Summer Training Week 13: 54 miles + yoga

The past week has been very eventful!  After an exhausting last week of work and running, I went to see Lifehouse, Switchfoot, and Brynn Elliott last Sunday with one of my best friends.  The concert was amazing…but we didn’t get home until midnight, and I’ve never felt less recovered after a recovery day. 😅 So I struggled through a morning run on Monday, skipped my double, and prayed that I’d feel better for our team training trip!  This week was sort of a down week- I still ran 54 miles… Isn’t it funny how our perspectives change based on where we’re at in training?

This morning, I went to a yoga class before heading to my favorite farmer’s market for the last time before I go back to school.  I swear, the people at this farmer’s market are the nicest, most compassionate people in the world.  Every time I go there, it restores my faith in humanity 🙂

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Lifehouse and Switchfoot concert!

Week 13 (8/14-8/20):

Monday: AM: 7 miles on bike path.  STRUGGLE- body is so tired.  Glute activation + push-ups.  PM: skipped my double, light core.

Tuesday:  Mosquito-infested workout with teammates on island soft surface: 20 min w/u, drills, 12-7-7 with 3 min recovery, 3 mile c/d.  Total = 11 miles.  Went really well!  I felt very strong mentally and physically.

Wednesday:  5 miles with teammates easy + core.  New shoes.  PM: eventful ocean swim with my freshman teammates in which we got caught in the riptide/current for awhile…

Thursday:  AM: 7 miles with teammates, drills, strides, strength (push-ups, lunges, roller abs, etc.) Lighthouse climb!  PM: 3 miles with teammates.

Friday:  Early workout with freshman teammate.  20 min w/u, drills, 7 x [3:00h, 1:00e], 20 min c/d.  Felt ok, not amazing.  Fewer mosquitoes!  Total: 9 miles.

Saturday: 13 miles on bike path.  Listened to podcast about accents.  Pretty humid/hot.  Took an energy gel at mile 9 and hammered the last 20 minutes.  Overall good run!  Trail was very crowded.

Sunday: off.  Vinyasa yoga class.

Total: 54 miles + 1 hour yoga class

Not the most interesting training week, but the concert and training trip were an absolute blast.  When Lifehouse played “You and Me” and “Hanging by a Moment” one right after the other, my friend and I almost cried.  We also got to meet Brynn Elliott after the show- she was incredibly affable and enthusiastic, and she’s only a year older than us!

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The training trip got off to an interesting start with a mosquito-infested workout on Tuesday morning.  Apparently, it was the worst mosquito day some of the locals could remember! A few of the girls looked like they had contracted a bad case of chickenpox.  Throughout the trip, we worked out together, went to the beach, climbed a lighthouse, ate immense amounts of ice cream every night, explored the island, saw wild ponies, had dance parties and ridiculous late-night talks, drank lots of coffee and took lots of pictures.  I am so happy this trip turned out as well as it did 🙂

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None of our seniors or fifth years came on the training trip, so the junior class (read: my class!) was unexpectedly thrust into leadership roles that we didn’t expect to have until next year.  One of my classmates organized the majority of the trip, and some of us took on the task of talking to the freshmen about team rules, team dynamic, goals, expectations, how each practice works, and college in general.  Everyone worked together really well with the cleaning, cooking, and carpooling.

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One of the freshmen and I ended up swimming far out into the ocean- farther than I had ever swum- which was exhilarating!  Until we got caught in a riptide/current that pulled us farther and farther out into the water.  There’s nothing like the feeling of being pulled backwards as you attempt to swim forwards.  This particular freshman and I are both pretty fearless, but even so, I felt a bit of apprehension as we made ZERO progress getting back to shore!  We eventually made it back by swimming with the waves and letting the current pull us around in a giant circle.  Phew!

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This trip was really good for my mental health and balance as well.  Reuniting with my teammates reminded me that all the hard work throughout the summer is done for a reason and reinvigorated me for the upcoming cross country season.  Also, a lot of last year’s top seven is in our senior/fifth year class, which meant that I was one of the faster and higher mileage runners on this trip.  Along with my fellow juniors and high mileage runners, I ended up leading workouts, runs, and conversations about college running for the freshmen.  It was surreal!

Since the juniors were the leaders on this trip, I really wanted to be a good role model for the underclassmen.  So this trip had the awesome effect of breaking unofficial routines and rules that I had gotten stuck in throughout the summer.  I just went with the flow.  Ice cream every night?  Absolutely yes.  Meals at weird times?  Waiting until 8 am to run- something that I hadn’t done all summer?  Staying up later than I had been comfortable with?  Relaxing in the afternoon?  I tried to say yes to everything.  Also tried to lead by example- post-workout recovery snack, rope stretching, foam rolling, treating myself, not hammering maintenance runs, and striking that tricky balance of relaxation and dedication to training.  I hope we (the juniors) did a good job.  The underclassmen reassured us that we did great, which was so gratifying 🙂

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One of the highlights from this morning was at the farmer’s market.  As I mentioned before, the people there are the nicest ever.  I stopped at one of the bread stands and made small talk with the woman who works there- we sort of know each other because the store where I work is very close with the farmers and small businesspeople from the market.  We talked about me going back to school, and when I tried to buy a lemon bite from her, she gave it to me for free and said, “save it for college”!  This happens all the time.  Do you see why I love it there??

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It was also really delicious.  The tangy glaze paired perfectly with the soft, sweet-yet-sour lemon pastry.

I also just adore the farmer’s market because you can find the most unique food items there.  Moroccan spiced carrot hummus?  Okra?  Dirt-cheap apples, peaches, and tomatoes?  Agave lime gazpacho??  I’ll probably miss it more than my home, to be honest…(mostly kidding).

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I’m going back to school and moving into my apartment later this week, so the next few days will be filled with planning, packing, (running) and convincing myself that I’ll be okay living 1.5 miles from campus without a car. 😉  I can’t believe summer is almost over!

Fun Friday Fartlek with Friend

(I’m such a dork.  I can’t.)

Before I get started with this post, which will be fueled by a jittery I-drank-more-caffeine-than-I-can-handle frenzy, it’s my four-year blogiversary!  WOW.  I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for four years!  Maybe some of the positive things that happened this morning count as a celebration. 🙂

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Some things have changed (like my eyebrows, and my 5k PR)…my coworker still thinks I’m in high school, though

So the past couple days have not been the most fun.  My runs have gone pretty well, but to some extent, the rest of the day has been spent feeling like a train hit my body.  Yikes.  It’s been extremely helpful to have a running buddy for most of this week’s runs so far.  I’m not sure how I’d be getting through without them 😅

I wasn’t looking forward to another workout, but a couple days ago, one of my teammates texted me to say that she would be in town, and did I want to workout together?

Um, heck yes!

I hadn’t seen her all summer, so we had a lot to catch up on.  We met up this morning at a park with a 5-mile trail loop, and from the start of the warm-up to the end of the cool-down, we did not stop talking.  Both of us had been feeling a little burnt out and lonely, so we didn’t stress at all about the workout and just had a blast running with each other.  It was a 7-5-7-5 fartlek with 2 minutes’ recovery, and we didn’t even shut up during the workout, gasping for breath as we sprinted along the wooded trails.  I’m sure we looked and sounded ridiculous 😉

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Here’s another 2013 throwback (at the same park from this morning!) for the blogiversary 😉

Working out together made us both super excited for when the whole team is back together!  Just a few more weeks.  Workouts (and the general grind of training) is so much easier when there are 20 other women working just as hard ❤

It’s also been almost chilly in the mornings for the past few days, which has made running more bearable.  This morning was 70 degrees and overcast- nothing like 85 and unbearable!

After the workout, I was stretching, rolling out, and refueling in the parking lot while watching local high schools compete in a cross country scrimmage.  Two of the most outgoing, hilarious young kids I’ve ever met came over and started asking 300 questions about my roller, stretch rope, car keys…even the lunch box that housed my post-workout breakfast.

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Their older sister was running in the scrimmage, but they had gotten bored and were on an “adventure.”  The younger girl (4 or 5) proceeded to take over the foam roller and stretch rope while she showed off her moves.  Her brother was shocked when I didn’t know who their sister was, and that I didn’t go to her school- apparently all runners know each other 😉 While not noteworthy, this interaction with two extremely extroverted kids made my morning all over again.

I drove home and stopped to get ice and splurge on illy coffee, since it’s my favorite.  The most convenient place to get illy coffee happened to be my workplace’s biggest competitor (oops).  When I ordered my coffee from the manager, he asked who had better coffee.  I defended my workplace’s ice cream but reluctantly admitted that illy coffee tops all else…and the guy shook my hand and comped my coffee!  I felt like a traitor, but this was yet another positive happenstance that made my morning!

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Ice bathing with my free caffeine 😉

After an eventful morning full of positive happenings not directly related to running (a refreshing change!), I took an ice bath, showered, and caught up with some friends.  The rest of the afternoon will be filled with lunch, a nap, and some chores before heading to work until 11 pm tonight.

I feel really content right now.   Also hopped up on (free) caffeine, so that might have something to do with it!  Something annoying or catastrophic will probably happen later to make up for this good morning 😉 but right now…all good.  I’m also going to a concert on Sunday with my friend to see some groups that I LOVE, so I’m so excited.  Happy Friday!  I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Summer Training Week 10 (51 miles + 60 min swim)

It was 60 degrees when I woke up this morning!

Crazy.

Anyway, happy Sunday!  I was planning on sleeping in, but my body always has other plans…so a 5:45 am wake-up it was.  After writing for awhile, I made some waffles and went to the farmer’s market.

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Week 10 (7/24-7/30):

Monday:  AM: drills, 7 miles with friends on sidewalks/bike path, strides, difficult core circuit!  Legs felt fresh thanks to off day yesterday.  PM: Kayaked on the Potomac with some friends.  Ultimately decided not to double.  Definitely thought about that decision way too much! Ugh.

Tuesday:  AM: pre-early-workout ate toast with almond butter and banana. 2 mile warm-up, drills, 30 minute tempo, 26 minute cool down (that was an accident- I ran too far down the canal during the tempo haha).  Tempo felt strong- it was long, but I was not dead at the end!  Nuun and Picky bar between workout and lift.  Lift day 1.  Ice bath.  Worked 12-5 pm.  Quite tired after, but solid morning!  Abs are sore

Wednesday:  AM: 3 miles.  Sore from lift!  Nice weather.  Worked 12-5.  PM: 30 min swim.  Was very enjoyable 🙂

Thursday: AM: drills, 7 miles, strides on turf (finally did strides somewhere besides the asphalt!!), ate an energy bite between run and lift, lift day 2.  Lift went well!  PRed on farmer’s holds.  PM: 2 miles, humid/hot but felt good.  Worked 5-10 pm.

Friday: pre-workout ate toast with almond butter and banana. 2 mile warm-up on bike path, drills, 6 x [4:00h, 2:00e], 2 mile cool down.  Went well!  I was mentally strong.  Ice bath.  Solo road trip.

Saturday: 13ish miles (100 minutes) on trails/bike path.  Personal distance record!  This was a pretty awesome run!  I felt like I could have gone faster and farther.  Ice bath.

Sunday: 30 min swim

Total: 51 miles + 60 minutes swimming

This was a good week!  I didn’t have any “bad” runs and had two lovely swims.  For the most part, I slept pretty well and felt good about my nutrition this week.  It’s hard for me to be comfortable all the time with the sheer amount of food we have to eat with the level of training that we’re doing, but I’m just trying not to overthink it and listen to my body 🙂
I went kayaking with friends on Monday afternoon and am a little embarrassed to admit that I spent way too long thinking about whether or not I should double.  In the end, I did not double, had a lot of fun kayaking, and felt better on all my runs because I did not double.  Sheesh, Kathryn.
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Both workouts were super strong mentally…I have no idea what pace I was going (except for the one 1/2-mile split that I actually checked on Friday was 2:55).  I didn’t check my watch until 28 minutes into Tuesday’s 30 minute tempo, which was great!
Lifts went well.  I went hard on Tuesday and was noticeably sore for two days.
#Transparency: My period has not appeared for three months (no, I’m not pregnant).  I’m fueling properly and don’t think I’m overtraining, so that’s a little concerning and annoying.  Making a note of it here so I keep it in mind.
Didn’t do any yoga…again…
Well, that’s that!  Another week of training in the books.  A few more weeks until our training trip and less than a month until fall semester!

Summer Training Week 9 (57 miles + 30 min swim)

The sun is going down a tiny bit earlier each night, sudden thunderstorms crop up briefly and intensely throughout the afternoons, my brother is packing for sleepaway camp, somehow we are on week NINE of summer training!…summer goes on.

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Too hot even for me to eat hot oatmeal- but this (cold) bowl was dang good

I took today completely off from running but drove for over six hours, so I’m just as tired 😉  Also SO full.  But today was lots of fun!

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Week 9 (7/17-7/23):

Monday:  AM: drills, 7 miles on sidewalks, strides.  Very humid.  Didn’t feel super fresh, but other than that, went well.  Core circuit.  PM: 3 miles.  Sore/tired calves and feet.

Tuesday:  3 mile warm-up, drills, fartlek (15 min on- 3 off- 10 on- 3 off- 5 on), 2.5 miles cool down on canal.  90% humidity, sweated a lot.  Legs didn’t feel very fresh but rallied at the end.  Ice bath.  VERY tired later in the day.  Some unplanned food choices (read: ice cream binge) but I know that’s because I was so tired.

Wednesday:  AM: 5 miles sidewalks.  Very hot/humid.  Legs were tired but decent run.  Lift day 1- PRed on squats and had a good deadlift!  Last day of dog-sitting.  PM: 30 min swim, felt good to get off feet, very relaxing, but tired afterwards.

Thursday:  AM: 7 miles, drills, strides, 10 min core.  Hot/humid.  Felt okay.  PM: 3 miles treadmill @ 8:10 pace.  Cranky, tired at work afterwards.

Friday: 2 mile warm-up, drills, 4 x [6:00 on, 2:00 off], 2 mile cool down on bike path.  Hot/humid.  Ice bath.  Didn’t feel fresh but it went pretty well.  PM: skipped lift and took two naps instead.  #Yolo.

Saturday: 12 miles on sidewalks + bike path.  Best way to describe this run: boring?

Sunday: off

Total: 57 miles + 30 min swim

Highest volume week in awhile!  This week can be adequately summarized with the phrase, “Didn’t feel fresh but it went pretty well.”  At no point during the week did I feel fresh (not even on Monday- oops), but I think I rode the line between hard training and overstressing my body well!  (Although maybe the amount of power naps I took says otherwise.)

Slacked off on yoga this week and my mind was generally not relaxed.   Oh, well.  Will work on being more mindful this coming week.

It continued to be extremely hot and humid all week.  I am very diligent about getting out the door by 7 am at the latest, yet the temperature never dipped below 75 and the humidity never dipped below about 90%.  Lovely.  Just reminding myself over and over that these sauna-like conditions will pay off in the future!  My body is getting more efficient.

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Post-Friday workout sweatiness

Honesty moment of the week!  I’ve identified that I tend to be extremely cranky and binge-eat ice cream on the days where I work while tired from that day’s training session.  For some reason, this has been causing a lot of anxiety.  Yesterday, after twelve miles, I ate ice cream at work and honestly struggled a lot, mentally.  HOWEVER, today I road-tripped to see friends and indulged in delicious eats and was back to normal and didn’t give a crud.  It was awesome (and a relief!). I’m weird.  I don’t really understand.

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Hawaiian BBQ quesadilla with chicken, melted jack cheese, pineapple, onion, and BBQ sauce…HEAVEN

This morning, I picked up my friend who lives about 40 minutes from me, and then we drove 2.5 hours south to visit some other friends.  It was sweltering outside, but we still had a good time!  We got to meet one of our new teammates, and she was incredibly nice.  We ate lunch at a cute smoothie/sandwich place (I got the Hawaiian BBQ chicken quesadilla and a soy cappuccino), checked out consignment stores and boutiques, explored a spice store, and perused a used-books bookstore (my favorite).  I got 5 books for $3, and an adorable cat snoozed in the window of the bookstore.

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We took the scenic route home, and after winding through rural highway roads for a couple hours, we spontaneously stopped at a roadside ice cream barn that sources their dairy from local cows.  While I was still stuffed from lunch, I did taste the dark chocolate ice cream, and it was incredibly creamy and high-quality.  I will be back.

IMG_7271.jpgPhew!  After seven hours in the car, I’m pretty tired, a little bloated, and craving my bed. This next week is a bit of a down week- I’ll probably hit around 48-50 miles.  I am going to shoot for a 13-mile long run, though!  Hopefully, my legs will feel more refreshed from the low(er) mileage and I will #crushit 😉

Summer Training Week 8 (54 miles)

Happy National Ice Cream Day!  After an easy 4 miles and core this morning, I dog sat, perused the farmer’s market, and have been checking various chores off my to-do list.  It’s been a busy week; I’ve worked every single day, and one more shift stands in the way of me and a day off 😉

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Week 7 (7/10-7/16):

Monday:  AM: drills, glutes, 7 miles,  strides.  I felt pretty crappy and was cranky on this run.  Core circuit.  PM: 3 miles neighborhood trail.  1 hour slow flow yoga class.  Got sick afterwards and puked/laid in bed all evening.

Tuesday:  AM: nothing: still sick.  Felt very achey/tired/lethargic, hibernated all day.  PM: 7 miles at 8:00 pace on treadmill.  Feet hurt by the end but body felt surprisingly okay.

Wednesday:  5 miles at Roosevelt Island.  Probably one of the top 5 worst runs I’ve ever had.  Heavy legs, felt off balance and achey, and it was super warm and humid.  But at least I did it!  Lift day 1: felt okay.

Thursday:  AM: fartlek on canal: 2 mile warm-up, 1-1-1-2-2-2-3-3-2-2-2-1-1-1 min on with 1 min recovery between everything, 2 mile cool down.  Very humid/muggy.  Didn’t feel amazing, but much better than Wednesday.  Ice bath.  PM: 2 miles at 8:10 pace on treadmill.  Very tired, and sore feet/legs!  Total = 11 miles

Friday: AM: 5 miles sidewalks.  Tired but progressively better.  Very humid/hot.  Lift day 2, unfortunately disrupted by some really horrible interactions.  The lift went pretty well, but I was not in a good mindset and therefore it didn’t feel as quality as it could have.  PM: was going to swim, but thunderstorms closed the pool, so I reluctantly took the afternoon off (which I definitely needed!!)

Saturday:  4 mile warm-up, 4 mile tempo (6:30, 6:33, 6:19, 6:12), 4 mile cool down all on bike path.  95% humidity.  Tempo was hard but got progressively mentally stronger throughout.  I knew I would need something extra, so I ate a citrus Clif energy gel after the tempo (so after 8 miles), and I don’t know if it was a placebo effect, but the last 4 miles felt surprisingly good!  Sore toes.  Ice bath. (Total: 12 miles)

Sunday: 4 miles + core

Total: 54 miles

This week was just weird.  I got sick on Monday and really didn’t feel well for about 5 days total.  Running wasn’t super fun, and I was annoyed that my mileage was lower than I wanted it to be.  Also, I managed to do 3 runs on soft-ish surfaces (yay!) but my legs were still super heavy and the constant, miserable heat and humidity didn’t help…

But I tried to listen to my body, and I’m proud of myself for taking Friday afternoon off (haha I’m aware how ridiculous that sounds).  I finally started to feel not-dead on Friday night.  Saturday’s long run took awhile to get into, and the tempo really did not feel great. So I was going to do 2×2 miles, and then “get to 3 miles and reevaluate”, but I got to 3 miles and felt progressively stronger so ended up doing 4 🙂  And I’m now an energy gel believer haha.

I’ve turned into a hermit that only runs and works.  I know my mindset was kinda crazy this week, so one of the things I’ll work on this coming week is not treating every run/mileage like the be-all, end-all of cross country success.  I have a tendency to micro-analyze every week and compare it to last year, etc. etc. etc.  I do really want to hit higher mileage, but I’m trying to remind myself that consistency is key!  There’s no need to rush things, especially after the spring semester…

One of the things I will try to incorporate this coming week is positive mantras.  Even a short phrase can re-center yourself and remind you of what’s important.  I go to a slow flow yoga class every week, and the instructor’s end-of-class mantra is “You are strong.  You are awesome.  You are inspiring.”  Heck yes, we all are!  Power poses can also play a big role in re-establishing yourself and getting out of a short-term funk.  I sound like such a hippie 😉 but I will incorporate these techniques.

Other random happenings:

  • My baby brother turned 13!
  • I finished reading A Walk Across America and re-read Born to Run and Eat and Run.  I’m a fan of all three books.  Now I’m reading Reconstructing Amelia.

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  • I poached eggs in a muffin tin for the first time.  They were delicious!  Just pop em in the oven for like 10 minutes.
  • Made Spicy Peanut Pad Thai for dinner one night (recipe from runonveg.com).  It was really good!  I used shrimp instead of tofu.  Also didn’t have aminos so used soy sauce, but that made it way too soy-sauce-y, so I had to add a bunch of honey to the sauce, haha.
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National Ice Cream Day concoction in the works.  Hint: involves three types of dough

  • Decompressed every night by eating lots of dessert and binge-watching The Great British Baking Show (until 10 pm because #earlyriserprobs)

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  • My coach shared with us the article, “Mindsets: Developing Talent Through a Growth Mindset” by Carol Dweck.  It was a really good read- I would recommend it to any athletes (or anyone!).  She also had us think about our beliefs about natural talent and effort.
  • I tend to align more with a fixed mindset in terms of “concealing deficiencies” and sometimes have trouble accepting criticism.  However, I have a growth mindset when it comes to Rule #2: “Work with passion and dedication- effort is key.”  Just some personal food for thought.

My goals (running and non-running) this week are to: have fun outside of training because I kind of failed at that this week; be less rigid with training and don’t stress about workouts; do something nice for someone every day; practice listening rather than just waiting until someone is done talking and then jumping in with whatever I have to say; plan more fall semester stuff; read a lot; stay off my phone!

“Garbage mileage”

This is kind of a mid-week weekly round-up because the past few days have been…interesting.

There’s always that point in training where the work you’ve done so far suddenly accumulates and your body feels like it’s been hit by a train.  If you’re doing it right and not overtraining, this feeling can last one day, a couple days…a week at most.  Then your body adjusts and you go back to feeling semi-normal.  However, if you’re overtraining, all of a sudden every run/lift/training session feels horrible for weeks on end.  Not good.

I had forgotten this feeling.  I think a lot of people can relate to this, but every time my training volume goes back up, I get complacent and think I’m invincible for a little while.  Until the accumulation of training volume happens, and then it’s a struggle to get out the door for a maintenance run 😉  Especially once the weather decides to never dip below 80 degrees or 80% humidity.  Ever.

After taking Sunday completely off, I felt surprisingly bad on Monday morning.  Two weeks ago, I joyfully bounded out the door the day after a complete rest day.  This week…nope.  My running buddy had to deal with my bitchiness for the first half of the run.  Eventually, I kinda warmed up, but no part of the 7 miles felt joyful.  That afternoon’s 3-miler was also “just another run.”

To make matters worse, I got sick on Monday night and spent the evening throwing up and lying curled up in the fetal position drinking ginger ale.  On Tuesday, I laid in bed for about 7 hours feeling weak and stressing about not doing the scheduled workout and being 11 miles under this week’s mileage.  Yeah.  I know, I’m insane and delusional.  Luckily, I felt progressively better throughout the day,before having a spurt of energy and jumping on the treadmill for 7 maintenance miles in the evening.  Again, I know.  I’m insane.  The run felt okay.  Nothing special.

Wednesday- hoo boy.  “You can go up to 6 miles as long as you feel fine,” I told myself. I drove to Roosevelt Island, and it was 80 degrees and 90% humidity at 7 am.  Right from the start, running felt impossible.  I struggled through every second of that miserable 5-miler.  My legs felt dead, my body felt heavy, my brain felt foggy.  That’s what you want!! 😉 I followed this nightmare up with a mediocre lifting session at the gym.

After four days of feeling like straight garbage, I was a walking pain in the ass.  Not a happy camper.  And the garbage-ness made me quite nervous to work out today.  Luckily, my friend volunteered to join me for the fartlek, and we did nine miles on the canal this morning.  It was already a sauna outside at 6:30 am, but we got it done.  While I didn’t feel great, it was significantly better than yesterday.  Did two miles on the treadmill after work, and my legs are, without a doubt, shot.

Runners are crazy!  It’s true.  When you’re in the thick of training, it’s easy to forget that what you’re doing is incredibly impressive, regardless of how fast you are/how many miles you’re running/what you’re training for.  It’s also easy to forget the importance of recovery and listening to your body and get caught up in the numbers/mileage/etc.  That is exactly where I’ve gone wrong this week, being the stubborn hypocritical collegian that I am, hehe.  I’ve been forcing myself to try to hit the mileage listed on my schedule rather than listening to my body because in the back (well, front) of my mind, I’m thinking, “Well, I ran X miles last year and I won’t be faster this year if I don’t run more miles than last year!”  I haven’t even wanted to cross train because my mileage would technically be lower (even if the workload is the same and it would be better for my joints, feet, body in general if I got in the freakin’ pool!).

Wow, writing that has made me realize that, um, Kathryn…you’re an idiot.

Soooo assuming I survive this week and make good decisions and my body doesn’t completely rebel, I’m going to take next week as somewhat of a recovery week, probs.  I’m writing this to keep myself accountable.  I do not need to be doing 7-3 doubles on maintenance days and 9-2 doubles on workout days if my body doesn’t want to.  The pool might be better on any given day!

Okay, sorry for all that…I think I’m done now…

Backpacking Trip

My family loves hiking, backpacking, camping, and anything related to the outdoors.  We usually go out to California and Mount Whitney  during the summer, but unfortunately we won’t be able to do that that this summer.  Also, with everyone’s packed schedules, it’s difficult to find a period of time where more than one person is free!  So last Wednesday, when we discovered that I had two off days from work in a row at the same time that my brother had finished his junior year of high school and didn’t have any pressing commitments for a whopping 48 hours, we decided to take a quick backpacking trip!

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We made a quick grocery run to get snacks and packed up our packs.  I packed a backpacking tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, food and water, and all the necessary miscellaneous items.  My brother opted for a hammock and tarp cover.  The forecast called for rain, so we sort of prepared.

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I ran 6 miles on Thursday morning before we headed out on our adventure.  An hour into the drive, my brother went, “I forgot my hiking boots!”

Genius.

So…our two-hour drive took four hours.  But we got there eventually.  We parked the car at the base of the trail and started the hike.  Since there was no water source where we were going to camp, we had to carry all the water we would need.  Our packs were just a little heavy!

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The hike we decided to do was 10 miles total, with a campsite and beautiful mountainous overlook located close to the summit.  It was 3.5 hard, hard miles one way, and 6.5 on the other side.  We chose to do the 3.5 on the first day.  5 minutes after we started, I sank into a giant muddy swamp.  Off to a great start 😉

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The hike up brought all sorts of terrain, ranging from flowery meadows to rock scrambles to wooded greenery.

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We had to work on the steep rocky inclines, but nothing compares to attacking a particularly hard incline and victoriously reaching the top, soaked in sweat, breathing hard, but triumphant.

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We reached the campsite after about an hour and a half, and trekked out to the overlook to take in the views before setting up camp and (just me) wolfing down like three Clif bars.

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Happy to be at the top!

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The set-up:

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That night, we built a campfire and roasted sun-dried tomato chicken sausages over the fire.  I had mac and cheese, and my brother made ramen and instant mashed potatoes, which he promptly spilled all over his Birkenstocks.

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We kept the fire going as it got dark and did dorky things like listen to our old marching band showcase music and sing along to some oldies.

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Eventually, the fire burned down to embers, and we went to bed.  It was incredibly windy, and heavy rain hit the mountain around 4 am.  I don’t think I got much, if any, sleep, but it was an otherworldly experience.

In the morning, we woke to find that we were essentially in the middle of a cloud.  It was humid, hazy, and the rain had left all the plant life glowing vibrantly green.  We made breakfast, broke camp, and went back out to the overlook to appreciate the astonishing feeling of being in the middle of a cloud!

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Breakfast: instant oats, maple almond butter, and unpictured dried fruit

The views were even better than the day before.

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We started that day’s portion of the hike around 9:30 am.  The first part of the hike was a short, moderately steep incline to the top of the mountain, and then we began the descent.  It was amazing to see the changes in terrain as we descended in elevation!  Rocky dirt paths changed to vibrant wooded forests, swampy bogs, fern-covered woods with streams, flowery meadows, and more muddy forests.  It was incredible.

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It took us about two and a half hours to complete the hike.  Afterwards, we were so hungry that we stopped on the way home and inhaled an enormous pizza in less than ten minutes.

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All in all, this spontaneous backpacking trip was hard, sweaty, smelly, and loads of fun.  There’s nothing like carrying everything you need to survive on your person.  Hard hiking is cathartic.  I encourage everyone who is able to get outside and away from the city for at least a little while.  I wish I could do it more often!  That’s one of the things I think I will do frequently once I finish my collegiate running career 🙂

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.)

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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.

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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 😉

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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!

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.