Christmas, food poisoning, and races

Happy day-after-day-after-day-after-Christmas!  I have two races and a weird, challenging week to report on.

Our county was the only county in the state to have school on Monday and Tuesday, so that was fun.  My former teammate, home from college, hosted her annual holiday cookie party on Tuesday night, and I went home stuffed with sugar and glee.  (That was super cheesy.)

On Christmas Eve day, I woke up feeling extremely weak and terrible.  It felt like I’d scaled Mount Whitney with the flu; my joints felt achy, I was close to collapsing, and all I wanted to do was sleep.  We realized it was probably food poisoning, so I skipped that day’s workout and mostly stayed in bed.  I did drag myself to church for the first time in forever, and we also took part in our yearly tradition of make-your-own pizza for Christmas Eve dinner.

Christmas Day was a bit better, and it was fun opening presents and eating a great breakfast.  We gorged ourselves on the typical Christmas/Thanksgiving spread: turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato and apple casserole, broccoli, apple crisp, whipped cream, and flourless chocolate torte.

The indoor track gods decreed we had a race (in my case, the 4×800 and the 1600) on the 27th.  We woke up at 6:30 a.m. and got to the race venue around 8:15.  The 4×800 was weird; our coach wasn’t there, so the jumps/hurdles coach was in charge of getting us our baton and bibs.  HE DIDN’T DO THAT UNTIL LITERALLY TWO MINUTES BEFORE THE RACE.  We were all very stressed and anxious, which wasn’t the best race situation.

Our first leg didn’t run very fast for some reason, and our second leg ran about the same.  We were supposed to be winning, but at that point we were probably in eighth in a not-very-great field.  Our third leg ran solidly to put us in second, and I ran the anchor to keep us in second.  I hadn’t done anything more than light jogging in several days, so the 800 made my legs feel absolutely awful.  Our time was terrible, but that’s okay; at least we got a medal. 😉

Super attractive relay finish

Super attractive finish

My race buddy and I had about three hours until the mile, so we walked around, listened to music, ate applesauce and bananas, and talked to the jumps coach until they called us.  We were both in the fastest heat; I was seeded fourth so I was in the alley.  The race official boomed, “Runners: take your mark!” and then there was such a long pause in between that and the gun that I actually fell over.  The race video is hilarious.

Smiling because I'm a klutz

I’m smiling because I’d just fallen over (I’m #4)

The race went out aggressively, so I started out around 10th.  It was very much a bloodbath; girls were tripping over each other and spiking each other.  I held my ground and gradually moved up until I was in fourth, which is where I stayed for the rest of the race.  I finished in 5:26, which I am happy with.  That’s a conference qualifying time and a great starting place.  Considering my recent lack of conditioning, the times I ran were satisfying.

k-4Takeaways from the race:

  • I can hold my ground when I haven’t done any hard work in a couple weeks.
  • Lack of speedwork = lack of a kick.  I need to work on my turnover and power at the end.

I spent all morning cleaning out my closet, dresser, drawers, etc.  I like to do a vigorous New Year’s cleaning to start the New Year off on the right off (so cliche, I know).  My room isn’t finished, but it’s time to finish some college apps!



Training and school

Phew!  As usual, the past couple weeks have been a whirlwind.  I should be using this time to outline a comparative essay for social anthro, or maybe read up on Mao Zedong and the Great Leap Forward for Topics.  Instead, I am blogging and pretending I don’t have assignments.  This county is the only one I know of with school on Monday and Tuesday; everyone else is already on winter break!

Does anyone else write workout paces on their hand?

Does anyone else write workout paces on their hand?

Last time, I left off on a thresholds workout and a treadmill run, along with the usual plethora of IB-related complaints.  The past two weeks have been pretty similar– workouts on M/W/F, runs T/Th/S.  School has been stressful.  I completed my Individual Oral Commentary and Discussion (IOC&D) for IB English last Monday!!  That is definitely a load off my plate.  I was extremely stressed and nervous for days, and it turned out to be much less terrifying than I had assumed it would be.

Last night was our first meet!  Do you remember how last year, our first set of meets involved three races in the span of 24 hours, two of them on a terrible track for no reason?  (I ran 2:36/3:29/12:02)  It was an exhausting yet worthwhile way to start the season.  Well, this year we aren’t going to that many invitationals (similar to last year), so our coach forced us to run in one of those Friday meets at the terrible track.  We all ran the mile and the 1000, which are separated only by the 500, so we didn’t get much rest or a great chance to stretch.  This track probably slows us down by 10-15 seconds per mile, but our coach still wanted us to get the conference qualifying times of 5:30 and 3:18…

The mile was okay; I figured we wouldn’t get the qualifier, and we didn’t.  We went 1-2-3-5-7, with myself getting third.  (I ran around a 5:40, which I’m completely fine with.)  The track is legitimately a gym floor with lines painted on it, so running around those tight turns is pretty terrifying.


The 1000 felt much better than the mile.  Our coach had adjusted the goal time to more of a workout pace (3:25-3:30), but at the last minute, my workout buddy decided she would actually treat it like more of a race.  I decided to join her.  We finished around 3:20-3:22, which isn’t fast enough for the qualifier either, but I don’t mind.  All in all, this was a pretty good season opener!

Today, I had a 50-minute easy run, and I managed to go easy for about 40 minutes of it!  However, there is a huge hill in the final section of the run that I always have to (almost) sprint up, and I generally end up just continuing the run at that pace.  I’d say my slow run today was mostly around 8:15-8:30 pace, while the final mile was around 7:30-7:45…

The results of running with a French braid

The results of running with a French braid

Instead of doing homework for the rest of the day, I wrapped a few presents, did crazy things with my hair, and best of all… I found a video from my freshman year districts race!  I raced the 1000 in a super speedy 3:32. 🙂  You can tell I was absolutely petrified.

baby me, early 2012 ;)

baby runner, early 2012 😉

Tomorrow is reserved for homework and more Christmas shopping!  Except…I’m broke.  Oops.

First race of the season on a real track is in a week!  Yes, that is only two days after Christmas; I think the 28th will be a day of indulgence instead of the 25th.

PS:  I really, really want to see the movie Unbroken!


Oh, thresholds.  My favorite type of workout.  There’s nothing like good ol’ mile repeats on the track on a dreary Wednesday afternoon.

For my second workout back, we completed 4 x 1 mile with 90 seconds of rest in between.  Nothing fancy, but a nice challenge.  I know most of my teammates dread mile repeats, but I happen to enjoy them.  I love the feeling of pounding out lap after lap after lap until you can barely hold your form and your legs feel like logs.  Then you just have to hold on!


Since we are all coming back from down time, our paces were slower than they normally are, which is fine by me since I don’t wish to push too hard too soon.  On Monday, thanks to some uncontrolled, overzealous teammates, our 400s were much too fast.  That resulted in a not-too-pretty end of the workout.  This time, our teammate, who is pretty much the worst pacer in the history of pacing, was not at practice.  Our coach prescribed me and two other girls a range of 6:31 – 6:44, with the goal of progressively getting faster with the last one being the fastest.

I did get faster each time, but not in the range.  😉  My first mile was a 6:37, and then I went 6:32, 6:29, and 6:20.  I just felt so stinkin’ good!  I don’t feel like I pushed extremely hard or anything, which is great.  I ended the workout with an 800m cool down and some core, and I am now looking forward to the upcoming days.  This season is important for my mental outlook; you need a strong, positive mentality in order to succeed in a healthy manner, and I think I’ve lacked that for months.  Taking my time and being smart in workouts is definitely helping so far, although it’s still early.

We drove six hours roundtrip for a college tour yesterday, but it was worth it because it is definitely my favorite so far.   Unfortunately, I didn’t get much homework done and had to run on the treadmill at 8:30 pm last night when I got home!  After some speed strength, I tried to get as much work done as I could in the short hour that I had before starting to get ready for bed.

Nighttime treadmilling

Nighttime treadmilling

I have a Topics essay tomorrow (and I had one today, oh joy) as well as an enormous physics project due, so I will leave it at that.  I hope to write soon!

I’m back!

Hello to my thousands of followers! (I’m being facetious- I have maybe 70.)  I realize I have been away from this blog for quite some time.  I apologize for that, and I have a lot to recount.

I’ve had a lot going on for the past three months.  With the start of senior year, my (along with my fellow IB diploma candidates’) stress levels went up 300%.  College applications, the dreaded Extended Essay (I just handed in my full draft today!!), IAs, IOC&D prep, and a multitude of presentations.   I’m not a crier, so I wasn’t having outwardly emotional breakdowns like some of my friends, but I have been constantly anxious, worried, and angry.

As a result of intense schoolwork, a revamped training program, and uncontrollable circumstances, my cross country season was, to put it mildly, slightly disastrous.  Saying this will leave a bitter taste in my mouth, but I did not PR.  The closest I came was a 19:29 5k at a midseason invitational.

photo 2-9

The one great race I had this season (finished on a track)


For much of the season, I was down and almost despised running.   I came close to having good races, but something always happened that augmented my negativity.  At conferences, I was on pace to PR, but right after the two mile mark, I felt abnormally faint and started blacking out, stumbling to 11th place.  Regionals was perhaps the most important race, as our team was seeded 7th and top 6 qualify for states.  Even if my team wasn’t in contention to qualify (and we were), individually I was in contention to qualify until mile 2.6 of the 2.98 mile race.  Going down a gravel-and-root-covered hill, I tripped, face-planted, rolled for awhile, and came to a stop against a tree, scraping up my entire body.  The scratches and cuts are finally healing after a month 😉 Anyway, I lost 15-20 spots and did not qualify for states.

Scratches on hands, hips, and all over legs as well

Scratches on hands, hips, and all over legs as well

I think part of the reason for my crappy season was definitely that my expectations were too high.  After my successful track seasons as a junior, I figured, “I’ve run 11:19 in the 3200, so I should be able to run 17:xx in the 3-mile and 18:xx in the 5k!  If I don’t do that, I’m fat and slow and hopeless.”  When I didn’t immediately start dropping time, I got discouraged and never fully believed in myself.  Throughout the fall, I’ve learned that track times do not necessarily correlate with cross country times, and your mentality is just as important as your physical shape.

photo 3-8

In other news, senior year is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, which I realize definitely screams “first world problems.”  However, I read that the average teenager today has the same stress levels as a 1950s psychiatric patient.  I wonder how high an IB senior’s stress levels are?  Why did I choose this path??

Cross country ended about four weeks ago for me, but I took a break for one week and then got sick for two weeks.  After running a whopping 8 miles in three weeks, I am getting back into it sloowwwly.  Pushing too hard too soon could be catastrophic, so I have been telling myself repeatedly that slow and steady wins the long-term race.  Today was our first track workout back (10-12 400s), and while the pace was slower than usual and I stopped after 10, it’s a good starting point.

I love indoor season, so I am looking forward to building up from here.  My goals this season are not time-related (yet) but more focused on mental strength.  Positivity is key.  Cross country never happened 😉

I hope to post more often; now that half of my apps are submitted and my extended essay is mostly written, my friends who are all freshmen in college have been telling me that senior year gets much less stressful in the second semester.  Here’s hoping!