Thanksgiving and season wrap-up

Happy Monday! aka the time of year when it is finally socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music.  Due to a fire on campus, the power is out as I’m typing this, so there’s a bit of an eerie vibe.  I also realized how woefully unprepared I am for winter when I had to scrape frost off my car this morning using an old Sweet Frog gift card and a wooden spatula.  #nice.

After five days at home, I woke up at the crack of dawn on Sunday to avoid hitting the post-Thanksgiving traffic on the drive back to school.  I didn’t want to leave that early, but I made a pit stop at Starbucks to motivate myself 😉  It ended up being a good choice because the traffic report on the interstate turned completely red later in the day.

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Thanksgiving break was pretty great.  I drove home last Monday after class and got home in time for dinner!  I hadn’t been home since August and was feeling extremely homesick and burnt out on campus.  After a crazy couple years, my family is feeling a little more “settled”, so even though I’ve been out of the house for longer, it felt more like coming home.  On Tuesday, I ran for the first time since regionals- 30 minutes felt decent, but new strength circuits afterwards killed me off and I could hardly walk on Wednesday!  I ran with a friend on the canal on Wednesday, and it was beautiful outside.

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My family went to a local family friend’s house for Thanksgiving like we do almost every year.  This year, there was quite an eclectic gathering of 20 people.  But it somehow all worked! IMG_9789.jpgThere was an incredible amount of food- two turkeys, three kinds of stuffing, two types of mac and cheese, an addictive sweet potato/brown sugar/pecan casserole, cranberry sauce, roasted vegetables, rice, gravy, salad, mashed potatoes, butternut squash and kale casserole, rolls…the works.  And for dessert: chocolate mousse made by yours truly, pumpkin pie made by my pie-connoisseur-brother (he bruleed the top with a blowtorch), homemade whipped cream, apple crisp, and lemon bites.  Additionally, approximately 15 bottles of red wine were consumed.

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Making homemade whipped cream!

Overall, it was a great Thanksgiving.  So much to be thankful for. 🙂  My brother, dad, and I went hiking and rock scrambling on the Billy Goat Trail on Friday and then went out for pho to warm up.

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Part adrenaline junkie, part monkey

On Saturday, I ran six miles with a high school teammate, went to brunch with some friends from high school, took a bath and finally used my jacuzzi jets after a year and a half, and then we had a dinner party with my stepsister and her family.  I made vegan chocolate chip cookies to accommodate all parties, and even the anti-vegan family members thought they were delicious!  (Pretty much just sub a flax egg for regular eggs and coconut oil for butter.)

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Last Sunday, my team had our Team Thanksgiving.  We made food, dressed up, and played ridiculous games per usual…it was a blast 🙂  And the food was delicious!  I made cranberry sauce, chocolate mousse, and a crockpot dish with butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, pecans, and a spiced apple cider glaze.

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I think that about sums up Thanksgiving break!  Honestly, I did not want to come back yesterday, and I felt pretty depressed about the prospect of being back for a few weeks.  I’m not sure why this is happening my junior year (rather than freshman year), but my roommate mentioned that she felt the same way, which was somewhat reassuring.  Even though we’re still homesick and disenchanted (and in my case, 110% broke), we are excited to get back into training, crush finals, and get ready for Christmas!


On another note, I want to briefly recap my break week and plans for transitioning back into training, as well as some goals for the upcoming track season.

Cross country 2017 recap:

  • Ran approximately 1,300 miles (from May 22 to November 10). So I beat last year’s season total by 9 miles!
  • 5 races
  • After a great summer of training (and not doing much else honestly), I arrived on campus feeling fit and ready to go.  I started working out with the top group, and my team felt cohesive and excited for a strong season.  Unfortunately, team-wise, we never got it together and were plagued with injuries, illness, weird circumstances, etc.  It was very demoralizing.
  • Individually, I felt like I really hit my stride in mid-October, right as my team was starting to fall apart.  My race at Penn State pumped me up for CAAs, and I wanted to try to contend for the win!  However, my body started rebelling, and I had a terrible race at CAAs, finishing 19th.  This persisted through regionals (fatigue, nausea, headaches, every run was bad), and by the end of the season, nothing was going well.
  • Interestingly, weight room did not go well this year.  I adore the weight room; lifting has always been fun for me, and I love to push myself (like chin-ups with chains!) and notice my form stay intact when I get tired during a race.  But this season, it just didn’t click.  I felt weak, tired, and did not progress in the weight room.

SO.  Not the way we wanted to end things, and I’m hungry for so much more.  In retrospect, there were some systematic issues that didn’t work for anyone on the team, and we have had discussions and brainstormed on how to be smarter going forward.


Looking forward to the 2018 track seasons:

After taking ten days off from running, I ran 19 miles and cross trained for 30 minutes last week.  I also completed some new strength circuits that will be incorporated into our training going forward.  20ish minutes of burpees, push-ups, jump squats, etc. left me hobbling around!

I’ve gotten bloodwork done and gone to the doctor to figure out what is wrong with my body.  In addition to the fatigue, my hair has become brittle and thin.  Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten any conclusive answers yet.  Tests for mono, thyroid issues, Lyme disease, anemia, etc. all came back negative.  So we shall see.

Going into track, I’m determined to be smart, listen to my body, and strive for the highest but quietly and humbly put in the work.  This will include:

  • More cross training!  As cross country progressed, I pretty much stopped cross training completely.  Last spring, I couldn’t put together consistent mileage, but cross training left me feeling strong as hell.  While I hope to maintain consistent mileage this season, I want to swim and/or bike at least twice a week.  My mileage might be a little lower, but it’s all about quality and sustainability.
  • Build more explosive power!  I naturally have pretty good speed for a distance runner.  However, my speed has not really developed since coming to college!  I want to incorporate more dynamic explosive exercises into my track training so that the last 400 meters of the 5k are actually impressive. Jumping squats and lunges, burpees, box jumps, and speedwork.  Embrace the pain!
  • Mentality: focus when you need to, relax when you need to, remember that you adore running, and don’t take life too seriously 🙂
  • Yoga!! I did a good job incorporating yoga into my training throughout the summer but definitely slacked in season.  Last spring, some of us would meet for relaxing yoga sessions every Wednesday and Saturday, and I want to restart this!

Already this week, I’m feeling much better than I had been at the end of cross country.  My body seems to have somewhat recovered, and I’ve been running happy.  I have no desire to do anything except easy, maintenance mileage for now, and I’m trying to appreciate every run.  But I still skipped out on doing yoga yesterday.  One step at a time…

 

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Training 10/9-10/15 (54 miles)

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

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

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Plate 1 of…many…

 

Week of 10/9-10/15:

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

Total: 54 miles

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

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

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

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

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Peanut butter chocolate chip chickpea cookie dough bites!

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This freshly baked pumpkin cinnamon roll was life

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

Training Week of 10/2-8 (58 miles)

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

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

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

Week of 10/2-10/8:

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

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

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

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Throwback to last week’s race

Week of 9/18-9/24:

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

Total: 57 miles.

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Week of 9/25-10/1:

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

Total: 53 miles + 60 min swim

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

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

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AMAZING (and EXPENSIVE)

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

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

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

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

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

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

My goals for the coming week:

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

Talk to you all later!

What’s in my kitchen? Apartment edition!

Happy Tuesday!  Today is the last day of summer, and so far I’ve gone to 7 am practice, completed a rainy tempo workout, ice bathed, went to the grocery store, meal prepped, finally set up my bed, napped, did a shakeout run, and slowly started accepting the fact that classes start tomorrow 😉

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Can I just stay in bed instead of going to my 8 am?

The weather didn’t get the memo that it’s still summer, and the offshoot from Hurricane Harvey has resulted in bucketloads of rain all day, including during our workout.  We don’t have it too bad, though.  Praying for all the people in Texas who are being hit hard by this hurricane!

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For the tempo workout, our coach split us into groups and gave us a pace range but also told us to run more based on effort than anything.  My group was assigned a 5 mile tempo at 6:00-6:15 pace.  I fell off the group after two miles and had a particularly rough fourth mile during which my legs locked up pretty badly, but I rallied well in the fifth mile and caught back up!   I’m pleased with the splits as a starting point- pretty sure this was one of my fastest tempos, and definitely the fastest I’ve run five miles.  After the tempo, we rope stretched, foam rolled, did a bit of strength, and ice bathed.

Tempo splits: 6:08, 5:54, 6:11, 6:21, 6:13.


I had some typical beginning-of-the-school-year errands to run after practice, such as picking up textbooks, getting a parking pass, and going to the grocery store.  This semester, my roommate and I are in an off-campus apartment, and we both have commuter meal plans with 50 meals per semester.  This means that we will be cooking the majority of our meals on our own.  This will be significantly cheaper than being on a meal plan with 14-20 meals per week; seriously, the campus dining plans average out to like $15 per meal for crappy dining hall food!  However, living on our own also requires more planning. Over the past few days, we’ve stocked up on kitchen essentials and meal prepped a bit.  I thought I’d show you what our kitchen looks like right now, as well as my plan for this semester with classes, practice, other commitments, and meals.

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As collegiate athletes, a healthy, wholesome diet is essential to keep our bodies primed for hard training and recovery.  This is one aspect of life in which I will never skimp.  Our fridge, freezer, and pantry are stocked right now. We’ll be sharing some food and keeping some individual.  In the fridge, we’ve got fruits and vegetables, Greek yogurt, cheese, nut butter, condiments, almond milk, and I meal prepped some chicken, brown rice, quinoa, and black beans in order to throw together quick lunches and dinners.  The freezer has the rest of the chicken, frozen berries, my salmon, edamame, a loaf of sprouted bread, and some black bean brownies I made the other day.

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Hit up Walmart for the non-perishable essentials!  The 4-pack of black beans was 57 cents!

Our pantry is full of baking supplies, chia and hemp seeds, bars, cooking essentials such as olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pasta and pasta sauce, salsa, etc.  It’s a hard job stocking a kitchen with all the essentials without breaking the bank!  I think most of the major grocery hauls are done now, and my goal is to stick to a very low weekly budget from here on out.  Think $25-30 per week.  I am prepared with tons of brown rice, oats, potatoes, pasta, canned beans, and cheap bread 🙂

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This semester, my class schedule is pretty compatible with practice and meals.  I have an 8 am for the first time ever!  I also don’t really have time for lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays- haven’t figured out what I’m going to do about that yet.  My plan is to meal prep breakfast every day (except Friday- no classes again!) and pack my lunch most days.  For dinner, I’ll either go to the dining hall or just cook up a bunch of protein and complex carbs at the beginning of the week so that I can fix quick dinners and have more time to study (theoretically…).

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Meal prep on our doll-sized stove

A healthy, wholesome diet is an integral part of academic and athletic success!  All it takes is a little planning.  Also, my roommate is cooking her dinner right now and it smells delicious and I’m starving after a workout and a shakeout run, so I’m going to go eat.  The next post will hopefully be academic and athletic goals for the semester/year!

 

 

Summer Training Week 13: 55 miles + yoga

The past week has been very eventful!  After an exhausting last week of work and running, I went to see Lifehouse, Switchfoot, and Brynn Elliott last Sunday with one of my best friends.  The concert was amazing…but we didn’t get home until midnight, and I’ve never felt less recovered after a recovery day. 😅 So I struggled through a morning run on Monday, skipped my double, and prayed that I’d feel better for our team training trip!  This week was sort of a down week- I still ran 54 miles… Isn’t it funny how our perspectives change based on where we’re at in training?

This morning, I went to a yoga class before heading to my favorite farmer’s market for the last time before I go back to school.  I swear, the people at this farmer’s market are the nicest, most compassionate people in the world.  Every time I go there, it restores my faith in humanity 🙂

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Lifehouse and Switchfoot concert!

Week 13 (8/14-8/20):

Monday: AM: 7 miles on bike path.  STRUGGLE- body is so tired.  Glute activation + push-ups.  PM: skipped my double, light core.

Tuesday:  Mosquito-infested workout with teammates on island soft surface: 20 min w/u, drills, 12-7-7 with 3 min recovery, 3 mile c/d.  Total = 11 miles.  Went really well!  I felt very strong mentally and physically.

Wednesday:  5 miles with teammates easy + core.  New shoes.  PM: eventful ocean swim with my freshman teammates in which we got caught in the riptide/current for awhile…

Thursday:  AM: 7 miles with teammates, drills, strides, strength (push-ups, lunges, roller abs, etc.) Lighthouse climb!  PM: 3 miles with teammates.

Friday:  Early workout with freshman teammate.  20 min w/u, drills, 7 x [3:00h, 1:00e], 20 min c/d.  Felt ok, not amazing.  Fewer mosquitoes!  Total: 9 miles.

Saturday: 13 miles on bike path.  Listened to podcast about accents.  Pretty humid/hot.  Took an energy gel at mile 9 and hammered the last 20 minutes.  Overall good run!  Trail was very crowded.

Sunday: off.  Vinyasa yoga class.

Total: 54 miles + 1 hour yoga class

Not the most interesting training week, but the concert and training trip were an absolute blast.  When Lifehouse played “You and Me” and “Hanging by a Moment” one right after the other, my friend and I almost cried.  We also got to meet Brynn Elliott after the show- she was incredibly affable and enthusiastic, and she’s only a year older than us!

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The training trip got off to an interesting start with a mosquito-infested workout on Tuesday morning.  Apparently, it was the worst mosquito day some of the locals could remember! A few of the girls looked like they had contracted a bad case of chickenpox.  Throughout the trip, we worked out together, went to the beach, climbed a lighthouse, ate immense amounts of ice cream every night, explored the island, saw wild ponies, had dance parties and ridiculous late-night talks, drank lots of coffee and took lots of pictures.  I am so happy this trip turned out as well as it did 🙂

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None of our seniors or fifth years came on the training trip, so the junior class (read: my class!) was unexpectedly thrust into leadership roles that we didn’t expect to have until next year.  One of my classmates organized the majority of the trip, and some of us took on the task of talking to the freshmen about team rules, team dynamic, goals, expectations, how each practice works, and college in general.  Everyone worked together really well with the cleaning, cooking, and carpooling.

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One of the freshmen and I ended up swimming far out into the ocean- farther than I had ever swum- which was exhilarating!  Until we got caught in a riptide/current that pulled us farther and farther out into the water.  There’s nothing like the feeling of being pulled backwards as you attempt to swim forwards.  This particular freshman and I are both pretty fearless, but even so, I felt a bit of apprehension as we made ZERO progress getting back to shore!  We eventually made it back by swimming with the waves and letting the current pull us around in a giant circle.  Phew!

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This trip was really good for my mental health and balance as well.  Reuniting with my teammates reminded me that all the hard work throughout the summer is done for a reason and reinvigorated me for the upcoming cross country season.  Also, a lot of last year’s top seven is in our senior/fifth year class, which meant that I was one of the faster and higher mileage runners on this trip.  Along with my fellow juniors and high mileage runners, I ended up leading workouts, runs, and conversations about college running for the freshmen.  It was surreal!

Since the juniors were the leaders on this trip, I really wanted to be a good role model for the underclassmen.  So this trip had the awesome effect of breaking unofficial routines and rules that I had gotten stuck in throughout the summer.  I just went with the flow.  Ice cream every night?  Absolutely yes.  Meals at weird times?  Waiting until 8 am to run- something that I hadn’t done all summer?  Staying up later than I had been comfortable with?  Relaxing in the afternoon?  I tried to say yes to everything.  Also tried to lead by example- post-workout recovery snack, rope stretching, foam rolling, treating myself, not hammering maintenance runs, and striking that tricky balance of relaxation and dedication to training.  I hope we (the juniors) did a good job.  The underclassmen reassured us that we did great, which was so gratifying 🙂

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One of the highlights from this morning was at the farmer’s market.  As I mentioned before, the people there are the nicest ever.  I stopped at one of the bread stands and made small talk with the woman who works there- we sort of know each other because the store where I work is very close with the farmers and small businesspeople from the market.  We talked about me going back to school, and when I tried to buy a lemon bite from her, she gave it to me for free and said, “save it for college”!  This happens all the time.  Do you see why I love it there??

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It was also really delicious.  The tangy glaze paired perfectly with the soft, sweet-yet-sour lemon pastry.

I also just adore the farmer’s market because you can find the most unique food items there.  Moroccan spiced carrot hummus?  Okra?  Dirt-cheap apples, peaches, and tomatoes?  Agave lime gazpacho??  I’ll probably miss it more than my home, to be honest…(mostly kidding).

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I’m going back to school and moving into my apartment later this week, so the next few days will be filled with planning, packing, (running) and convincing myself that I’ll be okay living 1.5 miles from campus without a car. 😉  I can’t believe summer is almost over!

An Adventure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The most important part 😉

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

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

Summer Training Week 9 (57 miles + 30 min swim)

The sun is going down a tiny bit earlier each night, sudden thunderstorms crop up briefly and intensely throughout the afternoons, my brother is packing for sleepaway camp, somehow we are on week NINE of summer training!…summer goes on.

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Too hot even for me to eat hot oatmeal- but this (cold) bowl was dang good

I took today completely off from running but drove for over six hours, so I’m just as tired 😉  Also SO full.  But today was lots of fun!

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Week 9 (7/17-7/23):

Monday:  AM: drills, 7 miles on sidewalks, strides.  Very humid.  Didn’t feel super fresh, but other than that, went well.  Core circuit.  PM: 3 miles.  Sore/tired calves and feet.

Tuesday:  3 mile warm-up, drills, fartlek (15 min on- 3 off- 10 on- 3 off- 5 on), 2.5 miles cool down on canal.  90% humidity, sweated a lot.  Legs didn’t feel very fresh but rallied at the end.  Ice bath.  VERY tired later in the day.  Some unplanned food choices (read: ice cream binge) but I know that’s because I was so tired.

Wednesday:  AM: 5 miles sidewalks.  Very hot/humid.  Legs were tired but decent run.  Lift day 1- PRed on squats and had a good deadlift!  Last day of dog-sitting.  PM: 30 min swim, felt good to get off feet, very relaxing, but tired afterwards.

Thursday:  AM: 7 miles, drills, strides, 10 min core.  Hot/humid.  Felt okay.  PM: 3 miles treadmill @ 8:10 pace.  Cranky, tired at work afterwards.

Friday: 2 mile warm-up, drills, 4 x [6:00 on, 2:00 off], 2 mile cool down on bike path.  Hot/humid.  Ice bath.  Didn’t feel fresh but it went pretty well.  PM: skipped lift and took two naps instead.  #Yolo.

Saturday: 12 miles on sidewalks + bike path.  Best way to describe this run: boring?

Sunday: off

Total: 57 miles + 30 min swim

Highest volume week in awhile!  This week can be adequately summarized with the phrase, “Didn’t feel fresh but it went pretty well.”  At no point during the week did I feel fresh (not even on Monday- oops), but I think I rode the line between hard training and overstressing my body well!  (Although maybe the amount of power naps I took says otherwise.)

Slacked off on yoga this week and my mind was generally not relaxed.   Oh, well.  Will work on being more mindful this coming week.

It continued to be extremely hot and humid all week.  I am very diligent about getting out the door by 7 am at the latest, yet the temperature never dipped below 75 and the humidity never dipped below about 90%.  Lovely.  Just reminding myself over and over that these sauna-like conditions will pay off in the future!  My body is getting more efficient.

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Post-Friday workout sweatiness

Honesty moment of the week!  I’ve identified that I tend to be extremely cranky and binge-eat ice cream on the days where I work while tired from that day’s training session.  For some reason, this has been causing a lot of anxiety.  Yesterday, after twelve miles, I ate ice cream at work and honestly struggled a lot, mentally.  HOWEVER, today I road-tripped to see friends and indulged in delicious eats and was back to normal and didn’t give a crud.  It was awesome (and a relief!). I’m weird.  I don’t really understand.

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Hawaiian BBQ quesadilla with chicken, melted jack cheese, pineapple, onion, and BBQ sauce…HEAVEN

This morning, I picked up my friend who lives about 40 minutes from me, and then we drove 2.5 hours south to visit some other friends.  It was sweltering outside, but we still had a good time!  We got to meet one of our new teammates, and she was incredibly nice.  We ate lunch at a cute smoothie/sandwich place (I got the Hawaiian BBQ chicken quesadilla and a soy cappuccino), checked out consignment stores and boutiques, explored a spice store, and perused a used-books bookstore (my favorite).  I got 5 books for $3, and an adorable cat snoozed in the window of the bookstore.

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We took the scenic route home, and after winding through rural highway roads for a couple hours, we spontaneously stopped at a roadside ice cream barn that sources their dairy from local cows.  While I was still stuffed from lunch, I did taste the dark chocolate ice cream, and it was incredibly creamy and high-quality.  I will be back.

IMG_7271.jpgPhew!  After seven hours in the car, I’m pretty tired, a little bloated, and craving my bed. This next week is a bit of a down week- I’ll probably hit around 48-50 miles.  I am going to shoot for a 13-mile long run, though!  Hopefully, my legs will feel more refreshed from the low(er) mileage and I will #crushit 😉

Summer Training Week 7 (55 miles)

Just wrapped up four work days in a row- WOO!  The turnaround between a 5-10pm shift and a 12-5 pm shift always feels like, “Wasn’t I just here?”  But after two summers, I actually really like my workplace and know my coworkers better than last summer, so most of the time I don’t mind.

Anyway, this past week brought 55 miles!  And since I did last week’s long run on Sunday and this week’s on Saturday, I actually ran 66 miles in one week.  Ouch.

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Post-long run with the best ladies

Week 7 (7/3-7/9):

Monday:  AM: drills, 7 miles on sidewalks, strides, core circuit.  Tired from Sunday’s long run so ran watchless/relaxed and it turned out to be very pleasant.  PM: 2 miles on dirt trails, nice and slow.  1 hour slow flow yoga class.  Sunny, warm, humid.  Total = 9 miles.

Tuesday:  AM: 20 min w/u, drills, 4 mile tempo on bike path (6:27, 6:15, 6:18, 6:14), 20 min c/d, ice bath.  Pretty warm and humid.  PM: 2 miles on treadmill at 8:10 pace, felt surprisingly good and super happy!  Light lift.  Holy hunger!  Total = 11 miles.

Wednesday:  5 miles sidewalks (1 on turf).  Legs were tired but decent run.  Walked a fair amount around the Mall with out-of-town relatives  Very humid.

Thursday:  AM: 7 miles with friend on sidewalks/bike path.  Pouring rain.  Strides + light upper body lift.  Felt ok.  PM: 2 miles on treadmill at 8:15ish pace, didn’t enjoy it very much.  Total = 9 miles.

Friday:  2 mile warm-up, drills, fartlek on bike path (6-5-4-3-2-4×1 min with 1/2 recovery), 2 mile cool down.  Had to pump myself up for this.  Felt decent during the workout, but DIED on the cool down and got back to my house and felt like I was going to die for about 1.5 hours. Ice bath.  Total = 9 miles.

Saturday: 12 miles on the Mall, Mount Vernon bike path, Georgetown, etc. with teammates!! Ice bath. It was SO fun to run with them. Very humid.  My fuel tank was definitely empty the last 15 minutes of the run.  Longest run since October!!

Sunday: off

Total: 55 miles
Started workouts this week, and they didn’t go too badly!  The tempo was hard, and I mentally enjoyed the fartlek more, even though I felt like crap afterwards.  It was very humid and pretty hot all week, although it did rain a lot in the middle of the week.  I had running buddies on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday!
This week, our lifting coach gave us a down week, so we hardly did any strength.  Two light sessions and one core circuit- and I’m actually completely fine with that.  Looking forward to getting back into the weight room and doing more core this week, though.  It’s interesting to think back to last year when I was obsessed with doing core- like I’d lose my six-pack or not be “good enough” if I didn’t work abs every dang day.  News flash, old me- you can do core as infrequently as once a week and your weight room sessions will keep you fit and functionally stronger!  Revolutionary 😉
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We are terrible at actually taking pictures

My teammates actually came up to visit on Friday and Saturday, which was awesome.  We went to Jazz in the Garden on the Mall, went out to dinner, caught up with another friend, and long ran together on Saturday morning.  It was very scenic, and I tried to fit in as many monuments and historical sites as I could into the long run route.  Afterwards, we ice bathed and I made brunch for us- oatmeal with a toppings bar, scrambled eggs, yogurt, coffee, the works.
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Watched over by the Rolling Stones haha

There were a couple days this week that were very rollercoaster-y emotionally, as well as a few binge-like sessions that I’m not too proud of.  But if I remember correctly, that tends to happen as mileage increases and training intensifies.  There were also outside factors that contributed to a shaky emotional state.  I’m looking forward to leaving it behind, not continuing to guilt-trip myself, and learning to recognize the triggers that cause me to have trouble differentiating between physical hunger and mental tumult.
I wasn’t going to take today off even though I had an off day on schedule.  But I woke up this morning and my legs were screaming at me, so I listened to them and took the day off 😉  Used the extra time in the morning that I wasn’t running to make a killer breakfast. It is SO important to let the body recover to avoid overtraining!
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Heck yes

Since I completely failed at finding soft surfaces this week (3 miles out of 55 #nice), my goal this week is to get on some dirt or gravel trails.  It’s tricky because I have to dog sit, but I am determined to make it work.

The coming week has 58 miles on schedule, and I’m trying to hit 58-60.  The increased volume makes soft surface runs even more important- I know my body can’t handle 60 miles on sidewalks and asphalt.  Let’s goooo.

Summer Training Week 4 (42 miles + 120 min XT)

#dead

#dead

#dead

#beenlisteningtomilkychancefor3hours

#revived to write this post 😉

Heck yeah, it’s time for another weekly summer training recap!  This week, I pushed my mileage a wee bit more (getting ready for that jump next week) and worked a lotttt of difficult shifts.  Definitely crashed and burned a bit by Saturday.  Got on a lot more soft surfaces, though!

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Long run views from this morning!

Week 4 (6/12-6/18):

Monday:  AM: 6 miles bike path.  Some soft(er) surface…for like a mile!  Core circuit.  Some foot pain but not too bad.  PM: 30 min swim.  Felt good.  Foot soak, roll, Tiger Balm.
Tuesday:  AM: 7 miles with Noah with one mile on the trails.  Significant foot pain during the second half of the run.  Drills and strides.  EXCELLENT lower body lift.  Pushed the weight and did the most unassisted parallel grip pull-ups I’ve ever done.  PM: 2 miles.  Crazy work shift until 10 pm per usual.
Wednesday:  60 min pool (50 swim, 10 aqua jog).  Was very pleasant.  1 hour slow flow yoga class.
Thursday:  AM: 7 miles @ 7:39 average on the C&O canal.  TBH felt pretty darn shitty.  PM: 30 min bike, felt good, upper body lift.  Busy work shift until 10 pm.
Friday:  AM: 7 miles on sidewalks/bike path.  Glute activation, drills, strides, core.  PM: 3 miles.  Tired from morning.  Long, crazy work shift until 11 pm.
Saturday: OFF.  Very glad for this rest day.  SO tired from the past couple days.  I felt like a zombie until like 6 pm.
Sunday:  10 miles @ 7:40 average at Manassas Battlefield.  All soft surface!  (Long grass/gravel/trails)  I had never run there before.  It was hot, humid, and hilly, but the views were unbeatable!

Total: 42 miles + 120 min XT.  
Dang…work this week kicked my ass.  Our ice cream store is getting more popular by the minute, and during today’s shift, we did not stop moving one time for five hours straight.  Also, the A/C in the store is broken, the freezers pump out hot air, and it never gets lower than 85 degrees.  After a hot, dehydrating ten-miler…I almost passed out into the dip case a couple times 😉  It’s just heat training, right??
I managed to get two soft-surface runs in this week, along with some sporadic dirt paths during a couple other runs!  So definitely an improvement from last week.
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Sleep this week wasn’t the greatest, unfortunately.  I worked a lot of late shifts, which riled me up at bedtime.  But I suppose it’s worth it for the paycheck!  #brokecollegestudentprobs
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And my nutrition has been okay, but not stellar- I’m just eating a lot of breads/baked goods and sugar, which is not prime fueling.  My post-run recovery foods are good (oatmeal, yogurt, eggs, nut butter, fruits, veggies…protein, complex carbs, healthy fats), but as the day progresses, I’ve been getting lazy!  And it’s hard at work when you’re just tryna stay alive, ya feel?  I get home after a long, hard shift and can’t tell if I’m physically ravenous or just mentally need some junk food.  Oh, well.  You live and learn (and lose a six-pack in the process, hehe).
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Homemade pumpkin bread

This morning’s long run was 80 degrees, 85% humidity, and very hilly with long grass, but the views were awesome!  I had originally planned to meet my friend out at the battlefields, but her foot has been bothering her, so I ran by myself.  Ran in silence over the hills and through the woods (literally) for the first half and then listened to a Runner’s World podcast during the second half.  It was kind of hard.IMG_6605.jpg
The new training week starts tomorrow, so gotta go rest up!  Running bright and early with one of my favorite running buddies.