Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 14 - Ashley Anderson - BALANCING A FULL LIFE - Part 2 of 3

Yeah, no. You said that it takes two kind of special people to make that work. I say I agree and that's kind of from personal experience, not me, my personal experience, but one of my friends who's just finishing his medical residency or he's just finished, he has boards here at the end of August.

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JESSE: Yeah, no. You said that it takes two kind of special people to make that work. I say I agree and that's kind of from personal experience, not me, my personal experience, but one of my friends who's just finishing his medical residency or he's just finished, he has boards here at the end of August. He and his wife did the long distance thing through medical school, through residency even after they were married, he got placed in Baltimore, she was in Philadelphia-- Indianapolis, sorry. It doesn't matter, not close. And they figured out how to make it work. They're only you know, just in the last year, finally, in the same place at the same time, and it's been seven, eight years now for them. So, they're two very special people. So, it definitely can work for certain people. So, hopefully, that maybe you'll give you a little bit of hope or boost your spirits that it definitely can't work for the right people. Yeah. ASHLEY: I'll see, I'll get back to you. I’ll send you an invitation to the wedding. JESSE: Okay. Don't let me find out through, Greg, I'll be like, where's my invite? I don't-- So, speaking of Greg, you said you met him, did he wrangle you into doing triathlon or how did that all transpire? Because I think you just ran prior to jumping into multi-sport, right? ASHLEY: Yeah, I predominantly-- So, I didn't run in high school. I ran for fun in college. I didn't run my first half until my sophomore year of dental school and then got the bug from there. But I moved to Charleston in the summer of 2017 and realize that the triathlon community was very present here. And there was a local tri shop, or there is a local tri shop, they haven't closed, slight ignorance. And I mean, I moved down to Charleston knowing absolutely no one or nothing about the area. I was the only resident out of the group that particular year. It's a two year program. So, you have first and second years, but the only one who wasn't married with a family. So, I really came down was like I'm going to have to kind of find my own way. So, I found my way into ?? 2:40>. And I realized I'm like, all right, I can kind of swim. I swam on the YMCA team when I was eight, I can hold my own in the pool. I can kind of ride a bike, which I'm still learning how to ride a bike now, and I can run. So, let's see what the triathlon thing is about. So, I got like an entry level eight speed road bike from the shop, cleats, some spandex, had the Garmin watch, got all the things-- JESSE: Well, you need the Garmin watch, you just got the spandex, you got the bike, you can deal with that. I've seen people do it on like, a mountain bike with like a mountain bike helmet and just like regular shoes on like, you can get started for a lot less than people think you can. ASHLEY: Exactly, exactly. And there's a local sprint series here in Charleston and you see beach cruisers, you see mountain bikes, you see all sorts of things. So, I mean, it's just such an accessible sport, depending on how much you want to get into it. But anyway. So, I reached out to Greg, I knew him through my major I was a Health and Exercise Science major undergrad, when he was a grad student there. And I knew vaguely that he was into triathlon, Iron Man, that sort of thing. So, I Facebook messaged him, I was like, so remember me? I only get involved in triathlon, I knew nothing, but I have things that I've-- Do you coach, just give me some pointers. And so he was really sweet and reached back out and said, yeah, I do coach. And at that particular time, I was getting ready to run the Charleston half marathon. And he said, let's give it a test run. I'll train you up for the half marathon. If you like it, we can talk about continuing forward. So, not only did I have to brag on Greg. So, not only did he coached me up for the half, I PRed yard by like, I don't know, 12 or 13 minutes. JESSE: That’s a big chunk. ASHLEY: Yeah, finished in an hour and 34 and some change. The best half that I've ever had, clearly. And I was like, all right, let's continue this. So since then, it's just been such an evolution of not only my ability as a triathlete, but also my friendship with Greg. And then my growth as an athlete in terms of my knowledge of the sport, the people that I've met, the experiences that I've had, the equipment that I've upgraded to. JESSE: Yes, that's a, I’ll say an all consuming activity, if you have the money to let it be, you can spend as much as you want. ASHLEY: Right. But yeah, so Greg and his wife Bree are in Savannah, which is about two hours from Charleston. So, I popped down to visit them earlier in the year in January when I was actually interviewing for some jobs in this area, and then recently upgraded my road bike. So, I purchased Greg's old road bike and sold mine, the one that I met my significant other with, to one his-- JESSE: It’ll always in your heart, though. ASHLEY: Exactly, exactly. So, one of his students are, my foot is going to sleep. And they're always so gracious, and so kind. And I think that's important with a coach athlete relationship is that they're not just this person that writes your workout plans, and tells you go faster or sleep more, which he does a lot. They're your friend and there's someone that you can say, these other non athletic, emotional things are going on in my life, I need to share that with you. And Greg has been then absolutely wonderful, and in all aspects of coaching. JESSE: Yeah, that was always I mean, really important to me. And before I brought on the coach that I work with now, I was definitely like the coach is my confidant Anything and everything that's going on, affects your your place mentally. So, I'm like I have to have, I kind of told him because we were figuring out whether we will work together, I need the ability to say anything and everything that's going on, even if we don't necessarily agree in viewpoints, but like what's going on with me. I wrote on my blog earlier, actually, this week, not to be a bummer but I learned that one of my college coach has passed away earlier this week. And so he was the throws coach on my track team so he wasn't my direct coach, but definitely knew him. And he had somewhat of an impact on me among lots and lots of people. He will be very large life. So, that's like been weighing on me this week and I kind of talked to him about that. He was like it's okay. But anyway like I said not to try to-- ASHLEY: No, let it out here, man. It’s all right. JESSE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But it's like, yeah, having that person that you can share that with and be like, man, I'm just having a tough week and just really distracted or I ate cereal for dinner. So, maybe I didn't have the best workout the next day. It's super important. ASHLEY: Yeah. Yeah, and he's my schedule is nuts. Like from call to clinic days to OR, traveling sometimes for conferences and stuff like that. I try to give them a heads up and say, yow, I'm in the OR this week or I’m on call, can't do long rides outside this, that, the other thing and he's more than accommodating in terms of scheduling stuff that fits my schedule. And I think that's-- Being a triathlete and being a resident has been, it's not easy. Obviously, patient care comes first, clinic comes first, studies come first. So, in terms of training, it often means I'm up at the crack of dawn, getting my stuff done, because God knows how the clinic day is going to go and if I can get in the afternoon. That being said, Greg has been a proponent of getting sleep, because it's so easy-- And I think like when I first started training with him, my mentality was like, more is better, go hard all the time. JESSE: Yeah, that's a pretty common mentality. ASHLEY: Yeah, he's sitting there probably going, yes and you're still that way. But a lot of my evolution as an athlete and as a resident, has revolved around realizing, like I said earlier, the balance between training and residency and realizing there's some days where you're scheduled for this length of time on the bike, and you can only do this length of time, or you get paged in the middle of your swim, which has happened. JESSE: How do you get a page in the middle of your swim? ASHLEY: So, for example, on days where I've been on call, I keep my pager in a Ziploc bag at the end of the pool. And so every couple of sets, I check it. Fun side note, there was a time on a weekend where I did get paged, and I usually like when I'm on call, I keep it on call bag with me. So, it's got scrubs, instruments if I need them because usually we have to go straight to the emergency room. Do our preliminary examine and figure out what we got to do from there. This particular day, I didn't bring a change of clothes in addition to my scrubs, so I had to wear my bathing suit. underneath my scrubs. I smelled like marine rolling into the EB, hair wet, mascara like kind of blotch under my eyes, and like roll up to the... like, I'm your dental professional today. But you know, it's like the Marines, you adapt and overcome. So you learn, like I said, to balance the two. But it does mean a lot of early mornings for me, a lot of getting stuff done on weekends. And also, where was I going with this, going to bed early. So, yes, I wake up really, really early, but I also go to bed really, really early. So, trying to find a balance between the two. JESSE: Yeah. I mean is that really-- because I was curious about your typical day, I didn't really seem to have to ask you. But is that typically what you're trying to get in, just wake up at 4am or whatever, to get things done so that the day doesn't get in the way? ASHLEY: For the most part. OR days like today and tomorrow are a little bit different in that I have to be there ready to roll at like 6am. So, oftentimes, I'll wait until after the fact. Some days, if I know it's going to be a really long OR day, I'll just get up early and get it done or shorten, sometimes. I try to stick to like what scheduled as best I can. But yeah, it just depends. And also learning to be kind to your body and ?? 12:53> like a - you need extra time. And this is something like Greg has to constantly remind me, he's like, if you need to ease up on a workout, or if you need to modify a workout, if you're tired, listen to your body. It's so easy for me and this is the mentality that's gotten me to where I am today to go, go, go, push, like ignore pain, not necessarily pain, but you know what I mean. JESSE: Certain kinds of pain. ASHLEY: Exactly. Ignore it, whatever, brush it off, keep rolling, keep the pace. And that's almost detrimental to growth as an athlete. You have to learn when to rest, which is something I'm constantly learning; when to rest, when to go hard, when to go easy and really tune your ears to listen to your body. I've had a lot of injuries over the last year and a half that have humbled me in that way. JESSE: I think that's the tough part and it’s something I know I'm always learning. I was injured numerous ways in college. People always say listen to your body, but it's like you there's some things you need to listen to and some things you need to ignore. Because if you always listen, then it's like, I'm running hard. It hurts. Do I listen to that voice that saying stop? Well, no, you're still like, ignore that to some degree and continue forward, but then there's other things it's like, no, that hurts because you've pulled something. You should listen to that one. But it's like, how do we-- at least, and I don't know, I say I speak when I speak one language and I mildly speak another language. I don't know if it's a limitation of English or just a limitation of being able to express it. But there's so many different types of pain. Like the word pain does not encompass all the different sensations you can experience. I feel like if we could communicate what those things are more effectively, it would be easier to be like, oh, that's what that is. Listen to that. ASHLEY: Yeah, I like to think sometimes like hard workout pain, like I'm running hard. Like this sucks. Like that is suck pain. This is difficult. I hate my life right now. I kind of hate my coach right now. Those thoughts, but the actual body aches and pains that extend beyond just muscle soreness, or for example, I want to say, gosh, almost two months ago, I was running-- So, I told you I had my bike accident almost a year ago. Huge amount of recovery time with that. Didn’t run for like two months-- JESSE: Did you break anything? ASHLEY: I found out after the fact that I did break something. At the time, no broken bones, just a lot of soft tissue issues along with compensation injuries, extensive PT, big whole hematoma on my left hand side, it looked like I had a tumor on my leg for a good month after the accident. But fortunately, no broken bones that I knew about at the time. But I couldn't run couldn't swim, or excuse me, couldn't run, could bike and swim. Finally started running again and that was in a very, very slow, it was a long road to get back to what I was training for at the time, which was the Charleston marathon. And it was that constant like listening to my body of is this just stiffness, fatigue, or is this still injury kind of lurking? And so my point being is that I ran the marathon, thanks to Greg running about 20 miles a week for maybe two months, ended up qualifying for Boston, which was the goal and did fine in the marathon was asymptomatic. But the recovery after the marathon was difficult for me. And in fact, I was running probably about two months ago, felt fine, tried to push a little bit more as prescribed in my workout and felt one of those body pains and it was a sharp pull on the opposite side of where I had been injured. And that was a pain that triggered okay, this is not normal, I need to stop. And with that long story short, found out I had a small tear in my labrum, which most humans that exercise do. It's pretty common. But this is when I found out about my broken bone. So, I had an MRI, autogram of my hip and fortunately, came back pretty non-contributory except for the small liberal tear. They told me I had some issues in my knee, as well that were probably causing some of the hip issues. But the orthopedic doctor comes in to my treatment room. He's like, do you know you fractured your pelvis? And I said, no, nobody’s told me that. He said, yeah, you have a small healed fracture line that if I had to guess I'd say you probably got when you fell off your bike in July of last year. And I said, and he completely like honey badger about it, didn't really care. And I looked at him and I said, should I be concerned? And he said, No. I mean, it's in a non-weight bearing area. You know, that's probably why you could walk and do all the other things that you could do. I'm like, all right. JESSE: And it healed without like intervention, or-- ASHLEY: Yeah, yeah. But I guess my point to all that is the difference between running and working out through fatigue versus like, when the body's like, hey, no, this is not okay. We need to stop and like learning to rest during those times and take it easy, which is hard for me to do. JESSE: Yeah. Well, I mean, you get this positive feedback loop where it's like, you work hard and if you work hard, especially when you're working harder than other people, and then you're getting results, whatever it is, whether it's race results, or good grades or admission into school you want to go to. It's like, oh, there's the cherry on top of my ice cream for all the work that I did to get this bowl of ice cream. And so it's like, all I need to do is just do more of this. It's that symptom of thinking that only hard work gets us results. ASHLEY: Right. Go to Part 1 Go to Part 3

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