Endurance Cartel Podcast

Endurance Cartel

#008- Manage the Effects of Aging & Stress Through Physical Exercise! Dr. Laurie Boge, ER Physician & Army Veteran On Dealing With Menopause And The Effects of Work-Related Stress

Aging & stress are some of the most common factors that influence the quality of our lives. At some point in time, we’ve all felt the pressure of work-related stress and the effects of poor time management, and an unbalanced and unhealthy lifestyle. In the long run, all these can be harmful to both our physical and emotional health. 

In today’s episode of The Endurance Cartel, we are joined by Dr. Laurie Boge, an army veteran and ER physician, who shares her thoughts on the impact aging and stress have on our lives.

Laurie used her love for endurance sports as a healing mechanism for the traumatic experiences she’s been through while serving in Iraq as an emergency medicine physician. During the Covid pandemic, she created Green Cloud, an apparel line and the first “girls club” dedicated to supporting women working in the medical field.

Serving in the Army when 9/11 happened

Laurie Boge was just starting medical school when she decided to join the army as a way to cover her tuition and living expenses. It seemed like a fair exchange, but then the unexpected happened. As the 9/11 attack shocked the world, Laurie was deployed to Iraq as an intern in emergency medicine.

“It was 1997 and medical school’s very expensive and these loans were crazy scary. When an Army recruiter came along and said, look, we’ll pay for all of medical school, we’ll pay for housing. It sounded wonderful and all you had to do was pay back a few years. I signed up for the scholarship and I was an intern in emergency medicine in the Army when 9/11 happened.”

Spending her First Year after Medical Residency in the Busiest Combat Hospital in All of Iraq

Laurie ended up spending her first year after medical residency in the busiest combat hospitals in Iraq, as the only female medical physician in her team. On the very first night of their arrival, she faced her first loss.

“The very first night we arrive, I’m on by myself and we get a call that a helicopter’s arriving with four soldiers. CPR was in progress on all four of them. When they came through the doors, seeing them in uniform, they were probably all under the age of 20 and they were dead. It was like an out-of-body experience, I didn’t know how to handle this. Seeing these soldiers not even having a chance. We tried everything we could, but they had died way before arriving to us. My entire nursing team broke down.”

She used her passion for running as an outlet for dealing with the traumatic experience of war. Running every day on a treadmill or winning 5K races organized in the Green Zones around Baghdad, trying to outrun the stress she was facing.

“I ran on a treadmill, the same treadmill every single day until an IED came in and blew it up. Then I went to the treadmill next to it, and I ran every single day. I got to the point where I could run 20 miles in a day. And that wasn’t enough because I couldn’t outrun the stress, but I got fast.”

Meeting her husband- a sports enthusiast who made her fall in love with endurance competitions

We all know how important being active is for our physical and mental health. Exercising causes your body to release endorphins, the chemicals in your brain that relieve pain and stress. It also reduces the levels of stress hormones, cortisol, and adrenaline.

When Laurie met her husband, she was already a passionate runner. But when Burke introduced her to endurance competitions, she got hooked.

“When I met Burke, he was doing not just Ironmans, but fifty-mile races, a hundred-kilometer races. I was focused mostly on my career at that point and maybe doing some half marathons and marathons. So I just jumped into the training ’cause that’s what he and all of his friends were doing and I got addicted.”

Dealing with Aging & Stress as a Woman & an Endurance Athlete

It’s a well-known fact that people exposed to chronic stress age rapidly. Inflammation is just one of the effects of stress that, along with aging, accounts for an overall decrease in the quality of life.

For women, menopause is responsible for numerous physical and mental transitions. The menopausal transition can bring hot flashestroubled sleeping, moodiness, irritability, depression, or a combination of these symptoms. Some women may even decide to undergo hormonal and medication therapy to treat their symptoms.

“I’m 49,” says Laurie “and around this age, we go through this crazy thing called menopause. And it’s like wild hormones and your sleep gets disrupted and your mood gets disrupted. Big changes start happening and you kind of have to learn to just go with it rather than fight it. My physician never sat down with me to explain what some of these changes might be. I’ve done my own research on hormone replacement therapy. There are a lot of changes that happen that affect not just me, but also my relationship with my husband Burke and my relationship with running.“

Creating GreenCloud, a Luxury Medical Apparel Shop and the First “Girls Club” for Women in the Medical Field

Laurie started GreenCloud with a few goals in mind. The first one was her desire to design luxury scrubs. They had to be super comfortable and functional, while also chic. Her second goal was to create a GreenCloud GirlsClub for women who understand that there is strength in numbers and that they do better when they support each other.

“It does help to have this club. I don’t wanna say there’s a girls club and the boys club because I am a mentor and I have many male colleagues that are good friends. But there is something special about another female that’s going through the same thing as I’m going through. So that kind of led me to say, look, I wanna do something. I wanna create more of a girls club in medicine, and that’s where Green Cloud kind of came about. And yes, I make really cool scrubs because when you feel good and look good, you’re gonna do good.”

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