Life

I finally have about 2.3 seconds of breathing room (not really, I still have so much work to do).  I thought I did a pretty good job of not waiting until the last minute to complete my summer assignments, but alas, that was not to be.  But I’m taking a break from Topics reading, EE research, and Physics to compile a miscellaneous post of my recent adventures.

I gave up my one and only chance this summer to go to the beach!!  My mom left yesterday morning and came back today, but I didn’t go with her because I had so much work to do.  I am so mad about that.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a summer without the beach.  Not that I go a lot, but I manage to make it out there at least one time every year.  Not this year!  Grrrr.

My friends and I had a fancy tea party last week!   We dressed up in sundresses, ate macarons and tea cakes and cucumber sandwiches and drank tea.  For a few hours, we were electronics-free.  Bliss.

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photo 2-6Smoothie game too strong.  Banana, frozen cranberries, spinach, yogurt, OJ, and almond butter.

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Below is my trademark “I am not really sure what facial expression to make right now because I just finished a really hard workout and on the one hand, I’m so happy it’s over, but on the other hand, I am in a ton of pain” face.

We did the same 5×1 mile workout as a couple weeks ago, and I was expecting a shitty workout, but it turned out to be not as bad as last time!!  I took off time on almost every single repeat: two weeks ago was 6:16, 6:25, 6:22, 6:22, 6:22, while this week was 6:22, 6:16, 6:21, 6:17, 6:09!!  And it felt better. 😀

 

PS: I have given up on my eyebrow game.  I will never have nice eyebrows.photo 4-4Refueled with oatmeal and chocolate milk.  Nothin’ like sugar, sugar, sugar.

photo 5-3Last but not least, my to-do list.  I have to get all of this done before Tuesday.  It might not look like much, but I have to do all of my extended essay research. (The suggested time is 40 hours.)  Please murder me.  What is a social life?

imageThere are two days of summer left.  Too bad I feel as though I’ve already been in school for weeks!  Between practice, freshman orientation, mentor training, and first day prep for freshmen, I spent over eight hours there on Thursday.  Not counting driving my freshman brother to marching band.  He only talks to me when he wants a ride…  I spent three hours alone curling ribbon around lollipops tied to freshman survival guides.  These freshmen are ridiculously spoiled.  I have a callus on my thumb!!

Long run Sunday tomorrow morning!  #carbs

 

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Time Trial and Shoes

Today was our annual time trial.  We ran around 4:30 pm, aka the hottest part of the day.  Of course, it was the hottest day of the past three weeks 😉 88 degrees that felt like 90 because of the humidity.  Gross.

Our time trial course is two figure eight loops.  By the end of the first loop, I was already dead, and I tried to quit, but my coach wouldn’t let me.  On the second loop, I was pretty much jogging slower than my long run pace, but I somehow managed to finish in 18:58.  18 seconds slower than last year, but it was also a lot hotter and I haven’t had the greatest last few weeks of training.  I’ve had one good run (yesterday) in the past two weeks.  So all things considered, 18:58 isn’t that bad.  I’m still a little mad, though, because I was the third girl to finish.  One friend ran a freaking 18:22 and another friend ran 18:48.  Sheesh.

I tried out my new spikes during the time trial, and they were pretty comfortable.  My feet were on fire, though; that always happens when it’s above 70 degrees.

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Tough week

This is going to be a quick post because I just need to get things off my chest.

I’ve had a really tough week of training.  Monday’s and Tuesday’s runs were awful, and I felt like crap the whole time.  On Wednesday, we had a mile time trial followed by 8×400.  I ran 5:40 for the time trial (fine with that, didn’t care about time) and between 80 and 85 for the 400s.  They were really hard after the mile, but I didn’t feel abnormally bad.  Thursday was supposed to be easy, but our coach sent us for 50 minutes on the hilliest road in the county, so that was hard.  I felt okay.  This morning was a hill workout (6xlong hill, same as last week), but I only did 2.5 before I quit.  It just didn’t feel good, and I knew it wasn’t worth suffering through the rest of it and risking injury or illness.  I think my coaches understood that I was having issues because they didn’t really scold me.

Running just hasn’t been fun this week.  My body has been dragging, I need new shoes, and I’m not enjoying the process.  I haven’t had any motivation to cross train or strength train.  These are signs of burnout.

I also haven’t been hungry all week and therefore haven’t been eating enough.  Also, I’m incredibly stressed right now because of the sheer amount of work I have to do for IB and college apps, which I think is contributing to my lack of mental running strength.

This weekend and upcoming week, I will focus on putting lots of good, wholesome food into my body, getting lots of rest, not overdoing my long run, and getting summer assignment work done.  I will try to make sure that I get all the essential micronutrients; my coach is having me keep a food log next week to make sure I am fueling myself properly.

Maybe I’ll even treat myself to a new pair of spandex to motivate me to enjoy running 😉

My coach gave me some really good advice when I told her I was in a funk: “See yourself how others see you.”  My teammates look up to me and see me as a leader and someone to imitate in terms of work ethic, and I need to remember that I am pretty damn inspirational and good at being a leader.  Also, think less and just run.  Running is amazing if you don’t overthink.

Changes

I’m going to talk about some changes I’ve unconsciously implemented into my fitness/food/whatever routine, along with what I’ve been up to lately besides killing myself on hill workouts.

Changes:

I haven’t lifted weights in over a month.  I also haven’t gone to Pilates in three weeks.

Whaaat?  Who am I?  What happened to the “I’m going to weight lift like three times a week” gung ho girl from the beginning of the summer?

There are multiple reasons for my traitorous departure from weight lifting.  Honestly, I haven’t wanted to!  The gym has been closed for two or three weeks because of the county fair, and for a couple weeks before that I was feeling “eh” about weight lifting.  I’ll probably either go to Pilates or weight lifting on Saturday.

I think another reason I scaled back on lifting and strengthening is because we have really ramped up the mileage.  I took an extra day off last week because of my nasty mosquito heel but still ran around 33 or 34 miles over five days, meaning I would’ve hit 40 again if I had run six days.  I talked to my coach, and he said he was planning on having us stay at 40-50 miles until the middle of September!  We literally never ran more than 35 miles last year.  I’m not complaining, though.  More miles = more food!

I’ve also been doing core fewer times per week, but when I do work abs, I do a longer routine.  In my personal opinion, it is better for my abs and my brain to do, say, 10-15 minutes of abs 3-4 times per week than 5 minutes of abs 6 days a week.

Daily life:

Holy gorgeousness

Holy gorgeousness

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Of course this happened. Donate to ALS!!

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Randomest lunch: BLT on sandwich thin, orange tomatoes, kale, bok choy, sweet potato, and pumpkin bread.  What.

Randomest lunch: BLT, orange tomatoes, kale, bok choy, sweet potato, and pumpkin bread.  I have a strange palate.

The ceremony thing that I mentioned a few posts ago was yesterday, but I’m not going to post any pictures because that will make it easier for my friends to find this blog and it is so much fun watching them try.  I don’t care if they find it, but the struggle of finding it is hilarious.  One time, one of them went to the seventeenth page of Google.  It was great.

Also, sharing too much personal information on the interwebz is idiotic.  FYI.

Pushing beyond your limits (and refueling with a chocolate milkshake!)

“Kathryn, I think you would legitimately run until you die.”

That’s what my friend told me after we finished our hill workout today.  (It was a compliment.)  Saying it was the hardest workout I have ever completed would be an understatement.  I think my soul left my body.

I had a pretty rough, emotional night last night for various reasons, but thankfully a 20-minute talk with one of my close friends and a late night walk around my neighborhood calmed me down.  I’m the type of person that never cries, instead getting angry and defensive.  So when I do cry, it is usually a big deal.

Aaaanyway, I decided to channel this emotion into my hill workout this morning.  It was the first hill session of the year, and we did our warm-up jog to the hill (about 13 minutes) and stretched.  Our coach then informed us that our group would be completing six long hills. (They’re each about 400 meters)

Six!! We’d never done more than five, even in the middle of the season.  We completed our ABC skips and then jumped right into the first hill repeat.

The first three were fine, hard, kind of a slap upside the head to remind us how sucky hills were.  Our breathing was labored, our glutes and hamstrings were burning, and we were spent by the top.

This picture is from a hill workout last year... I'm in the purple.  The girl with blue shorts and the girl with green shorts are two of the other three remaining girls this year.

From a hill workout last year; I’m in the purple. The girl with blue shorts and the girl with green shorts are two of the other three remaining girls this year.

The fourth repeat was very hard.  My glutes and hamstrings were on fire, my arm swings got harder to control, and my form started deteriorating.

On the fifth repeat, my workout buddy dropped back, so I had to run the entire freaking thing alone.  My vision started blurring, my right ear became clogged (a personal sign of severe exertion), and I swore I would quit the cross country team as soon as I got to the top of the hill. (I’m joking.)  When I reached the top, I keeled over onto the grass, legs wobbly and unsupportive, gasping for air.  Black spots and dizziness introduced themselves.

The jog back down to the bottom of the hill in preparation for the last hill was like a funeral march.  We had no idea how on earth we would complete the sixth repeat.  I asked my coaches to run with me because I knew I would never reach the top without them.

The final repeat started, and as my coach ran alongside me, his bunny-hop form was amusing enough to distract me…for about two seconds.  I felt like death even before I reached the marker for the top of the short hill (about 270 meters).  The first coach dropped out, and the second coach hopped in front of me.  The entire way up the last, steepest part of the hill, I felt delirious.  “Come on.  I’m the girl in front of you in a race you’re trying to pass.  Get that turnover going!” Coach shouted at me from in front.  Black spots danced in front of my eyes, my head felt like it would explode, and I could hardly feel my body aside from the overwhelming feeling of profound exhaustion and pain.  I stumbled the last 30 meters at a snail’s pace, barely reaching the end before I collapsed onto the grass, head pounding like there was no tomorrow.

I had pushed myself so hard that I was hyperventilating and crying.  I’ve honestly never felt like that EVER.  I could barely stand up, let alone walk down the hill.  At one point as I weaved my way down the sidewalk, I began stumbling into the street, and my coach had to run and grab me before I got hit by a car.

The cool down jog back to school was painful, but somehow I got through it.

So that is the story of my first hill workout of the year- the hardest workout I have ever completed.  I thought the 5 x mile repeats on the track and grass were hard on Tuesday, but it was like a moderate run compared to this.

I’m proud of myself for pushing myself beyond my mental and physical limitations and being the fastest girl today.  It really showed me what I can do!  99.9% of the population will never, ever in their lives experience the feelings that I experienced today, which can only be understood by the tiny percentage that will do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.

A minute and forty seconds.  It’s not that long.  The time it takes to brush your teeth.  Half of one song.  How long it takes to put clothes on.  But when you are doing hill repeats, it is the longest fucking minute and forty seconds of your life!!

After the workout, I went to breakfast with two friends (one of whom had also run hills- six short hills) and pigged out refueled on blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, and a chocolate milkshake. 🙂

Ignore our awkward sweaty faces; we were tired

Ignore how awkward we are; we were tired. And the caption.  My friend can’t spell.

I think I will now take a nap.

Happy blogiversary! (and some other things)

Happy anniversary to my blog!  I knew it was coming up, but I didn’t know it was today until WordPress kindly informed me of the fact.  Wow!  I can’t believe I’ve had a blog for a year.  I’ve come a long way, too.

I’m not going to do the recap of stats thing or whatever it is people do on their blogiversary because who cares?  I have more important things to talk about.

Official practice started last Wednesday!  It’s weird without the seniors (I guess they’re alumni now…), so it will take some getting used to.  I actually feel like a captain now.

Last week was my highest mileage– EVER.  My body is definitely feeling the increase in running; I’ve been taking naps every day, eating a ton, and my legs/feet are sore as can be!  It’s great but also overwhelming.

What my week has looked like:

  • Monday: 58 minutes + abs
  • Tuesday: 48 minutes + pool + arms
  • Wednesday (first day of practice): 45 minutes + abs/push-ups
  • Thursday: 45 minutes
  • Friday: 10 min warm-up, 20 min tempo, 10 min cool down + abs
  • Saturday: 70 minutes + abs

My mileage total was approximately 40 miles, which is more than I have ever run in my life.  By the end of the long run on Saturday, my legs and feet were screaming, “No more!!” but a recovery day has done them good.

I went to the county fair last night, which I suppose also did my body good, right? 😉 Nothing quite like eating yourself sick on deep-fried cookie dough and funnel cake and then shaking your brains and guts all over the place on The Zipper.  It was fantastic. Also, I got to hang out with friends I haven’t seen in ages!

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I have exciting news!!  I won’t go into a ton of detail because I tend to leave out personal information (address, etc.), but I was chosen by a panel of area coaches as one of the top cross country prospects in the tri-state area going into this cross country season!  There is a press conference type deal next week where they announce everyone who was chosen, and the best part is, we get free limited-edition spikes! 🙂

I also have really disgusting news.  I was bitten by mosquitos three times in the same place on my ankle three days ago, and at first it was normal and itchy.  Two days ago, it swelled to the size of a baseball, and the skin became unbearably hot and stretched tight.  It’s probably  an allergic reaction, but I’ve never had one before!  And it’s in the most inconvenient spot, as I can no longer bend my ankle and my entire foot is also swollen.  That means no running.  I’m not injured!!  This is so annoying.  I’ll spare you the pictures because it is really quite disgusting– discolored (red and white), stretched super tight, swollen, and blistered.  Yuck.  Why did this happen because of a mosquito bite??

Anyway, I’ve been icing it like there’s no tomorrow and popping ibuprofen and Benadryl like a pro, so hopefully I’ll be able to run tomorrow or soon.  I feel really gross because I’ve been eating so much junk and haven’t done abs or push-ups in about five days, so time to hop back on that train.

It’s a new week! (and blog-year!)

Sodium for salty sweaters

I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures in this post; I personally dislike reading blog posts without pictures.

For the past week or so, my runs have not been going well.  I’ve been abnormally tired, my legs have felt like they’re dragging, and they just haven’t been fun.

  • Monday: 50 minutes moderate, but my friend who just got back from vacation was struggling, so it was more like 25 minutes moderate and 40 minutes run/walk to get back.  Felt fine, probably because of so much rest.  45 minute swimming.
  • Tuesday: 45 minutes easy/moderate.  Felt fine, nothing good, nothing bad.
  • Wednesday: 30 minutes tempo, but it was 15 minutes tempo and a fartlek/tag-team type thing on the way back because my other friend and I took turns running with the girl who still wasn’t feeling good.
  • Thursday: 45 minutes easy/moderate.  Felt fine/blah. 55 minutes of Pilates in the PM.
  • Friday: 55 minutes moderate.  Here’s where things get sketchy.  For some reason, I nearly passed out on this run! A fast pace and high humidity at the beginning tired me out immediately, and by the time we got to the halfway point, I was kind of dying.  We had dropped the girl who hadn’t been feeling well all week, but by 35 minutes, I was dragging.  At 45ish, my vision started tunneling and my heart was beating normal pace but extremely fiercely, if that makes any sense.  I had to take multiple extended breaks where I knelt down.  Somehow, I made it back.

My mileage won’t increase at all from last week (still hovering around 30 miles/235 minutes) because I thankfully have both Saturday and Sunday off.  I’m looking forward to these rest days before practice starts on Wednesday.

Anyway, sodium.  On my disastrous run today, my friend and I were discussing the possible causes of my exhaustion and overall feeling of blah.  I’m naturally a heavy and salty sweater; after a sweat-dripping run, my eyes sting profusely, my skin feels gross, and my sweat tastes salty.  I also drink a TON of water and eat a very low-sodium diet.  I eat unadulterated rice and vegetables, I seldom eat fast food, and I just generally crave sweet things (fruit) more than salty things.  I am in no way a nutritionist, but we thought maybe low sodium levels could be a cause of my terrible runs lately, especially because all I wanted to do as we slogged up the hill was chug 27 Gatorades.  Electrolytes, electrolytes, electrolytes.  They are my friends.

I did some research (aka I googled “low sodium side effects in runners”), and came across these articles: http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-runners/are-you-salty-sweater and http://www.medicinenet.com/hyponatremia/article.htm

Basically, low sodium levels can result in headache, nausea, and tiredness along with other serious symptoms I don’t have (seizures, etc).  I’ve had a headache for four days (I thought it was just because I read both “Unbroken” and “Once a Runner” in one sitting), I felt nauseous and like vomiting on the run today, and I’ve been so tired I’ve been taking naps every day (something that I never do), along with the general exhaustion during runs.

Soooo, with that in mind, I will be increasing my sodium intake over the next few days by eating more pickles, possibly drinking tomato juice (honestly, that sounds sickening), eating eggs and adding a crap ton of salt, and cooking Asian stir fries because they always have a ton of sodium (soy sauce!!).  I will also make an effort to consume more Gatorade and less water- or maybe put Nuun tablets in my water.  We’ll see.

I think it’s interesting to consider that even though I eat a huge, wholesome diet, I never thought about the fact that I could be lacking in an essential electrolyte.  According to some study in an article I read as I made my way through Google, 90% of American adults consume way too much sodium.  Knowing me, I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum…

We shall see!  If nothing results from this experiment, at least I’ll have ruled one thing out.