Lieutenant Amanda Rice, 29, is a general dentist who treats sailors at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Japan. She’s also an elite runner.
As the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro rise into sight, Rice continues training on a rigorous schedule. Before she goes to work at the Atsugi Branch Health Clinic in Yokosuka, Japan, the dentist/marathon runner gets up at 3 a.m. to start her workout. Often she runs 18 to 22 miles a day.
“It’s definitely a lifestyle one has to adapt to,” Rice told DrBicuspid.com. “It takes an amazing amount of self-discipline and perseverance. It can definitely be exhausting, but it’s also definitely rewarding.”
In the 2011 Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Rice broke a personal record with 2:38:57. For the Tokyo Marathon, she ran a 2:42:44 – both under the 2:43 time needed to quality for the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Rice was inspired to go into her chosen field by her uncle, Dr. Keith Stenshol, a central Oregon dentist. Stenshol pointed out that she’d treat patients with a mouthful of problems, including gingivitis and tooth infections.
“When we got together for our annual summer family reunions, I saw his passion for dentistry and the love he had for the profession, and I wanted to have the same in my own professional pursuits,” Rice explained to the source. “Through his guidance, I was encouraged to travel to Guatemala and Samoa to provide dental care to those most in need.”
Currently at about the halfway mark of her tour of duty, she works with six other dentists treating aircraft carrier crews and their families. On a regular basis, she does everything from cavity treatments to gum disease screenings, as well as 70 miles a week of marathon training.
If you asked her to describe herself, Rice might respond runner first, Naval dentist second.