Best Laid Plans Fitness Work

Hard Moments and Positive Things

March 2, 2023

I had hard day yesterday.

It was a clinical day, and there were a couple of down moments. I started to spiral a bit but then:

  • I had a few positive encounters and remembered that even if I may not be everyone’s favorite, I have quite a few very positive relationships with patients + families
  • I reflected on the fact that even if every encounter does not feel meaningful, some are. If I make a positive difference in the lives of 1/10 people I see, that still counts for something.
  • I am not obligated to please everyone! In fact, if I aimed to do that 100% of the time, I would probably be miserable, and what good would come from that!? I am allowed to set boundaries and in fact, I should.
  • My physician role is a job (within a career) and only one part of my life. And it’s a reasonably rewarding one (tangible + otherwise, see above), so when I am not dancing around the office all day it’s still not the worst thing I could be doing with those hours.

(Yes, I consider my physician role a job and not a calling or my defining feature. It is a job with high levels of responsibility that demands a significant amount of care and attention, but it is still a job. This is probably not shocking to anyone here, as this blog is not called Dr Sarah Hart-Unger MD, is it? To be fair, no website is going to truly capture everything about a person either, but . . . it comes closer.)

I practiced decent coping skills.

Sometimes when I have days like that I turn to:

  • scrolling
  • eating garbage (ie: ice cream instead of actual dinner)
  • being unpleasant at home

I am happy that instead I thought through things more logically, did a bit of journaling, and went about my usual activities. I actively decided that wallowing would give my work experiences a higher level of importance than they deserved in this context. Josh got home late anyway so the only ones to be unpleasant to would have been our nanny + the kids; I’m sure they appreciated that I was not terribly surly.

TODAY is a BLPA day (Session 5, Monthly & Seasonal – super excited for this one!) and I had a great run and even a bizarrely early nap. Also on today’s docket:

  • WORK ON 2023 BOOKS LIST!!!!!!
  • Take C to soccer eval + pick up his glasses
  • Work on tax stuff (there had to be one truly un-fun item on this list)
  • Work on planning live retreat details!!

On that note — dates will be November 2-4 and location is Fort Lauderdale! If you didn’t see the newsletter link but are interested in attending, you can add yourself to the list here. Please only complete this if you genuinely will consider coming this round (ie, those specific dates + location work) – trying to get a ballpark idea of numbers though this does not commit you in any way!

Hollywood Beach; not quite Fort Lauderdale but very close

This retreat will not be the same as Best Laid Plans Academy but instead an interactive experience to help you relax, reset, connect and plan the upcoming months + year ahead. The principles will definitely be used, but instead of focusing on teaching the general methods, you’ll be diving in to do your own personal planning + reflection. There will be a new BLPA Live-specific workbook, some lovely planning-related tools, and lots of guidance — plus protected time, a key ingredient missing in most of our lives — to let you really dive into your dreams for the future.

(Basically I am planning the retreat I myself want to take!!!!)

On an extremely unrelated note, I bought some shoes

On the recent BOBW allowance episode I admit that when I have funds available to use ‘for fun’ I have no problem plowing through them immediately. It’s March 2nd and I have spent ~75% of my fun money on my running coach + running shoes. Ha! In my defense, my shoes had >400 miles and the LAST thing I want to do is get injured!

I bought a (deeply discounted) pair of the same old model of ASICS Gel Nimbus on Amazon (the 23 – and they are up to 25), and ordered a pair of (less cheap but still not terrible) Hoka Clifton 8s to try because I want something super cushy and supportive for longer runs and also because I feel like varying the drop height and shoe might keep my tendons happier (traditionally my weak spot – Achilles + psoas tendinitis were issues way in my past when I used to run high mileage). We will see! I have zero pain or injury signs currently but since I want to spend the summer building/maintaining higher mileage I know I need to be careful.


  • Reply Alyssa March 2, 2023 at 10:17 am

    Just here to say we have all had those hard clinical days and you are spot on with the reminders that it is not your job to be everyone’s favourite! Might need to take a screenshot to remind myself the next time. Sending good vibes from another mama doc!

  • Reply Sonna March 2, 2023 at 10:21 am

    Sorry to hear you had a pants day Sarah, but well done you on staying mindful and working through it. You totally deserve 5 stars for that alone. You’re human and I can attest that some days the only way to spell out the working life of a doctor is h-a-r-d. Better days ahead. The retreat sounds fab, and would love to be there, will sort out my calendar for that month and then I’ll fill in the questionnaire.
    Beach (in November) + Planning = Heaven 🙂

  • Reply Emily March 2, 2023 at 10:35 am

    I feel constantly mixed about my work as a physician. Sometimes (even most times) I feel it’s a privilege to take care of patients and they recognize and appreciate all of the hard work and thought I’ve put into their care. But it’s often the times when you don’t click with someone or they are stressed that day and take it out on you that stick with you. I’m sure you’re a thoughtful and caring physician Sarah. I also agree that sometimes the best/most appropriate care is not going to be exactly what the patient/family had in mind and doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

  • Reply Ashley March 2, 2023 at 10:54 am

    I’m impressed by how well you picked yourself up after a crappy day. And I really appreciate your distinction between job vs. calling. Definitely things that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, as I have a tendency to let a bad day at work derail me emotionally.

  • Reply Doris March 2, 2023 at 10:58 am

    Did you not race your half marathon in carbon plated shoes? You should try, they are a lot of fun and you are faster in them :). You’ll go at least 2 min faster in the half, I’m sure. I’m super slow, but I train (in the old beat up ones) and race (new ones once a year) in them a lot. I didn’t want to spend the $, but once I did (because, again – super slow, but I train relatively seriously), I won’t go back. I argue that the plate is better cushioning for my aging joints.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 2, 2023 at 11:01 am

      I wore AlphaFlys to race, yep!! And I plan on using those for speed workouts in training, and I’m sure I’ll buy fresh ones for eventual future races. But I don’t find them as comfortable for everyday long or easy runs so I thought I would rotate 3 pairs: super cushy / usual cushioning / carbon!

  • Reply Gillian March 2, 2023 at 11:21 am

    All patient facing physicians have tough interactions with patients/families at times. Setting boundaries is so important. I find it helpful to remember that people’s feedback is really about them, not about you. Remembering that helps me to be more pragmatic about what feedback I choose to incorporate and what feedback I chose let go.

  • Reply Chelsea March 2, 2023 at 11:51 am

    Your story about getting the Clearly Canadian (man… I can just taste a cherry Clearly Canadian) made me remember…

    I must have been quite young, but I remember getting 50 cents of allowance and immediately spending it at the Handy Way gas station on a can of cream soda (25 cents) and one try at the claw machine (25 cents). I’m thankful that my younger self take any trips to Vegas, lol.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 2, 2023 at 12:00 pm

      Hahahhah. I distinctly remember loving the peach flavor but that it was hard to find!!!!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 2, 2023 at 12:00 pm

      CHELSEA!! It still exists:

  • Reply Megan March 2, 2023 at 12:30 pm

    Maybe too late now, but just wanted to say that the Clifton 8s are currently on sale:

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 2, 2023 at 12:33 pm

      I got them on sale 🙂 (Running Warehouse, but same price!)

  • Reply Amanda March 2, 2023 at 1:24 pm

    I love your aside on how being a doctor is a job, not a calling. As a librarian this is frequently discussed. There’s a great article on vocational awe about librarianship and similar jobs on how we aren’t paid well because we should just be happy to have the job and why that’s such an issue. Great job with the coping skills!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns March 2, 2023 at 2:59 pm

    I am sorry you had a bad day! I had a couple of rough days at work this week, too. Bad days can weigh me down for a couple of days, and in this case I lost sleep over the issue and had to read at 12:30am one night which is not what I want to be doing. It’s too bad the good days don’t have an equivalent “happiness hangover” – at least not for me. I did some venting to my husband and colleague/mentor which helped, though. It’s days like that that I am especially glad I carpool to/from work with my husband so I can get my venting out/done before we pick up our boys from daycare on the way home! And all the birthday celebrations lifted my mood.

    I would love to attend the retreat in 2024 if you end up doing another one! I’m just starting to get back to non-work solo travel but already planned a trip for August and I don’t think I can do another trip on top of my work travel. 🙁

  • Reply Emily March 2, 2023 at 8:19 pm

    I’m on close to year 20 of ASICS Gel Nimbuses as well and love the trick of buying past models! In fact, I’m still on 19 because I stockpiled after 20 and 21 didn’t work as well for me. Someday I’ll catch up!

  • Reply Coco March 2, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    Great that you managed to change your attitude towards those annoying things. Not everyday is perfect, nor it is good that way. The most important things is how we react to them, which you did great. I have to remember your strategy next time I hit one of those days.
    Let me know how you like the shoes. I want to buy new race shoes that give support for long runs. I remember the last miles of the marathon I felt I was hitting the road barefoot.

  • Reply Amy March 2, 2023 at 10:35 pm

    I love what you say about your physician role being a job, not a calling or special vocation. FWIW, I’ve stopped thinking about my work in the context of a ~career~ and instead stay focused on whether or not I have meaningful work. I find this framework frees me up to think about my life and work in a more cohesive, coherent way as opposed to them being two separate silos I keep traveling back and forth within.

  • Reply Irene March 3, 2023 at 7:22 am

    I generally like my work a lot and consider it worthwhile and meaningful but have had some unpleasant moments recently too. I tend to let them get me down a lot and I need to work on that.


  • Reply Elisabeth March 3, 2023 at 11:46 am

    I had a model of Asics I loved (can’t remember which one now) and then they discontinued it (or the next model in the series was so different). UGH!! Why do they always change up my favourite products?!!

    Sorry you had a tough day but I love how you were able to reframe things!

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