400 meter repeats

Greetings from my bed, where I will be spending the rest of this #lit Friday night.  I don’t have class on Fridays, so after completing a quick two-mile shakeout and savoring the luxury of having time to make my favorite oatmeal breakfast, I spent a quality day with my accounting textbook, legal textbook, and Spanish paper before heading to practice.

We had a track workout today (my first full one back!), and afterwards a group of us went out to dinner! Dinner was delicious, and not what I usually eat!– I had a gyro on pita with lots of tzatziki sauce, a mountain of french fries with ketchup, and a cannoli– but I think I went a little overboard with the dairy today.  That, coupled with a hard track effort and first ice bath in awhile, has made my stomach feel less than stellar.  So I’m just going to drink some tea and watch Chicago Fire and get ready for the long run bright and early tomorrow morning 🙂

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(Stole this photo from my friend’s Facebook)

Anyway!  Today’s track workout marked the first full workout I’ve done in three weeks!  On Tuesday, one of my teammates and I did 5 x 800 (2:55, 2:52, 2:51, 2:51, 2:50) and felt good about the paces but was sore for days afterwards.  But that was not quite a full workout 😉  Today, most of the team was either doing their pre-meet run and strides in preparation for their races tomorrow, but five of us were on the track.

The workout was straightforward: 20 minute warm-up; drills; strides; 3 sets of [4×400] with a lap on the turf in between sets; 3 mile cool down.  The first set was at 5k pace (82) with 60 seconds recovery, second set was at 3k pace (78) with 90 seconds recovery, and last set was around mile pace or faster (76) with 2 minutes recovery.

Set 1: 81, 82, 81, 81
Set 2: 78, 76, 76, 77
Set 3: 76, 76, 76, 72

It was very gray and gloomy the whole time, but we had a blast.  I was very pleased with the workout.  It was definitely hard and a bit of a shock to these legs that have gotten complacent with being slow-twitch over the past three weeks, but I felt comfortable hitting the times!  Our group of three worked very well together, and the longer rest really helped us continue to feel good as the intervals got faster.

On the last interval, our coach had all five of us start together in a kind of “free for all”, and they took it out hard.  The last 150 was one of the longest 150 meter stretches I’ve ever run in my life.  The lactic acid was brutal… But I split a 72, so that was a nice rust-buster!  If only I could hold that for 7.5 laps to run a 9:00 3k 😉 (or even just one 4:48 mile would be nice.)

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Also stolen from friend’s Facebook

Total mileage for the day was around 11, counting the morning shakeout.  Working out with teammates is awesome.  I love it.  I missed it so much.  Today was a surprise confidence booster and showed me that my fitness is still in a good place.  See- pool workouts really do work!!

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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?? 😉

Summer Training Week 4

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Summer 2016 week 4 (6/13-6/19):

Monday: AM: 6 miles, pull-ups/push-ups/dips.  PM: 30 min swim
Tuesday: (almost) 9 miles @ 7:18 average, 10 min abs
Wednesday: 60 min stationary bike, squats/lunges
Thursday: AM: 3 miles, pull-ups/push-ups/dips, 10 min abs. PM: 6 miles
Friday: 9 miles.  Hilly
Saturday:  3 miles, 20 min yoga
Sunday: 11 miles (DC tour run!)

Total: 47 miles, 90 min XT

Holy. Crap.  This week was spent discovering the true meaning of tiredness.  I worked every single day, mostly the evening shift, which meant I had zero time for dinner or sleep.  After being on my feet for 6 hours straight, I’d get home at 11, eat dinner, and go to bed at midnight, only to wake up at 5:45 am to run.  Surprisingly, most of my runs were fine.  I consciously backed off the pace on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, which was a really good choice.  Today still didn’t feel good, though.  Grr.

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This week’s long run was incredibly picturesque.  We didn’t go until 10 am, so it was fairly hot and sunny.  We started at Roosevelt Island and pretty much did a tour of the National Mall.  The blazing sun forced us to stop several times for water, and we were fairly dehydrated.  I was covered in salty sweat by the end…good looks!  I didn’t feel good during the run, but it was so beautiful that it almost made up for it.  Afterwards, we went for brunch, and I had crepes benedict and a cannoli and a fancy iced coffee!  It was lovely.

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I actually feel really happy with my nutrition this week, which is a little weird because it’s not like I followed some stringent plan or anything.  Working in an ice cream store, I had a ton of ice cream and smoothie samples, and my “dinner” during all the evening shifts I worked was a bagel and cream cheese, or a random chicken salad sandwich from Chick-Fil-A, followed by more bread/English muffins whenever I got home (11 pm or later).  Not exactly prime fueling.  But I’m actually completely fine with that!  How strange.  I think as mileage increases, the body craves any and all calories for energy and recovery.

But I made the butternut squash/kale/Gruyere casserole and also had grilled tuna steaks last night for the first real dinner at dinner time in four days.  So good!!

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My coach just sent out training plans for the rest of the summer.  Needless to say, my heart skipped a couple beats when I saw “60 miles” consistently on my schedule.

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This upcoming week, I will hit 50 miles for the first time in my life (52), and I’ll be at 60 in three weeks!! Holy crap.  I’m actually a little sad that my Wednesday hour-long cross train is going away (to be replaced with a 5-mile run)… I’ve been doing that for a year, and it’s a nice little routine!

Since I leave for California on Thursday and will be in the mountains, I’ll have to get creative with fitting in the mileage.  I most likely won’t be able to do any doubles, and I’ll have to switch around some Wednesdays/Thursdays based on travel plans.  But I’m willing to be flexible to play it safe.  One thing I do not want to do is overtrain/burn out.  The “little things” (stretching, icing, core work, sleep) are going to become more important as well.

I’m literally running twice the mileage I ran in high school.  But high school was awhile ago, and my coaches know what they’re doing.  So excited 🙂 🙂

 

Sunday Long Run + Food

Over two days of running, I’ve run 22 miles.

Ouch.  I’m feeling a 9 pm bedtime…

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Anyway, a recap of this past week of training:

Monday: 6 miles, drills, strides, upper body strength
Tuesday: 20 minutes warm-up, 6 x 800m with 80-90s rest (2:53, 2:51, 2:52, 2:52, 2:54, 2:51), 20 minutes cool down, abs, ice bath
Wednesday: 60 minutes stationary bike, abs
Thursday: 6 miles with my friend Noah, drills, strides, upper body, balance/glutes circuit
Friday: AM: 20 min warm-up, drills, strides, fartlek (10-2-8-2-5), 20 minutes cool down.  PM: 2 miles on treadmill, 10 minute ab drill.  Total: 11 miles.
Saturday: off
Sunday: 11 miles, ice bath

Total: 42 miles, 60 min XT

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Mileage went up from last week (37) and will continue to go up next week (45).  My legs are definitely feeling the increase in both mileage and intensity!

On Thursday, I ran with my friend from high school who’s training for a marathon.  Although it was just a maintenance run, he and I both pushed the pace because I guess we didn’t want the other person to think we were slow 😉  Anyway, it was faster than it probably should’ve been, especially on a hilly route.

I couldn’t find a running buddy for today’s long run, so I psyched myself up, plugged in the headphones, and headed to the C&O canal.

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I don’t think I’ve ever run more than 8.5 miles on the canal, so by the time I got to 42 minutes and it was time to turn around, I was in completely unfamiliar territory and there was no one else around.  Creepy!  The one water fountain on the way back wasn’t on, so dehydration hit during the last two miles, which was fun.  No idea what my pace was since I couldn’t find my GPS watch, so I did 84 minutes, which should be somewhere around 11 miles.

I will force myself to crawl tomorrow’s maintenance run.  Besides cool downs, I don’t think I’ve hit even 8 minute pace in far too long.

Outside of training, this past week was pretty fun.  On Thursday, my three best friends from high school and I went for a leisurely hike and walked and talked for a long time.

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It was overcast and windy and all the trees were bare, but it was still pretty.

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Last night, I took my brothers to see Mockingjay: Part II because I am a big Hunger Games fan even though Mockingjay was by far the worst book of the trilogy.  Afterwards, I got to see a bunch of other people from high school!

This week was the week of the sweet potato.  More specifically, sweet potato roasted in coconut oil and topped with cinnamon.  Incredible. 

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I also made a stir fry (chicken, broccoli, garlic, onion, salt and pepper, garlic powder, soy sauce, and Soyaki sauce) with quinoa and brown rice.  And ate two huge bowls of it.

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Vanilla ice cream and frozen berries ❤IMG_8104

I actually feel pretty good about my nutrition over the past week.  While I did eat exorbitant quantities as usual 😉 , I was able to avoid the post-dinner boredom binge sessions that had become a regular part of my day.  It’s all about balance.

Turkey avocado tartine from Le Pain Quotidien

Turkey avocado tartine from Le Pain Quotidien

Today’s food:

  • Breakfast, pre-long run: Oatmeal with vanilla espresso almond butter, cinnamon, apples, frozen raspberries, and chia seeds
  • Post-long run eating session (lunch on steroids): 1.5 cups blueberry Chobani with chia seeds; clementines; toast with peanut butter and banana; big bowl of leftover stir fry with brown rice; Pink Lady apple with peanut butter; milk chocolate (which I don’t like nearly as much as dark chocolate, but…oh well!)
  • Snack: a clementine and toast with vanilla espresso almond butter and banana
  • Dinner: roasted sweet potato; omelet (1 egg, 2 egg whites) with spinach and goat cheese
  • Dessert: a clementine and chocolate banana “ice cream”

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We didn’t have any ice cream or chocolate at home!  So I blended 1.5 frozen bananas, a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, some vanilla, and milk to create chocolate banana ice cream.  It was actually pretty good!  It was more the consistency of frozen yogurt or a really thick milkshake.  But it’s healthy and I’d make it again!

Now for as many hours of sleep as I can get (thank you body clock for not letting me sleep past 7:30) and back to the dog sitting and running grind.  One week until I go back to school!

 

 

In-season training week 2 (45 miles)

Yo.  I’ve decided to start titling my training recaps “in-season training.”  So Training Week 10 was actually In-Season Week 1, and this past week was In-Season Week 2.

I hope that makes sense!

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When your long run route is a maze

Anyway, I just wrapped up my second week of in-season training with 10 miles on the same campground trails that I did my pace run at nine days ago.  This long run felt a lot better than last Sunday; I didn’t feel 100%, but my legs weren’t logs, either!

Week 2:

Monday 8/31: 6 miles, drills, strides, strength circuit
Tuesday: AM: 2 miles shakeout run.  PM: 2 miles warm-up, 5k total “race”, 5 x [1:00 hard, :30 easy], 1.5 miles cool down.  Total: 10 miles
Wednesday: 40 minutes biking
Thursday: 6 miles, drills, strides, strength circuit, 30ish minutes cross training
Friday: 2.8 miles warm-up, drills and strides, 4 miles pace run @ 6:30ish average, 2.8 cool down.  Total: 10 miles
Saturday: 3 miles @ 8:02 pace, 45 minutes yoga
Sunday: 10 miles @ 7:49 average pace

Total: 45 miles running, 70ish minutes cross training, 45 minutes yoga

Comments:  Phew!  I am exhausted.  This was the highest mileage week I’ve ever done in my life, along with about two hours of cross training and/or yoga.  It seemed like half of my runs felt like crap, but listing it out now makes me realize that- duh- it wasn’t as bad as it seemed in the moment.

Monday felt normal, Tuesday was hot and exhausting, Wednesday was recovery, Thursday felt bad at the beginning but continuously improved, Friday was hot and exhausting, Saturday felt surprisingly good, and Sunday (today) was pretty good.  So over half my week was positive!  Silly me.

Today’s long run started out a tiny bit slower because we were in the woods, and it was dangerous to go fast what with all the roots and tight turns and uneven footing.  Once we transitioned onto the wider dirt/gravel bike path in the woods, our pace increased, and our last two miles averaged around 7:20.  The last 20 or so minutes of the run were tough, not gonna lie, but my workout group is amazing (I know, I keep saying this, but it’s true!) and we all worked together and toughed it out.

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Yoga yesterday was the weirdest experience ever.  Instead of one of the upperclassmen leading yoga like usual, we went to a school-organized ashtanga yoga session, but there were only like three non-xc people there and the instructor was clearly annoyed by our presence.  “I’m not used to groups this big,” he complained.  Also, since it was ashtanga yoga, he clarified that they “do the same poses every single time so that we’re not slaves to our imagination.”  What?  That life is not for me.  He also used the word “anus” way too many times for a 30-minute yoga session!

We had a team ice cream social yesterday, and I ate more ice cream than I’ve ever eaten in my life.  I also spontaneously had a black bean burger because free food is the best, amirite?  Not feeling too great about my nutrition right now, but I’m excited to hop back on that train with loads of complex carbs, fruits and veggies, and protein!  It’s hard to get great food at my college, but I’m trying.

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I made my first non-breakfast meal of college yesterday!  Stopped at the grocery store a couple days ago and stocked up on cooking essentials, like rosemary, olive oil, cooking spray, a baking pan, minced garlic because #lazy, etc.  I made garlic rosemary chicken and threw some spinach and apples into the pan as well!  I also made sweet potatoes and topped them with cinnamon.  Sooo good.  I miss real homemade food.

Some other random tidbits:

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When you take up the whole drying rack…

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Post-pace run ice bath

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My post- long run oatmeal was too big for the bowl…

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Sneak peak of my room! It was actually tidy yesterday.

I had a huge post-long run breakfast at 11 am, so I’m not too hungry right now.  I picked up a butternut squash at the farmer’s market yesterday morning after yoga, so I think I’ll roast that later and just kind of snack all afternoon.  Roasted squash, apples and peanut butter, and scrambled eggs sounds like a balanced late lunch to me. 😉

If I have time, I’ll nap, but I have a lot of work to do this afternoon!  It’s quite dreary outside (fall, please come soon, I love you), so we’ll probably just hang out indoors for the rest of the day.

Training weeks 2 and 3 and BEACH!

What a tragedy!  I originally typed up my entire week 2 training recap eight days ago, but I left for the beach before I published it, and somehow it was deleted.  My last post already recapped half of that week, so this will be much more concise.

Week 2 recap:

Monday 6/29: 5 miles @ 8:25 avg pace
Tuesday: 6 miles @ 8:13 avg pace, 35 min stationary bike
Wednesday: 50 minutes cross training
Thursday: 5 miles @ 7:40 avg pace (This run felt really good!)
Friday: 7 miles with former teammates @ 8:24 avg pace, 10 miles biking
Saturday: off from running/x-training.
Sunday: 8 miles @ 7:35 avg pace

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Long run

Total: 31 miles running, 120ish minutes cross training

Comments: I had a nice mix of easy and faster runs this week.  Thursday’s run was faster than usual, but it felt surprisingly good.  I definitely did not intend to run my long run that fast, but my youngest brother (on a bike) and I were on the super flat canal trying to pass people 😉  My seventh mile was a 7:09 because there was this one guy we absolutely had to pass.  My right foot and ankle started hurting at the end of this long run.


Week 3 recap:

Monday 7/6: 7 miles @ 8:03 avg pace
Tuesday: roughly 6 miles (50 minutes), 45 minutes biking to and from the beach
Wednesday: 40 min aqua jog in a lake
Thursday: 6 miles @ 8:08 avg pace
Friday: 8 miles @8:09 avg pace
Saturday: 60 min aqua jog/swim in a lake
Sunday: 9 miles @ 7:59 avg pace.  Progression run.

Total: 36 miles running, 150 minutes cross training.

Comments:  I was up at the beach with friends this week (I’ll blog about this next!), which had both positive and negative effects on my running.  Negatives- even more humidity, got lost on Monday’s run, no soft surfaces, and basically running alone every day.  Flat surfaces.  Positives- new bike trail and scenery!  Flat surfaces. 😉  And the freakin’ beach.

Even though the pace of my runs was pretty much the same the entire week, each run varied in effort and attitude.  Thursday’s and Sunday’s runs were probably the best.

For my long run on Sunday, my watch decided to not cooperate, so I quickly downloaded the Nike+ app right before I started running.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t have mile splits, but my average pace got faster and faster as I completed each mile.  My first mile, which is almost always my slowest, was an 8:39, and my last two miles were about 7:05 each.  I was flying the last two miles!

Understandably, after my highest mileage week in many many moons, (like, 22 moons) my legs and mind are both pretty exhausted.  I’m actually really appreciating the two “rest” days per week (although I still have to cross train on those days) because they allow me to recharge mentally and physically!

Up next- 39 miles over 5 days for week 4.  I’m…apprehensively excited.  My 6-miler this morning was not fun because I spent eleven hours in the car yesterday and am sleep-deprived and tired from my 9-miler yesterday!

Sorry for the giant blocks of words and few pictures in this post!  My next one will be much more aesthetically pleasing, I promise.

First real week of training: 32 miles

Hi everyone!! Today was the first day of spring break, and I am so glad that I have a week or so to relax (with interspersed homework, running, and SKYDIVING, of course!)

To catch up on what’s been happening over the past week:

I got sick last Saturday and therefore took a total of four more days off.  My first day back running was Monday; while everyone else did mile repeats on the track, I went for an easy 4.5 mile run with one of the guys on my team.  It felt pretty good, but I was still congested.  I remained congested and cautious about my lungs all week.

Tuesday brought another 4.5 mile run, nothing interesting.

On Wednesday, our school hosted a track meet, but I knew I shouldn’t race, so I did mile repeats on the track before the meet started.  I only did 3 because I still had a hacking cough and congestion, but I went 6:20, 6:20, 6:15.  Nothing too challenging, but certainly not easy.

I ran for 40 minutes after tutoring and missing practice on Thursday, and it was not the greatest run ever.  My legs and lungs were tired, and I never got my breathing into a rhythm.  Also, the temperature randomly skyrocketed up to 75 DEGREES!!  I was drenched in sweat by the end…this body is used to below-freezing weather!

Friday brought another track workout.  2 x [200 hard, 200 easy, 400 hard, 400 easy, 800 hard, 400 easy, 400 hard, 200 easy, 200 hard, 400 easy].  I ran 35-36 for the hard 200s, between 78-82 for the 400s, 2:58 for the first 800, and 2:49 for the second 800!  Although it was a pretty short workout (4000m of speed), it was encouraging to know that I’m not completely out of shape and can still hit some decent paces during a workout.

Today was my “long” run.  The temperatures had dropped back down to the 30s, and I was originally only going to go for around 50 minutes because I didn’t want to add too much too soon.  But I got to 25 minutes and felt pretty good, so I turned around at 27:30…and my phone turned off because it was too cold!  No music for the second half of the run 😦 but I felt really good during the second half.  In total, I completed 7 miles at a 7:40 average pace, with a 7:15 last mile!  I negative-splitted (negative splat?) by 90 seconds in the second half of the run…oops.

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I love having a watch that works

We went to a Thai restaurant for dinner, and I ate a crazy amount of pad thai, spring rolls, beef with basil, and garlic shrimp.  Our favorite ice cream place was right across the street, so of course we had to stop!  I got a chocolate fudge brownie sundae…hey, splurging is living!!

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It was huge, and I am disappointed to say that I could not manage to eat the whole thing

In total, I put in about 32 quality miles this week.  A big improvement from the 14 I ran last week!  I’m hoping spring break will be good for me.

In other news, I got into my first choice college!  AND I will hopefully be running for them next year!!  Nothing definite yet, but it’s definitely on the horizon!

Fun fact: if you want to feel bad and lowly and like you have no talents, go search “Emily Bear piano.”  She’s INCREDIBLE.  I usually feel pretty good about myself for being reasonably musically talented, but she possesses UNREAL talent.

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year!!  It’s officially my graduation year, so that has me a little freaked out.

Monday brought a quick track workout (6x800m) which felt pretty good.  Tuesday’s run was a little longer than usual, but still felt okay.

Wednesday, on the other hand… I was supposed to do 4x1600m between 6:15 and 6:30, but right from the first lap it felt terrible.  My breathing was constricted and my legs were abnormally fatigued.  Not fun.  I ended up doing 2x1600m at 6:17 and 6:18, then a 1200 (4:43), but I had to stop after that.  Not finishing a workout is always a huge mental struggle, but I know that if I had kept pushing, it would have affected me negatively in the long run.

New Year's Eve, where miraculously we were both awake!

New Year’s Eve, where miraculously we were both awake!

We went to a New Year’s Eve party at my mom’s/brothers’ friends’ house, so I didn’t really have anyone to talk to, but it ended up not being a nightmare. 🙂  My mom actually stayed awake this year (last year, she fell asleep around nine!).

When we try to take a nice family picture... (that's one of my younger brothers)

When we try to take a nice family picture… (that’s one of my younger brothers)

Yesterday, I ran with two friends who are home from college!  I hadn’t run with one of them in two years!!

Today’s schedule includes a tempo run and the submission of my last college application!!!  I’m almost done!

I hope everyone’s New Year started off positively, if not with a bang.  I didn’t really make any New Year’s Resolutions, but my three best friends and I do have a huge bucket list of things to do before college.  We only have eight months to complete it!

Maybe one of my New Year’s resolutions should be to eat more of these chips!

IMG_4542 I discovered them in my house the other day, and they’re pretty much the best chips I’ve ever tasted.  I’m usually of the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, meaning things that are unhealthy are meant to be unhealthy (i.e. I don’t believe in “healthifying” desserts and chips and whatnot), but these chips are one of a kind.