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 café con leche at a café 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 🙂

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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 😉  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 😉 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 🙂
  • Crush the last week of classes!
  • Safely increase running
  • Listen to your body about cross training intensity ❤
  • Learn 1+ new thing about Cádiz (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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A Day in the Life: Study Abroad

Hi friends!  I’m currently sitting at a coffee shop working on my research investigation.  I just finished an ethnographic observation of the Mercado Central in Cádiz and submitted my midterm report, so I thought I’d take a little break and talk about some recent happenings because there might be one or two people out there that care about my non-training-summary musings 😉  Speaking of which, I’m going to finish this café americano in a few minutes and head over to the gym for my weekly long cross train session because the smell of fish from the Mercado Central is getting to me, but first…A Day in the Life: Cádiz Edition!

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Yesterday (Friday) was a surprisingly fun day.  We don’t have classes on Fridays (theoretically we’re supposed to use the day to work on our research investigations, which I actually kind of did, but usually we just jet off to random parts of Spain or go to wine tastings in ancient castles.  You know how it is.)  I woke up at 7:30 and didn’t feel like running right then because the Valley of Fatigue is real and my body is/was #destroyed.  So I stayed in bed until 9, ate the classic breakfast of pan tostada with my roommate, and then sat on the terrace upstairs in the sunshine working on my paper.

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After finishing my paper in a pleasingly short amount of time, I walked over to the university (a 4 minute walk, #blessup) to meet with my professor about my investigation.  The meeting went well, but what stands out in my mind is that it was one of those moments where speaking Spanish was just as easy and natural and grammatically correct as English!  Even though I’ve been studying Spanish for 15 years now and can write just as well in either language, speaking has always been a bit trickier.  I feel like that’s the case in any second/third/not-first language.  Anyway, I left the meeting feeling pleased and bilingual and worldly and eloquent.  It was nice 🙂

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PS, look how pretty the University of Cádiz is 🙂

I ran into my friend on the way out, and we ended up walking to a plaza about fifteen minutes away to get coffee and just talk for awhile before my run.  It was refreshing not to be rushing around from the gym to school or wherever (why do I tend to do this even in a foreign country??).  We ended up in an intellectually stimulating discussion about the importance of breaking the dominant historical narrative of colonizer/colonized.  You know.  Casual.

After awhile, I felt like I should do my run, so I met up with my teammate and completed the longest walk-to-run thus far! 6 x 5 minute run, 1 minute walk.  ‘Twas lovely.  My foot hurts a little now, but I’m not running again until Monday.  Also, running in a sports bra is kind of weird in Spain, but it was 80 degrees and we were dying, okay…

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We ran by the beach and had a nice deep talk and it was great.  Unprecedented deep talks seem to be the theme of the day…

I went home, ate lunch, took a siesta, and then headed to the beach to hang out for awhile and eventually aqua jog in the water.  We were baking in the sun for two and a half hours before aqua jogging, which I realized later in the evening was not the smartest plan.  But the aqua jog session was super fun and flew by because we talked nonstop!

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I arrived home dehydrated and sun-poisoned just in time for dinner of chicken nuggets, veggies, and a salty noodle soup.  A freezing cold shower made my sun-poisoned body feel even worse, and I had to cancel my night plans and lie in bed watching Portugal versus España (damn it, Cristiano Ronaldo) before falling asleep before I planned/waking up hella disoriented/and having a restless night feeling crappy.

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Even with that end to the day, I still felt like it had been a great day overall.  Today, I feel like crap, so I’m looking forward to a full-on rest day tomorrow.  It’s finally getting hot in Cádiz, which is pleasant but can also get to be overwhelming!

Sevilla y Granada

Time to catch you all up on some of our Spanish adventures!  No worries, my next post will be about summer cross country training. 🙂

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La Alhambra en Granada

Sevilla (5/26-5/27)

Last weekend, we went to Sevilla for two days!  It was only an hour and half ride from Cádiz, so we left on Saturday morning and returned on Sunday evening.

IMG_3495.jpgWe arrived at our hotel and almost immediately left for a two-hour walking tour of the city that ended at the Plaza de España.  The Plaza de España was beautiful, built in the shape of a “u” with a canal/moat, elegant bridges, and a fountain in the center of the square.

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After the walking tour, we had a bit of free time, so we ate lunch in the park next to the Plaza.  It was peaceful and beautiful, with gardens and fish and intermittent bouts of sunlight.

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We then walked some more and went on a tour of la Catedral de Sevilla, where we observed the incredible interior and climbed la Giralda, which was 33 flights of ramps.

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After the Catedral, we got to see a flamenco show!  (Photography prohibited).  Then we went to dinner, where we enjoyed several courses of tapas, fish, tinto, and a three-layer chocolate mousse cake that I would like to eat for the rest of my life.  That night, we went out for awhile, and I ended up walking 13 miles total that day.  RIP to the foot.

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On our second day in Sevilla, we toured the Real Alcázar de Sevilla.  I loved it.  It was so peaceful and full of greenery and history.  I could have stayed there forever.  IMG_3632.jpg

We also toured the barrio de los judíos and some other places before climbing the Metropol Parasól, a weird wooden structure with great views of the city.

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After that, we ate lunch and wandered around before driving back to Cádiz.  Sevilla was super fun, but group sleep deprivation and a stolen phone made for a really rough second day for some people.  Yikes!

Granada (6/2-6/3)

This past weekend, we went to Granada.  The drive was a little longer than the one to Sevilla; it took about four hours, and I stubbornly tried to read a book on my Kindle the entire time even though I am prone to motion-sickness.  That went well 😉  After a minor bus breakdown, we arrived in Granada early in the afternoon and spent the evening looking at the shops, the Capilla Real, the Catedral, and of course Los italianos (ice cream).

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17th-century graffiti!  It says “victoria”, presumably after someone finished their exams

I loved the ceiling in the Capilla Real, and it blew my mind how long it must have taken to construct the Catedral, starting in the 16th century!

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I was feeling pretty sick that night, so I stayed in but didn’t sleep very much regardless.  Dang.  On the second day, we spent four hours exploring La Alhambra- the Islamic palace/fortress renovated in the 13th century.  My favorite part was the Generalife, which is the section of the palace where the kings would go on vacation.  It was tranquil and perfect, filled with lush plants, beautiful flowers, and trickling fountains.

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We then toured the actual castle portion, which was huge and luxurious and unbelievable.

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We climbed some towers, and the views were unbelievable.

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No one I’d rather cram 5 people into a 3-person hotel room with

After many hours spent wandering the Alhambra, we crammed 27 people into a 15-person bus again and I spent the 10-minute ride down the mountain trying not to puke.  We ate lunch at a random restaurant, and I enjoyed another tinto de verano con limón, which has easily become my favorite alcoholic drink 🙂

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We rode the bus four hours back to Cádiz and arrived around dinner time.  I felt sick again, and my roommate has been sick all week, so we met our new housemates and I turned in early for the night.  I loved Granada, but I think it would be better to spend more time there, given the extent of the travel!

Málaga (6/7-6/10)

Next weekend, a few friends and I are going to go to Málaga to celebrate my friend’s 21st birthday.  We’re taking the train there and will spend the days hiking, sleeping, eating, and sunbathing (and probably running/biking if you’re me).  I’m super excited!

Cádiz Week 1

(I wrote this post before our Sevilla trip, so I’ll do another one ASAP about Sevilla because it was awesome!)

Buenos días!  We’re currently en route to Sevilla for the weekend.  I was working on a very subjective paper for my history/grammar class about finding your perfect match, but I’m feeling too cynical to continue that, so I’ll update you guys on our first week in Spain.

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Taken in Sevilla

We’ve officially been in Spain for eight days (Cádiz for seven), and it honestly feels like we’ve been here forever.  After a free day last Sunday, classes started on Monday.  We’re all taking an art history class, an intermediate or advanced grammar/history/composition class depending on Spanish abilities, and conducting an independent research investigation over the course of the next month.

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View from the university

We have class from 9:30 am to 2 pm every day, with an hour-long break from 11-12.  A couple friends and I have been going to different café-bars during that break for una merienda: usually café solo (espresso) y un sandwich o tapitas.  After class, we go home and eat el almuerzo at 2 pm and then my roommate and I usually take advantage of siesta time from 2-5 pm if we don’t have a preplanned afternoon activity.  Almost everything closes during that time, and we’re usually in food comas from lunch, so it’s a perfect storm for a siesta.

Training-wise, after a weekend spent doing nothing but eating and traveling, I discovered last Monday that it’s entirely possible to aqua jog in the ocean!  The beach is right across the street from the university, and it’s calm and there are very few waves, which makes it perfect for aqua jogging and swimming.  I aqua jogged for an hour on Monday and Tuesday, and the views, sunshine, and vast expanse of water were a huge step up from my university’s windowless basement pool.

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I joined a gym on Wednesday afternoon, so now I have the ability to aqua jog and stationary bike and lift weights/do core.  I feel like myself again!  Not that working out is the main focus of my time here, but it’s nice to be able to train J  We walk to everything here, so I’m not too worried about training volume because I’ve been pretty tired from the walking.  I also don’t want to overdo it with my foot, although the plan is to do my first walk-to-run session this coming Monday.  I am pumped!  My foot has been feeling pretty good this week- I quit wearing the boot on Monday because it was just making the foot feel worse, and it was a pain in the butt to lug around for 5-6 miles every day.

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So far, we’ve seen and done so many amazing things.  Cádiz is an incredibly beautiful, historic city, and the interior streets are a labyrinth of tiny stores, markets, plazas, and homes.  It’s completely unlike anywhere I’ve ever been.  Everything in the older part of Cádiz (where we’re staying) is within walking distance, so we’ve been meeting up in different plazas at night for helado or cerveza.

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On Tuesday, we got to visit Gadir, which is a super cool underground archeology site (Gadir was what the Phoenicians originally named Cadiz).  We also climbed the Torre de Tavira to see a birds’-eye view of the city, and it was incredible.  Their cámara oscura uses mirrors and sunlight to create a live panoramic view of the city—so it was like a photo but you could see the birds flying and laundry flapping and ocean waves in real time.  I was at a loss for words.

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We went to el Castillo de San Marcos on Friday, and it was incredible (and overwhelming) to be surrounded by such rich and sometimes violent history.  Parts of the interior dated back to the tenth century!  We got to tour the bodega and have a wine tasting.  We could see the bullet holes from the executions that occurred there.  I think I went through every emotion during our visit.

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As far as the food here, it’s a huge change from what I’m used to!  As I mentioned in the last post, breakfast is the smallest meal of the day and really doesn’t contain any protein.  Our host mom has started to learn our preferences, so I’ve been enjoying decaf black coffee before classes 🙂 My breakfast around 8:45 am consists of two pieces of pan tostada, topped with either almond butter and jelly or tomato with olive oil.  I usually have a piece of fruit as well.

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La merienda

The almuerzo at 2 pm is the biggest meal of the day, but I usually get hungry before then, so I usually have a snack around 11 or 12.  This “snack” is usually espresso with either be a bar, fruit and nuts, or even an entire ham and cheese sandwich, haha.  Lunch at 2 pm is usually enormous and delicious, which is a wee bit tricky because I sometimes work out at like 3:30 pm while still very full.  Some examples of lunch:

  • A huge bowl of lentejas (lentils) y pasta, followed by tuna steaks and potato salad with vegetables and olive oil
  • Salmon with lemon and roasted eggplant and zucchini, followed by a big bowl of spaghetti with homemade meat sauce
  • A plate of meat and potatoes, and a plate of sautéed vegetables and olive oil with an egg on top

Yesterday, after spending the morning touring the Castillo de San Marcos en el Puerto de Santa María, we had a huge lunch.  After instructing us to eat a lot because dinner was going to be small, our host mom served us pretty much an entire chicken each, along with potatoes and a big pan of arroz con verduras y pescado.  I took her advice too literally and ate so much that I had to lie down for like 3 hours.  I dragged my butt to the gym at 6:30 pm and still felt like exploding, and I wasn’t even hungry for dinner (personal ham and cheese pizzas).  Oops! No regrets.  Well, maybe some regrets.

Anyway, as I mentioned, la cena (dinner) is small compared to lunch, although probably pretty normal-sized as I think about it more.  We’ve had omelets and a chicken-vegetable stir fry; last night’s personal pizza; lomo adobado y patatas al horno (marinated pork loin and roasted potatoes); etc.  Every meal ends in fruit.

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The biggest adjustments have been meal timing, not as many vegetables, and trying to figure out what time of day is best to work out based on how much we’re eating at different times of day.  It’s been interesting surrendering control of my diet to someone else and having every meal be a surprise.  I kind of miss oatmeal 😉  But we’ve eaten some truly incredible things- yesterday, the crispy chicken skin marinated in what tasted like sherry was divine- and I’m learning a ton about Spanish culture, Spanish cuisine, the intricacies and colloquialisms of the language, Cádiz history, etc.  I love it.

Now if I can just get more sleep…

First Days in Spain

Good morning!  I’m currently  in Cádiz, Spain, where it’s 10:30 am (six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time).  This is our first morning in Cádiz- we arrived yesterday around 6 pm, met our host mom, explored the beach and saw an awesome sunset, and then kind of got trapped in the house.

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Not wearing the boot #badidea

The past few days have been full of travel and new experiences and lots of Spanish!  We left the US around 6 pm on Thursday 5/17 and arrived in Madrid Friday morning, so we essentially lost an entire night’s sleep.  I dozed on the airport floor and during the bus ride to the hotel, and then we all crashed for several hours throughout the afternoon in the hotel.  My friend and I walked around Madrid for awhile after that.  We then went to el Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, where I got lost from the group and couldn’t contact them #nice, and then our guide took us on a long walk where we got to be stampeded by the soccer fans celebrating the Club Atlético de Madrid.  After walking like 5 miles, it was finally time for dinner!  We had paella and croquetas and sangria at 10 pm.

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I ended up walking 7 miles in the boot on Friday.  My foot was throbbing by the end.  Ouch!

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On Saturday, we left Madrid in the morning and took the bus to Cádiz all day.  After getting settled in our host family’s house and eating a surprisingly early dinner (7:30), my roommate and I went for a walk, saw an incredible sunset on the beach (which is a 3 minute walk from the house!), and met up with some of our other study abroad people.

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This morning, I woke up around 8:20 and did some core.  While I’m having a good time, I’m torn between feeling like a slacker for not doing any training in like 3 days and feeling depressed because my foot is killing me and I was going to start the walk-to-run program this week.  ARGH!  But my host mom is taking me to join a gym tomorrow after our orientation at the university, so that will be good 🙂

After doing core, we ate our first breakfast prepared by our host mother.  Talk about culture shock!  As you know, my usual breakfast at home involves some combination of oatmeal, fruit, nut butter, eggs, protein powder, cinnamon, etc.  Breakfast is like my favorite meal of the day!

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Case in point: my last breakfast at home

In Andalucía, the typical breakfast involves bread and sugar.  This morning, our host mom gave us chocolate-filled pastries, sweet milk that tasted like drinking butter (I couldn’t do it haha), orange juice, hot cocoa, and toast with our choice of butter or jam.  I ate the pastry and toast with strawberry preserves and for the most part passed on the drinks because I rarely drink anything except water and coffee.  I’m happy to try anything and am willing to fully immerse myself in Andalusian culture, but we’ve had some funny culture-clash moments so far.  When she asked what I like to eat for breakfast and I responded “oatmeal and eggs”, she looked at me like I had seven heads and said, “We don’t do that here.  Eggs are not for breakfast.  They sometimes do that in Barcelona, but not here.”

Welp…so much for that!

The next 5 weeks are definitely going to be a learning experience!  I’m really excited to start classes, continue to explore Cádiz, take day trips to other southern Spanish cities, and immerse myself in Andalusian culture.  I’m apprehensive about training (or lack thereof) and sad that my foot pain hasn’t gone away yet (seriously- I’ve run like 100 miles in the past 4 months…)

But this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m so grateful I get to do it!  Cádiz is beautiful, and the weather is unparalleled.  And we have a cute roof/garden right outside our bedroom!

Week of 12/18-12/24 (22 miles + 290 min XT)

Merry Day-After-Christmas!  I’ll post a recap of my family’s Christmas later, but here’s last week’s training.  TL;DR: training interrupted by a niggling foot.

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I ran normally on Monday and Tuesday (although it felt pretty shitty), but then the mild discomfort in my foot increased to where I decided to cross train the rest of the week.  While my brain kept trying to convince me that a) “you’re going to lose all your fitness!” b) “you’re slacking!” and c) “you’re exaggerating the pain in your mind!”, I’ve seen firsthand what happens when you don’t listen to your body.  Hell, I’ve become pretty terrible at listening to my body.  But I’d rather take a few days off now than be out with tendonitis or a stress fracture for a long time.

Week of 12/18-12/24: 

  • Monday: AM: active w/u, 2 miles, 4 mile tempo on towpath (6:23, 6:22, 6:29, 6:22), 2 mile cool down.  Felt tired and not at all in it but toughed out the 4th mile after feeling like quitting at 2 miles.  GS1.  PM: 2 miles + circuits.  Getting stronger on burpees!
  • Tuesday: AM: 8 miles @ 7:42 avg, felt tired, lift day 1 (felt strong!).  PM: 2 miles.
  • Wednesday: 60 min (3200m) swim.  Sore from lift!  Pain on top of foot- took Aleve and iced it.
  • Thursday: AM: 70 min bike (with a fartlek during), upper body lift, felt pretty strong.  PM: 2 miles, foot still hurts.
  • Friday: Woke up at 4:40 am and spent all day traveling…very tired!  Pool was closed to off day today-  did active warm-up, some circuits, general band strength, and yoga.  Still have foot pain, especially when I point my foot.
  • Saturday: 100 min XT (70 min bike + 30 min aqua jog).  Set a bike distance PR!
  • Sunday: 60 min pool (35 swim, 25 aqua jog) + some yoga
Total: 22 miles + 290 min XT
Monday’s tempo was traaaash, and I made the mistake of programming Strava to call out splits every half mile because I thought it would motivate me. NOPE.  Instead, I found myself demoralized and hurting 2 miles in, but I’m proud of myself for toughing it out for 4 miles.  Of course, I spent far too long stressing about the splits and telling myself I was slow and how the heck am I ever going to run sub-17 if I can hardly handle 6:20s?  #chill.
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Glaring at my legs post-tempo

I ran with a friend on Tuesday, and we were both feeling a little banged up, so we took it easy.  I noticed that the top of my left foot was moving from sore to painful, so I cross trained on Wednesday.  On Thursday morning, I forced myself not to run and instead did a bike workout.  Tested the foot out with 2 miles in the afternoon, and while it didn’t hurt, there was some discomfort.
On Friday, my family woke up at 4:30 am to travel to California.  We hit mad traffic on the way there and even worse traffic in the airport (naturally- it was December 22!), and we hardly made our 7:50 am flight.  But we made it! Wooo.  Meals were really weird, and we were all cranky and tired.  After a marathon travel day, I was looking forward to decompressing with a swim, but the pool was closed for repairs so I took the day off and did a bunch of general strength instead.
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Saturday brought a lovely 100 minute cross train that I split between the bike and the pool.
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Set a distance PR on the bike #nice

Sunday was just maintenance.  After icing the foot and sporadically taking Aleve and ibuprofen, it felt passable enough to run on Christmas!  And I’m going to go for another run later.  🙂
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At least I’ve been able to swim in a cool half-in-half-out pool!

It’s a little strange making up my own training as I go along, and I’m trying not to feel guilty about not doing the workouts that are on schedule.  But the schedule was sent out weeks ago, and I’ve been cross training my butt off, so I know my fitness isn’t really suffering.  I’m just itching to get back up to regular mileage and actually have some good running workouts!  I recognize that I jumped the gun a little over the previous 2-3 weeks with maintenance and long run intensity, so lesson learned, and I’m going to practice approaching training with a more balanced, relaxed mindset.   Except I suck at relaxing, and sleeping, and all that jazz.  Guess I gotta do more yoga 😉
Christmas recap coming next!  We’ll be in California for another couple days before heading home.

6k PR: 21:20

Greetings from the bus, which we’ll be on for another 5-6 hours- team bonding at its best! We’re driving through farm country right now, so at least the views are beautiful 🙂

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This morning, my team raced at the Penn State National Invitational at Penn State (go figure).  It was our first 6k this year and probably the most competitive meet of our season.   Last year, I got a little overwhelmed but still PRed.  This year, I was in a funk for the majority of the trip but knew that my training would carry me to a good time.

TL;DR: 21:20 (56-second PR!) and PRed in the 3-mile and 5k en route!

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Personality pic with my biggest supporter ❤

We left campus on Wednesday and stopped on the way to State College for dinner at our head coach’s family’s house.  I did some work and listened to music, but to be honest, the bus ride was not fun.  I think I was a thundercloud by the time we arrived in State College at 9:30 pm.  After getting there, we did a quick nighttime shakeout run while still extremely full of pasta and brownies…nope, just me?  Okay, well, I’ve personally never come so close to puking on a run in my life 😅

On Thursday, we ate breakfast in the hotel and headed to the course for our pre-meet.  It was windy and cold, but the course was just as beautiful as last year…a golf course with rolling hills, fast, flat grass, and a super-duper fun uphill second half.  The leaves on the trees were fiery shades of red and gold.

After the pre-meet (5 miles, drills, strides, and rope stretch), we went to Wegmans for lunch and had our team meeting back at the hotel.  Honestly, this season has been rough for our team.  3 of last year’s top 7 runners are down for the count, which is not ideal.  Some other people have been working really hard but haven’t been able to put together performances comparable to last year (yet).  But we have a lot of depth and positive energy, so we’re chugging along!  Our goal was to get out well, pack up, and use our hill strength to pass women in the second half.  My personal goal was definitely sub-22, but I wasn’t sure how far sub-22.

We spent the rest of the afternoon napping and relaxing before going to dinner at Olive Garden.  Our party of 30 kind of scared the wait staff a little bit…but they were super accommodating and kept giving us breadsticks.

This morning, we went for a 10-minute shakeout at 7 am and then ate breakfast at the hotel.  Of course, I had oatmeal with almond butter, a banana, chia seeds, cinnamon, and a plain Siggi’s, as well as a bit of coffee.  While I was still feeling a bit thundercloud-y, I was trying hard to convert the negative energy into positive energy for the race.  We arrived at the course, warmed up, did drills, freaked out about the long port-a-potty lines, and went to the line to do strides.  After a team huddle and some frog jumps, it was go time.


The gun went off, and we all shot down the green.  The Penn State start is fast.  With 200 women in the field, it was tricky to get out well, especially as the course narrowed at the half mile mark.  I came through the mile in 5:24 in about 50th place, with one teammate ahead of me and no idea where the rest of the team was.

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The second and third mile were kind of uneventful…they dragged on but also flew by, if that makes any sense.  I recognized some of the women around me and just tried to stay mentally tough and alert.  I caught up to my teammate right before two miles, which we came through in 11:06.  After that, I thought, “Damn, that’s close to my 2-mile PR.  I can run really fast today.

We hit the hills at 2.5 miles, and I got a little boost from my mom screaming on the sidelines.  As I passed 3 miles, a coach yelled, “16:55”, and my jaw actually dropped.  That sounded really fast to me!  I was excited and nervous and felt strong but also like I was about to hit the wall.  I think I came through the 5k in about 17:35, which is a PR!

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I felt surprisingly strong during the last long hill, but once we got to the top with 500 to go, the wall was hit.   HardMy last 400 meters were not pretty, but I tried as hard as I could and crossed the finish line in 21:20, first for my team, 40th overall, and 56 seconds faster than my PR from last year on the same course.

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While some people on the team ran strong individually, most of my teammates were either mildly dissatisfied or strongly displeased with their personal performances.  Additionally, our lack of front-runners really hurt us, and we ended up finishing far back in the team standings.  Which just lights the fire under us for the rest of the season!

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We cooled down during the men’s race, and our men ran pretty well!  Afterwards, we rope stretched, spent time with family, enjoyed muffins and other treats made by the wonderful parents, showered, and went to Wegmans to fuel up for the bus ride. I had some dank pumpkin cheesecake because #perdiem.  And now we are trapped on the bus for a long time!  #sendwater #sendfood #sendhelp

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My roommate’s first 6k!

Overall, I’m pleased with my performance today.  Usually, I can think of a point in the race where I could have been stronger, or where I gave up mentally or got complacent or scared.  I can’t think of a point in today’s race that I’m particularly disappointed with.  Of course, I would have loved to finish stronger, both for myself and for my team, but I never really doubted myself today.  Or if I did, I was quick to yell at myself, “What are you thinking?? Don’t give up now!”

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I think the biggest takeaway for improvement from this trip was my mental state leading up to the race.  I let external factors influence my mood, self-perception, and perception and treatment of others.  Not horribly so, but enough to be disappointed in myself.  Luckily, I was able to compartmentalize because I truly love racing and competing, for myself and for my team.  However, running fast is not the only qualification for being a happy person!  It’s not even a relevant qualification!  So that’s what I’m going to work on for next time 🙂

Our next race is the conference championships in two weeks.  Time to rest up, stay on top of schoolwork (that’s kind of taken a backseat…oops), have fun, practice positive self-talk and positive interpersonal talk, and get ready to kick some Colonial booty!

(Also, I just wrote 1,200 words in like 40 minutes…why can’t I get this motivated for schoolwork??)

 

 

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!

An Adventure

This weekend, I had Friday and Saturday off from work, so I made plans with some of my teammates to meet up in our college town.  Yesterday, I ran a workout, took an ice bath, and headed down after breakfast. After thunderstorms and bad traffic, I finally arrived…and one by one, all of my friends cancelled.

AWESOME.  I almost turned around and drove 3 hours home.

However, it’s important to be comfortable spending quality time with yourself!  Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you expected for a  reason.  The trip turned out differently than I expected, but it was honestly still a good time!  The worst part was the traffic.

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Since I hadn’t been back in our college town since the end of spring semester, I spent a couple hours just enjoying being there.  It was pretty stormy and gray, which was perfect weather to do a bit of outlet shopping and then take myself on a date to my favorite coffee shop/restaurant.

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I enjoyed some Caribbean blackened salmon, grains and veggies, and a massive slice of “Chocolate Overload” cake while reading A Walk Across America, Part 2.

After awhile, I made plans to crash at a friends’ apartment.  I met her subletter, who was extremely nice, and we actually ended up talking for a long time that evening!

This morning, I made plans to long run with a new teammate and another acquaintance who were both in the area.  We met early at a local park and bike path, and I ran with them for 100 minutes (~13 miles) for a new personal distance record!  I hadn’t spent too much time with either of them, but the run flew by as we all shared stories.  At one point, one of them mentioned that we had already been running for almost an hour, and I was shocked!

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After 13 miles, I headed back to the locker room to stretch, roll out, and ice bath.  Talked to a couple track teammates that happened to be there at the same time.  Then, I headed into the historic area to wander around (read: get coffee and free fudge samples) at all the cute shops.

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I had never been in this Spice and Tea place before!  Their peach turmeric tea was amazing.

After running some errands, I went to tour the apartment complex that my roommate and I will be moving into this year!  We’re excited to start planning the set-up.

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The most important part 😉

Finally, I hit the road and drove home.  Traffic wasn’t great, and it took a pretty long time.  Stopped for a fruit-and-yogurt pit stop.  I’m done driving long distances for awhile 😉

Anyway, this solo trip was definitely out of routine for me.  I am not the world’s most extroverted person, and I generally don’t spend hours talking to new people.  But for the past 26 hours, I did!  I met some awesome people, made plans that I wouldn’t normally make, was generally productive, and was also comfortable spending time with myself.  I’m quite happy about this.  To top it all off, this morning’s long run was incredible!  I felt like I could have gone farther and faster. 🙂

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 🙂