What happened to… Garlic?

We occasionally chat with past Salty Running contributors to find out what they’re up to these days. Recently, we caught up with Garlic, our resident sports-medicine doctor, mom of 3 and adult-onset competitive middle-distance runner.

Hi, Garlic! We miss you, and we know you’re busy! Thanks for taking the time to chat. When last we left you almost two years ago, you’d done a brave mile earlier in the year, pondered why people run marathons, and were about to do the 2016 Providence Marathon (whew – that is a rolling course!).

How did the marathon go?

The marathon went really well! I met my goal of qualifying for Boston, but was also reminded that I don’t really like running marathons.

What’s been going on in your life since then? What are some new life goals or priorities that have come to the fore?

Shortly after the Providence Marathon I started a Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital. When I finished my Fellowship in June of 2017, I joined the Department of Orthopedics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where I am currently part of the growing non-operative Sports Medicine Service. My biggest priority/life goal at the moment is to successfully balance everything on my plate: my family, my research interests, my clinical work, my sanity…

What about in running? What does your routine look like these days and why do you run? What gets you out the door?

I run most days, somewhere between 30-60 minutes, but I’m not doing any focused training. I also lift weights 1-2x/week. Because I’m a mom of 3 and also working full-time, I usually have to run/work out very early in the morning. This never seems to get any easier, although once I’m moving I’m always glad to be out. I love running, so what gets me out the door is knowing how much better my day will be if I start it off with a run.

Are you still coached by Cathy Utzschneider, and are there any races on the horizon for you?

I’m not coached by Cathy anymore, although we remain friends. I do have a lot of races on the

At the Boston Marathon finish line medical tent

horizon…but as part of the medical team, not as a competitor. I am extremely psyched for Boston Marathon weekend, when I will be covering the BAA 5K, BAA 1-mile invitational, and then the Marathon itself as part of the heat team in the Finish Line medical tent.

Work meets life: your sports medicine fellowship was a mid-career lateral shift. Can you tell us more about that decision? What has that shift taught you about yourself and your running? How do you plan to use your new training to enrich and give back to the sport of running?

I have a diverse background (in addition to my medical training, I also have a number of fitness and exercise certifications), and I really wanted to be able to use my relatively unique skill set to influence health through sports and exercise. Although it was a hard thing to do mid-career and with 3 young kids at home, the Sports Medicine fellowship was the best way to accomplish that mission. I think the lessons learned were not so much from the shift, but actually from running. Running gave me a toughness and resiliency that allowed me to meet the challenges of going back into medical training and learning a new field.

One of the best parts about my current job is that I get to take care of so many runners! I see numerous runners in my clinic, and I medically support the charity running teams sponsored by my hospital. I also cover many local road races and track and field events, and I volunteer on the Sports Medicine and Science Committee of USA Track and Field.

I have several running/road race medicine-related research projects percolating, so am hoping to contribute to running in that way, as well.

We’re big nerds around here, as you know, and always interested in running-related science! What kinds of questions are you looking to answer through your running-medicine research?

My research interests have to do with optimizing medical care at road races and mass participation events to improve the health and safety of participants. Things are in the works so I can’t get into specifics yet, but stay tuned.

And finally…from your training and experience addressing runners’ needs in clinic and at races, what are the 3 most important things you’d like runners to know?

1. Have a healthy respect for the importance of giving your body enough time to adapt to the volume and/or intensity of training you are asking it to do.
2. View pain signals as information, not as an annoyance. Your body is sometimes smarter than your mind (if not tougher), so listen when it talks to you.
3. Commit to developing a strong butt and a strong core, and to working on these things for life!

Tropical transplant to the chilly Northeast. Professional writer and researcher, cantankerous editor, mom to two! inquisitive children, asker of inconvenient questions.

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