Bipolar weather, family dysfunction, food, friends, training…

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas!  Mine was…interesting.  Lots of family drama.  Ran with one of my high school teammates that I hadn’t seen since October.   I really wanted to do a Christmas “bun run” (Santa hat, red sports bra, and buns) because it was 70 degrees, but I refrained from doing so.  We did 6 miles at around 8:00 pace.  Not too interesting.

She did take this sneaky picture...do you like my snowman socks?

She did take this sneaky picture…do you like my snowman socks?

On Sunday, 70 degree temperatures left me drenched after my “long” run (8 miles at 7:22 pace) even as the sun went down.

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I told myself to go pretty easy on the long run, but…I didn’t.  Oh, well.  It was a good run.  I tried out the waterproof iPod shuffle and new earbuds I got for Christmas to use for runs and aqua jogging/swimming, and it was great!  The second half of the run was pretty hilly and fast.

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Total last week: 28 miles running, 60 minutes cross training.

This week, my training increases to 37 miles and the normal hour of cross training on Wednesday.  Ideally, I’ll be back at normal mileage (45) in 2 weeks.

After days and days of disturbingly warm temperatures, in the span of 12 hours the temperature dropped from 70 to 40.  Ridiculous.  At least it almost feels like winter…

On Monday morning, I ran with one of my college teammates!  She’s four years older than me and really fast, so I was afraid I’d die from the long run and running with her, but it was actually a very nice run. 🙂 6 miles on the trails around Great Falls Park.

Today was my first workout back!  I warmed up for 2.5 miles to my high school track and did drills and strides.  The workout was 6 x 800m (3:00-2:45) with 1 minute recovery, but I took 80-90 seconds recovery, which I think was a good decision.  The workout went well, even though the track was completely deserted!   The overcast weather wasn’t exactly motivational, but I got it done.

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I ran 2:56, 2:55, 2:56, 2:55, 2:56, 2:55, which is about what I was expecting for the first workout back.  It was a little bit of a shock to the system but overall not too bad at all.  I then cooled down 2.5 miles back to my house and stretched and rolled.  Total: 8 miles.  No ice bath today.

Enjoy this goofy post-workout face I sent to my friend

Enjoy this goofy post-workout face I sent to my friend

Post-workout lunch: Plain Greek yogurt with a banana; orange juice; Ritter Sport Extra Fine dark chocolate (my vice); 2 mini sweet potatoes with a little bit of brown sugar and butter; 2 bowls of black beans and rice (I mixed black beans, cooked brown rice, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, salt and pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and reduced sodium chicken broth and cooked it on low heat for awhile).  The black beans and rice bowls were spicy!

Not pretty but delicious!

Not pretty but delicious!

I’m really going to zero in on my nutrition over the coming days/weeks/months.  After many, many indulgences over the past month, I have some work to do to get back to fueling optimally.  I think I may use this blog as sort of a food log to keep me accountable.  While being home allows me to eat fresher and more organically and all that nonsense, I also have constant access to an unlimited supply of food.  Including way more meat than I was eating over the past several months.  Also, since my time isn’t taken up by schoolwork, I have more time to eat… Needless to say, it’s a slippery slope.

That being said, I reunited with one of my good friends yesterday and ate four pieces of chicken-mushroom-spinach-deliciousness pizza 🙂 Worth it.  But now I’m on the grind.

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Winter Break

Happy Festivus!

After finishing up my first set of finals, I arrived home a week ago, and it’s crazy how different home life is from college life.  I’m a lot less social at home because a) I don’t have a car or a bike here and b) I love my college friends a lot more and everything is closer!  Right now, the major things happening during my days include dog sitting and running.

Bio 220 was the death of me

Late night finals studying (By “late night”, I mean 10 pm)

I took nine days completely off from exercise, pretty much destroyed my early bird sleep schedule, and then ran 30 minutes every other day last week (so a whopping 16 miles).  Last Monday was my very first run back, and it probably couldn’t’ve come at a worse time.  I was stressed out, emotionally unstable, and my legs didn’t feel great yet.  It ended up being one of the worst runs of my life; halfway through, I actually sat down on a bench and almost started crying.  Luckily, I have some amazing friends and also access to pints of Ben and Jerry’s at the student exchange.

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my favorite therapy (Chocolate Therapy)

This week is back to a more normal training schedule even though my training volume is still really low (5 days running, 1 day cross training, 1 day off for a total of 28 miles).  The past few days have felt good.  I’m building back up to 45 or so miles over the next few weeks, and I don’t race again until the end of January.

Reunited with some of my high school teammates!

Reunited with some of my high school teammates!

Something I’ve noticed is that it’s a hell of a lot harder for me to do strength stuff at home than at college!  At college, all the facilities and everything we need are convenient and easily accessible.  Here, I don’t have anyone who has to do all the same training I do, and I don’t have all the strength equipment and cross training facilities two minutes away from me.  The lack of a car makes it even harder…#firstworldproblems.  Luckily, my “real” training with all the drills and strides and lifts doesn’t start till next week, so I have five days to rediscover my motivation to complete these things 😉

Ever since Thanksgiving, my nutrition has been eh.  I think I actually under-ate during finals week and then made up for it in unhealthy ways.  While I’ve been eating awesome foods at home, there’s also been a crazy quantity of desserts, etc.  I think that once I’m fully in the midst of training and have more of a set schedule after Christmas, everything will kind of even out.  But right now, when I only have 4-6 miles and no strength training on any given day, I have way more time to, you know…stuff my face with Christmas cookies!

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This meal was a throwback to last year: Annie’s Mac and Cheese and edamame

Although tonight for dinner I had amazing roasted sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, parsnips, and carrots.

Well, I’m going to try to go to bed early tonight; lately I’ve been staying up late for no good reason.  Can’t wait to be in the midst of real training!  I would like to concentrate on the big picture- like, years-long picture.  In a meeting with my coaches a couple weeks ago, they were talking about the progression they see for me, and it was kind of scary where they think I could be.  “If you stay consistent with training and figure out the nutrition, sleep, and balance of schoolwork of an elite athlete, I see you running 9:20 in four years,” my head coach said.   Holy shit.  When he said that, I had simultaneous thoughts of “Um, do you know who you’re talking to?  I only ran the equivalent of 10:37ish in high school, for god’s sake!”  and “Wow, this is so cool that he thinks I can run this and I’m so motivated to do all the little things.”  Even though it seems INSANE now, would I have imagined running 11:19 for 3200 back in January 2012 when I ran a 13:32?  Absolutely not.  Even this fall- I didn’t think I was going to PR at all, let alone run a 22:52 for my first 6k, meaning I probably could’ve dropped even more time!

Anyway, it’s not like this kind of stuff happens in the blink of an eye.  Especially on the college circuit, it happens after YEARS of intense, yet consistent and smart, training.  I’m technically currently a 10:47 3k runner, but I fully believe I am capable of so much more.  It’s going to be a rollercoaster ride, no doubt about it…

Sorry for the wall of text.

First race in uniform! + Thanksgiving, finals, and other things

I am currently smack in the middle of my first set of college finals, along with my running break.  So far, I’ve taken my microeconomics final (fine), bio 220 final (HORRIBLE), and I just turned in my final paper for my freshman seminar.  Next Wednesday, I have my Spanish final exam and final paper due.  After that, I head home for a month of running, sleeping, holiday cookie baking, dog sitting, and friends!

Thanksgiving break was pretty fun.  Although I did not repeat the Thanksgiving debacle of 2013, I did gorge myself pretty heartily over the five days.

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My brother and I after a solid hour of eating

Every lunch and dinner that I ate from Thursday to Sunday was leftovers.  Whoops.

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I also met up with my three best friends from high school for some holiday cookie baking on our last night home.  It was a lot of fun!

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After a nightmarish journey back to school due to post-Thanksgiving traffic, my roommate and I decorated our room for Christmas!

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Last Saturday was my first race in uniform- the 3k!  In the two weeks leading up to the race, I started experiencing pain in my lower right leg and foot, which I think was due to a combination of dead shoes, transitioning to the track, and just overall accumulation of training since June.  Also, I hammered easy runs and training in general over Thanksgiving break…oops.  There was one maintenance run especially where I ran with my (ALL-AMERICAN! YES, SHE GOT IT!) teammate and other speedy teammates, and I was dying.  Not fun.  I forced my legs to survive until the race, so they were less than 100%.  Oh, well!

We got to the venue around 3:15 and warmed up around 5:45 for 20 minutes.  It made me so happy to be back in the indoor track environment; I love indoor so much!  Even though it was a different venue with college teams instead of high school, it still made me really nostalgic for those hours spent sitting on the nasty yellow bleachers at the PG County Sportsplex in high school.

My coaches seeded everyone really fast so that we would be in the faster heat.  The first heat went off, and we did strides while we waited.  It was my first time wearing buns!

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We lined up and the gun went off.  I knew I was going way faster than I’d be able to keep up, but I just settled in and decided to enjoy it even though I knew I was going to die.  By lap 5, the bothersome pain that had been bugging one of my legs decided to flare up exponentially worse.  Both of my legs were on fire.  It felt like my shins were being ripped apart, and the feeling was getting worse every lap.  I tried to ignore it and focused on working with one of my teammates, and we came through the mile in 5:33.  The next seven laps were a struggle, and I didn’t realize it at the time, but yes, I ended up running in last.  Oh, well!

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The burning in my shins was horrid by the end of the race, but I finished in 10:47.  Not a terrible time for my first race in uniform!  I know I’m in much better shape than that, though.  After the race, I cooled down, then iced my shins for awhile, then gorged myself on Panera and chocolate chip cookies.

This break from running has been good to my legs so far, and I’m looking forward to getting back into training and doing all the little things that I’ve slightly neglected recently.  I love running.  I love indoor track.  I am so excited to race again. 🙂