Summer Training Week 10 (51 miles + 60 min swim)

It was 60 degrees when I woke up this morning!

Crazy.

Anyway, happy Sunday!  I was planning on sleeping in, but my body always has other plans…so a 5:45 am wake-up it was.  After writing for awhile, I made some waffles and went to the farmer’s market.

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Week 10 (7/24-7/30):

Monday:  AM: drills, 7 miles with friends on sidewalks/bike path, strides, difficult core circuit!  Legs felt fresh thanks to off day yesterday.  PM: Kayaked on the Potomac with some friends.  Ultimately decided not to double.  Definitely thought about that decision way too much! Ugh.

Tuesday:  AM: pre-early-workout ate toast with almond butter and banana. 2 mile warm-up, drills, 30 minute tempo, 26 minute cool down (that was an accident- I ran too far down the canal during the tempo haha).  Tempo felt strong- it was long, but I was not dead at the end!  Nuun and Picky bar between workout and lift.  Lift day 1.  Ice bath.  Worked 12-5 pm.  Quite tired after, but solid morning!  Abs are sore

Wednesday:  AM: 3 miles.  Sore from lift!  Nice weather.  Worked 12-5.  PM: 30 min swim.  Was very enjoyable 🙂

Thursday: AM: drills, 7 miles, strides on turf (finally did strides somewhere besides the asphalt!!), ate an energy bite between run and lift, lift day 2.  Lift went well!  PRed on farmer’s holds.  PM: 2 miles, humid/hot but felt good.  Worked 5-10 pm.

Friday: pre-workout ate toast with almond butter and banana. 2 mile warm-up on bike path, drills, 6 x [4:00h, 2:00e], 2 mile cool down.  Went well!  I was mentally strong.  Ice bath.  Solo road trip.

Saturday: 13ish miles (100 minutes) on trails/bike path.  Personal distance record!  This was a pretty awesome run!  I felt like I could have gone faster and farther.  Ice bath.

Sunday: 30 min swim

Total: 51 miles + 60 minutes swimming

This was a good week!  I didn’t have any “bad” runs and had two lovely swims.  For the most part, I slept pretty well and felt good about my nutrition this week.  It’s hard for me to be comfortable all the time with the sheer amount of food we have to eat with the level of training that we’re doing, but I’m just trying not to overthink it and listen to my body 🙂
I went kayaking with friends on Monday afternoon and am a little embarrassed to admit that I spent way too long thinking about whether or not I should double.  In the end, I did not double, had a lot of fun kayaking, and felt better on all my runs because I did not double.  Sheesh, Kathryn.
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Both workouts were super strong mentally…I have no idea what pace I was going (except for the one 1/2-mile split that I actually checked on Friday was 2:55).  I didn’t check my watch until 28 minutes into Tuesday’s 30 minute tempo, which was great!
Lifts went well.  I went hard on Tuesday and was noticeably sore for two days.
#Transparency: My period has not appeared for three months (no, I’m not pregnant).  I’m fueling properly and don’t think I’m overtraining, so that’s a little concerning and annoying.  Making a note of it here so I keep it in mind.
Didn’t do any yoga…again…
Well, that’s that!  Another week of training in the books.  A few more weeks until our training trip and less than a month until fall semester!

Teeth! LDOC workout! Eats!

But first: GUESS WHAT– I GOT MY PERMANENT TEETH YESTERDAY!!  RIP to the denture life!!

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After crushing a stressful formal business presentation that our group had been working on for two months, I headed to my dentist to get the teeth.  Then it was back to school to prepare for a Spanish presentation.  And no, I haven’t eaten an apple yet 😉

Anyway, happy last day of classes!  I actually did not have class today, but I spent the morning finishing a final paper for one of my Spanish classes before getting ready for the last Friday afternoon workout of the year.  (Meanwhile, it seemed as though everyone else at school was partaking in the last day of classes tradition of day-drinking…)

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It was a hot one- 88 degrees and very sunny- so I wasn’t sure how the workout was going to go.  But we prepared well and were very vigilant about hydrating and icing throughout, so it ended up going well!

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Oats, almond milk, shredded zucchini, egg whites, spices, blueberries, strawberries, and banana

Pre-workout breakfast: probably the biggest bowl of (z)oats I’ve ever made, plus a fried egg.  I kind of forgot to shake out this morning, but oh well.  Yesterday’s practice was a scavenger hunt that was more like a 7-mile fartlek, so my legs were trashed and probably benefited from the extra recovery!

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The best way to use all the peanut butter in the jar

The workout: 2.5 mile warm-up, drills, strides, 3 x 600 (400 @ 80 and kick the last 200, I ran 36-37) with 2:30 recovery, 6 x 400 at cruise pace (~83) with 1 minute recovery, 4 x 400 with 2 min recovery (77, 77, 77, 75), 2 mile cool down, rope stretch, ice bath.  I stayed hydrated before and after with coconut water, Nuun, and a variation of the “Can’t Beet Me” smoothie from Run Fast Eat Slow.

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1/2 frozen banana, frozen raspberries, steamed beets, fresh ginger, almond milk, vanilla protein powder, and a splash of coconut water

After the workout, our team went out for dinner before having fun with our annual paper plate awards and senior celebration.  My friend and I split a roasted beet salad and prosciutto garlic tomato pizza.

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And my paper plate award was pretty accurate- I will admit that sometimes I get a little competitive/aggressive…

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I’m going to be training through the conference championships with the rest of the team, mostly to give me something to do over finals.  My finals schedule includes two small projects due next week, but no actual exams until May 10!  I’m hoping to be able to travel to watch the team compete at conferences next weekend 🙂

Transparency time: Lately, there have been a couple instances where I’ve struggled mentally with eating a lot of rich food and not having my stomach/digestion behave perfectly.  I don’t count calories or macros or whatever (I’ve experimented with MyFitnessPal in the past, but our bodies know what they’re doing.  It’s our brains that screw everything up 😉 but I know that I perform better when I eat a lot.  For goodness’ sake, I just ran a 5k 90 seconds faster than I was running two years ago!  It’s just mentally hard sometimes to eat twice as much as everyone around you.

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IDK why I’m including this picture- I just like it

I’m just trying to remind myself of how much fuel we need to fuel the work that we’re doing.  It is ALWAYS better to overfuel than to under-fuel.  There are myriad examples that show how underfueling doesn’t work, ever.  And skillet cookies and mac and cheese will really just help this body handle mileage, intensity, and hot weather even better, right??  I’ll take that over miserably munching on raw vegetables and ignoring hunger cues any day.  The other day, we did clearances for next year, and I found out my weight for the first time in like two years.  And guess what?   It hasn’t changed at all since the first day of my freshman year of college.  Not that weight means anything at all- I’m way more efficient and can run a sub-18 minute 5k and do 20 chin-ups and handle 60 miles per week now- but I’m just saying our bodies are so smart and everyone has a go-to natural body weight and we need to eat a lot!

(Did that make any sense?  No?  It’s fine.)

Anyway, just a few finals, projects, and induction into the collegiate Spanish national honor society to get through before I am halfway done with undergrad!  I’ll be a junior in college before I know it.  Isn’t that crazy??  Sometimes it feels like I just got here!!

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:

Snowy mile repeats (6:09, 6:02, 6:00, 5:57)

Today marked the first snow of the year!  We had a workout on the schedule, but I’ve learned that the weather doesn’t care what your running plans are. 😉  The first flurries began to fall around 7 am and got progressively heavier as the day progressed.

My friend and I met up around 10:30 for our workout and ran three miles to the track to warm up.  It was 20 degrees outside with a “real feel” of eight.  To these Virginians, that was like the arctic tundra! (I’m sure all the Midwesterners/Northerners out there are laughing at us, but so be it.)

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Sorry, my phone’s in Spanish, but I wasn’t lying about the eight degrees thing

I layered up in tights, a long-sleeve tech shirt, an ear warmer, a sweatshirt, and light gloves.  My tightly tied sweatshirt hood did not leave my head the entire time, and my extremities quickly lost all feeling…

Keeping it real— honestly, neither my running buddy nor I were in the mood to do this workout.  The weather didn’t help.  I had a long day yesterday and actually fell asleep at 7:30 pm last night and woke up terribly disoriented two hours later.  I was groggy and exhausted this morning and my piriformis was hurting a lot and I almost called my coach and asked if I could please not do today’s workout.  We’ve both been working pretty much full-time throughout this entire break, and we sometimes feel burnt out.  5 am solo runs get old real quick.

But!!  Knowing that I had a running buddy counting on me forced me to get out the door.  And it’s not like this workout was optional.  We got to the track, and there were only a few other crazy souls out there braving the elements.  We did drills, and then it was time for the workout: 4-5 x mile with 2 minutes of recovery.  We agreed to start conservatively, get through 4 miles, and only do the fifth one if we were feeling amazing and if the weather cooperated.

The track got treacherous quickly as we went through the workout.  The first two miles flew by with relative ease (6:09 and 6:02).  My partner struggled to stay positive; the snow had picked up to the point where we couldn’t see anything, and the track was getting more and more slippery.  My eyebrows and clothes froze.

We hit 6:00 flat for the third mile, and I was feeling great!  Compared to the very short recovery in the past few workouts, two minutes was a luxury.  The last mile was a 5:57, and we called it a day because of the conditions on the track.  I finished the workout feeling counterintuitively cheerful.  It was eight degrees, blizzarding, and by all accounts miserable outside, but I had just crushed a workout that I really hadn’t wanted to do!  The effort had been comparatively conservative, too!

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The cool down was probably harder than the workout as the sidewalks had become un-runable over the past hour.  It took us awhile to get back.  But warming up inside afterwards was that much better. 🙂  I literally had icicles hanging from my eyelashes!!

Of course there will be some days where running just sucks.  It’s the nature of the beast.  But most of the time, you feel drastically better after a run or workout than before!  Getting out there is honestly the hardest part.  I’m so thankful that I had a running buddy to brave the snow and crush the track workout with me today– without each other, we probably would’ve either laid in bed or cried through some repeats on the treadmill.

And afterwards, I got together with two of my best friends from high school before one of them leaves to go back to school tomorrow.  We intended to play Scrabble and Bananagrams and do yoga, but we ended up just sitting and talking for two and a half hours!  Why does that always happen?? 😉

Musings: The Sophomore Slump?

Guess who just turned in her Gender final papers and is now officially done with fall semester??

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I’m done with exams- accidentally finished my 61-question psychology final in fifteen minutes yesterday, but it happens…still got an A (minus) so it’s okay.  Currently, I’m hanging out in the library coffee shop for no other reason than I have $22 in dining dollars to spend by Thursday morning, and they have really good overpriced sandwiches.  One club sandwich, fruit cup, and an Americano later…I’ve burned through a good portion of those dollars 🙂

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I’ll be here for a few more days because I’m finally starting the dental procedures to eventually get permanent teeth implants!  In a couple months, I will no longer have to pop my front teeth out at every meal.  Unfortunately, this week’s surgery means that I will a) not be able to run for a few days and b) be on a soft-foods diet for a little while.

I’d like to share some musings in this post.  Everyone always talks about the myriad adjustments that come throughout freshman year of college, but there are far fewer discussions about the “sophomore slump.”

What is the sophomore slump, you may ask?  I think this New York Times article explains it well.

“Pity the sophomore. You are feted as a freshman, but no one seems to care that you’re back on campus. Quirky first-year seminars have been replaced by large foundation classes, making you doubt that major in econ or bio. You’re not high enough up the totem pole to do fun stuff like join a research team or lead student organizations. With the newness of college gone, malaise sets in.”

Okay, I just realized that makes it sound extremely self-centered.  But for the most part, I’ve found that sophomore year has personally included a mixture of anxiety over the future, questioning relationships, second-guessing academic and extracurricular endeavors…on par with the above article.

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favorite spot on campus

Don’t get me wrong; I love this school.  I love the team.  I enjoy going to class and working hard and finishing assignments.  My running hasn’t suffered, nor have my grades or my work ethic.  I’ve never been particularly Type A, stress-wise, and have generally been good at balancing school and leisure.  I’m the type that would rather live my life, study kind of hard, and earn a B+ than neglect mental and physical health to earn an A.   However, my mental state this semester has been different from the rest of my 19 years of living, which is normal (I think) but unsettling.

And some more musings because this is a very tangential post:

Something that I think is important is remembering to be who you are rather than who other people want/expect you to be.  Don’t conform to other people’s expectations.  It’s important to be respectful, friendly, hard-working, and empathic, but don’t feel as though you have to change who you are to please others.  In the same vein, don’t expect other people to be someone they’re not.  I’m slowly learning this. 🙂

Non-career personality traits: I love to run, I’m competitive as hell to the point of being a little showboat-y, and I enjoy classical and alternative music, outdoor adventures, and extra dark chocolate.  Making food and gifts to give to other people makes me happy.  I don’t always love going out and actually kind of hate staying out late.  I think I believe in God, but I’m not sure.  I love grapefruit.  Sometimes I have trouble vocalizing sympathy or comfort, even though I try.   Sometimes I think about food a little too much.  Sometimes I’m sometimes so eager to try to offer support that I interrupt people.  I won’t study past 10 pm, and I will probably never pull an all-nighter, even at the expense of grades.  We all have strengths and weaknesses that make us individuals.

Since my brain is all over the place, here are a random assortment of activities that I have found help, or that I’d like to try:

  • Music!  Playing and listening to classical piano help me recenter and calm down a lot.  Anything by Ludovico Einaudi automatically lowers my blood pressure.  Nuvole Bianche, Fly, Una Mattina, and Elegy for the Arctic are some of my favorites.

  • Run (duh).  Endorphins + serotonin = clarity
  • Cry if you need to
  • Be honest
  • Take a break from social media//don’t engage in therapeutic mind-clearing activities with the purpose of sharing them on social media, because that’s counterintuitive
  • Knit a scarf
  • Drink tea
  • Practice deep breathing
  • Talk to someone- roommate, mom/dad, coach, teammates, friends, or if you need to, a professional
  • Do an intense strength workout- just me?
  • Remember what you like to do, rather than what you think other people would like you to do.  You can do things alone.  It’s awesome.
  • Stick to a routine if it makes you feel better, but don’t spend too much time in one place, and practice breaking out of your routine eventually so that your comfort zone isn’t too small.

I should probably start packing to go home, so that’s all for now 🙂  Going to knock out some miles later with my roommate- we’ve only been able to run together a couple times over the past few months, so I’m looking forward to it!