Combating Training Rigidity

Good morning!  I hope everyone’s Tuesday is off to a wonderful start.  I just got back from the gym and am doing some last-minute study abroad prep before heading to work for the afternoon.  I’m currently icing my foot while typing this post 🙂

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Got some weird looks with my post-workout breakfast, per usual

I’ve got a lot on my mind that I want to say after this morning’s gym session (both good and bad!).  Recently, I’ve felt like I’ve been in a mental and physical rut with training.  Because I took my break early and am not allowed to run yet in order to let my second metatarsal heal, I’m on a slightly different timeline than my teammates.  They’re wrapping up their rest week and starting “active rest” and light training, while I’ve been doing that for 3-4 weeks now.  At this point in the year, all of our training is pretty much up to us.  The whole idea is to keep our bodies moving but fresh, and keep our minds eager and motivated by letting us do what we want when we want to, and take rest when we want to.  It’s supposed to be pressure-free and help us gear up for when summer cross country training ramps up.

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I was rebellious and did not wear the boot to the bookstore the other day…

I’m a creature of routine, so while I can thrive off of this freedom, I am not currently thriving.  There’s a little voice in the back of my head that has been constantly telling me things like, “You need to be doing this.  You need to be building up the cross training volume, you need to be doing a certain amount every day even though your coach is telling you to keep it relaxed.”  This has been exacerbated by the fact that I’m alone- counterintuitively, it’s easier for me to keep an open mind towards training when I’m surrounded by my teammates and coaches.  Also when I’m not injured 😉

Another unhealthy facet of what I’ve been doing is that I’ve been focusing on filling some sort of quota every time I train, whether it be minutes, calories, or the like.  (“Am I going to reach 400 minutes of cross training this week?”)  Then I’ve been super anal about my post-workout snack, the timing of my food, and other things that are good as long as you don’t overthink them.  Your body is not a goddamn robot, Kathryn.

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Biking and reading

The past few days, I’ve been a little sick, which has made me look forward to the cross training even less.  But I still biked on the recumbent bike for an hour yesterday.  I convinced myself that I felt awesome, which maybe I did during the bike, but afterwards, I felt like crap.  I’m having a hard time keeping the long-term in mind– been focusing too much on the daily/hourly/minutely (is that a word), and it’s made me start to dread the stationary bike and the pool.  I’m a person that loves weight training because it makes me feel strong and unstoppable…so why have I been only doing boring cardio???

I texted my coach yesterday to essentially tell him I was being a stubborn moron (no surprises there!), and he had a really good response.

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“Take some time doing active rest, not structured workouts.”  Music to my stubborn ears!!

So this morning, I took his advice to heart.  I got to the gym with the intent of doing another 60+ minutes on the infernal stationary bike.  However, I got there and had zero interest in doing that, so I made up a dynamic core/strength session as I went along.  It felt amazing to get my body moving dynamically (one of the consequences of the boot is that I can’t do anything impactful on my foot, so jumping exercises and even walks are out of the question.  I’ve felt antsy and just want to move some fast-twitch muscles!)  I continued to steer clear of jumps and too many weight-bearing exercises, but before I knew it, 45 minutes had flown by and my body was buzzing in that endorphin-fueled “I’m going to be incredibly sore tomorrow” state that I love.

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Throughout the workout, I was literally dancing during my rest breaks.  This workout was the type that reminded me how much I crave the process of getting stronger.  Instead of sitting on the stationary bike or doing circles in the deep end of the pool looking at the clock every 15 seconds, I worked my entire body, was never bored, and only did things I wanted to do.  It was awesome.

My lesson of the day is to focus on doing the things you love.  This might change day to day, but listen to your body and don’t get caught up in the minutiae of training.  There are some days where I really do want to get on the bike for 90 minutes or swim a 70-minute workout.  Then there are days like today, and yesterday, and the day before…where I just don’t.  While my number one love is running, I can’t do that right now, so it’s important to trust myself and figure out how to stay healthy and happy (physically and mentally).

I leave for Spain in two days, which I think will be really good for me in all issues mentioned above.  And I get to start the walk-to-run program while I’m there!  But perfect training and fueling won’t be my primary focus- my primary focus will be to enjoy Cádiz, soak up all the experiences, conduct my independent research project about the markets, and learn millions of new things.

Have a wonderful day 🙂

 

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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 😉

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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More later– my post-swim brain is dead 🙂

Training 1/8-1/14 and beginning of semester!

Happy first day of school!  The second semester of junior year started bright and early this morning with an hour-long pool workout, training room visit, and 9:30 am marketing research class.  And it’s snowing!  I have an hour and a half break between classes, so I’m going to drink coffee too quickly and catch you all up on what’s been going on in my life 🙂

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First of all, I spontaneously got a haircut!  Chopped off about six inches of gross, dead hair left over from when my body was falling apart at the end of the cross country season.  #newyearnewme?  But that has next to nothing to do with training, sooo moving on.

So unfortunately, right as I was beginning to feel in shape and enjoy training again, I injured myself.  Last Tuesday, I did a tempo run on the icy bike path and completely fucked up my left foot and ankle.  Since then, I’ve been experiencing pain in my arch, plantar, and ankle bone, and it isn’t getting any better.

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Post-pool-workout overnight oats and warm whirlpool

Ironically, I’m in the same position I was in at the start of last semester: cross training, foot/ankle pain, daily training room visits…hoo boy.  I’m trying to take it in stride, though- be patient, smart, don’t rush things.  Unlike past injuries, I want this to completely heal up before I try to train on it.  And I’ve been killing it on the bike, in the pool, and in the weight room, so those are all positives!  Might get an x-ray if the pain doesn’t improve soon.

Week of 1/8-1/14:

  • Monday: AM: 7 easy miles + circuits. PM: active warm-up, 3 miles, strides, GS1, foam roll.
  • Tuesday: 20 min warm-up, drills, 4 mile tempo on bike path (SUPER icy).  Splits: 6:18, 6:26, 6:07, 6:03.  20 min cool down.  Lower body lift at home, and did 24 chin-ups!  Foot/ankle started hurting a lot later in the day.  Iced it.
  • Wednesday:  AM: tried to run- too much pain.  30 min elliptical with ankle brace.  PM: 30 min bike + core.  Foam roll.
  • Thursday: AM: 8 miles + strides + upper body lift.  PM: 2 miles.  Foot/ankle feel better than Tuesday and Wednesday, but not pain-free…in retrospect, I’m just a stubborn idiot 😉
  • Friday: active warm-up, 4 miles- planned to do workout but after I warmed up for 2 miles, it was too painful, so I ran 2 miles home and then did a 50 minute pool workout (10 lap warm-up, 5 x 4 laps hard, 1 lap easy, 5 x 1 lap hard, 1 length easy, 10 lap cool down).  Rolled, Epsom salt soak, electrical stim and ice, mobs, massage.
  • Saturday: 100 min XT (80 min bike + 20 elliptical). Rolled, Epsom salt soak, electrical stim and ice, mobs, massage.
  • Sunday: off. 40 min yoga/core.
Total: 33 miles + 210 min XT
I wrote a melodramatic post on Saturday that I might post later, but essentially I was really frustrated about having to cross train and dealt with some “If I can’t run, it’s a waste” thoughts.  Luckily, I’ve remembered that cross training is highly effective at keeping us in shape, so I’m going to take advantage of the bike and the pool to get some quality work in!  Also, so many women on my team are injured right now that cross training has been kind of a party…haha.
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This semester, I have no 8 am classes.  Thank goodness!  On Mondays and Wednesdays, I’ll be taking three marketing classes from 9:30 to 3:30, with morning and afternoon practice.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I will have morning practice from 7:30-10:30, followed by two Hispanic Studies classes from 11-2.  And for the third semester in a row…no Friday classes!  I’m well on my way to completing my two majors (BBA in Marketing and BA in Hispanic Studies), and it’s crazy to think that we’re already in the second half of junior year.
I spent the majority of yesterday meal prepping even though I didn’t really need to, mostly because I wanted an excuse to break in my new food processor!  It’s super fancy, with 4 different blades and about 10 different parts…quite a change from the old mini one that stopped working last semester 🙂  Also, I realized that all the food I prepped was some shade of brown.  Nice!
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Carrot muffins, curried lentils, black bean brownies, homemade larabars, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and beets

I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday, and I’ll update again soon about my injury, semester, and life in general!

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

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

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

Week of 12/18-12/24: 

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

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

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

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

Week of 12/4-12/10 (35)

Last Sunday of the semester! Classes are over, 3 finals loom over my head, and by this Wednesday night I will be halfway done with junior year of undergrad.  What!?

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This weekend was full of studying, holiday parties, lunch dates, and watching “Suits” on Amazon Prime.  And it snowed!  I’m currently jamming to Jim Croce while I take a break from studying and wait for my laundry to dry.

Over the past two days, I’ve probably consumed about 300 grams of sugar, so I’m kind of crashing from sugar jitters into a sugar coma that isn’t conducive to productive studying.  Sorry, Spanish final grade… #Ididthistomyself

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Annual cookie party! The shortbread jam and molasses cookies were the BOMB

Anyway.  I had a really good last week of training and life.  Sorting stuff out with my coaches, starting to feel normal again while running, and looking forward to building the strength and the booty in the weight room.

Week of 12/4-12/10:

  • Monday: AM: 30 min bike.  Trainer for stim/heat + stretch.  PM: lap, active warm-up, lap, speed ladder, hurdles, 5 miles, general strength, foam roll, rope stretch.
  • Tuesday: lap, active warm-up, 2 miles, 3 mile tempo (6:27, 6:17, 6:22), 2 miles.  I am out of shape!  Lift in weight room- felt strong but weak (as in, I felt good but know I will be much stronger.)  Stim + NormaTec.
  • Wednesday: AM: 60 min pool (30 swim, 30 aqua jog).  My swim pace is getting faster!  PM: circuits, rope stretch, foam roll.
  • Thursday:  AM: lap, active warm-up, 8 miles, upper body lift in weight room, NormaTec + stim/heat.  Run felt stiff and tiring but good meeting!  PM: 20 min bike.
  • Friday:  AM: 6 miles kinda fast, felt good! 4 x strides, speed ladder, hurdle drills, general strength 2.  PM: circuits (4 min elliptical w/u and c/d)
  • Saturday: 9 miles (started at 7:20s, cut down to 6:40s, and my last mile was like 6:25).  It was rainy and cold but I felt awesome!  The group was great.
  • Sunday: 30 min bike.  Planning on doing yoga tonight, but we’ll see if that happens 😉
Total: 35 miles + 140 min XT + lots of strength
Had some really good runs and cross trains throughout this week.  Tuesday and Thursday weren’t fun; I definitely could not have gone much faster or longer than Tuesday’s measly 3-mile tempo, and my legs felt tight and unpleasant throughout Thursday’s run.
But Monday and Friday went really well, and we crushed Saturday’s long run!  6:40 miles felt almost easy, and I really pushed the last mile since the run was shorter than usual.  After spending over an hour in the freezing rain and wind, it took us awhile to warm up afterwards.  My roommate and I hibernated in our apartment eating oatmeal, drinking coffee, and listening to Christmas music while a fake fireplace crackled on the TV (lol).
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A wee bit chilly!

Shoutout to strength- the guns are unreal right now!  When we first realized we’d be doing strength routines every day, we were a little apprehensive and overwhelmed, but the circuits have turned out to be more like cross trains, and each routine works different muscles, so it’s not like we’re hitting the same thing every day.
I’m excited to increase the mileage and continue to focus on deliberate practice.  Everything we do is incorporated into our training for a reason!  I should hit low-to-mid-40s throughout this coming week.  Haven’t decided when I’m going home, but I’m looking forward to finishing out the semester strong (hopefully)!  Tomorrow brings a Spanish exam from 2-5 pm and a business analytics exam and pressure cooker from 7-10 pm.  The grind is #tooreal.
Have a great week and get after it!

Running is hard sometimes

Aloha!  Our A/C is on the fritz again, so I’m hibernating in the basement while I write this, since it’s not 100 degrees down here.  I think ice cream at work tonight will be a necessity.

Anyway.

You know those runs that just knock the life out of you?  I had one of those this morning.  After an off day from running yesterday (I did put in an hour in the pool and an hour-long yoga class), I woke up early today and drove out to the canal for a change of scenery.  I was so excited for a nice 7-mile maintenance run!  Alas…it was not to be.  My legs felt off from the beginning, and running just felt hard.   It felt like I was hammering, but apparently I was running my easy/maintenance pace (around 7:30 per mile).   I did a terrible job of listening to my body when I should have taken it easy, no matter what the “pace” said.

Afterwards, I just felt completely discombobulated.  Which resulted in me drinking coffee for the first time in eight days…on top of a white duvet…live life on the edge, you know? 😉  (PS: this summer has unexpectedly resulted in my coffee consumption diving down to almost zero!  Weird.)

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I’m not even really sure why this run felt so difficult- it was humid, yes, but not extremely hot, and I wasn’t that sleep-deprived.  I rarely use a GPS (actually broke my GPS watch), but I downloaded Strava for this run and was very surprised at the end when my average pace was like 7:35.  It had honestly felt like I was hammering the crap out of some sub-7-minute miles.

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Oh, well.  The good news is, I had a good swim yesterday!  50 minutes of laps followed by 10 minutes of easy aqua jogging.  Afterwards, I went to a yoga class.  Swimming has never been the most enjoyable thing for me, although I became a believer in the power of cross training this past semester.  But this week, I’ve actually looked forward to getting in the pool, and as such have done two cross training sessions in the water!  Some days, the laps just click by rhythmically.  I would love to do my swims in a lake or similar beautiful, natural setting, but the same old 25-meter stretch of warm chlorinated water will have to do for now 😉

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I have to go cross train and lift soon, so that’s about it for now.  Working tonight after my gym session, running twice tomorrow, working again tomorrow night…it’s the summertime grind 🙂  Craving a nice, cold peach!

Summer Training Week 1

It’s that time of year again- summer training recap time!  I’ve done this for the past two years, and it’s fun to be able to look back at training from past years.

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Nutrition is an important part of summer training, so here is a pretty parfait 🙂

The 16-mile week doesn’t really count, so I’m going to say that last week was my first week of summer training 🙂

Week 1: (5/22-5/28)

Monday: 4 miles on bike path + some yoga
Tuesday: 4 miles into 30 min bike + lower body lift
Wednesday: 60 min bike
Thursday: 5 miles on bike path + drills and strides + core.  First run in new shoes.
Friday: 4 miles into 30 min bike + upper body lift
Saturday: 6 miles on bike path
Sunday: off

Total: 23 miles + 120 min XT

This first week was okay.  The runs and cross trains felt fine, but unfortunately my bunion really hurt on almost every run.  At home, I don’t have access to the laser and stim/compex and other resources that the training room provides, so I’m going to have to get creative with treatment to keep this pain under control.

What I can do: warm Epsom salt foot soaks, ice baths, rolling, stretching/mobility, topical anti-inflammatory treatment.

On a more positive note, both lifts went really well.  We jumped right back into the full lift routine, so I was so sore after Tuesday!  My hamstring felt like it might rip off my body.  But the soreness has subsided, and I have a nice baseline for my fitness.  I’m excited to get stronger this summer!

Non-training highlights from this week:

A couple of my teammates came up to visit, and we explored Georgetown on an overcast day:

Jazz in the Garden on the Mall with a friend:

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I made cha siu baos from scratch for the first time (it was a two-day process, but so worthwhile):

…and my mom and I went shopping (*groan*) and explored our favorite farmer’s market (*cheers*)!

My goals for this coming week include:

  • Spend less time on my phone, especially before bed
  • Be proactive about bunion pain
  • Two yoga sessions and glute activation
  • Try to get more quality sleep!  I wake up naturally at or before 6 am, so I need to go to bed early to account for this
  • Continue quality nutrition
  • Start my remote writing internship!
  • Focus on non-cooking hobbies as well, such as playing piano, knitting, reading, and writing

 

Update: good weather, writing, bunion surgery?, cross training

Happy Friday Eve!  No Friday classes mean it’s the weekend for me 🙂  Although I still have to shake out, meet with a professor, work on a group project, go to the training room, and do a workout in the afternoon.  But still- no classes!

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Today’s veggie-packed, dorm-cooked lunch while I hibernated from the non-existent thunderstorm

We were supposed to get hit with a massive thunderstorm this morning, so our coach cancelled 7 am practice.  However, some of us don’t know how to sleep in…

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Running update: I ended up taking three days off from running after the 3k race.  I aqua jogged for an hour on Friday, cross trained for ONE HUNDRED AND TEN MINUTES on Saturday (RIP), and recovered with a 30 minute bike on Sunday.  Total training last week included 26 miles and 245 minutes of cross training.

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The past four days have been a mix of running and cross training, but I have managed to run every day this week so far!

The weekend was really fun, and I had a great time celebrating our seniors and the conclusion of our home invitational weekend with the team!

On Monday, I met with a podiatrist to discuss my options.  At this point, I’m seriously considering the possibility of bunion surgery.  Unfortunately, my bunions have formed in a way that requires the most intensive bunionectomy procedure, which would involve roughly six weeks completely off and then months and months of cross training.  I have some hard decisions ahead of me, but for now, I’m just trying to fully enjoy running and not take any workouts for granted.  After a long talk with my coach,  we’ve decided to redshirt this outdoor season so that I will have an entire fifth year of eligibility.  I’m also going home in a couple weeks to get a second/third opinion from an orthopedic foot specialist closer to my house.IMG_5022.jpg

As I said before, I’m just trying to enjoy running and life in general at the moment.  Some highlights from the past few days have included Ben and Jerry’s free cone day, getting my first article published on Spoon University, and receiving the news that our beloved family camp has had funds allocated to its rebuilding!!

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Additionally, I walked into the locker room yesterday to find the sweetest care package waiting for me.  My teammates are amazing human beings, and I actually started crying.  They even baked healthy cookies featuring oats, honey, peanut butter, and raisins!  This was followed by a fun yoga session outside in beautiful spring weather– what a great afternoon ❤

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Even though I’m redshirting this season and the running future is a little uncertain, I’m realizing that there’s so much more to me (and to every runner) than running.  Nobody is one-dimensional.  It sucks that my options are a) take a long time away from my biggest passion, b) probably be in pain and limit my training for the next 3+ years, or c) quit the sport.  But you know what?  There are myriad more important things in the world.  There are bigger problems.  And if yesterday is any sign of how awesome life can be, I’ll freaking take it.

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?

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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.
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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!
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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

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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:

“Spring” break

Hello from home!  I’m currently on spring break (can somebody inform the weather?), and the respite from schoolwork is working wonders.  I’ve been reading a great book (Room by Emma Donoghue, upon which the 2015 movie is based), wearing groutfits all day, running/cross training, cooking, and watching more TV than I have in what seems like years.  I just ate four black bean brownies for dessert because they’re delicious and I can.  They’re small; it’s fine 😉

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Black bean brownies from Chocolate Covered Katie!  I added a bit of ground coffee and topped them with melted chocolate 🙂

Three cheers for helpful Apple tech people and a functional computer!   Yet again, apologies for the prolonged blogging absence.  Morning pool workouts, daily training room appointments, and a non-functional computer have added to this semester’s increased schoolwork demands.  I feel like I’m years behind in updating you all about what’s been going on!

Training

Two weeks ago, I ran 32 miles and cross trained for 250 minutes, which included three swim workouts and zero running workouts.  I felt progressively stronger in the pool and in the weight room.  Foot pain persisted.  I was up at the crack of dawn every day for practice and wonky pool hours.

Last week, I ran 43 miles and cross trained for 120 minutes (a mixture of stationary bike and pool), which included two running workouts and one mini pool workout.  I was in the training room every day both weeks- heating, rolling, and doing foot exercises, joint mobility, laser, and ice.

The first track workout back (2/28) went surprisingly well!  3 mile warm-up, drills, strides, 3×800 with 200 jog (2:52, 2:52, 2:50), lap on turf, 4×400 with 60-90s recovery (80, 78, 78, 77), lap on turf, 4×400 with 90-2:00 recovery, (76, 74, 73, 73), 3 mile cool down.  It was exciting and gratifying to hit those splits; pool workouts really do work to keep your aerobic fitness up!  But I was sore for two days afterwards.

My team wrapped up the indoor season in Boston this past weekend with lots of stellar performances!  We kind of fell apart as a team throughout indoor season due to injury and illness, but I’m hoping to regain some of that cohesiveness as outdoor begins.

On Saturday, I drove out to a park that we used to race at all the time in high school to do my long run.  It was beautiful!  Very windy and cold, but the views and trails couldn’t be beat.IMG_4565.jpg

I think I’ve done a good job listening to my body over the past few weeks and not cramming in too much volume (cross training or running).  My goal is to be more careful than last time while increasing the mileage, and I’m going to try like hell to keep the foot pain and inflammation under control.

Other life stuff

For some reason, last week I had the most intense dessert cravings I’ve had in awhile.  All I wanted at night was ice cream, brownies, and chocolate cake.  So I have been indulging those cravings!  My teammate and I went to go watch the high school state meet and cheer on our respective high schools, and we stopped at Whole Foods afterwards because of course we did 😉  This “Mississippi Mud Bar” was incredible.

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On Thursday, I received my acceptance into the business school!!  What a great way to start spring break 🙂  I was feeling very burned out from school- intermediate accounting is kicking my ass- but this served as justification for the grind.  I didn’t mention it in this post , but I applied last semester and was rejected from both the majors and the minors program.  The same weekend I went through a break-up, the business school sent me not one, but two rejection letters.  What a great time 😉  Also, yes, the below picture features the ugly screws I’ve been rocking for the last several weeks.  I cannot wait to get the implants.  Until then, I’m trying to avoid pictures of myself.IMG_4535.jpg

 

I’ve been hanging out with this guy:IMG_4566.jpg

Made balsamic honey glazed salmon, quinoa, and steamed asparagus with lemon for my family tonight:

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The rest of spring break will include a full body massage (so excited!) and a trip to New York before heading back to school.  Then it’s just one short week until (hopefully) my first race since November!  I just want to get a baseline, and as I said before, keep my feet under control 🙂

Time to go finish reading Room!  I will definitely try to post more- now that my computer is working again, hopefully life will be a little easier!  #firstworldproblems…