Week of 12/4-12/10 (35)

Last Sunday of the semester! Classes are over, 3 finals loom over my head, and by this Wednesday night I will be halfway done with junior year of undergrad.  What!?

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This weekend was full of studying, holiday parties, lunch dates, and watching “Suits” on Amazon Prime.  And it snowed!  I’m currently jamming to Jim Croce while I take a break from studying and wait for my laundry to dry.

Over the past two days, I’ve probably consumed about 300 grams of sugar, so I’m kind of crashing from sugar jitters into a sugar coma that isn’t conducive to productive studying.  Sorry, Spanish final grade… #Ididthistomyself

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Annual cookie party! The shortbread jam and molasses cookies were the BOMB

Anyway.  I had a really good last week of training and life.  Sorting stuff out with my coaches, starting to feel normal again while running, and looking forward to building the strength and the booty in the weight room.

Week of 12/4-12/10:

  • Monday: AM: 30 min bike.  Trainer for stim/heat + stretch.  PM: lap, active warm-up, lap, speed ladder, hurdles, 5 miles, general strength, foam roll, rope stretch.
  • Tuesday: lap, active warm-up, 2 miles, 3 mile tempo (6:27, 6:17, 6:22), 2 miles.  I am out of shape!  Lift in weight room- felt strong but weak (as in, I felt good but know I will be much stronger.)  Stim + NormaTec.
  • Wednesday: AM: 60 min pool (30 swim, 30 aqua jog).  My swim pace is getting faster!  PM: circuits, rope stretch, foam roll.
  • Thursday:  AM: lap, active warm-up, 8 miles, upper body lift in weight room, NormaTec + stim/heat.  Run felt stiff and tiring but good meeting!  PM: 20 min bike.
  • Friday:  AM: 6 miles kinda fast, felt good! 4 x strides, speed ladder, hurdle drills, general strength 2.  PM: circuits (4 min elliptical w/u and c/d)
  • Saturday: 9 miles (started at 7:20s, cut down to 6:40s, and my last mile was like 6:25).  It was rainy and cold but I felt awesome!  The group was great.
  • Sunday: 30 min bike.  Planning on doing yoga tonight, but we’ll see if that happens 😉
Total: 35 miles + 140 min XT + lots of strength
Had some really good runs and cross trains throughout this week.  Tuesday and Thursday weren’t fun; I definitely could not have gone much faster or longer than Tuesday’s measly 3-mile tempo, and my legs felt tight and unpleasant throughout Thursday’s run.
But Monday and Friday went really well, and we crushed Saturday’s long run!  6:40 miles felt almost easy, and I really pushed the last mile since the run was shorter than usual.  After spending over an hour in the freezing rain and wind, it took us awhile to warm up afterwards.  My roommate and I hibernated in our apartment eating oatmeal, drinking coffee, and listening to Christmas music while a fake fireplace crackled on the TV (lol).
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A wee bit chilly!

Shoutout to strength- the guns are unreal right now!  When we first realized we’d be doing strength routines every day, we were a little apprehensive and overwhelmed, but the circuits have turned out to be more like cross trains, and each routine works different muscles, so it’s not like we’re hitting the same thing every day.
I’m excited to increase the mileage and continue to focus on deliberate practice.  Everything we do is incorporated into our training for a reason!  I should hit low-to-mid-40s throughout this coming week.  Haven’t decided when I’m going home, but I’m looking forward to finishing out the semester strong (hopefully)!  Tomorrow brings a Spanish exam from 2-5 pm and a business analytics exam and pressure cooker from 7-10 pm.  The grind is #tooreal.
Have a great week and get after it!
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A long road ahead

Good morning! (By the time I finish writing this, it probably won’t be morning anymore, but whatever.)  We’re in the middle of the last week of classes, and I’ve got three final exams, two final presentations, and a paper on tap.  In eight days, I will be halfway done with junior year!  After practice and lift this morning, I worked on a group project and then went to the training room for STIM and NormaTec.  I don’t feel like doing work before lunch, so I’m going to blog instead 🙂

We ran what was supposed to be a steady state workout this morning, but it definitely felt more like a tempo.  This was essentially my first workout back, and I 100% felt the time off, crappier diet, and general out-of-shape-ness.  I only ran 3 miles of the steady state due to my hamstring, but those 3 miles were enough!  We hit 6:27, 6:17, 6:22, and now I can see how much work is ahead.  It was so hard.  I don’t think I could have gone much farther.  Crazy to think that I was doing 5+ miles at low 6 minute pace during cross country…  But I’m excited to buckle down, make incremental improvements, and get better each day.  This is a good starting place…but not where I will be in a few months!!

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Me

The second week of winter training was a little weird because I tweaked my hamstring at the beginning of the week and therefore spent the majority of the rest of the week in the pool and on the bike.  Pool workouts coupled with quality strength sessions every day left me sore.

Week of 11/27-12/3: 

  • Monday: warm-up, dynamic exercises, 5 miles @ 7:20 pace, strength circuits
  • Tuesday: warm-up, dynamic drills and exercises, 6 miles “progressive” (first 3 7:30-7:10 pace, second 3 6:40s?), lift in weight room, foam roll session
  • Wednesday: AM: 60 min pool (30 swim, 30 aqua jog).  PM: jog on turf, circuits
  • Thursday:  Stim and stretch at training room for hamstring.  20 min bike, very light lift, foam roll, 30 min swim (about a mile)
  • Friday: AM: 60 min pool workout (600m warm-up; 4 x 250m hard; 100m easy; 5 x sprint down, easy back; 100m easy; 5 x submarine down, easy back, 400m cool down = 3000m).  PM: 30 min bike, general strength
  • Saturday: 6 miles @ 7:30 (on trails) down to 7:05 (on roads) + 30 min bike
  • Sunday: 40 min bike

Total: 17 miles + 270 min XT

Last week involved some drama and major negative mentality.  I’m not going to go into inappropriate detail, but I’ll just say we have a lot to sort out with training plans, communication, and mindset.


On a happier note, outside of running and cross training, lots of fun things happened last week!  After practice on Friday, the majority of the team went out for sushi.  I’d never ordered sushi before (I’ve had it, but I prefer Thai and Chinese food), and it was delicious.  Except I’m kind of broke, so not sure if it was worth the bill 😉

We drove to a local sports complex to run on Saturday morning because there’s a hilly, soft surface 3.5 mile trail loop in the woods.  The chilly air left our hands stiff and red, but we eventually warmed up, and it was a nice run!  Throughout the cross country season, our maintenance runs a) stopped being maintenance runs #ugh and b) got really slow, so getting back into that 7:00-7:30 pace is a bit of a shock but really fun.

After the run, I drove up to Richmond to meet my mom for lunch.  She had important things to deliver to me…like 50 citrus fruits, my credit card statement, Advent calendar, and ice scraper.  We went to The Daily Kitchen and Bar in Carytown, and I ordered the Fig and Pig pizza while she got the Barbecue Duck pizza.  HOLY SHIT.  Life-changing.  We also ordered their highly rated Brussels sprouts; paired with balsamic dressing, freshly shaved cheese, pomegranate seeds, and pistachios, they were gone in seconds.

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Two late nights in a row and myriad late-night #treatyoself happenstances left me feeling pretty darn gross by Sunday.  I’ve been back on that healthy grind for three days, and I’m reminding myself to fuel my training and treat my body like a temple 😉 or something like that.

Sunday night was Grand Illumination!  Thousands of people crowded the streets of Colonial Williamsburg to watch the fireworks under the light of the SuperMoon.  The Christmas decorations in the square made me so happy, and everyone enjoyed the holiday spirit.

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Last night was the annual Vermonster that all the sports teams participate in.  I was not on the team, but I cheered my heart out!  Women’s cross country almost made the final round but missed it by one spot because one girl got stuck with the gross cookies and almost choked…  Men’s cross country placed second to the unstoppable men’s swim team!  Vermonster is such a spectacle, it’s hilarious.

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This week, I plan to increase my mileage, continue to cross train, and practice deliberately. I’ll probably hit low 30s for mileage, along with a few hours of cross training. By deliberate practice, I mean focus during all drills, active warm-up sessions, and strength circuits.  Additionally, I’m going to slow down and take the time to stretch and foam roll effectively.  This is somewhat of a weak point because I tend to get complacent and get stuck in the same ineffectual routine.  But these are the little things that, when incorporated day in and day out, make the difference in training and racing.

Thanksgiving and season wrap-up

Happy Monday! aka the time of year when it is finally socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music.  Due to a fire on campus, the power is out as I’m typing this, so there’s a bit of an eerie vibe.  I also realized how woefully unprepared I am for winter when I had to scrape frost off my car this morning using an old Sweet Frog gift card and a wooden spatula.  #nice.

After five days at home, I woke up at the crack of dawn on Sunday to avoid hitting the post-Thanksgiving traffic on the drive back to school.  I didn’t want to leave that early, but I made a pit stop at Starbucks to motivate myself 😉  It ended up being a good choice because the traffic report on the interstate turned completely red later in the day.

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Thanksgiving break was pretty great.  I drove home last Monday after class and got home in time for dinner!  I hadn’t been home since August and was feeling extremely homesick and burnt out on campus.  After a crazy couple years, my family is feeling a little more “settled”, so even though I’ve been out of the house for longer, it felt more like coming home.  On Tuesday, I ran for the first time since regionals- 30 minutes felt decent, but new strength circuits afterwards killed me off and I could hardly walk on Wednesday!  I ran with a friend on the canal on Wednesday, and it was beautiful outside.

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My family went to a local family friend’s house for Thanksgiving like we do almost every year.  This year, there was quite an eclectic gathering of 20 people.  But it somehow all worked! IMG_9789.jpgThere was an incredible amount of food- two turkeys, three kinds of stuffing, two types of mac and cheese, an addictive sweet potato/brown sugar/pecan casserole, cranberry sauce, roasted vegetables, rice, gravy, salad, mashed potatoes, butternut squash and kale casserole, rolls…the works.  And for dessert: chocolate mousse made by yours truly, pumpkin pie made by my pie-connoisseur-brother (he bruleed the top with a blowtorch), homemade whipped cream, apple crisp, and lemon bites.  Additionally, approximately 15 bottles of red wine were consumed.

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Making homemade whipped cream!

Overall, it was a great Thanksgiving.  So much to be thankful for. 🙂  My brother, dad, and I went hiking and rock scrambling on the Billy Goat Trail on Friday and then went out for pho to warm up.

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Part adrenaline junkie, part monkey

On Saturday, I ran six miles with a high school teammate, went to brunch with some friends from high school, took a bath and finally used my jacuzzi jets after a year and a half, and then we had a dinner party with my stepsister and her family.  I made vegan chocolate chip cookies to accommodate all parties, and even the anti-vegan family members thought they were delicious!  (Pretty much just sub a flax egg for regular eggs and coconut oil for butter.)

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Last Sunday, my team had our Team Thanksgiving.  We made food, dressed up, and played ridiculous games per usual…it was a blast 🙂  And the food was delicious!  I made cranberry sauce, chocolate mousse, and a crockpot dish with butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, pecans, and a spiced apple cider glaze.

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I think that about sums up Thanksgiving break!  Honestly, I did not want to come back yesterday, and I felt pretty depressed about the prospect of being back for a few weeks.  I’m not sure why this is happening my junior year (rather than freshman year), but my roommate mentioned that she felt the same way, which was somewhat reassuring.  Even though we’re still homesick and disenchanted (and in my case, 110% broke), we are excited to get back into training, crush finals, and get ready for Christmas!


On another note, I want to briefly recap my break week and plans for transitioning back into training, as well as some goals for the upcoming track season.

Cross country 2017 recap:

  • Ran approximately 1,300 miles (from May 22 to November 10). So I beat last year’s season total by 9 miles!
  • 5 races
  • After a great summer of training (and not doing much else honestly), I arrived on campus feeling fit and ready to go.  I started working out with the top group, and my team felt cohesive and excited for a strong season.  Unfortunately, team-wise, we never got it together and were plagued with injuries, illness, weird circumstances, etc.  It was very demoralizing.
  • Individually, I felt like I really hit my stride in mid-October, right as my team was starting to fall apart.  My race at Penn State pumped me up for CAAs, and I wanted to try to contend for the win!  However, my body started rebelling, and I had a terrible race at CAAs, finishing 19th.  This persisted through regionals (fatigue, nausea, headaches, every run was bad), and by the end of the season, nothing was going well.
  • Interestingly, weight room did not go well this year.  I adore the weight room; lifting has always been fun for me, and I love to push myself (like chin-ups with chains!) and notice my form stay intact when I get tired during a race.  But this season, it just didn’t click.  I felt weak, tired, and did not progress in the weight room.

SO.  Not the way we wanted to end things, and I’m hungry for so much more.  In retrospect, there were some systematic issues that didn’t work for anyone on the team, and we have had discussions and brainstormed on how to be smarter going forward.


Looking forward to the 2018 track seasons:

After taking ten days off from running, I ran 19 miles and cross trained for 30 minutes last week.  I also completed some new strength circuits that will be incorporated into our training going forward.  20ish minutes of burpees, push-ups, jump squats, etc. left me hobbling around!

I’ve gotten bloodwork done and gone to the doctor to figure out what is wrong with my body.  In addition to the fatigue, my hair has become brittle and thin.  Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten any conclusive answers yet.  Tests for mono, thyroid issues, Lyme disease, anemia, etc. all came back negative.  So we shall see.

Going into track, I’m determined to be smart, listen to my body, and strive for the highest but quietly and humbly put in the work.  This will include:

  • More cross training!  As cross country progressed, I pretty much stopped cross training completely.  Last spring, I couldn’t put together consistent mileage, but cross training left me feeling strong as hell.  While I hope to maintain consistent mileage this season, I want to swim and/or bike at least twice a week.  My mileage might be a little lower, but it’s all about quality and sustainability.
  • Build more explosive power!  I naturally have pretty good speed for a distance runner.  However, my speed has not really developed since coming to college!  I want to incorporate more dynamic explosive exercises into my track training so that the last 400 meters of the 5k are actually impressive. Jumping squats and lunges, burpees, box jumps, and speedwork.  Embrace the pain!
  • Mentality: focus when you need to, relax when you need to, remember that you adore running, and don’t take life too seriously 🙂
  • Yoga!! I did a good job incorporating yoga into my training throughout the summer but definitely slacked in season.  Last spring, some of us would meet for relaxing yoga sessions every Wednesday and Saturday, and I want to restart this!

Already this week, I’m feeling much better than I had been at the end of cross country.  My body seems to have somewhat recovered, and I’ve been running happy.  I have no desire to do anything except easy, maintenance mileage for now, and I’m trying to appreciate every run.  But I still skipped out on doing yoga yesterday.  One step at a time…

 

NCAA Regional 6k (22:50)

Happy Friday, friends!  I’m nearing the end of my break week from running.  The past few days have been kind of weird because I haven’t really had class since my finance midterm on Wednesday afternoon.  Coupled with no practice, my schedule seems empty!  I’ve been reading, playing piano, and just generally wasting time.  I thought I’d use this time to (finally) update you on regionals and the end of the cross country season.

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I’m embarrassed/sorry/frustrated to be writing another Debbie-Downer post, but such is life.  In short, regionals didn’t go well, and I’m relieved to finally be on a running break.

TL;DR: NCAA Southeast Regional 6k, 22:50, 127th place (YIKES)

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In the week leading up to regionals, I tried as hard as I could to help my body recover from whatever the heck is wrong with it.  I chose all the shortest mileage options, cross trained on Wednesday, and slept as much as I could.  Total mileage for the week was roughly 29. (M6, T8, W3+30minXT, Th4, F8)

Did it work?

I thought it did.

Apparently not.

Honestly, I was really excited going into regionals!  As a team, we worked on having a positive mentality throughout the week, and it seemed like things were coming together a bit.  Tuesday was the last workout before the race, and 3×500, 10 min brisk, 5×300 didn’t kill me off.  I didn’t feel great, but compared to the previous weeks, I was satisfied.

I aqua jogged on Wednesday morning and ran 3 miles in the afternoon.  We left on Thursday morning and took the vans up to Charlottesville.  I’ve been experiencing a lot of motion sickness recently, so van rides haven’t been super fun.  I mostly slept on the way up so as to not die.  Once we arrived, we did our pre-meet at the course (4 miles, drills, strides, rope stretch).   It was rainy and cold, but we were optimistic and excited! IMG_9466.jpg

After the pre-meet, we went to Bodo’s Bagels for lunch and then chilled in the hotel until dinner.  We went to Whole Foods, had our team meeting, used the NormaTec boots, and I read a book before going to bed at 10 pm.  I felt a bit sick that night, but nothing like conferences.

Based on how I had run at Penn State earlier in the season, my “reach” goal was All-Region (top 25), and I knew I could at least place in the top 50.  However, based on how I felt throughout the past month, I kept this goal as a possibility but decided to be flexible if I didn’t feel well and just try to have fun.


We woke up at 6:30 on Friday morning, ran a 10-minute shakeout, rope stretched, and ate breakfast.

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We put on the flash tats, got ready to go, and arrived at the course around 9 am.  It was 40 degrees and windy but sunny!  After checking in, we warmed up for a little over two miles, did drills, screwed longer spikes into our spikes, and headed to the line.  Our team box was right next to my friend from high school’s team box, and it was amazing to see her!  She and her team have been killing it this year.

The gun went off at 10:30, and hundreds of women stampeded down the straightaway.  We hit the hills, which were muddy and treacherous, and tackled some rolling hills leading into 2k.  This was my fourth time running this course, and I’ve actually grown to enjoy it.

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Hundreds of spectators lined the course at 2k (and again at 3k because it comes through the same spot), and we got a boost from their energy and enthusiasm.  Our team had driven up that morning to come watch the race since regionals is only two hours from campus.  It was amazing to see them!

I felt marginally okay through 2k (although it felt like I was going a lot faster than I actually was).  My freshman teammate and I worked together through 3k, but the now-familiar feeling of “what the hell is wrong with my body/why won’t it respond” kicked in at 2 miles.  Coincidentally in time for the massive rolling hills to start 😉

I immediately started losing places.  The awful part was, I was really positive at the base of each hill!  I approached each one thinking, “Ok, this is going to hurt, time to rally, you’ve got this“, but my body just didn’t match my mind.  At least I didn’t walk.

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After losing probably about 30 places in the span of 2 minutes, I hit the 5k mark at like 19 minutes.  Not ideal.  Rallied over the last downhill and the beginning of the steepest uphill, but that lactic, tunnel-y feeling took over halfway up the steep hill.  Finally got to the finishing straightaway, and by that point, my body was just done.  I think approximately 20 more women passed me in the last quarter mile.  My eyes wouldn’t stay open and I started weaving and I hate that I was that melodramatic/stupid-looking/slow-moving stereotypical female runner, but it wasn’t mental.

But yay! I finished! Finally crossed that dang line in 22:50 in 127th place (I would find out later).  Struggled through a 12-minute cool down to finish out the cross country season.  Exactly zero people on my team had a good race, and we finished 17th, which we are all embarrassed of and confused about because the team literally won the region three years ago, but it’s time to move forward 🙂

Even though I’m embarrassed and frustrated about how the second half of the season went, there were many opportunities for growth and positivity that came out of Friday.

For example, my high school teammate had an awesome race and almost got All-Region!!  And her team ran strong.

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I’m almost a week into my break week and don’t miss training yet.  The only activity I’ve done this week has been two yoga classes and one strength routine, but who’s counting 😉 Funnily enough, my finance professor was the yoga instructor on Tuesday!  I’m enjoying eating all the foods and doing little movement, but I don’t completely feel like myself.  Got tested for mono- don’t have it- and a plethora of other things, so we shall see.  I’m looking forward to a slow comeback.

The next post will be more reflections, goals for track, fun life updates, etc. that I’m too lazy to write about right now 🙂

 

 

 

CAA 6k (22:23) and some blithering

Settle in, folks…it’s gonna be a long one!

Happy Thursday!  My 12:30 Thursday class is over for the rest of the year, so I don’t have class until 2 today 🙂  My favorite local coffee shop is playing “Take the A Train”, and I’m drinking tea, both of which are making me happy.  I’ve been fairly proactive with work and don’t have anything pressing to work on, so I thought I’d spend the extra time finally finishing this blog post.

Welp, every season has to have at least one bad race…and unfortunately, mine happened at conferences.  It keeps ya grounded 😉

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This past weekend was our conference championship meet.  Last week’s training didn’t go smoothly; I felt sick and emotional and mental all week.  It just kind of snowballed.  Immediately after finishing Tuesday’s track workout (3×800, 2x[4×400]), I started crying to my coach for no particular reason.  It was weird.  Wednesday’s run felt like crap, but I felt like I gained a bit of mojo back on Thursday (maintenance run + 8×200).  Throughout the past two weeks, I used visualization techniques and let myself dream of being conference champion.  Something I never thought I would even be able to think until my fifth year, maybe!

It was also simulation week for the business school, so my schedule was different and kind of nice.  On Thursday, we gave our formal business presentation and crushed it.

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We departed for the conference meet on Friday, and I felt pretty carsick by the time we got there at 4 pm.  During the pre-meet, (4 miles on the course, drills, strides, and stretches), none of us felt that great.  The collective mood felt off– kind of like we were preparing for a funeral.  ARGH.  During dinner at a local pizza and pasta restaurant, I ordered the tomato-basil salmon in a pesto cream sauce and ate all of it really fast, as well as hummus, pita, and bruschetta.  Not the smartest decision.

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Super-duper photogenic lunch during the van ride

We didn’t get back to the hotel until 8:45 pm, at which point I felt really ill.  During our team meeting, I couldn’t keep my eyes open and just tried to reassure myself that I’d feel better after a good night’s sleep.  I promptly fell into bed and was asleep at 9:30, even while my teammate was using the NormaTec boots two feet away.

We did a 10-minute shakeout run at 6 am, rope stretched, and ate breakfast.  I was still not feeling good, so my mental game was all off.  I tried to shake it off and use visualization to positively refocus, but it didn’t work that well.  My lips were dry, my throat hurt, my body ached with fatigue, and I had a splitting headache and some nausea :/

We arrived at the course at 8:30.  Going into this race, we were the 6-time defending conference champions, but as I’ve mentioned before, this has probably been the team’s worst season in decades.  We’ve been hit hard with adversity- illness, injury, freak occurrences, etc.- and pretty much nothing has gone our way.  However, individually, I’ve had a strong season!  I had been hoping to fight for the individual conference title.  But with the way my body was feeling, I had to reevaluate.

After our warm-up, I burst into tears to my coach before the race (which has never happened before).  “You don’t have to be our number one today,” she told me.  “Just hang on the pack- if you’re our number four, that’s completely okay.  Just do what you can do.”

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The gun went off, and I tried to forget about everything that had been going on leading up to the race and just race.  Which worked for about 2k!  The course was grassy and a little uneven, with lots of small loops.  After 2k, we hit a hill, and the bottom fell out of my race.  My body wouldn’t respond to what I wanted it to do, and the next 4k were progressively more of a death march.  I watched the lead pack get further away, more girls passed me, and everything felt heavy.  I thought I was just being mental, and to an extent I was, but every time I tried to reset, it only worked for about 5 seconds before I was back into a pit of despair (not dramatic at all 😉 ).

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I finally made it to the finish (19th place, 22:23, not even close to what I wanted) and fell down immediately after crossing the line.  I’m kind of embarrassed of what happened in the hour after that- lots of tears, snot, a non-functional body, no cool down, BUT a sweet athletic trainer that tried his very best to help me.  No one on my team ran particularly well, and we got second place in the conference.  However, the men’s team ran extremely well as a pack, went 1-2-3, and won their 18th conference title in a row with a solid 23 points!

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Overall, the race was demoralizing and somewhat embarrassing.  However, reflecting on the race has allowed me to identify some positive takeaways:

  1. I/my team can do really hard things.  Every step of the last 4k hurt, but I finished the dang race.
  2. I was the fourth scorer for our team.  If I hadn’t toughed it out, we might not have even gotten second place.
  3. There’s literally zero pressure for regionals, so we can go out there and have fun 🙂
  4. I’ve been lucky enough to not have had a “bad” race in over a year.  Not that I’ve raced a ton, but this was the first bad day since last year at UVA.
  5. I’ve also been lucky enough to have really consistent training, especially considering last spring!  Last week was my first week under 50 miles (I ran 45) since June.  While I was a little salty that I didn’t hit 50, it’s taper time anyway 😉

Unfortunately, the “I got hit by a train” feelings have persisted throughout this week.  I felt okay on Monday and Tuesday, but yesterday’s short run/bike was pretty awful, and today’s maintenance run and light lift were also not that great.  Talking to one of my teammates helped a lot, and I’ve been trying to distract myself, but my body seems like it’s ready to be done.

But at least I’ve had time for some really good dinners 🙂

I feel like I’ve lost my running mojo a bit in the last two weeks.  I don’t like to admit this, but I’ve found myself counting down the days  towards the end of the season and towards Thanksgiving break.  Which is not ideal- the season isn’t over yet!  I am excited for regionals, but I would be more excited if my body felt normal.  Also, homesickness and other factors have made for a not-cheerful Kathryn…I realized I’ve never gone this long without going home!  Yes, I am almost 21 years old, but sometimes you just need your dog and your mom and your annoying younger brothers…ya feel?

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Sums it up

Anyway.  I’m sure no one wanted to read 1,200 words of blithering, and I sure wasn’t planning on writing this much, but c’est la vie!  Over the next week, I’m going to drink all the tea, look up some positive affirmations, rest even though my brain doesn’t like that, appreciate my wonderful teammates, spend time on other hobbies like Spoon University and piano, and try my best to get ahead on schoolwork.  And continue binge-watching Chicago Fire, of course.  We’ve got one more week left of the season, and who knows what will happen- but this has been a great individual season overall, and I’m extremely fortunate.  College is hard.  Running is hard.  Being away from home is hard (says the junior in college…)

Training 10/16-10/22 (55 miles + 20 min bike)

It’s Homecoming Weekend! I’m currently drinking coffee and stalking the Marine Corps Marathon splits instead of doing work because my mom is running for the second year in a row.  I’m going to do some grocery shopping and do chores and potentially do work if the inspiration strikes.  Haven’t done homework in like two weeks, so I should eventually get on that, but for now…#yolo.

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Anyway, the past week of training has been relatively uninteresting.  Classes restarted on Wednesday after fall break, and since I don’t have Friday classes, I had another two-day school week.  Nice!

I ran 55 miles and got my butt on the bike for a bit on Wednesday because of some foot pain.  Didn’t feel particularly incredible, but also didn’t feel like I was dying (for the most part haha).

Week of 10/16-10/22:

  • Monday: AM: “fun” practice!  7 miles with some of the underclassman guys and jumped in the river afterwards (even though it was like 50 degrees outside).  Lower body lift in weight room.  PM: team meeting, drills, speed ladder, hurdles, 3+ miles, 4 x 150 strides, planks/push-ups, rope stretch, foam roll.
  • Tuesday: workout @ sports complex: 18 min w/u, drills, strides, 2 x [4:00h, 2:00e], 3 x [3:00h, 1:00e], 4 x [2:00h, 1:00e], 4 x [1:00h, :30e], 15 min c/d.  Definitely felt the lower body lift from yesterday!  NormaTec.  Evening: pain on top of foot.
  • Wednesday:  4 miles + 20 min bike.  Gorgeous weather! 10 min core.  PM: massage…she murdered my quads and calves.
  • Thursday: AM: form drills, speed ladder, hurdle drills, 7 miles, 3 x “x” strides with the conference commissioner!  Upper body lift in weight room- felt hard.  PM: 3 miles + NormaTec.
  • Friday: 18 min w/u, drills, strides, 4 x mile on a hilly gravel road with 3 min recovery (5:51, 6:04, 5:42, 5:56).  15 min c/d.  Mile 1 and 3 were downhill, 2 and 4 were uphill…ouch!  Didn’t feel great today (heavy + not in rhythm) but got through!  Ice bath.
  • Saturday: 12 miles on soft surface.  Did not feel fresh.  NormaTec.
  • Sunday: off. Light core/stretching.

Total: 55 miles + 20 min bike

We got a ton of soft surface this week, which was great, except my calves are #wrecked.  But it’ll pay off!  And the massage therapist on Wednesday really helped to get all the knots out.

Her, destroying my calves: “Is this pressure okay?”
Me, sweating and breathing hard: “Oh yeah totally fine I’m fine this is fine!”

But I digress.

On Tuesday, we went to my coach’s house to carve pumpkins, which was lots of fun, although my pumpkin promptly rotted by Friday.

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Classes started again on Wednesday, and I discovered that I had done fairly well on my finance midterm but bombed the heck out of our computer skills assessment.  You win some, you lose some 😉  Applied to some internships, baked some treats for our bake sale, and still didn’t really do homework.

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Pumpkin steel-cut oats with delicious toppings 🙂

On Friday, I did some work in the morning before meeting with my coach.  We talked about the upcoming conference championships, and it was exciting and a little bit nerve-wracking because we’ve got some big goals that were previously unthinkable.  Hoo boy…

That afternoon, we drove out to a hilly soft surface road to do some mile repeats.  We went out and back twice, so the first and third miles were downhill while the second and fourth were uphill.  Ouch.  Our splits of 5:51, 6:04, 5:42, 5:56 definitely reflected that.  I didn’t feel well during the workout, but I worked through it with two of my teammates. 🙂  We didn’t get back from the workout until like 6:30 and made the mistake of going out to dinner on Homecoming weekend.  After waiting in line for over an hour at Blaze, we almost cried tears of joy when we finally devoured our pizzas.

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Saturday was another busy day- we long ran in the morning (again, not incredible, but made it through) and then I volunteered at our bake sale for a couple hours before going to the Homecoming football game for the rest of the afternoon.  We got slaughtered…as expected 😉

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After almost falling asleep in the dining hall in front of our recruits, I realized I should probably nap in order to become a functional human again, so I went home and snoozed before heading to our annual Oyster Roast.

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Got that sweater at Goodwill for $4 and am really happy about it

After a couple hours of eating fresh oysters and chili out of a giant cauldron and dancing hysterically to the Virginia Reel, we listened to Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” album (the best…new Taylor Swift is weird…) on the drive home.  ‘Twas a loooong day.

We’re heading into the conference championships this week, and I’m excited and a bit nervous but trying to keep a very level head.  As I’ve mentioned before, our team has not had the best luck this year, but I know we can put on a good showing at conferences.

Time to actually go be productive, maybe…

Training 10/9-10/15 (54 miles)

Happy Sunday!  Today was a semi-productive day…I avoided schoolwork by updating my resume, running errands, and cleaning my apartment (our toilet has never sparkled so brightly).  I even applied for an internship because I decided it was probably a good idea to stop being in denial that the real world exists!!

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This evening, some of the team parents hosted a cookout, and I ate so much that I feel like I’m going to explode…so I’m currently lying on the couch in a pulled-pork-and-chili-induced food coma while writing this post 😉

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Plate 1 of…many…

 

Week of 10/9-10/15:

  • Monday: AM: 6 miles pre-dawn, very humid/hot, didn’t feel as fresh as expected.  NAP.  PM: form drills, speed ladder, hurdle drills, 4 miles trails, 6 x strides, planks/push-ups, yoga
  • Tuesday: AM: 18 min w/u, drills, strides, 2×500 (1:40, 1:40), 2k (7:16), 1k (3:30), 500 (1:38), stopped w/o early and cooled down for 3 miles.  Legs felt trashed.  Very humid! Lift in weight room + ice bath.  PM: NormaTecs.
  • Wednesday:  AM: 4 miles + core, very humid.  Bus ride to PSU.  PM: 10 min shakeout.
  • Thursday: pre-meet at PSU: 5 miles, drills, strides, rope stretch.  In a funk.
  • Friday: AM: 10 min shakeout, rope stretch.  20 min w/u, drills, strides, 6k @ PSU (21:20), 20 min c/d, rope stretch.  PM: NormaTec on the bus.
  • Saturday: 12 miles, felt tired but pretty good.
  • Sunday: 4 miles, light core/stretching

Total: 54 miles

Hmmm…a weird week, culminating in a great race!  I knew that last week’s training would hit me hard at the beginning of this week, so I was okay with the fact that Tuesday was rough.  As I mentioned in my race recap, my mental game was not on point throughout the trip.  I’ve felt sad, annoyed, discontent, and lonely over the past few weeks, and it was exacerbated on the trip.  However, the race went great (individually)!

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Sleep was pretty good this week.  As far as nutrition goes, I’m not sure what’s going on with my body, but my appetite has never been as large as it’s been the past few weeks!  I literally can’t get through the night without a snack, even if I eat at 9 pm right before going to bed.  I’ve incorporated extra snacks in the morning and the afternoon, but for real…body WYD??  It was freaking me out a little because logically, normal people do not eat nine meals a day.  But the race (and 56-second PR…) reassured me that collegiate athletes are not normal 😉

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Took the freshmen to Blaze Pizza and we all finished our very loaded pizzas 

Also, as Quentin Cassidy states in Once a Runner, “if the furnace is hot enough, anything will burn.”  #true.  I might just be saying that to justify the large amount of treats consumed throughout the past week 😉  But I’m feeling good.

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Peanut butter chocolate chip chickpea cookie dough bites!

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This freshly baked pumpkin cinnamon roll was life

Anyway, I’m losing focus, soooo gonna sign off for now.  We’re going to the river tomorrow morning for a fun practice!  It’s crazy to think there are just a few weeks left of the season (because honestly at this point, our chances of qualifying for NCAAs are…dismal).

6k PR: 21:20

Greetings from the bus, which we’ll be on for another 5-6 hours- team bonding at its best! We’re driving through farm country right now, so at least the views are beautiful 🙂

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This morning, my team raced at the Penn State National Invitational at Penn State (go figure).  It was our first 6k this year and probably the most competitive meet of our season.   Last year, I got a little overwhelmed but still PRed.  This year, I was in a funk for the majority of the trip but knew that my training would carry me to a good time.

TL;DR: 21:20 (56-second PR!) and PRed in the 3-mile and 5k en route!

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Personality pic with my biggest supporter ❤

We left campus on Wednesday and stopped on the way to State College for dinner at our head coach’s family’s house.  I did some work and listened to music, but to be honest, the bus ride was not fun.  I think I was a thundercloud by the time we arrived in State College at 9:30 pm.  After getting there, we did a quick nighttime shakeout run while still extremely full of pasta and brownies…nope, just me?  Okay, well, I’ve personally never come so close to puking on a run in my life 😅

On Thursday, we ate breakfast in the hotel and headed to the course for our pre-meet.  It was windy and cold, but the course was just as beautiful as last year…a golf course with rolling hills, fast, flat grass, and a super-duper fun uphill second half.  The leaves on the trees were fiery shades of red and gold.

After the pre-meet (5 miles, drills, strides, and rope stretch), we went to Wegmans for lunch and had our team meeting back at the hotel.  Honestly, this season has been rough for our team.  3 of last year’s top 7 runners are down for the count, which is not ideal.  Some other people have been working really hard but haven’t been able to put together performances comparable to last year (yet).  But we have a lot of depth and positive energy, so we’re chugging along!  Our goal was to get out well, pack up, and use our hill strength to pass women in the second half.  My personal goal was definitely sub-22, but I wasn’t sure how far sub-22.

We spent the rest of the afternoon napping and relaxing before going to dinner at Olive Garden.  Our party of 30 kind of scared the wait staff a little bit…but they were super accommodating and kept giving us breadsticks.

This morning, we went for a 10-minute shakeout at 7 am and then ate breakfast at the hotel.  Of course, I had oatmeal with almond butter, a banana, chia seeds, cinnamon, and a plain Siggi’s, as well as a bit of coffee.  While I was still feeling a bit thundercloud-y, I was trying hard to convert the negative energy into positive energy for the race.  We arrived at the course, warmed up, did drills, freaked out about the long port-a-potty lines, and went to the line to do strides.  After a team huddle and some frog jumps, it was go time.


The gun went off, and we all shot down the green.  The Penn State start is fast.  With 200 women in the field, it was tricky to get out well, especially as the course narrowed at the half mile mark.  I came through the mile in 5:24 in about 50th place, with one teammate ahead of me and no idea where the rest of the team was.

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The second and third mile were kind of uneventful…they dragged on but also flew by, if that makes any sense.  I recognized some of the women around me and just tried to stay mentally tough and alert.  I caught up to my teammate right before two miles, which we came through in 11:06.  After that, I thought, “Damn, that’s close to my 2-mile PR.  I can run really fast today.

We hit the hills at 2.5 miles, and I got a little boost from my mom screaming on the sidelines.  As I passed 3 miles, a coach yelled, “16:55”, and my jaw actually dropped.  That sounded really fast to me!  I was excited and nervous and felt strong but also like I was about to hit the wall.  I think I came through the 5k in about 17:35, which is a PR!

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I felt surprisingly strong during the last long hill, but once we got to the top with 500 to go, the wall was hit.   HardMy last 400 meters were not pretty, but I tried as hard as I could and crossed the finish line in 21:20, first for my team, 40th overall, and 56 seconds faster than my PR from last year on the same course.

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While some people on the team ran strong individually, most of my teammates were either mildly dissatisfied or strongly displeased with their personal performances.  Additionally, our lack of front-runners really hurt us, and we ended up finishing far back in the team standings.  Which just lights the fire under us for the rest of the season!

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We cooled down during the men’s race, and our men ran pretty well!  Afterwards, we rope stretched, spent time with family, enjoyed muffins and other treats made by the wonderful parents, showered, and went to Wegmans to fuel up for the bus ride. I had some dank pumpkin cheesecake because #perdiem.  And now we are trapped on the bus for a long time!  #sendwater #sendfood #sendhelp

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My roommate’s first 6k!

Overall, I’m pleased with my performance today.  Usually, I can think of a point in the race where I could have been stronger, or where I gave up mentally or got complacent or scared.  I can’t think of a point in today’s race that I’m particularly disappointed with.  Of course, I would have loved to finish stronger, both for myself and for my team, but I never really doubted myself today.  Or if I did, I was quick to yell at myself, “What are you thinking?? Don’t give up now!”

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I think the biggest takeaway for improvement from this trip was my mental state leading up to the race.  I let external factors influence my mood, self-perception, and perception and treatment of others.  Not horribly so, but enough to be disappointed in myself.  Luckily, I was able to compartmentalize because I truly love racing and competing, for myself and for my team.  However, running fast is not the only qualification for being a happy person!  It’s not even a relevant qualification!  So that’s what I’m going to work on for next time 🙂

Our next race is the conference championships in two weeks.  Time to rest up, stay on top of schoolwork (that’s kind of taken a backseat…oops), have fun, practice positive self-talk and positive interpersonal talk, and get ready to kick some Colonial booty!

(Also, I just wrote 1,200 words in like 40 minutes…why can’t I get this motivated for schoolwork??)

 

 

Training Week of 10/2-8 (58 miles)

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone’s week is off to a great start.  I got up early this morning, per usual, and ran 6 miles before dawn.  My friend joined me for 4 of them.  The weather was unseasonably warm, humid, and somewhat oppressive today…lovely.

Somehow, I got to my 8 am business analytics much earlier than I normally do.  Miracles do happen!  Of course, I was ready for lunch by 9:30 am and spent the day being a bottomless pit.  After afternoon practice, I made a really good vegetarian dinner with a bucketload of homemade Thai peanut sauce 😀

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Anyway, last week’s training was meaty but went well!  I took an off day yesterday and am excited to travel up north with the team for our first 6k of the season later this week.

Week of 10/2-10/8:

  • Monday: AM: 6 miles, felt pretty fresh!  PM: form drills, speed ladder, hurdle drills, 4 miles, 3 x “X” strides, planks/push-ups, rope stretch, foam roll.  Total: 10 miles.
  • Tuesday: AM: 18 min w/u, drills, strides, 2 x 1000 retro w/ 90s rec (3:37, 3:36), 2 x 1000 w/ 2 min rec (3:29, 3:26), 2 x 800 retro w/ 3 min rec (2:39, 2:37), 2 x 1000 w/ 90s rec (3:36, 3:37), 13 min c/d.  Lower body lift + ice bath.  Went hard on the front squats!  PM: 2 miles + NormaTecs.  Total: 11 miles.
  • Wednesday: early AM: 6 miles.  Very sore from lift; some bunion/foot pain but probably because shoes are old.  PM: core + foam roll.
  • Thursday: 18 min w/u, drills, strides, 3ish mile tempo with first 90s hard (17:30), run back to track, 4×400 w/ 90s rec (75, 75, 74, 71), 20 min c/d.  Upper body lift in weight room.  Ice bath.  Total: 10 miles.
  • Friday: AM: 6 miles.  PM: form drills, speed/hurdle drills, 4 miles easy, 6 strides, planks/push-ups.  Total: 10 miles of running…many miles of walking. #Ouch.  Started wearing new shoes and what do you know- like 75% of my bunion pain disappeared!
  • Saturday: Long run workout.  2 mile w/u, 5 x 6:00h, 3:00e, 4 x :30h, :30e, 20 min c/d.  Total = 11 miles.  Started off feeling “eh” but felt progressively stronger throughout the workout!
  • Sunday: Off. Some core/yoga.
Total: 58 miles.
This week was another off week from racing, so our coach piled on the quality.  With three workouts this week, the majority of the team was feeling pretty beat up by Saturday.  Surprisingly, all three workouts went pretty well for me!  I was very pleased with Tuesday’s splits, especially the 800s (which hurt a lot).  The cruise 1000s were nothing crazy, and it was weird but nice to go back to cruise pace at the end of the workout, after killing our legs with some speedy 8s.  Thursday’s tempo and 400s were all quite fast!  Some of us went to Kilwins on Thursday  night to treat ourselves 🙂
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I was pretty tired on Friday but took the afternoon run easy, which was nice.  We went to Busch Gardens after practice, and we ended up walking and running over six miles, after a full day of training and right before our long run workout the next morning.  NOT the brightest decision 😉 But it was a blast!  We rode the rollercoasters, ate churros, and experienced the creepy Howl’O’Scream corn mazes and haunted houses.
We also attempted to dab for one of the rollercoaster photos…I hate us 😉
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 The first half or so of Saturday’s long run workout felt terrible, but I felt progressively stronger (both mentally and physically) as it continued!  We returned to campus and got ready for team pictures!  After that, I spent the afternoon catching up with one of my good friends and going on a ferry/pumpkin patch adventure.
 My friend and I attempted to work on our database assignment for business analytics on Saturday night, but we were both exhausted and confused, so it did not go well.  On Sunday, I reset, worked on the assignment, grocery shopped and meal prepped, watched a movie for my Spanish class, and did some more work after dinner.  And now it’s a new week!
To be honest, our team hasn’t had the smoothest season so far.  Our lineup looks completely different than it was expected to look, but that is okay!  The different group dynamics have been really positive, and it’s exciting to see people progress and step up when others are having a hard time.  I’m excited to see how everyone does this weekend at Penn State.  Going to bed now to prepare for our workout tomorrow morning!

Last two training weeks (57 miles, 53 miles + 60 min swim)

Happy first day of October!  It finally feels like fall here, although I wouldn’t know because I’ve been in the library most of the day.  Our first finance midterm tomorrow is supposed to be a killer.  However, the past hour has been spent on FloTrack and tfrrs rather than Blackboard, so I think my productivity is shot.  Guess I should write a blog post 😉  Sorry I skipped last week’s training recap!

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Throwback to last week’s race

Week of 9/18-9/24:

  • Monday: AM: 5 miles.  PM: form drills, speed ladder, hurdles, 5 miles, felt tired, 4 x strides, planks/push-ups, rope stretch.  Leg still hurts.  Very hot!  Total: 10 miles.
  • Tuesday: AM: 18 min warm-up, drills, strides, 4 x 2k on the track with 1:30-2:00 recovery (7:30, 7:25, 7:22, 7:18). 21 min cool down.  Lift in weight room. Ice bath.  PM: NormaTec.  Total: 10 miles.
    Wednesday: 6 miles
  • Thursday: AM: 30 min run, drills, 800 @ 2:57, 2×400-200-200 with 200 jog recovery (79, 39, 37, 78, 38, 36), 15 min cool down.  Upper body lift in weight room.  Cold ice bath!  PM: 2 miles + NormaTec.  Total: 10 miles.
  • Friday: 5 mile pre-meet @ Panorama Farms, drills, strides, rope stretch.  Very hot.
  • Saturday: early AM: 10 min shakeout, rope stretch.  Later: rope stretch, 18 min warm-up, drills, strides, hilly 5k race (18:18), 40 min cool down.  Total: 12 miles.
  • Sunday: 4 miles + 10 min core.  First part was rough.

Total: 57 miles.

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Week of 9/25-10/1:

  • Monday: AM: 6 miles, in the zone!  Bunion pain. PM: form drills, hurdle drills, speed ladder, 4 miles trails, 4 x 150m strides, planks/push-ups, rope stretch.  Total: 10 miles.
  • Tuesday: AM: 2 mile warm-up, drills, 10 min tempo, 4 x 4:00h, 2:00e, 2 x 2:00h, 1:00e, 2 x “X” strides, 2 mile cool down.  Light lift in weight room.  Ice bath. Light core.  PM: 2 miles + NormaTec.  Bunion pain.
  • Wednesday: 60 min swim.  PM: Massage (calves and hamstrings)
  • Thursday: 2 mile warm-up, drills, 3 x 1.5 mile hill circuit, 1 x 400 hill, 2 x short grass hill, 2 mile cool down.  Light lift in weight room + NormaTec.  Ok at beginning, dead/nauseous at end.  Ugh.  Total: 9 miles.  PM: off.
  • Friday: AM: 6 miles.  Felt pretty good.  PM: form drills, 4 miles, 6 x strides, core/push-ups, yoga.  Felt crappy, progressively worse throughout night.
  • Saturday: 12 miles.  Felt awful before, ok during, and awful after.
  • Sunday: off

Total: 53 miles + 60 min swim

The week before last was a solid week of training; this week, not so much!  Monday and Tuesday went well.  We packed up well during Tuesday’s workout, even with some tension and trouble with one-stepping…

On Wednesday, my coach recommended (aka ordered) that I get my butt in the pool because of recent bunion pain.  So I did.  60 minutes of swimming for the first time in months!  Unfortunately, I started to feel sick on Wednesday night after massage, which has persisted throughout the rest of this week.  I felt nauseous and weak during the latter half of Thursday’s hill workout, Friday’s afternoon practice, and Saturday’s long run.  This did not prevent me from consuming a pint of ice cream and jabbering with some of my freshman teammates on Thursday night.

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AMAZING (and EXPENSIVE)

Also, I’m hella stubborn and ran 12 miles yesterday because coach said “give yourself a range of 8-12 miles since you don’t feel well.”  She was a little annoyed at me for running 12…

After the long run, my roommate and I went to the farmers’ market and saw the cutest dogs.

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I then went to Trader Joe’s to do some grocery shopping for the week.  The beginning of the month always makes me feel falsely richer than I am (I am a very broke college student) because my parents help me out with rent.  So yesterday I was a little less thrifty than I usually am.  Which means I splurged on $3 butternut squash soup and bought pre-cooked chicken instead of raw.

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Later that evening, we threw a birthday party for one of my teammates!  Another friend made the most amazing ice cream cake: a cookie layer, vanilla ice cream, a brownie layer, fudge and peanut butter ice cream, and peanut butter swirled on top.  After hours of laughter and dancing, I died out at 10 pm but hit a second wind once everyone else left and spent the next hour and a half dancing with my closest friends.  It was a blast.

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Anyway, today is a mandatory off day for me 😅  I managed to stay in bed until 8 am (that never happens!) and then made breakfast, meal prepped, and jetted off to the library, where I’ve been studying for finance since 11 am.  Jk.  I’ve been in the library since 11 am, but I took numerous breaks.  Took an hour-long break at 3 to go get gas and Siggi’s yogurt at Harris Teeter (yes, I’m laughing at myself, too).  But thanks to a sale and coupon, I got TEN SIGGI’S FOR $7.50.  UNHEARD OF.

This past week of training wasn’t ideal, but I’m hoping that things will turn around in the coming week.  In addition to feeling physically ill, I’ve had some crazy thoughts and emotions throughout the past week, which has been annoying.  My team is experiencing the classic mid-season “everyone is falling apart” syndrome right now, so we’ve just got to keep ourselves together (literally and figuratively).

My goals for the coming week:

  • Be a supportive teammate.  Practice active listening (which we’re talking about in my business perspectives class, and it’s SO USEFUL).
  • Take the crappy days in stride (if they occur).  Pick something positive out of every workout/lift/day, even if you don’t feel incredible.
  • Live in the present.  I get really anal about classes and timing and the past and the future forget to enjoy the moment.  The present is a great place to be!
  • Do not mindlessly check Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook when you’re bored or uncomfortable.
  • Remember how much form drills, strides, and strength help running!  
  • Listen to your body and don’t overload training on Tuesday because it never ends well (you would think I would have learned that by now…)

Talk to you all later!