Week of 12/18-12/24 (22 miles + 290 min XT)

Merry Day-After-Christmas!  I’ll post a recap of my family’s Christmas later, but here’s last week’s training.  TL;DR: training interrupted by a niggling foot.

IMG_0409.jpg

I ran normally on Monday and Tuesday (although it felt pretty shitty), but then the mild discomfort in my foot increased to where I decided to cross train the rest of the week.  While my brain kept trying to convince me that a) “you’re going to lose all your fitness!” b) “you’re slacking!” and c) “you’re exaggerating the pain in your mind!”, I’ve seen firsthand what happens when you don’t listen to your body.  Hell, I’ve become pretty terrible at listening to my body.  But I’d rather take a few days off now than be out with tendonitis or a stress fracture for a long time.

Week of 12/18-12/24: 

  • Monday: AM: active w/u, 2 miles, 4 mile tempo on towpath (6:23, 6:22, 6:29, 6:22), 2 mile cool down.  Felt tired and not at all in it but toughed out the 4th mile after feeling like quitting at 2 miles.  GS1.  PM: 2 miles + circuits.  Getting stronger on burpees!
  • Tuesday: AM: 8 miles @ 7:42 avg, felt tired, lift day 1 (felt strong!).  PM: 2 miles.
  • Wednesday: 60 min (3200m) swim.  Sore from lift!  Pain on top of foot- took Aleve and iced it.
  • Thursday: AM: 70 min bike (with a fartlek during), upper body lift, felt pretty strong.  PM: 2 miles, foot still hurts.
  • Friday: Woke up at 4:40 am and spent all day traveling…very tired!  Pool was closed to off day today-  did active warm-up, some circuits, general band strength, and yoga.  Still have foot pain, especially when I point my foot.
  • Saturday: 100 min XT (70 min bike + 30 min aqua jog).  Set a bike distance PR!
  • Sunday: 60 min pool (35 swim, 25 aqua jog) + some yoga
Total: 22 miles + 290 min XT
Monday’s tempo was traaaash, and I made the mistake of programming Strava to call out splits every half mile because I thought it would motivate me. NOPE.  Instead, I found myself demoralized and hurting 2 miles in, but I’m proud of myself for toughing it out for 4 miles.  Of course, I spent far too long stressing about the splits and telling myself I was slow and how the heck am I ever going to run sub-17 if I can hardly handle 6:20s?  #chill.
IMG_0410.jpg

Glaring at my legs post-tempo

I ran with a friend on Tuesday, and we were both feeling a little banged up, so we took it easy.  I noticed that the top of my left foot was moving from sore to painful, so I cross trained on Wednesday.  On Thursday morning, I forced myself not to run and instead did a bike workout.  Tested the foot out with 2 miles in the afternoon, and while it didn’t hurt, there was some discomfort.
On Friday, my family woke up at 4:30 am to travel to California.  We hit mad traffic on the way there and even worse traffic in the airport (naturally- it was December 22!), and we hardly made our 7:50 am flight.  But we made it! Wooo.  Meals were really weird, and we were all cranky and tired.  After a marathon travel day, I was looking forward to decompressing with a swim, but the pool was closed for repairs so I took the day off and did a bunch of general strength instead.
IMG_0593.jpg
Saturday brought a lovely 100 minute cross train that I split between the bike and the pool.
IMG_0612.jpg

Set a distance PR on the bike #nice

Sunday was just maintenance.  After icing the foot and sporadically taking Aleve and ibuprofen, it felt passable enough to run on Christmas!  And I’m going to go for another run later.  🙂
IMG_0613.jpg

At least I’ve been able to swim in a cool half-in-half-out pool!

It’s a little strange making up my own training as I go along, and I’m trying not to feel guilty about not doing the workouts that are on schedule.  But the schedule was sent out weeks ago, and I’ve been cross training my butt off, so I know my fitness isn’t really suffering.  I’m just itching to get back up to regular mileage and actually have some good running workouts!  I recognize that I jumped the gun a little over the previous 2-3 weeks with maintenance and long run intensity, so lesson learned, and I’m going to practice approaching training with a more balanced, relaxed mindset.   Except I suck at relaxing, and sleeping, and all that jazz.  Guess I gotta do more yoga 😉
Christmas recap coming next!  We’ll be in California for another couple days before heading home.
Advertisements

Week of 12/11-12/17 (47.5)

Hi, happy Sunday!  Today was extremely chill- all I did was lounge around, eat lots of food, go to the farmers’ market, read Julie and Julia, spend too much time on my phone, and do some yoga.  My family had homemade pizza night, and all the pizzas were delicious.  My brothers and I then had a spontaneous jam session with a wide range of tunes.  It was pretty hysterical…this type of stuff doesn’t happen at school.

IMG_0397 (1).jpg

PIZZA from scratch

Sometimes rest days are hard to get through, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one and am winding down for the night listening to the Nutcracker Suite and feeling fat and happy 🙂

 

IMG_0351.jpg

Hit up the farmer’s market with the bro for some fruit (and samples) (and donuts!)

Throughout this past week, my mileage increased significantly and we continued to get back in the swing of workouts and lifting.  Some runs sucked, others were okay, and still others were pretty awesome!  I’m happy to be home but already miss my teammates.

Week of 12/11-12/17:

  • Monday: AM: circuits + 2 miles fast-ish.  Nap + Spanish final.  PM: lap, active w/u, lap, speed ladder, hurdles, 6 miles, 4×150 strides, GS1. Business analytics final. Total: 8.5
  • Tuesday: AM: lap, active w/u, 2 miles, basic drills, 2×200 with 30s rest (38, 37), 5×1000 with 200 jog (3:37, 3:38, 3:40, 3:41, 3:40) (goal was 3:36-3:32).  Felt pretty crappy but very proud of mental toughness and calmness.  Just took it one interval at a time.  2 mile cool down.  Lift day 1.  PM: NormaTec.  Total: 8.5
  • Wednesday: AM: 4 miles + circuits. Very cold!  Later: 30 min aqua jog. Finance final.
  • Thursday: AM: active w/u, 8 miles, 6x100m strides.  Lift day 2 in weight room- felt a little weak today.  PM: cleaned all afternoon so that was my double haha.  I was exhausted.
  • Friday: Active w/u, 2 miles, basic drills, strides, 3x [200, 300, 400, 600 @ 80 pace with 60s rest] + lap between sets, 2 mile cool-down, GS2.  NormaTec.  Total: 7.5
    • Set 1: 38, 61, 79, 2:03
      Set 2: 39, 60, 79, 2:02
      Set 3: 39, 59, 79, 2:00
  • Saturday: 11 miles bike path at home.  Very icy!  First half was 7:10s, second half was 6:50s, last mile 6:40…probably didn’t need to go that fast but felt like it was okay to hammer a bit with a planned off day.
  • Sunday: Off. 30 min yoga.
Total: 47.5 miles + 30 min XT + lots of strength and I actually did yoga this week!
 
This week was solid, except for setting my apartment on fire on Sunday and subsequently being exhausted from lack of sleep, cleaning all the time, and final exams.
On Tuesday, I don’t think anyone felt good, but I was really proud of the way I stayed tough and positive mentally.  On Thursday, I took two naps and skipped the afternoon double, which was definitely the right move.  Friday’s workout went about as well as could be expected; two of my teammates and I worked together well and it hurt but we’re excited for 80s to feel progressively more normal as we get into better shape!  I have no idea how I’m going to run that pace for 5000 meters when 600 was hard…
long run 12:16

Long run splits (ish…I forgot to pause Strava for a water break)

Saturday’s long run was pretty good…I definitely pushed it and felt beat afterwards.  While that’s good sometimes, I’m also reminding myself that getting back into shape/increasing fitness is a process and I have to be patient!  Can’t shortcut my way to a sub-17 5k.  Happy to be done with the semester, worried about keeping my foot happy, excited to be home for a little while, and brainstorming how I’ll get my training in while in California because the fires have grown to 200,000+ acres and I’m not sure how the air quality will be.
It can be hard to stay motivated throughout winter break because you’re so far removed from racing, and there’s a long gap until the next race.  However, this is the work that matters!  Similar to summer training for cross country, it’s imperative to build a strong foundation, get some quality miles in, be consistent, and make smart choices regarding sleep, recovery, and fueling.  And this year, I am lucky enough to not be working full-time like last year!  Therefore, I have ample time to foam roll, stretch, get in quality strength workouts, and generally do everything I need to do.  YESSSS.
On the not-as-fun runs (of which there are always quite a few), I am just going to keep reminding myself of my goals.  9:50 3k and 16:XX 5k…I am coming for you!!
IMG_4011.jpg

Here’s a random picture of my dog in a Santa hat

(Also, side note, my period is back in full force, which is annoying as hell but a strong reminder to be grateful that my body is healthy and functioning properly, especially after how I felt at the end of the cross country season!)
Goals for the next week:
  • Be smart with training.  Go hard when you need to; rest when you need to.
  • Mental toughness
  • Continue deliberate practice as it applies to all drills, strength routines, etc.  Remember that each element of practice will get you closer to sub-17!
  • Foam roll, stretch, and drain legs every day
  • Smile a lot!  Compliment people as much as possible.  Don’t pick fights.
  • Focus on nutrient timing and high-quality foods
  • Focus on the things you can control with travel, and don’t stress about the things you can’t.
  • Read lots of books and try to stay off social media
  • Reestablish bedtime routine

Glute Glory

Good morning!  Yesterday started bright and early because I had to retrieve my dog at 7 am so that my mom could finish up her long run without having to drag along a tired canine.  After we got home, I whipped up a delicious stack of healthy pancakes with fruit, maple syrup, and peanut butter.  Perfect Saturday breakfast 🙂

IMG_0004.jpg

Since I didn’t have a run yesterday, I was itching to do something endorphin-y after a morning of chauffeuring my brothers through typical Northern Virginia traffic to their various activities.  So I brainstormed, browsed Pinterest, and came up with a new strength workout to do after a quick 30-minute bike session.

IMG_5927.jpg

Yes, I did include stick figure drawings to remind me what some of the exercises were 😉

This workout works the whole core, but especially the glutes.  Sometimes, I feel like runners can get stuck in the 10-minute-ab-circuit trap and forget to work the other parts of their core.  The glutes are especially neglected, even though they are one of the most important muscle groups for efficient form and power in running!  They help stabilize the body, extend the hip, and propel you forward as you run.  Additionally, females have wider hips than males and are therefore more prone to instability and knee and hip problems because we are farther away from that “straight-line” ideal.

See why it’s important to strengthen the glutes?  I promise that this workout will leave your glutes burning.  In the best way.  By the time I got to the side plank leg raises, my body was shaking.

Next post will recap the first week of “summer”!

 

Pool workout: benefits of cross training!

When you have no Friday classes but still wake up naturally at 6 am and do a 70 minute pool workout…

The workout:

12 lap warm-up (lap = down and back)
4 x [6 laps hard/steady, 2 laps easy]
6 x [sprint down, easy back]
2 laps easy
5 x [submarine* down, easy back]
13 lap cool down

Total: 70 laps (3500 meters)

*submarine means swim under the water for as long as you can without taking a breath.  If you can make it all the way down, congrats– you are my idol!  This part of the workout made me breathe so hard, I thought my heart was going to come out of my chest.

The workout took about 70 minutes, and then I sat in the sauna and stretched for a bit.  Afterwards, I ate my pre-packed breakfast (chocolate banana overnight oats with plain nonfat Greek yogurt and peanut butter) before heading to the training room to do STIM and ice.  My feet are feeling a lot better while walking around, but it’s important not to push the impact too much too soon! Now I’m chilling in my favorite campus coffee shop, drinking coffee with almond milk and blogging instead of reading my accounting textbook 😉

IMG_1417.jpg

Cross training picture from the summer

Anyway, I thought I’d talk about some benefits of cross training!  When you’re injured, or fighting off little setbacks, there’s no excuse to not put in the work even if you can’t run.  (On the other hand, if you’re sick or have a serious injury, it’s absolutely okay to take some time off and give your body the rest it needs).

My go-to forms of cross training include the stationary bike, aqua jogging (don’t use the belt!), and swimming.  Our coach doesn’t love the elliptical, so we tend not to use it.

A few benefits of cross training:

  1. Reduces impact on your feet/joints.  If you’re in the middle of a high-intensity training block and your feet are screaming at you to quit pounding out 10 miles on the sidewalks every day (hey, relatable!), getting in the pool or on the bike can help you get in some volume in without risking injury.  It puts less stress on the weaker or more vulnerable parts of your body that are worn down by the constant pounding from running.
  2. Increases endurance, efficiency, and power.  As I said, some parts of this morning’s pool workout made me breathe harder than track workouts!  Good cross training form in the pool and on the bike also leads to greater efficiency by strengthening knee drive, arm swing, etc.
  3. Prevents burnout.  I’ll be the first to admit it– there are some days where I wake up and dread the day’s run.  “I don’t want to, I don’t want to, I hate running.”  Even if you are the world’s biggest lover of running, you’re not going to have a positive attitude every day.  However, throwing in a few cross training sessions can refresh your mind and body and keep your love for running going strong.  You look forward to something different, and you also end up looking forward to the next run because you had a day away from it!

Those are the biggest benefits for me.  There are myriad others, but I don’t want to make this post into a novel, so I hope the few that I mentioned will be helpful!

Winter training and life

(Written earlier this week)

Good morning!  I hope everyone’s weeks got off to a stellar start.  Mumford & Sons, coffee, and a beautiful sunrise on the way to work have made being stuck in a cubicle seem slightly more bearable 🙂  Less than a week until spring semester!!

I realized I haven’t really done a training/life update in awhile, so this will be rather long!  Over the past couple weeks, I’ve built back the mileage back up and started workouts, and except for some recent treadmill-induced piriformis and bunion pain, it’s been 80% smooth sailing.  I ran a 12 mile workout on the treadmill on Sunday!!

Week of 12/5-12/11: 39 miles, 60ish min XT

Week of 12/12-12/18: 44 miles + 40 min bike

Week of 12/19-12/25: 49 miles, 30 min bike

Week of 12/26-1/1: 53 miles

Week of 1/2-1/8: 54 miles + 25 min bike

Week of 12/26-1/1:

M: 3 miles recovery + core and yoga.  Sore hamstrings.

T: AM: 7 early morning miles, drills, strides.  PM: lift day 1 (lower body)

W: 3 mile warm-up, drills, 30 minute tempo (averaged 6:22ish), 3 min recovery, 4 x [:60, :60], 2 mile cool-down.  Total: 11 miles.

Th: 5 miles + core after work.  Mentally not great.

F: AM: drills, 6 early morning miles, strides.  PM: lift day 2, felt sick.

Sat: 3 mile warm-up, drills, 4 x 800 with 200m jog recovery (2:53, 2:53, 2:53, 2:52), lap, 6 x 400 with 60-75 seconds recovery (78, 78, 80, 78, 78, 77), 3 mile cool down. Total: 11 miles.

Sun: 11 miles on bike path.  My feet/bunions were killing me the whole time!  Limping by the end :/

Total: 53 miles

Both workouts that week went pretty well; I was on the canal for the first one and the track for the second one.  I was a little mental going into the track workout because I was alone and kept thinking I wouldn’t be able to hit the paces, but it ended up being fine!  Total: 10 miles. Most of the runs were decent as well, although I think randomly switching shoes made my feet really hurt towards the end of the week.  

Week of 1/2-1/8:

M: off; core + yoga

T: AM: 7 miles treadmill.  PM: drills, 2 miles to gym, strides, lift day 1.  22 total chin-ups!

W: 3 mile warm-up, drills, strides, 2 x 200 (37, 36), 3 x [4×400] w/ 1 min rest and 1 lap between sets (82, 82, 82, 82, 84, 80, 81, 81, 83, 81, 81, 81), 2k w/ 200 @ 5k pace and 200 around 48-50 seconds. (Total was 7:39).  Total = 11 miles.  Felt ok, not great, not bad.

TH: 5 miles early morning run, a little stiff but progressively better + core

F:  AM: 7 miles treadmill. Had to convince myself to actually stay on the treadmill. Piriformis pain.  PM: 25 min bike + lift day 2.  Felt a little weak today.

Sat: Snowy track workout! 3 mile warm-up, drills, 4 x mile with 2 min rec (6:09, 6:02, 6:00, 5:57), 3 mile cool down.  Total = 10 miles.

Sun: Treadmill long run workout.  3 mile warm-up, 4 x [7 min on at about 6:50 pace, 8 min off at about 7:50 pace], finished to mileage.  Total = 12 miles.

Total: 54 miles + 25 min bike

This week was solid!  The first half was uneventful.  Friday sucked, honestly– I had to talk myself through the treadmill run and was miserable and had a bunch of piriformis pain so I biked in the afternoon instead of running again.  I actually fell asleep at 7:30 pm for two hours and felt weirdly exhausted/disoriented for the next like 16 hours.  On Saturday, my teammate and I worked out together, and it went surprisingly really well considering the weather.  Sunday’s long run/workout went surprisingly well, too.  Changing the pace every mile actually made it a lot more bearable.  I didn’t push it too much, either.

Lifts have been going well; my pull-up ability isn’t progressing as quickly as I want it to 😉 but I’m getting there!  I’m better at chin-ups than parallel grip pull-ups, but I’ve been working hard on parallel pull-ups with the ultimate goal of being able to do all 3 sets of 10 unassisted.  At this point, I’m about halfway there!

Sleep is okay- I wish I could get nine hours every night, but I’ve probably been getting 7-8 as usual.  It’s better than nothing, I guess!  I’m working on getting off my phone before bed and writing a few things in a gratitude/reflection journal.

Work is work.

Surprisingly, I’ve been doing yoga at least once a week, which has been good.  I’ve never been into yoga- my mind doesn’t turn off and I rush through the exercises and I’m inflexible as heck- but I have to admit I always feel better after doing it, even if it’s just stretching.  Honestly, one of the more challenging parts is the “corpse pose” at the end– put on a peaceful song, turn off the lights, and lie motionless/relaxed for the duration of the song.  It’s a great way to clear your mind and forget about everything else that happens during the day.  Although it usually takes me most of the song to wind down my brain and truly relax!

Go-to corpse pose songs:

  • “I See Fire”- Ed Sheeran
  • “Only Time” – Enya
  • “Corazon Sin Cara”- Prince Royce (this was the jam in eighth grade)
  • “Atlas Hands”- Benjamin Francis Leftwich

Tangentially, I watched the documentary “Minimalism” a few nights ago, and it was enlightening.  My dad is a hoarder, so I developed minimalist tendencies as a coping mechanism around the age of 14, but those have all but disappeared.  However, I’ve made it a goal to somewhat de-clutter (my dorm room, my life, etc).  We’ll see how that goes 🙂  I really appreciated their analysis of how minimizing your lifestyle can help with relaxation of the mind and enable you to step away from the chaotic, constant stimulation of modern society.  It’s good for the brain.

I finished this blog post and my coffee at exactly the same time.  How convenient.

Coffee and Core

Happy Sunday!  I ventured out into the sixteenth consecutive day of gloomy weather and completed a nice little five-mile run to end a 17-mile week 😉  Afterwards, I enjoyed a lovely breakfast of oatmeal, yogurt, coffee, and bacon.  And Gone Girl.

IMG_1194

I thought I’d share my go-to core routine on this lovely, rainy Sunday.  (Seriously.  Enough with the rain.)

I didn’t start doing core exercises on a regular basis until the end of sophomore year of high school, and throughout high school my core routines were about five minutes long.  Which is better than nothing!  But I wasn’t really pushing myself to get stronger.  A strong core is vital for running efficiency and injury prevention.  When you’re at that point in a workout or race when your arms and legs get heavy, a strong core will prevent your form from breaking down, and you’ll waste less energy!

Once I got to college, we were doing some form of body-weight strengthening every single day, and improvements were noticeable.  The planks and bicycles and toe touches that I found impossible in high school have become just another thing to check off as I move through the routine.

-core

Feel free to make the routine longer by adding any exercises you wish to!  Don’t forget to incorporate back strengthening exercises such as bridges, Superman, donkey kicks, etc.  The back muscles are often neglected when they are a vital part of your core.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you do the same exercises in the same order every time, your muscles get used to it and you stop seeing as many benefits.  It’s important to mix it up and try new exercises, or a new order!  I’d suggest asking other people for their core routines; a few years ago, one of my good friends and I exchanged our “favorite” abs exercises.  As a dancer, she is physically one of the strongest people I know, and her “favorite routine” was killer.  It still is.

After completing this routine, if it’s still raining, I’d suggest foregoing all planned outdoor activities, curling up with a nice cup of coffee (or tea…I know I’m a traitor) and reading Gone Girl.  Or maybe that’s just what I’ll be doing…

Rain, rain, please go away.

 

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.

IMG_8698

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.

IMG_8693.JPG

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 🙂

The past month

Hi everyone!  Sorry I haven’t blogged in a month!  Training and life have both been a little bit hectic due to various factors, but I have some spare time on this lovely Friday night, so I thought I’d catch up on life.

After the 6k in the middle of October, my coach told me that I had a choice.  I was technically one of the top 12 on the team and could therefore race at conferences, but I wouldn’t race at regionals because I wasn’t top seven.  Therefore, I could either use a whole season of eligibility on one race, or I could redshirt.  Since wasting an entire season of eligibility on one race where I wouldn’t even score didn’t make any sense at all, I chose to redshirt this cross country season.

The week or two following was filled with tons of amazing food, a visit from my best friend from home for homecoming, a trip across the river to the pumpkin patch, schoolwork, and low-key nights with the team as they prepared for conferences and regionals.  Good times.

IMG_7560

I love dogs (this dog lives at my friend’s house)

IMG_7567

Our new horse friend

IMG_7514

Pumpkin patch! The pumpkin ice cream there was AMAZING

IMG_7515

Halloween! Snow White and one of her dwarves, Sneezy (yes, there were seven dwarves)

The week after the 6k, I had a great mile repeats workout where I went 5:58, 5:50, 5:50, 5:50 on a not-completely-flat bike path.  It was hard but a great confidence booster!  I was in the best shape of my life.

Then, I got sick.  I had a hacking cough, sore throat, fatigue, and I got my period at the same time, so it was one of the most miserable weeks of my life.  I felt so poorly that my schoolwork/grades suffered.  Guess it was a good decision not to race at conferences! 😉

After about a week, I was just getting worse, so I graduated from going to the athletic trainer to an actual doctor.  He told me I had a sinus infection that had gravitated downwards and caused my awful cough, and he prescribed me antibiotics.  My head coach is pretty conservative about the whole illness thing, so even though I had the doctor’s permission to run while taking the antibiotics, he limited me to an hour of cross training for several more days.  I completed my first 80-minute cross train on Saturday, November 7th, and it was one of the worst things I’ve ever done.  My friend brought me the best cupcake of my life as a reward!

My team rocked conferences, with both teams destroying the (not very good) competition.

After a week completely off and a week of cross training, I finally started running again last week!

Monday 11/10: 6 miles, lift
Tuesday: 6 miles
Wednesday: 5 miles, lift
Thursday: 6 miles, lift
Friday: 6 miles
Saturday: off
Sunday: 8 miles.

Total: 37 miles

I just did maintenance runs all week, no workouts, so that was fun.

The low point of the entire season occurred at regionals last Friday; one of our top runners found out she had two fractures and therefore couldn’t race, and our team didn’t make NCAAs for the first time in four years.

IMG_7593

NCAA D1 Southeast Regional Championships

It was really sad, especially for the seniors, and the weekend following was insane- physically, emotionally, and otherwise.  It was pretty intense.  Weird things happened.  Weird decisions were made.  I won’t go into detail, but you can imagine.

IMG_7601

Mood-boosting trip to an apple orchard after regionals

But on the plus side, our top runner (not the one with fractures) made NCAAs individually! She got one of two at-large bids given out across the entire country.  She’s amazing, both as a runner and a person.  She will be racing in Louisville tomorrow and vying for her first All-American honors.

Core Four takes Team Thanksgiving <3

Core Four takes Team Thanksgiving ❤

I started workouts again this week; my first one back was Tuesday with 10 x 400 with avg 75 seconds rest.  It actually felt pretty good!  I think I averaged 79 or so- nothing crazy.  Didn’t want to push too hard after three weeks without workouts.

Today, I did 3 x 1000 at 3:37 followed by 5 x 400 starting at 80 and dropping down to 74-75.  2 minutes’ rest between everything, although I took a little extra time after the first 400 because the area near my anterior tibial and peroneal was acting up on my right leg.  Not fun.  After that workout, we had a leg lift, and now my legs are very tired!  I went out to dinner with a few of my teammates, and I had a margherita pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, and a skillet cookie.  Post-workout fuel at its finest. 😉

We are so close to Thanksgiving break, it’s ridiculous.  I have a lot of work to get through over the next few days, but after Tuesday, I get to go home and gorge myself and run on the bike trails I’ve missed for three months and see my dog!

My first race in uniform is two weeks and one day from today.  Excited to get back on the track, and a little apprehensive to see what kind of shape I’m in after my illness and many months away from the track.

 

Home invitational = first real college race = PR!

Last night (and this morning) was my school’s annual home invitational.  Our home course is really hard thanks to uneven footing and the fact that we run up the same extremely steep hill three times throughout the race.  Our coaches told us to treat it more like a race than we treated the first race (the weird relay one), but this was still supposed to be more of a hard workout effort than a full-out race.  The plan was to take the first 2-3k conservatively, start pushing the fourth kilometer, and finish the last one with a hard effort.

IMG_7237

I did two shakeout miles in the morning with my friend.  Our race was at 6:30 pm.  We warmed up for 20 minutes, and I felt pretty good!  After drills and a few stretches, we headed to the line.  I ran unattached again, so I sported a bright orange and blue tank top instead of my school’s singlet.  I also tied a bow around my headband.  🙂

IMG_7235

The gun (jk, the air horn) went off, and we started out with an uneven downhill stretch before hitting the big hill for the first time.  I’m used to flying and dying in races, so the prescribed conservative effort felt like a jog at first, but I knew it’d make the rest of the race feel so much better.  I tried to stay with my workout group, but it was hard with a lot of people around, and I ended up losing almost all of them pretty quickly.

I spent much of the next 3k looking backwards for my group and talking to the one teammate I was actually near.  At two miles, my coach told me to start picking things up, so I notched the pace up a bit.  Things started hurting around 2.5 miles.  I kicked the last 400 or so and came around the last turn to see that the clock was at 19:05!  13 seconds later, I was in.

IMG_7253

As a result of sucking at cross country during high school, 19:18 was actually a PR for me!  It was such a weird situation since I wasn’t planning on PR-ing, the course was hard, I didn’t “race” the race, and I talked and looked backwards and was very chill about it the whole time!  I don’t know if I’m even racing the rest of the season (I might redshirt), but I’m super excited about my fitness right now!  If I can PR in a casual workout-race and feel pretty recovered seconds later, what can I do in a real race??

We did 5 x hill repeats after the race and cooled down in the dark for 20 minutes.  Afterwards, I went out to eat with my mom, who had driven down for the race!

Today, I woke up at 7 am because I was working the course for the high school meet from 8-10 am.  Afterwards, I did a quick 3-mile recovery run and came back to my dorm, and the rest of the day has been pretty chill.  I studied for bio, cleaned up a bit because my roommate and I are hosting a recruit for the next two nights, and baked some sweet potatoes. 🙂

IMG_7258

Yes, this plate is on my bed. Judge me, I don’t care.

Tonight, my dad (who also drove down for my race) is cooking me a steak dinner!  I’m so excited because I haven’t had home-cooked Montreal steak (one of my favorite meals) since I came to college!!

I’ll recap the whole week tomorrow as usual.

In-season training week 2 (45 miles)

Yo.  I’ve decided to start titling my training recaps “in-season training.”  So Training Week 10 was actually In-Season Week 1, and this past week was In-Season Week 2.

I hope that makes sense!

long run map 9:6

When your long run route is a maze

Anyway, I just wrapped up my second week of in-season training with 10 miles on the same campground trails that I did my pace run at nine days ago.  This long run felt a lot better than last Sunday; I didn’t feel 100%, but my legs weren’t logs, either!

Week 2:

Monday 8/31: 6 miles, drills, strides, strength circuit
Tuesday: AM: 2 miles shakeout run.  PM: 2 miles warm-up, 5k total “race”, 5 x [1:00 hard, :30 easy], 1.5 miles cool down.  Total: 10 miles
Wednesday: 40 minutes biking
Thursday: 6 miles, drills, strides, strength circuit, 30ish minutes cross training
Friday: 2.8 miles warm-up, drills and strides, 4 miles pace run @ 6:30ish average, 2.8 cool down.  Total: 10 miles
Saturday: 3 miles @ 8:02 pace, 45 minutes yoga
Sunday: 10 miles @ 7:49 average pace

Total: 45 miles running, 70ish minutes cross training, 45 minutes yoga

Comments:  Phew!  I am exhausted.  This was the highest mileage week I’ve ever done in my life, along with about two hours of cross training and/or yoga.  It seemed like half of my runs felt like crap, but listing it out now makes me realize that- duh- it wasn’t as bad as it seemed in the moment.

Monday felt normal, Tuesday was hot and exhausting, Wednesday was recovery, Thursday felt bad at the beginning but continuously improved, Friday was hot and exhausting, Saturday felt surprisingly good, and Sunday (today) was pretty good.  So over half my week was positive!  Silly me.

Today’s long run started out a tiny bit slower because we were in the woods, and it was dangerous to go fast what with all the roots and tight turns and uneven footing.  Once we transitioned onto the wider dirt/gravel bike path in the woods, our pace increased, and our last two miles averaged around 7:20.  The last 20 or so minutes of the run were tough, not gonna lie, but my workout group is amazing (I know, I keep saying this, but it’s true!) and we all worked together and toughed it out.

long run 9:6

Yoga yesterday was the weirdest experience ever.  Instead of one of the upperclassmen leading yoga like usual, we went to a school-organized ashtanga yoga session, but there were only like three non-xc people there and the instructor was clearly annoyed by our presence.  “I’m not used to groups this big,” he complained.  Also, since it was ashtanga yoga, he clarified that they “do the same poses every single time so that we’re not slaves to our imagination.”  What?  That life is not for me.  He also used the word “anus” way too many times for a 30-minute yoga session!

We had a team ice cream social yesterday, and I ate more ice cream than I’ve ever eaten in my life.  I also spontaneously had a black bean burger because free food is the best, amirite?  Not feeling too great about my nutrition right now, but I’m excited to hop back on that train with loads of complex carbs, fruits and veggies, and protein!  It’s hard to get great food at my college, but I’m trying.

IMG_7155

I made my first non-breakfast meal of college yesterday!  Stopped at the grocery store a couple days ago and stocked up on cooking essentials, like rosemary, olive oil, cooking spray, a baking pan, minced garlic because #lazy, etc.  I made garlic rosemary chicken and threw some spinach and apples into the pan as well!  I also made sweet potatoes and topped them with cinnamon.  Sooo good.  I miss real homemade food.

Some other random tidbits:

IMG_7148

When you take up the whole drying rack…

IMG_7151

Post-pace run ice bath

IMG_7160

My post- long run oatmeal was too big for the bowl…

IMG_7154

Sneak peak of my room! It was actually tidy yesterday.

I had a huge post-long run breakfast at 11 am, so I’m not too hungry right now.  I picked up a butternut squash at the farmer’s market yesterday morning after yoga, so I think I’ll roast that later and just kind of snack all afternoon.  Roasted squash, apples and peanut butter, and scrambled eggs sounds like a balanced late lunch to me. 😉

If I have time, I’ll nap, but I have a lot of work to do this afternoon!  It’s quite dreary outside (fall, please come soon, I love you), so we’ll probably just hang out indoors for the rest of the day.