Backpacking Trip

My family loves hiking, backpacking, camping, and anything related to the outdoors.  We usually go out to California and Mount Whitney  during the summer, but unfortunately we won’t be able to do that that this summer.  Also, with everyone’s packed schedules, it’s difficult to find a period of time where more than one person is free!  So last Wednesday, when we discovered that I had two off days from work in a row at the same time that my brother had finished his junior year of high school and didn’t have any pressing commitments for a whopping 48 hours, we decided to take a quick backpacking trip!


We made a quick grocery run to get snacks and packed up our packs.  I packed a backpacking tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, food and water, and all the necessary miscellaneous items.  My brother opted for a hammock and tarp cover.  The forecast called for rain, so we sort of prepared.


I ran 6 miles on Thursday morning before we headed out on our adventure.  An hour into the drive, my brother went, “I forgot my hiking boots!”


So…our two-hour drive took four hours.  But we got there eventually.  We parked the car at the base of the trail and started the hike.  Since there was no water source where we were going to camp, we had to carry all the water we would need.  Our packs were just a little heavy!


The hike we decided to do was 10 miles total, with a campsite and beautiful mountainous overlook located close to the summit.  It was 3.5 hard, hard miles one way, and 6.5 on the other side.  We chose to do the 3.5 on the first day.  5 minutes after we started, I sank into a giant muddy swamp.  Off to a great start 😉


The hike up brought all sorts of terrain, ranging from flowery meadows to rock scrambles to wooded greenery.


We had to work on the steep rocky inclines, but nothing compares to attacking a particularly hard incline and victoriously reaching the top, soaked in sweat, breathing hard, but triumphant.


We reached the campsite after about an hour and a half, and trekked out to the overlook to take in the views before setting up camp and (just me) wolfing down like three Clif bars.


Happy to be at the top!


The set-up:


That night, we built a campfire and roasted sun-dried tomato chicken sausages over the fire.  I had mac and cheese, and my brother made ramen and instant mashed potatoes, which he promptly spilled all over his Birkenstocks.


We kept the fire going as it got dark and did dorky things like listen to our old marching band showcase music and sing along to some oldies.


Eventually, the fire burned down to embers, and we went to bed.  It was incredibly windy, and heavy rain hit the mountain around 4 am.  I don’t think I got much, if any, sleep, but it was an otherworldly experience.

In the morning, we woke to find that we were essentially in the middle of a cloud.  It was humid, hazy, and the rain had left all the plant life glowing vibrantly green.  We made breakfast, broke camp, and went back out to the overlook to appreciate the astonishing feeling of being in the middle of a cloud!


Breakfast: instant oats, maple almond butter, and unpictured dried fruit

The views were even better than the day before.



We started that day’s portion of the hike around 9:30 am.  The first part of the hike was a short, moderately steep incline to the top of the mountain, and then we began the descent.  It was amazing to see the changes in terrain as we descended in elevation!  Rocky dirt paths changed to vibrant wooded forests, swampy bogs, fern-covered woods with streams, flowery meadows, and more muddy forests.  It was incredible.


It took us about two and a half hours to complete the hike.  Afterwards, we were so hungry that we stopped on the way home and inhaled an enormous pizza in less than ten minutes.


All in all, this spontaneous backpacking trip was hard, sweaty, smelly, and loads of fun.  There’s nothing like carrying everything you need to survive on your person.  Hard hiking is cathartic.  I encourage everyone who is able to get outside and away from the city for at least a little while.  I wish I could do it more often!  That’s one of the things I think I will do frequently once I finish my collegiate running career 🙂


Summer Training Week 5 (40 miles + 10 mile hike + 60 min bike)

Drinking coffee, listening to “Acoustic Sunrise” on the radio, farmers’ market ventures, and dog-sitting…sounds like Sunday 🙂


This week’s training was a little different.  My brother and I spontaneously decided to go backpacking on Thursday and Friday, so I skipped my planned run doubles but did complete a very technical 10-mile loop!  So running mileage was a little lower, but overall mileage still increased.  My legs/glutes are sore, and today will definitely be a rest day!  I’ll recap our backpacking trip in more detail in the next post.


Week 5 (6/19-6/25):

Monday: AM: 7 miles on sidewalks + bike path.  Core circuit.  Some toe pain.  Heat/STIM/ice.  PM: 30 min bike.  1 hour slow flow yoga…spent lots of time upside down so almost passed out a couple times haha
Tuesday: AM: glutes, drills, 8 miles bike path, strides.  Toe pain.  Heat/ice/stim.  PM: 2 miles + lower body lift.  Tired!
Wednesday: 3 miles into 30 min bike.  Pretty hot out!  Tired, took it easy, went ok.
Thursday: AM: 6 miles bike path.  PM: Strenuous technical 3.5 mile hike.  Camped overnight. Didn’t sleep that well but it was awesome.
Friday: AM: Technical 6.5 mile hike.  Foot hanging in there.  PM: 3 miles.  STIM/ice on feet.
Saturday: 11 miles on bike path, partially soft surface.  15 min ice bath, easy core circuit, STIM on calves.
Sunday: off

Total: 40 miles running + 10 miles hiking + 60 min bike

Overall, this week went well!  No soft surface runs until yesterday’s long run, but I did hike 10 miles through swamps and rocks and dirt and pine needles, so that counts, right?


Soft surface?

Nutrition this week was a little weird.   I ate a ton.  While backpacking, we fueled up with beef jerky, bars, dried fruit, etc.  We carted all of our food and water up the mountain and ate instant mac and cheese, campfire-blackened sausages, ramen, and the like for dinner on Thursday.  I also had quite a few treat meals, and for some reason gorged myself on ice cream last night at work, which made my stomach feel less than stellar 😉  But it seemed like my body just burned through everything due to the constant strenuous activity!  So I’m not too concerned.  I think I’ll try to reduce the amount of ice cream I’m consuming at work, though…

(Nutritious and delicious…)

Sleep was okay.  Some nights were fine, but I hardly slept some other nights.  I’m a little groggy right now.  It’s hard to implement my normal bedtime routine because I’ve been working until 11 pm and now have to take care of three dogs after work.  But I’m trying to relax about it!

I recently switched to custom orthotics instead of SuperFeet, and they’ve honestly been helping a ton!  I was having significant toe pain last week, but I’ve been able to get through all of my runs with little-to-moderate pain.  It’s still there, but it’s bearable!

Saturday’s 11-miler was the longest run I’d done since April!  And I only ran 11 miles about 3 times from January through May because of all the foot issues.  I ran four miles by myself before meeting up with a teammate for 7 more.  I’m excited to try to increase my long run again and get back to the 12 I was running last year, and maybe even see how 13 feels.  But for now, I’m happy to be able to run 11 🙂

Throughout the coming week, I’ll really have to plan things out as mileage increases, dog-sitting takes up more time, and work continues to be crazy.  I don’t know what I’ll hit, mileage-wise, but I’m going to work on listening to my body, fueling properly, and taking care of my foot.  Mileage is lower at this point than it was last year, but that is okay!  Consistent training is more important than reaching high mileage for a week or two and having to take time off because you broke yourself.


Summer Training Week 4 (42 miles + 120 min XT)





#revived to write this post 😉

Heck yeah, it’s time for another weekly summer training recap!  This week, I pushed my mileage a wee bit more (getting ready for that jump next week) and worked a lotttt of difficult shifts.  Definitely crashed and burned a bit by Saturday.  Got on a lot more soft surfaces, though!


Long run views from this morning!

Week 4 (6/12-6/18):

Monday:  AM: 6 miles bike path.  Some soft(er) surface…for like a mile!  Core circuit.  Some foot pain but not too bad.  PM: 30 min swim.  Felt good.  Foot soak, roll, Tiger Balm.
Tuesday:  AM: 7 miles with Noah with one mile on the trails.  Significant foot pain during the second half of the run.  Drills and strides.  EXCELLENT lower body lift.  Pushed the weight and did the most unassisted parallel grip pull-ups I’ve ever done.  PM: 2 miles.  Crazy work shift until 10 pm per usual.
Wednesday:  60 min pool (50 swim, 10 aqua jog).  Was very pleasant.  1 hour slow flow yoga class.
Thursday:  AM: 7 miles @ 7:39 average on the C&O canal.  TBH felt pretty darn shitty.  PM: 30 min bike, felt good, upper body lift.  Busy work shift until 10 pm.
Friday:  AM: 7 miles on sidewalks/bike path.  Glute activation, drills, strides, core.  PM: 3 miles.  Tired from morning.  Long, crazy work shift until 11 pm.
Saturday: OFF.  Very glad for this rest day.  SO tired from the past couple days.  I felt like a zombie until like 6 pm.
Sunday:  10 miles @ 7:40 average at Manassas Battlefield.  All soft surface!  (Long grass/gravel/trails)  I had never run there before.  It was hot, humid, and hilly, but the views were unbeatable!

Total: 42 miles + 120 min XT.  
Dang…work this week kicked my ass.  Our ice cream store is getting more popular by the minute, and during today’s shift, we did not stop moving one time for five hours straight.  Also, the A/C in the store is broken, the freezers pump out hot air, and it never gets lower than 85 degrees.  After a hot, dehydrating ten-miler…I almost passed out into the dip case a couple times 😉  It’s just heat training, right??
I managed to get two soft-surface runs in this week, along with some sporadic dirt paths during a couple other runs!  So definitely an improvement from last week.
Sleep this week wasn’t the greatest, unfortunately.  I worked a lot of late shifts, which riled me up at bedtime.  But I suppose it’s worth it for the paycheck!  #brokecollegestudentprobs
And my nutrition has been okay, but not stellar- I’m just eating a lot of breads/baked goods and sugar, which is not prime fueling.  My post-run recovery foods are good (oatmeal, yogurt, eggs, nut butter, fruits, veggies…protein, complex carbs, healthy fats), but as the day progresses, I’ve been getting lazy!  And it’s hard at work when you’re just tryna stay alive, ya feel?  I get home after a long, hard shift and can’t tell if I’m physically ravenous or just mentally need some junk food.  Oh, well.  You live and learn (and lose a six-pack in the process, hehe).

Homemade pumpkin bread

This morning’s long run was 80 degrees, 85% humidity, and very hilly with long grass, but the views were awesome!  I had originally planned to meet my friend out at the battlefields, but her foot has been bothering her, so I ran by myself.  Ran in silence over the hills and through the woods (literally) for the first half and then listened to a Runner’s World podcast during the second half.  It was kind of hard.IMG_6605.jpg
The new training week starts tomorrow, so gotta go rest up!  Running bright and early with one of my favorite running buddies.

Running is hard sometimes

Aloha!  Our A/C is on the fritz again, so I’m hibernating in the basement while I write this, since it’s not 100 degrees down here.  I think ice cream at work tonight will be a necessity.


You know those runs that just knock the life out of you?  I had one of those this morning.  After an off day from running yesterday (I did put in an hour in the pool and an hour-long yoga class), I woke up early today and drove out to the canal for a change of scenery.  I was so excited for a nice 7-mile maintenance run!  Alas…it was not to be.  My legs felt off from the beginning, and running just felt hard.   It felt like I was hammering, but apparently I was running my easy/maintenance pace (around 7:30 per mile).   I did a terrible job of listening to my body when I should have taken it easy, no matter what the “pace” said.

Afterwards, I just felt completely discombobulated.  Which resulted in me drinking coffee for the first time in eight days…on top of a white duvet…live life on the edge, you know? 😉  (PS: this summer has unexpectedly resulted in my coffee consumption diving down to almost zero!  Weird.)


I’m not even really sure why this run felt so difficult- it was humid, yes, but not extremely hot, and I wasn’t that sleep-deprived.  I rarely use a GPS (actually broke my GPS watch), but I downloaded Strava for this run and was very surprised at the end when my average pace was like 7:35.  It had honestly felt like I was hammering the crap out of some sub-7-minute miles.


Oh, well.  The good news is, I had a good swim yesterday!  50 minutes of laps followed by 10 minutes of easy aqua jogging.  Afterwards, I went to a yoga class.  Swimming has never been the most enjoyable thing for me, although I became a believer in the power of cross training this past semester.  But this week, I’ve actually looked forward to getting in the pool, and as such have done two cross training sessions in the water!  Some days, the laps just click by rhythmically.  I would love to do my swims in a lake or similar beautiful, natural setting, but the same old 25-meter stretch of warm chlorinated water will have to do for now 😉


I have to go cross train and lift soon, so that’s about it for now.  Working tonight after my gym session, running twice tomorrow, working again tomorrow night…it’s the summertime grind 🙂  Craving a nice, cold peach!


Summer Training Week 3

It’s Monday!  After a hot run and some core this morning, I’m spending most of today relaxing and doing chores before swimming later.  Monday is always my day off from work 🙂
Last week brought 36 miles, 140 minutes of cross training, busy work shifts, fun times with good friends, a delightful Train/OAR/Natasha Bedingfield concert, and a wine tasting for my mom’s “bachelorette” party (I love being 20!!, she said sarcastically).  And NCAAs, of course!  It was awe-inspiring and motivational to watch.  I may be crazy and have delusions of grandeur, but this middle-of-the-pack D1 runner now wants to qualify for NCAAs!!  Or at least track regionals…

Concert with friends

Week 3: (6/5-6/11)
Monday: AM: 6 miles on bike path + core circuit.  PM: 30 min swim.
Tuesday: 7 miles @ 7:40ish pace on sidewalks/asphalt.  Felt stiff and out of rhythm.  Glute activation, drills, strides.  Lift day 1.  PM: crazy work shift!
Wednesday: 60 min bike…felt sick midday but it passed so I biked in the evening and felt really good, actually.
Thursday: AM: 6 miles bike path + core.  Foot pain.  Drills + strides.  PM: 3 miles.
Friday:  5 miles on asphalt/sidewalks into 20 min bike.  Lift day 2.
Saturday: 9 miles on bike path.  7:30ish average.  Very hot and sunny.
Sunday: 30 min aqua jog.  I think I burned my face off.  Not a cloud in the sky.
Total: 36 miles + 140 min XT
This week…hmm.  Similar to last week, my foot hurt on almost every run, but on the plus side, I’m still feeling strong in the weight room.  I did a terrible job of getting on soft surfaces 😉  Almost every run was on an asphalt bike path or sidewalks.  Having running buddies on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday made the runs more fun, though!
Friday’s run was somewhat crappy at the beginning but got progressively better once my legs warmed up.  I was definitely mentally distracted during the lift session that followed, but thankfully both the bike and lift went better than the run anyway!
The bearable-yet-constant foot pain is starting to wear on me mentally again, and I find myself dreading runs a little bit because I want to run but don’t want to be in pain.   To be honest, I am not doing as much as I should to stay on top of it.  I’m rolling with my shiny new lacrosse ball, acquired for the express purpose of wrecking my feet 😉 …doing warm Epsom salt soaks, and sporadically doing mobility, but I can do more.  It’s this cycle of: foot hurts on runs, I get sad thinking about it, I avoid rehab because it makes me think about the fact that my foot hurts.  Ya feel?
But on the plus side, I can feel my body responding to the strength sessions.  The core circuits that left me sore for days three weeks ago are easier.  I’m planning on adding weight to my squats, deadlifts, and farmer’s holds in the weight room this week.  Already bracing myself for the DOMS 😉

Mom and me!

After identifying the factors that brought me down a little bit last week but taking solace in the fact that I still had a decent training week and got to do a lot of other fun things, I’m re-motivated for the coming week, which should bring about 42 miles in addition to cross training sessions.
Runs are getting longer, temperatures are getting hotter, and the grind is coming back.  My goals for the next week are to train purposefully and to not skimp on the little things.  Every run is one step closer to my goals, both as an individual and as a member of a team that aspires to achieve greatness.  My teammate just ran extremely well at NCAAs, which was so emotional and motivational.  All of the competitors at NCAAs work extremely hard, day in and day out, to get to the national level.  Some of them have more natural talent than others, but none of them skip out on what they need to do to achieve their goals.  That’s how you get to that next level.
Other highlights from my week before I sign off for now:

A 14-year-old made this lemon lavender cake!


I nearly cried when they sang “Bruises” and “Drops of Jupiter”


Another concert picture!

Summer is a great time to put in the work for the upcoming season(s).  This week, I WILL remember to take fish oil every day, re-dedicate myself to foot rehab, switch to orthotics for shorter runs, wear sunscreen, and keep track of sleep and practice good bedtime habits such as putting away technology.  I will be mindful of the foods I choose to nourish my body with– remembering that anti-inflammatory is the way to go and that I am willing to do anything to help my foot feel as good as it can possibly feel!  I will also put in more shifts at work, try to be as frugal as possible and go on free/cheap summer adventures…hiking, exploring DC, playing piano, going to yoga, cooking, reading, playing badminton, soaking up the sun, picnics, crafting…there’s so much to do!


Summer Training Week 2

Happy Sunday!  I hope everyone had a great week.  It’s a beautiful June morning here, and I’m suffering from a mild case of wanderlust 😉 so I’m listening to a road trip playlist while writing this post and pretending I’m cruising down the open road.  Today was a typical Sunday- took the day off from running, went to the farmer’s market, did some wedding planning with my mom’s best friend, and went to a yoga class.  My family is going out to dinner in a little while 🙂


Farmers’ market haul!

Week 2: (5/30-6/4)

Monday: AM: 5 miles + core circuit. Some bunion pain.  PM: 3 miles.
Tuesday: glute activation, drills, 4 miles into 20 min bike + lower body lift
Wednesday: AM: 60 min bike.  PM: 30 min yoga
Thursday: AM: 5 miles with friend @ 7:15 avg.  PM: 30 min bike + upper body lift.
Friday: 6 miles with friend, glute activation, drills, strides
Saturday: 7 miles + core, started easier and felt progressively better
Sunday: off, yoga class

Total: 30 miles + 110 min XT + 2 yoga sessions

Overall, this week went pretty well.  Mileage is still low.  My foot is still hurting on every run- it seems like once I hit the 30 minute mark during a run, the bunion pretty much decides that it doesn’t want to do it anymore.  Ow.  Still feeling strong during strength sessions, though!

I had a few runs this week that were faster than they should have been, so I made an effort to go easier on Saturday, and it felt a lot better.  It’s important to keep most of the mileage at maintenance effort right now in order to keep feeling good, getting strong, and building mileage!

In non-running-related news, I decided to go back to work at the ice cream and coffee place I worked last summer!  Had my first shift back on Friday night: 5-10:30 pm.  It was super busy, but I was reunited with the best ice cream ever (cinnamon, and coconut chocolate crunch.  Heck yes).

Also, we spent all day at my brothers’ tae kwon do black belt exam, and after five hours of testing, they both passed!  My youngest brother earned his first degree black belt, and my middle brother earned his second degree!



Also made macarons with two good friends earlier this week.  I’m not a huge macaron fan, but they turned out well!  Turns out my family isn’t a huge macaron family, either…three days later, all of the macarons I kept are still sitting on the plate.


Mileage will continue to increase in the coming weeks, albeit slower than last year’s progression.  I think I’ll hit somewhere in the mid-30s this week.  Additionally, I’m going to try to get in the pool at least once instead of just cross training on the bike every time.   The weather is supposed to stay mild (and rainy), which is encouraging.  I’ll also be working more and writing for the remote writing intensive!