A long road ahead

Good morning! (By the time I finish writing this, it probably won’t be morning anymore, but whatever.)  We’re in the middle of the last week of classes, and I’ve got three final exams, two final presentations, and a paper on tap.  In eight days, I will be halfway done with junior year!  After practice and lift this morning, I worked on a group project and then went to the training room for STIM and NormaTec.  I don’t feel like doing work before lunch, so I’m going to blog instead 🙂

We ran what was supposed to be a steady state workout this morning, but it definitely felt more like a tempo.  This was essentially my first workout back, and I 100% felt the time off, crappier diet, and general out-of-shape-ness.  I only ran 3 miles of the steady state due to my hamstring, but those 3 miles were enough!  We hit 6:27, 6:17, 6:22, and now I can see how much work is ahead.  It was so hard.  I don’t think I could have gone much farther.  Crazy to think that I was doing 5+ miles at low 6 minute pace during cross country…  But I’m excited to buckle down, make incremental improvements, and get better each day.  This is a good starting place…but not where I will be in a few months!!



The second week of winter training was a little weird because I tweaked my hamstring at the beginning of the week and therefore spent the majority of the rest of the week in the pool and on the bike.  Pool workouts coupled with quality strength sessions every day left me sore.

Week of 11/27-12/3: 

  • Monday: warm-up, dynamic exercises, 5 miles @ 7:20 pace, strength circuits
  • Tuesday: warm-up, dynamic drills and exercises, 6 miles “progressive” (first 3 7:30-7:10 pace, second 3 6:40s?), lift in weight room, foam roll session
  • Wednesday: AM: 60 min pool (30 swim, 30 aqua jog).  PM: jog on turf, circuits
  • Thursday:  Stim and stretch at training room for hamstring.  20 min bike, very light lift, foam roll, 30 min swim (about a mile)
  • Friday: AM: 60 min pool workout (600m warm-up; 4 x 250m hard; 100m easy; 5 x sprint down, easy back; 100m easy; 5 x submarine down, easy back, 400m cool down = 3000m).  PM: 30 min bike, general strength
  • Saturday: 6 miles @ 7:30 (on trails) down to 7:05 (on roads) + 30 min bike
  • Sunday: 40 min bike

Total: 17 miles + 270 min XT

Last week involved some drama and major negative mentality.  I’m not going to go into inappropriate detail, but I’ll just say we have a lot to sort out with training plans, communication, and mindset.

On a happier note, outside of running and cross training, lots of fun things happened last week!  After practice on Friday, the majority of the team went out for sushi.  I’d never ordered sushi before (I’ve had it, but I prefer Thai and Chinese food), and it was delicious.  Except I’m kind of broke, so not sure if it was worth the bill 😉

We drove to a local sports complex to run on Saturday morning because there’s a hilly, soft surface 3.5 mile trail loop in the woods.  The chilly air left our hands stiff and red, but we eventually warmed up, and it was a nice run!  Throughout the cross country season, our maintenance runs a) stopped being maintenance runs #ugh and b) got really slow, so getting back into that 7:00-7:30 pace is a bit of a shock but really fun.

After the run, I drove up to Richmond to meet my mom for lunch.  She had important things to deliver to me…like 50 citrus fruits, my credit card statement, Advent calendar, and ice scraper.  We went to The Daily Kitchen and Bar in Carytown, and I ordered the Fig and Pig pizza while she got the Barbecue Duck pizza.  HOLY SHIT.  Life-changing.  We also ordered their highly rated Brussels sprouts; paired with balsamic dressing, freshly shaved cheese, pomegranate seeds, and pistachios, they were gone in seconds.


Two late nights in a row and myriad late-night #treatyoself happenstances left me feeling pretty darn gross by Sunday.  I’ve been back on that healthy grind for three days, and I’m reminding myself to fuel my training and treat my body like a temple 😉 or something like that.

Sunday night was Grand Illumination!  Thousands of people crowded the streets of Colonial Williamsburg to watch the fireworks under the light of the SuperMoon.  The Christmas decorations in the square made me so happy, and everyone enjoyed the holiday spirit.


Last night was the annual Vermonster that all the sports teams participate in.  I was not on the team, but I cheered my heart out!  Women’s cross country almost made the final round but missed it by one spot because one girl got stuck with the gross cookies and almost choked…  Men’s cross country placed second to the unstoppable men’s swim team!  Vermonster is such a spectacle, it’s hilarious.


This week, I plan to increase my mileage, continue to cross train, and practice deliberately. I’ll probably hit low 30s for mileage, along with a few hours of cross training. By deliberate practice, I mean focus during all drills, active warm-up sessions, and strength circuits.  Additionally, I’m going to slow down and take the time to stretch and foam roll effectively.  This is somewhat of a weak point because I tend to get complacent and get stuck in the same ineffectual routine.  But these are the little things that, when incorporated day in and day out, make the difference in training and racing.


Dental “flap surgery”

I’m home!! and covered in dog hair to prove it 😉

Today was an interesting day for sure.  I woke up early, ran six miles on the trails around campus for the last time this year, and packed and cleaned until the dorms closed at 10.  Then it was off to spend midday with my mom until it was time for my dental surgery at 2.  We headed home around 4, hit major traffic, and here we are!


This was inside

We explored some over-the-top Christmas stores before having lunch at my all-time favorite restaurant 🙂


My lunch: hickory salmon, the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had with a homemade honey mustard dressing, and roasted brussels sprouts.  Hers: an incredibly decadent grilled cheese with crab, asparagus, tomato, bacon, Gruyere, and Old Bay mayo, as well as a cup of shrimp bisque. This restaurant also provides the fluffiest rolls and sweet potato biscuits.

Then it was time for surgery!

Just for some context, I passed out and knocked my two front teeth out in 2012, started wearing a denture appliance in 2013, have recently had some problems with it, have had to take it out for every single meal, and am finally beginning the permanent implant process after four years.

img_3878This process requires three major steps: 1) inserting anchor screws into the jawbone area to act as the roots, 2) reopening the gums once the bone and screws meld, and 3) attaching the permanent fake teeth.  The first step, called “flap surgery”, happened today.

They shot me up with a local anesthetic, cut open my gums to access the jawbone, inserted the anchor screws, screwed them into place with a wrench, and sutured my gums back together.  In two months, once the bone and anchor screws fused (a process called osseointegration), they’ll reopen the gums, take impressions, and fit me for permanent teeth.

Anyhoo, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to run for a few days, but the dentist gave me the all-clear to resume training as soon as tomorrow!  The first few hours after the surgery hurt like hell, but after some Aleve, Tylenol, and ice, everything feels a lot better now.  I was even able to eat shrimp alfredo pasta for dinner, and my lovely friend brought me Tropical Smoothie!

I’m going to spend the next couple days running, relaxing, organizing, and engaging in Christmas festivities.  The “break” part of my break really only lasts until Sunday because after that I will be working and running full-time until I return to school in mid-January.  I’ll be interning in DC with a less-than-ideal commute, so training twice a day will be really tricky and lots of planning and meal prep will be necessary.  But I’m looking forward to learning how to truly “adult” 😉  Honestly, after a rough last month, I think the best thing for me to do is stay busy and grow up!





♫Is it too late now to say sorry♫…

…to my coaches and my calf for running yesterday’s workout way too fast?

But first: Monday’s lunch!  ‘Twas simple yet gorgeous.


PB&J, carrots, sugar snap peas, pretzels, edamame, and plain Greek yogurt with strawberries

After an easy (finally!) six miles on Monday, my calf wasn’t feeling great but the rest of me was raring to go.   The workout was the usual 20 minutes warm-up, drills, and strides, and then 4 sets of 3-4 x 400.  The freshmen (so, me) were instructed to only do 12 total, so I did 4 sets of 3.  The first set was supposed to be at lactate threshold pace, the second set at 10k pace, the third at 5k-3k pace, and the fourth at 3k-1500 pace, with rest time increasing as pace increased and a lap between sets.

But…um…it’s really hard to go lactate threshold pace for 400s.  The “comfortably hard” pace is ideal for pace runs and sometimes even mile repeats, but for speedwork?  Clearly, this workout stressed control, and I failed miserably.

Anyway, I warmed up to the track and cycled through the usual dynamic stretches and strides.  My first set of 3 was 87, 86, 85, which is definitely not my lactate threshold pace but definitely not hard either.  I was itching to go faster.  This pattern of “way too fast” continued for the rest of the workout…


  • 1st set: 87, 86, 85
  • 2nd set: 82, 83, 82
  • 3rd set: 82, 82, 79
  • 4th set: 79, 76, 73

At least I decreased every set…

This workout included a lot more rest than I’ve had in awhile, and I felt good throughout the entire workout because of it.  I ended up circling the track during the same time my high school team was doing mile repeats.  On my last 400, the varsity boys were about 50 meters in front of me, and I was still full of energy from holding back the rest of the workout and really wanted to catch them, so I hammered…and I caught them.  Probably not the best decision, and it left my calves burning, but mentally, it was great. 😉  All in all, it was a good workout, even if it was much faster than it should’ve been!

Sorry, coaches.  Sorry, calves.  Please forgive me.

After a 20 minute cool down (total = 9 miles) and a couple of balance circuits, I refueled with plain Greek yogurt, melted frozen raspberries, and chia seeds.


Yes, those are my workout instructions on my hand.  No, I did not follow them.

Followed by a lovely dinner of 2 bowls of homemade lentil soup, as well as toasted French bread with olive oil.


The other night, my brother made cinnamon roll waffles… Just stick the Pillsbury dough in a waffle maker.  Decadent cinnamon rolls in waffle form!  Amazing.


Today, one of my college teammates drove up, and we met up for lunch before he went off to explore the DC area.  It was great catching up with him after not being at college for a month!  I worked my way through 4 huge pieces of the same pizza from a couple weeks ago to fuel up for my super difficult cross train. 😉  Only did 50 minutes of stationary biking (60 on my schedule but only had time for 50) to give my calves and the rest of my body a bit of a break as I work through this high mileage week.  I completely failed at the post-cross train stretching, though.


When you have to cover the numbers display with a sweatshirt so you don’t look at it every 5 seconds…

Gorgeous sunset after stationary biking.


Dinner was once again incredible thanks to my mother.   Roasted pork loin with barbecue sauce, sweet potato, green beans, and a butternut squash/swiss chard/Gruyere casserole type thing that was quite delicious.  I might post the recipe!


Tomorrow, I have the usual Thursday maintenance run, strides, and strength work.  Just a few more days until the return to school!

In-season training week 3 (40 miles)

Hello friends!  Fall weather has finally arrived in this college town… almost.  It was 66 degrees this morning and didn’t get hotter than 75 the entire day.  I wore jeans!!

In-season week 3 brought lower mileage, and it seems that my body has finally adjusted to college training! (Knock on wood.)  I’ve felt great on the past few runs, and I’ve really looked forward to each workout.

Week 3:

Monday 9/7: 6 miles @ 7:48 average, drills, strides, strength circuit
Tuesday: 2.5 miles warm-up, 4 x [5:00 hard, 3:00 easy], 5 x [1:00 hard, 1:00 easy] on home course.  8 minutes cool down.
Wednesday: 60 minutes cross training (50 minutes aqua jog + biking to all my classes)
Thursday: 6 miles @ 7:50 average, drills, strides, strength circuit, 30 minutes biking
Friday: 3 miles warm-up, 4 miles pace run @ 6:28 average, 2 miles cool down, leg lift
Saturday: off
Sunday: 10 miles @ 8:05 average

Total: 40 miles running, 90 minutes cross training

Comments:  Guess who skipped her Saturday yoga session this week…this girl.  Sorry coaches!  I did stretch and roll, I just didn’t do any downward dogs or pigeons or trees.

The beginning of this week was rough.  My legs were really heavy on Monday, and I got sick that night, so I had a sore throat and general nausea during Tuesday’s workout.  But I got through it!  All I did was shorten my cool down.  I recovered mostly in the pool on Wednesday, and Thursday’s run was pretty good.

I found myself positively anticipating Friday’s workout as early as Thursday night!  After receiving our gear on Wednesday, the entire team decided to match with our new spandex and neon sports bras.


I’m third from right

I felt good on the warm-up, although there was a worrisome crackly feeling in my left ankle and arch that I just kind of ignored until it went away.  We started the pace run, and for two miles I felt really good and light on my feet.  My right leg locked up during the second half, but I still finished okay.  We started out faster than we’ve started the past few pace runs (we were right at 6:30 instead of 6:35), and we just maintained that and even sped up a bit.  Overall, it was the fastest average pace my group has run on our pace run, and it was less than 15 seconds off my 5k PR pace…for four miles!

Workout group strong

Chasing the sun- (look up that song by Sara Bareilles, it’s great)

I took Saturday completely off.  This morning, we went to the same place we went for last week’s long run, and I did ten miles again.  We did a slightly different route and took it slower, and I felt amazing!  My legs weren’t even fatigued at the end of the run; it was like I hadn’t even done a long run.  Recovery long runs are my favorite ❤

I love my workout group

I love my workout group (and my dorky happy face)

Nutrition this week has been so-so.  Last night, our recruit arrived around 8, so naturally we went out to eat.  After eating my regular dinner around 6:30, I ate an entire pizza and an entire skillet cookie by myself.  Yes.  The skillet cookies are absolutely amazing: a huge fresh-baked gooey cookie topped with vanilla ice cream.


I’ve also been eating mishmash lunches in my dorm room for the past few days because I’ve either been a) studying b) the timing has been weird or c) bad weather/laziness meant I didn’t want to walk all the way to the caf.


PB&J, carrots, snap peas, string cheese, and plain Greek yogurt with blueberries and hemp seeds

I biked to Trader Joe’s in an intense thunderstorm the other day, which was a little bit terrifying and very exhilarating.  I got all the necessities! (And definitely exceeded the weight capacity of eleven pounds for my bike basket.)


Fridge goals


My team had a make-your-own pizza party on Friday night, and it was amazing.  Also, random: my butternut squash from last week! Heaven.


Additionally, our dorm now has an extra resident.


The little dude has been hanging out outside for a week now.

One last thing before I turn in for the night: I nearly died in my three-hour outdoor biology lab last week.  Skinny jeans, long socks, rubber rain boots, and 96 degree weather.  And when I took off my shoes/pants, I had myriad huge bug bites all around my ankles!  How does that happen!?  That’s exactly why I wore the pants- to prevent that!


Enough of my complaining.  Off to bed!



Weekend Roundup

Get ready for better quality photos– I finally have my own iPhone! Now my own photos won’t be taken with a dinky iPod 4, but with an iPhone 5c.  Whoop whoop!

photo 3-6

Selfies on the new phone…I enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather and riding with the windows down!

This weekend was fun.   We had a fast workout on Friday afternoon; I won’t explain all the confusing logistics but basically we did a never-ending relay and everyone ended up running 3×800 with about 1:20 rest.  It was kind of a competition between three 3-person teams. My splits were: 2:35 (what!), 2:48, 2:45.  Afterwards, we did 4×150 meter strides.  The temperature reached the high 50s or low 60s, which was ridiculously warm after two months of 20 and below.  We optimistically ran in just sports bras during the strides– it was a little chilly but a great respite from the cold.

Saturday was spent going to the gym and getting my phone.   One last lifting session before states!

I was really excited for breakfast on Sunday because we had a new flavor of oatmeal!

photo 4-6

It was so good! I think I have a new favorite breakfast…maybe?  It’s definitely up there, but maybe not quite toast-with-almond-butter level.

Nutrition facts (one serving):

  • 160 calories
  • Fat calories: 20
  • 12 grams sugar
  • 4 grams protein
  • Ingredients: whole grain rolled oats, sugar, dehydrated apples (treated with sodium sulfite to promote color retention), cranberries, salt, natural flavor.

I was impressed with the ingredients list.  Even though sugar is numero dos (the first three ingredients listed generally make up 97% of that food), every ingredient on the list is familiar, simple, and pronounceable! Unlike some of the other Quaker flavors…

For an early lunch, I made a delicious omelet.

photo 3-7

One egg, two egg whites, a handful of spinach leaves, and two tablespoons of Boursin cheese later, I was fueled up for three hours of running errands.  I got two pairs of new shoes! What girl doesn’t love new shoes?

photo 2-7

photo 1-4We also bought lots of food, including a big (like, family-size) bag of sugar snap peas.  I think I have a problem…I’ve eaten a third of the bag already.

For dinner, I decided to experiment and make chicken breasts stuffed with spinach, goat cheese, lemon, and garlic.  Considering that my cooking was kind of a disaster (the chicken would not cook! I had to extend the cooking time and redo the oil and cut up the chicken), it tasted really good.  I learned some tricks for a successful stuffed chicken breast next time.

All in all, it was a satisfying weekend.  I ran in spandex yesterday!  It was great.

Lunch Love

I love lunch. Who doesn’t love lunch? It’s definitely in my top three for meal choices.

^That was me trying to be funny. Could you tell?

So anyway! I’m going to talk about the pros and cons more pros of packing your own lunch versus buying your lunch. I’ll also show you what I had for lunch today because obviously people care about that sort of thing and don’t have more important things to worry about.

First of all, when you buy lunch from (I’m going to say school because I’m still in high school) school, you don’t know what you’re eating.  In my three years in high school, I have gotten the “hot lunch” a grand total of one time. That was freshman year, and I had forgotten my lunch that day. I got a delicious (not), organic (hell no), real chicken (nope): chicken patty sandwich!!


I say that you don’t know what you’re eating because honestly, tell me what is in that chicken patty.  Obviously the bun is a generic, definitely-not-whole-wheat, frozen-and-then-toasted bun, but biting into that chicken patty is like biting into artificially flavored slimy rubber.  (It’s been two years and I still remember) I will bet you my almond butter that the patty is nowhere close to 100% chicken.

And it’s perfectly circular. So uniform that it kind of freaks me out. Another sign that what you hear is not what you are actually eating.

Sometimes I see the hot lunch, or I hear what’s for lunch on the announcements, and I just think, “That doesn’t look or sound like food. How can people put that into their bodies???” My school has “Meatless Mondays” where they serve I don’t even know what- fake tofu?- and other days they serve fried cheese sticks and globs of fake maraconi and cheese. This is ‘Murica! Ketchup is a vegetable!

Enough with the sarcasm.

My mom made my lunch for ten years, but this year she told me to suck it up, I’m sixteen and I have to make my own lunch.  The first couple weeks of the school year were rough, but now making my lunch every morning is actually fun.  I pack pretty good stuff in my lunch (usually), and I always get really excited for the school day when I know that I have a delicious, healthy, colorful lunch awaiting me.

Time to dissect my lunch box! Today wasn’t uber-healthy by any means, but it certainly wasn’t close to whatever the hot lunch was.

(I apologize for the crappy photo quality. My iPod isn’t the greatest picture-taker, especially in school light.)


For lunch today, I had spaghetti with homemade meat sauce. (The meat was completely organic- I actually went with my dad to pick up the quarter of the cow that he ordered from a butcher!) I love citrus, so I have an orange, grapefruit, or some clementines in my lunch almost every day.  I also had a big container filled with red pepper, baby carrots, and celery (the photo isn’t to scale, so you can’t tell how big the container was).  I brought some low-fat hummus to dip my colorful veggies in, along with a lower-fat Quaker chocolate-chunk chewy bar to snack on during last period, which is when I always get hungry again. #fastmetabolismproblems

So that’s my lunch! 128489178 times healthier than a fake-chicken patty that has traveled from who-knows-where or macaroni and cheese that doesn’t look like food.

Today’s lesson: Pack your own lunch! 🙂

First day of school/Silver Diner/welcome-back-workout

Today was the first day of my junior year!! Upperclassmen didn’t have to go to school until 11 because there were 3 hours of freshmen orientating in the morning. It included super fun activities like group jump rope and a scavenger hunt around the school!!!! (note the sarcasm) Thank god we didn’t have to do stuff like that my freshman year. Our school implemented this new “happy-joy-let’s-orientate-freshmen-by-having-them-take-part-in-kindergartener-activities” program during my sophomore year. Phew. (Dodged a bullet there)

Anyway, because we had time in the morning, my friend and I decided to go to Silver Diner (a local 50’s-style diner complete with juke boxes and all-day breakfast!) for breakfast. I’ve been eating pretty healthy for the past few days, so I thought, “Hey, why not go all out to celebrate the first day of school?” I ordered a Chunky Monkey milkshake, two huge blueberry pancakes with butter, scrambled eggs, and a stack of bacon. It was so delicious. My friend, who once ate an entire bag of Hershey’s Kisses in one day and still ate normally for the rest of the day, ordered french fries, bacon, and a chocolate milkshake. (Then she had her normal stack of 5 cookies for lunch). Our breakfasts were delicious, and we had fun putting quarters into the juke box and choosing songs like “You’re the one that I want” and “Hello, I love you.”

We got to school and had probably an hour to kill, so we wandered the halls and said hello to some people that we knew. Because school started so late, classes were only about 20 minutes today, and so far I love all of my classes…except for one of them. Out of the seven classes I’m taking, six of them are IB (I’m in the International Baccalaureate program). One of them is a normal level psychology class. Now, there’s a reason I don’t take normal level classes. I walked into class and it was full of lazy seniors that are only taking psych to fill their schedule and don’t actually care about the class. Needless to say, I’m choosing another elective and getting out of there as soon as possible!

We had a delightful Crime and Punishment test in English (first day back- they certainly don’t waste any time). I hardly remembered anything that had actually happened in the book. Oh well. After school, it was probably 90 degrees and we had a lovely hill workout! There were 3 of our top 7 and then our 8, 9, and 10 girls. It was really hot and I could feel the effects of my pig-out feast from this morning. We did 4 long hills and one short one, and on the short one I basically staggered to the finish and collapsed on the grass. Not fun

Tomorrow we’re waking up early to go to our 6 am Pilates class before school! Sooo fun!! (not) It’s a good way to start the morning, though, and I hear we’re doing a Starbucks run afterwards. Hopefully it’ll be fun; peaceful exercise and a Java Chip Frappucino make for a nice start to the day.

Because of my pig-out today, I definitely have to eat healthy tomorrow (except for the Frappucino). I already made my breakfast and lunch and they will be delicious:

Breakfast: smoothie with banana, frozen raspberries, dinosaur plum, non-fat yogurt, wheat germ, almond butter, and honey. I tasted it and it is sooooo good! I can barely restrain myself from drinking it right now. (I thought the dinosaur plums were nectarines until my mom looked at me like I was an idiot)

Lunch: “salad-in-a-wrap” (lettuce, spinach, cucumber, tomato, and lite Italian dressing in a tortilla), carrots and hummus, banana, and sugar snap peas

My mom is forcing me to finally grow up this year and make my own lunch. (I know, I’m a junior in high school, I should have been making my lunches for years, right? But my mother is awesome in that respect) I’m thinking this will last maybe a week or two, and then she’ll just end up making my lunches again. Hehe 🙂

All in all, a pretty good first day back! Hopefully the rest of the week will be good, too. Our first invitational is on Saturday!