05 August 2015

I Raced Again!

Race Report - 70.3 Vineman

Well, I did it.  I completed a triathlon (and yes, it was four weeks ago).  I know a lot of you guys were probably thinking I wouldn't be able to do it, but I did.  It was pretty difficult.  I cried a couple times.  And I'll be honest, the only thing that really kept me in it was the idea of writing a race report again.  That and the free snow cones I heard they were passing out at the finish line.  But turns out those were only for the top 12 finishers, so I missed out on that deal.  Nobody wants a snow cone at like 10:45 in the morning anyway.  Figured I might as well salvage the race report though.  So here goes!
 
But before jumping in, a quick backstory, in case you missed my post this spring (and you really don't know what you're missing).  I'll summarize briefly: med school has been ruining my triathlon life lately.  The "med" part of the tri-med equation has unleashed a real beat down on the "tri" part, for like... the past 18 months or so.  It's also been ruining my social life, my financial life, my artistic life, and my literary life too.  Kidding, read my last post.  Lots of good stuff in there.  Med school is awesome.  But it's true that it has been harder to find time to train as intensely as I'd like.  There was a brief glimmer of hope at Wildflower last year, but that was the last time I raced.  Until now...
 
So read on, but cut me some slack.  That's the point.

Good to be back.

-Swim- I Have to Admit it's Getting Better

Swimming is probably the only discipline I've been able to stick to with any consistency over the past year.  That and some recent changes in my technique have made me a little quicker in the pool lately, so I was anxious to see how'd I'd fare when I waded back into the big leagues.  The plan was to focus on my stroke and just swim my own little personal race in the Russian River, hopefully find some feet, but not get too worried about what the other guys were doing.  I showed up at transition on race day and quickly realized: holy $hi#, there are a lot of really fast swimmers here.  Whatever, it didn't phase me.  I sorted some things out in the port-a-potty.  I had someone remind me how to put my wetsuit on.  I got in the river, took some strokes.  We lined up, waited for the horn, and then we were off.

Wasn't thrilled to see these guys at the starting line, making a scene...
The night before I had this great dream that the pro men's swim start had changed in the period I'd been away from racing.  In my dream, the starting gun cracked, and then everyone started gracefully floating out of the way, insisting that others go ahead of them, taking care not to run into each other and giving everyone plenty of room.  And to my surprise, that's exactly what happened!
 
Kidding - I got thrashed.  Gobbled up, chewed for a short time, and spit out the back of the front pack before I had even started my watch.  Oh well.  But for being a bit rusty, I was pleased with how I came off the line.  About 200 meters in I Iooked around to see how things had shaken out.  It was all good.  There were a few guys near me, they seemed to be going my speed.  I settled in and soon found this really comfortable rhythm.  The river was the perfect temperature, I could see the brush on the banks slipping by, I felt long and smooth in the water, and I was cruising right along, on the hip of this guy who was steering a decent course.
 
The four of us hit the turn around, I did some dolphin diving to reconnoiter - and because it was so shallow (just like last time).  I didn't see anyone in the immediate vicinity in the river ahead of us.  So rather than attack by myself, I decided to settle back in and stay comfortable.  I kept riding the hip, and before I knew it the swim was over.
 
What I would discover when looking at the results later is that I swam decently well.  My little four-man pod came in just under 27 minutes, a full minute faster than my 2013 effort on this course.  But what was most encouraging was that is it felt suuuuuper comfy.  At no point did I really suffer, that much.  And usually I suffer in a major way during the swim.  Looking at the results, all the big names hung together in the lead group, which came out in 23'.  Then there were a handful of guys who swam by themselves sprinkled behind them, and four minutes later at 27' there was us.  I am pretty confident if I had found the right feet, I could have been down in the 25-26' range.  2-3' behind the lead group - with swimmers like Craig Alexander and Matt Reed  - that's not bad.  If there had been a second pack I think I might have made it.  Maybe that's overly optimistic, but it's clear that my swimming has improved significantly, so I'm pumped.
 
-Bike- A Hard Day's Night (in other words, I rode like a soft, softman)

While I was quite satisfied with my swimming, the opposite is true for my showing on the bike.  When I compare this year with 2013, I was a full two and a half minutes slower.  And that on a faster bike, with better wheels.  There is no mystery here: I need to ride my bike more.


You like that?

My heart rate and effort was dialed in, which is to say, I worked just as hard as I did two years ago.  I just went a lot slower.  If I had power data, I could actually quantify for you how much worse I did, and get all analytical with it.  But fortunately I don't have to do that now.  I'll focus on the positive: it was a beautiful course, with beautiful weather, and beautiful people everywhere.  Also, for the drive down from Portland - with the help of VH1 - I put together a playlist I named "Product of the 90s."  So during the race my mental soundtrack cycled through "Mo Money Mo Problems," "Building a Mystery," "Living La Vida Loca" and "Fly" before ultimately settling on an Abba song (not on my playlist).  But despite the music, my riding was uninspired.  There isn't a lot more to say about it.
 
Actually, there is one more thing to say.  I felt pretty weak on the bike, like there was just no power in these skinny little legs of mine.  For a few days after, I honestly wondered if I am just doomed to be a softman forever.  But then two days later I saw this clip of Chris Froome attacking Nairo Quintana on the 10th stage of the Tour.  His legs are arguably skinnier than mine, so I do have hope.  I just need to ride more.

 The guy is an animal.
 
-Run- The Long and Winding Road
(the run felt pretty good, in actuality, just needed to keep with the Beatles theme)
 
Fortunately, I have been doing a *slightly* better job of staying in touch with running the past year.  So when I finally hit the dismount line and got off my bike (and ran about a half mile to get to T2, ha, not a joke, it was soooo far away) I was looking forward to the run.  In 2013 I had sort of a breakthrough run here, where my nutrition, training, taper, and race plan all came together and I finally ran to my potential.  This year I was minute slower, but that's sort of what I expected.  It's just where my fitness is right now.
 
I passed four or five dudes on the run, which was fun.  Another highlight was seeing Craig Alexander charging hard in the opposite direction on the out-and-back section.  My first time seeing him in action, and he still looks every part the world champion at age 42.  In the end I hit the tape in 13th position, behind names like Craig, Tim O'Donnell, Kevin Collington, TJ Tollakson, Chris McDonald, and Matt Reed.  First race in over a year, I'll take it.

Between the bike and run I was a combined three and a half minutes off my 2013 performance.  Add to it some absurdly long transitions, subtract from it that minute I saved on the swim, and in total I was 4:45 slower.  Sounds about right.
 
-Thank You- With a Little Help from my Friends

Definitely need to thank Athlete's Lounge and Rolf Prima for the bike support.  Was my first race on the Cervelo P2, which is a quick bike.  I mean, if it's good enough for Chrissie Wellington to win Kona (twice) it's definitely good enough for me.  The problem isn't with the car; it's just that the engine is a little weak these days.  And those wheels are dope.  Couldn't be happier to be racing on Rolfs.
 
And of course, thank you to all you readers who continue to follow along.  There was a long hiatus there, but "Andrew Langfield Struggles" is officially in it's fourth season.  Next up is an awesome little local event called the Rolf Prima Tri at the Grove (which has actually already happened at this point, it was a blast, I rocked a speedo and got my ass whooped by Guy Crawford) and then back to Penticton at the end of August.  Thanks for reading.

14 July 2015

The Trilogy

The Last 3 Years (abridged)

By now you guys probably think I don't really do triathlons anymore anyway.  The gig is up, it was fun while it lasted.  You're all just sitting there in your chairs, waiting for me to announce my retirement.  But in a preview of things to come, I'll start by announcing that I'm racing this weekend!  First time in over a year, holy cow.  As I finalize this post, I'm sitting in a coffee shop in Windsor, CA.  This beautiful little town and neighboring Guerneville in the Russian River Valley play host to 70.3 Vineman, one of the most historic half-distance evens on the circuit.  It's a notoriously deep field every year, and is going to be a rude awakening fo sho.  Some guys named Craig Alexander, Matt Reed, and Tim O'Donnell are here, and I hear they're all pretty fast.  I couldn't be more excited about it, but more on that later.
 
As promised - and before my greatly-hyped return to racing sends the media into a frenzy - I wanted to write a bit about the "med" part of the tri-med lifestyle.  It is, after all, most of what I do these days.  You can't say you weren't warned about this.  And this seems like an appropriate time, as I just officially ended my third year of school, took the next step in the never-ending series of board exams, and have already started the next chapter.  So here it is, my first departure from the strictly enforced triathlon agenda.  I think I'm starting off with a bang... or at least a lot of words.  Boundaries will be crossed, social norms will be struck down, emotions will run heavy, and I'll warn you: things get a little philosophical.  You may wish you had never been born.  But I'll be able to sleep at night once more, knowing that I finally made good on all those blog ideas.  My intent is to shed some light on what's been going on in my life these past few years, between all the races and exotic trips and booze and women and trashed hotel rooms that you usually have to read about here.  Let's hop right into it.

I. Med School Year One (MS1)

Year one of med school was the best year of my life.  It was a revelation.  So much fascinating stuff to learn about and experience, from the late nights dissecting in anatomy lab, to the long hours staring through microscopes at glomeruli and cancer cells, to the exhilarating first steps in patient care.  All of my new classmates had such remarkable stories, I was humbled day by day as I learned more about them.  Great new friendships were born, fun adventures were had, and through it all I finally felt reassured that I had found my calling - that I was where I belonged.
 
As a quick outline, the classic med school curriculum is essentially divided in two halves.  You spend the first couple years focusing primarily on basic science and "book learning."  Years three and four are then partitioned into a series of clinical rotations called clerkships.  Speaking more to the early years of basic science now: I once heard it further explained that year one is all about building boxes. You learn about cell structure and function, organ systems, and how the body works when everything is running smoothly.  You then revisit those concepts in year two, but in the context of human disease, studying all the things that can go wrong; filing different disease entities away into those boxes, so to speak.  Maybe a file cabinet is a better metaphor.
 
The year was not all blissful learning, though, and there were definitely some unforeseen challenges.  I quickly discovered, for instance, that there isn't a lot of positive reinforcement in grad school.  At least there wasn't in my case, ha.  Gone were the days of extra credit and professors complimenting your thought process, even if it was nowhere near correct.  Gone were the good grades and glowing reviews.  And perhaps most disappointingly, gone were the exams you could just cram for and still pull off.  Plus, I was surrounded by so many smart people.  I mean, it seemed like everyone was having an easy time of it.  I was left to infer that all my peers were literally brilliant, and never forgot anything they read (sort like an elephant).  Consequently, I had to adjust to being very middle of the pack.  No one likes being in the middle of a pack of elephants.  And I'm not proud to admit this, but my confidence definitely took a hit.
 
Easy to get trampled in there.  Not unlike the beginning of a race, actually.
 
In hindsight, one of the ways I justified my "satisfactory" grades in the classroom was by pursuing triathlon with heightened intensity.  "You're a pro triathlete," I told myself.  "You would do better on exams if you didn't spend so much time running around in short shorts, or watching old Tour de France DVDs on your trainer."  I spent my lunch breaks in the pool and my weekends out on long rides.  I got a coach to help me make the most of limited training time (to this day one of the smartest things I've done since starting school).  Exercise has always been my escape: how I clear my head, stay grounded, and maintain some sanity.  And I really needed that during year one.  Coach Bagg has helped me continue to prioritize triathlon in my life, but in a way that accommodates my academic commitments and interests.
 
By the time summer rolled around, I was going a bit crazy.  We were given 8 weeks off, "our final summer" as we were constantly reminded.  Many of my classmates lined up really cool research experiences at the university, or went abroad to volunteer.  All I wanted to do was go race.  Those 8 weeks were a great ride, and are fairly well chronicled here on the blog.  I trained a lot, traveled to quite a few races, and ended the season with my first ever full-distance event.  Mid-August came around way too quickly, and before I knew it I was back in the lecture hall.
 
II. MS2
 
Year two of med school promptly replaced year one as the best year of my life.  We were still mostly in the lecture hall, but it was time to fill in those boxes we had constructed during year one.  The learning sky-rocketed as we immersed ourselves in a world of human pathology, studying fascinating disease processes and the body's miraculous ability to survive, evolve, and renew.  We also *finally* began to learn a thing or two about intervention: medical science's ability to modulate the body's physiologic response and help get things back on track, or in some cases to simply salvage what it can and move forward.  I quickly became overwhelmed by all the things that can go wrong, but even more impressed by the wondrous design and awesome resilience of the human body.
 
I soon realized (although maybe not as soon as I should have...) that there were a number of fairly critical differences between the MS1 and MS2 years.  For instance, the preceptors we worked with didn't grant as much leeway to simply respond "Umm.. I don't know."  To my great horror, they sometimes even wanted to know if we had a plan... "So what do YOU want to do?"  The best was when they asked you that in the exam room, right in front of the patient.  Of course it was a completely safe environment to branch out, ask questions and voice opinions (i.e. the doctors would always go with their own plans anyway, to the great relief of the patient I'm sure).  But it was a constant reminder of "Holy $H^T, some day I actually need to be the one with the plan."  In addition to rising expectations, our greater knowledge also carried with it increased autonomy, more opportunities, and a better understanding of what was actually going on, all of which was hugely exciting.
 
Two of the most saddening distinctions from MS1 year, however, were the loss of any kind of summer vacation, and the looming first step of the board exam.  To become a doctor in this country - all you readers will be relieved to learn - you have to pass an exhaustive litany of tests, all of which are no fun and exorbitantly expensive.  The first one, colloquially referred to as "Step 1" in the medical community, tests your understanding (or more accurately: your ability to recall meaningless details) of the scientific underpinnings of medicine and is usually taken at the end of the second year of school.  Our school gave us a few weeks to study for this hoss, after which most of my classmates enjoyed a one-week break before being thrown into year three.  I took the test three days earlier than most, so my summer was actually a full week and a half.  I know all of you with normal jobs are laughing right now, but it was hard for me.
 
I can whine if I want to.

With the help of my girlfriend (who is infinitely smarter and wiser than I), I had an epiphany early on in year two.  And since you're still reading, I'm assuming that means you won't mind hearing about it.  I remember exactly when and where it occurred: we were on the rough of her house on the east side, watching the sun set over the Portland skyline on a warm fall evening.  I had just raced my first full-distance event at Challenge Penticton a few weeks earlier, and I couldn't stop thinking about it, even as I faced a strenuous school year with a terrifying exam lying in wait at the end.  Worst of all, there was really no "triathlon season" in sight.  I knew I'd be lucky to race at all over the coming years, and was struggling to justify the constant energy and dedication required to continue to progress in this sport in the setting of increasing academic and professional commitments.  In the end I realized: medicine is my chosen career path, and I'm abundantly blessed to be able to pursue this passion.  Therefore, I don't owe it to myself, I owe it to my future patients to give med school everything I've got.
 
But I realized just as urgently that "giving med school everything you've got" doesn't mean you have to give up everything else in your life.  Far from it.  It means doing what you need to do to keep yourself happy, healthy, and mentally sharp, so that you can learn most effectively.  How people approach that balancing act is very individualized and personal.  Some of my classmates have taken up new hobbies.  Others travel every chance they get, and use exciting trips as little benchmarks to stay motivated.  For me, it means training as much as possible and racing whenever I can.  I mean, some of my classmates have fricking families.  They spend every spare moment they have with their spouse and kids.  I don't know how they keep up with school (I can hardly take care of my dog), but they are the ones I look to when I need inspiration.

All this might seem very simplistic, but it was the culmination of a long mental odyssey for me, with lots of conflicting thoughts and second-guessing along the way.  Finally I felt like I had come to terms with a fundamental fact of life: there is only so much time in the day.  And by extension, so much time in a year...  You only have one life to live, so do your best with it and be satisfied with the effort.  My priorities had crystalized in way that made sense, and I could continue to pursue both med school and triathlon appropriately.

So I worked my ass off that year.  I learned a ton, stayed fit, and have zero regrets.  I raced once in 2014: at Wildflower, where I had a surprisingly encouraging result, missing out on the top 10 by one spot.  I renewed my pro card and went back to school two days later.  I took the boards that June and peaced out of Portland for 10 days.  I went backpacking and made it home to Boise briefly.  Then it was time for the people of Portland, OR to prepare themselves: my classmates and I were ready to hit the wards.

 
From this...
 
...to this.
 
III. MS3

Year three of med school was hands down, indisputably, irrefutably, let there be no doubt, and with no reservations, the best year of my life.  It was also probably the hardest.  They finally let us out of the lecture hall and set us free on the hospital wards.  As a quick refresher, following the first two years of "book learning," years three and four of med school predominantly take place in the hospitals and clinics, seeing actual patients with actual problems and participating in actual care.  It's learning by seeing and doing, and no longer merely a theoretical enterprise.  And if I thought the pace was challenging before, things took on a whole new speed.  It was exhilarating and exhausting, thrilling and numbing, hope-giving and depressing, every single day.  At the start of the year - and fresh off step 1 of the boards - I thought I new a thing or two.  What I quickly realized is that I didn't know a damn thing, as I ended each day with more questions than when I woke up.
 
All MS3s make there way through a series of required rotations that expose them to the diverse world of clinical medicine, each culminating with it's own nationally-administered test of proficiency called a shelf exam.  All med schools accomplish this in their own way, but it's more or less the same (e.g. some make you do 8 weeks of peds and only 4 weeks of family, whatever).  This is a good thing, because there are some things that every doctor needs to know.  For instance, even if a student has zero interest in being a surgeon, they need to know what a surgeon does.  So you are required to do a surgery rotation.  Future doctors also need to know about childbirth in case they're on a flight and a woman decides to go into labor.  So all third years do a rotation in OB/GYN as well.  I wouldn't say it was my favorite rotation... but it was my least favorite.  OHSU divides it's third year curriculum into eight five-week rotations, two of which are in internal medicine, which is sort of the unofficial cornerstone of the undergraduate medical education.  I made my way around the track in this order:

 
1. Internal Medicine at a community hospital in Portland
2. Internal Medicine at the Portland VA
 
 
3. Family Medicine at a clinic in east Portland
 
4. Pediatrics at the OHSU children's hospital
5. OB/GYN at a community hospital down in Eugene

 6. Surgery back at the Portland VA
 
7. Rural Medicine (family med in a small place) out in Sisters, OR
 
 
 8. Psychiatry on the inpatient unit at OHSU
  
(Photo credits: all the above images were taken from this awesome blog called "The 30 Types of Doctors You Went to High School With."  It's a bit of medical humor, but it's worth it.)

While I may not have thought it at the time, I can now safely say that each rotation was awesome in its own way.  Actually... with one possible exception, I pretty much thought they were all awesome at the time.  Which basically sums up the theme of the year for me: medicine is an enormously humbling and gratifying profession.  If I lived through 525,600 minutes last year, I enjoyed almost every single one of them.  I can think of 23 total minutes spread out over those 365 days that I didn't totally love - most of which involved handling bodily fluids - so that's not bad.  I'm not going to go into this year in much more detail right now, because there is a lot of good stuff in there that I think deserves its own entry.  Lots of great stories, lots of moving experiences, lots of humiliating failures.  So stay tuned for more med-school related updates in the months ahead, all of which will be totally HIPAA-compliant (so don't worry if you were one of my patients this last year).
 
IV. The next chapter?
 
Well you made it!  You deserve a finisher's medal for arriving at the end of my longest blog entry to date, hope you enjoyed it.  But seriously, shoot me a tweet if you want a medal.  Just kidding, but not really.
 
But what of this "next chapter" I alluded to way back at the beginning of this long saga?  I do actually have some big news: I decided to take a "year out" from med school for the next 12 months, to pursue a student pathology fellowship.  It's sort of like the first year of residency for pathologists.  Actually, it's exactly like that.  I am literally doing the exact same things as the first year path residents at OHSU (although only getting paid half as much, so it's sort of a win-win for both me and the university).  Why would I do this?  A number of reasons, and counter intuitively, none of which involve me wanting to be a pathologist.  Far from it, actually.  They recommend this program to students after their MS2 or MS3 years, as a way to broaden their understanding of the pathogenesis of disease on a cellular level.  It is particularly useful for those who are considering careers in internal medicine, family medicine, or general surgery, which incidentally are sort of my three front-runners at this point.  I have a few other reasons though, like wanting to stay on the same schedule as my girlfriend (who is taking a year to get her masters in public health), starting a project at a health clinic downtown, learning French, brewing more beer, and perhaps most importantly... training and racing more!
 
Good things are ahead, starting with 70.3 Vineman this weekend.  Really excited to be returning to racing after a long hiatus.  Stay tuned, next entry will be a race report!
 
Cheers!
-Andrew

02 April 2015

On the Tri-Med Lifestyle

First post of 2015!  And I'm sorry to admit, it happened again.  For the third year in a row, I was cruising along pretty good, posting to the blog every day (sometimes twice a day), writing all these entries, making all this headway, attracting new followers by the thousands, then BLAMMO - nothing.  Radio silence.  The EKG showing the electrical activity of my blog would look like this:

As you can clearly see, there is no T wave repolarization after that last QRS complex.
(Nothing about this strip is accurate, but the message is clear.)
That is precisely what happened last summer; my blog lost its pulse.  You might sadly recall, last spring, my numerous prophesies of upcoming posts and prolific artistry and celebrity cameos.  If you don't you can easily visit the annals of Andrew Langfield Struggles and have another read-through.  But I would really rather you didn't, because it's embarrassing.  All those macho decrees evaporated as I sank into the depths of med school year three.  Some of you with particularly astute memories might even be saying this: "Of course this is nothing new.  Langfield does this every year."  And you'd be right.  Because pretty much the same thing happened when I sank into the depths of med school years 1 and 2.  Damn.

I. The Problem: med-school is overwhelming, and I haven't raced


I think I've identified the problem, though.  I've had this really ambitious writing prompt in mind for some time now: that I'd put out a series of three posts on my professional and ideological progression as I've made my way through med school.  Sounds exciting, I know.  "A Trilogy of Tri-Med Posts" was going to be the grandiose title.  But I think the enormity of that idea has basically prevented me from writing anything at all, as I've been too overwhelmed by the prospect.  That and I haven't had as much opportunity to race the past two years.  My 2014 "season" consisted of one event: Wildflower, and that was it.  I didn't race, so I didn't write.  Very sad.

But readers, smarten up!  I'm about to make all of that frustration and painful heartache worthwhile.

Everything here on the blog is about to change.

II. The Solution: the tri-med lifestyle revealed


In truth, the gears have been turning on this transformation for quite some time now.  So hopefully it won't come as a huge surprise to most of you, or worse yet, a huge let down.  But here it is, in a nutshell: since my life these past three years has been as much about med school than it has about tris, I've decided I might as well write about it.

What do I mean?  Well, certainly the original charter of this blog will remain intact.  I still plan to document my wheelings and dealings in the sport of triathlon thoroughly on this webspace.  Probably too thoroughly, as has been my custom.  There will continue to be training highlights and photo journals and exhaustively long race reports.  But there will also be scattered entries about my medical exploits, including but not limited to: shocking insight into the inner workings of the medical system, the horrors of the operating room, gripping near death experiences (for me, of course, not my patients), the challenge of choosing a specialty, residency application drama, and other thrilling stories of life-saving/baby-catching/suture-throwing/antibiotic-wielding/anticoag-pushing antics.  That's all really good stuff too!  It's a huge part of my life, and since this blog is essentially a public journal, I'm going to share it all.

I know it's not triathlons, but I'll make it interesting, I promise.  Besides, I'm always tweeting about the tri-med lifestyle anyway.  Time to make the blog follow suit.


III. So, where to start?


Well, to kick things off, I'm going to finally share all those thoughts I've been meaning to put down over the last three years of school.  But before you all tune out for my next few posts, I have good news: I'm going to condense all of those thoughts, from three long-winded, excessively emotional accounts of soul searching, into one powerful, concise, and carefully-worded masterpiece.  "One Post to Rule Them All" I'm going to call it.  Believe me, that will be much better than a trilogy anyhow.  I think I still need to get those thoughts down, because it'll lay a foundation for future posts.  Plus, I've literally been thinking about those entries for years.  I can't just let them flounder and die.

And after that, then what?  Who knows!?  Not me.  I've got a few other med school topics in mind, we'll see which ones surface first.  But by that point the pre-season will be heating up too, and there should be plenty to talk shop about in the triathlon world.  We'll see.


IV. Some Truth


Before I sign off, I'm going to close with some truth.  This is straight from the soul.  Writing here has always been an entertaining and gratifying pastime for me, and I've had a ton of fun with it over the past few years.  But one thing I've realized - and perhaps the biggest reason I am finally embracing the tri-med identity here on the blog - is that I've always written the way I feel a "pro athlete" should write.  It's all about race reports and fun trips and good times.  And while I'm sure my triathlon exploits are somewhat unique - not everyone can be as clueless or carefree or long in the teeth - in a lot of ways this is "just another athlete blog."  And when I've written in the past, I've always subconsciously compared myself to other great athletes in our sport.  What I didn't fully appreciate is that my situation can stand up on its own two feet.  I don't need to be out there winning world championships in order to post to my own blog.  I can just be Andrew Langfield, and continue to struggle at triathlons.  I'm also going to be a freaking doctor, which carries with it certain realities.  Reality number one is you have to go to med school, and it isn't exactly a cake walk.  Rather than try and pretend those realities don't exist, I'm going to write about them.  Because this is my story; it's unique and interesting in its own right (at least to me).  I hope you all continue to enjoy it.  I can promise lots of good things to come, about tris, and medicine, and who knows what else.

Peace out,
Andrew