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 🙂

IMG_4341.jpg

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.

IMG_4266

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.

IMG_4263.jpg

Nice

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

IMG_4281.jpg

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.

the-favorite-sister-9781501153198_lg.jpg

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 ❤

IMG_4335.jpg

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.

unknown.jpg

 

Advertisements

Spring 2018: The semester of injury

Long time no blog!  This morning, both my mom and one of my friends asked, “Do you still blog?”  My gut answer was, “Of course!” before I remembered that I actually haven’t blogged in four months…Sorry about that!

IMG_7413.jpeg

I just wrapped up what was definitely the most challenging semester of my life, both academically and athletically.  I drove home from school this past Monday, and I have about a week and half to chill out (and work) before I leave to study abroad in Spain until the end of June!  Luckily, I didn’t have any final exams, but I wrote 59 pages of final papers and had several group projects.  Phew!  Time for a life update (as a means of procrastinating on the final paper due for the semester).  Settle in; this is going to be a long one.

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

From my 21st bday party- had to wear sneakers due to injury haha

To start things off on a rather sour note, I have essentially been injured this entire semester.  Writing it out seems unbelievable.  As you know, I was fighting some mild injuries throughout December and January but had worked back up to normal-ish mileage (albeit on the treadmill) by the time I headed back to school for the spring semester.

Once I got back to school, I immediately started going to the training room every day because the foot and ankle pain was persisting.  I got an x-ray in mid-January, which didn’t show anything, so then I got an MRI, which showed posterior tibial tendonitis.  I cross trained hard until February 14th (my 21st birthday!), at which point I convinced the trainers and my coach to let me start running on the Alter-G, even though I was still having foot pain.IMG_1487.jpg

My 21st birthday was super fun even though I had to write a paper.  Since so many of my friends had birthdays in February, we had a 5-way birthday party!

73E45A9A-E7C1-47B2-956D-7CBFFA39A2E2.jpg

I started bringing the stationary bike outside because after a month of being shut up in the Alter-G room, I was in desperate need of some vitamin D (and social interaction, haha).  Most days, I would bike and/or swim 60-90 minutes, with two or three days being workout efforts with intervals, and the rest being steady maintenance cross trains.  I was getting stronger in the pool, on the bike, and in the weight room!  I started consistently doing chin-ups with chains and squatting heavier weights.

IMG_1499.jpg

I slowly transitioned back to running, running on land for the first time on February 22.  My mileage progression went something like this:

  • Week of 2/19-2/25: 4 miles + 10 Alter-G miles
  • Week of 2/26-3/4: 15 land miles + 3 Alter-G miles
  • Week of spring break: no idea
  • Week of 3/12-3/18: 22 miles
  • Week of 3/19-3/25: 32 miles

While the post tib was getting better, the bunion issues and related foot pain from last year came back full force the second I started running again.  So this whole time, running was a question mark every single day.  Mentally, this is a terrible way to train.  Each morning, I woke up with no idea how my foot would feel, how much I would be able to run, etc.  It was extremely frustrating and demoralizing, but it made the good days that much more gratifying.

At the end of February, my mom came down to run the hilly, hard half marathon hosted by my team, and she placed in her age group!

1DC9FBA8-9948-4211-B9DD-5100BC97F349.jpg

Just after starting to run on land again, I drove down to Tybee Island, Georgia, with a random group of teammates for spring break.  That week was very freeing- I didn’t worry about training or mileage, did what I could, sunbathed on the beach in 58 degree weather (#nice) during the day, explored Savannah, and enjoyed being 21 at night 😉

IMG_1820.jpg

IMG_1825.jpg

IMG_1982.jpg

Finally, towards the end of March, I managed to put together “real” mileage of 32.  Too bad I got overzealous and did 4 comparatively hard efforts in that one week.  On March 25, I ran 9 miles cutting down to 6:30 pace, and subsequently strained my right hamstring.  The trainers aggravated it by scraping, which put me out of commission for another two weeks and ruined my plan to return to racing at the Colonial Relays (beginning of April).

  • Week of 3/26-4/1: 13 miles
  • Week of 4/2-4/8: 25 miles

After my hamstring pain cleared up, I emailed my coach asking if I could run the 5000 on the track at the Duke Invitational (4/21).  I hadn’t done any workouts, but I didn’t care.  I just wanted to race!  Shockingly, he responded that I could run the 5k at George Mason a week earlier (4/14).  Off of zero workouts and barely 20 miles per week.  I was 10% apprehensive and 90% jumping for joy!

IMG_2355.jpg

Beach with teammates the night before the race

Unfortunately, my body couldn’t hold it together.  The post tib pain came back literally the day before the race, and I also had pain on top of my foot that I just ignored because it had been 3 months of injury and I didn’t want another thing to be wrong (pro tip: don’t ignore pain).  I literally did my pre-meet on the bike, and my coach said I could travel and just take things one step at a time.  If I could do the shakeout with no pain, I could move on to the warm-up.  If I could do the warm-up with no pain, I could race.

I made it through the shakeout and warm-up and laced up in spikes for the first time since November.  I was not pain-free, but I pretended that I was.  The gun went off, and it was amazing to be back on the track again.  This was the first time I’d worn the uniform on the track since May 2016 (my freshman year).  Each lap, my teammates would scream-cheer, and I would burst into a smile.  Until about lap 8 and then I realized that it’s kind of difficult to run the 5k off of no workouts, haha.

IMG_2362.jpg

I ended up running an 18:38, not that it matters!  (For reference, I split a 17:35 5k during a cross country 6k in the fall, and my goal before I got injured was to run 16:XX on the track this season.)  It was incredibly fun, but I couldn’t walk the next day because I was so sore!

And then I seriously couldn’t walk by Monday.  By Tuesday (April 17), the nagging foot pain on top of my foot (metatarsal area) was sharp and throbbing.  I had clearance that day, so I saw our team orthopedist as well as the head athletic trainer, and both of them agreed that I should shut down my season right then and there because it wasn’t worth trying to get back into shape through another injury to maybe score points in the 5000 at the CAA championships on May 4-5.

So after over three months of trying to come back for CAAs, I did not run CAAs.  I got an MRI that showed I have a stress reaction in my second metatarsal on my left foot (aka the problem foot, apparently!). I took six days completely off, went home for the weekend to have a mental break before the end of the semester, started lightly cross training two weeks ago, and have essentially been doing whatever training I’ve felt like doing since then.  Some days, that’s a 40 minute swim.  Some days it’s a 70 minute bike workout.  Other days it’s yoga, or core, or nothing.  I’m going to be in the walking boot until I go to Spain and potentially longer, and I will start a return-to-running walk-jog program in a couple weeks, as long as there’s absolutely no pain for awhile before that.  As of now, I still have pain, and I really don’t want to come back to running before my foot is ready.  It’s going to be a longggg road back to fitness anyway.  So right now, I am doing what I can to maintain my aerobic fitness in the pool and on the bike, while not doing so much as to disrupt my love for training in general.

For someone who fully admits that the majority of her life revolves around running, this semester was incredibly confusing.  I had to rediscover who I was outside of running, which I honestly don’t think I succeeded at (yet).  I was a bitchy pill some days, but a great teammate/friend/sister/daughter other days.  The past four months have definitely been trying, but I have learned so much about myself, others, training, sanity, and balance!

C64DD58C-357A-419D-94C1-40064079C0BF.jpg

Featuring my snazzy Aircast

I don’t want to make it sound like my whole semester was miserable, because it truly wasn’t.  It sucked to be injured (and still sucks! I’m still injured!) but I had so many great life experiences outside of running.  I strengthened some friendships, took classes that were extremely difficult but helped me realize how much I actually do like my Hispanic Studies major, applied (and was accepted) to study abroad!, had fun, and made both irresponsible and responsible decisions.

IMG_2531.jpg

Irresponsibly wearing heels instead of the Boot 😉 

I expanded my food Instagram, made crazy memories, and feel more adult than I ever have.  I did gain weight (funny how that happens when you stop running 50-60 miles per week) and am trying to remember that my body is smarter than my brain and will eventually settle into the best possible state for itself.  I am really excited to study abroad in Spain this summer, as I think it’s going to be one of the best (and hardest) experiences of my life!

IMG_2487.jpg

More later– my post-swim brain is dead 🙂

NCAA Regional 6k (22:50)

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

26589002639_a432b067e4_o.jpg

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

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

IMG_9463.jpg

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

Did it work?

I thought it did.

Apparently not.

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

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

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

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


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

IMG_9470.jpg

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

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

24493673538_5e073a7ae0_o.jpg

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

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

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

24493676898_224a6b120c_o.jpg

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

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

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

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

IMG_9476.jpg

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

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

 

 

 

CAA 6k (22:23) and some blithering

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

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

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

22814111_10214570107953215_4752307820277294469_n.jpg

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

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

IMG_9304.jpg

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

IMG_9318.jpg

Super-duper photogenic lunch during the van ride

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

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

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

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

22853104_10214570109033242_343850765307942582_n.jpg

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

22814381_10214570155234397_4892229856905157255_n.jpg

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

IMG_9325

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_5875.jpg

Sums it up

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

Training 10/16-10/22 (55 miles + 20 min bike)

It’s Homecoming Weekend! I’m currently drinking coffee and stalking the Marine Corps Marathon splits instead of doing work because my mom is running for the second year in a row.  I’m going to do some grocery shopping and do chores and potentially do work if the inspiration strikes.  Haven’t done homework in like two weeks, so I should eventually get on that, but for now…#yolo.

IMG_9233.jpg

Anyway, the past week of training has been relatively uninteresting.  Classes restarted on Wednesday after fall break, and since I don’t have Friday classes, I had another two-day school week.  Nice!

I ran 55 miles and got my butt on the bike for a bit on Wednesday because of some foot pain.  Didn’t feel particularly incredible, but also didn’t feel like I was dying (for the most part haha).

Week of 10/16-10/22:

  • Monday: AM: “fun” practice!  7 miles with some of the underclassman guys and jumped in the river afterwards (even though it was like 50 degrees outside).  Lower body lift in weight room.  PM: team meeting, drills, speed ladder, hurdles, 3+ miles, 4 x 150 strides, planks/push-ups, rope stretch, foam roll.
  • Tuesday: workout @ sports complex: 18 min w/u, drills, strides, 2 x [4:00h, 2:00e], 3 x [3:00h, 1:00e], 4 x [2:00h, 1:00e], 4 x [1:00h, :30e], 15 min c/d.  Definitely felt the lower body lift from yesterday!  NormaTec.  Evening: pain on top of foot.
  • Wednesday:  4 miles + 20 min bike.  Gorgeous weather! 10 min core.  PM: massage…she murdered my quads and calves.
  • Thursday: AM: form drills, speed ladder, hurdle drills, 7 miles, 3 x “x” strides with the conference commissioner!  Upper body lift in weight room- felt hard.  PM: 3 miles + NormaTec.
  • Friday: 18 min w/u, drills, strides, 4 x mile on a hilly gravel road with 3 min recovery (5:51, 6:04, 5:42, 5:56).  15 min c/d.  Mile 1 and 3 were downhill, 2 and 4 were uphill…ouch!  Didn’t feel great today (heavy + not in rhythm) but got through!  Ice bath.
  • Saturday: 12 miles on soft surface.  Did not feel fresh.  NormaTec.
  • Sunday: off. Light core/stretching.

Total: 55 miles + 20 min bike

We got a ton of soft surface this week, which was great, except my calves are #wrecked.  But it’ll pay off!  And the massage therapist on Wednesday really helped to get all the knots out.

Her, destroying my calves: “Is this pressure okay?”
Me, sweating and breathing hard: “Oh yeah totally fine I’m fine this is fine!”

But I digress.

On Tuesday, we went to my coach’s house to carve pumpkins, which was lots of fun, although my pumpkin promptly rotted by Friday.

IMG_9177.jpg

Classes started again on Wednesday, and I discovered that I had done fairly well on my finance midterm but bombed the heck out of our computer skills assessment.  You win some, you lose some 😉  Applied to some internships, baked some treats for our bake sale, and still didn’t really do homework.

IMG_9209.jpg

Pumpkin steel-cut oats with delicious toppings 🙂

On Friday, I did some work in the morning before meeting with my coach.  We talked about the upcoming conference championships, and it was exciting and a little bit nerve-wracking because we’ve got some big goals that were previously unthinkable.  Hoo boy…

That afternoon, we drove out to a hilly soft surface road to do some mile repeats.  We went out and back twice, so the first and third miles were downhill while the second and fourth were uphill.  Ouch.  Our splits of 5:51, 6:04, 5:42, 5:56 definitely reflected that.  I didn’t feel well during the workout, but I worked through it with two of my teammates. 🙂  We didn’t get back from the workout until like 6:30 and made the mistake of going out to dinner on Homecoming weekend.  After waiting in line for over an hour at Blaze, we almost cried tears of joy when we finally devoured our pizzas.

IMG_9229.jpg

Saturday was another busy day- we long ran in the morning (again, not incredible, but made it through) and then I volunteered at our bake sale for a couple hours before going to the Homecoming football game for the rest of the afternoon.  We got slaughtered…as expected 😉

FullSizeRender.jpg

After almost falling asleep in the dining hall in front of our recruits, I realized I should probably nap in order to become a functional human again, so I went home and snoozed before heading to our annual Oyster Roast.

IMG_9244.jpg

Got that sweater at Goodwill for $4 and am really happy about it

After a couple hours of eating fresh oysters and chili out of a giant cauldron and dancing hysterically to the Virginia Reel, we listened to Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” album (the best…new Taylor Swift is weird…) on the drive home.  ‘Twas a loooong day.

We’re heading into the conference championships this week, and I’m excited and a bit nervous but trying to keep a very level head.  As I’ve mentioned before, our team has not had the best luck this year, but I know we can put on a good showing at conferences.

Time to actually go be productive, maybe…

Training 10/9-10/15 (54 miles)

Happy Sunday!  Today was a semi-productive day…I avoided schoolwork by updating my resume, running errands, and cleaning my apartment (our toilet has never sparkled so brightly).  I even applied for an internship because I decided it was probably a good idea to stop being in denial that the real world exists!!

IMG_9156

This evening, some of the team parents hosted a cookout, and I ate so much that I feel like I’m going to explode…so I’m currently lying on the couch in a pulled-pork-and-chili-induced food coma while writing this post 😉

IMG_9158 (1).jpg

Plate 1 of…many…

 

Week of 10/9-10/15:

  • Monday: AM: 6 miles pre-dawn, very humid/hot, didn’t feel as fresh as expected.  NAP.  PM: form drills, speed ladder, hurdle drills, 4 miles trails, 6 x strides, planks/push-ups, yoga
  • Tuesday: AM: 18 min w/u, drills, strides, 2×500 (1:40, 1:40), 2k (7:16), 1k (3:30), 500 (1:38), stopped w/o early and cooled down for 3 miles.  Legs felt trashed.  Very humid! Lift in weight room + ice bath.  PM: NormaTecs.
  • Wednesday:  AM: 4 miles + core, very humid.  Bus ride to PSU.  PM: 10 min shakeout.
  • Thursday: pre-meet at PSU: 5 miles, drills, strides, rope stretch.  In a funk.
  • Friday: AM: 10 min shakeout, rope stretch.  20 min w/u, drills, strides, 6k @ PSU (21:20), 20 min c/d, rope stretch.  PM: NormaTec on the bus.
  • Saturday: 12 miles, felt tired but pretty good.
  • Sunday: 4 miles, light core/stretching

Total: 54 miles

Hmmm…a weird week, culminating in a great race!  I knew that last week’s training would hit me hard at the beginning of this week, so I was okay with the fact that Tuesday was rough.  As I mentioned in my race recap, my mental game was not on point throughout the trip.  I’ve felt sad, annoyed, discontent, and lonely over the past few weeks, and it was exacerbated on the trip.  However, the race went great (individually)!

IMG_2996.JPG

Sleep was pretty good this week.  As far as nutrition goes, I’m not sure what’s going on with my body, but my appetite has never been as large as it’s been the past few weeks!  I literally can’t get through the night without a snack, even if I eat at 9 pm right before going to bed.  I’ve incorporated extra snacks in the morning and the afternoon, but for real…body WYD??  It was freaking me out a little because logically, normal people do not eat nine meals a day.  But the race (and 56-second PR…) reassured me that collegiate athletes are not normal 😉

IMG_9053.jpg

Took the freshmen to Blaze Pizza and we all finished our very loaded pizzas 

Also, as Quentin Cassidy states in Once a Runner, “if the furnace is hot enough, anything will burn.”  #true.  I might just be saying that to justify the large amount of treats consumed throughout the past week 😉  But I’m feeling good.

IMG_9151.jpg

Peanut butter chocolate chip chickpea cookie dough bites!

IMG_9131.jpg

This freshly baked pumpkin cinnamon roll was life

Anyway, I’m losing focus, soooo gonna sign off for now.  We’re going to the river tomorrow morning for a fun practice!  It’s crazy to think there are just a few weeks left of the season (because honestly at this point, our chances of qualifying for NCAAs are…dismal).

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 🙂

IMG_2996.JPG.jpg

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!

IMG_9082.jpg

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.

IMG_9103.jpg

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!

IMG_9116.jpg

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.

IMG_2996.JPG.jpg

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!

IMG_9107.jpg

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

IMG_9102.jpg

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!”

IMG_9105.jpg

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??)

 

 

Training Week of 10/2-8 (58 miles)

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone’s week is off to a great start.  I got up early this morning, per usual, and ran 6 miles before dawn.  My friend joined me for 4 of them.  The weather was unseasonably warm, humid, and somewhat oppressive today…lovely.

Somehow, I got to my 8 am business analytics much earlier than I normally do.  Miracles do happen!  Of course, I was ready for lunch by 9:30 am and spent the day being a bottomless pit.  After afternoon practice, I made a really good vegetarian dinner with a bucketload of homemade Thai peanut sauce 😀

IMG_9044.jpg

Anyway, last week’s training was meaty but went well!  I took an off day yesterday and am excited to travel up north with the team for our first 6k of the season later this week.

Week of 10/2-10/8:

  • Monday: AM: 6 miles, felt pretty fresh!  PM: form drills, speed ladder, hurdle drills, 4 miles, 3 x “X” strides, planks/push-ups, rope stretch, foam roll.  Total: 10 miles.
  • Tuesday: AM: 18 min w/u, drills, strides, 2 x 1000 retro w/ 90s rec (3:37, 3:36), 2 x 1000 w/ 2 min rec (3:29, 3:26), 2 x 800 retro w/ 3 min rec (2:39, 2:37), 2 x 1000 w/ 90s rec (3:36, 3:37), 13 min c/d.  Lower body lift + ice bath.  Went hard on the front squats!  PM: 2 miles + NormaTecs.  Total: 11 miles.
  • Wednesday: early AM: 6 miles.  Very sore from lift; some bunion/foot pain but probably because shoes are old.  PM: core + foam roll.
  • Thursday: 18 min w/u, drills, strides, 3ish mile tempo with first 90s hard (17:30), run back to track, 4×400 w/ 90s rec (75, 75, 74, 71), 20 min c/d.  Upper body lift in weight room.  Ice bath.  Total: 10 miles.
  • Friday: AM: 6 miles.  PM: form drills, speed/hurdle drills, 4 miles easy, 6 strides, planks/push-ups.  Total: 10 miles of running…many miles of walking. #Ouch.  Started wearing new shoes and what do you know- like 75% of my bunion pain disappeared!
  • Saturday: Long run workout.  2 mile w/u, 5 x 6:00h, 3:00e, 4 x :30h, :30e, 20 min c/d.  Total = 11 miles.  Started off feeling “eh” but felt progressively stronger throughout the workout!
  • Sunday: Off. Some core/yoga.
Total: 58 miles.
This week was another off week from racing, so our coach piled on the quality.  With three workouts this week, the majority of the team was feeling pretty beat up by Saturday.  Surprisingly, all three workouts went pretty well for me!  I was very pleased with Tuesday’s splits, especially the 800s (which hurt a lot).  The cruise 1000s were nothing crazy, and it was weird but nice to go back to cruise pace at the end of the workout, after killing our legs with some speedy 8s.  Thursday’s tempo and 400s were all quite fast!  Some of us went to Kilwins on Thursday  night to treat ourselves 🙂
IMG_8963.jpg
I was pretty tired on Friday but took the afternoon run easy, which was nice.  We went to Busch Gardens after practice, and we ended up walking and running over six miles, after a full day of training and right before our long run workout the next morning.  NOT the brightest decision 😉 But it was a blast!  We rode the rollercoasters, ate churros, and experienced the creepy Howl’O’Scream corn mazes and haunted houses.
We also attempted to dab for one of the rollercoaster photos…I hate us 😉
IMG_8981.jpg
 The first half or so of Saturday’s long run workout felt terrible, but I felt progressively stronger (both mentally and physically) as it continued!  We returned to campus and got ready for team pictures!  After that, I spent the afternoon catching up with one of my good friends and going on a ferry/pumpkin patch adventure.
 My friend and I attempted to work on our database assignment for business analytics on Saturday night, but we were both exhausted and confused, so it did not go well.  On Sunday, I reset, worked on the assignment, grocery shopped and meal prepped, watched a movie for my Spanish class, and did some more work after dinner.  And now it’s a new week!
To be honest, our team hasn’t had the smoothest season so far.  Our lineup looks completely different than it was expected to look, but that is okay!  The different group dynamics have been really positive, and it’s exciting to see people progress and step up when others are having a hard time.  I’m excited to see how everyone does this weekend at Penn State.  Going to bed now to prepare for our workout tomorrow morning!

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

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

36600533934_ec98b07c3c_o.jpg

Throwback to last week’s race

Week of 9/18-9/24:

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

Total: 57 miles.

36600534534_5dc8767870_o.jpg

Week of 9/25-10/1:

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

Total: 53 miles + 60 min swim

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

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

IMG_8862.jpg

AMAZING (and EXPENSIVE)

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

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

IMG_8880.jpg

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

IMG_8897.jpg

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

IMG_8911.jpg

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

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

My goals for the coming week:

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

Talk to you all later!

Hot, Hilly 5k Race (18:18)

Time for another race report!  If you don’t want to read the whole post, I ran 18:18 on a hot, hilly 5k course, was the third runner for the team, and felt pretty good but there were spots I could have been tougher.

IMG_8744.jpg

Anyway.  Two consecutive weekends of hot, hard races make for some tired runners, but our next race is not for three weeks, so we get a bit of a break.  And a nice hard training block 😉

This weekend, we traveled to UVA for the Panorama Farms Invitational.  Panorama Farms is beautiful, with rolling hills, mountains in the distance, hot air balloons in the sky, and a live bluegrass band…but the course is notoriously hellish and hot.  I ran there twice last year- the first time was the worst race experience I have ever had, and the second was regionals.  Not the greatest #mems.

IMG_8752.jpg

We left campus yesterday afternoon.  Our van had to stop for a desperate emergency bathroom break 4 miles from the course…we almost made it!  We ran the course (and added on to get to 5 miles), did drills and strides, rope stretched, and had our team meeting.  After that, we went to our hotel, had dinner, went to the grocery store, and prepared for the morning by setting up our flash tats, ribbons, spikes and uniforms, etc.

IMG_8727.jpg

This morning, we woke up at 6 am and went for a quick pre-dawn shakeout run before rope stretching and eating breakfast.  My pre-race breakfast: oatmeal, banana, almond butter, chia seeds, plain Greek yogurt, and coffee.

IMG_8729.jpg

We headed to the course a little later.  Had a Picky bar and Gatorade.  The men’s race was pushed back before ours to avoid the heat (how is that fair!?), so we watched them start before rope stretching and warming up.

(Our team does a lot of rope stretching.)

After an 18-minute warm-up, drills, and strides, we were soaked in sweat.  It wasn’t actually that hot, but the sun was blazing.  But that was to be expected!  Luckily, throughout the past week, our coach and ourselves put a lot of emphasis on hydration in preparation for this race, so we were all full of water and Gatorade and electrolytes.  Which resulted in 47 bathroom breaks, but at least no one passed out!!

Our goal today was to pack up well.  We were running without our #1, but we had two great workout groups.  The gun went off and we got out well, rocking the new uniforms.  I found myself leading the team for the first 2k in about 20th place, running with women that I had never been near before.  That was pretty cool!

IMG_8755.jpg

We started hitting the hills at 2.5k, and two of my teammates passed me on the massive hill at 2 miles.  I lost a few places but kept reminding myself how much better this race was going than last year, which was actually very helpful.  I definitely could have fought better from 3k to 4.5k.  On the last steep hill before the finishing stretch, someone screamed, “YOU EAT HILLS FOR BREAKFAST!” at me.  I looked up and saw our teammate that graduated last year, with whom I spent all summer running.  Seeing her was the best.  I laughed.  (For a millisecond.)

The last 400 meters is one continuous uphill straightaway, and I kicked and caught the girl in front of me.  I soon discovered I had kicked a little too aggressively when I tied up 50 meters from the line and the girl passed me back.  Oh, well.  Crossed the line 18:18 for 25th place overall and third on my team.

IMG_3371.jpg

Thanks Mom

After the race, we cooled down for 40 minutes to get to long run mileage (a little under 12 for the day) and then ate pumpkin muffins with upset stomachs.  We’ve done more intelligent things.  I got to briefly see my mom and brother, who had driven the hour and a half down to watch me race, and they brought me fresh vegetables from our CSA along with freshly baked cookies!  It was great to see them for the first time in a month.  My mom also ran a race last weekend- a 20-miler to prep for her upcoming marathon!  She crushed it, finishing second in her age group on a pace that converts to a marathon some 25 minutes faster than she ran last year!

IMG_8766

Takeaways from the race: 1) I am finally starting to believe that I can run “up there” with women that I couldn’t before.  2) Adequate hydration and preparation help to avoid bad heat exhaustion situations 😉 3) I need to work on not getting complacent or mentally giving up on the hardest parts of the course. 4) Our team has depth, yo!  We had the smallest time spread from 1-5 and 1-7 out of all the teams at the invitational.  We had eight runners across the line before any other team had seven.  Even without our #1, and with a girl from our top 5 DNFing due to an asthma attack, we still got fourth overall.  Not. bad.

IMG_8734.jpg

Two of our freshmen had amazing in-uniform debuts

I’m either going to get in the pool tomorrow or do a short recovery run.  Looking forward to a solid training block before Penn State, focusing on school (oh yeah, forgot about the fact that it’s #midtermszn), and “not getting too high or too low,” as my coach says.