Time Trial Thursday

My team’s annual time trial was today, but only three of our top seven girls could make it. And only two of us finished it. I tied with the other girl and we got a fantastic time- but I’m getting ahead of myself.

We got to the park at 3:30 and the girls went for a warm-up on part of the course. Then we stretched and our coach told me and the other two varsity girls, “This isn’t the Olympics. No need to go crazy hard. Maybe like 80%.” Well, that clearly wasn’t going to happen without some specific way to avoid going all out, because we’re way too competitive with each other and ourselves to do that. We decided that we would pace my friend who is almost, but not quite, varsity level.

Of course, that plan immediately fell apart. Coach blew the whistle, and the three of us took off. The course was two laps of a figure eight around the big field, past tennis courts, up an awful hill, and back on the trail. We already had a major lead over the rest of the team by the time we reached the other side of the field, so we silently just decided to continue at that pace.  We finished one lap, and one of the girls dropped out because she’s been having shin issues for the past couple weeks. It was down to just two of us, so we decided mid-course that we would finish together. Yay for teamwork! We made it up the last hill (that was awful; I’d kind of forgotten how much cross country races suck) and began coming back on the trail. The boys were spread out for the last 400 or so meters cheering us on, which really helped. We got to the first few boys and I looked down at my watch: 17:36! There were less than 400 meters to go, so I felt pretty ecstatic. We got to the tennis courts and started kicking it in, but we weren’t really sprinting as we crossed the line. 18:40!! We felt really, really good about that because last year, on the same course, at the same trial, we’d both gotten around 21 minutes. So it was clear from our time that our summer training has been way better than last year.

We have our first invitational next Saturday at a 3-mile course, and last year I ran 20:32 at that invitational (it was my first real cross country race ever!!) after running 21 minutes for the time trial the week before. So if I ran 18:40 at the time trial this year, does that mean I can get low 18s at the meet next week!? Ha, wishful thinking 😉 My current PR for that course is 19:33, so I’m basically just hoping to beat that. I don’t want to set my goals too high because a) it’s the beginning of the season and b) I’ll just be disappointed with myself if I aim for, say, 18:30 and end up running 20 minutes.  There are plenty of chances to lower my PR on that course this season (we literally run there at least five times), so even if I run 20 minutes next week- hey, it’s not like anybody else is in tip-top shape the first week of September either, right?

So anyway, I’m pleased with my performance at the time trial today. Because of our lack of varsity girls today, the next girl (our #8) ran around 21 minutes. Then a completely-new-to-cross-country girl ran 21:25ish and my friend that we were supposed to pace ran 21:30. Which was her goal!! Yay! Last year, she ran 24:30 at the time trial, which just goes to show how much more seriously we’ve all taken summer training this year. 

Then I got home and ate three gigantic lemon scones. But what are ya gonna do? 🙂 


Form work and intervals all in one day!!!

Form work and intervals all in one day!!!

Today I couldn’t make it to my regular morning practice, so my mom had me meet with this other coach at a different school. I did a workout in 93 degree/burning sun/humid weather (what could be better!?) and then after I was practically on the ground dying, he told me to do some strides so he could assess my form. Which sucks. I’m aware of that. But fixing it is sooo hard. (That’s not sarcasm)
The workout was a two mile warm-up around the track, drills, and 4 x 800 meter repeats. The lovely, considerate football team had set up a big tent and a golf cart-type-mobile smack in the middle of the track, so lucky me- I got to do my 800s in the outside lane!! This made them slightly longer than an actual 800; I started ahead of the line so my first 400 was an actual 400, but my second lap was longer because I was in the outside lane the whole time. My repeats were (keep in mind it was a longer 800!!) 3:12, 3:09, 3:21, 3:07. I pretty much died mentally on the third one, but was able to come back and finish strong on the last repeat. I’m guessing that, had they been actual 800s, I probably would’ve run around 3 flat for the first two and the last one. It was sooo hot outside and I finished my entire bottle of water and entire bottle of Gatorade before the workout was even finished. I then did a mile cool down and he assessed my form during some striders. Finally, we were done. But my eye has been bothering me for the past day, and during the workout sweat started dripping into it, which made it buuuurn! The PAIN. Anyway, that was my workout for the day. We have a time trial on Thursday and I get to wake up at 5 tomorrow to go to a 6 am Pilates class with the rest of the varsity girls before 7:30 practice!!
On a related note, I’m questioning my sanity/judgment. My mom asked me, hypothetically, if I’d rather have an iPhone or a Garmin. Guess what I answered? Garmin. I’m actually content with my nearing-its-seventh-birthday bright green Rumor from Sprint. iPhones aren’t nearly as indestructible as this phone. I dropped it in the freaking toilet and it’s fine. I threw it clear across my friend’s porch and it landed in a thorn bush…and it’s FINE. Sure, it doesn’t have Internet, can hold maybe five low-quality pictures, and sometimes the keyboard decides to stop working for a few seconds, but who cares? It works. It texts and calls. That’s the epitome of a CELL PHONE. (I know, I can’t be a teenage girl if I’m saying this, right? What about Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Vine/Snapchat? Guess what, I have an iPod. So maybe I’m not COMPLETELY modern-technology-free.) Anyway, Garmin over iPhone any day!
The next post will be about food because who doesn’t love food, but this post is pretty long so I think I’ll stop for now.
T-7 days and counting till junior year begins! (I got my schedule today. It’s going to be atrocious. #IBkid)

Berkeley Tuolumne Camp burns down


We received news this morning that the camp that my family has been going to for over 40 years burned down as a result of the Rim Fire yesterday evening.
Needless to say, we’re pretty devastated. We’re wearing Tuolumne sweatshirts, drinking out of Tuolumne mugs, and singing the Tuolumne song today. Hopefully it will be rebuilt fast, but 91 years of camp mementos can’t be recovered. And it won’t be the same.

“There’s no place like Camp Tuolumne, there’s no spot that I would rather be. The swimming’s fine, the meals are great, folks who come, their joys relate. So come again, to fish, to swim, to rest, or to go to points of interest. And so, my friends, the fun is here, at Tuolumne.”

Power smoothie!!

I found a recipe for the “perfect recovery smoothie” on Runner’s World and decided to try it out. I made slight changes to it and it works really well for me. It’s the perfect nutritious breakfast for after a run (or any time!)

I make the power smoothie using:

1/2 banana

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup strawberries

1 tbsp wheat germ

1 tsp almond butter

3/4 cup non-fat plain yogurt

Just throw everything into a blender/food processor and enjoy! This smoothie has protein from the almond butter and yogurt, antioxidants and many other nutrients from the berries, and protein and fiber from the wheat germ.

I usually make this smoothie after a run, but sometimes I make it for breakfast when I’m not in the mood for scrambled eggs or toast. I love it! It’s so flavorful and healthy. Also, you can substitute frozen berries instead of fresh to make it cold if it’s really hot out!

Yummy dinner (brussels sprouts included!!)

Is it weird that I actually enjoy eating brussels sprouts? I don’t see what’s so bad about them! (other than the fact that they may make you a little…gassy.) They’re really good for you, with low sodium, low fat, and high Vitamin C. The advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages! So go eat some delicious Brussels sprouts 🙂

My mom cooked a delicious dinner tonight and I can’t decide if it was healthy or unhealthy. We had brussels sprouts, spinach, turkey sausage, and twice baked potatoes. Obviously the potatoes were unhealthy (although amazingly good!) but I’d like to think the brussels sprouts and the spinach made up for it. We’re not the kind of family that adds sauce or butter or other nastiness to our vegetables, so the spinach was just plain, steamed spinach. The brussels sprouts only had onions, so they were still healthy. The turkey sausage is leaner and contains more vitamins and minerals than regular sausage, but it’s still…sausage. Whatever, I’m calling it healthy-ish. 🙂

Now my thirteen-year-old, doesn’t-even-know-how-to-make-a-sandwich, brother is struggling to make cookie dough for the first time. He’s making me stay in the kitchen and walk him through every step- “Which mixer part do I use? How much sugar/butter/flour do I use? Oops, I messed up. Do the eggs go in now? How many chocolate chips?”- when he could just read the instructions on the chocolate chip bag. But I guess I can be a human computer because I’ve memorized the recipe. (guilty of a cookie dough addiction)

I’m going to try to eat healthy again tomorrow (I managed it today except for a teeny spoonful of cookie dough ice cream and now I have to resist the cookie dough-NOOO). I’ve been substituting my regular super fatty and unhealthy yet delicious Nutella for all-natural almond butter from Trader Joe’s. To put this in context, I’ll compare them below.

Nutella: 200 cal per serving, 12g fat, 2g protein, 21g sugar. First three ingredients are sugar, palm oil, and hazelnuts.

Almond butter: 190 cal per serving, 17g fat, 8g protein, 2g sugar. First three ingredients are… just kidding it only HAS TWO INGREDIENTS! dry roasted almonds and sea salt. How great is that!

While almond butter has more fat, it only has 1 gram of saturated fat, while Nutella has 4 grams. And almond butter contains way more protein and WAY less sugar (like, 19 grams less sugar per serving!!) (I’m in no way affiliated with or endorsing almond butter. Haha)

I’m a self-confessed Nutella-holic. But my resolution for right now (and hopefully the future) is to become an almond-butter-aholic and break my Nutella habit. I once finished off a Costco-sized jar of Nutella in…you guessed it…24 hours. I didn’t feel ill after that, but that’s because it was back in eighth grade when I weighed maybe 80 pounds and could eat 5,000 calories of chocolatey fat and burn it off in ten minutes and forget it ever happened. WHY CAN’T I STILL DO THAT!?

By the way, I’ve continued resisting the cookie dough by imagining how gross I’ll feel after eating it. Also the Nutella jar is sitting right in front of me and I’m resisting. Yay me!

Rim Fire

Rim Fire

You know the Rim Fire in California? The one that’s near Yosemite, only 5% contained, and whose smoke is spreading across the country?
Yeah. Well, it’s threatening my camp. The camp that my family has been going to for the past 45 years. I’ve only missed two or three summers in my entire life of going there, even though it’s 3,000 miles away from my house and super expensive. BUT IT’S WORTH IT and now it might burn down. It’s so depressing. As of right now, it’s okay, but I don’t know if the fire retardant and the great efforts of the firefighters will be enough to keep a 125,000-acre fire from destroying it.
I hope it will be okay.

Typical me

Today was the grand opening of an REI sort of near me, and they were giving away free water bottles and gift cards to the first 200 people there. We got there at eight and the doors didn’t even open until ten. Luckily, there were plenty of tents from different companies (Merrell, Salomon, Patagonia, etc.) with give-away items, and there was even a climbing wall like the 5-minute easy-set-up version they have at company picnics. I decided to do the climbing wall because a) I was bored and b) I’m good at climbing. It was a joke. I made it up there and back down in about thirty seconds and unhooked the carabiniere from my harness. Unfortunately, this was the kind of climbing wall where if you let go of the carabiniere without hooking it to something, it’ll just shoot right to the top of the climbing wall and stay there. Every other climbing wall that I’ve ever used requires an actual person and not an automated carabiniere, so I was not expecting that and I let go of it. WHOOPS. The guy working the wall starting yelling at me, “I’M the only one who’s supposed to touch the carabiniere! You’re supposed to LET ME DO IT!” I kept apologizing but he was being super obnoxious. It wasn’t really a big deal, anyway; all I had to do was clamber up the wall on one of the other ropes and hold onto the lost carabiniere as I came back down. Which I did. But it was still embarrassing 😛

Finally it was 10 am and we got to go inside. The gift cards ranged from $10 to $500 and of course, we got three $10 gift cards. YAY US. But the water bottles were pretty nice- small green Camelbaks that cost $15+ in the store.

When did cross country become the sport that everyone wants to join?

Yesterday was our first track workout of the season and it certainly was an eye-opener!

I hadn’t really paid attention to the rest of the kids on the team yet this season (bad me, I know) because the varsity team has mostly interacted amongst ourselves and among the other veterans on the team (maybe 20 or 30). So it was definitely time for a reality check. As we were finishing up our daily two-lap warm-up and heading to the stretching circle, a girl in front of me muttered, “there are so many people.” I looked behind me to see… a solid mass of running-clothes-clad teenagers for two hundred meters. Holyyyyyy craaappp.

After stretching, lunges, and wall-sits, Coach told us what our first track workout of the season would be. Sets of 5 min threshold pace, 1 min jog and he’d “pull us off the track when I think you’re done.” I guessed probably five repeats for my normal group of girls (I was right).

We got down to it, and I immediately discovered that running with 10 million kids on the track who don’t really know the meaning of “comfortably hard” = running in lane one, then dodging to lane five, then all the way back past lane one onto the turf and then right through a group of friends running five across in order to keep your pace up. It was the worst experience ever. (Reminds me of my old Girls on the Run 5ks where there would be 50,000 people all starting in the same place.) Also, within five minutes we’d lapped the slowest runners at least twice.

Then, of course, there were those little doe-eyed freshmen who tried to be convenient and helpful and get out of our way. As they heard us coming up behind them (after we’d already mentally mapped out how to get around them), they would dodge dramatically to the side (sometimes turning all the way sideways and running straight out to the sixth or eighth lane)… and directly into us because we were going around them. I appreciate the effort, little James/Jimmy/Joe/Bob, but it would be better if you just stayed where you are.

Finally, Coach started pulling people off the track which cleared up a little bit of space. However, there’s so many of us that it didn’t make that big of a difference to have 20 or 30 kids off the track. And Coach messed up the last two sets so we ended up only doing 4 minutes at threshold pace and 1 minute jog for each of those. It made me a little mad because I felt strong and I had a lot more to give!

Today, Coach told us that there were 110 people on the team. ONE HUNDRED AND TEN!! Out of a school of a little over 2,000, that’s 5 percent of the school! It may not sound like that much, but not a high percentage of the school plays on fall teams. Winter and spring teams are much more popular. Most sports have probably 50 kids. Cross country has 110. And I think I know the reason. Is it because cross country is so freaking fun and everyone wants to put their bodies through pain for an hour and a half every day? I mean, yeah, but…no, that’s probably not the reason a majority of the people joined. Is it because people have seen how much success the girls’ team has had over the past couple years and want bragging rights saying they’re on the most successful girls’ cross country team in school history? Maybe, but our top seven are already determined from last year. Then why is it that there are 40 more people than last year’s team? Because everybody quit field hockey! or wants a bikini body!!!! Seriously. This girl in my grade tweeted a few days ago, “It’s the second day of cross country, why aren’t I skinny yet!??”

KILL YOURSELF PLEASE AND THANK YOU. The point of cross country is not to get a freaking bikini body (although that is a nice lil’ side effect). The point of cross country is to grow mentally and physically stronger and test your limits and learn how to pace yourself and experience a runner’s high and feel exhausted but amazing at the end of a run so that you say to yourself, “Wow. I’m doing things I never thought I could do. I want to continue to do this!!”

Sorry for this extremely long, mildly sarcastic rant of a post. Bye! 🙂

Hints ‘n’ changes ‘n’ yummy (healthy) food

Today I’ll be writing about some healthy changes that I’ve made since I started running, and some super easy changes or activities to integrate into your daily routine in order to live a healthier life. (See!? I can make sense in my posts).

#1: No more fast food restaurants

I realized that since I started running for real (middle school track does not count), I haven’t eaten at a McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Chick-Fil-A, Popeye’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Burger King, Arby’s, Panda Express or anything like that. I’ve had Five Guys twice (because who can resist those Cajun fries), Elevation Burger maybe once, In-n-out twice (I was dragged there by my grandma when I was in California; I didn’t enjoy it), and Chipotle maybe six times. The only “fast food” that I truly enjoy is Subway, because you know exactly what you’re eating. Also, I avoid the bags of potato chips or other unhealthy sides that come with the meal. I’ve cut back drastically on my soda intake without even realizing it; the other day, I ordered Coke at a restaurant and realized that I hadn’t had soda in over a month. I’m guessing I drink soda maybe twice or three times per month, which is a huge, awesome change from before my running career!

Because of the decrease in fast food consumption, I’ve felt healthier, less sluggish, and I haven’t been sick (more than a cold) for almost three years. Fast food isn’t worth it!! Sure, it’s convenient and usually cheap, but is it really worth all those saturated fats and mystery meats and unholy amounts of sodium? NO! So instead of running out to McDonald’s for lunch, make a quick and easy salad or grilled chicken sandwich. Yum 🙂

#2: Dessert!!??!

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a major chocoholic. Actually, I’m a major I’m-going-to-eat-everything-in-sight-that’s-delicious-oholic. Doughnuts, brownies, cake, cupcakes, muffins, Nutella, ice cream, bags and bags of chocolate chips- I’ll eat all that and more if it’s in front of me. I. Love. Dessert. It does taste great while you’re eating it, but tons and tons of sweets make me feel like changing into sloppy clothes and taking a nap. Then, of course, I feel even guiltier that I just ate all that, so I take my feelings out on a pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and watch some dumb show on Hulu. This actually happened to me today after I ate three doughnuts that I shouldn’t have. My point is, there are so many healthier, more delicious options than simply vegetating in front of the TV with an entire pie. For example, you can have a real fruit popsicle! They are delicious and contain maybe 50 calories along with no added sugar. Or you can pour orange juice (or any fruit juice) into a popsicle maker and make your own popsicles. Another healthy alternative is swapping out ice cream or frozen yogurt for homemade frozen Greek yogurt. Just mix melted chocolate chips or raspberries or something in with some plain non fat Greek yogurt and stick it in the freezer. Delicious! (I actually read this on another blog and decided to try it out; it was definitely a win.)

Okay, this is starting to get kind of long and I’m in a lazy mood so I’ll just continue this another time.

I can never think of good titles for my posts because they’re all completely random

Our first track workout of the season is tomorrow! The rest of the team had one already but that was the day that varsity went to the 5k course at the park and did repeats. I’m betting on either threshold miles or 800s tomorrow.

I only have 100 pages to go in Crime and Punishment! I’m on page 451. Svidrigailov has just told Raskolnikov that he overheard him confessing to Sonya that he murdered Lizaveta. Suspenseful… not really. At least it’s more exciting than the book has been until this point.

Moscow 2013 is over. This is depressing because I didn’t watch nearly as much of it as I wanted to, and I can’t seem to find videos of entire races online- just the end and sometimes the start. Where are these videos hiding?!! I watched Allyson Felix tear her hamstring and the USA women’s 4×1 screw up that hand off (what happened there, anyway?) but I still have to watch the women’s 800m final and some other stuff.

Yesterday morning, some of us were waiting at this sketchy park because we were going to leave from there to go on a soft-surface run. This random old homeless woman came up to us and shouted, “Are you girls looking for something to do to help your community? Because this county has too many homeless people! It would be good if you people could do something about that!” We were just like, “Ummm, no, we’re just, you know, going for a run…” It was so strange. When she said the thing about helping the community, I thought she was going to give us ideas on community service projects or something, but then she basically blamed us for the fact that there are a high number of homeless people in the county. How exactly is that our fault? Eh, whatever, she was probably mentally not all there anyway.

Anyway, I ate an entire batch of Bisquick pancakes today (14) and then had two servings of pasta for dinner. How do you spell carbo loading!?!? I’ll try not to do that tomorrow.

Today we had a successful 50-minute run on a notoriously hilly road. For the first time ever (as  a team), we reached the end of it! Yessss. Unfortunately, it was one girl’s second day back, so she couldn’t quite keep up with us and we had to wait for a total of probably ten minutes. Wait…not so unfortunately! I can’t decide if that’s a bad thing or a good thing.

I’ve literally been on the computer all day doing nothing. I watched some dumb chick show called “Devious Maids” and it’s so stupid but it’s like Dance Moms or something- you can’t stop watching the train wreck in progress. So I watched it. Along with Project Runway. Somebody save me from myself… I felt vaguely guilty like there was some schoolwork I needed to do, but I’ve actually been keeping up on my Crime and Punishment reading and I’m unaware of any other summer assignments (unlike last year), so what was I supposed to do?

My friend made the All-Virginia team in Run Washington magazine! She also seems set to have a really good season this year; last year she didn’t run enough over the summer (none of us did) so she never really got her times to where she could have. But this year we’re all much better conditioned and I think we have the potential to win some invitationals and definitely districts our conference meet (stupid change in classifications) along with qualifying for the state meet for the first time in our school’s history! Although it won’t seem like as big of an honor as it would have in years past because, with the new change in classifications, six teams instead of four qualify out of each region. True, our region is the best in the entire state but still.
Well, I’m going to go drag my brothers off the TV (they’re watching the Redskins game and they’re really jealous because my mom is there right now and she got to see RGIII warming up). Toodles! (or some other idiotic farewell phrase)