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Open Mic Friday: Meet Dr. Jami


This week's guest is Jami, doctor, mom, winemaker, and runner.  Author of the blog Runner For Good, she shares what's going on with her family, running, and racing.

As a cardiologist, it seems she might have an advantage over the rest of us when it comes to training with a heart rate monitor.  Well she does, and she discusses that today.

Welcome Jami!

How did you develop your passion for running and fitness?

I ran a little in medical school mainly to burn off ice cream calories.  My sport was always golf.  However, with a family and starting a new practice there was not much time.  My daughter was on a swim team at a very young age so I would swim laps during her practices.  After she moved on to other sports I started to run.  I received a brochure from the American Diabetes Society in 1999 about running a marathon in Rome.  My mother is Italian so I thought it would be a great way to get her to go to Italy to watch me run a marathon.  So I signed up never having run more than 3 miles at a stretch.  My goal was just to live through it.  I finished around 5:20 and was hooked. Next step was to get quicker. That has not been so easy.

Post Race Jami You recently participated in the World Wide Festival of Race.  Tell us what about WWFR and your experience

I did the half distance for my world wide festival of races.  I ran a loop in Punta Gorda Florida.  I started at Gilcrest Park and ran across the Peace River Bridge which is 1.4miles long.  On returning from the park I ran by Lashly Marina along the Peace river along a path called Harbor Walk.  On my return I ran to another waterside park called Ponce de Leon and back to the beginning.  I ran alone listening to podcasts.  The weather was in the 80s as usual.  I fueled with Perpetuem and water.  My time was 2:16.

As a physician, you also enjoy studying the physiology of training.  What are some running breakthroughs you’ve experienced by understanding the science behind running?

Heart rate during running has been a real interest to me.  I have never done a formal test but through 5Ks I know my maximum and what HR I can sustain for that event.  I also watch my HR during easy runs for my low.  When I start to get dehydrated during the end of a long run at 90F I see my HR start to climb.  I also noted my HR during threshold runs and intervals.  I used these numbers to pace myself during the marathon.  I knew from previous races when I went out too fast my HR would be in the 5K zone early and then I would crash in the last 10K .  I ran conservatively during my Dublin Marathon not letting my HR get into levels I would see during my longer interval training.  I may have undershot my potential but it felt good to finish with a smile and not have to walk.

The other factor is nutrition.  I think it makes a big difference in how much and what kind of calories you consume.  I am a believer in complex carbs like maltodextran vs fructose or simple sugars.  I also think a little protein after 2 hrs helps to regulate the energy usage.  I made sure I had consumed my 300 calories 3 hrs before racet time to prevent the insulin spike during the first few miles.  I also cut my consumption to about 200 calories an hour to avoid the colon load so to speak.  After my bad experience in MCM I carry my own nutrition that worked in training. 

You also recently had an international running experience.  Tell us about it.

I just completed my 8th marathon running the Dublin Marathon.  Two of my running friends convinced me to go with them to run their first marathon.  It turned out to be one of my favorites.  The crowd support was fantastic for the 12,700 runners who started.  I tied a PR with a time of 4:36:37.  The best part was that I did not do any of the usual stupid tricks I usually pull.  I actually had negative splits and did not walk a step.  Usually, I go out way too fast only to finish with the death march.
How did your marathon training go this time around?

My training went pretty well.  I followed an 18 week progression training regimen with a long run each week.  I added hill work one day a week early and gradually added some long intervals and tempo runs two days a week.  I focused on really keeping my easy days easy.  In the past I think I pushed them too hard which may have contributed to injuries.  I used components from Pfizingers book, Jack Daniels book and Hudson’s book for my speed, hill, and tempo work. 
What were you most excited about running Dublin?  Most nervous about? 

I was most nervous about the weather. During previous marathons that were cold and it would be very cold if I had to walk at the end because of going out to fast.  Ireland is known for rainy damp temps.  We have trained this summer in Florida in temps from 75 to 90F.  When it rains here it is a soaking rain that makes your shoes weighs a ton. My fear was to have to walk in the rainy damp cold.   Hydration has been an issue with the heat causing my long runs to be slower than I would like.  I was not sure about what pace I would be able to hold in cooler weather.  I determined my lactate threshold HR and decided to stay within that no matter what the pace was and it worked. 
What are some key things you’ve learned about yourself and about running while  training for Dublin?

I did a lot of slow base miles early in the summer with my daughter who was base training for XC.  I think this really paid off when I started to increase the intensity.  I also did a lot more core work in the form of planks, bird dogs and lunges and push-ups. I think this helped to keep me injury free.  In past training seasons I have got injured pushing speed on top of mileage.
The majority of my training was in the morning.  That allows me to finish my work out without the day’s events getting in the way or taking time away from family.
What would your family and friends tell us about your passion for running?

I am a much calmer person when I run.  I am a private practice Cardiologist and single mother.  Things can be quite hectic.  Running is a great outlet.  I feel it is important to set a good example for my patients and well as my daughter. Patients can never tell me they don’t have time for exercise.
Who from your past would you like to know that you’re now a runner?

My Grandmother.  I think she would be proud to know what I have achieved.
Best race experience?

Must say it was Dublin. No walking.  No bonking.  Negative splits finishing strong. 
Any quirky running traits?

I am pretty regimented. I log miles on Buckeye outdoors, calculate my nutrition for long runs and mark race day clothes that work early.
What have you not done with your running that you’re still looking forward to?

I would love to Boston Qualify breaking the 4 hour mark.
What gets you excited about running?

Lining up the next race. Planning my schedule.  I like to race a different marathon location each time using it as a vacation of sorts. I love the crowd scene lining up with thousands of people for a long run.
What’s your secret to running success?

Well I am not nearly as successful as the people I follow on podcast and blogs.  I just love the thrill of trying to shave a few minutes off.

Favorite race?

Marine Corps was up there.  I have so much respect for our military and the finish at the World War II monument is fantastic.
Favorite distance?

The marathon because it is such a challenge to have the right race strategy to complete it well. The half is probably the best distance with regards to thrill to pain ratio but I just love the marathon challenge. The marathon puts your mind and body to the test.  It challenges your will and forces you out of your comfort zone. 
Greatest running accomplishment?

Completing the Marine Corps Marathon after 7 trips to the woods between mile 15 and 22 with intestine problems. Fiber is not your friend before a marathon.
Current running goals?

Boston qualify. Probably run a few halves then a full in the spring.
Non- running and non-blogging interests?

I make homemade wine from pasteurized grape juice.
Running hero?

Roger Bannister
Greatest running moment?

I love seeing my daughter at the finish line of a marathon.  I also had a bad race in Paris.  My ITB started flaring out of the blue around mile 16.  I walked/ran the last 10 miles freezing because I was dressed for running not walking.  I briefly thought about quitting but thought of what a poor example that would be to my daughter waiting for me at the finish.  I was extremely disappointed at my time but realized how proud she was just to see me cross the finish line.  I think that is the great life parallel.  We all struggle at some point but to persevere is contenting. 
What is one unique thing about you that most people don't know?

I don’t think it is unique but I have a fierce desire to see and do and learn all that I can.  Be all that I can be.  I should have been in the Army-LOL
Who are some of your virtual running friends you would like to meet up and run with?

I hope they do not think I am a stalker.  I like DirtDawg and Rundigger podcast guys.  They seem very genuine.  I also follow Criss J Cassidy’s running blog. He is from Ireland gave great tips about the marathon.  He seems like an extremely positive person.
Most embarrassing running moment?

Definitely the trips to the wood in Washington DC were most embarrassing.  . 
What’s going on in your life outside of running?

My daughter is a senior in high school so she is deciding on colleges and careers.  My Cardiology practice is busy. I am trying to do as much preventive medicine as I can.  I also coach track so I am busy planning training schedules.
If money could buy you a running dream, what would it be?

Travel to world running marathons.  Educating others about the joy and benefits of running
Favorite running shirt?

Pink Nike technical shirt my daughter had printed.  Runner mom.
Best running advice you’ve ever been given?

You need to take in nutrition after an hour.
Best running advice you’d like to share?

Go out slow.  It feels a lot better latter.

Thank you, Dr. Jami!

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