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A Running Doc’s Life: Making it Through Residency

This first picture is our Halloween costume at a 5k race one of our years of residency…we went as doctors! How original!
But medical school was done, and it was time for our Family Medicine Residency! A time when we were finally referred to as a doctor! Sarah and I had just finished medical school, and it was off to residency for 3 years of training in Family Medicine. Intense does not really describe it. A new rotation every month, ranging from pediatrics, to OB, to internal medicine, to surgery, and back and forth. Every month was like starting a new job again. The hours at times seemed endless, but boy did we learn a lot. It was a good thing for us that we did not have kids yet…the time restraint would have really made this tough to accomplish. Running was our escape from all of it. It was a time to help maintain our sanity. It was time for us! Our residency also put on a recruiting effort in the Summer of every year where we would bike over different areas of the state over a 3 day weekend, and tour different areas of South Dakota. It gave us the opportunity to see little towns in SD, and see what medicine was like there, and for those people in those towns to see us. Watertown was one of those stops on one of those years. It helped solidify for us the fact that we wanted to come here. So activity promotion was a big promotion for our training in Family Medicine as well back then. We were not going to just tell other people they needed to exercise…we were going to do it as well. Well, two of our faculty doctors, Dr. Brechetsbaur, “Dr. B”, and our residency director, Dr. Kemp, and myself decided that we were going to train for our first marathon, Grandma’s marathon, in June of 1994…my last month of residency. Now, looking back, I would not recommend that to anybody else. Our time was so busy then as well, that to try and train for a marathon made it very difficult. Needless to say, out of all of the marathons I have done, I was the least prepared for this one. That, and the fact that I had no clue what it took to do a marathon. The longest I had run to get ready was a 17 miler, and that was once. By mile 19 of the marathon, I seriously thought that I was not going to finish this race, and I had 7.2 miles left to go! Dr. Kemp and I managed to run together to the finish though, and then I spent the next week trying to learn how to walk again. I had youth on my side yet at that point, and that is I think the only reason I even finished it. Here we are leaning against a boat by the finish line after.

I really am leaning up against this boat just to help keep me upright. This next picture is Dr. Kemp and myself running by at about mile 7…we are right in the middle of the picture, wearing red shirts advertising our residency.

Shortly after that, the shirts had to go. It was already up to 90 degrees that day, and we were not prepared for that heat. One half of me got sunburned pretty good that day, so that did not help matters either. This next picture says it all!

This one is of me waiting for Sarah to find me after the finish line. I managed to sit up right then, but prior to that was curled up in a ball under a tree to get some shade, trying to figure out what all just happened! We finished though! It definitely taught me this race is not one to take lightly. You have to prepare for it. My preparation now is much different these days…but, I also at least have more time available to do it compared to those days of residency.

We had our fun times too! Our residency each year would have a Halloween party, and our third year, Sarah and I dressed up as a “polyester couple” from the 50’s. I bought this suit at the salvation army, and Sarah is wearing one of her mom’s polyester maternity outfits she wore when she was pregnant with Sarah. Of course, we had to make Sarah look pregnant then (because she was not yet!)

So, this was the Halloween of 1993, and then a few months later, she was pregnant…with our twin daughters! We graduated from residency at the end of June 1994, and moved to Watertown, and she delivered our twin daughters Sept 22 of 1994. I can always remember their birthdate, because we had “2 on 22”! And here I thought residency was busy! But this will be the beginning of some of the next stories going forward. I did have to add one picture of Sarah actually pregnant, at least during residency, and this was taken in May of 1994.

Our life had changed a lot prior to that, but little did we know how much it was going to change after another 4 months! Staying active then was always a part of our lives, and remains so to this date. Always active, and leading by example for our kids as well. Again, more on that to come. Just remember, if it is important to you, you will find a way to make time to be active, and enjoy life along the way. If not, you will just make another excuse. Be in charge, and strive to survive!

Keep moving everybody!

Dr. Dan

Consecutive Exercise Day #: 3700 ( I made up the 3 days I missed over the years not counting leap year…before I started writing on the blog!)

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