backing off of my workouts due in part to my busy schedule, I’ve managed to not gain weight this school year, although, yes, I did gain 8 lbs in 2 weeks over the Christmas holidays and just lost that extra weight.  At the same time, I can sure tell that I’m not as muscular, my ability to recover during a workout has decreased dramatically, and I’ve lost a lot of cardiovascular fitness since the beginning of the school year.

Really, I haven’t got a point in writing this post.  I’m just trying to record what’s going on in my life right now.  Here’s hoping that in 5 years, I’ll review this post and be unable to remember just how terrible dental school felt at the time.  And then I’ll probably be off and running to the rink for someone’s hockey practice, wondering just how I’m going to fit in my workouts this week while mentally drafting a meal plan.



Keeping Tabs on My Goals for the Week

Gotta tell you that the luxury of a pedicure is pretty motivating these days!  So far, I’ve managed to:

  • stay out of my kids’ Halloween candy
  • journal my food 2 days this week (goal for the week = 4 days)
  • fit in a run and core workout (goal for the week = 3 workouts)

Journaling has helped me realize that my veggie intake has slipped a little, so that’s helpful info.  Since I don’t like that many vegetables raw, I sometimes find it tough to fit in veggies when I’m time-crunched, as they require time to prepare.  Also, when I’m stressed, some veggies (especially broccoli and cauliflower) are totally unappealing and kind of make me gag.  Don’t know why that is – it just is.

I’ll definitely be running Friday, but will also be hitting a bootcamp class Saturday morning.

Ran tonight, and my left IT band was bothering me again.  Darn – thought I’d kicked that injury, especially since I haven’t been running very much at all, so the ITB has had lots of rest.  Clearly I need to get back to the exercises my physiotherapist prescribed, which I’ve been neglecting as of late.  I can only have so many priorities, ya know?  Even if it only takes a few minutes a day, sometimes those minutes add up.

Well, off to bed!  I’m up way too late and have an early morning.  Finding it hard to get out of bed these days – a combo of the darkness and my school-related fatigue.  Glad I got my workout in tonight though!

Tips for getting out of bed in the late fall/winter?  Sun doesn’t rise around here until almost 8am, and sets around 5:30pm these days.

Post-Workout Highs

Went to my spin class yesterday morning and worked out with my trainer today.  So far, it’s been a great week workout wise!  Things have settled down a little at school, meaning that right now I’m not studying for any big exams.  December exams are just around the corner, though.  Our exam schedule came out today, and we’ve got 10 exams in 9 school days.  Yikes!  That’s how we roll in dental school. LOL.

So, back to my workouts.  Spin was tough, but really good.  To paraphrase my trainer (who is one of the instructors for the class), what you get out of spin depends on what you put into it.  You are in control of how hard you push yourself.  It’s a 6 am class, which I’m not a huge fan of, especially now that it doesn’t get light out until 7:30 am.  But, once I’m done the class and had my heart rate revved for almost an hour, I usually feel pretty darn good about hauling my butt out of bed at 5:30 am.  I wore my heart rate monitor, and, man, was my heart a-pumping!  If you’re out of bed early on a cold, dark morning, you might as well make it worthwhile, right?

This afternoon, I met up with my trainer and she kicked my butt, but I was super late for my session with her!  Today’s weather was not the greatest: we had the first snow fall of the season.  It was super windy and temperatures were hovering around freezing, so of course the roads were icy.  I was almost half an hour late  due to an accident that slowed traffic to a crawl along my route.  Ah, winter in Canada.

Despite my delay, my trainer put me through a full body workout.  My quads, glutes, and deltoids are already a little sore, so I’ll definitely be achy tomorrow.  I left the gym with a smile on my face, though!  Nothing like a good, sweaty workout to make you feel energized and accomplished.

As you may have gathered from my recent (and infrequent) posts, my schedule has been a little full and I haven’t been getting in as many workouts as I would like.  Part of it was a pure-and-simple lack of time, but some of it was also just the lack of energy I had available to convince myself to fit those workouts in some days!  I’ve been working out only a couple days a week and have slacked off with the strength training.  Today, I could definitely tell that I’m not able to push myself as hard and I don’t recover as quickly.  In a nutshell, my fitness is decreasing as a result of the decrease in my workout volume.  Since I worked so hard to get where I am, I really don’t want to backslide anymore.  I WANT to workout more.  That’s a good thing, right?  Should make it easier to lace up my shoes and pick up those dumbbells!

I guess it was to be expected – the substantial decrease in my workouts – since third year dental school is pretty crazy, and I’m balancing family/kids on top of that.  I just thought I’d be able to squeeze it in – if it’s a priority, you can always find time, right?  Sadly, school has gotten the better of me so far.

Today’s workout with my trainer reminded me just how much I like working out.  Okay, so maybe not every second of a tough workout is fun, but I sure love how I feel after a workout.  I feel like today was a little extra motivation to get back to at least 3 workouts a week, so that my fitness gains don’t dissolve and so I can enjoy that post-workout high a little more often!

As an aside, my 4 1/2 year old daughter has been waking up almost every night the past few weeks.  Not sure if she’s dreaming or what, but she’s been waking up either crying or angry and it’s hard to get her back to sleep.  Anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with this?

How to Catch a Fall Cold

This week was super-busy and super-stressful, and – surprise, surprise – I ended up coming down with a nasty cold.  Here’s a look at what I did to “make” myself sick, i.e., what you should avoid doing so that you stay healthy:

1.  Due to exams and a heavy workload at school, I got very little sleep for 3 nights in a row.  I averaged about 5 hours a sleep per night, which is definitely not optimal.  Click here for what WebMD has to say about how a lack of sleep may lead to catching more colds and flus.

2. I was very poorly hydrated this week.  Due to my class schedule and clinic time, I often don’t have handy access to water or simply get too busy and forget to drink.  I’m relying on my basic knowledge of physiology here, so correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that dehydration causes your mucous membranes to sort of “break up” a little, allowing more pathogens like cold viruses to enter your body.  Hence, increased exposure to disease.

3. I exposed myself – to viruses and bacteria.  (No, I wasn’t running around in a trench coat flashing people.)  Not only do I have kids who come in contact with lots of viruses at school, but my daughter was actually sick with a cold last week, so, duh, I was exposed.  In addition, as a dental student who comes in contact with surfaces touched by probably more than a hundred people in a day, despite frequent hand washing and practicing infection control with patients, I likely was exposed in day-to-day contact.  Plus, there are quite a few of my fellow students who have been sick lately, so no wonder I ended up with a cold!

4. I went to spin class Monday morning and worked really hard.  Now, while exercise is generally good for the immune system, it seems to me that I’ve read a few times that high-intensity exercise – like my spin class – can suppress your immune system for a short time.  That shouldn’t generally be a problem, but considering my lack of sleep, dehydration, etc., it probably didn’t help.

5. I was really stressed out this week, with several exams, labwork, and homework to deal with.  As you have likely heard, stress can also suppress your immune system response, which would have left me open to attack from the virus I’m dealing with right now.

Unfortunately, I had to write an exam today at 8:30am, so I went to school and did that, but then I came home and rested for the rest of the day.  I sure didn’t want to pass this on to the patient I was scheduled to see this morning and I was just feeling BAD, but like so many people, I find it hard to take the day off when I’m feeling sick because I don’t want to be perceived as a slacker. Still, I know that staying home was the right thing to do.  I’m hoping I feel well enough to go to school tomorrow, as I have two patients to see and would hate to cancel with short notice, but I guess I’ll wait and see.

So, here’s hoping you keep yourself healthy this fall!  Be sure NOT to follow my example.  Get lots of rest, stay hydrated, take it easy with your workouts if you need to, try not to be around sick people, wash your hands lots, and try to manage your stress!