One of my top 5 hardest workouts

(OK, I actually did write this post this morning; I just forgot to publish it.)

Good morning!  It’s a beautiful spring day, I just finished my 3-mile double, and I thought I’d talk about Tuesday’s track workout while I eat a lovely breakfast of Greek yogurt, Wawa coffee, oatmeal with apple/chia seeds/almond butter/cinnamon, and of course my daily multivitamin.  No class until 12:30. 🙂

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Oatmeal is THE ugliest food ever but still so good

All right!  Tuesday’s workout…Let’s just say I have no trouble recalling the experience because my body still despises me two days later.

The (good? bad?) thing about getting fitter and faster is that your coaches will adjust your workout paces accordingly.  On Tuesday, I was put in sort of a new workout group.  We went out for our 3 mile warm-up and then did drills and strides before our coach told us the workout.

5 x 400 at 77-75 seconds, 4 x 800 at 2:38, 4-5 x 400 at 77-75 seconds

*Dies*

What actually happened: 5 x 400 at 76-75 seconds, 3 x 800 at 2:43, 2:47, 2:48, 1 x 600 at 2:04, 4 x 400 at 78, 77, 76, 76

By the time the first 5 x 400 was over, it felt like I’d already done an entire workout, and we were less than 1/3 done.  Our coach told us to hit 79 for each lap of the 800s (um, what), but I’m pretty sure the only time I ran 79 was the first lap of the first 800.  Each one after that got slower and slower.  And they were still fairly faster than I’m used to!  By the third 800, my legs were immovable logs and I was pretending the 800s were 600s because the last 200 doesn’t matter amirite 😉  So I’d get to 600m and then just death-march the last 200.  My coach modified my 4th 800 to a 600 (bless).

Am I being dramatic?

For the last set of 400s, she had us do the first two backwards on the track, which was pretty weird.  I led the last three 400s and at that point I was just riding the pain train home.  We hit 78, 77, 76, and 76.

After a 3 mile cool down in which we were so destroyed that we were babbling nonsensically, we completed a leg lift and then stretched, rolled, and ice bathed.

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Choosing my post-workout treat was hard (I chose a truffle)

The next morning, my roommate and I both woke up to cross train, fairly hobbled to the rec, and I sat at the edge of the pool for a little bit because I just could. not. get. in. Everything hurt.  I felt like a zombie.  But this is the work that will give us an edge in future races!

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In my meeting with my coach yesterday, she brought up a really good point (see above).  I’m at an entirely new fitness level for myself right now.  While the paces she gives me may sound scary, she gives them to me because she thinks/knows I can hit them.  Just because I’ve never run that fast before doesn’t mean I can’t do them now.  I need to work on believing in myself in races and in workouts when I get to the point where I can either make a move or stay where I am.  In this new fitness territory, it’s all about confidence!

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Outdoor season opener: 3k PR (10:22.00)

Yesterday was my first collegiate outdoor meet!  It was a home invitational, which was super convenient because my dorm is a 5-minute walk from the track and our locker room was literally 20 seconds away.  Everything was right where we needed it to be!

The night before the race, I fueled up with grilled chicken, whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce, a giant salad, and pineapple-glazed carrots.

My race day breakfast of choice was oatmeal with almond butter/cinnamon/chia seeds/raspberries/bananas, plain Greek yogurt, Wawa coffee, and a multivitamin.

 

I ran the 3k along with like 15 other teammates.  The race was at 2:50, so I did my shakeout run at 7:30, ate breakfast (and drank too much Wawa coffee…) at 8:30, lunch at 11:30, watched my friends race the 1500 at 11:45, and headed over to the track for good around 1:15.

We warmed up for 20 minutes and did drills and strides on the infield.  A lot of people scratched, so they combined the 2 heats into one.  We lined up on the starting line, the gun went off, and we were off!

I didn’t feel great from the beginning, but I didn’t feel horrible either.  Honestly, I think it took me awhile to get mentally into the race because on lap 3 I could’ve sworn we were on lap 4, and I was not happy when I realized we still had over a mile to go.

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There wasn’t a clock so I have no idea what any of my splits were.  (Actually, I know my second lap was an 80.  That’s it.)  Oh, well.  Three of my teammates and I worked together for about a mile, and then with 600 to go we really started kicking it in.  I entered the last lap a little ahead of one of my teammates who has a great kick and we battled it out for 300 meters… she ended up outkicking me, but I was happy that I stayed with her and had a pretty strong kick!

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My finishing time was 10:22.00, which was a PR by over ten seconds!  I’m so excited.  That’s 25 seconds down since December and 10 seconds faster than last month.  It converts to roughly 11:04 for 3200, which is over 15 seconds faster than what I ran in high school!IMG_0827.PNG

After the race, we did a workout and a leg lift before stretching, rolling, and ice bathing.  Afterwards, I went out to dinner with my mom and grandma, who had come down to watch me race!

Amazing post-race dinner: steak with Merlot butter, sweet potato fries, and grilled zucchini.IMG_0829.JPG

Followed by the most decadent flourless chocolate cake I’ve ever had.  Paired with vanilla ice cream, strawberries, and cream, this cake was literally a truffle in cake form. IMG_0831.JPG

After not getting very much sleep last night, I woke up this morning, ate a bagel and a clementine, and ran 9 miles to shake out my legs from the race.

My mileage this week was about 49 miles, one mile short of 50 but still the highest mileage I’ve ever run in my life!  And I feel great!!

My mom brought down leftover corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes from their Saint Patrick’s Day dinner, so I devoured all of it after my MR+ today.

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Not the prettiest but SO GOOD (I had two plates…)

The past day after the race has been filled with extremely good food and a distinct lack of sleep, but it’s completely fine to indulge for a day after a race.  Once this weekend ends, it’s back to the grind of healthy food, sleep, midterms, etc. #balance

I’m so excited for the rest of the outdoor season.  I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, and all the hard work we’ve been doing day in and day out is paying off.  Hopefully, injury and illness don’t butt in.  While bad races await me just as good races do, I’ll take it all as long as it pays off in the long run.  All I want to do is contribute to my team.

Kickass track workout (+ macronutrient update)

GuEsS wHaT!  I had an amazing track workout today.

The workout:

  • 3 mile warm-up, dynamic drills, strides
  • 5 x 1000m, 5 x 400m progressively faster with 2 minutes rest
  • 3 mile cool down
  • leg lift

I hit 3:40, 3:39, 3:39, 3:38, 3:37 for the 1000s and then ran 81, 79, 77, 75, 73.9 for the 400s.  It. Was. Awesome!  The weather was pretty much perfect, and I felt really good throughout the whole workout, and my roommate and I twinned.IMG_4156.jpg

I think being back on campus with the whole team really helped everybody out today.  Running last week was sub-par, and my workouts were trash.  I arrived back on campus on Sunday morning and did eleven miles by myself on some of the sidewalks and trails in the area.  It was a decent solo run, even though I cheated and brought my iPod for some jams.

Just being in a workout group today, with the coaches on the track and the whole team working so hard, made it so much easier and more fun to get through the whole workout.  Everyone was super supportive of each other, it was 70 degrees and sunny, and we finally have most of the team working out and/or getting healthy after an indoor season plagued by injury and illness.  Our first outdoor meet is this Saturday, and we’re all working toward a common goal.

Days like today don’t come around that often, but it was a great first workout back on campus.  I adore being on campus and being in a routine with the whole team here.  I don’t want to go home for the summer! 😉

Tangentially, we’re going to take a minute to admire my new nut butter acquisitions.  I went a little bit crazy over spring break.  Some of it was on sale, okay…

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Tragically, I left the maple almond butter and vanilla almond butter at home.  But the chocolate coconut peanut butter, which I’d never had before either, is holy-crap-amazing.  I am partial to just plain creamy unsalted almond butter and peanut butter, though.  Why mess with a good thing?

Also, since I like to be relatively transparent, here’s my nutrition update:  I have been roughly tracking my macronutrients recently.  Our coach had a talk with us last month about the “right” carbohydrate-fat-protein ratio and how we should be consuming 40% carbs, 30% fat, and 30% protein.  Well, I tried that- or at least, I tried 45% carbs, 30% fat, and 25% protein because I couldn’t quite make myself hit 40-30-30- and yeah, I don’t think it’s for me.  My energy levels were in the toilet (which was also probably due to upping my training intensity at the same time I decreased carbs and increased protein).

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Some kick-ass steak and chicken kebabs from last week

Macronutrient percentages are not a one-size-fits-all type of deal.  Not all athletes thrive on 40-30-30.   I changed mine to about 50% carbs, 30% fat, and 20% protein, and that’s been working a lot better for me.  Remember, this is just a rough estimate.  Some days, I do end up with a 40-30-30 balance.  Other days I eat 35% fats because #peanutbutter.  Some days (like today!) close to 60% of my calories come from carbohydrates because a) all the food in the caf sucked so I had pasta and salad all day and b) uh, all I craved after today’s workout were fruits and vegetables (aka carbs!!)

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Anyway, that’s my nutrition update!  Lesson- don’t stress about hitting macronutrient goals because your body needs will fluctuate to go along with your physical activity.

As I mentioned before, our first outdoor meet is this weekend!  I’m running the 3k on Saturday, and today’s workout was a nice confidence booster for the race.  Towards the end of last week, I was feeling very negative and not “race ready”, but there’s not too much pressure for this race since it’s an outdoor rust-buster.

Silver diner, spaghetti squash, Squarebars!

This is a more positive, mostly food-related post 🙂

My meals have been on point recently.  I’ve also been waking up at 5:30 or 6 every day (usually not by choice), which makes the days feel really long.  Like, ready-for-lunch-by-9:30-am-and-bed-by-9-pm long.

Anyway, I decided to indulge yesterday because balance is very important.   Another sunny 80-degree day (which I enjoyed more because I didn’t have to run) brought a morning walk with the dog, a 3,000 meter swim in the pool (phew), and an afternoon with one of my good friends (shoutout to her because I know she reads this blog!).

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Lunch was absolutely delicious: tomato-mozzarella-pesto sandwich, sweet potato fries, and coleslaw.  I also ordered coffee..which I’ve been drinking a lot more recently…ahhh!

Afterwards, we drove out to a nature preserve and went on a mini hike and enjoyed the good weather.

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My friends have recently been singing praises for Halo Top ice cream, so I stopped by Whole Foods later in the day to pick some up.  I was really skeptical because ice cream is supposed to be unhealthy- that’s why it’s so good- and I’m not a big proponent of sugar alcohols such as erythritol.  But the rest of the ingredients list was impressive, and I read reviews beforehand so I knew I wasn’t falling for some nasty healthy-food scam 😉  I picked up a pint of vanilla bean Halo Top, along with a few other items because you really can’t just get one thing at Whole Paycheck Whole Foods.

Once I got home, I immediately tried the ice cream.  On a scale of 1-10, 1 being nauseating and 10 being just as good as Ben and Jerry’s, I’d honestly give it a 7!  It was impressively creamy, although not *quite* as creamy as regular ice cream.  The vanilla bean flavor was on point, and it was a refreshing treat after the 80-degree hike.  Unfortunately, it’s expensive ($5.99!), so I don’t think I’ll be buying it a lot.  But it was definitely good!

I ate the chocolate coated almond spice Squarebar today, and it was so good.  I don’t even know why I liked it so much, but I did.  I saved half for after my afternoon run, and I actually thought about it the whole run.  10/10 would recommend.  It was pretty much a candy bar, but with 12 grams of protein!

Another “treat”: a few nights ago, I made energy bites!  I went off of this recipe, but as long as you have oats, nut butter, and something to bind them (like chia or flax seeds), you can pretty much add in anything you want!

Ingredients: oats, pumpkin, almond butter, cinnamon, chia seeds, vanilla, maple syrup, almonds, craisins, and bittersweet chocolate chips.  They’re chewy and cookie-dough-like, and they’re utterly delicious.

Additionally, my new running shoes arrived 🙂

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My team is sponsored by New Balance, but I’ve tried running in multiple different NB models so far, and none of them have worked for me.  The apparel is great, the spikes are great…I just can’t run in the trainers!  So I’m sticking with Mizuno for the time being.

Today, I actually had a running double (as opposed to a cross train/run double)!  I ran 3 miles in the morning and did my upper body strength routine, and then in the afternoon I ran 6 miles and did strides.  Honestly, I had negative thoughts about my second run all day until I actually did it, and then it turned out to be a really good run!  It was still 80 degrees and humid, though.

I made dinner for my brothers and myself tonight: spaghetti squash and sauteed shrimp, zucchini, red bell pepper, spinach, and garlic in olive oil.  And Prego because I’m not that fancy 😉

The finished product (sorry for the shitty quality; the lighting in my house is bad and I’m not exactly a pro photographer)

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This is probably one of the best meals I’ve ever made.  It was my first time making spaghetti squash, and it turned out so well!!  I ate two full bowls, and now I’m ridiculously full.  Good, wholesome, nutrient-packed foods make me so happy.  My youngest brother even liked it a lot, although my other younger brother stuck to white pasta and tomato sauce…oh well…

Time to eat some more vanilla bean Halo Top for dessert 🙂

How do we handle bad days?

Damn, my last post was so optimistic and positive!  Sorry in advance for the negativity today, but I hope I can come to some good conclusions.

On Monday, I ran six miles with my friend, and we hammered.  We were hitting 7:00 flat.  I was not recovering from my long run.  I skipped the strides just because they didn’t fit in to where I had run, and I did upper body circuits and abs when I got home.  I’ve recently been really into Siggi’s yogurt, and I tried the orange and ginger flavor for post-run fuel.  It was incredible.IMG_8687.JPG

Yesterday started out mediocre and turned horrible, both running and otherwise.  After some emotionally traumatizing family issues last night, I went to bed emotionally and physically exhausted, slept badly and wasn’t particularly in the mood to work out.  The temperature rocketed up to a sunny 80 degrees (what happened to last Friday’s ice storm??), I sat in the car for two hours while taking my mom to the airport, and I was annoyed at having to bear more responsibility for my brothers and the house this week.  Not an ideal way to get ready for a workout.

The workout was simple: 4 x 1600m at 6:00-6:10 with 1 minute recovery.  I warmed up for 20 minutes, did drills and strides, and started the workout.  My first 1600 was a 6:06 and felt fine, although once I stopped, my heart was pounding really hard.  I took 90 seconds and started the second 1600.  This one was immediately bad; my legs wouldn’t move, I was nauseous due to the heat and got even more upset because of that, and it escalated.  I think I hit like a 6:35 or 6:40.

I called my coach, and she told me to get off the track and do a fartlek of 4-3-2-2-1-1 minutes with half-time recovery.  I ran 5 minutes to the bike path and did the fartlek, but I could tell early on that the heat was really getting to me.  (Remember how much trouble I had once it started getting warmer last year?)  After barely completing the second 2-minute interval, I cut off the 1 minute intervals and jogged back to the track.  Guzzled water and jogged a 1.5 mile cool down for a total of 9ish miles today.

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I only had time for 5 minutes of lunges and squats and no stretching before I had to get in the car and go pick up my brother.  I wolfed down a cookies and cream Quest bar, hopped on the highway, and sat in front of his school for 20 minutes with no one answering their phones before I learned that he was at home the whole time!  So I was sedentary for 50 minutes right after a horrible workout for no reason.  My mood worsened.  I sped out of the middle school and stretched and took an ice bath the second I got home.

Anyway, yesterday was definitely not the best day.  But it’s important to stay positive.  I’ve already recognized the factors contributing to the shitty day: heat, hammering my maintenance run yesterday, sitting in the car, emotional trouble, etc.  But hey, at least I got some work in!  Even if it wasn’t quality work.  And I’ve been doing really well with balancing mostly quality foods with rare indulgences recently, and I’ll continue to drink lots of water, and try to get some sleep and recover well so that the next workout is better.

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We can’t control everything, and sometimes things just don’t go our way.  But we can make sure to do well at the things we can control: fueling properly, going to bed at a reasonable time, staying off of social media (I need to work on this!), and working through our emotions (I need to work on this, too!)  I’m a little bitter that this spring break isn’t going to be as “spring break”-y because I’m essentially stuck babysitting my brothers all week, but I need to get over that and focus on everything I’m lucky to have.

Last night’s dinner of leftover butternut squash/kale/Gruyere casserole, roasted pork, roasted sweet potatoes with cinnamon and coconut oil, and (unpictured) mini heirloom tomatoes cheered me up slightly 🙂

Training recap (2/22-3/6)

I may have given myself mild hypothermia from my post-long run ice bath today.

Oops.

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Anyway, as I sit here drinking hot tea huddled in blankets with the heater going full blast, I’ll recap the past two weeks 😉

Finally, finally, finally after a rollercoaster month of inconsistent training, I’ve been able to complete two weeks of “normal” training.  My body is feeling it…but that’s a good thing.

Week of 2/22-2/28:

Monday: 6 miles, drills, strides, upper body lift
Tuesday: 20 minute warm-up, drills, strides, fartlek (8 x [2:00h, 1:00e, 1:00h, :30e]), 15 min cool down, lower body lift (Total = 10 miles)
Wednesday: 60 min stationary bike
Thursday: AM: 40 min elliptical.  PM: 6 miles, drills, strides, upper body lift, yoga
Friday: drills, 10 min run, 33 min progression run, 10 min run, 4 x 400m w/ 200m jog, 15 min cool down (Total = 11 miles)
Saturday: 3 miles
Sunday: 11 miles

Total: 47 miles, 100 min XT

Week of 2/29-3/6:

Monday: 6 miles, drills, strides, upper body lift
Tuesday: 20 min warm-up, drills, strides, [2 x 1200m 4:42, 4:38, 2 x 800m 2:53, 2:54, 6 x 400m 80, 80, 78, 77, 76, 74], 23 min cool down, lower body lift (Total = 10 miles)
Wednesday: 60 min XT pool (30 swim, 30 aqua jog)
Thursday: AM: 40 min stationary bike.  PM: 6 miles, drills, strides, upper body lift, yoga
Friday: 21 min warm-up, 4 mile pace run (6:35, 6:33, 6:22, 6:23), 24 min cool down, lower body lift (Total = 10 miles)
Saturday: 25 min stationary bike, core, push-ups
Sunday: 11 miles

Total: 43 miles, 125 min XT


Three cheers for real training!  Putting in the work makes me satiated like nothing else.  I was exhausted at the end of last week but less exhausted this week (although this morning’s long run is starting to hit me…)

Last week’s long run was actually horrible; I felt shitty right from the get-go but struggled through by myself while progressively feeling worse the whole run.  This week’s long run was a lot better: I ran a somewhat erratically paced 5 miles with a friend from high school and then 6 miles by myself.  My iPod died after 6 minutes by myself, though!

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I sped up once I was on my own…miles 7 and 8 were uber hilly

This week’s workouts were really solid.  Tuesday was my first full track workout in seven weeks, and even though I didn’t feel amazing, it was thrilling to be completely back on the track.  Friday’s workout was “on your own”, so my friend and I headed out at 7 am in the middle of a freezing rain storm.  Ice pellets were literally stinging our faces to the point where we couldn’t open our eyes during the warm-up, but the workout itself was not bad.  For the conditions, it was a strong effort.

Knock on wood, I’m feeling good about my fitness level.  My first outdoor race (the 3k) is in a little less than two weeks, and I want to be ready.  I’m still not sure if I’ll be focusing on the 1500-3k or 3k-5k this spring, but I am open to whatever my coaches want me to do.

One of the perks of being home is the farmer’s market right down the street, so of course I stopped by before the long run.  Stocked up on butternut squash, spaghetti squash, pink lady and goldrush apples, and kale!

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And for my post-long run lunch, I had Siggi’s blueberry yogurt, a piece of 80% dark chocolate, an apple with peanut butter, and the same quinoa and chili I had for lunch yesterday!

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The afternoon has been filled with more house moving related activities, and now it’s time for a nap.  In addition to training this week, I’ll hopefully be doing fun DC activities and road trip adventures!

Dear 14-year-old me, what were you thinking?

It’s been a long day.  I woke up naturally at 5:30 am (for some reason I’ve been doing that every day this week) and couldn’t fall back asleep.  So I got out of bed, finished packing to leave campus, ate breakfast, and did various chores until we left at 7:45.  Arrived home around 10:30, immediately started packing up boxes of my belongings because we’re moving houses, went to the carpet store and other various errands, and went to the community center to cross train and got kicked out for skate night.  Luckily, Saturdays are my recovery days, and I only had 30 minutes of cross training OR 3 miles on my schedule.  I managed to do 25 minutes on the bike before I got kicked out, so I did some push-ups and 10 minutes of core when I got home.

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Perks of being home: Homemade chili and quinoa for lunch

Aaaanyway, I’m happy to be home for spring break, even though it’s kind of weird because we’re in the midst of packing the house up to move in a week and a half.

Speaking of which, as I was packing my entire life collection of books and old schoolwork into boxes this afternoon, I came across a gem; in the summer of 2011, 14-year-old me kept a food journal.

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I was appalled.  Reading the log actually made me nauseous.  And I’m not saying that from some superiority/runner/health point of view.  I had ginger ale five times in one day on August 8th!  Anyone would think that is disgusting.

It wasn’t like that was a one-day thing, either.  Every single day, I recorded multiple decadent treats: “Afternoon snack: chili, pasta salad, lemonade, brownie, cookie, truffle, Popsicle.”  I am not making this up.  Every breakfast was Nutella something, three sugary drinks a day, multiple desserts.  Little to no fruits or vegetables.  My sugar consumption must have been through the roof.  How I was not obese or diabetic, god only knows.

Can we take a moment to also thank puberty?

Transforming my diet was a multi-year learning process that definitely took a lot of willpower and mistakes.  And I absolutely still have a long way to go.  But just for comparison to my 2011 self, today I ate:

  • Breakfast (7 am): oatmeal with almond butter, apple, chia seeds, and cinnamon; plain Greek yogurt with banana
  • Morning snack (10:30 am): celery and banana with peanut butter, plain Greek yogurt with blueberries
  • Lunch (12:30 pm): homemade chili (with ground beef, corn, beans, tomato, etc.) with quinoa
  • Afternoon/evening snack (3 and 5 pm): 1/2 grapefruit, banana, Siggi’s raspberry yogurt
  • Dinner (7 pm): chicken pasta primavera with asparagus, spinach, pesto, and tomatoesIMG_8656.JPG

Today’s eating wasn’t even that great, but it was exponentially better than five years ago (except oops, I eat a ton of yogurt…#addiction).  And when I’m at school, I naturally make a spinach salad with almost every lunch and dinner.  Without even thinking about it anymore, I naturally gravitate away from processed foods (except for, like, bread).

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Yesterday’s lunch: salad + flatbread with turkey, provolone, avocado, tomato, and lettuce

When I was fourteen, I probably couldn’t have ever imagined not eating Nutella 3 times a day.  Klondike bars and sugary drinks were also staples.  Vegetables were a punishment.  Now, I can’t imagine eating anything I was eating back then on a regular basis.  This didn’t happen overnight.  But it did happen, and that’s what matters.

I’ll recap the past couple weeks of training tomorrow!