Anyway, we were supposed to have our Evidence-Based Medicine group presentations on Thursday morning (presenting articles to our small groups about the effect of sleep curtailment on weight loss), but a mass email was sent out on Wednesday citing the possibility of bad weather and dangerous road conditions on Thursday morning... so our vacation started a day early. We'll be giving the presentations in January instead. (This email only came through after my partner and I had spent over two hours prepping our PowerPoint, of course.) Ah, well, I'm not complaining. :)
Since class was canceled, I slept in a bit on Thursday, and then we had an end-of-semester bash at Josh and Jeremy's awesome apartment at West Village (they set a new record for the number of people they fit into it: fifty!). One of my friends slept over that night since she had an early flight the next morning, and we were both up at 4am to head to the airport. I dropped her off, then came home, went to the gym, took care of some loose ends around the house, then made another airport run at 10am for another classmate. Needless to say, I was ready for a nap after all that!
On Saturday we got some more snow flurries (I happened to be running on the Tobacco Trail when they started, which was kind of cool), and then most of Sunday was spent hanging out with Liz and doing some Christmas shopping. On Monday I was up before 5am yet again, this time to take Liz to the airport for a fly-by visit to her father and grandparents in Pennsylvania. I dropped her off, came home and worked out, then did my grocery shopping before the mad rush of Christmas shoppers descended upon Target. I took a nap in the afternoon, then met up with some classmates at the Duke vs Elon basketball game, which we won by a huge margin (are we surprised???). We all went to Tyler's afterward, where we were disappointed to find the kitchen closed; however, I ran into the father of a former patient, which made me smile.
Tuesday was the first day that felt like a real vacation. I slept in until 8:45 (funny how 8:45 feels like a luxury now), went and had coffee with an old friend and coworker, then did some Christmas shopping at A Southern Season and the Duke bookstore. Came home, made gnocchi, watched A Christmas Story, did some laundry, and discovered Pandora Internet Radio (haha). The low-key vibe continued yesterday; I made gingerbread while watching (of all things) Free Willy on Instant Netflix (yes, I am a total dork), did some packing (I'm headed to Jax on the afternoon of Christmas Day), then ran 10 miles in today's upper-40s weather, which felt positively balmy after the low-30s highs we've been having lately. Came home and watched another movie while I finished wrapping my presents, then went and picked Liz up at RDU. Slept until 9:30 this morning (and was informed upon waking that I had repeated, "There were pancakes on the windowsill; don't you remember?" multiple times in my sleep) and am now sitting at the kitchen table drinking chai tea and typing this post.
Let's see, what else is new? Well, I'm sort of casually training for another marathon, the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach on 3/20/11. I say 'casually' because I haven't officially signed up for it yet, but it's being held on the same day as the Georgia Marathon and the Wrightsville Beach Marathon, both of which are also within easy driving distance, so even if I miss the Shamrock deadline, there are a couple of other options. I read about a new plan in this month's issue of Runner's World which former skeptics are now swearing by: fewer miles, but at higher intensities. The longest 'long run' in the plan is 16 miles (you'd more commonly go up to 20) and the program includes a lot more 'speed' workouts, runs of 3 to 6 miles where you're running intervals at 10k pace (which is faster than marathon pace). This plan appeals to me for a couple of reasons: first, as someone with a history of foot issues, I tend to get injured if I try to log too many miles, so being able to pack a more quality workout into a shorter distance is great for me. Secondly, I've been doing more speedwork lately anyway for the past couple of months (among other things, running with a wicked-fast friend who was a Division 1 college heptathlete in her day) and it's been incredible to see the changes. A couple of weeks ago, I ran six miles and held a 9:15 pace the whole way, which would have been unthinkable for me even just a year ago. Then, yesterday, I did a ten-miler (my long run for the week), aiming to hold a 10:00 pace. 9:45 was easy for the first five miles; when the fatigue began to sink in around mile 8, I struggled momentarily, but then found another gear and was actually able to push my pace back under 10:00 for the remaining 2 miles. That degree of control isn't something I've had historically; before, when I started to flag, I was just done, period. My point in saying all this is that I'm starting to really believe in the benefits of speedwork, especially for someone like me who has an established distance background, so the idea of this plan is intriguing. We'll see how things go.
Oh, by the way, here's something else for y'all to chew on. Emory's PA class of 2010 made a video about their program which is absolutely effing hilarious. (If you watch it: 'capturing the kidney' is a physical exam technique, 'Mayfield' is the director of the Emory program, 'Bates' is the author of our Physical Diagnosis textbook, a 'smile-frown' is a neurological test, a 'Panoptic' is a fancy instrument to check the eyes, an SP is a 'standardized patient' (one of the patient actors I mentioned before), and Welch-Allyn is the manufacturer of our (pricey) otoscopes and opthalmoscopes.) Anyway, so our class wants to come up with something similar. However, we don't want to just 'copy' them; we feel like we need to add some sort of new and different twist to it. Emory is the #3 PA program in the country, Duke is #2, and Iowa (of all places) is #1. My thought, since Emory's lyrics included "we're number three in fact, y'all just can't handle that", was to include something about us being number two, then doing some sort of hokey "we're all gonna be great PAs no matter where we're ranked" and then ending by somehow saying "OK, Iowa, your turn." That way it's like we're one of a series, rather than just straight-up copying and not bringing anything new to the table. Anybody else have any suggestions? And does anyone have any ideas for a song we could use?