Glute Glory

Good morning!  Yesterday started bright and early because I had to retrieve my dog at 7 am so that my mom could finish up her long run without having to drag along a tired canine.  After we got home, I whipped up a delicious stack of healthy pancakes with fruit, maple syrup, and peanut butter.  Perfect Saturday breakfast 🙂

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Since I didn’t have a run yesterday, I was itching to do something endorphin-y after a morning of chauffeuring my brothers through typical Northern Virginia traffic to their various activities.  So I brainstormed, browsed Pinterest, and came up with a new strength workout to do after a quick 30-minute bike session.

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Yes, I did include stick figure drawings to remind me what some of the exercises were 😉

This workout works the whole core, but especially the glutes.  Sometimes, I feel like runners can get stuck in the 10-minute-ab-circuit trap and forget to work the other parts of their core.  The glutes are especially neglected, even though they are one of the most important muscle groups for efficient form and power in running!  They help stabilize the body, extend the hip, and propel you forward as you run.  Additionally, females have wider hips than males and are therefore more prone to instability and knee and hip problems because we are farther away from that “straight-line” ideal.

See why it’s important to strengthen the glutes?  I promise that this workout will leave your glutes burning.  In the best way.  By the time I got to the side plank leg raises, my body was shaking.

Next post will recap the first week of “summer”!

 

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Life update: turning 20!

Sorry for the lack of posts!  This time of the semester is when the schoolwork really starts to pick up.  But it’s Saturday night, and I think everyone deserves a break from the grind 🙂

Anyway, I turned 20 on Valentine’s Day!  The day started off with a solid workout (3 mile warm-up, 2k-1k-2k-1k cruise intervals on the track between 5:40-5:55 pace, 3 mile cool down).  I went to class, lifted, went to the training room…not too special of a birthday 😉  But I did get to go out to dinner with friends and feasted on my favorite Caribbean blackened salmon, followed by (free) chocolate cheesecake!

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The various birthday gifts I received from my college friends coincidentally had a theme: nut butter!  It was pretty funny.  Also, my roommate got me the cutest poster (my all-time favorite movie is Up):

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In other news, the dental implant process is progressing!  If you recall, the dentist placed the anchor screws in December, and he placed the abutments this past Thursday. Unlike the screws, the abutments stick out of my gums, and they are not fully covered by the dentures.  So right now, the metal screws kind of make it look like my gums are rotting.  I’ll spare you a picture of my current gremlin self 😉  Three weeks from now, they’ll take impressions, and just a couple weeks after that, I’ll finally have permanent implants!

Unfortunately, the foot issues have persisted throughout the last two weeks.  I actually ran normal mileage last week (54 miles + 60 min XT) but had to switch to cross training halfway through this week.  A lot of cross training.  There’s not much the training room can do since the problem is stemming from my bunions, and surgery is the only real long-term solution.  So we’re just focusing on pain maintenance for now.

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I’m frustrated because I feel like I’m in good shape but am not progressing due to the limited running I can do right now.  On a more positive note, I’ve been taking melatonin every night and getting almost enough sleep, and I feel like a human being again!  I’ll do a training recap tomorrow!

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Great view…right?

Anyway, my family came down this morning after my long effort (I split it up into 30 minute bike, 6 mile run, 30 minute bike).  We went out to brunch, and everyone ate an astronomical amount of food!

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Yes, this was just my meal

Afterwards, we did a bit of shopping and headed to a family birthday party, and I’ve spent the rest of the day doing some more schoolwork.  Some friends and I are having a joint birthday party tonight, so I’m looking forward to that.

I’ll try to carve out time to write a true training recap tomorrow, but no guarantees!  So far, I think I’m doing a good job of staying on top of the coming week’s stupid workload, but time will tell…

Summer training week 7: 56 miles!

Summer 2016 week 7 (7/4-7/10):

this weekMonday 7/4: AM: 7 miles, drills, strides, pull-ups/push-ups/dips.  PM: 3 miles in the pouring rain.
Tuesday: 20 min warm-up, drills, fartlek (6 minutes-5-4-3-2-1 with half-time recovery), 20 min cool down.  Total = 10 miles.
Wednesday: AM: 5 miles Potomac Heritage Trail.  PM: abs/core
Thursday: AM: 7 miles, drills, strides, pull-ups/push-ups/dips.  PM: 3 miles treadmill, 20 min yoga
Friday: AM: 2 mile warm-up, drills, 24 min tempo, 2 mile cool down.  PM: 2 miles treadmill, light leg lift
Saturday: off, a bit of core/yoga
Sunday: 11 miles.

Total: 56 miles

First of all, who’s been watching the Olympic Trials??  Incredible.  Noah Lyles set the national high school record in the 200!  Kate Murphy and Christina Aragon qualified for the 1500 semis!  Crazy.

Anyway…

I kind of miss cross training?!  At this point, I hardly remember the struggle of four cross trains per week!  Highest mileage week ever (again)- we’re getting closer to that 60 mile mark.  My legs are definitely feeling the higher mileage; the treadmill doubles in the afternoon were no faster than 8:00-8:30 pace.  The temperature and humidity levels were a lot higher this week than previous weeks, so that was definitely an adjustment.

I ran with a teammate for my long run today, and we were both pretty tired, so we took it easy.  Refueled with some blueberry pancakes with butter and maple syrup, coffee, a fried egg, plain Greek yogurt with almonds, and Nuun. Yum 🙂

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My roommate came up to stay with me on Monday and Tuesday, so we got to work out together!  We were going to do more DC things to celebrate the 4th of July, but it was very rainy and miserable, so after a quick Metro adventure, we had a low-key night and watched A Capitol Fourth and the Olympic Trials on TV.

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For Wednesday’s run, my friend who loves trails convinced me to join him for a trail run on the Potomac Heritage Trail.  I do not love trail runs.  It took 50 minutes to go 5 miles.  I ended up first twisting my ankle, then getting poison ivy, then falling off the side of a rocky part of the trail and gashing my knee…Never again!!

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Thanks @PHT

Both of this week’s workouts (Tuesday and Friday) were pretty good.  My friend dropped me a little in the second half of Friday’s tempo, but it was a solid workout.

One thing I do need to work on is getting enough sleep.  As the mileage goes up, sleep gets more and more important!  Unfortunately, whenever I work the evening shift, I never get home earlier than 10:30 pm.  But I can stop procrastinating going to bed and get off my phone earlier.

 

Food of note: balsamic honey glazed salmon!  So good.  Also lots of ice cream 😉

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60 miles next week!

 

19th Birthday

On Valentine’s Day, I turned 19!  First birthday at college 🙂

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We realized at 10 pm after studying for 3 hours that we hadn’t taken any birthday pictures.

I received a cute birthday card from my eleven-year-old brother:

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And a less cute, hashtag-filled birthday card from my sixteen-year-old brother:

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Do they think my life is a mess or something??

I also received (among other things, like my college tuition) a miniature food processor, a Trader Joe’s gift card, almonds, a Quest bar, and dark chocolate from my mother.  She knows me so well.

Overall, the whole weekend was fun but exhausting.  We got back from the meet at 1 am on Saturday morning, and I woke up naturally at 7.  After going to the farmer’s market, I did a little bit of homework and then ran with my high school teammate who was here for a tour!  We did four miles on the trails.  Afterwards, I watched the Olympic Marathon Trials and did a little more work before my recruit arrived.

On Sunday (my birthday!), we had practice at 9 am.   We traveled for our long run for the first time in awhile, and I did 10 miles with two of my teammates.  It was so cold!  We couldn’t feel our toes for the first half of the run since it was about 6 degrees.

After the long run and recovery, we went for a team/birthday pancake breakfast!  We didn’t end up eating until 2 though… so it was more of a pancake lunch.

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I ate a ridiculous amount of blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon.IMG_8424

Afterwards, we did some birthday shopping and also stopped for the best cupcakes in the world.

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I ate the entire “wicked chocolate” cupcake as a study snack.  Hey, it was my birthday!

On Monday, I had a super busy day of classes, recruit activities, a recruit lunch, and then practice.  Today we had a workout, but after 20 minutes warm-up, drills, strides, and 10 minutes “brisk”, my legs decided to act up again.  The burning was horrible.  So I stopped the workout after completing a third of it and jogged for ten minutes back to the track.  I ran maybe six miles today.

I’m honestly so fed up.  This has been going on for almost three months, and every time I think it’s getting better, it doesn’t.  I feel like I’m stuck in a workout rut; I haven’t had a week where I haven’t had to skip or modify a workout.  I also haven’t worked out on the track in four weeks!  Yes, I’m in good shape and PR-ing, but at what cost?  I’m just really frustrated with this situation, and hopefully the orthotics help, and I’m missing the track, and I’m in pain.

OK, rant over.  I had a great birthday and have such great friends and teammates!

Pushing beyond your limits (and refueling with a chocolate milkshake!)

“Kathryn, I think you would legitimately run until you die.”

That’s what my friend told me after we finished our hill workout today.  (It was a compliment.)  Saying it was the hardest workout I have ever completed would be an understatement.  I think my soul left my body.

I had a pretty rough, emotional night last night for various reasons, but thankfully a 20-minute talk with one of my close friends and a late night walk around my neighborhood calmed me down.  I’m the type of person that never cries, instead getting angry and defensive.  So when I do cry, it is usually a big deal.

Aaaanyway, I decided to channel this emotion into my hill workout this morning.  It was the first hill session of the year, and we did our warm-up jog to the hill (about 13 minutes) and stretched.  Our coach then informed us that our group would be completing six long hills. (They’re each about 400 meters)

Six!! We’d never done more than five, even in the middle of the season.  We completed our ABC skips and then jumped right into the first hill repeat.

The first three were fine, hard, kind of a slap upside the head to remind us how sucky hills were.  Our breathing was labored, our glutes and hamstrings were burning, and we were spent by the top.

This picture is from a hill workout last year... I'm in the purple.  The girl with blue shorts and the girl with green shorts are two of the other three remaining girls this year.

From a hill workout last year; I’m in the purple. The girl with blue shorts and the girl with green shorts are two of the other three remaining girls this year.

The fourth repeat was very hard.  My glutes and hamstrings were on fire, my arm swings got harder to control, and my form started deteriorating.

On the fifth repeat, my workout buddy dropped back, so I had to run the entire freaking thing alone.  My vision started blurring, my right ear became clogged (a personal sign of severe exertion), and I swore I would quit the cross country team as soon as I got to the top of the hill. (I’m joking.)  When I reached the top, I keeled over onto the grass, legs wobbly and unsupportive, gasping for air.  Black spots and dizziness introduced themselves.

The jog back down to the bottom of the hill in preparation for the last hill was like a funeral march.  We had no idea how on earth we would complete the sixth repeat.  I asked my coaches to run with me because I knew I would never reach the top without them.

The final repeat started, and as my coach ran alongside me, his bunny-hop form was amusing enough to distract me…for about two seconds.  I felt like death even before I reached the marker for the top of the short hill (about 270 meters).  The first coach dropped out, and the second coach hopped in front of me.  The entire way up the last, steepest part of the hill, I felt delirious.  “Come on.  I’m the girl in front of you in a race you’re trying to pass.  Get that turnover going!” Coach shouted at me from in front.  Black spots danced in front of my eyes, my head felt like it would explode, and I could hardly feel my body aside from the overwhelming feeling of profound exhaustion and pain.  I stumbled the last 30 meters at a snail’s pace, barely reaching the end before I collapsed onto the grass, head pounding like there was no tomorrow.

I had pushed myself so hard that I was hyperventilating and crying.  I’ve honestly never felt like that EVER.  I could barely stand up, let alone walk down the hill.  At one point as I weaved my way down the sidewalk, I began stumbling into the street, and my coach had to run and grab me before I got hit by a car.

The cool down jog back to school was painful, but somehow I got through it.

So that is the story of my first hill workout of the year- the hardest workout I have ever completed.  I thought the 5 x mile repeats on the track and grass were hard on Tuesday, but it was like a moderate run compared to this.

I’m proud of myself for pushing myself beyond my mental and physical limitations and being the fastest girl today.  It really showed me what I can do!  99.9% of the population will never, ever in their lives experience the feelings that I experienced today, which can only be understood by the tiny percentage that will do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.

A minute and forty seconds.  It’s not that long.  The time it takes to brush your teeth.  Half of one song.  How long it takes to put clothes on.  But when you are doing hill repeats, it is the longest fucking minute and forty seconds of your life!!

After the workout, I went to breakfast with two friends (one of whom had also run hills- six short hills) and pigged out refueled on blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, and a chocolate milkshake. 🙂

Ignore our awkward sweaty faces; we were tired

Ignore how awkward we are; we were tired. And the caption.  My friend can’t spell.

I think I will now take a nap.

What even is the 800?

Well, the 800 state auto didn’t happen today!  To be honest, I wasn’t even close.

 

Wind and I are not friends

Wind and I are not friends

Last night, our varsity squad threw an impromptu pasta dinner at one of the boys’ houses, and as a result I didn’t get to bed until 11:30.  That never happens, especially not on race nights.  I’m such a grandma that I’m in bed by 10:30 even on weekends.

I woke up at 6:30 this morning for no particular reason and couldn’t go back to sleep.  We left around 8:30 and got to the meet at 9.  It was windy and cold, not ideal racing weather.  I was running the anchor leg of the 4×800, so whereas people who ran the first leg got to get it over with and throw their sweats back on, us poor anchors had to stand in our uniforms for three times as long and shiver…

Anyway, we ended up running completely alone out front and winning by like 25 seconds.  As a result of the lack of competition, my split was not quite where I was hoping; my first lap was a 71 and my second was a 74 (2:25).  But two of my teammates blasted their PRs by five seconds!

We won!

We won! Also, I can’t take normal pictures

The open 800 was about three hours after the 4×8, so we hung around, ate many carbs, foam rolled, and listened to music.  We got to see two of our girls go 1-2 in the mile, shatter both their PRs, and qualify for states along with one of our boys!

By the time the 800 rolled around, we weren’t really in the mood to race, especially when we realized that our ditsy head coach had entered all three of us with very slow times, so we ended up in the second fastest heat.  Damn.

Instead of splitting it up into two 400s, our coach told us to think of the race in terms of 500, 300.  It seemed to work because I won the heat (2:25 again).  It was even windier than the 4×8 and I literally staggered down the home stretch. It was one of the most painful finishes I can remember. D: I’m not thrilled with my times, but it’s okay.  I’ll just put in more work, keep doing all the little things, and what comes is what comes.

I have run 3 800s within the past 3 meets (states and today) which is more than I ran in a year.  What??

After we left the meet, I ate pancakes for lunch that were two times the size of my head!

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Much butter. Many carbs.

Oh yeah, and I made triple chocolate cookies yesterday morning before school.  NBD.

Tomorrow I get to get up at 6 am to go downtown and be my mom’s cheerleader as she runs a ten-miler.  Fun fact: she’s never run ten miles before.  We’ll see how it goes. 😉

 

“Clean” eats and running again!

My hiatus from running finally ended on Saturday!  It felt like so much longer than a week, and I woke up Saturday morning wayyy too eager to lace up my sneakers again.

It was 60 degrees and sunny out as I headed out the door.  60 degrees!!  Quite a change from the recent highs of 20 or 25.  The temperatures called for shorts, so I eagerly broke out the spandex.

It's been so long since they've seen the sun!

It’s been so long since they’ve seen the sun!

Am I being dramatic? Possibly.

Did I enjoy my first run of the outdoor season in shorts? Absolutely.

It was pretty hard not to go bounding through the streets for the first ten minutes; I definitely had to restrain my speed.  It was a good thing I did, though, because I started to feel the effects of not running for a week after about 25-30 minutes.  I returned from the run sweaty (sweaty!), tired, a little creeped out because some middle school boys tried to hit on me, but overall very satisfied.

I did try to stick to my food plan for the most part over the past week, but I still felt/feel kind of…mushy.  All the ab routines and arm workouts in the world really can’t make up for the joy and calorie-burning of plain, simple running.

Friday's abs'n'arms

Friday’s abs’n’arms

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My cheat foods for the week included pumpkin pancakes to celebrate National Pancake Day (this girl does not do IHOP) along with a giant vegan peanut butter cookie.  Also, I made chocolate chip cookies (unpictured) last night to appease some insatiable cookie dough cravings.

I forced myself not to run today because I didn’t want to jump back in with nine straight days of running and no break, which is what would’ve happened if I’d run today and continued running the whole week.  But I’m very excited to run every day this week.

On another note, excluding bread, I ate completely clean* today!  Success!

*clean meaning no processed foods or additives.  Each food has only one or two ingredients.

I don’t eat a lot of processed foods besides whole wheat bread anyway, but today I decided that I wouldn’t eat anything (except bread) that didn’t fit it with the whole eating clean concept.

I really must become a better blogger and actually take pictures of my food sometimes…

Breakfast: Toast with almond butter, yogurt with strawberries
Lunch: Egg/egg white omelet with spinach and tomatoes, toast with natural PB and banana, orange
Early Afternoon Snack: Toast with natural PB and banana
Late Afternoon Snack: Apples and celery with natural PB
Dinner: Roast chicken, sweet potato, asparagus, and broccoli
Dessert: Fruit bowl- strawberries, blueberries, banana, apple

Fruit bowls are the bomb dot com

Fruit bowls are the bomb dot com

My mom and I spent the afternoon going to like four grocery stores, and we loaded up with basically everything we could possibly need food-wise for the next week.  I think I’ll try to stick with the “clean eating plus bread” shindig- it makes me feel accomplished, and I can make adorable Rubbermaid meals from tonight’s leftovers, along with various vegetables, brown rice, etc.  I’m switching to whole grain bread tomorrow, so that’s exciting.

Is it depressing, amusing, or awesome that my classmates spend the weekend going to parties and getting high, while the highlight of my weekend is getting whole grain bread?  To each their own, I guess.  I just have no interest in drinking or doing drugs or staying up till 5 a.m.; I’d rather stay cozy in bed with a mug of tea and three episodes of Chicago Fire to watch and go to bed at 10.  I’m an 85-year-old trapped in a 17-year-old’s body who sometimes gets mistaken for a seventh grader. 😉

Sometime soon, I’ll write a post about my goals for the upcoming outdoor season.  (By the way, my friend-who-randomly-recently-became-really-good-at-running just ran a sub-5 minute 1600.  Life is so unfair :P)  I’m pretty psyched for this outdoor season; I hope good things will come of it.