Life and sadness and frustration and positivity…

Happy Saturday night!  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve stopped and started versions of this post.  Isn’t it funny how it’s easier to write about running when running is going well?

IMG_4831.jpg

Overnight oats in the training room for the millionth day in a row

So: the foot pain.  It’s hard to believe that this has been going on for almost three months.  It seems like I haven’t trained consistently since January.  The past two weeks have been exponentially worse; I even developed extensor tendonitis because I was compensating for the toe/bunion pain in my stride and foot strike.  After about 43 miles and some cross training the week before last, last week’s training included 7 normal miles, 15 miles on the Alter-G, and 290 minutes of cross training.  This week included 37.5 miles and about 205 minutes of cross training.  Today’s run/bike combination was horrible.  Can you see the continuation of the mileage rollercoaster?

Every single day involves at least one trip to the training room for warm whirlpool, rolling, laser, mobility, ultrasound, ice, etc.  I’ve been biking and swimming ridiculous distances.  Each training session is played by ear; my coach will text me saying, “How much pain are you in?  Do you want to work out today?”

I met with an orthopedist on Thursday, but unfortunately we didn’t come up with any other solutions.  “Yep, according to the x-rays, your bunions are pretty severe.  You can live in the training room for the rest of your athletic career, or if the pain is getting too bad to the point where you think it’s limiting your ability to train, you might want to consider bunion surgery.”
I’m also in the middle of the dental implant process, feeling hideous, and there are insurance issues and family medical/emotional problems.
As you can imagine, last week was filled with some breakdowns…
The combination of training uncertainty and constant pain is really taking its toll mentally and physically.  Also, getting up at the crack of dawn every day makes me feel really isolated from the “normal college student” lifestyle of sleeping in past 6 am, staying up later than 10 pm, and having some semblance of fun.  Not that I want the normal college student lifestyle, but it’s really hard when you can’t relate to anyone.  Most of my teammates don’t have to be in the training room twice a day and wake up at the ass crack of dawn every single day.  My NARP (non-athletic-regular-people) friends stare at me like I have three heads if I mention my daily routine.  I’m sorry for the negativity- I’m just being honest that months of this nonsense is getting to me 😦
I also really do not want to have to go the surgery route.  Bunion surgery takes months to recover from, more months to get back into training, and there’s no guarantee that it’ll even be successful.  As I would have to get the surgery on both feet, I would literally be in a wheelchair, unable to walk, for a month.
IMG_4780.jpg

Stationary-biking my life away

Okay, now that my emotional rant is (mostly) over, I’m going to try to focus on the positives!  Even though it really sucks not being able to fully do what I love and contribute to my team, it’s so important to keep in mind that life is about more than just running.  Obviously as a collegiate athlete, the majority of your lifestyle revolves around your sport and school.  But there are so many aspects to life that it’s easy to find things that are important outside running!
IMG_4813.jpg
SO, without further ado, here are some positive things that are happening in life:
  • Recent weather has been absolutely gorgeous.  I went to a nearby creek today to watch the sunset with my roommate, her brother, his roommate, and their dog.  We saw a goldendoodle puppy while we were there!
  • My mom and her husband came down last week, and I went out to brunch with them and we always have the best conversations.
  • We took the recruits to see Beauty and the Beast last week, and even though you know I’m a cynical human being, I’m also addicted to Disney movies and songs.
  • I sat down to the piano for the first time in months and have my heart set on playing Go the Distance 
  • I’m currently writing multiple articles for Spoon University and loving it!
  • The business school is the most beautiful building on campus, and I’m lucky enough to have access to it.
  • The weight room is making me #toostrong 😉
  • Scandal, joggers, and hot lemon water to end the night

IMG_4919.jpg

Wow, there are so many aspects of life to be grateful for!  School is hard, running is hard, and this crazy schedule of mine is hard.  We shall see if I’m able to race this coming weekend at our big home invitational.  But mindfulness is important.  Here is a cheesy motivational quote, complete with a pug:

Advertisements

One of my top 5 hardest workouts

(OK, I actually did write this post this morning; I just forgot to publish it.)

Good morning!  It’s a beautiful spring day, I just finished my 3-mile double, and I thought I’d talk about Tuesday’s track workout while I eat a lovely breakfast of Greek yogurt, Wawa coffee, oatmeal with apple/chia seeds/almond butter/cinnamon, and of course my daily multivitamin.  No class until 12:30. 🙂

IMG_8917.JPG

Oatmeal is THE ugliest food ever but still so good

All right!  Tuesday’s workout…Let’s just say I have no trouble recalling the experience because my body still despises me two days later.

The (good? bad?) thing about getting fitter and faster is that your coaches will adjust your workout paces accordingly.  On Tuesday, I was put in sort of a new workout group.  We went out for our 3 mile warm-up and then did drills and strides before our coach told us the workout.

5 x 400 at 77-75 seconds, 4 x 800 at 2:38, 4-5 x 400 at 77-75 seconds

*Dies*

What actually happened: 5 x 400 at 76-75 seconds, 3 x 800 at 2:43, 2:47, 2:48, 1 x 600 at 2:04, 4 x 400 at 78, 77, 76, 76

By the time the first 5 x 400 was over, it felt like I’d already done an entire workout, and we were less than 1/3 done.  Our coach told us to hit 79 for each lap of the 800s (um, what), but I’m pretty sure the only time I ran 79 was the first lap of the first 800.  Each one after that got slower and slower.  And they were still fairly faster than I’m used to!  By the third 800, my legs were immovable logs and I was pretending the 800s were 600s because the last 200 doesn’t matter amirite 😉  So I’d get to 600m and then just death-march the last 200.  My coach modified my 4th 800 to a 600 (bless).

Am I being dramatic?

For the last set of 400s, she had us do the first two backwards on the track, which was pretty weird.  I led the last three 400s and at that point I was just riding the pain train home.  We hit 78, 77, 76, and 76.

After a 3 mile cool down in which we were so destroyed that we were babbling nonsensically, we completed a leg lift and then stretched, rolled, and ice bathed.

IMG_8906.JPG

Choosing my post-workout treat was hard (I chose a truffle)

The next morning, my roommate and I both woke up to cross train, fairly hobbled to the rec, and I sat at the edge of the pool for a little bit because I just could. not. get. in. Everything hurt.  I felt like a zombie.  But this is the work that will give us an edge in future races!

natalie email.png

In my meeting with my coach yesterday, she brought up a really good point (see above).  I’m at an entirely new fitness level for myself right now.  While the paces she gives me may sound scary, she gives them to me because she thinks/knows I can hit them.  Just because I’ve never run that fast before doesn’t mean I can’t do them now.  I need to work on believing in myself in races and in workouts when I get to the point where I can either make a move or stay where I am.  In this new fitness territory, it’s all about confidence!