Thanksgiving and season wrap-up

Happy Monday! aka the time of year when it is finally socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music.  Due to a fire on campus, the power is out as I’m typing this, so there’s a bit of an eerie vibe.  I also realized how woefully unprepared I am for winter when I had to scrape frost off my car this morning using an old Sweet Frog gift card and a wooden spatula.  #nice.

After five days at home, I woke up at the crack of dawn on Sunday to avoid hitting the post-Thanksgiving traffic on the drive back to school.  I didn’t want to leave that early, but I made a pit stop at Starbucks to motivate myself 😉  It ended up being a good choice because the traffic report on the interstate turned completely red later in the day.

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Thanksgiving break was pretty great.  I drove home last Monday after class and got home in time for dinner!  I hadn’t been home since August and was feeling extremely homesick and burnt out on campus.  After a crazy couple years, my family is feeling a little more “settled”, so even though I’ve been out of the house for longer, it felt more like coming home.  On Tuesday, I ran for the first time since regionals- 30 minutes felt decent, but new strength circuits afterwards killed me off and I could hardly walk on Wednesday!  I ran with a friend on the canal on Wednesday, and it was beautiful outside.

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My family went to a local family friend’s house for Thanksgiving like we do almost every year.  This year, there was quite an eclectic gathering of 20 people.  But it somehow all worked! IMG_9789.jpgThere was an incredible amount of food- two turkeys, three kinds of stuffing, two types of mac and cheese, an addictive sweet potato/brown sugar/pecan casserole, cranberry sauce, roasted vegetables, rice, gravy, salad, mashed potatoes, butternut squash and kale casserole, rolls…the works.  And for dessert: chocolate mousse made by yours truly, pumpkin pie made by my pie-connoisseur-brother (he bruleed the top with a blowtorch), homemade whipped cream, apple crisp, and lemon bites.  Additionally, approximately 15 bottles of red wine were consumed.

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Making homemade whipped cream!

Overall, it was a great Thanksgiving.  So much to be thankful for. 🙂  My brother, dad, and I went hiking and rock scrambling on the Billy Goat Trail on Friday and then went out for pho to warm up.

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Part adrenaline junkie, part monkey

On Saturday, I ran six miles with a high school teammate, went to brunch with some friends from high school, took a bath and finally used my jacuzzi jets after a year and a half, and then we had a dinner party with my stepsister and her family.  I made vegan chocolate chip cookies to accommodate all parties, and even the anti-vegan family members thought they were delicious!  (Pretty much just sub a flax egg for regular eggs and coconut oil for butter.)

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Last Sunday, my team had our Team Thanksgiving.  We made food, dressed up, and played ridiculous games per usual…it was a blast 🙂  And the food was delicious!  I made cranberry sauce, chocolate mousse, and a crockpot dish with butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, pecans, and a spiced apple cider glaze.

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I think that about sums up Thanksgiving break!  Honestly, I did not want to come back yesterday, and I felt pretty depressed about the prospect of being back for a few weeks.  I’m not sure why this is happening my junior year (rather than freshman year), but my roommate mentioned that she felt the same way, which was somewhat reassuring.  Even though we’re still homesick and disenchanted (and in my case, 110% broke), we are excited to get back into training, crush finals, and get ready for Christmas!


On another note, I want to briefly recap my break week and plans for transitioning back into training, as well as some goals for the upcoming track season.

Cross country 2017 recap:

  • Ran approximately 1,300 miles (from May 22 to November 10). So I beat last year’s season total by 9 miles!
  • 5 races
  • After a great summer of training (and not doing much else honestly), I arrived on campus feeling fit and ready to go.  I started working out with the top group, and my team felt cohesive and excited for a strong season.  Unfortunately, team-wise, we never got it together and were plagued with injuries, illness, weird circumstances, etc.  It was very demoralizing.
  • Individually, I felt like I really hit my stride in mid-October, right as my team was starting to fall apart.  My race at Penn State pumped me up for CAAs, and I wanted to try to contend for the win!  However, my body started rebelling, and I had a terrible race at CAAs, finishing 19th.  This persisted through regionals (fatigue, nausea, headaches, every run was bad), and by the end of the season, nothing was going well.
  • Interestingly, weight room did not go well this year.  I adore the weight room; lifting has always been fun for me, and I love to push myself (like chin-ups with chains!) and notice my form stay intact when I get tired during a race.  But this season, it just didn’t click.  I felt weak, tired, and did not progress in the weight room.

SO.  Not the way we wanted to end things, and I’m hungry for so much more.  In retrospect, there were some systematic issues that didn’t work for anyone on the team, and we have had discussions and brainstormed on how to be smarter going forward.


Looking forward to the 2018 track seasons:

After taking ten days off from running, I ran 19 miles and cross trained for 30 minutes last week.  I also completed some new strength circuits that will be incorporated into our training going forward.  20ish minutes of burpees, push-ups, jump squats, etc. left me hobbling around!

I’ve gotten bloodwork done and gone to the doctor to figure out what is wrong with my body.  In addition to the fatigue, my hair has become brittle and thin.  Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten any conclusive answers yet.  Tests for mono, thyroid issues, Lyme disease, anemia, etc. all came back negative.  So we shall see.

Going into track, I’m determined to be smart, listen to my body, and strive for the highest but quietly and humbly put in the work.  This will include:

  • More cross training!  As cross country progressed, I pretty much stopped cross training completely.  Last spring, I couldn’t put together consistent mileage, but cross training left me feeling strong as hell.  While I hope to maintain consistent mileage this season, I want to swim and/or bike at least twice a week.  My mileage might be a little lower, but it’s all about quality and sustainability.
  • Build more explosive power!  I naturally have pretty good speed for a distance runner.  However, my speed has not really developed since coming to college!  I want to incorporate more dynamic explosive exercises into my track training so that the last 400 meters of the 5k are actually impressive. Jumping squats and lunges, burpees, box jumps, and speedwork.  Embrace the pain!
  • Mentality: focus when you need to, relax when you need to, remember that you adore running, and don’t take life too seriously 🙂
  • Yoga!! I did a good job incorporating yoga into my training throughout the summer but definitely slacked in season.  Last spring, some of us would meet for relaxing yoga sessions every Wednesday and Saturday, and I want to restart this!

Already this week, I’m feeling much better than I had been at the end of cross country.  My body seems to have somewhat recovered, and I’ve been running happy.  I have no desire to do anything except easy, maintenance mileage for now, and I’m trying to appreciate every run.  But I still skipped out on doing yoga yesterday.  One step at a time…

 

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Training 10/16-10/22 (55 miles + 20 min bike)

It’s Homecoming Weekend! I’m currently drinking coffee and stalking the Marine Corps Marathon splits instead of doing work because my mom is running for the second year in a row.  I’m going to do some grocery shopping and do chores and potentially do work if the inspiration strikes.  Haven’t done homework in like two weeks, so I should eventually get on that, but for now…#yolo.

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Anyway, the past week of training has been relatively uninteresting.  Classes restarted on Wednesday after fall break, and since I don’t have Friday classes, I had another two-day school week.  Nice!

I ran 55 miles and got my butt on the bike for a bit on Wednesday because of some foot pain.  Didn’t feel particularly incredible, but also didn’t feel like I was dying (for the most part haha).

Week of 10/16-10/22:

  • Monday: AM: “fun” practice!  7 miles with some of the underclassman guys and jumped in the river afterwards (even though it was like 50 degrees outside).  Lower body lift in weight room.  PM: team meeting, drills, speed ladder, hurdles, 3+ miles, 4 x 150 strides, planks/push-ups, rope stretch, foam roll.
  • Tuesday: workout @ sports complex: 18 min w/u, drills, strides, 2 x [4:00h, 2:00e], 3 x [3:00h, 1:00e], 4 x [2:00h, 1:00e], 4 x [1:00h, :30e], 15 min c/d.  Definitely felt the lower body lift from yesterday!  NormaTec.  Evening: pain on top of foot.
  • Wednesday:  4 miles + 20 min bike.  Gorgeous weather! 10 min core.  PM: massage…she murdered my quads and calves.
  • Thursday: AM: form drills, speed ladder, hurdle drills, 7 miles, 3 x “x” strides with the conference commissioner!  Upper body lift in weight room- felt hard.  PM: 3 miles + NormaTec.
  • Friday: 18 min w/u, drills, strides, 4 x mile on a hilly gravel road with 3 min recovery (5:51, 6:04, 5:42, 5:56).  15 min c/d.  Mile 1 and 3 were downhill, 2 and 4 were uphill…ouch!  Didn’t feel great today (heavy + not in rhythm) but got through!  Ice bath.
  • Saturday: 12 miles on soft surface.  Did not feel fresh.  NormaTec.
  • Sunday: off. Light core/stretching.

Total: 55 miles + 20 min bike

We got a ton of soft surface this week, which was great, except my calves are #wrecked.  But it’ll pay off!  And the massage therapist on Wednesday really helped to get all the knots out.

Her, destroying my calves: “Is this pressure okay?”
Me, sweating and breathing hard: “Oh yeah totally fine I’m fine this is fine!”

But I digress.

On Tuesday, we went to my coach’s house to carve pumpkins, which was lots of fun, although my pumpkin promptly rotted by Friday.

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Classes started again on Wednesday, and I discovered that I had done fairly well on my finance midterm but bombed the heck out of our computer skills assessment.  You win some, you lose some 😉  Applied to some internships, baked some treats for our bake sale, and still didn’t really do homework.

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Pumpkin steel-cut oats with delicious toppings 🙂

On Friday, I did some work in the morning before meeting with my coach.  We talked about the upcoming conference championships, and it was exciting and a little bit nerve-wracking because we’ve got some big goals that were previously unthinkable.  Hoo boy…

That afternoon, we drove out to a hilly soft surface road to do some mile repeats.  We went out and back twice, so the first and third miles were downhill while the second and fourth were uphill.  Ouch.  Our splits of 5:51, 6:04, 5:42, 5:56 definitely reflected that.  I didn’t feel well during the workout, but I worked through it with two of my teammates. 🙂  We didn’t get back from the workout until like 6:30 and made the mistake of going out to dinner on Homecoming weekend.  After waiting in line for over an hour at Blaze, we almost cried tears of joy when we finally devoured our pizzas.

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Saturday was another busy day- we long ran in the morning (again, not incredible, but made it through) and then I volunteered at our bake sale for a couple hours before going to the Homecoming football game for the rest of the afternoon.  We got slaughtered…as expected 😉

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After almost falling asleep in the dining hall in front of our recruits, I realized I should probably nap in order to become a functional human again, so I went home and snoozed before heading to our annual Oyster Roast.

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Got that sweater at Goodwill for $4 and am really happy about it

After a couple hours of eating fresh oysters and chili out of a giant cauldron and dancing hysterically to the Virginia Reel, we listened to Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” album (the best…new Taylor Swift is weird…) on the drive home.  ‘Twas a loooong day.

We’re heading into the conference championships this week, and I’m excited and a bit nervous but trying to keep a very level head.  As I’ve mentioned before, our team has not had the best luck this year, but I know we can put on a good showing at conferences.

Time to actually go be productive, maybe…

Training 10/9-10/15 (54 miles)

Happy Sunday!  Today was a semi-productive day…I avoided schoolwork by updating my resume, running errands, and cleaning my apartment (our toilet has never sparkled so brightly).  I even applied for an internship because I decided it was probably a good idea to stop being in denial that the real world exists!!

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This evening, some of the team parents hosted a cookout, and I ate so much that I feel like I’m going to explode…so I’m currently lying on the couch in a pulled-pork-and-chili-induced food coma while writing this post 😉

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Plate 1 of…many…

 

Week of 10/9-10/15:

  • Monday: AM: 6 miles pre-dawn, very humid/hot, didn’t feel as fresh as expected.  NAP.  PM: form drills, speed ladder, hurdle drills, 4 miles trails, 6 x strides, planks/push-ups, yoga
  • Tuesday: AM: 18 min w/u, drills, strides, 2×500 (1:40, 1:40), 2k (7:16), 1k (3:30), 500 (1:38), stopped w/o early and cooled down for 3 miles.  Legs felt trashed.  Very humid! Lift in weight room + ice bath.  PM: NormaTecs.
  • Wednesday:  AM: 4 miles + core, very humid.  Bus ride to PSU.  PM: 10 min shakeout.
  • Thursday: pre-meet at PSU: 5 miles, drills, strides, rope stretch.  In a funk.
  • Friday: AM: 10 min shakeout, rope stretch.  20 min w/u, drills, strides, 6k @ PSU (21:20), 20 min c/d, rope stretch.  PM: NormaTec on the bus.
  • Saturday: 12 miles, felt tired but pretty good.
  • Sunday: 4 miles, light core/stretching

Total: 54 miles

Hmmm…a weird week, culminating in a great race!  I knew that last week’s training would hit me hard at the beginning of this week, so I was okay with the fact that Tuesday was rough.  As I mentioned in my race recap, my mental game was not on point throughout the trip.  I’ve felt sad, annoyed, discontent, and lonely over the past few weeks, and it was exacerbated on the trip.  However, the race went great (individually)!

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Sleep was pretty good this week.  As far as nutrition goes, I’m not sure what’s going on with my body, but my appetite has never been as large as it’s been the past few weeks!  I literally can’t get through the night without a snack, even if I eat at 9 pm right before going to bed.  I’ve incorporated extra snacks in the morning and the afternoon, but for real…body WYD??  It was freaking me out a little because logically, normal people do not eat nine meals a day.  But the race (and 56-second PR…) reassured me that collegiate athletes are not normal 😉

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Took the freshmen to Blaze Pizza and we all finished our very loaded pizzas 

Also, as Quentin Cassidy states in Once a Runner, “if the furnace is hot enough, anything will burn.”  #true.  I might just be saying that to justify the large amount of treats consumed throughout the past week 😉  But I’m feeling good.

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Peanut butter chocolate chip chickpea cookie dough bites!

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This freshly baked pumpkin cinnamon roll was life

Anyway, I’m losing focus, soooo gonna sign off for now.  We’re going to the river tomorrow morning for a fun practice!  It’s crazy to think there are just a few weeks left of the season (because honestly at this point, our chances of qualifying for NCAAs are…dismal).

Training Week of 10/2-8 (58 miles)

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone’s week is off to a great start.  I got up early this morning, per usual, and ran 6 miles before dawn.  My friend joined me for 4 of them.  The weather was unseasonably warm, humid, and somewhat oppressive today…lovely.

Somehow, I got to my 8 am business analytics much earlier than I normally do.  Miracles do happen!  Of course, I was ready for lunch by 9:30 am and spent the day being a bottomless pit.  After afternoon practice, I made a really good vegetarian dinner with a bucketload of homemade Thai peanut sauce 😀

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Anyway, last week’s training was meaty but went well!  I took an off day yesterday and am excited to travel up north with the team for our first 6k of the season later this week.

Week of 10/2-10/8:

  • Monday: AM: 6 miles, felt pretty fresh!  PM: form drills, speed ladder, hurdle drills, 4 miles, 3 x “X” strides, planks/push-ups, rope stretch, foam roll.  Total: 10 miles.
  • Tuesday: AM: 18 min w/u, drills, strides, 2 x 1000 retro w/ 90s rec (3:37, 3:36), 2 x 1000 w/ 2 min rec (3:29, 3:26), 2 x 800 retro w/ 3 min rec (2:39, 2:37), 2 x 1000 w/ 90s rec (3:36, 3:37), 13 min c/d.  Lower body lift + ice bath.  Went hard on the front squats!  PM: 2 miles + NormaTecs.  Total: 11 miles.
  • Wednesday: early AM: 6 miles.  Very sore from lift; some bunion/foot pain but probably because shoes are old.  PM: core + foam roll.
  • Thursday: 18 min w/u, drills, strides, 3ish mile tempo with first 90s hard (17:30), run back to track, 4×400 w/ 90s rec (75, 75, 74, 71), 20 min c/d.  Upper body lift in weight room.  Ice bath.  Total: 10 miles.
  • Friday: AM: 6 miles.  PM: form drills, speed/hurdle drills, 4 miles easy, 6 strides, planks/push-ups.  Total: 10 miles of running…many miles of walking. #Ouch.  Started wearing new shoes and what do you know- like 75% of my bunion pain disappeared!
  • Saturday: Long run workout.  2 mile w/u, 5 x 6:00h, 3:00e, 4 x :30h, :30e, 20 min c/d.  Total = 11 miles.  Started off feeling “eh” but felt progressively stronger throughout the workout!
  • Sunday: Off. Some core/yoga.
Total: 58 miles.
This week was another off week from racing, so our coach piled on the quality.  With three workouts this week, the majority of the team was feeling pretty beat up by Saturday.  Surprisingly, all three workouts went pretty well for me!  I was very pleased with Tuesday’s splits, especially the 800s (which hurt a lot).  The cruise 1000s were nothing crazy, and it was weird but nice to go back to cruise pace at the end of the workout, after killing our legs with some speedy 8s.  Thursday’s tempo and 400s were all quite fast!  Some of us went to Kilwins on Thursday  night to treat ourselves 🙂
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I was pretty tired on Friday but took the afternoon run easy, which was nice.  We went to Busch Gardens after practice, and we ended up walking and running over six miles, after a full day of training and right before our long run workout the next morning.  NOT the brightest decision 😉 But it was a blast!  We rode the rollercoasters, ate churros, and experienced the creepy Howl’O’Scream corn mazes and haunted houses.
We also attempted to dab for one of the rollercoaster photos…I hate us 😉
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 The first half or so of Saturday’s long run workout felt terrible, but I felt progressively stronger (both mentally and physically) as it continued!  We returned to campus and got ready for team pictures!  After that, I spent the afternoon catching up with one of my good friends and going on a ferry/pumpkin patch adventure.
 My friend and I attempted to work on our database assignment for business analytics on Saturday night, but we were both exhausted and confused, so it did not go well.  On Sunday, I reset, worked on the assignment, grocery shopped and meal prepped, watched a movie for my Spanish class, and did some more work after dinner.  And now it’s a new week!
To be honest, our team hasn’t had the smoothest season so far.  Our lineup looks completely different than it was expected to look, but that is okay!  The different group dynamics have been really positive, and it’s exciting to see people progress and step up when others are having a hard time.  I’m excited to see how everyone does this weekend at Penn State.  Going to bed now to prepare for our workout tomorrow morning!

Hump Day/Tempo Tuesday Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Post-workout steak dinner…heck yes

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

 

In-season training week 1: 55 miles

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

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The OG 3 at Convocation

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

Week of 8/28-9/3:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday: 3 miles + core

Total: 55-56 miles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to junior year!!

 

What’s in my kitchen? Apartment edition!

Happy Tuesday!  Today is the last day of summer, and so far I’ve gone to 7 am practice, completed a rainy tempo workout, ice bathed, went to the grocery store, meal prepped, finally set up my bed, napped, did a shakeout run, and slowly started accepting the fact that classes start tomorrow 😉

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Can I just stay in bed instead of going to my 8 am?

The weather didn’t get the memo that it’s still summer, and the offshoot from Hurricane Harvey has resulted in bucketloads of rain all day, including during our workout.  We don’t have it too bad, though.  Praying for all the people in Texas who are being hit hard by this hurricane!

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For the tempo workout, our coach split us into groups and gave us a pace range but also told us to run more based on effort than anything.  My group was assigned a 5 mile tempo at 6:00-6:15 pace.  I fell off the group after two miles and had a particularly rough fourth mile during which my legs locked up pretty badly, but I rallied well in the fifth mile and caught back up!   I’m pleased with the splits as a starting point- pretty sure this was one of my fastest tempos, and definitely the fastest I’ve run five miles.  After the tempo, we rope stretched, foam rolled, did a bit of strength, and ice bathed.

Tempo splits: 6:08, 5:54, 6:11, 6:21, 6:13.


I had some typical beginning-of-the-school-year errands to run after practice, such as picking up textbooks, getting a parking pass, and going to the grocery store.  This semester, my roommate and I are in an off-campus apartment, and we both have commuter meal plans with 50 meals per semester.  This means that we will be cooking the majority of our meals on our own.  This will be significantly cheaper than being on a meal plan with 14-20 meals per week; seriously, the campus dining plans average out to like $15 per meal for crappy dining hall food!  However, living on our own also requires more planning. Over the past few days, we’ve stocked up on kitchen essentials and meal prepped a bit.  I thought I’d show you what our kitchen looks like right now, as well as my plan for this semester with classes, practice, other commitments, and meals.

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As collegiate athletes, a healthy, wholesome diet is essential to keep our bodies primed for hard training and recovery.  This is one aspect of life in which I will never skimp.  Our fridge, freezer, and pantry are stocked right now. We’ll be sharing some food and keeping some individual.  In the fridge, we’ve got fruits and vegetables, Greek yogurt, cheese, nut butter, condiments, almond milk, and I meal prepped some chicken, brown rice, quinoa, and black beans in order to throw together quick lunches and dinners.  The freezer has the rest of the chicken, frozen berries, my salmon, edamame, a loaf of sprouted bread, and some black bean brownies I made the other day.

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Hit up Walmart for the non-perishable essentials!  The 4-pack of black beans was 57 cents!

Our pantry is full of baking supplies, chia and hemp seeds, bars, cooking essentials such as olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pasta and pasta sauce, salsa, etc.  It’s a hard job stocking a kitchen with all the essentials without breaking the bank!  I think most of the major grocery hauls are done now, and my goal is to stick to a very low weekly budget from here on out.  Think $25-30 per week.  I am prepared with tons of brown rice, oats, potatoes, pasta, canned beans, and cheap bread 🙂

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This semester, my class schedule is pretty compatible with practice and meals.  I have an 8 am for the first time ever!  I also don’t really have time for lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays- haven’t figured out what I’m going to do about that yet.  My plan is to meal prep breakfast every day (except Friday- no classes again!) and pack my lunch most days.  For dinner, I’ll either go to the dining hall or just cook up a bunch of protein and complex carbs at the beginning of the week so that I can fix quick dinners and have more time to study (theoretically…).

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Meal prep on our doll-sized stove

A healthy, wholesome diet is an integral part of academic and athletic success!  All it takes is a little planning.  Also, my roommate is cooking her dinner right now and it smells delicious and I’m starving after a workout and a shakeout run, so I’m going to go eat.  The next post will hopefully be academic and athletic goals for the semester/year!

 

 

Summer Training Week 14: 58 miles + yoga + new apartment!

Greetings!  I’m back in my college town after a crazy, eventful week.  School doesn’t start until Wednesday, but practice starts on Monday.  I’ll recap this week’s training and then catch you guys up on what else has happened!

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Week 14 (8/21-8/27):

Monday: AM: drills, 8 miles on bike path/sidewalks, strides, core circuit.  PM: 2 miles.

Tuesday: workout at Burke Lake Park with teammate.  20 min warm-up, drills, 32 min tempo on trails, 20 min cool down.  Most of the tempo was mentally hard for me, but we encouraged each other and pushed it at the end.  Total: 10 miles.  Also- got my period back!

Wednesday: AM: glute activation, 6 miles on bike path, 10 min core.  PM: 1 hour slow flow yoga class.

Thursday: AM: 3 miles.  Packed car/moved into apartment!  PM: 7 miles on trails around campus- awful bathroom issues, yikes!

Friday:  2 mile warm-up, drills, fartlek with teammates (2×5 minutes, 2×4, 2×3, 2×2, 2×1 with half recovery), 2 mile cool down.  Ice bath.  Felt a little tight/tired because I had slept poorly and was sore from moving, but overall went well! Mentally strong. Total: 10 miles.

Saturday:  12 miles with teammates.  Pushed the first 8 miles (close to 7:00 pace) and then got on some trails.  Felt tired but not bad.  Ice bath.

Sunday: off + light core.

Total: 58 miles + yoga class

This week was kind of crazy!  It’s amazing how the miles add up when you’re distracted by major life events and don’t overanalyze every little running-related thing.  That being said- I definitely slacked on strength this week.  Aside from some half-hearted core, I did nothing

On Monday, I semi-spontaneously bought a car!  After looking on and off all summer, I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to spend the year taking the bus, riding my bike, and/or begging my roommate for rides to and from our apartment 1.5 miles off campus.  However, I found a used car that was in my limited price range, went out and test-drove it, got more specs, and ended up buying it two days before I went back to school!  Can you say last-minute??  

Also got a haircut, but that’s not that exciting 😉

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Couldn’t keep a straight face

This week has also included a lot of treats, but it’s the last hurrah before we buckle down into racing season, so it’s okay, right!?  My family went to The Cheesecake Factory for a farewell dinner on Wednesday night; while the food wasn’t great (my chicken pot pie was less than stellar), the cheesecake was amazing.  We waddled out of the restaurant 😉

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Strawberry cheesecake, and cheesecake with fudge cake and chocolate truffle cream

On Thursday morning, I got in three miles before my mom and I tandem-drove down to my college town.  This year, my roommate and I are sharing an off-campus apartment.  We each have our own rooms and closets, along with a shared bathroom and kitchen/living/main room.  It’s not the most upscale apartment ever, but we’ll make do!  I’ll do an apartment tour post once we finish setting it up!

I’ve spent the past few days setting up the apartment, driving all over town to every single discount store ever, going to the farmer’s market and grocery stores, spending FAR too much money, running and hanging out with my teammates, not sleeping enough, and generally existing in a perpetual state of distraction and exhaustion.  Good times 😉  Practice starts tomorrow, classes start on Wednesday, and it’s off into another year of college!  I’m VERY excited and a little nervous about this year!

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Summer Training Week 1

It’s that time of year again- summer training recap time!  I’ve done this for the past two years, and it’s fun to be able to look back at training from past years.

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Nutrition is an important part of summer training, so here is a pretty parfait 🙂

The 16-mile week doesn’t really count, so I’m going to say that last week was my first week of summer training 🙂

Week 1: (5/22-5/28)

Monday: 4 miles on bike path + some yoga
Tuesday: 4 miles into 30 min bike + lower body lift
Wednesday: 60 min bike
Thursday: 5 miles on bike path + drills and strides + core.  First run in new shoes.
Friday: 4 miles into 30 min bike + upper body lift
Saturday: 6 miles on bike path
Sunday: off

Total: 23 miles + 120 min XT

This first week was okay.  The runs and cross trains felt fine, but unfortunately my bunion really hurt on almost every run.  At home, I don’t have access to the laser and stim/compex and other resources that the training room provides, so I’m going to have to get creative with treatment to keep this pain under control.

What I can do: warm Epsom salt foot soaks, ice baths, rolling, stretching/mobility, topical anti-inflammatory treatment.

On a more positive note, both lifts went really well.  We jumped right back into the full lift routine, so I was so sore after Tuesday!  My hamstring felt like it might rip off my body.  But the soreness has subsided, and I have a nice baseline for my fitness.  I’m excited to get stronger this summer!

Non-training highlights from this week:

A couple of my teammates came up to visit, and we explored Georgetown on an overcast day:

Jazz in the Garden on the Mall with a friend:

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I made cha siu baos from scratch for the first time (it was a two-day process, but so worthwhile):

…and my mom and I went shopping (*groan*) and explored our favorite farmer’s market (*cheers*)!

My goals for this coming week include:

  • Spend less time on my phone, especially before bed
  • Be proactive about bunion pain
  • Two yoga sessions and glute activation
  • Try to get more quality sleep!  I wake up naturally at or before 6 am, so I need to go to bed early to account for this
  • Continue quality nutrition
  • Start my remote writing internship!
  • Focus on non-cooking hobbies as well, such as playing piano, knitting, reading, and writing

 

Glute Glory

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

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

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

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

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

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