Thanksgiving and last week of classes!

Merry Tuesday!  Sorry I haven’t written in a couple weeks.  I’m done with class for today and am spending the rest of this rainy afternoon in our library coffee shop enjoying peppermint tea and a cranberry scone.  I just finished my last accounting problem set and gender reading notes, and I got an A on a Spanish paper, so I’m going to take a break to write a post 🙂

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I took a week completely off from running and ran every other day last week for a grand total of seventeen miles, along with some intermittent core routines and a yoga session.  It was great to go home for Thanksgiving break; I got to see family and lots of friends and spend five whole days doing no work whatsoever!

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We spent Thanksgiving dinner at a family friends’ house.  Didn’t eat until 8 pm because we couldn’t interrupt the football game!! (I’m still salty the Redskins lost.)  But dinner was worth the wait.

We spent the meal saying what we were thankful for.  I’m thankful for a supportive, mildly crazy family;the ability to go to a wonderful school; my friends, teammates, coaches, professors, and dentists (haha); good food; and many other things.  Our family friends’ adorable 4-year-old son kept putting in his two cents throughout dinner: “I’m thankful for Mom and pizza and Dad and chicken!”

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My (yes, younger) brother also deigned to take a picture with me!  Will wonders never cease? He makes me look so short…

 

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I also got to see my three best friends from high school!  One of them goes to West Point, so I hadn’t seen her since June!

My friend convinced me to brave the Black Friday madness, so he and I spent 3 hours at the biggest mall in the area in the middle of the day.  RIP to my bank account– but at least I got lots of Christmas presents for friends and family!

Even with all the fun reunions and family gatherings, I experienced abnormal depression intermittently throughout the entire break.  It was strange and a little scary.  I think the combination of being home for a short vacation as a college student, not running, some family issues, and social issues made for a tenuous emotional situation.  I could physically feel myself getting happier on the train ride back to campus on Sunday night.  I do love being home, but I think at this point, I love being at school more 🙂

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Who wouldn’t love it here?

Speaking of school, this week marks the end of classes, followed by two weeks of finals!  I have a pretty solid finals schedule, and I’m going to try to maintain healthy (physical and emotional) study habits throughout.  I might expand upon this later!

We’re starting to gradually build our mileage back up this week but keeping all of our runs at maintenance pace.  You never realize how much running keeps you stable until you’re forced to go without it for a little while 😉  I’m keeping it low for a little while (around 28 this week) before increasing over the next few weeks until I’m back at 55-60ish.  We’ll start workouts after Christmas, and our first race will be after we get back from winter break in mid-January.  I was going to write my track goals, but this post is already pretty long, so I’ll do that for the next post!  For now, I’ll just keep enjoying shorter maintenance runs and the lovely aches and pains that come after time off… 🙂

PS: 26 days until Christmas!!

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1,291 miles: Reflections

But first: this happened yesterday!

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I used to donate my hair all the time, but I took a break for about five years.  Figured it was about time again 🙂

We met for practice this afternoon as usual, but going for a run was optional.  After our two-lap warm-up, hurdle drills, and speed ladder, I figured, “Why not?” and went for a lovely three miles to end the season.

Oh my gosh.  Time to reflect on the best season of my life.

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The numbers: May 16th to November 14th

  • I ran 1,291 miles (approximately).
  • Cross trained for 12 hours and 40 minutes.
  • Ran more than 50 miles per week for 20 straight weeks.
  • 14 complete rest days.

The details: 

  • 5 races
  • Did not get injured.  Or sick.  Which is freaking amazing.
  • I did more pull-ups, chin-ups, and harder workouts than ever before.
  • Matured more mentally than I anticipated
  • Ate even more oatmeal than ever before.
  • Made it into the varsity seven 🙂

This season was a rollercoaster.  I trained extremely diligently over the summer and came into school with an attitude towards training that was, in retrospect, a little too intense.  I was logging higher and faster mileage than I ever had, but I wasn’t listening to my body enough.  My schoolwork, mental, and physical health were suffering.  I reevaluated and got over the urge to “do everything.”

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One of my favorite things from this season was the transition from bodyweight circuits in the locker room to real lifting routines in the weight room with a very knowledgeable lifting instructor.  I love lifting, and I could truly myself getting stronger as the season progressed.  I was conquering hills, and my form wasn’t breaking down during the latter portions of races.

The next two weeks will be spent in hardcore recovery mode– aka indulging in all the foods I limited throughout the season.  At the tailgate after the race on Friday, I ate an exorbitant quantity of baked goods and sandwiches and pasta.  My roommate gave me a pumpkin-stuffed vanilla cupcake with cream cheese frosting.  The weekend brought many Reese’s cups.

Last night was our team thanksgiving, which is always an incredibly fun spectacle!  The seniors cook the turkeys, there are ridiculous games, and everyone brings delicious food.  I made cranberry sauce and sweet potato biscuits and gorged myself on everything from pumpkin cinnamon rolls to stuffing to bacon brussels sprouts to sweet potatoes with marshmallows and brown sugar.  I’ll get back on the grind eventually, but for now– it’s about enjoyment 🙂

Next up: goals for track!

NCAA D1 Regionals

The best cross country season of my life so far ended Friday in a slightly depressing way.

To put it lightly, regionals did not go as expected for the team.

We were expected to be in the mix to qualify for NCAA Division 1 Nationals in Terre Haute by finishing as one of the top two teams at regionals.  Unfortunately, we completely fell apart as a team and finished ninth.  Individually, I had a decent race.  It wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t that bad.  Life is weird.

IMG_0968.JPGI’d been experiencing progressively worse piriformis and adductor pain in my right leg to the point where it hurt to sit down, but I got through the race okay.  But I’m getting ahead of myself!

We left on Wednesday evening after dinner and arrived at the hotel around 8:30 pm.  On Thursday morning, we ate breakfast and headed to the course to pre-meet (5 miles, drills, strides, and a rope stretch).  It was then that the pain in my piriformis and adductor started really bothering me.  We ran the course, and I think I was overcompensating during that run and the strides that followed, because afterwards I was in a fair amount of pain.

On Friday morning, we completed our ten-minute shakeout at 7 am, followed by a rope stretch and breakfast.  Of course I had the typical oatmeal, almond butter, banana, and yogurt, along with black tea.

It was in the sixties and sunny when we got to the course around 9:30.  I was excited, nervous about the left side pain, and really, really hoping we would make nationals.

We warmed up for 20 minutes, completed our drills, and headed to the line and did strides.  This was the same course that I died on back in September, so I felt a bit apprehensive when the sun started blazing like it did that day.  It wasn’t quite as warm, but the temperatures were still unseasonably hot for this time of year!

The gun went off, and I got out badly, not gonna lie.  I found myself at the back of the giant pack, but I figured that would happen, so I just tried to get into a rhythm.  The first steep downhill-uphill rollercoaster jarred my piriformis/adductor…ouch.15036212_1218454414910150_586722439243613332_n.jpg

3k through 5k were pretty rough for me, and my legs just felt dead.  There’s a giant horrible hill at 4k that seemingly never ends and killed me in September, and I hit that hill with the goal of just trying to get over it.  Which I did, yay!  But that’s when I saw a couple of my teammates up ahead struggling. That’s also when I figured we weren’t going to make nationals as a team.

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I hit the 5k mark in 119th place after losing ten spots and slowing significantly on the hilly middle portion, and I knew I had to rally and have a good last kilometer.  My headband fell off 800 meters from the finish (oops), I hit the creek and struggled up the crazy last hill, and threw myself into the final straightaway.  At this point, all thoughts of my piriformis had flown from my mind.

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That straightaway is about 500 meters long, so at that point in the race, there’s still time to do some work.  I found myself running progressively stronger as I neared the finish line, and passed a fair amount of people.  I finished in 113th place in 22:38.

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After finding out that we had not done well as a team, we took awhile to group back up (some people were struggling with medical issues; our top runner had to get an IV).  Our cool down was sad.  Afterwards, we watched the men’s 10k; our guys had a solid race and placed higher than their ranking with a very small time spread!

Our top runner was the first one out from qualifying individually for NCAAs, but we learned yesterday that she’d received one of the two at-large bids given out to the entire country!  No one deserves it more.

This was definitely not the way we were hoping to end our season, but it’s time to support our teammate at Nationals, take our break, and then refocus for the track season.  I’ll do a cross country reflection and track goals post soon.

 

Last week before REGIONALS

Happy Sunday!  I spent the morning at a new cafe across from my dorm reading about devalorized femininity in the military and studying for an accounting midterm.  The coffee shop’s aesthetic was amazing; the prices and products, not so much.  This afternoon will be spent checking more things off the to-do list but also relaxing 🙂

The past week has been interesting.  Physically, both my workouts were good and my runs felt fine.  I belatedly switched to new trainers and SuperFeet inserts, so my legs and feet have been sore.  Emotionally, I was a little bit rollercoaster-y.  Gotta love feelings :/

Week of 10/31-11/6:

  • M: AM: 3 miles + core.  Started using new shoes.  PM: 2 lap w/u, speed ladder, hurdle drills, 7 miles, 4 x 150 strides, pull-ups/push-ups/dips, 10 min yoga.
  • T: 20 min w/u, drills, strides, 2 miles controlled up-tempo (~12 min?), 6 min run back to track, 2 x [1000, 600] with 2 min rec.  3:30, 2:00, 3:29, 2:00.  Felt pretty controlled.  3 mile c/d, lower body lift in weight room.
  • W: 5 miles trails + core.  PM: massage on tight quads and calves.
  • Th: AM: 2 lap w/u, speed ladder, hurdle drills, 7 miles, 6 x 100 strides, upper body lift in weight room.  PRed in amount of unassisted chin-ups (17 out of 24) and underhand cable row!  (The next day I was very sore.)  PM: 3 miles
  • F: 20 min w/u, drills, strides, 2 x 800 w/ 200 recovery run (2:48, 2:49), 3 x [4 x 400] w/ 60s rest first set, 90s second set, and 2:00 last set.  [80, 78, 77, 77], [76, 75, 75, 76], [75, 75, 75, 75]. Very windy!  Focused on cycling/turning over quickly.  3 mile c/d
  • Sat: shorter long run 9-10 miles.  Not great.
  • Sun: off
Total: 54ish miles.
Both my workouts were good; it’s fun being able to hit paces you couldn’t hit even a few weeks ago!  On the other hand, Saturday’s (shorter) long run was pretty bad.  But afterwards, my teammate’s parents hosted a delicious brunch at their cute house.  Bagels, banana bread, fruit, yogurt, spreads, French toast bake, coffee, amazing apple cider melded with orange zest…  And their house was straight out of a Pottery Barn catalogue.

PSA: My mom finished her first marathon!  She is officially a marathoner 🙂

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The finish of the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon

Another highlight from the past week includes the best oats of my life:

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The secrets to the best oats ever:  Use almond milk, and cook shredded apple directly into the oatmeal.  I microwaved 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and a splash of vanilla extract halfway, added the shredded apple, and finished cooking the oats.  I then added cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and the rest of the apple.  They were unbelievably creamy and amazing.

Last night, my roommate and I cooked dinner in the dorm before going to see “The Girl on the Train.”  I read the book so I knew what was coming, but the ending…damn.  It was cringe-worthy in the best way.

Dinner: pan-seared steak, spaghetti squash with basil/onion marinara, sauteed zucchini, and roasted Brussels sprouts.

We leave for NCAA D1 Regionals in just a few days, and I couldn’t be more excited!  I can’t believe it’s almost here!