Hot, Hilly 5k Race (18:18)

Time for another race report!  If you don’t want to read the whole post, I ran 18:18 on a hot, hilly 5k course, was the third runner for the team, and felt pretty good but there were spots I could have been tougher.

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Anyway.  Two consecutive weekends of hot, hard races make for some tired runners, but our next race is not for three weeks, so we get a bit of a break.  And a nice hard training block 😉

This weekend, we traveled to UVA for the Panorama Farms Invitational.  Panorama Farms is beautiful, with rolling hills, mountains in the distance, hot air balloons in the sky, and a live bluegrass band…but the course is notoriously hellish and hot.  I ran there twice last year- the first time was the worst race experience I have ever had, and the second was regionals.  Not the greatest #mems.

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We left campus yesterday afternoon.  Our van had to stop for a desperate emergency bathroom break 4 miles from the course…we almost made it!  We ran the course (and added on to get to 5 miles), did drills and strides, rope stretched, and had our team meeting.  After that, we went to our hotel, had dinner, went to the grocery store, and prepared for the morning by setting up our flash tats, ribbons, spikes and uniforms, etc.

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This morning, we woke up at 6 am and went for a quick pre-dawn shakeout run before rope stretching and eating breakfast.  My pre-race breakfast: oatmeal, banana, almond butter, chia seeds, plain Greek yogurt, and coffee.

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We headed to the course a little later.  Had a Picky bar and Gatorade.  The men’s race was pushed back before ours to avoid the heat (how is that fair!?), so we watched them start before rope stretching and warming up.

(Our team does a lot of rope stretching.)

After an 18-minute warm-up, drills, and strides, we were soaked in sweat.  It wasn’t actually that hot, but the sun was blazing.  But that was to be expected!  Luckily, throughout the past week, our coach and ourselves put a lot of emphasis on hydration in preparation for this race, so we were all full of water and Gatorade and electrolytes.  Which resulted in 47 bathroom breaks, but at least no one passed out!!

Our goal today was to pack up well.  We were running without our #1, but we had two great workout groups.  The gun went off and we got out well, rocking the new uniforms.  I found myself leading the team for the first 2k in about 20th place, running with women that I had never been near before.  That was pretty cool!

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We started hitting the hills at 2.5k, and two of my teammates passed me on the massive hill at 2 miles.  I lost a few places but kept reminding myself how much better this race was going than last year, which was actually very helpful.  I definitely could have fought better from 3k to 4.5k.  On the last steep hill before the finishing stretch, someone screamed, “YOU EAT HILLS FOR BREAKFAST!” at me.  I looked up and saw our teammate that graduated last year, with whom I spent all summer running.  Seeing her was the best.  I laughed.  (For a millisecond.)

The last 400 meters is one continuous uphill straightaway, and I kicked and caught the girl in front of me.  I soon discovered I had kicked a little too aggressively when I tied up 50 meters from the line and the girl passed me back.  Oh, well.  Crossed the line 18:18 for 25th place overall and third on my team.

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Thanks Mom

After the race, we cooled down for 40 minutes to get to long run mileage (a little under 12 for the day) and then ate pumpkin muffins with upset stomachs.  We’ve done more intelligent things.  I got to briefly see my mom and brother, who had driven the hour and a half down to watch me race, and they brought me fresh vegetables from our CSA along with freshly baked cookies!  It was great to see them for the first time in a month.  My mom also ran a race last weekend- a 20-miler to prep for her upcoming marathon!  She crushed it, finishing second in her age group on a pace that converts to a marathon some 25 minutes faster than she ran last year!

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Takeaways from the race: 1) I am finally starting to believe that I can run “up there” with women that I couldn’t before.  2) Adequate hydration and preparation help to avoid bad heat exhaustion situations 😉 3) I need to work on not getting complacent or mentally giving up on the hardest parts of the course. 4) Our team has depth, yo!  We had the smallest time spread from 1-5 and 1-7 out of all the teams at the invitational.  We had eight runners across the line before any other team had seven.  Even without our #1, and with a girl from our top 5 DNFing due to an asthma attack, we still got fourth overall.  Not. bad.

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Two of our freshmen had amazing in-uniform debuts

I’m either going to get in the pool tomorrow or do a short recovery run.  Looking forward to a solid training block before Penn State, focusing on school (oh yeah, forgot about the fact that it’s #midtermszn), and “not getting too high or too low,” as my coach says.

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Hump Day/Tempo Tuesday Recap

Happy Hump Day!  It’s been a long day.  This morning, my body once again decided that it didn’t need sleep.  I woke up at 4 am, again at 5 am, and then dozed until 6:20 when I decided to get my run in before my 8 am.

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I had class from 8 to 2, so I ate breakfast during our 8 am Business Analytics pressure cooker.  I’m sure my group members appreciated the weird beet-pink Picky Oats 😉  After class, I cancelled my training room appointment (lol) and spent four hours outside in the glorious weather, napping and getting some work done.  Went to the dining hall for dinner, hung out with the guy’s team while they did stupid reckless things as college guys tend to do, finished tomorrow’s Spanish presentation, and am now eating chocolate peanut butter ice cream before bed ❤

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Anyway, I wanted to recap yesterday morning’s workout!  It went much better than last Tuesday’s fiasco.  We warmed up for a little over two miles, did drills and strides, and then got instructions from our coach.  Our workout was 4 x 2000m on the track with 1:30 recovery between the first 3 and 2:00 before the last one.  My group (of about six) was supposed to start at 90 seconds per lap (6:00 mile pace).

We ran the first 2k retro (backwards on the track), the second one the right way, the 3rd retro, and the 4th the right way.  Our 2k splits ended up being 7:30, 7:25, 7:22, 7:18.  (For reference, the mile splits within the 2ks were 6:00, 5:57, 5:54, 5:51.)  The first 2k was perfectly paced, thanks to my teammate who is actually a metronome.  We split 1:30, 3:00, 4:30, 6:00, 7:30. IMG_8685.jpg

A 2k is a long interval, and 20 laps of work on the track was a little daunting!  But we got halfway through, our group was packed up and working together well, and it became more doable.  Everything felt controlled until the last 600ish of the last 2k.  That’s when I thought, “All right, this is definitely ‘balls to the wall’.”

Afterwards, we cooled down for about 20 minutes, refueled and rope stretched and headed to lift in the weight room.  My soleus had been bothering me, so I went to the training room after lift to get it worked on.  The scraping and active release hurt so badly, but it also helped so much!  I had to laugh afterwards when the trainer who bludgeoned my soleus said, “I hope we can still be friends.”

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Post-workout steak dinner…heck yes

Overall, the track workout went really well.  I’m excited to recover, rehydrate, fuel up (with ice cream, oops), and get ready for the race this weekend.  I don’t want to jinx anything, but I think I can have a strong performance, and it would be great to redeem myself from last year!

 

Week 2 (61), Week 3 (52), and RACE

Sorry for the belated weekly recaps!  I’ll recap the last two weeks of training, and then I’ll recap my season opener 5k race!

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Week of 9/4-9/10:

Monday: AM: 4 miles trails.  Went to trainer for glute.  PM: form drills, 5 miles, speed ladder/hurdles, plank/push-up circuit.  Run wasn’t great and stomach was off :/

Tuesday: AM: 2 mile warm-up, 4 mile tempo (6:22, 6:13, 6:08, 6:12), 2 mile cool down.  Felt okay.  Weight room warm-up and assessment.  Stim and ice in training room.  PM: 2 miles + NormaTec boots.

Wednesday: AM: 6 miles at sunrise.  Felt dead.

Thursday: AM: 2 mile warm-up, drills, hilly MR while everyone else did a hill workout, light lift at weight room, ice bath.  PM: 2 miles on campus.  Beautiful weather!

Friday: AM: 5 miles + strides before all-day field trip.  PM: hurdle drills, 4 miles, planks/push-ups, rope stretch.  Pretty tired.

Saturday: 13 miles with 42 minute progression in the middle (6:57, 6:44, 6:27, 6:13, 6:18, 6:10, 0.5 at 6:00 pace).  Felt good! Ice bath.

Sunday: 3 miles + core

Total: 61 miles

Was really tired at the beginning of the week but felt good on the long run!  Nice high volume week.  Adjusting to lots of walking + different style of maintenance runs (more equal doubles).


Week of 9/11-9/17:

Monday: AM: 4 unspectacular miles.  PM: form drills, speed ladder, hurdle drills, 5 miles, strides (pushed it!), planks/push-ups, rope stretch.

Tuesday: 18 min warm-up, drills, strides, 1000-1500-1000-1500-1000 (3:27, 5:23, 3:32, 5:21, 3:30) with 1:15-2:00 recovery.  6 x :20h, :30e.  Felt bad.  Legs wouldn’t move.  20 min c/d.  Light lift.  Ice bath.  PM: NormaTecs.

Wednesday: AM: 7 early miles.  Felt decent.  Sore glutes!  PM: NAP.

Thursday: AM: speed ladder, hurdle drills, 5-6 miles trails, basic drills, strides.  Felt terrible at first: nauseous, heavy legs/body, but gradually a little better.  First real lift in weight room.  My chin-up ability has atrophied!  PM: NormaTecs.

Friday: AM: 2 mile shakeout.  PM: rope stretch, 18 min warm-up, drills, strides, 5k race on home course (18:24), 3 mile cool down.  Total: 10.5 miles.

Saturday: Relaxed long run on trails. 92 minutes (but probably only 10-11 miles)

Sunday: off

Total: 52ish miles

Felt pretty bad all week but put together a decent race!  Lower volume, increased lifts.


Onto the race!

Our home invitational was on Friday night.  I raced unattached my freshman year, and I did not race last year due to…I actually don’t remember why.

To be honest, I felt pretty bad this whole week.  My runs ranged from okay to terrible.  Tuesday’s workout was rough, and I just couldn’t get my legs moving.  We also started lifting for real (it’s been like six weeks), and most of us were unspeakably sore after Tuesday and Thursday.  Yikes!  Luckily, our coach usually uses this race as a glorified workout, so there’s less pressure.

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Classic carb-loading dinner 😉

Tell that to my brain, though!  This was to be my first time putting on the uniform in ten months On Friday, I woke up with my stomach in knots.  I did my shakeout run, made breakfast, picked up some pumpkin spice Wawa coffee because I am basic af, and headed to campus to work on an essay for the rest of the morning.  I had to force myself to eat lunch (chicken with honey mustard, sweet potatoes, some veggies, and half a bagel)  because the nerves were suppressing my appetite!

We drove out to the course around 4 pm, and I ate a Picky bar on the way over.  The race was at 6 pm, so we rope stretched, warmed up, and did drills before changing into our uniforms, tying on the bows, and heading out to the starting line to do strides.  I still didn’t feel stellar during the warm-up routine, and we were all sweating buckets because it was 80 degrees and sunny.  What happened to the lovely autumnal weather of last week??

It felt surreal to put on the uniform for the first time since regionals last November.

Anyway, we did strides and had a quick pre-race huddle with our coach.  She told me that I could go with the top workout group if I felt good, but I had the option to hang back with the next group.  No pressure.  Sounded good to me.

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Enjoy these high-quality video screenshots!

The gun went off, and a few women from other schools rocketed down the uneven first straightaway into the lead.  Our course is pretty difficult- It’s three hilly loops, with a particularly steep hill that you have to run up three times, and extremely uneven footing.  It generally feels like the course is trying to throw you off of it 😉 It’s impossible to get into a rhythm, and nobody runs that fast.  Anyway, we got up the first hill, and I grouped up with my teammates in about seventh place.  All of our freshmen are still running unattached, so I was with three senior teammates in uniform and one unattached freshman.  The first mile was like 5:29.  Sheesh!  I was really tired after that…wasn’t sure how I was going to handle the rest of the race.

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The second loop was a bit slower, and our group started to fall apart a little bit.  We passed the two mile mark around 11:30, and I stared longingly at the finish line as we ran past it 😉

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The third time up the hill was unpleasant.  At this point, two of my senior teammates had dropped back, and the third one was starting to fade.  The freshman was crushing it.  As we passed 1k to go, the freshman gapped everyone, and the senior passed out.

Yikes!

I tried to encourage her as I ran by but had no idea if it was a medical issue or what.  Refocused on the last 1k, which hurt like heck, but I realized I was the first in-uniform runner from my school.  What on earth!?  I entered the last 200m of the course and tried to turn over as fast as I could.  I crossed the finish line in 18:24: good for fifth overall, second runner from my school, and first in uniform!

The course really beat the team up, so our coach just had us cool down and do strides instead of running the planned post-race hill workout.   My calves were absolute rocks at that point.  Ow.  I was surprised, but pleased, with my performance, and it just made me hungrier to run faster and strive for better things!

After the race, some of us went to Blaze Pizza and then I needed to stop at Rita’s for frozen custard with hot fudge.  The craving was insatiable.  I was thrilled.

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Couldn’t sleep a wink the night after the race.  I spent the majority of the night tossing and turning, getting progressively sorer, eating weird midnight snacks like sweet potatoes and hard-boiled eggs, and reading a book.  We ran a relaxed long run on the trails (I’m not kidding about the relaxed bit- one of our mile splits was like 13 minutes) before going back out to the course to help with the high school portion of the invitational.  Then, I headed out to my friend’s party and didn’t get very much sleep for the second night in a row.  I am exhausted, and an off day is very much needed!  Going to spend Sunday doing schoolwork, chores, and meal prep.

I’m pleased with the race after a crappy week, and I’m excited to be back in the uniform!

In-season training week 1: 55 miles

Happy Sunday!  This week has been quite tiring.   All the first week of school activities, hard workouts, not-stellar sleep, getting used to traveling back and forth from my apartment, lots of rain, spontaneous concerts, lots of driving…etc.  But overall, it was quite fun!

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The OG 3 at Convocation

After a minor glute strain, my coach decided it wasn’t worth it for me to race the 2-mile opener, so I drove the unattached freshmen up yesterday and did a slightly short long run in the rain at the venue.  Today, I ran 3 miles in the morning, made breakfast, studied and had lunch on campus, did some meal prep and laundry, took a nap, and hit up Aldi for a miniature grocery haul (because I already have most of the food I need).

Week of 8/28-9/3:

Monday: AM: compliance meeting, 5 slow miles in which I managed not to puke!  PM: pose drills, speed ladder + hurdle drills, 4 miles, strides, rope stretch, plank circuit.

Tuesday: AM: 2 mile warm-up, drills, strides, 5 mile tempo (6:08, 5:54, 6:11, 6:21, 6:13), 2 mile cool down.  Rope stretch, foam roll, pull-ups/core, ice bath.  PM: 2 miles @ 8:00 on treadmill

Wednesday: PM: 6 miles. Didn’t feel amazing.  Right hamstring is really tight.

Thursday:  18 min w/u, drills, strides, 6 x [4:00h, 2:00e], 18 min c/d.  Went well- really pushed myself, but hamstring is still tight/sore.  NormaTec + ice bath.  Walked a lot today :/

Friday: Felt destroyed so took AM off. 6 miles in PM.  Tweaked my glute/hip so no strides.

Saturday:  Coach decided not to race me.  11 miles at race location.

Sunday: 3 miles + core

Total: 55-56 miles

This week was hard!  Both workouts felt significantly more intense than what I had been doing throughout the summer.  My coach has thrown me into the longest, fastest workout group (we’ve got some super speedy freshmen, but they can’t yet handle the distance/intensity yet, which is fine!) and that shit is hard.  So my runs on Wednesday and Friday were both kinda awful…

Wednesday was the first day of classes!  This semester, I’m taking five business classes for my business major and one Spanish class for my Hispanic Studies major.  After three business classes on Wednesday, I ran with some teammates and went to Convocation, then we had an ice cream social.  It was lots of fun 🙂  I’ve still been freaking out about the fact that I have no idea what I want to do with my life, career-wise.

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I have no Friday classes for the second semester in a row- three day weekend, heck yes!  We’ve also switched workouts to Thursday morning, so I don’t have to spend all day Friday thinking about the afternoon workout.  #Blessed.

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So far, the classes that seem really cool are Entrepreneurial Ventures and Business Perspective and Application.  Mostly because they’ve introduced topics and ideas that I had never considered before!  My Spanish class is essentially the study of Spanish feminist pornography, sooo that will be interesting and uncomfortable 😉

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On Thursday night, I found out about a concert that was happening at our amphitheater, so a couple of my friends and I spent the evening enjoying patriotic orchestral tunes along with the entire elderly population of Williamsburg!  It was #lit.

Unfortunately, I woke up on Friday with pretty severe hip flexor/glute pain.  I skipped my double and went to the training room to get it checked out, and the trainer said I had a minor glute med strain.  I think it was from Thursday’s workout because we ran around in circles on a wet, slightly uneven grass field.  My coach decided I shouldn’t risk making it worse in a race that wasn’t that important, so my return to in-uniform racing has been pushed back a couple more weeks 😦 That’s okay!  Better to be safe than sorry.

On Saturday morning, I got up early to drive some of the freshmen to the race venue.  They all raced unattached, so they weren’t allowed to ride in the team vans.  It took about an hour to get there, and it was raining and a bit miserable…perfect race weather 😉 A couple other non-racers and I did a long run (I just ran 11 miles), and my glute felt passable, but not pain-free.

After watching the races (they crushed it!) and a team cookout, we made a pit stop at Wawa for gas and coffee before hitting the road again.  I was dangerously drowsy while driving, but we screamed along to some Enrique Iglesias and Nicky Jam in order to stay awake.  By the time I got back to my apartment (around 3 pm), I crashed hella hard.  Revived later in the day to make the best chicken dinner ever (will post recipe later) and a cookie skillet, which is already gone 😉

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Overall, this week had its ups and downs! I know I’m fit, and I’m itching to race (in uniform! It’s been 10 months!).  I just need to be patient.  There were also some days where my body felt really out of whack, so gotta stay diligent about the balance between recovery and hard work.

Welcome to junior year!!