Swap my sneakers for a white coat … or put on both


As I write this post from the call room, I feel extremely grateful to be a resident in psychiatry and a marathon runner, but also tired and a little exhausted, being halfway through my weekend call from 24 hours. Psychiatry is one of the most forgiving specialties in terms of hours, but one should not avoid being on call during the residency!

Marathon running and residency actually have a lot in common. They both require long-term commitment and results don’t come instantly. Not getting that instant gratification can be difficult at times, but what I love is the process behind it: every week, every month and every year builds on each other. It’s a slow building process that equates to a bigger goal. There is sometimes a love-hate relationship due to the grueling hours and fatigue, but I’m also elated and aroused by both, which keeps me going.

I started running during my elementary school years when my mom dropped me off early at school to run the mile with the Braeburn Striders running group. Running has stayed with me ever since that day in grade 3. I was the kid who loved to run the mile and found out on a city-wide 4th grade mile run that I was one of the best runners in town. I also discovered my passion for science around this time and remember thinking that red blood cells and the circulatory system was the coolest topic I ever learned in school. Later in high school, I realized the connection between running and science, which further stimulated my desire to go to medicine.

These passions stuck with me and helped me gain some balance in life. It’s easy to just focus on medicine and come home after a long day at work and an accident. (I did that.) But most of the time, I can put on my running shoes and go out the door.

I get asked all the time: “How do you have time to run?” I take the time, even though it seems awkward, and I always feel better and surprisingly energetic. I usually run 5-6 days a week and do a longer run on weekends. I had to learn to be flexible and make adjustments due to my schedule, but I still find that there is a spare hour or even 30 minutes in the day. Those 30 minutes of social media scrolling can be used for a run. I try to be aware of this and use my downtime wisely. A run also does wonders for my mood and sanity. I don’t think there was ever a time when I came back from a race and regretted doing it.

We have faced many changes over the past year due to the pandemic, but running has remained a constant for me. Running was my comfort during the pandemic and during my first 2 years of residency. For the residency, I moved to a new city and didn’t know anyone, which was an added stress. Running has helped me deal with it all and feel like myself in a world that has left us with a lot of uncertainty.

I’m happy to say that my marathon training has been very consistent, and I’ve even met new people to train with as well as to get my co-residents to jump on a bike with me and help me out. my pace.

Currently, I am doing basic training for the Boston Marathon this fall. Stay tuned for more details in my next article!

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About Dr Emily Goncalves

Emily S. Goncalves, MD, MBA, is a resident in psychiatry at the Delaware Psychiatric Center in New Castle. She is a competitive runner and has raced for Syracuse University. She continues to lead an active lifestyle and has participated in eight marathons, including the Boston Marathon. Emily hopes to share her passion for running with her patients and is keen to pursue a career in consultation and liaison psychiatry. She also enjoys writing about her running adventures.

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