Summer Training Week 3

It’s Monday!  After a hot run and some core this morning, I’m spending most of today relaxing and doing chores before swimming later.  Monday is always my day off from work 🙂
Last week brought 36 miles, 140 minutes of cross training, busy work shifts, fun times with good friends, a delightful Train/OAR/Natasha Bedingfield concert, and a wine tasting for my mom’s “bachelorette” party (I love being 20!!, she said sarcastically).  And NCAAs, of course!  It was awe-inspiring and motivational to watch.  I may be crazy and have delusions of grandeur, but this middle-of-the-pack D1 runner now wants to qualify for NCAAs!!  Or at least track regionals…
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Concert with friends

Week 3: (6/5-6/11)
Monday: AM: 6 miles on bike path + core circuit.  PM: 30 min swim.
Tuesday: 7 miles @ 7:40ish pace on sidewalks/asphalt.  Felt stiff and out of rhythm.  Glute activation, drills, strides.  Lift day 1.  PM: crazy work shift!
Wednesday: 60 min bike…felt sick midday but it passed so I biked in the evening and felt really good, actually.
Thursday: AM: 6 miles bike path + core.  Foot pain.  Drills + strides.  PM: 3 miles.
Friday:  5 miles on asphalt/sidewalks into 20 min bike.  Lift day 2.
Saturday: 9 miles on bike path.  7:30ish average.  Very hot and sunny.
Sunday: 30 min aqua jog.  I think I burned my face off.  Not a cloud in the sky.
Total: 36 miles + 140 min XT
This week…hmm.  Similar to last week, my foot hurt on almost every run, but on the plus side, I’m still feeling strong in the weight room.  I did a terrible job of getting on soft surfaces 😉  Almost every run was on an asphalt bike path or sidewalks.  Having running buddies on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday made the runs more fun, though!
Friday’s run was somewhat crappy at the beginning but got progressively better once my legs warmed up.  I was definitely mentally distracted during the lift session that followed, but thankfully both the bike and lift went better than the run anyway!
The bearable-yet-constant foot pain is starting to wear on me mentally again, and I find myself dreading runs a little bit because I want to run but don’t want to be in pain.   To be honest, I am not doing as much as I should to stay on top of it.  I’m rolling with my shiny new lacrosse ball, acquired for the express purpose of wrecking my feet 😉 …doing warm Epsom salt soaks, and sporadically doing mobility, but I can do more.  It’s this cycle of: foot hurts on runs, I get sad thinking about it, I avoid rehab because it makes me think about the fact that my foot hurts.  Ya feel?
But on the plus side, I can feel my body responding to the strength sessions.  The core circuits that left me sore for days three weeks ago are easier.  I’m planning on adding weight to my squats, deadlifts, and farmer’s holds in the weight room this week.  Already bracing myself for the DOMS 😉
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Mom and me!

After identifying the factors that brought me down a little bit last week but taking solace in the fact that I still had a decent training week and got to do a lot of other fun things, I’m re-motivated for the coming week, which should bring about 42 miles in addition to cross training sessions.
Runs are getting longer, temperatures are getting hotter, and the grind is coming back.  My goals for the next week are to train purposefully and to not skimp on the little things.  Every run is one step closer to my goals, both as an individual and as a member of a team that aspires to achieve greatness.  My teammate just ran extremely well at NCAAs, which was so emotional and motivational.  All of the competitors at NCAAs work extremely hard, day in and day out, to get to the national level.  Some of them have more natural talent than others, but none of them skip out on what they need to do to achieve their goals.  That’s how you get to that next level.
Other highlights from my week before I sign off for now:
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A 14-year-old made this lemon lavender cake!

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I nearly cried when they sang “Bruises” and “Drops of Jupiter”

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Another concert picture!

Summer is a great time to put in the work for the upcoming season(s).  This week, I WILL remember to take fish oil every day, re-dedicate myself to foot rehab, switch to orthotics for shorter runs, wear sunscreen, and keep track of sleep and practice good bedtime habits such as putting away technology.  I will be mindful of the foods I choose to nourish my body with– remembering that anti-inflammatory is the way to go and that I am willing to do anything to help my foot feel as good as it can possibly feel!  I will also put in more shifts at work, try to be as frugal as possible and go on free/cheap summer adventures…hiking, exploring DC, playing piano, going to yoga, cooking, reading, playing badminton, soaking up the sun, picnics, crafting…there’s so much to do!

1,291 miles: Reflections

But first: this happened yesterday!

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I used to donate my hair all the time, but I took a break for about five years.  Figured it was about time again 🙂

We met for practice this afternoon as usual, but going for a run was optional.  After our two-lap warm-up, hurdle drills, and speed ladder, I figured, “Why not?” and went for a lovely three miles to end the season.

Oh my gosh.  Time to reflect on the best season of my life.

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The numbers: May 16th to November 14th

  • I ran 1,291 miles (approximately).
  • Cross trained for 12 hours and 40 minutes.
  • Ran more than 50 miles per week for 20 straight weeks.
  • 14 complete rest days.

The details: 

  • 5 races
  • Did not get injured.  Or sick.  Which is freaking amazing.
  • I did more pull-ups, chin-ups, and harder workouts than ever before.
  • Matured more mentally than I anticipated
  • Ate even more oatmeal than ever before.
  • Made it into the varsity seven 🙂

This season was a rollercoaster.  I trained extremely diligently over the summer and came into school with an attitude towards training that was, in retrospect, a little too intense.  I was logging higher and faster mileage than I ever had, but I wasn’t listening to my body enough.  My schoolwork, mental, and physical health were suffering.  I reevaluated and got over the urge to “do everything.”

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One of my favorite things from this season was the transition from bodyweight circuits in the locker room to real lifting routines in the weight room with a very knowledgeable lifting instructor.  I love lifting, and I could truly myself getting stronger as the season progressed.  I was conquering hills, and my form wasn’t breaking down during the latter portions of races.

The next two weeks will be spent in hardcore recovery mode– aka indulging in all the foods I limited throughout the season.  At the tailgate after the race on Friday, I ate an exorbitant quantity of baked goods and sandwiches and pasta.  My roommate gave me a pumpkin-stuffed vanilla cupcake with cream cheese frosting.  The weekend brought many Reese’s cups.

Last night was our team thanksgiving, which is always an incredibly fun spectacle!  The seniors cook the turkeys, there are ridiculous games, and everyone brings delicious food.  I made cranberry sauce and sweet potato biscuits and gorged myself on everything from pumpkin cinnamon rolls to stuffing to bacon brussels sprouts to sweet potatoes with marshmallows and brown sugar.  I’ll get back on the grind eventually, but for now– it’s about enjoyment 🙂

Next up: goals for track!

NCAA D1 Regionals

The best cross country season of my life so far ended Friday in a slightly depressing way.

To put it lightly, regionals did not go as expected for the team.

We were expected to be in the mix to qualify for NCAA Division 1 Nationals in Terre Haute by finishing as one of the top two teams at regionals.  Unfortunately, we completely fell apart as a team and finished ninth.  Individually, I had a decent race.  It wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t that bad.  Life is weird.

IMG_0968.JPGI’d been experiencing progressively worse piriformis and adductor pain in my right leg to the point where it hurt to sit down, but I got through the race okay.  But I’m getting ahead of myself!

We left on Wednesday evening after dinner and arrived at the hotel around 8:30 pm.  On Thursday morning, we ate breakfast and headed to the course to pre-meet (5 miles, drills, strides, and a rope stretch).  It was then that the pain in my piriformis and adductor started really bothering me.  We ran the course, and I think I was overcompensating during that run and the strides that followed, because afterwards I was in a fair amount of pain.

On Friday morning, we completed our ten-minute shakeout at 7 am, followed by a rope stretch and breakfast.  Of course I had the typical oatmeal, almond butter, banana, and yogurt, along with black tea.

It was in the sixties and sunny when we got to the course around 9:30.  I was excited, nervous about the left side pain, and really, really hoping we would make nationals.

We warmed up for 20 minutes, completed our drills, and headed to the line and did strides.  This was the same course that I died on back in September, so I felt a bit apprehensive when the sun started blazing like it did that day.  It wasn’t quite as warm, but the temperatures were still unseasonably hot for this time of year!

The gun went off, and I got out badly, not gonna lie.  I found myself at the back of the giant pack, but I figured that would happen, so I just tried to get into a rhythm.  The first steep downhill-uphill rollercoaster jarred my piriformis/adductor…ouch.15036212_1218454414910150_586722439243613332_n.jpg

3k through 5k were pretty rough for me, and my legs just felt dead.  There’s a giant horrible hill at 4k that seemingly never ends and killed me in September, and I hit that hill with the goal of just trying to get over it.  Which I did, yay!  But that’s when I saw a couple of my teammates up ahead struggling. That’s also when I figured we weren’t going to make nationals as a team.

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I hit the 5k mark in 119th place after losing ten spots and slowing significantly on the hilly middle portion, and I knew I had to rally and have a good last kilometer.  My headband fell off 800 meters from the finish (oops), I hit the creek and struggled up the crazy last hill, and threw myself into the final straightaway.  At this point, all thoughts of my piriformis had flown from my mind.

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That straightaway is about 500 meters long, so at that point in the race, there’s still time to do some work.  I found myself running progressively stronger as I neared the finish line, and passed a fair amount of people.  I finished in 113th place in 22:38.

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After finding out that we had not done well as a team, we took awhile to group back up (some people were struggling with medical issues; our top runner had to get an IV).  Our cool down was sad.  Afterwards, we watched the men’s 10k; our guys had a solid race and placed higher than their ranking with a very small time spread!

Our top runner was the first one out from qualifying individually for NCAAs, but we learned yesterday that she’d received one of the two at-large bids given out to the entire country!  No one deserves it more.

This was definitely not the way we were hoping to end our season, but it’s time to support our teammate at Nationals, take our break, and then refocus for the track season.  I’ll do a cross country reflection and track goals post soon.

 

Last week before REGIONALS

Happy Sunday!  I spent the morning at a new cafe across from my dorm reading about devalorized femininity in the military and studying for an accounting midterm.  The coffee shop’s aesthetic was amazing; the prices and products, not so much.  This afternoon will be spent checking more things off the to-do list but also relaxing 🙂

The past week has been interesting.  Physically, both my workouts were good and my runs felt fine.  I belatedly switched to new trainers and SuperFeet inserts, so my legs and feet have been sore.  Emotionally, I was a little bit rollercoaster-y.  Gotta love feelings :/

Week of 10/31-11/6:

  • M: AM: 3 miles + core.  Started using new shoes.  PM: 2 lap w/u, speed ladder, hurdle drills, 7 miles, 4 x 150 strides, pull-ups/push-ups/dips, 10 min yoga.
  • T: 20 min w/u, drills, strides, 2 miles controlled up-tempo (~12 min?), 6 min run back to track, 2 x [1000, 600] with 2 min rec.  3:30, 2:00, 3:29, 2:00.  Felt pretty controlled.  3 mile c/d, lower body lift in weight room.
  • W: 5 miles trails + core.  PM: massage on tight quads and calves.
  • Th: AM: 2 lap w/u, speed ladder, hurdle drills, 7 miles, 6 x 100 strides, upper body lift in weight room.  PRed in amount of unassisted chin-ups (17 out of 24) and underhand cable row!  (The next day I was very sore.)  PM: 3 miles
  • F: 20 min w/u, drills, strides, 2 x 800 w/ 200 recovery run (2:48, 2:49), 3 x [4 x 400] w/ 60s rest first set, 90s second set, and 2:00 last set.  [80, 78, 77, 77], [76, 75, 75, 76], [75, 75, 75, 75]. Very windy!  Focused on cycling/turning over quickly.  3 mile c/d
  • Sat: shorter long run 9-10 miles.  Not great.
  • Sun: off
Total: 54ish miles.
Both my workouts were good; it’s fun being able to hit paces you couldn’t hit even a few weeks ago!  On the other hand, Saturday’s (shorter) long run was pretty bad.  But afterwards, my teammate’s parents hosted a delicious brunch at their cute house.  Bagels, banana bread, fruit, yogurt, spreads, French toast bake, coffee, amazing apple cider melded with orange zest…  And their house was straight out of a Pottery Barn catalogue.

PSA: My mom finished her first marathon!  She is officially a marathoner 🙂

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The finish of the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon

Another highlight from the past week includes the best oats of my life:

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The secrets to the best oats ever:  Use almond milk, and cook shredded apple directly into the oatmeal.  I microwaved 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and a splash of vanilla extract halfway, added the shredded apple, and finished cooking the oats.  I then added cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and the rest of the apple.  They were unbelievably creamy and amazing.

Last night, my roommate and I cooked dinner in the dorm before going to see “The Girl on the Train.”  I read the book so I knew what was coming, but the ending…damn.  It was cringe-worthy in the best way.

Dinner: pan-seared steak, spaghetti squash with basil/onion marinara, sauteed zucchini, and roasted Brussels sprouts.

We leave for NCAA D1 Regionals in just a few days, and I couldn’t be more excited!  I can’t believe it’s almost here!

XC Conference Championships 2016

Please pinch me; I’m pretty sure I’m dreaming.

Today was our conference race, and without further ado- We won individually and as a team, and I was the FIFTH scorer.

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I kind of can’t believe it.

We left campus yesterday morning, rode 5 hours in the vans, and pre-meeted the course in the afternoon.  While the course was at a beautiful state park, it was probably one of the hardest courses we’d ever encountered.  Winding, narrow trails with tricky footing, treacherous roots, rolling hills, and a crazy hill at two miles:

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After 5 miles, drills, and strides, we knocked all time goals out of our heads.  I had wanted to break 22, but I forgot all about that and zeroed in on my other goal– top seven.

We went to dinner (I had a lot of bread, bruschetta, and a chicken pesto pasta dish), did a bit of grocery shopping, and headed back to the hotel for the women’s team meeting.  We hadn’t tapered for conferences, with the focus being on regionals in two weeks.  We were expected to win, so our coach told us to use it as a hard effort and “practice” for regionals.  Get out well, settle in, and pack up.

To be honest, I was in a really weird funk the night before the race.  I felt so sad, and I had no interest in racing.  It was weird and unnerving.  I got a pretty good night’s sleep, though, and woke up this morning feeling a little more excited to race.  But I was kind of dreading the course.

We ran a 10-minute shakeout at 7 am, followed by a rope stretch and then breakfast.  I had the usual oatmeal with almond butter, a banana, cinnamon, and nutmeg, along with a vanilla Siggi’s and a splash of coffee.  My stomach was kind of in knots.

We headed to the course and got there about an hour and a half before the race.  It was windy and chilly, but the sights continued to astonish.  I had another half a banana and tri-berry Nuun.  Again we rope stretched and then headed for our warm-up.  Did drills, strides, and headed to the line.

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The gun went off, and I tried to establish my position but got jostled around on the first steep downhill.  I settled in around 35th place and maybe 10th for my team and didn’t really try to pass anyone until the mile mark.  Surprisingly, I found myself moving up really well as we hit some narrow rolling hills.  Just before 3k, I made contact with one of my teammates, and as we passed our coach, she screamed, “Good! You’re in sixth and seventh!”

That’s when I started thinking, “Whoa.  I could do this.”

There was an incredibly steep hill right after the two mile mark, and it sucked the soul right out of most of the runners.  Our coach had told us not to hammer up this hill-just get up and over it to avoid going lactic- and I kept that in mind as we started the ascent.  It hurt a lot.  We finally reached the top to find…more hills!  At this point, I surged on the smaller uphills, and a gap formed between my teammate and me, leaving me solidly in sixth for our team.

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The entire second half of the race, I mostly thought this: “OK, you are in the top seven and you are going to keep this position if it kills you!  Six minutes of pain left!  Suck it up and get to the finish!!”

I hit 5k, and it was hard to believe I had 1k to go.  I passed a few more girls and saw our fifth runner up ahead.  She has breathing issues and looked like she was struggling.  With 500 to go, I passed her up the last hill, willing her to come with me.  We rounded the last turn and shot out onto the finish straightaway.  I didn’t have the best kick today, but it was enough for seventeenth place overall, fifth place for the team, and a time of 22:31. I couldn’t stop smiling after I’d crossed the line.  For this insane course, I was so happy with it.  (My All-American teammate only ran mid-21s.) And I’m going to regionals!!

We only had time for a 20-minute cool down before the awards ceremony.  Afterwards, we packed up, and I headed home with my mom and spent the afternoon going to my brother’s game and gorging myself on food.  My mom is running the Marine Corps Marathon (her first marathon) tomorrow morning, and I’m staying to cheer her on!  I’m supposed to do a 3-5 mile shakeout run tomorrow, so I’ll try to plan my spectating route accordingly!  Then it’s back to campus for me– let’s hope I get on the right train this time.

Today was a great day!  I’m going to regionals!! (Sorry, I know I already said that, but I’m so excited!)  This was a dream that has gotten me through the hard, soul-crushing training cycles since the beginning of the summer, and now it’s starting to come true!

 

 

Intervals and Fall Festivities

Good morning!  I hope everyone is having a great Sunday.  After a few weeks of nice, cool weather, the temperatures rocketed back up to the 80s throughout the past week, which was less than ideal.  Luckily, they’re trending back down, and it is currently 56 degrees and sunny in the ‘burg.  I’m currently hanging in my favorite coffee shop, and I thought I’d take a break from reviewing for my Gender in Society midterm to catch up on what I’ve been up to.

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On Friday afternoon, we worked out on the track…but it was probably the worst workout day we have had as a team this season.  Almost everyone struggled- some had breathing issues, some didn’t feel well, etc.

The workout: 7 x 1000 with the first two close to threshold pace, the next two a bit faster, the fifth one “controlled all-out”, and the last two a bit slower.  We also ran 2 very controlled 200s (38-40 seconds) before starting the 1000s.

I hit 3:31, 3:36, 3:36, and my peroneals were burning up a storm.  So I ran the fourth one clockwise in lane 3 alone…didn’t help.  It was my slowest.  I think I ran above 3:40.  No good.  I was pissed off that the workout wasn’t going to plan, so I reset mentally and got ready for the “controlled all-out” portion.  Focused on quick turnover and ran 3:26- hey, at least it was faster than the others!  I hit 3:36 and 3:33 for my last two to at least finish off the workout strong.

The positive news- I’d never done 7 x 1000 in my life, so even though the first half of the workout sucked, I was proud that I rallied in the second half, even if the paces weren’t quite there!

The past 36 hours have been jam-packed with amazingly cliché fall activities 🙂  To decompress after the workout, I cooked an amazing dinner alone in the dorm kitchen.  Pan-seared steak, sauteed spinach, brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes, all with olive oil, pepper, and garlic salt.  Afterwards, I went to my friends’ apartment and made some gigantic homemade chocolate peanut butter cups while we watched “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days.”

Saturday’s long run was quite rough, as I felt nauseous and cut it short at 10 miles.  Afterwards, though, one of my friends and I had a spontaneously lovely morning of brunch, the farmer’s market, and peanut shop samples 🙂

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The afternoon was spent on the ferry and at the pumpkin patch, and some of us went out to dinner to celebrate my friend’s 21st birthday!

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I should probably continue to study for my midterm, so that’s all for now.  I’m taking a complete off day today as I already hit about 55 miles for the week and should probably not go higher than that.  The conference race is this coming Saturday already!  Yesterday was chock-full of indulgences (pumpkin pie, cappuccinos, bacon, molten chocolate lava cake!), so it’s back on the healthy train until Saturday at least 😉

It’s been a great weekend with lovely friends, a bit of drama, beautiful weather, sweaters, and fall fun.

6k race (22:16)

Friday was my second 6k ever! And it went really well.

(First 6k ever– a year ago)

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I woke up early, like always, and laid in bed until it was time to shake out at 7:30 am. It was 35 degrees outside- definitely a change from back home!- but it felt really nice. After the shakeout, we rope stretched and ate breakfast before packing up and heading to the course around 9:45. Pre-race breakfast: plain nonfat Fage, oatmeal with a banana and Justin’s almond butter, and a bit of coffee. I also had half of another banana and lemon-lime Nuun closer to race time.

We got to the course, which is on a picturesque golf course, and we rope stretched, warmed up, and did drills and strides. At this point, the temperatures had reached the mid-40s, which actually felt pretty good!

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After a team huddle and stride back, we took off the last of our outer layers and got ready to roll. Honestly, I had a feeling this would be a good day. We had previewed the course multiple times, and while pretty much the entire last mile was uphill, we knew we could do it. After my last race, I had no expectations, and I was feeling a little nervous but also ready to “just run to your fitness level”, as my coach put it.

The gun went off, and I settled in pretty much right away. The plan was to go out relatively conservatively (compared to everyone else) because we knew that it would naturally be fast and we wanted to be able to rally in the second half. The first straightaway was kind of overwhelming, though, with hundreds of women stampeding down the golf course incline into a tight pass. On the first turn, we went from a sprint to almost a dead stop! I kept reminding myself to relax, relax, relax.

The first mile flew by, and it was so downhill that my 5:30something split felt like a 5:50 effort. Even going out in 5:30, I was still in like 150th place. I bunched up with two of my teammates during the second mile, and we came through two miles right over 11:30. Really started trying to pass people as the real hills began.

From 2.5 miles to the finish (6k, or 3.75 miles), there were three pretty intense hills. I dug deep and powered up the first one and told myself I’d be able to recover on the upcoming downhill. That didn’t work too well because I still felt very lactic when I hit the next hill, which was significantly longer, albeit less steep, than the previous one.

The last hill was half a mile long, and it hurt. A lot. Finally made it to the top and rounded the final turn, and we had a quarter mile to go. I kicked with what I had left, and with about 25 meters to go, my teammate (who has a notoriously lethal kick) flew by me. I went with her as much as I could, and we ended up passing a couple other girls before the finish. We finished together in 22:16, which was a 36-second PR for me, a minute PR for her, 5:58 average pace, and converts to an 18:21 5k!

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Happy after big PRs 🙂

Afterwards, we cooled down for about 3 miles, did 4 strides, and cheered on our men’s team, who had a 19-second spread between runners 1-5 over the 5.2 mile race! I downed a vanilla Siggi’s yogurt, rope stretched for a bit, took some pictures, and finally we headed to get food. Stopped at Wegmans for the third time in two days 😉 I treated myself to a pretty amazing post-race meal of a chicken pot pie, sautéed garlic kale, mac and cheese, a cranberry Kombucha, and a Wegmans pumpkin muffin. On point.

Overall, this race was a giant step in the right direction. It was the biggest cross country race I’ve ever participated in (I finished 136th). I’m happy with a PR and know that there’s more in the tank. I’m also thrilled that my teammate and I, who were the two slowest walk-ons entering our freshman year, finished as the seventh and eighth runners for our team!! I think my coach’s philosophy of “we don’t need anyone to run out of their minds. Just run what you are physically capable of” really helped me stay calm and focus on race day.

Now for the not so good news- ended a relationship on Friday night, and the past 1.5 days have been pretty rough.  A veritable rollercoaster of emotion.  Doesn’t help that I’m 100% sleep-deprived.

Travel adventures

(This was written yesterday evening)

Happy hump day! My team is currently en route to Penn State, where ten men and ten women will be racing on Friday. The WiFi on the bus isn’t working, so I can’t do homework…what a shame, right 😉

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Fall break was fun! (I do have a ridiculous travel story.) I took another complete off day on Sunday, so most of the day was spent doing some of my favorite activities. My mom was doing her longest long run of marathon training (23 miles!!), so I met her about 5 miles in to pick up my dog and deliver her water belt and sunglasses.

fullsizerenderAfterwards, I made pumpkin waffles for breakfast and then went to my favorite farmer’s market! I also had brunch at a favorite hipster coffee place with one of my good friends. Afterwards, I went to Trader Joe’s and Victoria’s Secret (hey, gotta take advantage of the 7/$27.50 sale while it lasts!).

Lunch: lemon blueberry scone, almond milk cappuccino, and a spinach, cheddar, and poached egg breakfast sandwich on a honey IPA roll. Not exactly the most balanced meal, but it was amazing.

Anyway, travel story: I was supposed to be back on campus by Sunday night, since we had morning practice on Monday and Tuesday. So I made plans to take the train back on Sunday night. Unfortunately, I ended up getting on the wrong train (I got to the station right as the train was loading, and it matched my ticket so I got on). The conductor didn’t check tickets for a while, and at some point I noticed that we were going too far west. When he did check tickets, he said I was on the wrong train and that he would sort it out. I’m not the type of person to freak out over travel disruptions, and I figured I’d get to my destination eventually, so I just stayed calm.

The conductor came back and said I should get off at the next stop and he had rerouted my ticket for a bus that would take me halfway to my destination, and then there would be another bus that would take me the rest of the way. At this point, we were about two hours into the journey. I got off the train at the next stop, and sure enough, there was a bus that took me to the next point. However, when I got to the station and asked the clerk about the next bus, she looked at me funny and said, “I don’t know why they told you that. There’s a train tomorrow morning, but no bus tonight.”

Great.

 At this point, it was 9 pm, and I was stranded two-thirds of the way to campus. Still wasn’t freaking out, though, because luckily my roommate lives close to where I was.   She was already on campus, but I called her parents and spent the night at their house. Took the train the next morning, so I missed practice, but at least I eventually got to campus!

So, yeah. While fall break was relaxing schoolwork-wise, it was a tiny bit stressful travel-wise 😉 Oh, well! It was great to be home for a little bit.

Tuesday’s workout- the last before Penn State- went pretty well. We warmed up for 3 miles and then did 2×400, 5×800, 4×400 on an 800m grass field. With the grass, we were a little slower than on a track. We were a few seconds off the range that the coaches gave us, but we stayed consistent, and I thought we did well.

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Splits: 82, 82, 2:53, 2:53, 2:53, 2:57, 2:54, 81, 80, 79, 79. Personally, the fourth 800 was a struggle, but I pulled it together for the fifth one. We had 60 seconds of rest between the first set of 400s and 90 seconds between everything else (except for 2 minutes before the last 400).

This morning, I ran 5 miles on the trails, and I was definitely tired from the workout. That’s okay, though.

Side note: guess who’s gone 5 straight days without Wawa (me)! I’ve stuck to my 8 oz coffee limit for almost a week. Yesterday, I didn’t even have any. #killingit

Autumnal

It’s fall break!!  After an incredibly stressful week, I am now home for a quick 24 hours and plan on soaking in autumn and decompressing as much as possible 🙂  Currently lying in bed drinking lemon ginger tea following an amazing Irish dinner- corned beef, cabbage, and roasted potatoes and vegetables, followed by freshly baked apple crisp.

It’s good to be home 🙂

As I mentioned previously, the past week has been hard.  Everything seemed to happen all at once.  School round-up: Hispanic Studies paper due, followed by a Gender in Society paper, followed by an accounting midterm, an unnecessarily vicious problem set, a Spanish midterm, and a presentation.  I am generally pretty good about balancing schoolwork and stress levels, but this week was something else.  I just tried to take it day by day, and I ended up surviving and getting decent grades on both midterms!  Not sure about the other grades yet.

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Studying and lunching

Running-wise, with three weeks between races, we’ve been in the midst of a particularly meaty training block.  Workouts have been hard.  Thankfully, our lifting instructor has started to taper our weight room routines in preparation for our upcoming races.  This has been sort of fun!  We’ve been focusing on the quality, not quantity, of our lifts, and on Thursday, after completing the requisite 2 sets of 5 chin-ups unassisted, our lifts instructor had me do an extra set with chains!

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I felt pretty darn badass afterwards

The past two weeks have been interesting in that I’ve hit higher mileage within 6 days and therefore have gotten two weeks in a row with a complete off day!  Last week, I hit 59 miles by Saturday, so I took Sunday off.  Same thing happened this week:

10/3-10/9:

Monday: AM: 3 miles + core. PM: 2 lap w/u, form and hurdle drills, speed ladder, 7 miles, 6 x 100m strides, upper body circuit.  Total = 10 miles.
Tuesday: 3 mile w/u, drills/strides, 3 x [1000, 800, 400] on the track with 2-3 min rec and a lap on the turf between sets, 3ish c/d.  Struggled with some dizziness in the second half, so my 3rd 800 was a 600.  Overall a weird workout.  Lower body lift + stretch/roll in weight room.  Ice bath.  Splits below.  Total = 10 miles.

  • Set 1: 3:33, 2:43, 78
  • Set 2: 3:28, 2:45, 80
  • Set 3: 3:33, idk, 76

Wednesday: 6 solo miles trails.  A bit tired.
Thursday: AM: 2 lap w/u, drills, 7.5ish miles, 4 x 150m strides, upper body lift in WR (with chainz).  PM: 3 miles + core.  Total = 11ish miles.
Friday:  3.5 mile w/u, drills, 4 mile tempo on wooded gravel trails (very twisty/hilly so ran about 26 minutes but thought I rallied well on the hills), 6 x :60h with :60-2:00 rec, 20 min c/d.  Ice bath. Total = 11 miles.
Saturday: 11 miles on trails and battlefield loop.  Ice bath.
Sunday (planned): off day with a bit of yoga/stretching

Total: 59 miles

I think I’m just kind of in a rhythm with training/doubles now.  Haven’t really felt the need to go above 60 mpw, so I’m content with taking another complete rest day 🙂 In fact, I didn’t even bring my running shoes home!

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Other thoughts:

  • Our next invitational is in six days!  I’m going to focus on recovery until then.  I’m thankful that this last week of school was the hard one, and hopefully I can stay on top of schoolwork while also relaxing in the coming days/weeks 🙂
  • Goals for the next race:  Go out conservatively.  I want to be able to rally and have a strong second half.
  • I’d like to decrease my coffee consumption- not that 16 ounces per day is nearly as bad as some people, but ideally I’ll get down to 8 ounces.  One cup and no more.  Although Wawa’s $1 any size coffee month is making that difficult 😉 But I’ve done it for 3 days in a row now!
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  • Along the same vein, I haven’t been super frugal recently…but I’ll try my hardest to rein in the grocery spending.  Or so I say…
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I adore fall.  And good friends and food.

That’s all for now!  I hope to write more soon 🙂

Racing woes and pumpkin EVERYTHING

Happy hump day!  I may or may not have spent 5 hours in the library today.  Never thought I would be that person…but a Trader Joe’s pumpkin bagel with maple almond butter made it better.

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Gotta love interpretive Spanish essays about the political power of 16th-century historians

The last two and a half weeks have included some little twinges here and there, some rough workouts, some strong workouts, lots of pumpkin things 😉 and one heck of a race.  Not exactly in a good way.

Last Friday, we raced at a pretty stacked invitational a few hours away from campus.  We left on Thursday evening; before leaving, I had lots of chicken parmigiana left over from a date night, along with some veggies.

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Sunset on the way to the meet!

Arrived at the hotel, made a quick Whole Foods run, had a team meeting, ate some fruit, and went to bed.  During the team meeting, our coach told us each what the general game plan was; personally, she thought I could be around 40th.  While the meet was stacked, the field was pretty small- only about 125 women.

We woke up at 5:45 for a shakeout, ate breakfast (oatmeal with almond butter and a banana, vanilla Siggi’s, and coffee), put on the flash tats and uniform, and headed to the meet!

It was almost-chilly when we arrived at the race venue, but all of a sudden the sun got really intense.  The temperature didn’t rise too much, but I didn’t feel great in the blazing sun.   Should’ve known…

Warm-up: ✓ Drills: ✓ Strides: ✓

Lined up at the start, pre-race butterflies, gun went off.  We rocketed out of the starting boxes like bats out of hell, relishing the downhill start.  I tried to rein it in a bit after the initial adrenaline-induced sprint, felt fine through 2k, and came through around 55th place, just over 7 minutes, which is 5:40/mile pace.  (I just calculated that’s a 17:36 5k.  LOL.  Maybe slightly ambitious.)  While I have been tired, I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, so I was hoping for mid-18s on this difficult, hilly course.

Around 2.5k, I guess the sun got to me or something happened, because I felt like shit.  I felt like someone had sucked the life out of me with a vacuum cleaner.

  • Me: “Legs, pls move.” Legs: “No.”
  • Me: “Eyes, pls open.” Eyes: “No.”
  • Me: “Body, pls run in straight line.”  Body: “nope.”

I weaved my way up the hill that notoriously breaks everyone, somehow managing to get to the top without walking.  I came through 2 miles in 11:45ish, I think.  Not horrible, but clearly I’d slowed down.  Hit 4k.  At this point, I was weaving into the flags lining the course.  My eyes would not stay open.  I was racing literally blind.

Hit another hill.  Weaved my way up it, doubled over.  Hit the finishing straight, and with 300 meters to go, I tunnel-visioned on the blue finish line mat, struggled down the home straight, and collapsed the second I reached the line.

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Me, hobby-jogging my way to the finish line.

I finished around 100th place in 19:43, which means it took me almost 8 minutes to crawl from 2 miles to the finish.  Awkward.

I felt okay, just weak and nauseous, for about 45 minutes after finishing, and my coach instructed me to walk around in the shade for a bit instead of going on the cool-down.  Tried to take in Gatorade and water, but the nausea just got worse.  Things took a turn for the worse about 45 minutes after finishing, and I could barely keep standing.  Felt extremely nauseous, generally weak, and like I was going to pass out.  Food was not happening.  Half a banana made me dry heave into the trash can for 10 minutes.  I spent some time in the medical tent with an ice-cold towel draped over my shoulders, dazedly watching all the passed-out, vomiting men being unloaded onto the cots.

Finally, after my mom forced a hat onto my head and force-fed me Nuun, the electrolytes kicked in, and I was able to actually walk around, pack up my stuff, and partake in Chipotle on the way home.  Still felt “eh” for the majority of the day.  Since I hadn’t done a cool-down, my legs felt pretty bad, so I stopped at the trainer when we arrived back to campus, and then headed to the rec and did a light bike shakeout for 30 minutes.  Took the long run extremely easy on Saturday morning, and it felt decent.

The good news is, yesterday we had a tough hill workout, and I actually felt very strong!  This was our third time this season doing this particular hill workout, and I hit my fastest splits and felt particularly strong on the longer circuits.  Afterwards, we had a lower body lift in the weight room that has left my legs very dead today 😉

And for a random end note to this long post, here’s Rob Thomas’s “Hold On Forever”!