Work-Life Balance: How a Physician Assistant Balances Work With Endurance Events

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Tamsen Carson’s love for athletics and endurance events serves her well at The Pregnancy Center where she works with new moms. She doesn’t ask the women to do anything she doesn’t do herself when it comes to maintaining their health: Exercise, even on the toughest days, and practice mind over matter to handle everyday life.

Tamsen Carson has completed the Tough Mudder an astounding three times — and she has the blue headband to prove it. And, she doesn’t plan to stop there. For Tamsen, endurance events are an important part of her work-life balance.

Tamsen Carson and her brother, Tyler, show off their blue headbands for going through the Tough Mudder endurance event three times. Both competed in the 2014 Tahoe event in August.
Tamsen Carson and her brother, Tyler, show off their blue headbands for completing the Tough Mudder endurance event three times. Both competed in the 2014 Tahoe event in August.

She’s running in the Ragnar Relay in Napa Valley in September and plans to build a team for the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey in 2015. Tamsen’s most ambitious goal is to compete in future triathlons to up the ante for her racing pursuits.

Motivation Through Endurance Events

Tamsen, a physician assistant with The Pregnancy Center, has been athletic her whole life, but these races have really tested that natural ability. She cites Mudder elements like a 20-foot dive into water and crawling or running through electrical shock conductors.

“The challenge it takes to set a goal and try to achieve it appeals to me, and the mental challenge, knowing that you have to be mentally tough enough to get through this obstacle,” Tamsen explains.

She also loves how other Mudder competitors treat each other, including encouragement or even a physical helping hand to finish certain obstacles. Tamsen’s brother, Sparks firefighter Tyler Carson, definitely has her back during the Mudders. Tyler has also earned a blue headband and joined his sister (and sometimes his firefighting friends) for all of Tamsen’s Mudders at Lake Tahoe.

“It’s not really a race,” Tamsen relates. “The whole point is to just finish it, and to me it’s so cool to see people just selflessly help each other.”

More important, these races also help her maintain her own mental health. “I had a history of depression a long time ago, and I just got out of it with

From left, Tamsen Carson, Tyler Carson and their friend, Chad Richards, in the aftermath of the most recent Tough Mudder race in Tahoe.
From left, Tamsen Carson, Tyler Carson and their friend, Chad Richards, in the aftermath of the most recent Tough Mudder race in Tahoe.

the support of my family and with exercise, just by getting out and moving,” she says. “That doesn’t work in every instance, I know. But I believe that it can make a huge difference, and I’m walking proof of that.”

The Balancing Act

Her exercise routine is to run on days off and also participate three times a week in a boot camp-style program of strength training and cardio. The regular exercise helps Tamsen meet her rigorous work schedule:  one day a week, she is on-call at the hospital for 24 hours in order to cover baby deliveries at Renown Regional.

“Forcing yourself to do boot camp really realigns your life,” Tamsen evocatively says. “It may seem like you are more tired, but really it gives you more energy.”

It also gives Tamsen the chance to be a role model for the soon-to-be moms she sees as part of her work.  She not only delivers babies, she also provides pre-natal and post-delivery care. She often gives advice that she takes herself: drink a gallon of water a day, get exercise even if you don’t feel like it and just work on mind over matter when it comes to coping with life.

“My favorite thing to tell them is to get out in the sunshine,” Tamsen says.  “It can boost your mood and help you feel better.”

Learn more about what The Pregnancy Center has to offer new mothers.

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