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 🙂

 

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Week of 12/25-12/31 (45)

Happy New Year!  Started 2018 off strong with 7 morning treadmill miles, 2 miles outside in the afternoon, two strength sessions, and the first of many intentional Meatless Mondays!

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Ancient, but functional, treadmill set-up

I will do a New Year’s post recapping 2017 and discussing my goals and intentions for 2018, but for now, gotta wrap up the last week of 2017!

Week of 12/25-12/31:

  • Monday: active warm-up, 7 miles, circuits
  • Tuesday: AM: 30 min bike + lower body lift.  Pushed weight and did 21/24 chin-ups!  PM: 7 miles, 4 x strides, 5 min core (got bored).
  • Wednesday: 4 miles @ 8:00 pace + 30 min swim.  SORE.  Felt pretty shitty.
  • Thursday: Travel ALL DAY.  Active warm-up to keep warm… 8 miles @ 7:30 pace on treadmill at night after getting home.
  • Friday: AM: active warm-up, 2 miles, drills, 4 mile pace run (watchless), 2 miles.  Upper body lift.  PM: 20 minute aqua jog…didn’t stretch afterwards, oops.
  • Saturday: 11 miles in the snow @ 7:35 avg (felt harder because slippery).
  • Sunday: OFF.  Aches and pains from snowy long run.  45 min yoga/stretching.

Total: 45 miles + 80 min XT

After essentially taking five days off from running the previous week, I ran six days in a row this week and hit semi-normal mileage.  Maybe not the smartest thing to do, but it was convenient!

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Tried this protein shake after Tuesday’s lift and it wasn’t bad! (and I hate protein powders)

I pushed Tuesday’s lift and woke up sore on Wednesday!  Wednesday’s run-XT combination was kind of dreadful, and I had to talk myself through every minute of it.  “Come on, just swim one more lap.  You can do it.”  Along with the perennial lie: “There’s nothing you’d rather be doing right now!”

We woke up at 4 am to travel home from California.  We were supposed to be home by 4:30 pm Eastern time, so I was planning on doing a maintenance run and then going to the gym to lift.  Unfortunately, we got a little stranded and didn’t get home until close to 7 pm.  It was 80 degrees in California and 15 in the DMV and we did not have coats.  I ended up doing some active warm-up routines to keep myself warm while we waited outside for the train for half an hour.  It worked, and the release of endorphins made me less crabby after traveling all day!  When we finally got home, I ran eight miles on the treadmill and did not lift because it was like 8 pm at that point.

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I didn’t do a workout until Friday’s pace run, and my watch died 3 minutes into the warm-up, so I went off of effort.  It went significantly better than the pace run I’d done the previous Monday!  My right leg locked up per usual, but otherwise I felt strong and confident.  No idea how fast it was.  I spent the afternoon making homemade bagels with my friend, and we went to the pool afterwards for a quick shakeout.

Overnight snow and ice made Saturday’s long run a little treacherous.  It wasn’t the most stellar run ever, but I got through it…However, the gait changes I made to compensate for the slippery bike path caused me to wake up sore and hurting on Sunday.  I was planning to cross train, but I took the day off, did some yoga, and hibernated inside after attempting to go to the farmers’ market in zero degree weather.

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I had New Year’s Eve plans, but after visiting a friend and eating a lot of mac and cheese, I got minor food poisoning.  So I ended up staying home and celebrating with my family. (and by celebrating, I mean eating brownie sundaes, drinking champagne, watching The Holiday, and falling asleep before midnight.  Party animals!)

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Even the dog was a party animal.

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I’ll write more about the year transition in the next post!  I’ve felt a bit…stale…towards life and training recently, although a rejuvenating double outside in the cooold helped reinvigorate me today 🙂

Christmas

Christmas with family always alternates between hysterically funny and infuriating.  I’m sure most people can relate 😉  We hit the road early on the 22nd to fly out to Southern California for a week.  We used to fly out almost every year to spend Christmas with my mom’s side of the family, but it’s been a few years!  I think the last time we were here for Christmas was my sophomore year of high school.

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Christmas morning, 6 am

This year was a little different from past years because the youngest member of the family is now 13 and two of us are adults and therefore all of us got to be Santa instead of just my mother the traditional Santa!  In other words, we all got to stuff stockings and give gifts to everyone and go broke, instead of just my mother.  This new responsibility made us realize how we’ve made out like bandits for twenty years.  Sorry, ma 😉


The six-hour plane ride on the 22nd (there were headwinds) was relatively uneventful, although my youngest brother consumed 7 servings of hot Cheetos and asked for ginger ale every time the flight attendants rolled up.  What a nutritious lunch…

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The rest of the day was spent in a tired traveler’s stupor, getting settled in and picking fights with each other.  Classic 😉

On Saturday, my gramma took my mom and me to her gym so we could complete our respective training.  (My mother is a marathoner.)  After cross training for one hundred minutes!!, I refueled before heading out to do some last-minute Christmas shopping with my middle brother.  He is now a senior in high school and has recently turned into an actual real person (in my eyes), so it was actually really fun to face the harried Christmas crowds and terrible traffic since we just cracked sardonic, somewhat inappropriate jokes the whole time.  If you had told my ten-year-old self that my brother and I would be good friends a decade later, I would have probably passed out from laughing so hard.

That night, we feasted on the quintessential Irish dinner of corned beef and cabbage and potatoes for no particular reason.  Maybe we were celebrating the fact that we hadn’t all killed each other yet?

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And then the older ladies drank wine and recounted shady family history and I discovered that I had almost died when I was born and caused my parents a lot of trauma and honestly the neonatal oxygen deprivation probably explains my screwiness 😉

 

On Christmas Eve, I cross trained (shocking!) and then baked a lot of cookies. (The best chocolate chip cookies, and the best molasses cookies).

My family is sometimes really extra when it comes to cooking, and I horrified my brother by using Trader Joe’s pre-made garlic and herb pizza dough instead of his homemade from-scratch dough for our Christmas Eve tradition of homemade pizza night.  Sorry, bro…

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Goat cheese, mozzarella, caramelized onions, pineapple, sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, and oregano

After pizza night, we went to the Christmas Eve church service, which was lovely even though I was in a pizza-and-cookies-and-jet-lag-induced coma.

Due to a combination of jet lag and naturally being awfully early risers, we were up and ready to go at 6 am on Christmas morning.  While my middle brother’s and my own crack-of-dawn Christmas enthusiasm has dimmed over the years, my youngest brother continues to resemble the offspring of the Energizer Bunny and a puppy hopped up on treats.  At least we got to witness a beautiful sunrise…

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We opened stockings and then I went for a run!  7 miles along the Santa Clara river trail.  It was glorious.  My hip flexor tightened up a bit buuuut still glorious.  Afterwards, we gorged ourselves on breakfast and finished opening gifts.

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Eggs, bacon, corn pancakes, fruit, French toast bake, whipped cream…all the goods

We hit the road at 11 am (after what had already been a very long day) to go visit my grandfather and his wife at their home.  My grandpa is an interesting individual, to put it lightly.  We spent the afternoon reminiscing, almost peeing our pants laughing at various family members, going through old pictures, gorging ourselves on too-rich food, and finding gems like this:

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Me!, 1997

After a veeeerrrryyy long day, we arrived back at 8 pm and I died.  I was fast asleep by 9, fat, happy, content, exhausted, and suffering from mild food poisoning.  Woke up at 5 (again) and crushed a cross train and lift with my mom and grandma.

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3 generations at the gym (lol)

All in all, Christmas with the family was (mostly) awesome, and I know I have so much to be thankful for.  Even if the youngest generation always tends to regress in age in the eyes of the older generation…but I feel like that always happens.  Good food, pie comas, sore abs from laughing so hard, giving and receiving gifts, and everything else always makes for a memorable experience.  It doesn’t hurt that it’s almost 80 degrees and sunny, and I’ve been lounging around reading a book and waiting to run!

Fire and Finals

Happy Saturday!  After a long, long week, I drove home yesterday evening.  One doughnut stop, gas stop, and two hours of awful traffic between Fredericksburg and Alexandria later, I reunited with my dog and then promptly stress-ate everything in sight 😉  I’m planning on being home for most of break, with a week-long trip to California for Christmas!

This post is not going to be super running-related, just because I have other things to recount…

Unlike past years, I was lucky enough to finish final exams really early this semester.  My school allocates two weeks for finals (M-F this week and M-W next week), so some people won’t be done until December 20th!  My poor roommate is one of them.  My last final was finance on Wednesday night, but that meant I had three exams within the first three days.  I studied proactively and was prepared for them, which meant when a catastrophe happened on Sunday night (soon after completing last week’s blog post), it wasn’t the end of the world…

SO.  Sunday night.  I was (not really) studying in my kitchen and decided to move to the desk in my bedroom.  Candles were lit, Jim Croce was playing on Spotify, and I was about to shut it down for the night in order to gear up for a solid week of training and final exams.  This was around 9 pm.

Moved my computer to my desk, paused for a moment, and then saw an orange glow reflecting in the hall closet door and my heart absolutely dropped out of my chest.   I raced back into the kitchen to see my backpack completely engulfed in flames.  It had fallen into one of the lit candles on the table and went up like a firebomb.  I screamed “Fire”, threw the burning backpack into the kitchen sink, and for some reason thought I could put it out with the 1 cup of water in my water bottle.  Didn’t work.  It just caused a lot of smoke.  Nice!

My roommate raced down the hallway and returned with the fire extinguisher while I dialed 911.  Watching her unclip the extinguisher and fumble with the sprayer was the longest 5 seconds of my life.  She finally got it to work and attacked the place while I repeated my address to the emergency dispatcher.  We left the apartment with smoke alarms blaring, the fire department showed up and did what they had to do, and we spent about 30 minutes outside while I shivered and cried a bit because I had forgotten to put on shoes or a jacket and it was 30 degrees outside.  And I was hella freaked out.

We reentered the building and talked with the firefighters before going back into the apartment.  They were so, so nice.  They reassured me that it wasn’t a big deal, things like this happen all the time, and that our apartment was impressively neat for college students…or at least, it had been…Unfortunately, the type of fire extinguisher we’d used causes the biggest mess of all.  They suggested we hire a professional cleaning company.  When we entered the apartment, we saw why.

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In addition to the fire damage (which was actually minimal, but all my study materials were destroyed haha), there was a thick layer of dust covering every single blessed surface and thing in the room.

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It looked like it had snowed.  Highly ironically, the pine-scented candle by our fake Christmas tree was still burning.  And my freakin’ computer was still merrily playing Jim Croce in my bedroom (thank goodness nothing happened to it!! I am so thankful for that).

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The contents of the burned backpack

At this point, it was 10 pm on Sunday night, and I had two final exams in addition to our two training sessions the next day.  My roommate, bless her heart, went out and got some cleaning supplies while I tried to decide where to begin.  We were two determined college girls and we were going to do this ourselves.

We cleaned for about 3 hours and eventually decided it was habitable and we could deal with the rest later.  We fell into bed and I may or may not have cried myself to sleep out of sheer exhaustion, regret, sorriness, and leftover panic.

The next day (Monday 12/11), we decided to just stay out of the apartment for the time being and focus on our other priorities.  I left around 8 am, did our morning training session, studied for awhile, took a nap on the couch in the locker room, took my first exam (Mujeres detrás de la cámara), did the second training session in the afternoon, and completed the Business Analytics pressure cooker and exam before heading home at 9:45 pm.  When I got home, I discovered that my roommate’s incredible mother had come down (they only live an hour away) and made a huge dent in the remaining cleaning process.  It looked so good.  ❤

Tuesday brought a track workout, more studying, and then I spent about two hours cleaning in the afternoon.  Wednesday was the same, and I finished my finance final at 9 pm and had a late, fun night to celebrate the end of the semester.  Finally, after running in the morning on Thursday, I cleaned all day and fell asleep twice out of exhaustion.  But look how much progress was made!  I’m really proud.

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There’s still a lot to do, but we’ve made excellent progress. I scrubbed every dang thing inside the cabinets and the refrigerator, washed every single shelf, cleaned the floor and every surface multiple times with baking soda and Swiffer wet wipes, etc. etc. etc.

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Pro tip: never set your apartment on fire!!

Anyway, it was quite the eventful end to the semester.  After a workout yesterday morning, we went out for lunch at my favorite restaurant and then I packed up and hit the road.

I’m exhausted from finals, increasingly hard training, not sleeping, a few too many cookies and alcoholic indulgences, and cleaning.  I’m grateful to all the amazing people and resources in my life.  And so far I’ve received A’s in half my classes from fall semester!! The other grades haven’t come out yet, but I’m extremely proud.

Will update on training, goals, life, plans, winter break, etc. in the next post!

Week of 12/4-12/10 (35)

Last Sunday of the semester! Classes are over, 3 finals loom over my head, and by this Wednesday night I will be halfway done with junior year of undergrad.  What!?

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This weekend was full of studying, holiday parties, lunch dates, and watching “Suits” on Amazon Prime.  And it snowed!  I’m currently jamming to Jim Croce while I take a break from studying and wait for my laundry to dry.

Over the past two days, I’ve probably consumed about 300 grams of sugar, so I’m kind of crashing from sugar jitters into a sugar coma that isn’t conducive to productive studying.  Sorry, Spanish final grade… #Ididthistomyself

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Annual cookie party! The shortbread jam and molasses cookies were the BOMB

Anyway.  I had a really good last week of training and life.  Sorting stuff out with my coaches, starting to feel normal again while running, and looking forward to building the strength and the booty in the weight room.

Week of 12/4-12/10:

  • Monday: AM: 30 min bike.  Trainer for stim/heat + stretch.  PM: lap, active warm-up, lap, speed ladder, hurdles, 5 miles, general strength, foam roll, rope stretch.
  • Tuesday: lap, active warm-up, 2 miles, 3 mile tempo (6:27, 6:17, 6:22), 2 miles.  I am out of shape!  Lift in weight room- felt strong but weak (as in, I felt good but know I will be much stronger.)  Stim + NormaTec.
  • Wednesday: AM: 60 min pool (30 swim, 30 aqua jog).  My swim pace is getting faster!  PM: circuits, rope stretch, foam roll.
  • Thursday:  AM: lap, active warm-up, 8 miles, upper body lift in weight room, NormaTec + stim/heat.  Run felt stiff and tiring but good meeting!  PM: 20 min bike.
  • Friday:  AM: 6 miles kinda fast, felt good! 4 x strides, speed ladder, hurdle drills, general strength 2.  PM: circuits (4 min elliptical w/u and c/d)
  • Saturday: 9 miles (started at 7:20s, cut down to 6:40s, and my last mile was like 6:25).  It was rainy and cold but I felt awesome!  The group was great.
  • Sunday: 30 min bike.  Planning on doing yoga tonight, but we’ll see if that happens 😉
Total: 35 miles + 140 min XT + lots of strength
Had some really good runs and cross trains throughout this week.  Tuesday and Thursday weren’t fun; I definitely could not have gone much faster or longer than Tuesday’s measly 3-mile tempo, and my legs felt tight and unpleasant throughout Thursday’s run.
But Monday and Friday went really well, and we crushed Saturday’s long run!  6:40 miles felt almost easy, and I really pushed the last mile since the run was shorter than usual.  After spending over an hour in the freezing rain and wind, it took us awhile to warm up afterwards.  My roommate and I hibernated in our apartment eating oatmeal, drinking coffee, and listening to Christmas music while a fake fireplace crackled on the TV (lol).
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A wee bit chilly!

Shoutout to strength- the guns are unreal right now!  When we first realized we’d be doing strength routines every day, we were a little apprehensive and overwhelmed, but the circuits have turned out to be more like cross trains, and each routine works different muscles, so it’s not like we’re hitting the same thing every day.
I’m excited to increase the mileage and continue to focus on deliberate practice.  Everything we do is incorporated into our training for a reason!  I should hit low-to-mid-40s throughout this coming week.  Haven’t decided when I’m going home, but I’m looking forward to finishing out the semester strong (hopefully)!  Tomorrow brings a Spanish exam from 2-5 pm and a business analytics exam and pressure cooker from 7-10 pm.  The grind is #tooreal.
Have a great week and get after it!

A long road ahead

Good morning! (By the time I finish writing this, it probably won’t be morning anymore, but whatever.)  We’re in the middle of the last week of classes, and I’ve got three final exams, two final presentations, and a paper on tap.  In eight days, I will be halfway done with junior year!  After practice and lift this morning, I worked on a group project and then went to the training room for STIM and NormaTec.  I don’t feel like doing work before lunch, so I’m going to blog instead 🙂

We ran what was supposed to be a steady state workout this morning, but it definitely felt more like a tempo.  This was essentially my first workout back, and I 100% felt the time off, crappier diet, and general out-of-shape-ness.  I only ran 3 miles of the steady state due to my hamstring, but those 3 miles were enough!  We hit 6:27, 6:17, 6:22, and now I can see how much work is ahead.  It was so hard.  I don’t think I could have gone much farther.  Crazy to think that I was doing 5+ miles at low 6 minute pace during cross country…  But I’m excited to buckle down, make incremental improvements, and get better each day.  This is a good starting place…but not where I will be in a few months!!

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Me

The second week of winter training was a little weird because I tweaked my hamstring at the beginning of the week and therefore spent the majority of the rest of the week in the pool and on the bike.  Pool workouts coupled with quality strength sessions every day left me sore.

Week of 11/27-12/3: 

  • Monday: warm-up, dynamic exercises, 5 miles @ 7:20 pace, strength circuits
  • Tuesday: warm-up, dynamic drills and exercises, 6 miles “progressive” (first 3 7:30-7:10 pace, second 3 6:40s?), lift in weight room, foam roll session
  • Wednesday: AM: 60 min pool (30 swim, 30 aqua jog).  PM: jog on turf, circuits
  • Thursday:  Stim and stretch at training room for hamstring.  20 min bike, very light lift, foam roll, 30 min swim (about a mile)
  • Friday: AM: 60 min pool workout (600m warm-up; 4 x 250m hard; 100m easy; 5 x sprint down, easy back; 100m easy; 5 x submarine down, easy back, 400m cool down = 3000m).  PM: 30 min bike, general strength
  • Saturday: 6 miles @ 7:30 (on trails) down to 7:05 (on roads) + 30 min bike
  • Sunday: 40 min bike

Total: 17 miles + 270 min XT

Last week involved some drama and major negative mentality.  I’m not going to go into inappropriate detail, but I’ll just say we have a lot to sort out with training plans, communication, and mindset.


On a happier note, outside of running and cross training, lots of fun things happened last week!  After practice on Friday, the majority of the team went out for sushi.  I’d never ordered sushi before (I’ve had it, but I prefer Thai and Chinese food), and it was delicious.  Except I’m kind of broke, so not sure if it was worth the bill 😉

We drove to a local sports complex to run on Saturday morning because there’s a hilly, soft surface 3.5 mile trail loop in the woods.  The chilly air left our hands stiff and red, but we eventually warmed up, and it was a nice run!  Throughout the cross country season, our maintenance runs a) stopped being maintenance runs #ugh and b) got really slow, so getting back into that 7:00-7:30 pace is a bit of a shock but really fun.

After the run, I drove up to Richmond to meet my mom for lunch.  She had important things to deliver to me…like 50 citrus fruits, my credit card statement, Advent calendar, and ice scraper.  We went to The Daily Kitchen and Bar in Carytown, and I ordered the Fig and Pig pizza while she got the Barbecue Duck pizza.  HOLY SHIT.  Life-changing.  We also ordered their highly rated Brussels sprouts; paired with balsamic dressing, freshly shaved cheese, pomegranate seeds, and pistachios, they were gone in seconds.

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Two late nights in a row and myriad late-night #treatyoself happenstances left me feeling pretty darn gross by Sunday.  I’ve been back on that healthy grind for three days, and I’m reminding myself to fuel my training and treat my body like a temple 😉 or something like that.

Sunday night was Grand Illumination!  Thousands of people crowded the streets of Colonial Williamsburg to watch the fireworks under the light of the SuperMoon.  The Christmas decorations in the square made me so happy, and everyone enjoyed the holiday spirit.

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Last night was the annual Vermonster that all the sports teams participate in.  I was not on the team, but I cheered my heart out!  Women’s cross country almost made the final round but missed it by one spot because one girl got stuck with the gross cookies and almost choked…  Men’s cross country placed second to the unstoppable men’s swim team!  Vermonster is such a spectacle, it’s hilarious.

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This week, I plan to increase my mileage, continue to cross train, and practice deliberately. I’ll probably hit low 30s for mileage, along with a few hours of cross training. By deliberate practice, I mean focus during all drills, active warm-up sessions, and strength circuits.  Additionally, I’m going to slow down and take the time to stretch and foam roll effectively.  This is somewhat of a weak point because I tend to get complacent and get stuck in the same ineffectual routine.  But these are the little things that, when incorporated day in and day out, make the difference in training and racing.

NCAA Regional 6k (22:50)

Happy Friday, friends!  I’m nearing the end of my break week from running.  The past few days have been kind of weird because I haven’t really had class since my finance midterm on Wednesday afternoon.  Coupled with no practice, my schedule seems empty!  I’ve been reading, playing piano, and just generally wasting time.  I thought I’d use this time to (finally) update you on regionals and the end of the cross country season.

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I’m embarrassed/sorry/frustrated to be writing another Debbie-Downer post, but such is life.  In short, regionals didn’t go well, and I’m relieved to finally be on a running break.

TL;DR: NCAA Southeast Regional 6k, 22:50, 127th place (YIKES)

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In the week leading up to regionals, I tried as hard as I could to help my body recover from whatever the heck is wrong with it.  I chose all the shortest mileage options, cross trained on Wednesday, and slept as much as I could.  Total mileage for the week was roughly 29. (M6, T8, W3+30minXT, Th4, F8)

Did it work?

I thought it did.

Apparently not.

Honestly, I was really excited going into regionals!  As a team, we worked on having a positive mentality throughout the week, and it seemed like things were coming together a bit.  Tuesday was the last workout before the race, and 3×500, 10 min brisk, 5×300 didn’t kill me off.  I didn’t feel great, but compared to the previous weeks, I was satisfied.

I aqua jogged on Wednesday morning and ran 3 miles in the afternoon.  We left on Thursday morning and took the vans up to Charlottesville.  I’ve been experiencing a lot of motion sickness recently, so van rides haven’t been super fun.  I mostly slept on the way up so as to not die.  Once we arrived, we did our pre-meet at the course (4 miles, drills, strides, rope stretch).   It was rainy and cold, but we were optimistic and excited! IMG_9466.jpg

After the pre-meet, we went to Bodo’s Bagels for lunch and then chilled in the hotel until dinner.  We went to Whole Foods, had our team meeting, used the NormaTec boots, and I read a book before going to bed at 10 pm.  I felt a bit sick that night, but nothing like conferences.

Based on how I had run at Penn State earlier in the season, my “reach” goal was All-Region (top 25), and I knew I could at least place in the top 50.  However, based on how I felt throughout the past month, I kept this goal as a possibility but decided to be flexible if I didn’t feel well and just try to have fun.


We woke up at 6:30 on Friday morning, ran a 10-minute shakeout, rope stretched, and ate breakfast.

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We put on the flash tats, got ready to go, and arrived at the course around 9 am.  It was 40 degrees and windy but sunny!  After checking in, we warmed up for a little over two miles, did drills, screwed longer spikes into our spikes, and headed to the line.  Our team box was right next to my friend from high school’s team box, and it was amazing to see her!  She and her team have been killing it this year.

The gun went off at 10:30, and hundreds of women stampeded down the straightaway.  We hit the hills, which were muddy and treacherous, and tackled some rolling hills leading into 2k.  This was my fourth time running this course, and I’ve actually grown to enjoy it.

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Hundreds of spectators lined the course at 2k (and again at 3k because it comes through the same spot), and we got a boost from their energy and enthusiasm.  Our team had driven up that morning to come watch the race since regionals is only two hours from campus.  It was amazing to see them!

I felt marginally okay through 2k (although it felt like I was going a lot faster than I actually was).  My freshman teammate and I worked together through 3k, but the now-familiar feeling of “what the hell is wrong with my body/why won’t it respond” kicked in at 2 miles.  Coincidentally in time for the massive rolling hills to start 😉

I immediately started losing places.  The awful part was, I was really positive at the base of each hill!  I approached each one thinking, “Ok, this is going to hurt, time to rally, you’ve got this“, but my body just didn’t match my mind.  At least I didn’t walk.

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After losing probably about 30 places in the span of 2 minutes, I hit the 5k mark at like 19 minutes.  Not ideal.  Rallied over the last downhill and the beginning of the steepest uphill, but that lactic, tunnel-y feeling took over halfway up the steep hill.  Finally got to the finishing straightaway, and by that point, my body was just done.  I think approximately 20 more women passed me in the last quarter mile.  My eyes wouldn’t stay open and I started weaving and I hate that I was that melodramatic/stupid-looking/slow-moving stereotypical female runner, but it wasn’t mental.

But yay! I finished! Finally crossed that dang line in 22:50 in 127th place (I would find out later).  Struggled through a 12-minute cool down to finish out the cross country season.  Exactly zero people on my team had a good race, and we finished 17th, which we are all embarrassed of and confused about because the team literally won the region three years ago, but it’s time to move forward 🙂

Even though I’m embarrassed and frustrated about how the second half of the season went, there were many opportunities for growth and positivity that came out of Friday.

For example, my high school teammate had an awesome race and almost got All-Region!!  And her team ran strong.

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I’m almost a week into my break week and don’t miss training yet.  The only activity I’ve done this week has been two yoga classes and one strength routine, but who’s counting 😉 Funnily enough, my finance professor was the yoga instructor on Tuesday!  I’m enjoying eating all the foods and doing little movement, but I don’t completely feel like myself.  Got tested for mono- don’t have it- and a plethora of other things, so we shall see.  I’m looking forward to a slow comeback.

The next post will be more reflections, goals for track, fun life updates, etc. that I’m too lazy to write about right now 🙂

 

 

 

CAA 6k (22:23) and some blithering

Settle in, folks…it’s gonna be a long one!

Happy Thursday!  My 12:30 Thursday class is over for the rest of the year, so I don’t have class until 2 today 🙂  My favorite local coffee shop is playing “Take the A Train”, and I’m drinking tea, both of which are making me happy.  I’ve been fairly proactive with work and don’t have anything pressing to work on, so I thought I’d spend the extra time finally finishing this blog post.

Welp, every season has to have at least one bad race…and unfortunately, mine happened at conferences.  It keeps ya grounded 😉

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This past weekend was our conference championship meet.  Last week’s training didn’t go smoothly; I felt sick and emotional and mental all week.  It just kind of snowballed.  Immediately after finishing Tuesday’s track workout (3×800, 2x[4×400]), I started crying to my coach for no particular reason.  It was weird.  Wednesday’s run felt like crap, but I felt like I gained a bit of mojo back on Thursday (maintenance run + 8×200).  Throughout the past two weeks, I used visualization techniques and let myself dream of being conference champion.  Something I never thought I would even be able to think until my fifth year, maybe!

It was also simulation week for the business school, so my schedule was different and kind of nice.  On Thursday, we gave our formal business presentation and crushed it.

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We departed for the conference meet on Friday, and I felt pretty carsick by the time we got there at 4 pm.  During the pre-meet, (4 miles on the course, drills, strides, and stretches), none of us felt that great.  The collective mood felt off– kind of like we were preparing for a funeral.  ARGH.  During dinner at a local pizza and pasta restaurant, I ordered the tomato-basil salmon in a pesto cream sauce and ate all of it really fast, as well as hummus, pita, and bruschetta.  Not the smartest decision.

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Super-duper photogenic lunch during the van ride

We didn’t get back to the hotel until 8:45 pm, at which point I felt really ill.  During our team meeting, I couldn’t keep my eyes open and just tried to reassure myself that I’d feel better after a good night’s sleep.  I promptly fell into bed and was asleep at 9:30, even while my teammate was using the NormaTec boots two feet away.

We did a 10-minute shakeout run at 6 am, rope stretched, and ate breakfast.  I was still not feeling good, so my mental game was all off.  I tried to shake it off and use visualization to positively refocus, but it didn’t work that well.  My lips were dry, my throat hurt, my body ached with fatigue, and I had a splitting headache and some nausea :/

We arrived at the course at 8:30.  Going into this race, we were the 6-time defending conference champions, but as I’ve mentioned before, this has probably been the team’s worst season in decades.  We’ve been hit hard with adversity- illness, injury, freak occurrences, etc.- and pretty much nothing has gone our way.  However, individually, I’ve had a strong season!  I had been hoping to fight for the individual conference title.  But with the way my body was feeling, I had to reevaluate.

After our warm-up, I burst into tears to my coach before the race (which has never happened before).  “You don’t have to be our number one today,” she told me.  “Just hang on the pack- if you’re our number four, that’s completely okay.  Just do what you can do.”

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The gun went off, and I tried to forget about everything that had been going on leading up to the race and just race.  Which worked for about 2k!  The course was grassy and a little uneven, with lots of small loops.  After 2k, we hit a hill, and the bottom fell out of my race.  My body wouldn’t respond to what I wanted it to do, and the next 4k were progressively more of a death march.  I watched the lead pack get further away, more girls passed me, and everything felt heavy.  I thought I was just being mental, and to an extent I was, but every time I tried to reset, it only worked for about 5 seconds before I was back into a pit of despair (not dramatic at all 😉 ).

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I finally made it to the finish (19th place, 22:23, not even close to what I wanted) and fell down immediately after crossing the line.  I’m kind of embarrassed of what happened in the hour after that- lots of tears, snot, a non-functional body, no cool down, BUT a sweet athletic trainer that tried his very best to help me.  No one on my team ran particularly well, and we got second place in the conference.  However, the men’s team ran extremely well as a pack, went 1-2-3, and won their 18th conference title in a row with a solid 23 points!

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Overall, the race was demoralizing and somewhat embarrassing.  However, reflecting on the race has allowed me to identify some positive takeaways:

  1. I/my team can do really hard things.  Every step of the last 4k hurt, but I finished the dang race.
  2. I was the fourth scorer for our team.  If I hadn’t toughed it out, we might not have even gotten second place.
  3. There’s literally zero pressure for regionals, so we can go out there and have fun 🙂
  4. I’ve been lucky enough to not have had a “bad” race in over a year.  Not that I’ve raced a ton, but this was the first bad day since last year at UVA.
  5. I’ve also been lucky enough to have really consistent training, especially considering last spring!  Last week was my first week under 50 miles (I ran 45) since June.  While I was a little salty that I didn’t hit 50, it’s taper time anyway 😉

Unfortunately, the “I got hit by a train” feelings have persisted throughout this week.  I felt okay on Monday and Tuesday, but yesterday’s short run/bike was pretty awful, and today’s maintenance run and light lift were also not that great.  Talking to one of my teammates helped a lot, and I’ve been trying to distract myself, but my body seems like it’s ready to be done.

But at least I’ve had time for some really good dinners 🙂

I feel like I’ve lost my running mojo a bit in the last two weeks.  I don’t like to admit this, but I’ve found myself counting down the days  towards the end of the season and towards Thanksgiving break.  Which is not ideal- the season isn’t over yet!  I am excited for regionals, but I would be more excited if my body felt normal.  Also, homesickness and other factors have made for a not-cheerful Kathryn…I realized I’ve never gone this long without going home!  Yes, I am almost 21 years old, but sometimes you just need your dog and your mom and your annoying younger brothers…ya feel?

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Sums it up

Anyway.  I’m sure no one wanted to read 1,200 words of blithering, and I sure wasn’t planning on writing this much, but c’est la vie!  Over the next week, I’m going to drink all the tea, look up some positive affirmations, rest even though my brain doesn’t like that, appreciate my wonderful teammates, spend time on other hobbies like Spoon University and piano, and try my best to get ahead on schoolwork.  And continue binge-watching Chicago Fire, of course.  We’ve got one more week left of the season, and who knows what will happen- but this has been a great individual season overall, and I’m extremely fortunate.  College is hard.  Running is hard.  Being away from home is hard (says the junior in college…)

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).

Last two training weeks (57 miles, 53 miles + 60 min swim)

Happy first day of October!  It finally feels like fall here, although I wouldn’t know because I’ve been in the library most of the day.  Our first finance midterm tomorrow is supposed to be a killer.  However, the past hour has been spent on FloTrack and tfrrs rather than Blackboard, so I think my productivity is shot.  Guess I should write a blog post 😉  Sorry I skipped last week’s training recap!

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Throwback to last week’s race

Week of 9/18-9/24:

  • Monday: AM: 5 miles.  PM: form drills, speed ladder, hurdles, 5 miles, felt tired, 4 x strides, planks/push-ups, rope stretch.  Leg still hurts.  Very hot!  Total: 10 miles.
  • Tuesday: AM: 18 min warm-up, drills, strides, 4 x 2k on the track with 1:30-2:00 recovery (7:30, 7:25, 7:22, 7:18). 21 min cool down.  Lift in weight room. Ice bath.  PM: NormaTec.  Total: 10 miles.
    Wednesday: 6 miles
  • Thursday: AM: 30 min run, drills, 800 @ 2:57, 2×400-200-200 with 200 jog recovery (79, 39, 37, 78, 38, 36), 15 min cool down.  Upper body lift in weight room.  Cold ice bath!  PM: 2 miles + NormaTec.  Total: 10 miles.
  • Friday: 5 mile pre-meet @ Panorama Farms, drills, strides, rope stretch.  Very hot.
  • Saturday: early AM: 10 min shakeout, rope stretch.  Later: rope stretch, 18 min warm-up, drills, strides, hilly 5k race (18:18), 40 min cool down.  Total: 12 miles.
  • Sunday: 4 miles + 10 min core.  First part was rough.

Total: 57 miles.

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Week of 9/25-10/1:

  • Monday: AM: 6 miles, in the zone!  Bunion pain. PM: form drills, hurdle drills, speed ladder, 4 miles trails, 4 x 150m strides, planks/push-ups, rope stretch.  Total: 10 miles.
  • Tuesday: AM: 2 mile warm-up, drills, 10 min tempo, 4 x 4:00h, 2:00e, 2 x 2:00h, 1:00e, 2 x “X” strides, 2 mile cool down.  Light lift in weight room.  Ice bath. Light core.  PM: 2 miles + NormaTec.  Bunion pain.
  • Wednesday: 60 min swim.  PM: Massage (calves and hamstrings)
  • Thursday: 2 mile warm-up, drills, 3 x 1.5 mile hill circuit, 1 x 400 hill, 2 x short grass hill, 2 mile cool down.  Light lift in weight room + NormaTec.  Ok at beginning, dead/nauseous at end.  Ugh.  Total: 9 miles.  PM: off.
  • Friday: AM: 6 miles.  Felt pretty good.  PM: form drills, 4 miles, 6 x strides, core/push-ups, yoga.  Felt crappy, progressively worse throughout night.
  • Saturday: 12 miles.  Felt awful before, ok during, and awful after.
  • Sunday: off

Total: 53 miles + 60 min swim

The week before last was a solid week of training; this week, not so much!  Monday and Tuesday went well.  We packed up well during Tuesday’s workout, even with some tension and trouble with one-stepping…

On Wednesday, my coach recommended (aka ordered) that I get my butt in the pool because of recent bunion pain.  So I did.  60 minutes of swimming for the first time in months!  Unfortunately, I started to feel sick on Wednesday night after massage, which has persisted throughout the rest of this week.  I felt nauseous and weak during the latter half of Thursday’s hill workout, Friday’s afternoon practice, and Saturday’s long run.  This did not prevent me from consuming a pint of ice cream and jabbering with some of my freshman teammates on Thursday night.

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AMAZING (and EXPENSIVE)

Also, I’m hella stubborn and ran 12 miles yesterday because coach said “give yourself a range of 8-12 miles since you don’t feel well.”  She was a little annoyed at me for running 12…

After the long run, my roommate and I went to the farmers’ market and saw the cutest dogs.

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I then went to Trader Joe’s to do some grocery shopping for the week.  The beginning of the month always makes me feel falsely richer than I am (I am a very broke college student) because my parents help me out with rent.  So yesterday I was a little less thrifty than I usually am.  Which means I splurged on $3 butternut squash soup and bought pre-cooked chicken instead of raw.

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Later that evening, we threw a birthday party for one of my teammates!  Another friend made the most amazing ice cream cake: a cookie layer, vanilla ice cream, a brownie layer, fudge and peanut butter ice cream, and peanut butter swirled on top.  After hours of laughter and dancing, I died out at 10 pm but hit a second wind once everyone else left and spent the next hour and a half dancing with my closest friends.  It was a blast.

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Anyway, today is a mandatory off day for me 😅  I managed to stay in bed until 8 am (that never happens!) and then made breakfast, meal prepped, and jetted off to the library, where I’ve been studying for finance since 11 am.  Jk.  I’ve been in the library since 11 am, but I took numerous breaks.  Took an hour-long break at 3 to go get gas and Siggi’s yogurt at Harris Teeter (yes, I’m laughing at myself, too).  But thanks to a sale and coupon, I got TEN SIGGI’S FOR $7.50.  UNHEARD OF.

This past week of training wasn’t ideal, but I’m hoping that things will turn around in the coming week.  In addition to feeling physically ill, I’ve had some crazy thoughts and emotions throughout the past week, which has been annoying.  My team is experiencing the classic mid-season “everyone is falling apart” syndrome right now, so we’ve just got to keep ourselves together (literally and figuratively).

My goals for the coming week:

  • Be a supportive teammate.  Practice active listening (which we’re talking about in my business perspectives class, and it’s SO USEFUL).
  • Take the crappy days in stride (if they occur).  Pick something positive out of every workout/lift/day, even if you don’t feel incredible.
  • Live in the present.  I get really anal about classes and timing and the past and the future forget to enjoy the moment.  The present is a great place to be!
  • Do not mindlessly check Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook when you’re bored or uncomfortable.
  • Remember how much form drills, strides, and strength help running!  
  • Listen to your body and don’t overload training on Tuesday because it never ends well (you would think I would have learned that by now…)

Talk to you all later!