Thursday, 24 February 2011

I want to run...

but...
I can't.

I'm injured, once again, still... and it's frustrating.
Here I was, thinking I did everything right.

Here I am, with my overuse injury. This is a bitch. I was finally getting somewhere....

I tried to run today, it has been a week. I didn't get far, turned around and jogged back.

I think my race is screwed.

I'm looking at a MINIMUM recovery time of 2-4 weeks. 1 week done.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Frustration

I just can't wait to get my life together. I am utterly frustrated. I'm sitting at home, sometimes doing the odd temp job. I am also volunteering once a week, btw. My social life is a mess, my body is a mess, and I'm broke.
I'm not getting anything done. This weekend, I was supposed to write two applications and send them. Not done. Also, the money-time balance is way off: loads of time, no money. In a year I'll have money, but no time.

Saterday's temp gig was slightly better than promoting toilet paper. I got to put on my 'suit' (10 pound Marks&Spencers trousers combined with a white longsleeve tee and my black blazer -Elle, so it's sort of designer- which I bought at a going-out-of-business sale) to sell Hugo Boss at De Bijenkorf, a posh warehouse which I absolutely love. It's odd, seeing teens wearing clothes that cost  much more than I made in a month with my job at that age. I was fascinated by the people who bought the clothes. Maybe one day I'll marry rich? If required, I wouldn't mind learning to play tennis, but I sort of draw the line at hockey.

To add to my frustration, I haven't gotten very far with my 11 projects for '11.
Almost two months gone, and here's the status quo:
1) Find and start first job as a doctor: Well, 3 applications sent, one turned out for a job that doesn't exist. Another 2 will be sent out in due time. Tuesday?

2) Get a drivers' licence: Well, in all fairness, this one is going OK. Test on March 11.

3) Running: The first aim was to run a 10k race. Am still working on that, and I am at 9k, but I also have a bit of an ITband problem. After gait analysis by my physister I have learned that I am indeed a midfoot striker (much to her amusement) but I also use my right (affected) leg less and I need to work on my strength. The shoe is not the problem. Good, because I want to do other things with the little money I have.

4) Get my diving licence: The course is booked.

5) Join a club: is proving difficult: no money. Also, with no job I still can't guarantee I'll be near here for the rest. Stability is the biggest issue here!

6) The food and weight situation: is, if possible, even worse. Much to my frustration. Am working on it, but I'm going to look awful for a while. It's just fairly impossible to do it right while living here. Yes, it's almost march, and I'm heavier than I was with New Years. And even more uncomfortable. No, I am not going to buy fat jeans. The thing is, boredom leads to eating more than usual. Boredom plus hunger is catastrophic, but I don't have the resources to handle the hunger in a healthy way. Extremely frustrating!!!

7) Keep up cross- and strength training.I am still cross-training, but strength training isn't happening. I find it rather boring. And today I spent half an hour trying to get the pilates DVD to work, it didn't. I did a better job at uni: the gym was close by. I get bored, and I can't do it in front of the TV in my room. (Because there's a bed, and then some mess because there's nowhere to put my stuff, and then the rat's pen and that was my entire room)

8)Learn to cook new dishes: Well, I did one...does it count that I made mash for the first time?

9) Creativity time: Well, apart from writing, no and this is frustrating. I'd love to work on my ratbook project, but it's such a hassle to dig out my stuff in the garage... as I have nowhere to put it and nowhere to work.

10) Being organised: Well, I tried with the room. It doesn't work It's depressing. And I'm not getting anything else done... Literally, there's a bed, and part of a closet and a desk that is mine. I can't put anything anywhere. And it's driving me nuts.

11) Learn new things. Well?

Friday, 18 February 2011

IT's.......



Yes, crap, it's true.... Remember my thigh pain?

Though not your typical IT band syndrome. The bit that's normally affected is remarkably unaffected in my leg. Also fairly atypical is the sudden onset. I have pain in mid-upper thigh, only sometimes radiating to my knee.

I also have a physiotherapist sister who didn't mind giving me a rub. A very painful rub, I might add. Turns out there band is a bit thickened/swollen with a lump in it. Even I felt the lump....

The frustrating bit? Never once have I been forcing myself.

Crap.

Rest for now, will do short runs now and go swimming just a bit more often. I still want to race. Not fair. What now???

The next planned run was 5k, after that I was going to be at 10K, with about 2-3 weeks to work on that.


And, for future reference, the IT band lies roughly in the L5 dermatome:

Ah. The Importance of Hydration.

This was bound to happen.
I still haven't figured out exactly how I want to take my liquids with me on longer runs. I don't feel much for running with a bottle in my hands, and I'm not sure those belts actually work.

Meanwhile, I'm running close to 9km.

Up till now I've managed with pre and post run hydration. Drink half a litre slowly in the 45 mins before running. It worked.

But today (nice and sunny), I found myself thirsty after 15 mins. After 25 mins I was parched. and after 34 mins the Man with the Hammer hit... and I didn't get very far.

Interesting how, if you're really really thirsty, you start considering drinking the water from the pond.

I trespassed onto restaurant property trying to find a tap. No luck. I decided to drastically decrease my tempo and add more walking...

And finally, went to the MacDonalds to drink water from the tap in the loo. A manager greeted me, I said 'Hi' back. (Look, I have no money on me! Besides, what does MacDonalds possibly sell that won't interfere with my run?) Then I walked out. (They're pretty strict about the loos being for customers only.).

Unfortunately I started getting sharp pains in my right outer leg (but NOT in an iliotibial tract pattern) right after that so running didn't go so well afterwards either. In the meantime I've been having these weird pains on and off, especially when going downstairs. Almost like a nerve got a hit somewhere. I'm too young for this shit!

I suppose the good news is that I ran the first 5km of my 5mi which turned to 9.3km run in 29:something minutes.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Job Applications

Yes, I'm writing them. I need to start working at some point, don't I?

Slight problem though. Apparently, I can't take my driving test, which means I'm a bit limited when it comes to job appliacations?
Don't believe me?

Found a nice psych job. Requirements: own transport, due to lack of sleep-in calls.
GP training: requirements: driver's licence.
Anything too far to cycle and too complicated to reach with public transport: idem ditto.

I'm pissed off about the whole driving test situation. It's not like I wasn't extremely clear about the situation.
Now it's overbooked.

Writing letters is complicated. I'm nervous.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Me and my GP

Yes, another side-post on when the doctor gets ill. I also wrote about the vetinary dilemma. And now, I'd like to talk about my own doctors.

The thing is: I love my current GP. Not in the wrong kind of way... just in the way that she's really good. I don't want to be with her, I want to watch her and learn. (That, of course, won't work). In my time as a medical student I've witnessed and experienced enough GP's to know that you have bad ones, average ones, and good ones. A good GP is worth their weight in round brilliant cut diamonds. Patients often see their GP as 'their' doctor, and trust them, often more than they trust the specialists. (Statement may not apply in all countries) Specialists often complain about GP's, usually about 'daft' referrals. The thing is: on average, a GP refers 10% of their patients. Specialists forget that the GP handles the remaining 90% themselves. A reason for referral could be: I don't know what to do with this. Yes, that does sound daft on a referral letter.

(But, honestly, still, if you can't read an ECG, don't make one, dear GPs who refer to cardio unit)

Dr G1 was my GP when we first moved here. I had to switch GPs when I went to university, and registered with dr W. I never saw him/her. Then I moved out of their 'service area' (GP has to be able to get to you in 15mins in case of emergency), and registered with dr G2 and her colleague dr M. Recently I moved back, and was re-registered with dr G1. Because the rest of the family are registered with her.

Dr G2 is an older GP. She went to medical school in the days when it was a big deal for a woman to go to medical school, and trained before my university even existed. I liked her. She knew I was a med student. I think she probably had a few med students in her practice. She also was really good about my eating disorder; without judging me. I read my notes when I switched GP's recently, including a rather enthusiastic bit about me finally gaining weight. Dr M doesn't know about my status as a medical student, and she seemed to have a bit of an edge about her. One day, when the surgery was really quiet, I ended up chatting about shoes with her. Human after all. Quite a contrast with the time I ended up in a discussion with her about what's in Nexium. (Esomeprazole, for those who wondered, and for those who think it's the same as omeprazole, go review secondary school chemistry)

Dr G1 is probably slightly younger than my parents, although she looks ageless. She has a sort of energy around her. Interestingly enough, she still knew who I was, 7 years after I last saw her. It's in the little things, really. The way she takes into account individual things; such as my cultural background. The way she obviously loves her job. Her attention to detail, and the fact that she's on top of things. Or at least, the things I came to her with. She knew that the Nuvaring could cause the problems I had, for example, but maybe just because her patients are on average 20 years younger than Dr M's. She also quickly revisited the entire situation around my lactose intolerance and stomach problems, and did not just write me a prescription like the other 2 did. Suggested I see a nutritionist after my holiday.
She recently started training new GP's. Good thing. You want the good ones to teach.

None of my doctors were ever annoyed with me being a medical student, thus a notoriously difficult patient. I'm not a difficult patient, I respect their seniority. Also, I'm not one for medical student hypochondria. I've suffered enough real drama, don't need the pretend.

Gynaecologist (I wanted a mirena for period pain, ended up not getting one): Have you done your rotations yet?
Me: Yes
Gynae: So what do YOU think about this pain?
Me: Probably just primary dysmennorhoea...
Gynae: What about endometriosis?
Me: Well, I hope not....
Gynae: laughs. 



Anyway. The only other doctor I've seen was my psychiatrist. I used to be a little nutty, remember? I was severely depressed a few years ago, and basically this man made a huge difference for me. I wouldn't know how he is with other patients. All I know is that he took me seriously when others didn't. He didn't get lost on labels like 'chronic'. I'm also forever grateful that he didn't admit me to the psych institution when I was at my lowest. He said that specific place would not be a good place for me. Later on, when I got to know that place, I had to agree. He really contributed to the fact that I am where I am today, against all odds. I owe him a picture of my graduation.

Look, mental illness can happen to anyone. Thinking that it might not happen to you, or that you are above such mushy mushy things, might only make you more susceptible and less treatable. That means those around you suffer too. I'm pretty honest about my past.

And I don't think having that past makes me less of a doctor. On the contrary; I have life experience which I can use to be a better doctor (than I would otherwise have been). Statistically I have a higher recurrence risk than somebody who never suffered from anything. (For instance, statistically, I have a 70% depression relapse risk. I also have a 30% chance of remaining healthy... I tend to focus more on that bit). On the other hand, having learned to take care of myself both mentally and physically is proving invaluable in a demanding career with a rather high suicide rate. I am not the only one. I personally know a few doctors who have dealt with depression and told me about it.

I do think the relationship between you and your own doctor changes when you're in medical school; particularly towards the end. It's neither good nor bad, it just is. It's such a marvellous profession though: everybody needs doctors at some point in their lives; even the doctors themselves.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Hippocratic oath

Due to more or less popular demand I have decided to write something about the Hippocratic Oath.

As you may know or may not realise, I live and studied in the Netherlands. Compared to about any country I've ever been to, this is a fairly atheist country. If mention 'church', you almost say it softly because you don't know how people would react. (If you say 'mosque', run. Yet, a teacher at one of our colleges, refuses to shake hands with female students based on his new-found faith after a trip to Mecca. In Holland, you shake hands till you have no right hand left. If he tried that with me, I'd demand a different teacher and make a complaint against him for discrimination based on gender. If I'm too filthy for him to shake my hand, I can't trust that I'll get assessed for my work and not the fact that I happen to be born with a vagina.)

The Hippocratic Oath is a tradition. Technically, it's no longer a Hippocratic oath, but a Doctor's oath, since we don't really pray to Apollo any more, and it has been revised many many times. It holds, at least in this country, no legal value: my registration as a doctor is the legal bit. It is a sort of rite of passage into doctor-hood, if you want. It's a moral oath, and it is not the same as the various guidelines on ethics, good clinical practice and such.


The original Hippocratic oath may or may not have been written by Hippocrates of Kos (450-370 BC), but it's one of the most well known documents from that time. For the first time, it required physicians to submit to a moral code of conduct. Also, for the first time, the curer and the killer were not the same person. For those interested in the original version: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocratic_Oath; Actually, go see, it's pretty interesting. Even back then there was a problem with doctors sleeping with patients and others, apparently! Also weird: the oath is Greek. Yet, we all know the related 'primum non nocere'. Latin.

(^Aesculapius. I wonder what ancient physicians would say about modern medicine. At least we have one other thing in common: I like to wear dresses too.)

In the Middle Ages, the learnings of the pragmatic Galenus of Pergamum became crucial. He was less interested in the moral grounds of the Hippocratic teachings. However, during the middle ages, it was common for physician's oaths to be sworn. It wasn't until the 1500's that the Hippocratic Oath made it's way to European universities. It has been translated into Arabic in the 900's, and has played a role in the Islamic world since. During the Renaissance Galenus' popularity decreased, whilst that of Hippocrates increased. It was another way for the Renaissance man to attempt to become perfect. (Or wait, was the Homo Universalis after that?) Of course, the stance taken on euthanasia and abortion in the Oath matched that of the time, based on Christian, Jewish or Islamic religion. (You'd say that discussions on these topics would get old after 2500 years!) Ironically, the text on no killing may not even have had anything to do with euthanasia, but with a frequent request to ancient physicians to kill somebody. Swearing the oath was introduced in Europe in the 1500's, of course, adjusted to the Christian faith. The oath has remained fairly unchanged here since 1878, until 2003.

Nowadays, the main concept of the oath is still intact. Some aspects have changed: abortion, for example, and the fact that sometimes 'Do No Harm' and 'I will not take the life of another man' contradict each other. The Hippocratic ethic has reached it's limits in the late 1700's already. In 1948, after nazi abuse of medicine, the Declaration of Geneva was written:


D EC L A R AT I O N O F G ENE VA
(Wo r l d M e d i c a l A s s o c i at i o n , 1 9 4 8 ; l a at s t e h e r z i e n i n g 2 0 0 6 ) 4
At the time of being admitted as a member of the medical profession:
I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity;
I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude that is their due;
I will practise my profession with conscience and dignity;
The health of my patient will be my fi rst consideration;
I will respect the secrets that are confi ded in me, even after the patient has died;
I will maintain by all the means in my power, the honour and the noble traditions of the medical profession;
My colleagues will be my sisters and brothers;
I will not permit considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affi liation, race, sexual
orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;
I will maintain the utmost respect for human life;
I will not use my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;
I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour.

The oath is by no means a religious oath. It is a pledge to yourself, and to society. (Or, like the British like to say: The Public). It never was a religious oath; despite all the Greek deities. It was meant to make better physicians. You know, who have moral standards and don't sleep with patients. I think many patients think it means we become superhuman.

In 2003 a revised Dutch physician's oath was written, based on a conference in Kos, Greece. In this, you have the option to mention the Almighty, or not. and that is what I meant with the traditional, religious oath, or the atheist one.



Ne d e r l a n d s e a r t s en e e d ( 2 0 0 3 )
Ik zweer/beloof dat ik de geneeskunst zo goed als ik kan zal
uitoefenen ten dienste van mijn medemens. Ik zal zorgen voor
zieken, gezondheid bevorderen en lijden verlichten.
Ik stel het belang van de patiënt voorop en eerbiedig zijn
opvattingen. Ik zal aan de patiënt geen schade doen. Ik luister
en zal hem goed inlichten. Ik zal geheim houden wat mij is
toevertrouwd.
Ik zal de geneeskundige kennis van mijzelf en anderen bevorderen.
Ik erken de grenzen van mijn mogelijkheden. Ik zal mij open en
toetsbaar opstellen.
Ik ken mijn verantwoordelijkheid voor de samenleving en zal de
beschikbaarheid en toegankelijkheid van de gezondheidszorg
bevorderen. Ik maak geen misbruik van mijn medische kennis,
ook niet onder druk.
Ik zal zo het beroep van arts in ere houden.
Dat beloof ik.
of
Zo waarlijk helpe mij God* almachtig.


The above, translated by yours truly as that seemed easier than finding the actual (non existent?) translation:
Dutch Physican's Oath (2003)

I swear/promise that I will, to the best of my abilities, perform the art of medicine to the benefit of my fellow human beings.
I shall take care of  the ill, promote health and alleviate suffering.
I shall put the interest of the patient first and shall respect their views.
I shall do no harm to the patient. I will listen and properly inform them. I shall keep secret that what has been confided to me.

I shall promote the medical knowledge of myself and others.
I admit the limits of my abilities. I shall be open and transparent, and I know my responsibilities towards society.
I shall promote the availability and accessibility of health care.
I shall not abuse my medical knowledge, not even under pressure.
I shall keep the profession in honour, 

This I promise
or
So help me God Almighty.





And, for completion's sake: the UK version:
T HE D U T I E S O F A D O C TOR
R EGI S T ER ED W I TH T HE
G ENER A L M E D I C A L COU N C I L 1 4
( 2 0 0 6 )
Patients must be able to trust doctors with their lives and health.
To justify that trust you must show respect for human life and you
must:
• Make the care of your patient your fi rst concern
• Protect and promote the health of patients and the public
• Provide a good standard of practice and care
- Keep your professional knowledge and skills up to date
- Recognise and work within the limits of your competence
- Work with colleagues in the ways that best serve patients’
interests
• Treat patients as individuals and respect their dignity
- Treat patients politely and considerately
- Respect patients’ right to confi dentiality
• Work in partnership with patients
- Listen to patients and respond to their concerns and
preferences
- Give patients the information they want or need in a way they
can understand
- Respect patients’ right to reach decisions with you about
their treatment and care
- Support patients in caring for themselves to improve and
maintain their health

• Be honest and open and act with integrity
- Act without delay if you have good reason to believe that
you or a colleague may be putting patients at risk
- Never discriminate unfairly against patients or colleagues
- Never abuse your patients’ trust in you or the public’s
trust in the profession.
You are personally accountable for your professional practice
and must always be prepared to justify your decisions and
actions.

Resources:
* Nederlandse Artseneed, de Commissie Herziening Artseneed, 2009.
* Wikipedia, partly
*Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 2005;149:1062-7

Friday, 11 February 2011

Ceremony: a yes?

So, after some whining at the faculty I might be allowed to join the graduation ceremony, as an exception. Because my grandma is in the country and I want her to be there.

Fingers crossed.

(Yes, I do feel a bit ashamed of the drama. It's not like me, except that this really matters to me.)

Now. Traditional Hippocratic oath, or atheist pledge? I DON"T KNOW. Maybe I should flip a coin on the matter.

5k run today. My legs and my lungs refused all 5000m long. Tomorrow is rest day. My legs are heavy. I think I'm going to leave my work-out schedule for what it is now. 3 runs ,1 zumba class, 1 swimming session and some strengthening excercises a week.



The Hippocratic Oath(Modern Version)
I SWEAR in the presence of the Almighty and before my family, my teachers and my peers that according to my ability and judgment I will keep this Oath and Stipulation.
TO RECKON all who have taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents and in the same spirit and dedication to impart a knowledge of the art of medicine to others. I will continue with diligence to keep abreast of advances in medicine. I will treat without exception all who seek my ministrations, so long as the treatment of others is not compromised thereby, and I will seek the counsel of particularly skilled physicians where indicated for the benefit of my patient.
I WILL FOLLOW that method of treatment which according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patient and abstain from whatever is harmful or mischievous. I will neither prescribe nor administer a lethal dose of medicine to any patient even if asked nor counsel any such thing nor perform the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life.
WITH PURITY, HOLINESS AND BENEFICENCE I will pass my life and practice my art. Except for the prudent correction of an imminent danger, I will neither treat any patient nor carry out any research on any human being without the valid informed consent of the subject or the appropriate legal protector thereof, understanding that research must have as its purpose the furtherance of the health of that individual. Into whatever patient setting I enter, I will go for the benefit of the sick and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief or corruption and further from the seduction of any patient.
WHATEVER IN CONNECTION with my professional practice or not in connection with it I may see or hear in the lives of my patients which ought not be spoken abroad, I will not divulge, reckoning that all such should be kept secret.
WHILE I CONTINUE to keep this Oath unviolated may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art and science of medicine with the blessing of the Almighty and respected by my peers and society, but should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse by my lot.


Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Progress?

I tend to get frustrated with my running. It feels so slow. For instance, today I ran 5.4miles at a pace of 6'32/km (I do metric, but 5 mile is an official distance apparently, and equals to 8K, which means that on my iPod I can just select 5 miles rather than set 8k. That's all. I ran 8.7K today). It took me almost 57mins, which is still 3 mins faster than the last time. Still ridiculously slow, but I am beginning to feel like 10K in an hour might, just might, be possible. I've got another 4.5 weeks to go.

A month ago I was doing 4.4k at 7min/k. Look, that's twice the distance, and it's faster.

The second half of today's run was challenging. I could feel my legs. I saved those 3 mins in the first half; at 3miles (more or less 5k) I was at 30mins.

The route is pretty. I like this one. I'm going to do it 2 more times, then up the distance to 10k. Yes, finally. I've surpassed myself.

So if the theory is right, I should have some fitness for this distance right in time for the race.

There is progress, yes, but I'm a perfectionist who measures herself against her own ambition. I think that's really what's frustrating me.

Oh, thanks CPC site, for reminding me I've got another 31 days and 11h 41m 22s before the race.

Well, race... a time of 60 minutes would rank me at about 700th out of somewhere between 2000 and 2100. I guess that's still roughly in the fastest 1/3. It's my goal time. That's all. All I need to do is be little over 3 mins faster on what I do now, and add in another 1k. A month.

I want to be in the fastest 1/2. That sounds fair enough.

And mainly, it's to have fun. First race, first big event.

And right now, I walk for a short bit after every 3 songs in my playlist.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Oh. No.

Oh. No.

Shit.

I just re-checked graduation info, and with a graduation date of 28-02 the ceremony is on the 16th of JULY. Ju-fucking-ly. I can't believe it. I was so certain it would be in March, apparently I must have misread something, because I was so certain about it when I half-deliberately posponed the date. It was only half-deliberate, it would have been very nearly impossible to have everything set to graduate in January. (That would have given me, the surgeons, and the faculty one week to have everything done. I can work that fast, but the surgeons don't neccesarily have time, and the faculty has never been fast).
It's just not fair. July would basically mean that I won't have a graduation ceremony at all. That would mean that I'd go and pick up my diploma and nothing else, I can't wait 5 months. I'll be working in July, who says I'm going to get time off?
And why would I want to go to a ceremony half a year after I actually graduated?

I'm completely shattered. 6.5 years of hell, and I can go and pick up my diploma at 9AM on the first Tuesday in March. Oh wait, that's the day AFTER. No glamour, no proud moments, no ceremony, no pretty old church building, no pretty dress, no grandma at the ceremony. No, I can go and sleep at Anne's place, and pick up my certificate at 9AM... like it's a renewed passport or a visa. I'm sitting here, crying my eyes out. It's just not fair.
I already sent a beg-email to the faculty, but I have no faith in them.

I guess that also means I don't have to worry about whether I make the traditional, religious oath, or the non-religious pledge. (Yes, that's an issue if you're agnostic)

Monday, 7 February 2011

I need some inspiration

I am in a bit, ok, lot of a rut. No words, no actions, no nothing.

'Had' to skip 2 runs due to weather and 'ladies' circumstances, but I did do a strength work out today. Better than nothing, right?

Thursday, 3 February 2011

My Fitness level (RW NL feb 2011)

(This post is not an example of literary excellence. Scroll down for the test results!)

Right now, I feel awesome. Yes, including nasal American accent. (Completely irrelevant, but I love my own accent. Southern-English with a twist, so to speak. It's not Southern-English; but that's not the point either. Compared to many of my (white and coloured) countrymen I sound more rounded and classy. And come on, compared to most Americans too.)



I went for a 5 mile run today. It didn't go so extremely well in the beginning (asthma is a nuisance) and at a few points I had to use my phone to determine where I actually was. My LG android phone is too big to take out, but Google Maps saved my day. Even if I had to keep it in my hand all the time. (It started out in the back pocket of my leggings, but then it dragged down the leggings with it). My 5-mile run ended up at 5.5miles; because the trial seemed more fun than the road. Except then I missed a turn. But I feel fine now; and I think if I do that same run another 2-3 times (with 5k runs in between) I can simply move up to 10k after that. So close! It took me a full hour and 34 seconds to complete my run, but that's fine for now.

Another thing: when should I replace my shoes?? I'm wearing lightweight Mizunos (see all over the blog) and I've done 450k on them. Dutch version of Runners World says 800-1000k; but I'm actually not sure these will last another 450k. Most of the wear is on the front part with almost no wear on the heels. I'm sure they'll be perfectly fine till I start earning some money for new shoes. I just wonder if there are shoes that are more suitable for mid/forefoot strikers than these. I had them fitted at a running store, with a camera on a treadmill. The only problem is that I can't run on a treadmill.

I did the fitness level test in Runners World this month. I did better than I thought. I also intimidated another woman-runner when doing the 400m speed test. Maybe she should try it too. I'm only going to give the levels relevant for me, if you're interested go find the full test in RW. Runners World Find Out How Fit You Are

"Hoe Fit Ben Jij?" (How Fit Are You?) Dutch RW, feb 2011
1) Core:
The Test: How long can you hold a the Plank position?
Great: You can hold perfect form for 2 minutes
Good: You can hold perfect form for 90 seconds
Fair: You can hold perfect form for <90s

My results: 41 seconds. FAIR.  Yes, I know. Pilates anyone?

2) Upper Body StrengthThe Test: do as many push-ups as you can. (results women aged 20-29)
Great: >23
Good: 12-22
Fair: 0-11.

My results: 11. FAIR.  Actually, I'm impressed. I haven't been doing much about my upper body at all.

3) Lower body strengthThe test: Squat test. (Results women aged 20-29)
Great: >43
Good: 25-42
Fair: 24

My result: 50. I could have kept on going still, but decided to save my quads for my run as I already landed myself in the GREAT zone.

4) Flexibility
Test: reclining hand-to-big-toe test (results for women; left leg stretched)
Great: More than 90 degrees with straight leg
Good: More than 90 degrees with leg slightly bent
Fair:  Less than 90 degrees

My result: Left leg more than 90 degrees with leg slightly bent; right leg more than 90 degrees with straight leg. GOOD. Interesting. Actually this is a pretty poor score for me, I'm quite flexible, but my hamstrings aren't doing too great in comparison to the rest. Stretching time!

5) BalanceTest: Standing Stork (or, what yogi know as the Tree); time average between both legs.
Great: >50s
Good: 26-49s
Fair: 25s or less

My result: 45s. GOOD. Actually, I'm impressed. My ankles are incredibly unstable. Need to work on them still, though, because the ligaments are basically shot.

6) Joint mobilityTest: bar squat


GreatIf with feet flat on the floor, your torso is parallel to your lower leg throughout the test, your thighs are below parallel to the floor, and you're able to keep your knees aligned with your feet without knees caving inward.
GoodIf you can meet the above parameters, but only with heels elevated on the board.
FairIf you have trouble maintaining form in either heel position


My result: GREAT. Yes, I have plenty of joint mobility. I probably did the 'extra great' version of it, as my butt touched my heels.

7) Speed.Test: Run for 400m/0.25m
Ah now this is interesting. RW NL gives one time for women and one for men, while the website (RW US) gives an age-table.
Great: <70s in NL; <60s in US
Good: 70-80s in NL; 60-70s in US
Fair: >81s in NL; >71s in US.

My results:  70s. I'm going to leave it at GOOD. I'm not a sprinter, but in this case I was limited by my level of cardiovascular fitness: I can only keep up my current near max speed for 38s. But it felt good. Goal: run that stretch in less than 1 minute; (the actual stretch is 450m). That, I think I can do. I'm only really at the beginning of my running. If I can run that in 60 seconds, I can run 400m in around 54-55seconds. That would be pretty decent. Ambitious? I don't care. If I can run 400m in 70s after less than 2 months after starting from scratch and having done absolutely no speed work; I sure as hell can run well under 60s after some speed work. Who knows, I might actually compete some day. Like, within the next year.

I should have done athletics instead of swimming in secondary school.

8) EnduranceTest: a 45-min treadmill test. While normal people run faster on a treadmill, I run faster outside. I hate treadmills. But actually, reading the US version, it's a 30-minute test run... the Dutch version made it seem like  you should measure the entire 45min.
Great: >7.4km
Good: 6.4-7.3km
Fair: <6.3 km

My results: Well, at first I thought, oh, terrific, I run 7k in 45 mins. But no; let's just leave it at FAIR as, just like I already knew, my endurance sucks at the moment. I'll be thrilled to get my 5k time back under 30 minutes, thanks. And what if I had a terrific endurance but absolutely no talent for running? My sister has a terrific endurance... but she won't get anywhere near 7.4k in 30 minutes. But my endurance still is horrible. I'm not running as slow as I am for no reason.

9) Cardiovascular strength
Test: step-ups + heart rate
Great: <93
Good: 94-110
Fair: >111

My results: 100/min. GOOD. Well, that's not too bad.

10) PostureThis one is NOT in the Dutch version, but is on the site. Stand against the wall-test.


GreatWith your head level, your butt, upper back, and back of your head are in contact with the wall.
FairEither your head, butt, or upper back have to strain to make contact with the wall, or don't touch the wall at all. This is an indication that you have too much curve in your upper back, a forward head position or a combination of both.


My results: GREAT. I have good posture. (I stand tall. Heh.)







So, that's it.
And here's an overview of my iPod tracked best times since December. None of them are impressive, but I've started from scratch remember.
1k: 5'56"
3K: 18'28"
5K: 32'21"
1 mile: 9'16"
2 miles: 18'55"
5 miles: 55'09"

That's just for me, in a month time I'll see where I stand.