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

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

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

Week of 6/18-6/24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cute doggos help, too


Week of 6/25-7/1

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

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

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20 miles later…

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

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

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Met up with some friends for dinner in Georgetown

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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Week of 6/11-6/17:

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

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

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

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XT sweat overactivity??

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

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

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Nice

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

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

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

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Image source

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

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

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

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Intentions for next week:

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

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

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Summer Training 2018

(I wrote this post a week ago but had to publish it before I could start posting recaps!  Sorry for the lack of pictures)

Things that are terrifying when you combine them together: year after year of consistent summer training; a taste of success last year; five months of injury with very little running; and kicking off 2018 summer training by starting a walk-to-run program.

Greetings!¬† It’s hard to believe that it’s already June.¬† This is the month where summer training for cross country kicks off in full swing.¬† For the past several years, my daily summer routine has revolved around the day’s training and work.¬† However, as you know, I’ve been injured since January, the latest being a stress reaction in my second metatarsal that put me out for five weeks.¬† I’m essentially starting summer training with a base of¬†zero.

This is honestly terrifying.¬† I’ve never been in this position before.¬† I was never really injured in high school, my mileage was low enough going into my freshman year of college that injury was essentially impossible, and I had¬†great build-ups going into sophomore and junior year that helped me to some massive PRs.¬† I thought I knew the frustration that came with injury due to my bunion struggles in the spring of 2017, but I had no idea.¬† I was still able to train well, and I PRed in the 3k on the track and the 5k on the¬†roads.¬†¬†Looking back, I was freakin’ blessed!

Anyway.  Over the past five months, my body has changed, my mentality has changed, and my running goals for this year have changed.  After running 21:20 in the 6k last fall, my goals before the semester of injury were to break 17 minutes in the 5k on the track this past spring and be both the individual and team conference champion during cross country this coming fall.  These goals have not changed in and of themselves, but I am not going to put pressure on myself to achieve them this year.  I know my body will break again if I push it too hard too soon.

SO instead of the normal mileage build-up where I would start at like 30 miles and work up to 60+ and maintain around 55 and hardly do any cross training, I am going to spend the majority of the summer transitioning through a walk-to-run program and doing cross-training workouts.¬† My mileage is going to remain incredibly low for a frustratingly long period of time, and my cross country season may or may not be as successful as (the first half of) last year’s.¬† I might not run as fast.¬† I might feel a lot worse.¬† But I am going to cherish every second that I get to run because I now know what it’s like to¬†not be able to run at all.¬† And then to ruin the little bit I did get to run this spring by ignoring the pain, racing a 5k on a stress reaction, and putting myself out of conference championship competition and endangering my cross country season.¬† Nice!

Tentative summer plan/goals for now:

  • Walk-to-run program until July
  • Build up mileage consistently and sustainably- if that means I’m only at 30 miles by the end of the summer, well, it’s better than zero.
  • Work hard on the bike and in the pool
  • Complete 2-3 long yoga sessions per week
  • Functional core and lifts
  • Foot rehab exercises
  • Sleep a lot!
  • Be¬†inspired, not jealous, by teammates’ training

I’ll update you as I progress through the walk-jog and transition back to “real” running (I’m trying not to use that phrase, but you know what I mean!).¬† I’m in Spain for another 3 weeks, and I’m 2 parts loving it, 1 part homesick/ready for routine.

Combating Training Rigidity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Biking and reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a wonderful day ūüôā

 

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 ūüėČ

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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 ūüôā

 

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 ūüôā

Christmas

Christmas with family always alternates between hysterically funny and infuriating.¬† I’m sure most people can relate ūüėȬ† 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 ūüėČ


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 ūüėČ

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 ūüėČ

 

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 ūüėȬ† 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 detr√°s de la c√°mara), 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 ūüėČ
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 ūüôā

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 ūüėČ

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 ūüėČ 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.