Catching Up

Hello friends, long time no talk! As you can probably guess whenever I go silent for extended periods of time, that little flare-up I talked about in the last post turned into a full-on “take six more weeks off” deal.  Same second/third metatarsal bullshit.

I’ll get to the injury stuff in a second, but first I’ll update you all on the last month of my semester.

Team Thanksgiving was its usual shambly self.  The turkeys were a success!

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The senior class

Real Thanksgiving was fun, too- lots of wine, family, friends, and shenanigans.  We all ate ourselves silly per usual.

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In terms of school (oh yeah, I’m a college senior), I finished my Hispanic Studies major with my last senior seminar (but will be taking a Spanish class pass/fail next semester because I’ve taken Spanish for sixteen years now and don’t know what it’s like not to!).  If you’d like to discuss the social and religious hierarchies in the medieval Iberian peninsula, let me know 😀

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I also took Data Visualization and Simulation, Operations Management, Psychology of Decision Making, and Strategic Cost Management.  I would say that Cost was my favorite class- the professor was amazing, accounting case studies are exactly what I want to do in my career, and it was just a great class.

At my college, finals are spread over two weeks.  I had 3 exams and 2 papers over the course of those two weeks,  but unfortunately massive snowfall and ice caused the first day of finals to be postponed to Saturday!  I begged off for a wedding and took the exam on Wednesday instead.

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Hibernated in my cozy room with a view of the snow outside

My friend and I road tripped to Blacksburg the weekend in between to go to our friend’s wedding!

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We went out on the (student-less) town the night before and had a blast.  It was snowy and cold and beautiful.

Other finals-era highlights included a brioche French toast brunch with some teammates…

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Wine and cheese night with some other friends…

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A super cool farmer’s market in Blacksburg…

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And copious amounts of banana bread consumed.

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Because we’re super extra, my brother and I spent 3 hours making butter chicken a few days ago.  Mostly him.  We even made homemade naan!  It was amazing (and it better have been, with two sticks of butter, a cup of spices, and a pint of heavy cream!)

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Christmas was nice- we went to church on Christmas Eve, made homemade pizzas, woke up and opened stockings and presents, and made an amazing dinner.  Lots of champagne and stuffing and desserts… and my stepdad even made a turducken!  Stuffed with sausage!  Can you say animal product overload…

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Christmas morning breakfast:

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Ok, back to the sports stuff.  This whole time, I’ve been cross training.  I do enjoy swimming and think it’s super beneficial to runners, but staring at the wall spinning away on an uncomfortable stationary bike is not what I signed up to do as a Division I runner.  I saw the sports doctor and got another x-ray, and we discussed the structural issues in my foot.  Yesterday, I saw another orthopedist for another opinion and got another x-ray.

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hello darkness my old friend (the boot)

At this point, it’s not really a sports injury anymore in the same vein that you think of when you think of a stress fracture caused by running.  My problem is that my massive bunion causes the weight that should be absorbed by my first metatarsal to be loaded onto the second and third metatarsals that are not built to sustain that load.  Therefore, they keep breaking.  Additionally, my first metatarsal joints are too flexible, and the sesamoids around that bone are in the wrong place.  There’s pretty much like seven different “problem spots” on my foot stemming from this bunion.

Some of the doctors I’ve seen think I should get bunion surgery, and some think that we should “band-aid” the problem until my eligibility is up/I’m ready to be done with competitive running.  I really don’t know what to do.  It’s not like I’ve been running competitively this year, anyway.  The chronic, constant, unpredictable pain SUCKS.  This quote from Instagram sums it up perfectly:

“Chronic pain is interesting, too. It’s this nagging presence in your body…something is not right, but you learn to live with it. You learn what it’s like to roll out of bed in the morning and feel it. You know what stretches make it [temporarily] feel good, and which positions make you feel like you belong in a geriatric hospital. From an emotional level, some days are better than others. Some days you want to guzzle an entire bottle of wine and hysterically cry over a bag of Doritos. Other days, you’re optimistic, and can see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

-@itsamarython on Instagram

Competitive running and I are not in a good place right now.  I am a competitor– I don’t like spinning my wheels (literally) and cross training for what seems like no reason.  I train to race and see how hard I can push my body.  Training for a race as opposed to nothing at all makes it so much easier to remember to take your easy days easy/light, too, so that you don’t screw yourself over for actual competition!  I really don’t do well with this goal-less limbo that I’ve been in for the majority of 2018.

On a more positive note, my core and functional strength are really solid right now.  I feel strong, like a well-rounded athlete.  The additional muscle weight and lack of racing leanness make for some horrible days where I tear myself apart and spend far too much time comparing myself to a) my past self, and b) other people…but then I remember how good I feel in my day-to-day life and how I’m generally not a walking zombie from running 60 miles a week.  Also, it’s not like being “race weight” would solve all my problems- I was equally as self-critical when I was 5-10 pounds lighter and could run a 6k in low 21 minutes!  We tend to view the past with rose-colored glasses.

I don’t know where my athletic journey (and the rest of my time in the NCAA) will lead, but I do know that I’m starting to have the “real-world itch.”  I’m going through an intense minimalist phase, getting rid of as many possessions as I can, following home decor feeds on Instagrams, exploring my faith, thinking about my future career and finances and the DC area.  I’m excited to be more than just a broken athlete who dabbles in cooking!

Next up: my 2019 goals, fears, aspirations, etc.

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Training Log 11/5-11/11 (33.5 miles + first workout + travel)

Happy Sunday! After a hectic last few days (which I’ll talk about later), I completed my longest run of the comeback this morning and am now sitting in a coffee shop on campus while procrastinating some school work.  I have 5 school-related tabs open in order to pretend that I’m being productive 😉

This past week, I ran my first workout and ran 9 miles this morning, breaking 30 mpw for the first time since, like, January!  I also drove 700 miles in a 28-hour time period with the 3 girls below.  We are crazy.

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Week of 11/5-11/11:

  • Monday: AM: 50 min pool (40 swim, 10 aqua jog).  PM: warm-up, Eldoa, activation, 3 miles, pedestal exercises, band exercises, core. Ice cup on foot.
  • Tuesday: Warm-up, Eldoa, activation, 48 min run, strides. Lift- new PR of 105 (I know, my legs are currently noodles) on squats!  NormaTec.
  • Wednesday: Bonus day off: light core + foam rolling
  • Thursday: Warm-up, Eldoa, activation.  Foot was achey so I used the Alter-G for 5 miles @ 80% bodyweight + 20 min bike.  DB reverse lunges, chin-ups, push-ups, and dips in locker room.  Iced foot.  Drove to SC.
  • Friday: 2π workout in Rock Hill! 10 min warm-up, 2 x [3h14h1e5h4e], 10 min cool down = 7 miles, but then we also pretty much did a fartlek while spectating, so I’m counting it as 2 more miles of work haha.
  • Saturday: off
  • Sunday: 9 mile long run. First 7.5 miles around 7:35 average and then last 10 minutes faster with last mile at 6:12.

Total: 33.5 miles + some XT

I only cross trained twice this week! What?? I ended up running 5 days with two complete days off because my team was tapering for regionals, and I was traveling.

Monday’s and Tuesday’s runs were both pretty awful; my body didn’t want to move.  On Thursday, my foot was pretty sore, so I used the Alter-G instead of running on land.  I skipped lift to go to a grad school interview.  After class on Thursday, I drove to Rock Hill, South Carolina with 3 of my teammates so that we could cheer at the NCAA Southeast Regional meet on Friday!  We left after class and got there at 9 pm.  Woke up on Friday to do a workout in the pouring, freezing rain before heading to the course to cheer!

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The workout went surprisingly well considering that I’d driven for 7 hours the night before!  We ran around the sidewalks in Rock Hill for 7 miles, warmed up at our friend’s favorite coffee shop, and then pretty much did another fartlek-workout sprinting around the course cheering on our teammates.

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Our men’s and women’s teams ran okay but did not place highly.  I’m hopeful that we will keep progressing throughout track and make huge progress next year.  I think we just ran out of time this semester.

Us spectators revived our hungry, tired, soaking wet selves at Earth Fare before hitting the road for another 7 hours.  My friend and I ate dozens of chocolate-covered espresso beans to stay awake, and by the time we reached the scary pitch-black last 40 miles of highway, we were delirious, over-caffeinated, under-rested, and ready to get out of the car.  I have never gripped the steering wheel so hard in my life; every time a car came around in the opposite direction, their headlights blinded me and I couldn’t see anything for 5 seconds.  I was starting to feel highly ill and wanted nothing more than to never drive again.  But I revived for a night of festivities.

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Can you tell I had just driven 12 hours and spent the entire day with freezing wet socks?

I slept like 4 hours on Friday night (more like Saturday morning), enjoyed brunch (and lots of coffee) with friends, and hibernated until it was time to work on a group project for 4 hours in the afternoon.   RIP.

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After recovering all day Saturday and spending an evening watching the Great British Baking Show and eating an entire loaf of chocolate banana bread right before bed, I was ready to go for this morning’s run!

Overall, this week was fun and exhausting.  I’m happy with how my training is going, even though some of my runs felt terrible!  While my team is on their break, I’m going to take the next couple weeks pretty low volume while increasing overall mileage.  So excited for Thanksgiving 🙂

Training Log 10/30-11/4 (28.5 miles + a 5k “race”!)

(Written Sunday 11/4)

Aghh! The sun went down at 5 pm!  Also, yesterday was picture day.  Here’s a gem:

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Happy Daylight Savings!  I started off the day with my new go-to morning tonic, as it were: hot water, apple cider vinegar, and honey.  It’s a nice way to wake up and start the day.  Also had some oatmeal with almond butter and banana before we traveled to a park to do our long run.  Since it’s the last week before regionals, everyone’s long run was capped at 75 minutes.  I did 65 minutes (8ish easy miles) for my longest run of the comeback thus far!!

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Afterwards, I went to brunch with my friend and ate myself silly.  It was fantastic.  I’ve been listening to Acoustic Classics on Spotify while existing in a (productive) food coma for the past several hours, so I figured I’d write up a quick training recap before I get around to eating something for dinner.

Here’s what the past week of training and life has looked like for me:

10/30-11/4:

  • Monday: AM: 50 min swim (2100 yards free, 500 back/pull/kick, 300 free)
    PM: 2 laps, Eldoa, activation, 30 min bike, band exercises, hurdles, 2- and 1-legged hops, light core.
  • Tuesday: 2 laps, Eldoa, activation, 20 min bike, 30 min BAT run with 30-second pick-ups (7:00, 6:44, 6:38, 6:31, another half mile), 1.5ish miles on the turf, barefoot cool down. Lift + foam roll.
  • Wednesday: Bonus day, 30 min light yoga
  • Thursday: 2 laps, Eldoa, activation; 6.5ish miles easy, strides, barefoot cool down. Lift. Iced right lower leg.  NormaTec.
  • Friday: AM: 2 laps, Eldoa, activation, 25 min shakeout bike, hurdle drills.
    PM: Eldoa, activation, 2 mile warm-up, tempo 5k (19:13…more like 19:30), 1 mile cool down. NormaTec and iced right lower leg.
  • Saturday: 50 min pool (30 swim, 20 aqua jog)
  • Sunday: Eldoa, activation, 8 miles easy mostly trails, band exercises, foam roll

Total: 28.5 miles + XT

This week, my mileage went up to almost 30!  I haven’t started workouts yet, but I did a harder threshold run on Tuesday, and I got the okay from my coach to tempo the 5k that we host for charity on Friday.  I started out with a group and we went through the mile in 6:35, and then I sped up.  My time was 19:13, but the course was roughly 90m short, so I’m guessing it would’ve been around 19:30 for 5k.  (A little under 6:20 pace).  It felt really good!  My aerobic fitness is strong, and I’m excited to start workouts to get a little turnover in my legs.

Otherwise, the week was uneventful…maintenance runs and supplemental cross trains and drills.  My team will be racing at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships this week and then taking their off week(s), but that doesn’t really make sense for me.  So as of now, I won’t really be taking a break, and I’ll continue to increase mileage.

Other fun things this week:

Curry night with some friends.  We made coconut chickpea curry and quinoa, and then a vegan skillet cookie!

 

A couple nights later, we made a vegan dark chocolate birthday cake with chocolate frosting for our friend.  It was AMAZING.  I was very proud.

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After picture day yesterday, I spent some time playing piano and binge-reading a mediocre novel.  I really haven’t done work this weekend.  Oops!

PS- my mom finished her third marathon!  It was amazing to spectate Marine Corps last Sunday.  My friend ran her second marathon and CRUSHED it- she was splitting sub-7:10s by the end!

Training Log 10/22-10/28 (24.5 miles!)

Hi friends! I’m home for the weekend to cheer on my mom because she’s running the Marine Corps Marathon tomorrow morning.  We went to the expo today, and it was crazy.  Also, Kathrine Switzer was there!! (Someone was fangirling, and it wasn’t me.)  Unfortunately, they closed the picture-taking line before we got there, but we did our best to get a picture “with” her.  See the best attempt below…

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Anyway, I know it’s only Saturday, but I thought I’d write up a training report since 1) this was the first week of this comeback where I ran over 20 miles!! and 2) I’m planning on taking tomorrow off and just walking like a billion miles around the marathon course.

Week of 10/22-10/28:

  • Monday: AM: 2 lap warm-up, Eldoa, activation, 40 min easy (8:30 pace) on trails, sashays, band exercises, pedestal core, barefoot cool down. PM: 40 min bike + Compex on hamstring
  • Tuesday: AM: 2 lap warm-up, Eldoa, activation, 42 min starting easy and then BAT (felt like 6:45-7:00 pace but I have no idea), 2-legged hops, barefoot cool down, lift.  PM: 30 min bike + 30 min NormaTec.
  • Wednesday: 60 min swim
  • Thursday: 10 min bike warm-up, 2 laps, Eldoa, activation, 5 mile cut down (kind of hammered the second half: rough splits 7:30, 7:00, 6:55, 6:38, 6:38), 0.5 miles easy, 10 min bike cool down.  Lift + NormaTec.
  • Friday: AM: 60 min pool (45 swim, 15 aqua jog).  PM: Eldoa, activation, 35 min bike, pedestal exercises.
  • Saturday: Eldoa, activation, 7 miles on the W&OD at 7:40ish average pace, 30 min elliptical, rope stretch.  Conditions were MISERABLE but I survived!
  • Sunday: (planned) Bonus day: Spectate MCM

Total: 24.5 miles

This was a solid week! I had two faster runs and two easier runs.  Today was my longest run yet- seven miles felt great aerobically, but it was pouring rain and windy and cold and slightly miserable.  Oh, well!  Looking forward to continuing to build a bit of a base before starting workouts (even though some of my runs have gotten down close to workout pace…#impatience)

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In other news, MY TEAM RECLAIMED THEIR CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP YESTERDAY. By two points.  Every single one of them ran their hearts out to get that title.  I pretty much happy-cried all day.  I am SO proud of them, and I can’t wait to be back racing with them.

In order to fulfill the “basic fall activities” quota for the year, my friend and I headed across the ferry to the pumpkin patch last week.  Too bad there were no pumpkins left!!

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S’mores and bonfires and fun to support my friend’s sorority philanthropy- I look possessed but that is okay!

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Ok, everyone wish my mom good luck in the marathon tomorrow! She’s gonna crush it.

Fall Frenzy

Happy Sunday afternoon!  Yes, I’m still alive!  It’s a beautiful day in the ‘Burg, and I’m gearing up for another week of classes and training.  I realized that I had gone yet another month and a half without writing a blog post, so I am using this time to procrastinate slightly on a Spanish paper.

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In my last post, I still hadn’t been cleared to run.  I’m happy to report that the MRI follow-up appointment went very well; the imaging showed no remaining fractures, just some edema around the second and third metatarsals, as well as a “mild hallux valgus.” Which was their nice way of saying I have a massive, ugly bunion 😉

So with that, I started running again.  I walk-jogged for three weeks, starting with 2-minute jogging intervals and working up to 5-minute jogs.  Aside from nerve pain, my foot stayed together.  So on September 27, I went for my first run! It was a glorious 20 minutes with my teammates.

Since then, I’ve been running about three times a week.  I’m still cross training almost every day.  I’m up to six-mile runs, although I actually tweaked my hamstring doing strides the other day so took today off to let things calm down.  I am trying to be extremely smart about this whole comeback thing.  Since there’s literally a 0% chance of coming back for this cross country season, I have all the time in the world enough time to get race-ready.  No sense trying to rush anything, especially with how long I was out!  In this sport, it is absolutely crucial to love the process.

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This is still frequently my view.

In other life news:

Classes were cancelled and campus was evacuated in mid-September because of Hurricane Florence, so I went home for five days!  And thanks to recruiting season, I’ve been home twice more this semester for job interviews in the Northern Virginia area.  It’s very strange.  I’ve never gone home this much (or done this much driving) during a semester.

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Lots of job interviews, career fairs, etc. etc. etc.  I’m sort of figuring out this whole “life” thing, although I’m not ready to leave yet 😉 More on that in a month or so!

Some friends went to Guatemala for a class trip, so we made them Guatemala-themed cupcakes.  Because of course we did.

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My roommate got a kitten!

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Shocking literally everyone on the planet, we actually WON our homecoming game.  It was great to see some of my favorite recent alumni.

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The annual Oyster Roast is always a good time- hot apple cider, a vat of chili, oysters, the Virginia Reel, flannels, a bonfire…amazing 🙂  This was our last one of undergrad!

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I tried Korean BBQ for the first time!  My brother, dad, and I went to Kogiya in Annandale, and it was pretty awesome.

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As part of Homecoming weekend, the school treated the senior class to dinner and drinks.  We are old!  I also apparently only wear a sweater/vest/running tights/boots when it gets cold out.

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Senior year is quite a time.  Classes are hard, I am really happy to be running again, and I am also really excited about the future.  Friendships are changing, priorities are changing, and all this just makes me more thankful for a loving family, caring friends, a strong undergraduate program of study, and the opportunities that are out there.

My coach says that I can start workouts around Thanksgiving, which is not too far away!  For now, I’ll just keep building mileage and enjoying the process (well, first rehab the hammy), getting #toostrong in the weight room and via cross training, and not lose sight of the long-term goal.

 

Senior Year of College

Aaaand a month later, here’s another post.  This always happens.  Sorry, friends!!

I started the day off with a nice bowl of pumpkin chocolate oatmeal before going to do my long cross train of the week.  Yes, I’m still injured.  90 minutes of biking and aqua jogging later, I’m back in my apartment and ready for a nap.

To catch up briefly on the last month of my life, the end of summer was full of work, fun times with teammates on training trips, horrible travel days, and lots of reckless biking in the mountains!

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The OG 3 ❤

We had one training trip in the Poconos, followed by another training trip the day after the first one ended in Banner Elk, North Carolina.  What was already going to be a marathon travel day turned into a nightmare when my bike fell off the back of my car on the PA turnpike, then my car battery died, then the subsequent four-hour delay (and $200 new battery) caused my passenger to miss her train by four minutes, then I got locked out of my apartment for the night when I finally did make it to my college town 14 hours after the travel day began.  At least it makes for a good story!

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The training trips were fun and useful for team morale and building a championship culture, but it was nearly impossible for me to train on the second one since I couldn’t run.  I was frustrated and ready to have a little time away from constant stimulation by the end of the eight days 😉  On the plus side, it was nice and cool and picturesque everywhere we went!

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The road was awful for biking, but at least the views were amazing!

Most of us were in town for about a week before classes started, so we spent that time training, going out to eat, and getting ready for the year!

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Classes began a week and a half ago, and at that point I was mandated by the trainer to take time completely off to see if my foot would heal.  This made for way too much free time.  I had no idea what to do!  It was also really hard to have to go to practice, do nothing, listen to beginning-of-the-season hype from the coaches and watch everyone else learn the new hurdle routines and stuff.  I did have a giant breakdown in the locker room, but my selfless teammates helped me through it.  I also finally began talking to the sports psychologist, which was great.

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Convocation 2018

Luckily, after five days, I was able to start cross training again.  While not the same as running, a familiar, regimented cross training routine truly makes me feel like myself.

I am now a senior in college (didn’t we just get here??) and finishing up my Marketing and Hispanic Studies majors and Accounting concentration with a very hypothetical plan of getting my Master of Accounting next year.  To do that, I am taking 15 credits this semester: four upper-level business classes and one senior seminar Spanish class (the last one I have to take!).  I have two 80-minute classes on Monday/Wednesday and three on Tuesday/Thursday.  None on Friday (shocker, right?)

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My non-athletic goals for this semester include keeping my apartment clean, establishing good study habits, avoiding the comparison/social media/boredom trap, implementing meditation and mindfulness into my everyday life, and taking advantage of any opportunity that comes my way.  I am really excited for this year- academically, socially, and career-wise!

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In terms of running, my goal is to continue to approach every day, every training session, as an opportunity to get better.  Over the past many months of injury, I’ve learned how to back off and have a more balanced approach to training.  This is something I had trouble with in the peak of training when I was healthy, but I do think that is one silver lining of injury- being able to be more balanced and less rigid in all aspects of life!

Running will come back into my life on the timeline that it is meant to.  Everything happens for a reason, and I am happy to say that I am walk-jogging a little bit and my foot is hanging in there.  We’ll see how this trajectory continues!  I am hopeful and optimistic (at least, until my MRI follow-up on Tuesday…hehe).

In terms of this blog, I’d like to post more recipes, senior year updates and ruminations about future plans, college student/young adult budgeting tips, “Day-in-the-life” type stuff, and mindfulness discussions!

One last note- I made this cake for my friend’s birthday last week, and it was the best cake I’ve ever made/eaten.  It may have taken four tries to get the writing on top to turn out okay, but I was so proud. It was a homemade dark chocolate cake with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting, and everyone loved it!

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Ok that’s all for now- Gonna summarize my week of training in the next post!

Week of 7/30-8/5

Good morning!  I’m sitting outside while typing this because it’s nice and sunny and not too hot (yet), and I need the vitamin D.  An Animal Control van just drove by…hmm.  I’m heading to work in a little while but figured I should probably type up a weekly training recap (on time for once!) before I go.

Week of 7/30-8/5:

  • Monday: AM: active warm-up, 60 min XT (30 elliptical, 20 bike, 10 elliptical) + 5 min core + Airex pad stability.  Legs and brain felt awful.  PM: circuits.
  • Tuesday: AM: 60 min swim (3500 yards).  PM: glute activation, 30 min bike, lift.  Felt much better today.
  • Wednesday: 60 min elliptical
  • Thursday: AM: 60 min pool (35 swim, 25 aqua jog).  PM: 30 min elliptical + core.
  • Friday: 30 min bike, 40 min lift, 30 min bike with some progressive/pick-ups
  • Saturday: 60 min swim + 75 min vinyasa flow yoga
  • Sunday: off

Overall, physically this week went pretty well.  I was able to do 60-90 minutes of cross training every day, along with solid lifts, circuits, and yoga.  I didn’t sleep quite as well as I wanted to, but I never got less than 7 hours of sleep per night.  I got in some quality efforts even though I didn’t feel like doing full-on “workouts”.  The workout efforts consisted of some pick-ups whenever I felt like doing them 😉

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Mentally, it’s a bit of a different story.  I’ve been struggling with body image this week in particular- not sure why it’s been worse than before, but I was extremely harsh towards myself.  Keeping it real!

On Tuesday, I didn’t really want to go to the pool, but I got there and saw my swim buddy!  (She’s in high school.)  This motivated me a lot more, and we were able to swim together for about 25 minutes.  Turns out she was having a (relatively) awful swim, so it was beneficial for both of us that we fought through our lack of motivation and got our butts in the water.

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Friday was a really weird day because I had to get up at the crack of dawn to go to work but was home by 6:45 and after eating breakfast, I intermittently slept until like 11 am.  I was exhausted and discombobulated.  In the early afternoon, I had like 3 breakdowns and ended up going on a walk and talking to my friend for an hour.  She was great, and I felt a lot better, and later in the afternoon I went to the gym and had a great bike and lift.  I incorporated split squats, weighted RDLs, and weighted back squats for the first time in forever, and my foot felt good!  However, it was just a weird, concerning day in general– and these days are becoming more frequent than before.

On Saturday, I woke up early to go to the pool before heading to a 75-minute vinyasa flow yoga class.  After swimming for an hour, my arms were DEAD during yoga!  But it was still really great.  After working all afternoon, my foot started hurting, but it’s a different kind of pain.  I think I tweaked the bunion during all that vinyasa flow.  Chaturanga!  Upward dog!  Downward dog!  Repeat!  AHH!  (Hopefully it’ll feel better asap.)

Also, my arms have never been this ripped.  Perks of injury!

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Another vegan dinner: sweet potato, broccoli, baked curried tahini tofu, corn on the cob, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast

I didn’t really take any interesting pictures this week, so here is a photo of Eat and Run (which I am re-reading) taken in portrait mode because I was messing around with my new, actually functional phone 😉

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On Thursday, I doubled on the elliptical in my basement and watched the Breaking2 documentary on YouTube to pass the time.  Eliud Kipchoge really struck a chord with me when he said “100% of me is nothing compared to 1% of the whole team. That’s teamwork.”  Throughout these many months of cross training, it’s important to keep in mind that I’m doing this for myself, yes, but more importantly for my amazing team!

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Throwback to Penn State last year

Other than cross training, I just worked a lot and watched Scandal.  Almost all my friends are out of town, so I didn’t really have much social interaction this week (may have contributed to my solitary self-criticism, oops).  I didn’t “go out” this week because I think I’ve needed a break from all of that.  Alcohol makes me feel shittyyyyy.

I’m getting closer and closer to being able to run again.  Just gotta tough it out for another week! I know that being able to run won’t “solve” all the things I’ve been feeling, and I need to hash it out with myself, but it will hopefully improve my quality of life.  I realized the other day while walking that I haven’t been on any of the trails, bike paths, etc. that I used to frequent every single day.  I’ve also been cross training inside all summer!  Ahh! No wonder I’m going insane 😉

My intentions for the next week:

  1. Continue lower leg strength and stability (single-leg squats, you will be the death of me!)
  2. Stay off Instagram.  It’s not good for my mental health, and I waste way too much time on there.
  3. Speak more Spanish- listen to podcasts, music, and watch documentaries.
  4. Bike outside!  And go for walks outside!  Soak up the sun 🙂
  5. Compliment someone every day.
  6. Play the piano.
  7. Read two new books!  I’m currently reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte.

A little over a week until the training trips begin, and then it’s back to school for the start of senior year!

 

JULY

Oops, I did it again!  And by “it”, I mean I failed to write my weekly recaps for many, many weeks.  I’m sorry!

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It’s hard to believe it’s already August! Overall, July was more of the same, injury-wise.  I continued cross training, although my body felt off for a couple weeks and my training sessions weren’t the greatest.  It really didn’t help that I was on my period for like a month straight.  I’m not even kidding.  TMI?  Whatever.

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4th of July fireworks in DC- only partially blocked by the office building 😉

I ran once on the Alter-G (60% bodyweight for 15 minutes) and once on the treadmill (total of 10 minutes at like 8:30 pace) but could tell my foot wasn’t healed yet.  I had my follow-up appointment with the orthopedist on July 26th.  I was hoping he would clear me to run, but he determined that the broken metatarsals (although less “spongey” and inflamed than before) were not yet healed.  Therefore, I am counting down the days until August 13!

The good news is, I don’t have to wear the boot anymore, and there has been a marked improvement in my foot pain over the past week.  Some days it doesn’t hurt at all 🙂 I noticed at the pool this morning that it no longer hurts to walk barefooted across the pool deck.  It’s the little things…

I’m going to quickly summarize the last month of training and then jump into other things 🙂

Week of 7/2-7/8:

  • Monday: AM: active warm-up, 65 min progressive bike, lift (glute activation, Swiss ball core/hamstring curls, lateral band walks, cable row, quad curl, plate hip thrust, push-ups, 5 min core).  Felt strong!  PM: 1 hour slow flow yoga class.
  • Tuesday: Early AM: 40 min swim.  Felt crappy so stopped.   Later AM: 20 min elliptical.
  • Wednesday: 57 min aqua jog (with alternating hands above the water)
  • Thursday: 65 min bike workout + lift (same as last Friday).
  • Friday: 60 min easy steady bike.
  • Saturday: active warm-up, 80 min XT (60 moderate/hard bike + 10 easy bike + 10 erg)
  • Sunday: Off day.  Light yoga/core.

Week of 7/9-7/15:

  • Monday: AM: 60 min aqua jog, alt hands above water.  PM: 30 min elliptical + core.  Late night so little sleep.
  • Tuesday: active warm-up, 60 min bike workout, short-ish lift.
  • Wednesday: AM: 60 min easy aqua jog.  PM: 20 min yoga/foam roll. Sore quads!
  • Thursday: AM: 60 min swim workout.  PM: light core.  Was going to elliptical but foot hurt 😦
  • Friday: 60 min bike heart rate workout-KILLER!
  • Saturday: 20 min bike, 15 min Alter-G @ 60-65% body weight, 40 min bike
  • Sunday: off

Week of 7/16-7/22:

  • Monday: AM: 50 min pool.  Felt shitty. Two hour nap!  PM: 25 elliptical + planks + 1 hour slow flow yoga.
  • Tuesday: 60 min bike + short lift + theraband exercises.  Felt horrible again.
  • Wednesday: 40 min swim, surprisingly good.  Foot pain.
  • Thursday: 30 min bike (felt awful again) + 30 min elliptical.  Core, pull-ups, theraband exercises.  PM: foam roll.
  • Friday: AM: 60 pool.  Tried to do a workout but body still felt bad.  PM: 30 min elliptical.
  • Saturday: Off.
  • Sunday: 90 min XT (60 bike, 30 elliptical).  Felt crappy on bike but better on elliptical.

Week of 7/23-7/30:

  • Monday: AM: active warm-up, 15 min elliptical 2×5 min run on treadmill w/ 2 min walk break, 35 min elliptical, core.  PM: 1 hour slow flow yoga class.  Was awesome.
  • Tuesday: 10 min bike, 50 min elliptical workout, 10 min bike, lift.  Legs still felt dead on bike.  Foot soreness.
  • Wednesday: 60 min pool.
  • Thursday: AM: 40 min freestyle swim.  PM: 30 min bike, glute activation, lift.
  • Friday: 70 min HARD pool workout!  Was pretty awesome.
  • Saturday: Off.  My back hurts SO BADLY.
  • Sunday: 30 min yoga.  50 min aqua jog.  Didn’t feel like doing a long effort because body is #wrecked.

I’m not going to lie- cross training is getting old.  Some days it’s really hard to motivate myself to get on the bike/elliptical/pool for yet another session.  It’s been SEVEN MONTHS of almost nonstop injury!  What??? But I know all the aerobic work I am doing will help so much with this #comebackszn.  And I truly do love swimming and biking, sometimes…or at least the feeling you get after you’re done 😉

Soooo that brings us to this week!  So far, it’s gone well.  (Knock on wood.)

 


Outside of training, July was mostly really fun, even though it’s rained for like 3 weeks straight.  The lack of vitamin D is getting to me!  Some highlights:

1. My friend’s really fun 3rd of July party.

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2. I got to see Ludovico Einaudi at Wolftrap!!  He’s my favorite pianist ever, and none of my friends wanted to go to a piano concert with me, so I just went alone.  It was incredible.  I almost cried.

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3. My baby brother turned 14 years old!  He’s going to high school this year!

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4. We went down to our college town for the weekend.

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5.  Coffee dates with some of my favorite humans.

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6. Kesha and Macklemore concert at Jiffy Lube!  “Good Old Days” hit way too close to home for us seniors…

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PS: how the heck are we seniors in college?  Wasn’t I in high school like two minutes ago?

7. Lots of unattractive meals eaten out of Tupperware at work.  My friend and I decided to go vegan for two weeks (more on this later!)

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Rice, beans, lentils, sun shoots, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado, red pepper flakes, nutritional yeast, tahini, lemon, basil

8.  I also had a few too many (fun) late nights and probably drank too much, but there’s nothing more fun than being 21 years old in DC, so yolo 😉

Aside from (cross) training recaps, my next few posts will include, in no particular order:

  • How to stay positive during injury (mentally, physically, etc.) and general things I’ve learned
  • My two weeks as a vegan (what I ate, what happened, why??)
  • Books I’ve read this summer
  • Musings about career and the future//reflections on 21
  • Why you shouldn’t fight body changes during an injury!//inspiration I’ve found

I’m writing that to stay accountable!  I really want to get back to writing on a regular basis- it’s much easier to write training recaps when running is going well, but it’s equally as important to write about the ups and downs of life because they are inevitable, and it’s helpful to know that others are going through hard stuff so that you don’t feel so alone!

Summer Training Weeks 3 and 4: Return from Spain and injury update

Happy Monday!  Sorry I forgot to publish last week’s summer training recap- 3 weeks in and I already slacked off 😉 Classic.  I have a ton of highlights for you, so settle in!

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The week of 6/18 to 6/24 was my last week in Spain.  I was planning on increasing the walk-to-runs and enjoying my last week, but unfortunately my foot got progressively worse.  After talking to my coach on that Wednesday, we ended up shutting down the walk-to-run progression and limiting me to an hour a day of cross training and no more than 3x/weekly strength exercises.  I took off on Saturday and Sunday because we spent those days traveling.

Week of 6/18-6/24

  • Monday: AM: 5×6 min run, 1 min walk + 25 bike.  PM: 35 min easy recumbent bike + core + push-ups + foam roll/ice.
  • Tuesday: AM: 70 min bike workout (15 w/u, 5 x hard song, easy song, 5 x 1h1e, 10 c/d) + strength.  Foot pain while walking.  Iced.
  • Wednesday: Foot pain 😦 Glute activation, 50 min easy recumbent bike, core.
  • Thursday: AM: ~30 min yoga by the ocean.  PM: 60 min recumbent bike, glute activation, light lift/core.
  • Friday: 52 min bike + light core.
  • Saturday: off. Travel from Cádiz to Madrid.
  • Sunday: off. Travel from Madrid to US.

Rundown from my running log: “Really sad about not being able to continue the walk-to-run & foot has almost constant pain- lots of breakdowns and bad body image BUT striving to see the positives <3”

After months and months of living in constant pain and trying with all my heart to come back to running, each time it gets taken away I feel a mixture of heartbreak, familiarity, and resignation.  This unfortunately made my last week in Spain less enjoyable.  Due to that and a month of sleep deprivation, I felt really non-functional on that Sunday and suffered from a depressive episode on that Monday that was scary and difficult.

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So I got dressed up and took a selfie to feel better

There were some highlights- awesome sunsets, finishing classes, watching the World Cup at a sports bar, retail therapy (shopping haha), touring the Catedral de Cádiz and enjoying world-famous empanadas, watching our professor get sangria-drunk at a program dinner, and meeting up with our teammate in Madrid!

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I’m not gonna lie- my body image SUCKED.  I felt extremely uncomfortable and wasted a lot of mental energy hating myself, especially the weekend that we were traveling back to Madrid and then the US.  With injury, especially injuries that won’t heal, there’s a tendency to feel like your body is betraying you and become angry/sad/body-dysmorphic.  Add in travel where you’re out of routine, and it’s a perfect storm for self-hatred.  That’s exactly what happened to me.  Luckily, returning to the US and getting back into a “normal” summer routine, with enough sleep! (albeit without running), has done wonders for my mental state and self-perception.

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Cute doggos help, too


Week of 6/25-7/1

  • Monday: AM: early 60 min swim (3500 yds).  PM: 20 min glute activation/core/light dynamic strength.
  • Tuesday: 60 min bike with long pick-ups  Lift (Swiss ball core/hamstring curls, quad curl/cable row, hamstring machine/pull-ups, DB shoulder press, calf raises, lat pull-downs.)
  • Wednesday: AM: 60 min swim.  PM: 1 hour slow flow yoga.
  • Thursday: 50 min pool with my friend (30 swim, 20 aqua jog).
  • Friday: 65 min bike (20 miles) with some intervals.  Lift (glute activation, planks, chin-ups, hamstring curls, RDLs, lat pull-downs, hip thrusts with plate, ab leg raise, monster walks, core/DB push-up rows).
  • Saturday: Off. Light yoga.
  • Sunday: 60 min swim (3350 yds) with some harder intervals.

Rundown from my running log: “Nice week, great to get back in the pool & also find out what’s really wrong with my foot!  Work is tiring!  Did well on sleep this week but am staving off a cold.”

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20 miles later…

Last week, I got back in the pool with zest and zeal after 5 weeks of not swimming.  Jet lag made for some super early morning training sessions.  I also worked over 25 hours, and the store was 90+ degrees, so we were all dying…But gotta get that money!

I stuck to my coach’s instructions of an hour a day, and it has been just enough to keep me sane while not enough to make me feel like a walking zombie.  Excellent!

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Met up with some friends for dinner in Georgetown

On Thursday, I began wearing the AirCast again and met with an orthopedist at Georgetown Hospital to find out what the heck has been going on with my foot.  A few x-rays later, he told me that not only had I had a stress reaction in my second metatarsal, I had a (healing) stress fracture in my second metatarsal and a stress reaction in my third metatarsal!  Holy shit.  I felt crushingly relieved because this explained why a) my foot hadn’t healed, and b) why I was having what seemed like pain all over my foot, when it “should have” been localized to the stress reaction spot.  It all makes sense!

So to let this thing heal once and for all (jesus, it’s been almost 6 months of injury), I am wearing the boot until I feel zero pain, and then waiting another two full weeks before even attempting to run.  I’m sticking to my hour-a-day of cardio, and my goal is to get strong, sleep a lot, and be happy.  I’m motivated to increase my aerobic capacity and functional strength while letting my foot heal for good this time.  Once I’m in the clear to run, I have a “prescription” for a local Alter-G (haha) and a follow-up appointment at the orthopedist at the end of July.

Did I ever think I would be in this position right now? Never.  I distinctly remember back in January when I first got post tib, my teammate asked, “So you think this is going to be like a 3-week thing?” And I responded, “yeah, I think it’ll clear up pretty quick, I’m not too worried!” Little did we know…

But I have my whole life to run 🙂 There’s no law stating that I have to be as fast as I can ever be within these 4-5 years of NCAA eligibility.  And my current goal is to get hella fast in the pool (and #ripped in the weight room) because that is what I can do right now and there’s no point wiling the days away comparing myself to past summers and wishing I could be running 60+ miles per week.  Sustainable running careers are built off of loving the process, and my process right now consists of biking, swimming, lifting, and trying not to die of heatstroke throughout these 100-degree weeks, haha.

 

Summer Training Week 2 (11 miles + 345 min XT + other stuff)

Happy Sunday!  I started off today’s off day nice and slow by reading a book all morning, then walked to a plaza, savored an helado in the sunshine, and enjoyed an iced café con leche at a café with some friends while working on a paper.  Then, I got yelled at for being late to lunch, and I am now writing this post while listening to bachata music 🙂

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Week of 6/11-6/17:

  • Monday: AM: 6×4 min run, 1 min walk + drills + 30 min bike.  PM: 30 min elliptical + ~20 min circuit I made up.  Lots of push-ups and dumbbell squats involved.  Iced foot and quads.
  • Tuesday: AM: 60 min bike workout.  Legs were dead again so I did what I could.  15 warm-up, 4 x [2 min hard, 1 easy], 4 x [2 min hard, 2 easy], 3 x 1h1e, 10 cool down.  PM: 10 min core.
  • Wednesday: 4-8-4-8-4 min run with 1 min walk + active warm-up + 25 min bike.  Legs/body were tired.  ~12 min core circuit.  PM: ice, some foot exercises, bachata class!
  • Thursday: AM: 70 min bike workout (15 warm-up, 45 min of hard/easy songs, 10 cool down).  Tired legs and foot hurt a bit.  PM: 20 min bike shakeout (legs felt great after!) + lift (glute and core activation, squats, OH/UH DB row, weighted RDLs, chin-ups, Swiss ball hamstring curls, TRX).
  • Friday: 6 x 5 min run, 1 min walk.  Later: 30 min aqua jog in the ocean.  Stayed in the sun too long and felt awful at night.
  • Saturday: 80 min XT (52 elliptical, 28 bike).  Very tired.
  • Sunday: off.  Yoga (planned).

Total: 11 miles + 345 min XT + strength/yoga/etc.

So my coach likes to refer to the first few weeks of a new training block as the “Valley of Fatigue”, where your body is adjusting to the increased workload and you generally feel like crap for awhile.  Looking back at this week, that’s exactly what happened 😉  Luckily, my teammates and I have been commiserating with each other and most of us have been feeling similarly, so we know it’s just this stage of training and (hopefully) it’ll pass/we’ll adjust.

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XT sweat overactivity??

Overall, I got some quality work in this week and increased the duration of my running intervals.  I had planned to do 7 x 4 min run, 1 min walk on Wednesday, but I impatiently and stubbornly skipped two of the 1-minute walk intervals, which resulted in two running intervals that were 8 minutes long (aka twice as long as I had been running).  This did not bode well for my foot.  It’s been hurting more than it had been for several days.  You live and you learn.  The concept of walk-to-run exists for a reason!

On Thursday, I didn’t feel like coming up with a structured bike workout, so I put on the Latin Dance Cardio playlist on Spotify and alternated hard/easy intervals depending on when the song switched.  It was a great way to switch things up!  However, I literally left a pool of sweat on/underneath the stationary bike.  Ew.

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Nice

I was getting kind of tired of the bike by the end of the week…

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On Friday, as I mentioned, I spent all afternoon in the blazing sun at the beach, which resulted in some mild sun poisoning 😉 OOPS.

This week, I also read The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll.  I would recommend it as a summer beach read!  I thought the ending was the best part, so I would say it’s worth wading through the somewhat melodramatic plot/characters and exaggerated pseudofeminism at times.

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Image source

I still didn’t sleep very much this week, which was annoying and has had negative repercussions on my body’s ability to recover.  However, I’m getting okay sleep, and I know it will all work out.

While so many aspects of study abroad have been absolutely amazing, by this point I am craving home and familiarity and starting to feel depressed and anxious (partially due to physical exhaustion).  At the risk of sounding like a spoiled princess, I am tired of not feeling comfortable in this house (due to a variety of factors).  I am tired of not having a name (my host mom can’t pronounce my name, so I’ve been nameless for a month, which is harder than you would think!).  I am tired of not sleeping well or having any privacy.  However, I am not tired of the beautiful Spanish language, friendliness of the people, cheap food, mercados, beach, university, or nice cool mornings!  There are some things I will miss so much when we leave in a week.

Last night, after an admittedly bad day, I dragged myself out of a depressive funk and went to watch the sunset on the beach with my close friends.  We ended up talking and laughing for over two hours, and by the end, I felt so much better.  It was unprecedentedly wonderful ❤

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Intentions for next week:

  • Continue icing (I did a pretty good job this week!)
  • Sleep as much as you can 🙂
  • Crush the last week of classes!
  • Safely increase running
  • Listen to your body about cross training intensity ❤
  • Learn 1+ new thing about Cádiz (or Spain in general) every day

And to end this post, here is a picture of a shark that you can actually buy at the Mercado Central.  I love that place.

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