Kristen’s Pioneer Blog

January 16,2016

As we get closer to the race, we invite you to get closer to our athletes. Meet Kristen, general surgeon, racing the Pioneer with Team PHenomenal Hope. Read how she balances her training with her OR schedule, and the mindset of preparation.



Today didn’t look good from the start. I was woken up at 4 am, with three consultations, in short I had to add on three operations today! I felt only slightly guilty about thinking more about training than my patients because I knew as soon as I got to the hospital and met them, I would naturally become the doctor I like to be.  So it was.  After the last operation, both dinner and lunch had passed and I was starving. Perfect excuse.  Skip workout, eat dinner, catch up on sleep. It took about 2 minutes to shake out of that attitude.  I thought of my song. It was definitely time for the ace in the hole, which got me through surgical residency: Tom Petty, “I Won’t Back Down.” I was going to ride that bike at the gym. Again.
Food was a problem.  Scrounging through the doctors lounge, always filled with processed food, I saw the Wheaties.  They were a hit when I was a kid, now junk food. Hmm. I remembered the guy who won the High Cascade 100 mile Mountain Bike Race last year.  He forgot his food and electrolyte drinks, bought Snickers bars and Gatoraid at 7-Eleven and won the race: nine hours of riding on junk food! A little cereal and water and I was on my way. My stuff was in my car so I couldn’t use the excuse of going home to get out of the workout (yes, very dedicated people struggle all the time too).
Having dressed and deciphered my workout plan, I was ready.  No heart monitor.  Maybe I had left it in the car! As I walked to the car, I talked to myself out loud. No heart monitor, no problem.  I knew how to work hard. However, having grown accustomed to ogling over my stats, it felt like I wouldn’t get credit for the workout if those numbers didn’t end up on my bike computer.  Clearly I was having “look at the big picture“ issues. I decided no monitor, no problem. Okay, it was in the car.  Yes!
Technical difficulties aside, the workout went well.  It seems like they are getting harder.  No, they are getting harder!  Crucial workouts lie before me for the next two weeks. I listened to two hours of Tom Petty, as a large exercise class pumped up to Latin music. There were several intervals, where I had to give it my “all.”  Hello old friend pain.  But it’s not really pain. It’s the pushing oneself more, then more, then more: the struggle towards an unknown goal called “your all.”  It’s a moving target. Chasing that target that one never really reaches, defines life.  It defines a life worth living.

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