Running is hard sometimes

Aloha!  Our A/C is on the fritz again, so I’m hibernating in the basement while I write this, since it’s not 100 degrees down here.  I think ice cream at work tonight will be a necessity.

Anyway.

You know those runs that just knock the life out of you?  I had one of those this morning.  After an off day from running yesterday (I did put in an hour in the pool and an hour-long yoga class), I woke up early today and drove out to the canal for a change of scenery.  I was so excited for a nice 7-mile maintenance run!  Alas…it was not to be.  My legs felt off from the beginning, and running just felt hard.   It felt like I was hammering, but apparently I was running my easy/maintenance pace (around 7:30 per mile).   I did a terrible job of listening to my body when I should have taken it easy, no matter what the “pace” said.

Afterwards, I just felt completely discombobulated.  Which resulted in me drinking coffee for the first time in eight days…on top of a white duvet…live life on the edge, you know? 😉  (PS: this summer has unexpectedly resulted in my coffee consumption diving down to almost zero!  Weird.)

IMG_6543.jpg

I’m not even really sure why this run felt so difficult- it was humid, yes, but not extremely hot, and I wasn’t that sleep-deprived.  I rarely use a GPS (actually broke my GPS watch), but I downloaded Strava for this run and was very surprised at the end when my average pace was like 7:35.  It had honestly felt like I was hammering the crap out of some sub-7-minute miles.

IMG_6546.jpg

Oh, well.  The good news is, I had a good swim yesterday!  50 minutes of laps followed by 10 minutes of easy aqua jogging.  Afterwards, I went to a yoga class.  Swimming has never been the most enjoyable thing for me, although I became a believer in the power of cross training this past semester.  But this week, I’ve actually looked forward to getting in the pool, and as such have done two cross training sessions in the water!  Some days, the laps just click by rhythmically.  I would love to do my swims in a lake or similar beautiful, natural setting, but the same old 25-meter stretch of warm chlorinated water will have to do for now 😉

img_1417

I have to go cross train and lift soon, so that’s about it for now.  Working tonight after my gym session, running twice tomorrow, working again tomorrow night…it’s the summertime grind 🙂  Craving a nice, cold peach!

First week of summer

This time of the year is always strange.  My brothers are still in school for another month, summer training hasn’t really picked up yet, and my internship doesn’t start until the end of the month.  Every year, I have trouble with the transition to summer mode because I’m the type that gets anxious if I have “nothing to do” on a given day.  I tend to feel guilty and unproductive even though the ability to relax is just as important for overall health as things like sleep and exercise!  So the beginning of this past week was hard, but I’ve been able to enjoy the leisure time more each day!

IMG_5845.jpg

Highlights of this week:

Miles run: 16
Minutes cross trained: 70
Number of times I went out to eat: ZERO! (I’m really proud of that- trying really hard to be more frugal.)*

*Okay, I did go to Starbucks twice, but only because I had a gift card!

The few miles that I did run felt good.  There was some bunion pain, but the rest of my body didn’t feel as lethargic as I’d thought it would!

One day, a friend and I went on a picnic and enjoyed the beautiful weather.  Another day, I went hiking with another friend.  I read a cliché summer book (The Vacationers) in one three-hour sitting.  We ate dinner outside as a family and tried fruitlessly to keep the mosquitos away with Citronella candles (didn’t work).  I spent hours and hours outside, soaking up the Vitamin D and beautiful weather.  One night brought a counterintuitively peaceful summer thunderstorm.

IMG_5872.jpg

I’m trying to cook even more (and be more creative in the kitchen), and my brother has been helping with the food photography because he has a nice camera 😉  This week, I made the pancakes mentioned in the last post…

Lentil stew stuffed sweet potatoes from The Cutting Veg

IMG_0008.jpg

Topped with yogurt and fresh basil (sounds weird, tastes incredible)

…and I also sauteed turnip greens for the first time, so as to not waste them.  Yum!

IMG_5793.jpg

Roasted turnips and sweet potatoes, fresh tomato, sauteed turnip greens, mushrooms, green onions, and garlic with chicken

I also made copycat Levain Bakery cookies!  I’ve never actually been to Levain Bakery, but these cookies turned out incredible.

Last but not least, I cooked my first live crabs yesterday.  I love crabs and hadn’t eaten them in years!  They were delicious.  What a cool experience.

IMG_5941

Now that I’m at home, I have access to a plethora of foods that were much more difficult to access at school.  We have the seasonal vegetables from our CSA.  Turnips, radishes, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce…all local and much fresher and more flavorful than anything you’d find at the grocery store!  Amazing farmer’s markets.  A semi-stocked pantry (although with two teenage boys and a college runner, nothing lasts long in this house).

This is allowing me to continue to develop my passion for cooking, for which I am so grateful!  It’s also been easier to avoid going out to eat and be more innovative and think of what I can make with the ingredients that we already have in the house.  Three cheers for saving money and eating cheaply, but healthily!

I’m itching to start training for real, but reminding myself to be patient!

Anticipation

It’s happening.  After 4.5 months of not racing and inconsistent training and foot pain and more cross training than I’ve ever done, I’m finally getting the opportunity to race the 3k tomorrow!

Of course, all the usual doubts are floating through my mind.  I’ve hardly done a stride in the past couple months.  Monday’s track workout was rough.  My body has been hurting for the past several days.  I’ve been stressed out from a vicious accounting midterm that I just finished an hour ago.  Have I been overeating?  I didn’t sleep enough last night.  I think I’m in good shape, and so does everyone else, but what if this objective track race reveals that I’m actually a slug?  Should I expect to PR after all this time?  All the usual things.

But.  BUT.  What I want to keep in mind is that I get to race tomorrow.  Not everyone gets this opportunity.  Who cares if I don’t PR? (Nobody but me, and maybe my coach.)  Who cares if I go out too hard and die?  I’ve stepped foot on the track like five times cumulatively since December, and it’s probably going to show.  I’m nowhere near as sharp as I’d like to be.  My pre-race rituals and mentality are rusty.  My feet are not used to spikes anymore.  I can’t even get up on my toes, which is a problem and will probably put a limit on how fast I can run/kick.  But I get to go out there tomorrow and run as hard as I can and see where I’m at!  And I’m so excited!

This was just a quick post, but I wanted to get it out there.  If I have a good race tomorrow, I’ll be thrilled and grateful and have some decisions to make regarding the rest of the season and my feet.  If I have a bad race, hey, it happens all the time.  There is more to me than my identity as a runner.  There is more to every runner than their identity as a runner.

 

Life and sadness and frustration and positivity…

Happy Saturday night!  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve stopped and started versions of this post.  Isn’t it funny how it’s easier to write about running when running is going well?

IMG_4831.jpg

Overnight oats in the training room for the millionth day in a row

So: the foot pain.  It’s hard to believe that this has been going on for almost three months.  It seems like I haven’t trained consistently since January.  The past two weeks have been exponentially worse; I even developed extensor tendonitis because I was compensating for the toe/bunion pain in my stride and foot strike.  After about 43 miles and some cross training the week before last, last week’s training included 7 normal miles, 15 miles on the Alter-G, and 290 minutes of cross training.  This week included 37.5 miles and about 205 minutes of cross training.  Today’s run/bike combination was horrible.  Can you see the continuation of the mileage rollercoaster?

Every single day involves at least one trip to the training room for warm whirlpool, rolling, laser, mobility, ultrasound, ice, etc.  I’ve been biking and swimming ridiculous distances.  Each training session is played by ear; my coach will text me saying, “How much pain are you in?  Do you want to work out today?”

I met with an orthopedist on Thursday, but unfortunately we didn’t come up with any other solutions.  “Yep, according to the x-rays, your bunions are pretty severe.  You can live in the training room for the rest of your athletic career, or if the pain is getting too bad to the point where you think it’s limiting your ability to train, you might want to consider bunion surgery.”
I’m also in the middle of the dental implant process, feeling hideous, and there are insurance issues and family medical/emotional problems.
As you can imagine, last week was filled with some breakdowns…
The combination of training uncertainty and constant pain is really taking its toll mentally and physically.  Also, getting up at the crack of dawn every day makes me feel really isolated from the “normal college student” lifestyle of sleeping in past 6 am, staying up later than 10 pm, and having some semblance of fun.  Not that I want the normal college student lifestyle, but it’s really hard when you can’t relate to anyone.  Most of my teammates don’t have to be in the training room twice a day and wake up at the ass crack of dawn every single day.  My NARP (non-athletic-regular-people) friends stare at me like I have three heads if I mention my daily routine.  I’m sorry for the negativity- I’m just being honest that months of this nonsense is getting to me 😦
I also really do not want to have to go the surgery route.  Bunion surgery takes months to recover from, more months to get back into training, and there’s no guarantee that it’ll even be successful.  As I would have to get the surgery on both feet, I would literally be in a wheelchair, unable to walk, for a month.
IMG_4780.jpg

Stationary-biking my life away

Okay, now that my emotional rant is (mostly) over, I’m going to try to focus on the positives!  Even though it really sucks not being able to fully do what I love and contribute to my team, it’s so important to keep in mind that life is about more than just running.  Obviously as a collegiate athlete, the majority of your lifestyle revolves around your sport and school.  But there are so many aspects to life that it’s easy to find things that are important outside running!
IMG_4813.jpg
SO, without further ado, here are some positive things that are happening in life:
  • Recent weather has been absolutely gorgeous.  I went to a nearby creek today to watch the sunset with my roommate, her brother, his roommate, and their dog.  We saw a goldendoodle puppy while we were there!
  • My mom and her husband came down last week, and I went out to brunch with them and we always have the best conversations.
  • We took the recruits to see Beauty and the Beast last week, and even though you know I’m a cynical human being, I’m also addicted to Disney movies and songs.
  • I sat down to the piano for the first time in months and have my heart set on playing Go the Distance 
  • I’m currently writing multiple articles for Spoon University and loving it!
  • The business school is the most beautiful building on campus, and I’m lucky enough to have access to it.
  • The weight room is making me #toostrong 😉
  • Scandal, joggers, and hot lemon water to end the night

IMG_4919.jpg

Wow, there are so many aspects of life to be grateful for!  School is hard, running is hard, and this crazy schedule of mine is hard.  We shall see if I’m able to race this coming weekend at our big home invitational.  But mindfulness is important.  Here is a cheesy motivational quote, complete with a pug:

Being touristy

In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothin’ you can’t do

IMG_4676.jpg

Okay, sorry for the insane cheesiness, but I just got back from three days in New York City!  Two of my friends and I took the bus up on Wednesday and came back a little sooner than we had planned in order to avoid the worst of the snow.  While we didn’t get to do everything we wanted to, it was mostly a blast!  We stayed in the heart of Koreatown, which was definitely interesting.  I woke up earlier than my friends in order to get my training in; unfortunately, I had to do run-bike combinations because of foot pain.  Yikes.  I’m a little frustrated, but at least I can do something!

Highlights of the trip:

We saw the Paramour musical version of Cirque du Soleil on Broadway!  The performance was absolutely mesmerizing.  The acrobatics were intricately dangerous, the singing was phenomenal…oh man.  I’m in love.

IMG_4645

We toured Jacques Torres’ new chocolate museum on Hudson Street and even met Jacques Torres himself!  The exhibits included a detailed history of chocolate, chocolate sculpture masterpieces, authentic Mexican hot chocolate (pure cocoa + hot water + spices), and unlimited free samples.  A master chocolatier made dark chocolate ganache-filled truffles right in front of us.  This chocoholic claims that they were the best chocolate I have ever had.

IMG_4670.jpg

IMG_4659.jpg

We took the subway to Battery Park and took the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and tour Ellis Island.  You can sense the legacies of the immigrants that passed through the immigration system.

We went to Molly’s Cupcakes!  I fell in love with the cupcakes and the atmosphere; when we walked into the cheerful yellow shop, Phillip Phillips was playing on the radio. I got the flourless chocolate cupcake with a dulce de leche ganache filling, vanilla bean buttercream frosting, and cocoa powder dusting.  Amazing.

IMG_4705 (1).jpgIMG_4703.jpg

Other highlights included Black Iron Burger for dinner, an eclectic, socialist bookstore, and aggressive street vendors.  This morning, we kind of just hibernated until our bus arrived because it was snowing very hard.

My body is definitely craving routine, and I don’t even want to think about the schoolwork I’ve been avoiding over break.  I’m having a little anxiety.  But it’s all good.

 

Life update: turning 20!

Sorry for the lack of posts!  This time of the semester is when the schoolwork really starts to pick up.  But it’s Saturday night, and I think everyone deserves a break from the grind 🙂

Anyway, I turned 20 on Valentine’s Day!  The day started off with a solid workout (3 mile warm-up, 2k-1k-2k-1k cruise intervals on the track between 5:40-5:55 pace, 3 mile cool down).  I went to class, lifted, went to the training room…not too special of a birthday 😉  But I did get to go out to dinner with friends and feasted on my favorite Caribbean blackened salmon, followed by (free) chocolate cheesecake!

IMG_4381.jpg

The various birthday gifts I received from my college friends coincidentally had a theme: nut butter!  It was pretty funny.  Also, my roommate got me the cutest poster (my all-time favorite movie is Up):

IMG_4380.jpg

In other news, the dental implant process is progressing!  If you recall, the dentist placed the anchor screws in December, and he placed the abutments this past Thursday. Unlike the screws, the abutments stick out of my gums, and they are not fully covered by the dentures.  So right now, the metal screws kind of make it look like my gums are rotting.  I’ll spare you a picture of my current gremlin self 😉  Three weeks from now, they’ll take impressions, and just a couple weeks after that, I’ll finally have permanent implants!

Unfortunately, the foot issues have persisted throughout the last two weeks.  I actually ran normal mileage last week (54 miles + 60 min XT) but had to switch to cross training halfway through this week.  A lot of cross training.  There’s not much the training room can do since the problem is stemming from my bunions, and surgery is the only real long-term solution.  So we’re just focusing on pain maintenance for now.

IMG_4430.jpg

I’m frustrated because I feel like I’m in good shape but am not progressing due to the limited running I can do right now.  On a more positive note, I’ve been taking melatonin every night and getting almost enough sleep, and I feel like a human being again!  I’ll do a training recap tomorrow!

IMG_4442.jpg

Great view…right?

Anyway, my family came down this morning after my long effort (I split it up into 30 minute bike, 6 mile run, 30 minute bike).  We went out to brunch, and everyone ate an astronomical amount of food!

IMG_4451.jpg

Yes, this was just my meal

Afterwards, we did a bit of shopping and headed to a family birthday party, and I’ve spent the rest of the day doing some more schoolwork.  Some friends and I are having a joint birthday party tonight, so I’m looking forward to that.

I’ll try to carve out time to write a true training recap tomorrow, but no guarantees!  So far, I think I’m doing a good job of staying on top of the coming week’s stupid workload, but time will tell…

Winter training and life

(Written earlier this week)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week of 12/26-1/1:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total: 53 miles

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

Week of 1/2-1/8:

M: off; core + yoga

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total: 54 miles + 25 min bike

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

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

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

Work is work.

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

Go-to corpse pose songs:

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

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

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

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!! I’m already starting 2017 off strong by belatedly publishing a Year in Review post…

After not having plans as late as Friday, I actually ended up having an amazing time with friends from school!  On my way home from work on Friday afternoon, my friend invited me to randomly road trip with him and some other teammates back to campus.  We left around midday on New Year’s Eve and ended up with quite an eclectic assortment of individuals for this last-minute rendezvous.  But it was a blast.  We all woke up this morning a little worse for the wear and went on a coffee run and a fun walk before driving back.  After which I promptly had to do my long run… (did 11 miles, bunions killed me, it’s ok)

IMG_4022.jpg

Anyway!!  Time for some self-centered running-related reflection– don’t mind me. 2016 was probably the most life-changing year of my not-quite-20 years so far.  Starting in…

January: 

  • Moved back to school for freshman year spring semester.  Started running longer workouts.  We had a few snow days, and I ran my first long run on the treadmill!   Raced my first ever mile.

12651210_1006731222749138_7524554132482780305_n

February:

  • PRed in the 3k.  I turned 19!  My peroneals continued to act up.

March:

  • Came home for spring break.  My family moved to a new house while I was at school, which was very weird.  PRed in the 3k again!  I also started to drink coffee, which would turn into a minor addiction that would continue for several months…

April:

  • Oof, April.  It started strong with a 3k and a 4×1500 and really strong workouts…then I got bronchitis for a month, had to take prednisone, DNFed for the first time, and started struggling a lot with mental confidence and body image.  To top it all off, I went through some crazy drama with my closest college friends.  BUT I got to see the Chainsmokers in concert!  Ate lots of nut butter.  Attended my first athletic awards ceremony at college.

IMG_9269.jpg

May:

  • Had the opportunity to race the 5000 at the outdoor conference championships!  Finished spring semester and moved home for the summer.   Made the Dean’s List!  Started my first summer job.  Developed an obsession with avocado egg toast 🙂

IMG_9386.jpg

June:

  • Started ramping up the mileage and working many hours.  Traveled to California to visit family and climb mountains.  My aunt got married!  Spent a lot of time outside going on fun dates and hanging out with my friends.

IMG_2031

July:

  • Ran and worked a lot.  Ate more ice cream than I’ve ever eaten in my life…and developed an intolerance. My roommate came to visit!  Got a little crazy/intense about training and eating…yikes.

IMG_2130.jpg

August:

  • Ran 60 miles per week for the first time!  Body started really complaining about the higher training workload, and I experienced tiredness/moods that I never had before.  Went on a fun training trip with my teammates.  I got to see Phillip Phillips and Matt Nathanson in concert, and I moved back to school for sophomore year!!

IMG_2458.jpg

September:

  • Started my first college cross country season in uniform with a strong two-mile and followed it up with a dreadful, scary, heat exhaustion-filled 5k.  Realized I was overtraining and chilled out a bit.

blagh-run

October:

  • Lots of fall activities.  Hard work started to show– huge PR in the 6k, made the travel squad for every meet, and made the top 7 for regionals!  I went through my first break-up…not fun.

15202489_1144478465648035_6347668192023012839_n

November:

  • Southeast Regional Championships went okay individually and terribly for the team.  End of cross country.  Spontaneously cut my hair off!  Came home for Thanksgiving Break!  Broke my dentures.  The second half of the month was very weird mentally– I did not feel like myself.

15073371_1128040420625173_2041254141935983523_n

December:

  • Continued to not feel like myself, but took steps to try to rectify it after a few scary instances.  Finished fall semester and came home for winter break.  Started an internship in DC.  Started training for track!

So that’s my year.  There are tons of important things that I am forgetting, but oh well.  I haven’t made any concrete resolutions for this coming year, but these are some things that have been floating around this head of mine:

  • Practice being a better listener, as well as being more direct and saying what you mean to say.
  • Focus on developing real, meaningful relationships, as opposed to maintaining virtual connections via Snapchat/other forms of social media.
  • Gratitude journal before bed every night
  • Try to contribute positively to at least one person’s day, every day, even through a small action such as holding the door or smiling at them

Happy New Year 🙂

Thanksgiving and last week of classes!

Merry Tuesday!  Sorry I haven’t written in a couple weeks.  I’m done with class for today and am spending the rest of this rainy afternoon in our library coffee shop enjoying peppermint tea and a cranberry scone.  I just finished my last accounting problem set and gender reading notes, and I got an A on a Spanish paper, so I’m going to take a break to write a post 🙂

IMG_3775.JPG

I took a week completely off from running and ran every other day last week for a grand total of seventeen miles, along with some intermittent core routines and a yoga session.  It was great to go home for Thanksgiving break; I got to see family and lots of friends and spend five whole days doing no work whatsoever!

img_3729

We spent Thanksgiving dinner at a family friends’ house.  Didn’t eat until 8 pm because we couldn’t interrupt the football game!! (I’m still salty the Redskins lost.)  But dinner was worth the wait.

We spent the meal saying what we were thankful for.  I’m thankful for a supportive, mildly crazy family;the ability to go to a wonderful school; my friends, teammates, coaches, professors, and dentists (haha); good food; and many other things.  Our family friends’ adorable 4-year-old son kept putting in his two cents throughout dinner: “I’m thankful for Mom and pizza and Dad and chicken!”

FullSizeRender.jpg

My (yes, younger) brother also deigned to take a picture with me!  Will wonders never cease? He makes me look so short…

 

img_3766

I also got to see my three best friends from high school!  One of them goes to West Point, so I hadn’t seen her since June!

My friend convinced me to brave the Black Friday madness, so he and I spent 3 hours at the biggest mall in the area in the middle of the day.  RIP to my bank account– but at least I got lots of Christmas presents for friends and family!

Even with all the fun reunions and family gatherings, I experienced abnormal depression intermittently throughout the entire break.  It was strange and a little scary.  I think the combination of being home for a short vacation as a college student, not running, some family issues, and social issues made for a tenuous emotional situation.  I could physically feel myself getting happier on the train ride back to campus on Sunday night.  I do love being home, but I think at this point, I love being at school more 🙂

14484631_1080951218667427_5091011387684880698_n

Who wouldn’t love it here?

Speaking of school, this week marks the end of classes, followed by two weeks of finals!  I have a pretty solid finals schedule, and I’m going to try to maintain healthy (physical and emotional) study habits throughout.  I might expand upon this later!

We’re starting to gradually build our mileage back up this week but keeping all of our runs at maintenance pace.  You never realize how much running keeps you stable until you’re forced to go without it for a little while 😉  I’m keeping it low for a little while (around 28 this week) before increasing over the next few weeks until I’m back at 55-60ish.  We’ll start workouts after Christmas, and our first race will be after we get back from winter break in mid-January.  I was going to write my track goals, but this post is already pretty long, so I’ll do that for the next post!  For now, I’ll just keep enjoying shorter maintenance runs and the lovely aches and pains that come after time off… 🙂

PS: 26 days until Christmas!!

Overtraining? + Grocery therapy

Good morning.  On this September morning, we should all take a moment to remember and honor those who died 15 years ago today. ❤

My Sunday morning:

Training 9/5-9/11:

Monday: AM: 3 miles trails + abs.  PM: form drills, speed ladder/hurdles, 7 miles trails, 8 x strides, upper body circuit, rope stretch.
Tuesday: AM: warm-up, drills, hill workout (3 x mile circuit, 4 x 400, 4 x 175m), 2 mile c/d = 10 miles.  Lift in weight room. PM: 2 mile shakeout, ice bath.
Wednesday:  5 miles trails.  PM: massage (quads and calves)
Thursday: 3 mile w/u, drills, dreadful track workout that I didn’t make it through.  2 mile c/d.  Lift.  Not a good day.
Friday: Form drills, speed ladder/hurdles, 6 miles trails, 6 x strides, upper body circuit.
Saturday: Long run (11) miles
Sunday: OFF

Total: 52 miles

Training this past week was a veritable rollercoaster.  Tuesday’s hill workout was the same one I died on ten days prior, and so I was a bit mental throughout the entire workout.  I finished it- yay!- but I had myself so worked up that I was almost in tears.  Whoops.

Thursday was a disaster.  Yikes.  I don’t really feel like reliving it.  I had a meeting with my coach on Friday to discuss my training, and one of the things we talked about was that maybe we got a bit too ambitious and excited about my fitness and kept ramping up the training and throwing me into that top group.

While my mileage hasn’t gone up recently, the intensity has.  Additionally, we’ve had to get used to an intense new lifting schedule, lots of walking, the heat, etc.  I think this week my body was just like “no more!” and shut down.  I haven’t been sleeping (a symptom of overtraining) and my moods and body image and all that jazz have been all screwy.

I think I also got into the mindset of “must do everything.”  This season, my coach has been sending out more flexible training schedules where we have a bunch of different options.  For example, Tuesday will say: “AM: workout- intervals.  Lift in weight room.  PM: 2-3 mile shakeout for top group, optional cross train shakeout for everyone else.”  Seeing that I had the option, I’d think, “well, I have to do a 3 mile shakeout!” even if I felt exhausted.  This week, I overloaded my mileage on Tuesday and dreamed of hitting like 65 miles, but when my body shut down around Thursday, I reevaluated and realized how crazy I was being.

So, lesson learned.  Listen to your body.  I am taking today completely off.  Looking at my running log, I realized I hadn’t taken an off day in a month- which had never happened before.  Hmm, maybe the whole overtraining thing makes sense!

On a more light-hearted note, yesterday my roommate and I did some retail therapy- grocery shopping retail therapy 😉

IMG_2785.JPG

We went to the local farmer’s market, Trader Joe’s, and also ventured to The Fresh Market for the first time.  It’s possible that we went a bit crazy with our yogurt purchases and impulse buys.  They had pumpkin spice almonds.  *Dies*

My haul: Skinny Pop, 4 jars of nut butter, coconut oil, almonds, chocolate-covered almonds, pumpkin spice peanuts, green tea infused mints, frozen raspberries, lots of yogurt, avocado, chicken noodle soup, vegetarian chili, and farmer’s market apples.  And I’m on a meal plan, oops.

Another essential part of our post-long-run Saturday morning routine is a stop at the Peanut Shop for the free samples.  Chocolate-covered almonds, cashews, peanuts, espresso beans, and everything under the sun.  Bless.

IMG_2780.JPG

Well, considering it’s almost noon and I’m still in bed (not sleeping because apparently I don’t know how to do that anymore), I should probably continue to tackle my weekend to-do list.  I’m looking forward to hitting “reset” this coming week and focusing on trying to take care of myself and listening to my body more ❤