Week of 8/6-8/12

Happy Sunday!  We’ve made it to the end of another (cross) training week.  I spent the morning working my last shift of the summer and the afternoon catching up with some old friends and making popsicles.  It’s also my 5-year blog anniversary…what!?

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Coconut chia mango popsicles made in mini muffin tins!

Week of 8/6-8/12:

  • Monday: AM: 60 min freestyle swim (3800 yards), felt awesome.  PM: circuits, incorporating more impact exercises.
  • Tuesday: active warm-up, 70 min bike workout (20 warm-up, 8x2h1e, 7x1h1e, 12 cool down, glute activation lift.  PM: 20 min elliptical.
  • Wednesday: 60 min swim.
  • Thursday: dynamic warm-up with skips, 5 x 1 min run 1 min walk on turf, 60 min bike, 25 min core/push-ups/squats/lateral lunges.
  • Friday: AM: 4,000 yard pool workout.  PM: 35 min bike ride on W&OD.
  • Saturday: 30 mile bike ride on the W&OD trail
  • Sunday: Off day.

This week was pretty high volume, even with a complete off day today, but it went well for the most part!  I set a distance PR during Monday’s swim and promptly broke it on Friday.  I can tell I’m getting faster in the pool!

On Thursday, I got to the gym to bike and couldn’t stand being shut up inside any longer.  So I did dynamic skips and ran a little bit.  5×1 min run, 1 min walk.  My foot felt all right during the run, but since then it’s definitely been a little aggravated.  I’m disappointed, especially since I’m medically cleared to run tomorrow, but I know I should not in good conscience clear myself.  I know my body best.

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It was nice to get outside, though!

On Friday, I finally got around to getting a bike.   After work, I gleefully took it for a test ride…and then on Saturday, I biked 30 miles through Northern Virginia for my long effort.  It was hot and humid and rainy and hard and awesome to be outside.  My quads were trashed halfway through, but I took a lemonade Huma gel at 20 miles and made it home okay 😉 My bike isn’t a road bike, it’s a hybrid, so it was a little less than aerodynamic…

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bike ride feels

Took today completely off from exercise.  I didn’t sleep that great this week and am not sure why.  I opened the store 4 out of the past 7 days, which necessitated getting up early, but I kept waking up two hours before my alarm!  I got a few power naps in, though, so I’m trying not to worry about it.

In non-running news, I worked a lot this week and caught up with some friends.  It was great to see so many of them!  I spent time with my family, enjoyed the farmer’s market, drank coffee and read books, and am hyped to see my teammates on our training trips this coming week.  To be honest, I’m a little worried about comparison and feeling sad when they’ll all be running and working out and I will not.  But I love them as humans, not just as runners, so I’m looking forward SO MUCH to spending quality time with them in the beautiful mountains!

 

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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!

Cádiz Week 1

(I wrote this post before our Sevilla trip, so I’ll do another one ASAP about Sevilla because it was awesome!)

Buenos días!  We’re currently en route to Sevilla for the weekend.  I was working on a very subjective paper for my history/grammar class about finding your perfect match, but I’m feeling too cynical to continue that, so I’ll update you guys on our first week in Spain.

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Taken in Sevilla

We’ve officially been in Spain for eight days (Cádiz for seven), and it honestly feels like we’ve been here forever.  After a free day last Sunday, classes started on Monday.  We’re all taking an art history class, an intermediate or advanced grammar/history/composition class depending on Spanish abilities, and conducting an independent research investigation over the course of the next month.

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View from the university

We have class from 9:30 am to 2 pm every day, with an hour-long break from 11-12.  A couple friends and I have been going to different café-bars during that break for una merienda: usually café solo (espresso) y un sandwich o tapitas.  After class, we go home and eat el almuerzo at 2 pm and then my roommate and I usually take advantage of siesta time from 2-5 pm if we don’t have a preplanned afternoon activity.  Almost everything closes during that time, and we’re usually in food comas from lunch, so it’s a perfect storm for a siesta.

Training-wise, after a weekend spent doing nothing but eating and traveling, I discovered last Monday that it’s entirely possible to aqua jog in the ocean!  The beach is right across the street from the university, and it’s calm and there are very few waves, which makes it perfect for aqua jogging and swimming.  I aqua jogged for an hour on Monday and Tuesday, and the views, sunshine, and vast expanse of water were a huge step up from my university’s windowless basement pool.

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I joined a gym on Wednesday afternoon, so now I have the ability to aqua jog and stationary bike and lift weights/do core.  I feel like myself again!  Not that working out is the main focus of my time here, but it’s nice to be able to train J  We walk to everything here, so I’m not too worried about training volume because I’ve been pretty tired from the walking.  I also don’t want to overdo it with my foot, although the plan is to do my first walk-to-run session this coming Monday.  I am pumped!  My foot has been feeling pretty good this week- I quit wearing the boot on Monday because it was just making the foot feel worse, and it was a pain in the butt to lug around for 5-6 miles every day.

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So far, we’ve seen and done so many amazing things.  Cádiz is an incredibly beautiful, historic city, and the interior streets are a labyrinth of tiny stores, markets, plazas, and homes.  It’s completely unlike anywhere I’ve ever been.  Everything in the older part of Cádiz (where we’re staying) is within walking distance, so we’ve been meeting up in different plazas at night for helado or cerveza.

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On Tuesday, we got to visit Gadir, which is a super cool underground archeology site (Gadir was what the Phoenicians originally named Cadiz).  We also climbed the Torre de Tavira to see a birds’-eye view of the city, and it was incredible.  Their cámara oscura uses mirrors and sunlight to create a live panoramic view of the city—so it was like a photo but you could see the birds flying and laundry flapping and ocean waves in real time.  I was at a loss for words.

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We went to el Castillo de San Marcos on Friday, and it was incredible (and overwhelming) to be surrounded by such rich and sometimes violent history.  Parts of the interior dated back to the tenth century!  We got to tour the bodega and have a wine tasting.  We could see the bullet holes from the executions that occurred there.  I think I went through every emotion during our visit.

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As far as the food here, it’s a huge change from what I’m used to!  As I mentioned in the last post, breakfast is the smallest meal of the day and really doesn’t contain any protein.  Our host mom has started to learn our preferences, so I’ve been enjoying decaf black coffee before classes 🙂 My breakfast around 8:45 am consists of two pieces of pan tostada, topped with either almond butter and jelly or tomato with olive oil.  I usually have a piece of fruit as well.

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La merienda

The almuerzo at 2 pm is the biggest meal of the day, but I usually get hungry before then, so I usually have a snack around 11 or 12.  This “snack” is usually espresso with either be a bar, fruit and nuts, or even an entire ham and cheese sandwich, haha.  Lunch at 2 pm is usually enormous and delicious, which is a wee bit tricky because I sometimes work out at like 3:30 pm while still very full.  Some examples of lunch:

  • A huge bowl of lentejas (lentils) y pasta, followed by tuna steaks and potato salad with vegetables and olive oil
  • Salmon with lemon and roasted eggplant and zucchini, followed by a big bowl of spaghetti with homemade meat sauce
  • A plate of meat and potatoes, and a plate of sautéed vegetables and olive oil with an egg on top

Yesterday, after spending the morning touring the Castillo de San Marcos en el Puerto de Santa María, we had a huge lunch.  After instructing us to eat a lot because dinner was going to be small, our host mom served us pretty much an entire chicken each, along with potatoes and a big pan of arroz con verduras y pescado.  I took her advice too literally and ate so much that I had to lie down for like 3 hours.  I dragged my butt to the gym at 6:30 pm and still felt like exploding, and I wasn’t even hungry for dinner (personal ham and cheese pizzas).  Oops! No regrets.  Well, maybe some regrets.

Anyway, as I mentioned, la cena (dinner) is small compared to lunch, although probably pretty normal-sized as I think about it more.  We’ve had omelets and a chicken-vegetable stir fry; last night’s personal pizza; lomo adobado y patatas al horno (marinated pork loin and roasted potatoes); etc.  Every meal ends in fruit.

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The biggest adjustments have been meal timing, not as many vegetables, and trying to figure out what time of day is best to work out based on how much we’re eating at different times of day.  It’s been interesting surrendering control of my diet to someone else and having every meal be a surprise.  I kind of miss oatmeal 😉  But we’ve eaten some truly incredible things- yesterday, the crispy chicken skin marinated in what tasted like sherry was divine- and I’m learning a ton about Spanish culture, Spanish cuisine, the intricacies and colloquialisms of the language, Cádiz history, etc.  I love it.

Now if I can just get more sleep…

First Days in Spain

Good morning!  I’m currently  in Cádiz, Spain, where it’s 10:30 am (six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time).  This is our first morning in Cádiz- we arrived yesterday around 6 pm, met our host mom, explored the beach and saw an awesome sunset, and then kind of got trapped in the house.

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Not wearing the boot #badidea

The past few days have been full of travel and new experiences and lots of Spanish!  We left the US around 6 pm on Thursday 5/17 and arrived in Madrid Friday morning, so we essentially lost an entire night’s sleep.  I dozed on the airport floor and during the bus ride to the hotel, and then we all crashed for several hours throughout the afternoon in the hotel.  My friend and I walked around Madrid for awhile after that.  We then went to el Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, where I got lost from the group and couldn’t contact them #nice, and then our guide took us on a long walk where we got to be stampeded by the soccer fans celebrating the Club Atlético de Madrid.  After walking like 5 miles, it was finally time for dinner!  We had paella and croquetas and sangria at 10 pm.

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I ended up walking 7 miles in the boot on Friday.  My foot was throbbing by the end.  Ouch!

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On Saturday, we left Madrid in the morning and took the bus to Cádiz all day.  After getting settled in our host family’s house and eating a surprisingly early dinner (7:30), my roommate and I went for a walk, saw an incredible sunset on the beach (which is a 3 minute walk from the house!), and met up with some of our other study abroad people.

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This morning, I woke up around 8:20 and did some core.  While I’m having a good time, I’m torn between feeling like a slacker for not doing any training in like 3 days and feeling depressed because my foot is killing me and I was going to start the walk-to-run program this week.  ARGH!  But my host mom is taking me to join a gym tomorrow after our orientation at the university, so that will be good 🙂

After doing core, we ate our first breakfast prepared by our host mother.  Talk about culture shock!  As you know, my usual breakfast at home involves some combination of oatmeal, fruit, nut butter, eggs, protein powder, cinnamon, etc.  Breakfast is like my favorite meal of the day!

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Case in point: my last breakfast at home

In Andalucía, the typical breakfast involves bread and sugar.  This morning, our host mom gave us chocolate-filled pastries, sweet milk that tasted like drinking butter (I couldn’t do it haha), orange juice, hot cocoa, and toast with our choice of butter or jam.  I ate the pastry and toast with strawberry preserves and for the most part passed on the drinks because I rarely drink anything except water and coffee.  I’m happy to try anything and am willing to fully immerse myself in Andalusian culture, but we’ve had some funny culture-clash moments so far.  When she asked what I like to eat for breakfast and I responded “oatmeal and eggs”, she looked at me like I had seven heads and said, “We don’t do that here.  Eggs are not for breakfast.  They sometimes do that in Barcelona, but not here.”

Welp…so much for that!

The next 5 weeks are definitely going to be a learning experience!  I’m really excited to start classes, continue to explore Cádiz, take day trips to other southern Spanish cities, and immerse myself in Andalusian culture.  I’m apprehensive about training (or lack thereof) and sad that my foot pain hasn’t gone away yet (seriously- I’ve run like 100 miles in the past 4 months…)

But this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m so grateful I get to do it!  Cádiz is beautiful, and the weather is unparalleled.  And we have a cute roof/garden right outside our bedroom!

Combating Training Rigidity

Good morning!  I hope everyone’s Tuesday is off to a wonderful start.  I just got back from the gym and am doing some last-minute study abroad prep before heading to work for the afternoon.  I’m currently icing my foot while typing this post 🙂

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Got some weird looks with my post-workout breakfast, per usual

I’ve got a lot on my mind that I want to say after this morning’s gym session (both good and bad!).  Recently, I’ve felt like I’ve been in a mental and physical rut with training.  Because I took my break early and am not allowed to run yet in order to let my second metatarsal heal, I’m on a slightly different timeline than my teammates.  They’re wrapping up their rest week and starting “active rest” and light training, while I’ve been doing that for 3-4 weeks now.  At this point in the year, all of our training is pretty much up to us.  The whole idea is to keep our bodies moving but fresh, and keep our minds eager and motivated by letting us do what we want when we want to, and take rest when we want to.  It’s supposed to be pressure-free and help us gear up for when summer cross country training ramps up.

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I was rebellious and did not wear the boot to the bookstore the other day…

I’m a creature of routine, so while I can thrive off of this freedom, I am not currently thriving.  There’s a little voice in the back of my head that has been constantly telling me things like, “You need to be doing this.  You need to be building up the cross training volume, you need to be doing a certain amount every day even though your coach is telling you to keep it relaxed.”  This has been exacerbated by the fact that I’m alone- counterintuitively, it’s easier for me to keep an open mind towards training when I’m surrounded by my teammates and coaches.  Also when I’m not injured 😉

Another unhealthy facet of what I’ve been doing is that I’ve been focusing on filling some sort of quota every time I train, whether it be minutes, calories, or the like.  (“Am I going to reach 400 minutes of cross training this week?”)  Then I’ve been super anal about my post-workout snack, the timing of my food, and other things that are good as long as you don’t overthink them.  Your body is not a goddamn robot, Kathryn.

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Biking and reading

The past few days, I’ve been a little sick, which has made me look forward to the cross training even less.  But I still biked on the recumbent bike for an hour yesterday.  I convinced myself that I felt awesome, which maybe I did during the bike, but afterwards, I felt like crap.  I’m having a hard time keeping the long-term in mind– been focusing too much on the daily/hourly/minutely (is that a word), and it’s made me start to dread the stationary bike and the pool.  I’m a person that loves weight training because it makes me feel strong and unstoppable…so why have I been only doing boring cardio???

I texted my coach yesterday to essentially tell him I was being a stubborn moron (no surprises there!), and he had a really good response.

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“Take some time doing active rest, not structured workouts.”  Music to my stubborn ears!!

So this morning, I took his advice to heart.  I got to the gym with the intent of doing another 60+ minutes on the infernal stationary bike.  However, I got there and had zero interest in doing that, so I made up a dynamic core/strength session as I went along.  It felt amazing to get my body moving dynamically (one of the consequences of the boot is that I can’t do anything impactful on my foot, so jumping exercises and even walks are out of the question.  I’ve felt antsy and just want to move some fast-twitch muscles!)  I continued to steer clear of jumps and too many weight-bearing exercises, but before I knew it, 45 minutes had flown by and my body was buzzing in that endorphin-fueled “I’m going to be incredibly sore tomorrow” state that I love.

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Throughout the workout, I was literally dancing during my rest breaks.  This workout was the type that reminded me how much I crave the process of getting stronger.  Instead of sitting on the stationary bike or doing circles in the deep end of the pool looking at the clock every 15 seconds, I worked my entire body, was never bored, and only did things I wanted to do.  It was awesome.

My lesson of the day is to focus on doing the things you love.  This might change day to day, but listen to your body and don’t get caught up in the minutiae of training.  There are some days where I really do want to get on the bike for 90 minutes or swim a 70-minute workout.  Then there are days like today, and yesterday, and the day before…where I just don’t.  While my number one love is running, I can’t do that right now, so it’s important to trust myself and figure out how to stay healthy and happy (physically and mentally).

I leave for Spain in two days, which I think will be really good for me in all issues mentioned above.  And I get to start the walk-to-run program while I’m there!  But perfect training and fueling won’t be my primary focus- my primary focus will be to enjoy Cádiz, soak up all the experiences, conduct my independent research project about the markets, and learn millions of new things.

Have a wonderful day 🙂

 

Spring 2018: The semester of injury

Long time no blog!  This morning, both my mom and one of my friends asked, “Do you still blog?”  My gut answer was, “Of course!” before I remembered that I actually haven’t blogged in four months…Sorry about that!

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I just wrapped up what was definitely the most challenging semester of my life, both academically and athletically.  I drove home from school this past Monday, and I have about a week and half to chill out (and work) before I leave to study abroad in Spain until the end of June!  Luckily, I didn’t have any final exams, but I wrote 59 pages of final papers and had several group projects.  Phew!  Time for a life update (as a means of procrastinating on the final paper due for the semester).  Settle in; this is going to be a long one.

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From my 21st bday party- had to wear sneakers due to injury haha

To start things off on a rather sour note, I have essentially been injured this entire semester.  Writing it out seems unbelievable.  As you know, I was fighting some mild injuries throughout December and January but had worked back up to normal-ish mileage (albeit on the treadmill) by the time I headed back to school for the spring semester.

Once I got back to school, I immediately started going to the training room every day because the foot and ankle pain was persisting.  I got an x-ray in mid-January, which didn’t show anything, so then I got an MRI, which showed posterior tibial tendonitis.  I cross trained hard until February 14th (my 21st birthday!), at which point I convinced the trainers and my coach to let me start running on the Alter-G, even though I was still having foot pain.IMG_1487.jpg

My 21st birthday was super fun even though I had to write a paper.  Since so many of my friends had birthdays in February, we had a 5-way birthday party!

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I started bringing the stationary bike outside because after a month of being shut up in the Alter-G room, I was in desperate need of some vitamin D (and social interaction, haha).  Most days, I would bike and/or swim 60-90 minutes, with two or three days being workout efforts with intervals, and the rest being steady maintenance cross trains.  I was getting stronger in the pool, on the bike, and in the weight room!  I started consistently doing chin-ups with chains and squatting heavier weights.

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I slowly transitioned back to running, running on land for the first time on February 22.  My mileage progression went something like this:

  • Week of 2/19-2/25: 4 miles + 10 Alter-G miles
  • Week of 2/26-3/4: 15 land miles + 3 Alter-G miles
  • Week of spring break: no idea
  • Week of 3/12-3/18: 22 miles
  • Week of 3/19-3/25: 32 miles

While the post tib was getting better, the bunion issues and related foot pain from last year came back full force the second I started running again.  So this whole time, running was a question mark every single day.  Mentally, this is a terrible way to train.  Each morning, I woke up with no idea how my foot would feel, how much I would be able to run, etc.  It was extremely frustrating and demoralizing, but it made the good days that much more gratifying.

At the end of February, my mom came down to run the hilly, hard half marathon hosted by my team, and she placed in her age group!

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Just after starting to run on land again, I drove down to Tybee Island, Georgia, with a random group of teammates for spring break.  That week was very freeing- I didn’t worry about training or mileage, did what I could, sunbathed on the beach in 58 degree weather (#nice) during the day, explored Savannah, and enjoyed being 21 at night 😉

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Finally, towards the end of March, I managed to put together “real” mileage of 32.  Too bad I got overzealous and did 4 comparatively hard efforts in that one week.  On March 25, I ran 9 miles cutting down to 6:30 pace, and subsequently strained my right hamstring.  The trainers aggravated it by scraping, which put me out of commission for another two weeks and ruined my plan to return to racing at the Colonial Relays (beginning of April).

  • Week of 3/26-4/1: 13 miles
  • Week of 4/2-4/8: 25 miles

After my hamstring pain cleared up, I emailed my coach asking if I could run the 5000 on the track at the Duke Invitational (4/21).  I hadn’t done any workouts, but I didn’t care.  I just wanted to race!  Shockingly, he responded that I could run the 5k at George Mason a week earlier (4/14).  Off of zero workouts and barely 20 miles per week.  I was 10% apprehensive and 90% jumping for joy!

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Beach with teammates the night before the race

Unfortunately, my body couldn’t hold it together.  The post tib pain came back literally the day before the race, and I also had pain on top of my foot that I just ignored because it had been 3 months of injury and I didn’t want another thing to be wrong (pro tip: don’t ignore pain).  I literally did my pre-meet on the bike, and my coach said I could travel and just take things one step at a time.  If I could do the shakeout with no pain, I could move on to the warm-up.  If I could do the warm-up with no pain, I could race.

I made it through the shakeout and warm-up and laced up in spikes for the first time since November.  I was not pain-free, but I pretended that I was.  The gun went off, and it was amazing to be back on the track again.  This was the first time I’d worn the uniform on the track since May 2016 (my freshman year).  Each lap, my teammates would scream-cheer, and I would burst into a smile.  Until about lap 8 and then I realized that it’s kind of difficult to run the 5k off of no workouts, haha.

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I ended up running an 18:38, not that it matters!  (For reference, I split a 17:35 5k during a cross country 6k in the fall, and my goal before I got injured was to run 16:XX on the track this season.)  It was incredibly fun, but I couldn’t walk the next day because I was so sore!

And then I seriously couldn’t walk by Monday.  By Tuesday (April 17), the nagging foot pain on top of my foot (metatarsal area) was sharp and throbbing.  I had clearance that day, so I saw our team orthopedist as well as the head athletic trainer, and both of them agreed that I should shut down my season right then and there because it wasn’t worth trying to get back into shape through another injury to maybe score points in the 5000 at the CAA championships on May 4-5.

So after over three months of trying to come back for CAAs, I did not run CAAs.  I got an MRI that showed I have a stress reaction in my second metatarsal on my left foot (aka the problem foot, apparently!). I took six days completely off, went home for the weekend to have a mental break before the end of the semester, started lightly cross training two weeks ago, and have essentially been doing whatever training I’ve felt like doing since then.  Some days, that’s a 40 minute swim.  Some days it’s a 70 minute bike workout.  Other days it’s yoga, or core, or nothing.  I’m going to be in the walking boot until I go to Spain and potentially longer, and I will start a return-to-running walk-jog program in a couple weeks, as long as there’s absolutely no pain for awhile before that.  As of now, I still have pain, and I really don’t want to come back to running before my foot is ready.  It’s going to be a longggg road back to fitness anyway.  So right now, I am doing what I can to maintain my aerobic fitness in the pool and on the bike, while not doing so much as to disrupt my love for training in general.

For someone who fully admits that the majority of her life revolves around running, this semester was incredibly confusing.  I had to rediscover who I was outside of running, which I honestly don’t think I succeeded at (yet).  I was a bitchy pill some days, but a great teammate/friend/sister/daughter other days.  The past four months have definitely been trying, but I have learned so much about myself, others, training, sanity, and balance!

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Featuring my snazzy Aircast

I don’t want to make it sound like my whole semester was miserable, because it truly wasn’t.  It sucked to be injured (and still sucks! I’m still injured!) but I had so many great life experiences outside of running.  I strengthened some friendships, took classes that were extremely difficult but helped me realize how much I actually do like my Hispanic Studies major, applied (and was accepted) to study abroad!, had fun, and made both irresponsible and responsible decisions.

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Irresponsibly wearing heels instead of the Boot 😉 

I expanded my food Instagram, made crazy memories, and feel more adult than I ever have.  I did gain weight (funny how that happens when you stop running 50-60 miles per week) and am trying to remember that my body is smarter than my brain and will eventually settle into the best possible state for itself.  I am really excited to study abroad in Spain this summer, as I think it’s going to be one of the best (and hardest) experiences of my life!

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More later– my post-swim brain is dead 🙂

Training 1/8-1/14 and beginning of semester!

Happy first day of school!  The second semester of junior year started bright and early this morning with an hour-long pool workout, training room visit, and 9:30 am marketing research class.  And it’s snowing!  I have an hour and a half break between classes, so I’m going to drink coffee too quickly and catch you all up on what’s been going on in my life 🙂

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First of all, I spontaneously got a haircut!  Chopped off about six inches of gross, dead hair left over from when my body was falling apart at the end of the cross country season.  #newyearnewme?  But that has next to nothing to do with training, sooo moving on.

So unfortunately, right as I was beginning to feel in shape and enjoy training again, I injured myself.  Last Tuesday, I did a tempo run on the icy bike path and completely fucked up my left foot and ankle.  Since then, I’ve been experiencing pain in my arch, plantar, and ankle bone, and it isn’t getting any better.

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Post-pool-workout overnight oats and warm whirlpool

Ironically, I’m in the same position I was in at the start of last semester: cross training, foot/ankle pain, daily training room visits…hoo boy.  I’m trying to take it in stride, though- be patient, smart, don’t rush things.  Unlike past injuries, I want this to completely heal up before I try to train on it.  And I’ve been killing it on the bike, in the pool, and in the weight room, so those are all positives!  Might get an x-ray if the pain doesn’t improve soon.

Week of 1/8-1/14:

  • Monday: AM: 7 easy miles + circuits. PM: active warm-up, 3 miles, strides, GS1, foam roll.
  • Tuesday: 20 min warm-up, drills, 4 mile tempo on bike path (SUPER icy).  Splits: 6:18, 6:26, 6:07, 6:03.  20 min cool down.  Lower body lift at home, and did 24 chin-ups!  Foot/ankle started hurting a lot later in the day.  Iced it.
  • Wednesday:  AM: tried to run- too much pain.  30 min elliptical with ankle brace.  PM: 30 min bike + core.  Foam roll.
  • Thursday: AM: 8 miles + strides + upper body lift.  PM: 2 miles.  Foot/ankle feel better than Tuesday and Wednesday, but not pain-free…in retrospect, I’m just a stubborn idiot 😉
  • Friday: active warm-up, 4 miles- planned to do workout but after I warmed up for 2 miles, it was too painful, so I ran 2 miles home and then did a 50 minute pool workout (10 lap warm-up, 5 x 4 laps hard, 1 lap easy, 5 x 1 lap hard, 1 length easy, 10 lap cool down).  Rolled, Epsom salt soak, electrical stim and ice, mobs, massage.
  • Saturday: 100 min XT (80 min bike + 20 elliptical). Rolled, Epsom salt soak, electrical stim and ice, mobs, massage.
  • Sunday: off. 40 min yoga/core.
Total: 33 miles + 210 min XT
I wrote a melodramatic post on Saturday that I might post later, but essentially I was really frustrated about having to cross train and dealt with some “If I can’t run, it’s a waste” thoughts.  Luckily, I’ve remembered that cross training is highly effective at keeping us in shape, so I’m going to take advantage of the bike and the pool to get some quality work in!  Also, so many women on my team are injured right now that cross training has been kind of a party…haha.
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This semester, I have no 8 am classes.  Thank goodness!  On Mondays and Wednesdays, I’ll be taking three marketing classes from 9:30 to 3:30, with morning and afternoon practice.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I will have morning practice from 7:30-10:30, followed by two Hispanic Studies classes from 11-2.  And for the third semester in a row…no Friday classes!  I’m well on my way to completing my two majors (BBA in Marketing and BA in Hispanic Studies), and it’s crazy to think that we’re already in the second half of junior year.
I spent the majority of yesterday meal prepping even though I didn’t really need to, mostly because I wanted an excuse to break in my new food processor!  It’s super fancy, with 4 different blades and about 10 different parts…quite a change from the old mini one that stopped working last semester 🙂  Also, I realized that all the food I prepped was some shade of brown.  Nice!
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Carrot muffins, curried lentils, black bean brownies, homemade larabars, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and beets

I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday, and I’ll update again soon about my injury, semester, and life in general!

Week of 1/1-1/7 (51)

Happy Monday- the start of the last week at home before spring semester begins!  I’m currently wearing cozy fleece pajama pants and settling into a Thai chicken curry coma while writing this post.  I’m working tomorrow so planning to do my workout and lift pretty early.  In typical Monday fashion, I am battling a severe cold, and my car battery died.  But on the bright side, the AAA guy was really nice, and I got in two really nice outdoor runs today after the Treadmill Horror Week!
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Color coordination is not my strong suit

Since last week was so cold, I decided to play it safe by doing the majority of my training indoors.  However, by the end of the week, I was beyond done with the monotony of the dreadmill.
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Yikes…

Week of 1/1-1/7:
  • Monday: AM: active warm-up, 7 miles @ 7:45 pace on treadmill, GS1.  PM: active warm-up, 2 miles @ 7:39 pace outside, strides, circuits.
  • Tuesday: active warm-up, 2 miles @ 7:45 pace, treadmill fartlek (2 x :90h, :90float, 4x:60,:60, 6x:30,:30), 2 miles @ 7:50.  PM: ice skating.
  • Wednesday: 7 miles @ 7:02
  • Thursday: AM: active warm-up, easy 7 miles @ 8:00 on treadmill, upper body lift at home.  PM: 2 miles @ 7:55 on treadmill, 2xhill stride simulation, circuits.
  • Friday: AM: workout at “indoor track”.  Active warm-up, 2 miles @ 7:30, drills, 2×200, 2 x [1000, 400, 800] with 200-400 recovery, 2 mile cool down.  Splits: 36, 37, 3:32, 77, 2:52, 3:40 (ouch), 81, 2:50.  Honestly, this track is awful, so the effort was much harder and I’m not too worried about the splits.  PM: 23 min aqua jog.
  • Saturday: 30 min bike + core
  • Sunday: 11 miles on the treadmill (7:20s-7:30s, finished a bit faster). I reeeeally didn’t want to do this on the treadmill, but I only had time in the morning and it was -3 degrees.  Almost put a baseball bat through the treadmill if I’m honest.

Total: 51 miles + 55 min XT

Physically, I got in some good work this week.  My runs and lifts all went pretty well, I didn’t hammer too many maintenance runs, and I got in some quality strength.    Surprisingly, I am not stressing too much about the fact that my mileage buildup has been a little lower throughout winter break.  It’s hard to train alone, the higher-quality work is done back on campus, and we have a long season(s) ahead of us.  I’ve been taking care of myself and getting in good work, and that’s what matters 🙂

However, I was definitely going stir-crazy (and dreadmill-crazy) by the end of the week.  The lack of sunlight didn’t help, either…

While it wasn’t fun to train primarily indoors, there were a bunch of highlights this week!

  1. I ran with a friend on the canal on Wednesday, and the run flew by because we talked nonstop.
  2. Homemade pizza night!IMG_0810.jpg
  3. Convinced the aforementioned friend to join me for an indoor track workout on Friday!  I would not have been able to do the workout without a buddy.
  4. Made some delicious homemade bars (with walnuts, dates, oats, chia and flax seeds, and chai spices.)IMG_0860.jpg
  5. Went out for pho with friends and talked for three straight hours.  It was a blast.
  6. Started working again, and my out-of-town friend showed up unexpectedly, which was so much fun.
  7. Due to a massive, random craving, I picked up some salteñas after cross training on Saturday.  They were just as incredible as I remembered.IMG_0869.jpg
  8. Got through Sunday’s long run without killing anyone!  Even though I bailed out a mile earlier than planned.
  9. A networking brunch with the people I will be working for/with!  It was a lot of fun, and I’m really excited.

So yes, lots of positives this week.  This coming week is my last week at home before I go back to school for the spring semester, and I want to make it a good one!  My friend joined me for 7 early miles this morning.  This early riser hadn’t actually risen early in awhile, so my alarm was quite the shock!  It was fun to catch up with her (and run outside…blessed).  I had another quality run in the afternoon, followed by strides and a general strength session that felt awesome.  I am definitely not taking today for granted; it was really, really nice 🙂

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Tried to film my afternoon strides but it didn’t work too well…

My goals this week are to enjoy training, work more hours, remain positive and continue to remind myself why we are doing this training, get ready to move back to school, cook some new foods, and prioritize sleep and foam rolling (been slacking a little…).  And don’t feel bad about spending a few hours not doing anything at all! (I’m terrible at this.)  Classes begin next Wednesday, and our first race is in less than two weeks!  I know I’m not in the best shape ever, but I’m excited to get through a few more workouts at home before rejoining my teammates.  That always makes workouts more fun and effective 🙂 I’m truly excited to race on an indoor track (and race a track race in uniform!) for the first time since freshman year!!  Here’s a throwback to my first race in uniform:

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Baby Kathryn!

Today :)

Okay, okay, I know I said I would write a Year in Review and 2018 goals post…and I am, I swear!  But today has been such a nice day that I just wanted to write about it.

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To be perfectly honest, I’ve lacked motivation towards training over the past couple weeks.  I’ve still gotten out and done it, but my mentality has been seriously lacking.  Being away from my team, my coaches, and being so far removed from what we’re working for (racing) makes it really hard to stay motivated!  It doesn’t help that it’s been zero degrees outside.

Anyway, today I woke up to real-feel temperatures of -1.  To the treadmill I went!  I had a short fartlek on tap, so I headed to the community center gym because my treadmill tops out at 10 mph (not fast enough for speedwork).  When I got there, the gym was packed.  Somehow, counterintuitively, this boosted my lackluster mood!  I was excited to see everyone busting their butts to achieve their goals.  In my opinion, having a lot of people at the gym makes you more motivated to kick butt in your workout because you don’t want to look slow.  (Just me?  Probably.)  My high school teammate, who is a kickass D1 runner herself, was bearing down on the treadmill in the middle of an eight-mile cutdown run to 5:30 pace.  Freakin’ inspiration.

After completing an active warm-up routine, I hopped on the treadmill next to her and ran a two-mile warm-up before starting my fartlek.  [2x:90 hard, :90 float, 4x:60h, :60f, 6x:30h, :30f] with a two-mile cool down.  Because it’s scary to run at high speed on a treadmill, and the effort always feels comparatively harder, I didn’t go “all out.”  I started the hard intervals at 5:40 pace and cut down to 5:10 pace.  Even though it wasn’t as hard as I could have gone on land, I hadn’t run that fast in awhile, and I felt like I had gotten in a good effort at the end!  And now that I’ve done some fast stuff, I feel much more inclined to do speedwork in the near future.  Funny how that works 😉

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Fueled up with a Picky bar before completing the day’s lift.  I went home, showered, ate lunch, power napped, and headed out to ice skate on the frozen canal with some friends that I don’t get to see a lot!  It ended up being such a good time- I hadn’t talked to them at length in awhile- and it was so cool to skate on the canal.  And we managed to avoid getting beaned in the head by the more aggressive hockey players out there.

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Afterwards, we warmed up our frozen bodies with the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.  We used heavy cream, melted semisweet chocolate, and cinnamon sticks, so what’s not to love?

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It was just a really good day.  I sometimes get miserable in the cold, especially chronic extreme cold like this!  But now I’m bundled up and toasty warm, and it’s been a day to appreciate the small things like laughing with friends, reading interesting newspaper articles, feeling a little more motivated towards running, and resting under a string of pretty lights.  Also, I accidentally left clothes at the gym and went back to get them hours later and they were still there!  Heck yeah.  Happy New Year 🙂