My first DNF

This morning, I started my first 5k on the track (if you don’t count a random one I ran sophomore year of high school in a solid time of over 20 minutes).

I also failed to finish my first 5k on the track.

It took 19 years, but I’ve officially DNFed a race.

Honestly, I knew two days ago that I wasn’t going to finish (or maybe even start) this race. Since scratching the 1500 last weekend because I had been sick for a week and a half, I struggled through another week of training while feeling less than stellar.   I wasn’t sleeping and was up half the night coughing up a lung. I finally went back to the student health center on Thursday morning and was pretty much diagnosed with bronchitis. I started taking prednisone and an inhaler on Thursday, and my cough got better relatively quickly, but unfortunately I started experiencing myriad other pleasant side effects: nausea, really bad bloating, some bathroom issues…the works.

On Thursday, we did our traditional light pre-meet workout of a warm-up, 8 x 200 in spikes with 200m jog, and a cool down. It felt like shit. I was running 35-37 for the 200s which should’ve felt like easy pick-ups, but I couldn’t go any faster for the life of me. I started crying to my coach later because I was so frustrated. We had a conversation Friday morning that was pretty therapeutic (there’s been other stuff going on in my life in addition to running going poorly/being sick). She suggested that maybe we just take the opportunity this weekend to travel and race the first 3k of the 5k, depending on how I was feeling.

The side effects of the drugs continued to affect me throughout Friday. We left on Friday morning and did a shakeout run once we got there, and it felt okay. Not great. We ate a late dinner on Friday night and woke up early on Saturday for the 9:15 am race.

I felt terrible. Hopefully this isn’t TMI, but I couldn’t go to the bathroom. Still felt abnormally crappy- I literally almost started walking on our warm-up. Unfortunately, I didn’t see my coach between warm-up and race time, so I wasn’t able to communicate how I was feeling. At this point I knew it wouldn’t be pretty. We did skips, strides, took our sweats off, and lined up on the line.

The gun went off, and our assigned pace of 83 seconds per lap (5:32 mile pace) felt deadly right away. By lap 2 or 3, I was probably in last, and I made angry/sad eye contact with my coach on every lap. When we came through 1000m with the sign that said “10 laps to go”, I almost laughed. There was no way I was doing 10 more laps. Physically, I was not in it. Mentally, I was absolutely not in it. After a little over a mile, my coach said, “Do you want to go through 3k?” and I said yes.

So I went through 3k. I probably came through in like 11 minutes or something before jogging off the track. First time I’ve ever experienced the pity-filled “good job” as I plodded off the track while the race kept going…

Depressing.

Oh, well.

I cheered on my teammates until they finished and then went off on my own for the cool down per my coach’s instructions. There were tears. There was a phone call to my mom. It wasn’t pretty.

The medicine I’m on has me feeling like a bloated, gravity-loving elephant, so that’s unfortunate. I am spending the rest of today eating my feelings (so far, a burger, sweet potato fries, and a jam-filled cookie have happened) before hopping back on the dedication train tomorrow. Once I finish the medication (I’ll probably stop on Monday), I am hoping that all of this will clear up and I will feel like myself again. I would love for running to feel normal again ASAP!

I’m feeling a little guilty because I’m racing the 5k at conferences in two weeks and, as of now, I have not finished a 5k. I’m feeling undeserving and embarrassed and frustrated.

So that’s where I’m at right now.

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Things you should (and shouldn’t) do as a sick runner

(I actually wrote this on Tuesday…please don’t mind my procrastinatory self)

Hello friends!  I’m typing up this blog post surrounded by a box of tissues, honey lemon cough drops, tea, Mucinex, and Robitussin.  Fun times 😉

What I thought were allergies actually turned out to be a really bad cold, which has gotten progressively worse since last Thursday.  I’ve got a disgusting cough, nasty congestion, fatigue…the works.  I haven’t really been able to taste food in days.  It’s depressing.

After my scheduled off day on Saturday, I took Sunday completely off (no long run), cross trained for 45 minutes yesterday, and ran 5.5ish miles today.  I coughed up a storm the whole time, which was highly annoying because my legs felt great!  All I want to do is run!

That being said, obviously I have to be smart about this… Skipping a few days of training/workouts is better in the long run than trying to suffer through a hard track workout while coughing up a lung and ending up worse off.

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My view all day Sunday: the string lights next to my bed

Things to do as a runner when sick (at least in my uncredentialed opinion):

  • DO sleep a lot.  On Sunday, I woke up to do my long run, realized I felt awful, texted my coach, took some medicine, and promptly slept until 11 am.  Took another nap at 5 after watching Scandal all afternoon.  Productivity 😉
  • DO NOT stress too much about the food you’re eating.  I need to keep this in mind because I’ve been stressing a little too much.  When you’re sick, you’re not going to crave lean proteins and necessarily be able to eat a ton of veggies.  Sometimes you need lots of toast and canned soup.  A few days of less-than-stellar nutrition won’t hurt, and you’ll get back on track once you feel better.
  • (same train of thought) DO NOT limit calories.  Your body works harder when you’re sick; therefore, you should be fueling more, not less.  It’s always hard when you cut down immensely on the exercise, but your body needs extra fuel to recover in a timely manner.
  • DO sneak in schoolwork whenever you can.  If you randomly feel better for 20 minutes, do some homework so you don’t have to worry about it during the periods when you feel sicker.
  • (But on the other hand) DO relax.  If you just feel shitty the entire day, don’t stress about work!  Go ahead and rest!  Journal, binge watch Scandal on Netflix, play piano, read a book, take more naps.  Pretty much sums up my Sunday.  And Monday.

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I didn’t leave my dorm until 12:30 today and ate lunch in my room.  Going off of the third and fourth bullet points above, I’ve been more lax about the foods I’ve been putting in my body for the past few days.  I wanted some chicken noodle soup…who cares about the 1,200 milligrams of sodium 😉 I was just happy I could taste it!  Also had sugar snap peas, roasted butternut squash, a spelt English muffin with peanut butter, and grapefruit.

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I also discovered the dark chocolate mocha almond flavor KIND bar since I felt like I needed some more snacks to keep my energy level up over the past few days, and can I just say…I love it??

Anyway, hopefully I get better soon.  I’m scheduled to race the 1500 this weekend, but I’m not sure that’s going to end up happening.  Next weekend (the 5k) is more important, so that’s what I’m focused on right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TGIF

It’s Friday!!

Or rather…it’s not even 10 pm on a Friday night and I’m in my bed drinking chamomile tea, wearing fuzzy socks, and listening to peaceful piano music after returning from a Trader Joe’s trip.

Sometimes you just need these nights.  Especially because last night, I went to a concert and danced a little too hard and temporarily went a little deaf!

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Anyway, this week’s training has been good so far!  Nutrition has been pretty much par for the course: not stellar, not horrible.  I did eat a fair amount of ice cream…


 

For Tuesday’s workout, we traveled to a nearby campground, and I did a 3 mile warm-up, 5 mile progression run, and 2 mile cool down for a total of 10 miles.  I don’t know what all of my splits were for the progression run since I didn’t look at my watch the entire workout and fell off the group in the second half, but I think the first three miles were roughly 6:40, 6:28, 6:10 and my total time was 31:38 (6:19 average pace).  Even though I fell off the group, it was still a solid workout.

After 19 years spent priding myself in the fact that I have zero allergies, the fact that I now go to college in a pollen-covered swamp has finally hit me, and I’ve been quite miserable the past few days.  Runny nose, congestion through the roof, and today I could barely breathe without coughing.  We had a track workout today, and during the warm-up, it burned every time I took a breath.  My legs felt fine, but breathing was another matter…

The workout actually went surprisingly smoothly given my inability to breathe.  I was blowing my nose on my sports bra and coughing and probably grossing out every single one of my teammates, but we hit the paces fine.

The workout: 3 x 1000m at threshold pace (3:33ish, or 5:40 mile pace), 1 x 1000m “controlled all-out”, 1 x 1000m back at threshold pace, 5 x 200m.  90 seconds after most of the 1000s, 3 minutes after the “all-out” one, and 60 seconds between the 200s.

My splits: 3:34, 3:32, 3:36, 3:23, 3:34, 36, 35, 36, 34, 35

I was a little mentally negative during this workout, which I shouldn’t’ve been, but it’s done and I can’t change it now.  After our cool down, we did a leg lift, stretched, and ice bathed.  Afterwards, a bunch of us went to Zoe’s Kitchen for dinner!

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I had never been to Zoe’s Kitchen, but it was adorable and I really like it!  I got the salmon kabobs and also had some pita and pesto hummus.  The pesto hummus was amazing.

We also went to a cupcake shop before stocking up at Trader Joe’s and The Vitamin Shoppe.  I got the “chocoholic” cupcake (shocker, I know), and it was very good 🙂

As I mentioned before, this week had a fair amount of treats in it, although I don’t actually feel too bad about that.  Ice cream Sunday, ice cream Monday, and then it was my friend’s birthday on Tuesday so of course we had to celebrate with ice cream!  Then the cupcake today.  Oh, well.  Life is about balance and moderation.  I’ve been playing the piano a lot more recently, and it’s been very therapeutic for the most part.  Running has been going well this week, and aside from yoga, I have a complete off day tomorrow!

I can’t believe my freshman year of college will be over in a month.  It seems like I just got here yesterday!  Second semester has definitely been less “honeymoon-period”-y than first semester, but I don’t want to leave.

Race weekend!

This past weekend was one of the most fun/tiring/instructive weekends of college.  We hosted a very large meet Thursday through Saturday.

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When you’ve essentially been at a track meet for 60 hours and also you’re freezing

Thursday was the 3k!  All day Thursday I was feeling great about my fitness level and excited to run the 3k… but as soon as I walked into the locker room about two hours before my race…BAM.  Nerves.  This was one of the worst cases I’d ever had.

Some of my older, faster teammates noticed that I was looking a little petrified.  “Trust your training,” one said.  “You’re in really good shape right now.”

In a perfect world, I wanted to get the junior nationals qualifier of 10:10.  My “B” goal was to PR (sub-10:22), and my “C” goal was to give 100% of whatever I had that day.  My coach had said that in a workout last Friday, and it really stuck with me.

I warmed up and went through the pre-race rituals of putting on my uniform, tying my ribbons, lacing up the spikes, getting the hip numbers, drills, strides, the whole shebang.  Then my coach turned to me and said, “I want you to go through the mile at your mile PR.”

Okay then.

We lined up at the start, the gun went off, and a 38-year-old woman rocketed to the lead.  We passed the 200 in 36 seconds and the 400 in 75 seconds.

Yeah.

Sooo that kind of screwed me over for the rest of the race.  I passed the mile in 5:20 and got slower and slower each lap 😉 My splits are very embarrassing, but here they are:

36, 1:18, 1:20, 1:23, 1:25, 1:28, 1:29, 1:21 = 10:24

The last 1200 meters were a solid death march filled with lactic acid, but I somehow got through it and was only two seconds off the time I ran two weeks ago.  At least my last lap wasn’t above 90 or something!  I KNOW that with slightly better pacing and a less erratic, nerve-filled start, I can run in the 10:teens at least.

I had a recovery day Friday before racing the 4×1500 on Saturday.  On Saturday, we woke up early, watched some early morning 5ks, ran our shakeout in the pouring rain, and got ready for the 4:30 pm race.

We ran an “A” relay and a “B” relay consisting of all freshmen.  I anchored the B relay.  It was my first 1500 and my first relay in almost a year!  There were significantly fewer nerves for this race, and I was pumped.  The first three legs were all tired from their race the night before, so I received the baton pretty far back.  I went out hard, tried to hold it in the middle, and kicked hard to the finish.  My split was 4:51, which converts to right around 5:10 for the mile- faster than my (slow) PR of 5:15!

The 1500 was sooo much more fun than the 3k!  Why do I have to be better at longer distances!? 😉

Many of my teammates had excellent performances.  It’s exciting to see the team collectively improve after an indoor season marred by injury and weirdly serious illnesses like bronchitis, pneumonia, and mono.

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Sunday was pretty low-key.  Among other things, I did some Econ homework in my favorite coffee place after my recovery run, did laundry, played piano, baked a sweet potato, and bought a pint of Ben and Jerry’s brownie batter core to celebrate a weekend of racing!!

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If dreams could be incarnated in food form, they would appear as this pint.  Oh my lord.  This was the most amazing ice cream combination I think I’ve ever had.

Anyway. A crazy race, a fun race, and two weeks of training to go before my next race (an open 1500).