Doc Liz Martin: On Being a Beginner

As we grow into adulthood, it seems there are less opportunities to be beginners. We step into our routines and find comfort in the rhythm of our lives and the ease of doing what we do well. And time. Who has the time to try something new at the risk of major rookie pains?

As young children, there are so many opportunities for growing pains: the first day of kindergarten, the first day of softball practice, the first time going away for camp. At each turn of childhood, something is new. Sometimes we love it, sometimes we dread it, but without these milestones, we would never mature and we would never feel those proud moments of going up and over the hard stuff and getting to the other side.

Eventually we settle into what becomes our adult path. While our routines give us a sense of grounding, trying something completely new or outside of our comfort zone, or even leaning into the suck can be just what we need to remind ourselves that we are still capable of learning new things and feeling the satisfaction of tackling a new endeavor.

Thank you to Arete team member Dr. Liz Martin for sharing her experience of being a newer to runner. She dishes on what it’s like to be professional in one area of her life but feel totally uncomfortable in another area and why she’s doing it. Thank you, Liz, for reminding us to lean into the unfamiliar, because that’s when some of the best breakthroughs happen.



Interviewer: Arete Running Club

Interviewee: Elizabeth Martin. Arete team member since 2017


Tell us a little about yourself–who you are, your family, what you do, and where you live.

I am a native of Santa Cruz and graduated from Soquel High 1999. I attended UCSD to play water polo and got a degree in Psychology. While in College I developed a bit of a travel bug and eventually ended up in London to live and travel after college.  While there I applied to veterinary school (I have wanted to be a vet since I was 4) to schools all over the world as I wanted to continue living abroad. I got accepted to school in New Zealand and spent the next 8 years living and going to school there.  I also happened to meet my husband the first week I was there and our first child Lily was born there as well.  We moved back to Santa Cruz in 2013 and now live in Aptos. Our son Jack was born in 2015.   I work full time as a veterinarian and hospital director at a clinic in Aptos-Creekside Pet Hospital in Aptos.


Sounds like you have a full life. How do you balance it all…or do you?

Balance has been a challenge for me, especially once my second child was born. I am very lucky that my husband has relished at the job of stay at home parent. I am thankful for that because I love my job and getting to go to work make me a better parent. Still, there are never enough hours in the day to do all that I want; I will almost always sacrifice doing something for myself over doing something for my kids.  So the balance thing is a work in progress.

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You’ve always said you weren’t a runner, but now you’re on a running team! Tell us about that process from non-runner to runner and how it feels.

I have never enjoyed running, in high school I tried to avoid it at all costs.  I loved swimming and water polo and I ended up playing at UCSD. After tearing my rotator cuff Junior year I found running for weight loss. I have run off and on since then, but never loved or needed to run. I am slow it never feels like it gets easier, my legs do not move fast or gracefully and I still do not think that I enjoy it that much. However, I joined Arête because I love being part of a team, it helps me to show up and I get to meet new people and see friends. Also, it is a designated time during the week that is just for me and I get to move my body a bit too.  And just maybe I will start to love running.

In your opinion, when can someone self-identify as “a runner?”

I think there are just people who love running, they get upset when they don’t get to go for runs, they carve out special time almost daily to do it. That is a runner.

In what ways does running add to the other roles in your life?

It is helping me realize it is ok to have some time just for me and that makes me a better mom, partner and doctor.

Walk us through a typical day in the life, from start to finish, and tell us how you squeeze in that run! 

My typical day is up around 645- 7 with kids, I try to sleep as long as possible. I sit and have a cup of coffee, I need that to function. Then out the door to work at 830. On most days I have surgery so I walk in and patients are here for me to assess pre surgery. Then there is almost always a huge stack of files on my desk of clients to call back regarding blood work or messages to return or follow-up form the previous day. I start seeing appointments and that could be anything from a cute puppy wellness, to a vomiting cat or dog having diarrhea and not eating to a euthanasia. There are a variety of emotions and challenges every day but that is what I love.  So I must make treatment plans decide on diagnostics to run and then interpret those in light of clinical signs and make appropriate treatment choice and recommendations. Then I will scrub into surgery and spay a dog, or remove bladder stones or amputate a leg, or I may be pulling teeth during a dental. There is not really much down time because if I am not in surgery or appointment I am writing records or making phone calls. Rarely does my day end at 6 and once it ends it is home to the kids for baths and bed time and then I have dinner and relax. I do get my Wednesday track day to run now but I am not a morning person and you will not see me running before work, not going to happen. But then I run Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


What is the most memorable run (jog or race) you have ever done and why?

There is an amazing race near Lake Taupo in New Zealand in a place called Kinloch, and you go up  hill for a few miles and then run up on the ridge above the lake for most of the race, it is stunning and a lot of fun.

What are your 2017 running goals?

Run 3-4 times a week and a 1/2 marathon by the end of the year.

Quick takes (first thing that comes to mind):

Best place to run: I like Rio del Mar

Solo or with friends: solo

My inspiration: my family

Best part of my day: walking in the door after work and getting hugs from my kids and a glass of wine from Wayne

Ideal meal: Fresh Thai Spring rolls or vegetarian sushi

The funniest person I know: Melissa McConville and Wayne

Seen on my run: whales, love seeing whales

Never have I ever: peed my pants running but post kids have come pretty close

I became a runner when: has not happened yet but will keep you all posted


P.s. We already think Liz is a runner and think she might secretly self-identify as one too, but we will check back with her in a few months just to double check 😉


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