NCAA Regional 6k (22:50)

Happy Friday, friends!  I’m nearing the end of my break week from running.  The past few days have been kind of weird because I haven’t really had class since my finance midterm on Wednesday afternoon.  Coupled with no practice, my schedule seems empty!  I’ve been reading, playing piano, and just generally wasting time.  I thought I’d use this time to (finally) update you on regionals and the end of the cross country season.


I’m embarrassed/sorry/frustrated to be writing another Debbie-Downer post, but such is life.  In short, regionals didn’t go well, and I’m relieved to finally be on a running break.

TL;DR: NCAA Southeast Regional 6k, 22:50, 127th place (YIKES)


In the week leading up to regionals, I tried as hard as I could to help my body recover from whatever the heck is wrong with it.  I chose all the shortest mileage options, cross trained on Wednesday, and slept as much as I could.  Total mileage for the week was roughly 29. (M6, T8, W3+30minXT, Th4, F8)

Did it work?

I thought it did.

Apparently not.

Honestly, I was really excited going into regionals!  As a team, we worked on having a positive mentality throughout the week, and it seemed like things were coming together a bit.  Tuesday was the last workout before the race, and 3×500, 10 min brisk, 5×300 didn’t kill me off.  I didn’t feel great, but compared to the previous weeks, I was satisfied.

I aqua jogged on Wednesday morning and ran 3 miles in the afternoon.  We left on Thursday morning and took the vans up to Charlottesville.  I’ve been experiencing a lot of motion sickness recently, so van rides haven’t been super fun.  I mostly slept on the way up so as to not die.  Once we arrived, we did our pre-meet at the course (4 miles, drills, strides, rope stretch).   It was rainy and cold, but we were optimistic and excited! IMG_9466.jpg

After the pre-meet, we went to Bodo’s Bagels for lunch and then chilled in the hotel until dinner.  We went to Whole Foods, had our team meeting, used the NormaTec boots, and I read a book before going to bed at 10 pm.  I felt a bit sick that night, but nothing like conferences.

Based on how I had run at Penn State earlier in the season, my “reach” goal was All-Region (top 25), and I knew I could at least place in the top 50.  However, based on how I felt throughout the past month, I kept this goal as a possibility but decided to be flexible if I didn’t feel well and just try to have fun.

We woke up at 6:30 on Friday morning, ran a 10-minute shakeout, rope stretched, and ate breakfast.


We put on the flash tats, got ready to go, and arrived at the course around 9 am.  It was 40 degrees and windy but sunny!  After checking in, we warmed up for a little over two miles, did drills, screwed longer spikes into our spikes, and headed to the line.  Our team box was right next to my friend from high school’s team box, and it was amazing to see her!  She and her team have been killing it this year.

The gun went off at 10:30, and hundreds of women stampeded down the straightaway.  We hit the hills, which were muddy and treacherous, and tackled some rolling hills leading into 2k.  This was my fourth time running this course, and I’ve actually grown to enjoy it.


Hundreds of spectators lined the course at 2k (and again at 3k because it comes through the same spot), and we got a boost from their energy and enthusiasm.  Our team had driven up that morning to come watch the race since regionals is only two hours from campus.  It was amazing to see them!

I felt marginally okay through 2k (although it felt like I was going a lot faster than I actually was).  My freshman teammate and I worked together through 3k, but the now-familiar feeling of “what the hell is wrong with my body/why won’t it respond” kicked in at 2 miles.  Coincidentally in time for the massive rolling hills to start 😉

I immediately started losing places.  The awful part was, I was really positive at the base of each hill!  I approached each one thinking, “Ok, this is going to hurt, time to rally, you’ve got this“, but my body just didn’t match my mind.  At least I didn’t walk.


After losing probably about 30 places in the span of 2 minutes, I hit the 5k mark at like 19 minutes.  Not ideal.  Rallied over the last downhill and the beginning of the steepest uphill, but that lactic, tunnel-y feeling took over halfway up the steep hill.  Finally got to the finishing straightaway, and by that point, my body was just done.  I think approximately 20 more women passed me in the last quarter mile.  My eyes wouldn’t stay open and I started weaving and I hate that I was that melodramatic/stupid-looking/slow-moving stereotypical female runner, but it wasn’t mental.

But yay! I finished! Finally crossed that dang line in 22:50 in 127th place (I would find out later).  Struggled through a 12-minute cool down to finish out the cross country season.  Exactly zero people on my team had a good race, and we finished 17th, which we are all embarrassed of and confused about because the team literally won the region three years ago, but it’s time to move forward 🙂

Even though I’m embarrassed and frustrated about how the second half of the season went, there were many opportunities for growth and positivity that came out of Friday.

For example, my high school teammate had an awesome race and almost got All-Region!!  And her team ran strong.


I’m almost a week into my break week and don’t miss training yet.  The only activity I’ve done this week has been two yoga classes and one strength routine, but who’s counting 😉 Funnily enough, my finance professor was the yoga instructor on Tuesday!  I’m enjoying eating all the foods and doing little movement, but I don’t completely feel like myself.  Got tested for mono- don’t have it- and a plethora of other things, so we shall see.  I’m looking forward to a slow comeback.

The next post will be more reflections, goals for track, fun life updates, etc. that I’m too lazy to write about right now 🙂





6k PR: 21:20

Greetings from the bus, which we’ll be on for another 5-6 hours- team bonding at its best! We’re driving through farm country right now, so at least the views are beautiful 🙂


This morning, my team raced at the Penn State National Invitational at Penn State (go figure).  It was our first 6k this year and probably the most competitive meet of our season.   Last year, I got a little overwhelmed but still PRed.  This year, I was in a funk for the majority of the trip but knew that my training would carry me to a good time.

TL;DR: 21:20 (56-second PR!) and PRed in the 3-mile and 5k en route!


Personality pic with my biggest supporter ❤

We left campus on Wednesday and stopped on the way to State College for dinner at our head coach’s family’s house.  I did some work and listened to music, but to be honest, the bus ride was not fun.  I think I was a thundercloud by the time we arrived in State College at 9:30 pm.  After getting there, we did a quick nighttime shakeout run while still extremely full of pasta and brownies…nope, just me?  Okay, well, I’ve personally never come so close to puking on a run in my life 😅

On Thursday, we ate breakfast in the hotel and headed to the course for our pre-meet.  It was windy and cold, but the course was just as beautiful as last year…a golf course with rolling hills, fast, flat grass, and a super-duper fun uphill second half.  The leaves on the trees were fiery shades of red and gold.

After the pre-meet (5 miles, drills, strides, and rope stretch), we went to Wegmans for lunch and had our team meeting back at the hotel.  Honestly, this season has been rough for our team.  3 of last year’s top 7 runners are down for the count, which is not ideal.  Some other people have been working really hard but haven’t been able to put together performances comparable to last year (yet).  But we have a lot of depth and positive energy, so we’re chugging along!  Our goal was to get out well, pack up, and use our hill strength to pass women in the second half.  My personal goal was definitely sub-22, but I wasn’t sure how far sub-22.

We spent the rest of the afternoon napping and relaxing before going to dinner at Olive Garden.  Our party of 30 kind of scared the wait staff a little bit…but they were super accommodating and kept giving us breadsticks.

This morning, we went for a 10-minute shakeout at 7 am and then ate breakfast at the hotel.  Of course, I had oatmeal with almond butter, a banana, chia seeds, cinnamon, and a plain Siggi’s, as well as a bit of coffee.  While I was still feeling a bit thundercloud-y, I was trying hard to convert the negative energy into positive energy for the race.  We arrived at the course, warmed up, did drills, freaked out about the long port-a-potty lines, and went to the line to do strides.  After a team huddle and some frog jumps, it was go time.

The gun went off, and we all shot down the green.  The Penn State start is fast.  With 200 women in the field, it was tricky to get out well, especially as the course narrowed at the half mile mark.  I came through the mile in 5:24 in about 50th place, with one teammate ahead of me and no idea where the rest of the team was.


The second and third mile were kind of uneventful…they dragged on but also flew by, if that makes any sense.  I recognized some of the women around me and just tried to stay mentally tough and alert.  I caught up to my teammate right before two miles, which we came through in 11:06.  After that, I thought, “Damn, that’s close to my 2-mile PR.  I can run really fast today.

We hit the hills at 2.5 miles, and I got a little boost from my mom screaming on the sidelines.  As I passed 3 miles, a coach yelled, “16:55”, and my jaw actually dropped.  That sounded really fast to me!  I was excited and nervous and felt strong but also like I was about to hit the wall.  I think I came through the 5k in about 17:35, which is a PR!


I felt surprisingly strong during the last long hill, but once we got to the top with 500 to go, the wall was hit.   HardMy last 400 meters were not pretty, but I tried as hard as I could and crossed the finish line in 21:20, first for my team, 40th overall, and 56 seconds faster than my PR from last year on the same course.


While some people on the team ran strong individually, most of my teammates were either mildly dissatisfied or strongly displeased with their personal performances.  Additionally, our lack of front-runners really hurt us, and we ended up finishing far back in the team standings.  Which just lights the fire under us for the rest of the season!


We cooled down during the men’s race, and our men ran pretty well!  Afterwards, we rope stretched, spent time with family, enjoyed muffins and other treats made by the wonderful parents, showered, and went to Wegmans to fuel up for the bus ride. I had some dank pumpkin cheesecake because #perdiem.  And now we are trapped on the bus for a long time!  #sendwater #sendfood #sendhelp


My roommate’s first 6k!

Overall, I’m pleased with my performance today.  Usually, I can think of a point in the race where I could have been stronger, or where I gave up mentally or got complacent or scared.  I can’t think of a point in today’s race that I’m particularly disappointed with.  Of course, I would have loved to finish stronger, both for myself and for my team, but I never really doubted myself today.  Or if I did, I was quick to yell at myself, “What are you thinking?? Don’t give up now!”


I think the biggest takeaway for improvement from this trip was my mental state leading up to the race.  I let external factors influence my mood, self-perception, and perception and treatment of others.  Not horribly so, but enough to be disappointed in myself.  Luckily, I was able to compartmentalize because I truly love racing and competing, for myself and for my team.  However, running fast is not the only qualification for being a happy person!  It’s not even a relevant qualification!  So that’s what I’m going to work on for next time 🙂

Our next race is the conference championships in two weeks.  Time to rest up, stay on top of schoolwork (that’s kind of taken a backseat…oops), have fun, practice positive self-talk and positive interpersonal talk, and get ready to kick some Colonial booty!

(Also, I just wrote 1,200 words in like 40 minutes…why can’t I get this motivated for schoolwork??)



Hot, Hilly 5k Race (18:18)

Time for another race report!  If you don’t want to read the whole post, I ran 18:18 on a hot, hilly 5k course, was the third runner for the team, and felt pretty good but there were spots I could have been tougher.


Anyway.  Two consecutive weekends of hot, hard races make for some tired runners, but our next race is not for three weeks, so we get a bit of a break.  And a nice hard training block 😉

This weekend, we traveled to UVA for the Panorama Farms Invitational.  Panorama Farms is beautiful, with rolling hills, mountains in the distance, hot air balloons in the sky, and a live bluegrass band…but the course is notoriously hellish and hot.  I ran there twice last year- the first time was the worst race experience I have ever had, and the second was regionals.  Not the greatest #mems.


We left campus yesterday afternoon.  Our van had to stop for a desperate emergency bathroom break 4 miles from the course…we almost made it!  We ran the course (and added on to get to 5 miles), did drills and strides, rope stretched, and had our team meeting.  After that, we went to our hotel, had dinner, went to the grocery store, and prepared for the morning by setting up our flash tats, ribbons, spikes and uniforms, etc.


This morning, we woke up at 6 am and went for a quick pre-dawn shakeout run before rope stretching and eating breakfast.  My pre-race breakfast: oatmeal, banana, almond butter, chia seeds, plain Greek yogurt, and coffee.


We headed to the course a little later.  Had a Picky bar and Gatorade.  The men’s race was pushed back before ours to avoid the heat (how is that fair!?), so we watched them start before rope stretching and warming up.

(Our team does a lot of rope stretching.)

After an 18-minute warm-up, drills, and strides, we were soaked in sweat.  It wasn’t actually that hot, but the sun was blazing.  But that was to be expected!  Luckily, throughout the past week, our coach and ourselves put a lot of emphasis on hydration in preparation for this race, so we were all full of water and Gatorade and electrolytes.  Which resulted in 47 bathroom breaks, but at least no one passed out!!

Our goal today was to pack up well.  We were running without our #1, but we had two great workout groups.  The gun went off and we got out well, rocking the new uniforms.  I found myself leading the team for the first 2k in about 20th place, running with women that I had never been near before.  That was pretty cool!


We started hitting the hills at 2.5k, and two of my teammates passed me on the massive hill at 2 miles.  I lost a few places but kept reminding myself how much better this race was going than last year, which was actually very helpful.  I definitely could have fought better from 3k to 4.5k.  On the last steep hill before the finishing stretch, someone screamed, “YOU EAT HILLS FOR BREAKFAST!” at me.  I looked up and saw our teammate that graduated last year, with whom I spent all summer running.  Seeing her was the best.  I laughed.  (For a millisecond.)

The last 400 meters is one continuous uphill straightaway, and I kicked and caught the girl in front of me.  I soon discovered I had kicked a little too aggressively when I tied up 50 meters from the line and the girl passed me back.  Oh, well.  Crossed the line 18:18 for 25th place overall and third on my team.


Thanks Mom

After the race, we cooled down for 40 minutes to get to long run mileage (a little under 12 for the day) and then ate pumpkin muffins with upset stomachs.  We’ve done more intelligent things.  I got to briefly see my mom and brother, who had driven the hour and a half down to watch me race, and they brought me fresh vegetables from our CSA along with freshly baked cookies!  It was great to see them for the first time in a month.  My mom also ran a race last weekend- a 20-miler to prep for her upcoming marathon!  She crushed it, finishing second in her age group on a pace that converts to a marathon some 25 minutes faster than she ran last year!


Takeaways from the race: 1) I am finally starting to believe that I can run “up there” with women that I couldn’t before.  2) Adequate hydration and preparation help to avoid bad heat exhaustion situations 😉 3) I need to work on not getting complacent or mentally giving up on the hardest parts of the course. 4) Our team has depth, yo!  We had the smallest time spread from 1-5 and 1-7 out of all the teams at the invitational.  We had eight runners across the line before any other team had seven.  Even without our #1, and with a girl from our top 5 DNFing due to an asthma attack, we still got fourth overall.  Not. bad.


Two of our freshmen had amazing in-uniform debuts

I’m either going to get in the pool tomorrow or do a short recovery run.  Looking forward to a solid training block before Penn State, focusing on school (oh yeah, forgot about the fact that it’s #midtermszn), and “not getting too high or too low,” as my coach says.


Week 2 (61), Week 3 (52), and RACE

Sorry for the belated weekly recaps!  I’ll recap the last two weeks of training, and then I’ll recap my season opener 5k race!


Week of 9/4-9/10:

Monday: AM: 4 miles trails.  Went to trainer for glute.  PM: form drills, 5 miles, speed ladder/hurdles, plank/push-up circuit.  Run wasn’t great and stomach was off :/

Tuesday: AM: 2 mile warm-up, 4 mile tempo (6:22, 6:13, 6:08, 6:12), 2 mile cool down.  Felt okay.  Weight room warm-up and assessment.  Stim and ice in training room.  PM: 2 miles + NormaTec boots.

Wednesday: AM: 6 miles at sunrise.  Felt dead.

Thursday: AM: 2 mile warm-up, drills, hilly MR while everyone else did a hill workout, light lift at weight room, ice bath.  PM: 2 miles on campus.  Beautiful weather!

Friday: AM: 5 miles + strides before all-day field trip.  PM: hurdle drills, 4 miles, planks/push-ups, rope stretch.  Pretty tired.

Saturday: 13 miles with 42 minute progression in the middle (6:57, 6:44, 6:27, 6:13, 6:18, 6:10, 0.5 at 6:00 pace).  Felt good! Ice bath.

Sunday: 3 miles + core

Total: 61 miles

Was really tired at the beginning of the week but felt good on the long run!  Nice high volume week.  Adjusting to lots of walking + different style of maintenance runs (more equal doubles).

Week of 9/11-9/17:

Monday: AM: 4 unspectacular miles.  PM: form drills, speed ladder, hurdle drills, 5 miles, strides (pushed it!), planks/push-ups, rope stretch.

Tuesday: 18 min warm-up, drills, strides, 1000-1500-1000-1500-1000 (3:27, 5:23, 3:32, 5:21, 3:30) with 1:15-2:00 recovery.  6 x :20h, :30e.  Felt bad.  Legs wouldn’t move.  20 min c/d.  Light lift.  Ice bath.  PM: NormaTecs.

Wednesday: AM: 7 early miles.  Felt decent.  Sore glutes!  PM: NAP.

Thursday: AM: speed ladder, hurdle drills, 5-6 miles trails, basic drills, strides.  Felt terrible at first: nauseous, heavy legs/body, but gradually a little better.  First real lift in weight room.  My chin-up ability has atrophied!  PM: NormaTecs.

Friday: AM: 2 mile shakeout.  PM: rope stretch, 18 min warm-up, drills, strides, 5k race on home course (18:24), 3 mile cool down.  Total: 10.5 miles.

Saturday: Relaxed long run on trails. 92 minutes (but probably only 10-11 miles)

Sunday: off

Total: 52ish miles

Felt pretty bad all week but put together a decent race!  Lower volume, increased lifts.

Onto the race!

Our home invitational was on Friday night.  I raced unattached my freshman year, and I did not race last year due to…I actually don’t remember why.

To be honest, I felt pretty bad this whole week.  My runs ranged from okay to terrible.  Tuesday’s workout was rough, and I just couldn’t get my legs moving.  We also started lifting for real (it’s been like six weeks), and most of us were unspeakably sore after Tuesday and Thursday.  Yikes!  Luckily, our coach usually uses this race as a glorified workout, so there’s less pressure.


Classic carb-loading dinner 😉

Tell that to my brain, though!  This was to be my first time putting on the uniform in ten months On Friday, I woke up with my stomach in knots.  I did my shakeout run, made breakfast, picked up some pumpkin spice Wawa coffee because I am basic af, and headed to campus to work on an essay for the rest of the morning.  I had to force myself to eat lunch (chicken with honey mustard, sweet potatoes, some veggies, and half a bagel)  because the nerves were suppressing my appetite!

We drove out to the course around 4 pm, and I ate a Picky bar on the way over.  The race was at 6 pm, so we rope stretched, warmed up, and did drills before changing into our uniforms, tying on the bows, and heading out to the starting line to do strides.  I still didn’t feel stellar during the warm-up routine, and we were all sweating buckets because it was 80 degrees and sunny.  What happened to the lovely autumnal weather of last week??

It felt surreal to put on the uniform for the first time since regionals last November.

Anyway, we did strides and had a quick pre-race huddle with our coach.  She told me that I could go with the top workout group if I felt good, but I had the option to hang back with the next group.  No pressure.  Sounded good to me.


Enjoy these high-quality video screenshots!

The gun went off, and a few women from other schools rocketed down the uneven first straightaway into the lead.  Our course is pretty difficult- It’s three hilly loops, with a particularly steep hill that you have to run up three times, and extremely uneven footing.  It generally feels like the course is trying to throw you off of it 😉 It’s impossible to get into a rhythm, and nobody runs that fast.  Anyway, we got up the first hill, and I grouped up with my teammates in about seventh place.  All of our freshmen are still running unattached, so I was with three senior teammates in uniform and one unattached freshman.  The first mile was like 5:29.  Sheesh!  I was really tired after that…wasn’t sure how I was going to handle the rest of the race.


The second loop was a bit slower, and our group started to fall apart a little bit.  We passed the two mile mark around 11:30, and I stared longingly at the finish line as we ran past it 😉


The third time up the hill was unpleasant.  At this point, two of my senior teammates had dropped back, and the third one was starting to fade.  The freshman was crushing it.  As we passed 1k to go, the freshman gapped everyone, and the senior passed out.


I tried to encourage her as I ran by but had no idea if it was a medical issue or what.  Refocused on the last 1k, which hurt like heck, but I realized I was the first in-uniform runner from my school.  What on earth!?  I entered the last 200m of the course and tried to turn over as fast as I could.  I crossed the finish line in 18:24: good for fifth overall, second runner from my school, and first in uniform!

The course really beat the team up, so our coach just had us cool down and do strides instead of running the planned post-race hill workout.   My calves were absolute rocks at that point.  Ow.  I was surprised, but pleased, with my performance, and it just made me hungrier to run faster and strive for better things!

After the race, some of us went to Blaze Pizza and then I needed to stop at Rita’s for frozen custard with hot fudge.  The craving was insatiable.  I was thrilled.


Couldn’t sleep a wink the night after the race.  I spent the majority of the night tossing and turning, getting progressively sorer, eating weird midnight snacks like sweet potatoes and hard-boiled eggs, and reading a book.  We ran a relaxed long run on the trails (I’m not kidding about the relaxed bit- one of our mile splits was like 13 minutes) before going back out to the course to help with the high school portion of the invitational.  Then, I headed out to my friend’s party and didn’t get very much sleep for the second night in a row.  I am exhausted, and an off day is very much needed!  Going to spend Sunday doing schoolwork, chores, and meal prep.

I’m pleased with the race after a crappy week, and I’m excited to be back in the uniform!


In-season training week 1: 55 miles

Happy Sunday!  This week has been quite tiring.   All the first week of school activities, hard workouts, not-stellar sleep, getting used to traveling back and forth from my apartment, lots of rain, spontaneous concerts, lots of driving…etc.  But overall, it was quite fun!


The OG 3 at Convocation

After a minor glute strain, my coach decided it wasn’t worth it for me to race the 2-mile opener, so I drove the unattached freshmen up yesterday and did a slightly short long run in the rain at the venue.  Today, I ran 3 miles in the morning, made breakfast, studied and had lunch on campus, did some meal prep and laundry, took a nap, and hit up Aldi for a miniature grocery haul (because I already have most of the food I need).

Week of 8/28-9/3:

Monday: AM: compliance meeting, 5 slow miles in which I managed not to puke!  PM: pose drills, speed ladder + hurdle drills, 4 miles, strides, rope stretch, plank circuit.

Tuesday: AM: 2 mile warm-up, drills, strides, 5 mile tempo (6:08, 5:54, 6:11, 6:21, 6:13), 2 mile cool down.  Rope stretch, foam roll, pull-ups/core, ice bath.  PM: 2 miles @ 8:00 on treadmill

Wednesday: PM: 6 miles. Didn’t feel amazing.  Right hamstring is really tight.

Thursday:  18 min w/u, drills, strides, 6 x [4:00h, 2:00e], 18 min c/d.  Went well- really pushed myself, but hamstring is still tight/sore.  NormaTec + ice bath.  Walked a lot today :/

Friday: Felt destroyed so took AM off. 6 miles in PM.  Tweaked my glute/hip so no strides.

Saturday:  Coach decided not to race me.  11 miles at race location.

Sunday: 3 miles + core

Total: 55-56 miles

This week was hard!  Both workouts felt significantly more intense than what I had been doing throughout the summer.  My coach has thrown me into the longest, fastest workout group (we’ve got some super speedy freshmen, but they can’t yet handle the distance/intensity yet, which is fine!) and that shit is hard.  So my runs on Wednesday and Friday were both kinda awful…

Wednesday was the first day of classes!  This semester, I’m taking five business classes for my business major and one Spanish class for my Hispanic Studies major.  After three business classes on Wednesday, I ran with some teammates and went to Convocation, then we had an ice cream social.  It was lots of fun 🙂  I’ve still been freaking out about the fact that I have no idea what I want to do with my life, career-wise.


I have no Friday classes for the second semester in a row- three day weekend, heck yes!  We’ve also switched workouts to Thursday morning, so I don’t have to spend all day Friday thinking about the afternoon workout.  #Blessed.


So far, the classes that seem really cool are Entrepreneurial Ventures and Business Perspective and Application.  Mostly because they’ve introduced topics and ideas that I had never considered before!  My Spanish class is essentially the study of Spanish feminist pornography, sooo that will be interesting and uncomfortable 😉


On Thursday night, I found out about a concert that was happening at our amphitheater, so a couple of my friends and I spent the evening enjoying patriotic orchestral tunes along with the entire elderly population of Williamsburg!  It was #lit.

Unfortunately, I woke up on Friday with pretty severe hip flexor/glute pain.  I skipped my double and went to the training room to get it checked out, and the trainer said I had a minor glute med strain.  I think it was from Thursday’s workout because we ran around in circles on a wet, slightly uneven grass field.  My coach decided I shouldn’t risk making it worse in a race that wasn’t that important, so my return to in-uniform racing has been pushed back a couple more weeks 😦 That’s okay!  Better to be safe than sorry.

On Saturday morning, I got up early to drive some of the freshmen to the race venue.  They all raced unattached, so they weren’t allowed to ride in the team vans.  It took about an hour to get there, and it was raining and a bit miserable…perfect race weather 😉 A couple other non-racers and I did a long run (I just ran 11 miles), and my glute felt passable, but not pain-free.

After watching the races (they crushed it!) and a team cookout, we made a pit stop at Wawa for gas and coffee before hitting the road again.  I was dangerously drowsy while driving, but we screamed along to some Enrique Iglesias and Nicky Jam in order to stay awake.  By the time I got back to my apartment (around 3 pm), I crashed hella hard.  Revived later in the day to make the best chicken dinner ever (will post recipe later) and a cookie skillet, which is already gone 😉


Overall, this week had its ups and downs! I know I’m fit, and I’m itching to race (in uniform! It’s been 10 months!).  I just need to be patient.  There were also some days where my body felt really out of whack, so gotta stay diligent about the balance between recovery and hard work.

Welcome to junior year!!



3k PR: 10:15

Happy day-before-Easter!  And day-before-the-day-before-the-Boston-Marathon!


Yesterday’s “Easter” theme- it was more just “bright colors”

Shakeout + warm-up + rope stretch + drills + strides + race + cool down to long run mileage + blazing sun + ice bath = one tired college student.  And yet I’m writing this outside 😉  Sitting on the terrace after dinner, listening to a woodpecker, and enjoying the twilight weather.

The past few weeks have been shockingly good.  Under other circumstances, there would be nothing noteworthy about them, but considering I couldn’t walk after the race two weeks ago, putting together two consecutive weeks of good training has been unbelievable.

Last week: 41.5 miles + 145 min XT + yoga.  I had two really good off-track workouts and ran six days in a row, including a 10-mile soft surface run on Saturday.  Took Sunday completely off.

This week was the most intense running week I’ve had in months.  I ran 46 miles, 3 workouts, and have only cross trained one time!  What!?  I’ll do a more thorough training recap tomorrow, but today is for the race 🙂

Today was a low-key meet about half an hour from our campus.  Since I’m redshirting this season, my coach let me race the 3k again even though everyone else raced their “off” events.  The past few days have not felt great; 3 workouts in 4 days make for a tired body, and I ran on Wednesday instead of cross training.  I was hoping to run close to 10:00 today, but when I woke up this morning and still felt crappy, I just accepted whatever was going to happen.

Post-shakeout breakfast, 3.5 hours before the race: oatmeal with almond milk, egg whites, cinnamon, ginger, banana, berries, and peanut butter, along with plain Greek yogurt and coffee.


This picture is actually from yesterday

My teammate drove me to the meet since I can’t take the vans, and it didn’t feel like race day at all.  We rope stretched, warmed up for 20 minutes, and did drills and strides.  The meet was so small that they ended up scratching the men’s steeplechase and men’s 3k, and there were only 10 people in the women’s 3k (including 5 from my school).

The 3k was at 11:30 am, at which point it was about 75 degrees and the sun was directly overhead.  I rarely do well in the heat, so I was kind of worried.  I was also not nearly as excited for this race as I was for the last one

One of our teammates was supposed to pace the rest of us through the mile, but she went out a little too fast and we never closed the gap (she won by a lot).  I think our first two laps were 77 and 82, and then I took over pacing duties through the mile (80 and 81ish).  I did not feel good, but I was really proud of that third lap.

After the 1600, one of my teammates and one girl from another school gapped me, and I should’ve rallied harder but didn’t.  I felt pretty crappy from 1600 to 2600, but the clock read 8:55 with a lap to go, and I knew that a stronger last lap would get me a PR, no matter how small.  I really hit the hurt locker on that last lap but closed in an 80 (which is not impressive, but better than an 82) for a 2-second PR of 10:15.

  • The good: I did not run poorly in the heat; strong third lap; strong(er) last lap; remembering how to race rather than just run; my teammates ran really well!
  • The “bad”: Falling off in the second half; generally felt beaten down; didn’t run as fast as I know I can (I will be a sub-10 3k runner, dang it!).

After the race, we had a long cool down in order to get to long run mileage.  After the last race, I couldn’t even walk, so I brought my phone along today just in case I had to call my coach to come pick me up.  Luckily, that didn’t happen!  Instead, we ran 5 miles on some beautiful local trails for total daily mileage of 11.5ish.


Post-race refuel: a coffee chocolate Rx bar, lots of water, strawberry lime Tropical Smoothie, and turkey/apple/cheddar sandwich from Panera.  Looking forward to movies and ice cream tonight 🙂

Overall, today’s race was okay- can’t be upset with a PR (or can I?) but I want more!!  I’m racing a road 5k next Saturday, but I think that’s it for this season since I can’t race at conferences or ECACs.  Dang it.  Oh well.


3k PR: 10:17

Last night, I ran a PR in the 3k race!  And I haven’t been able to walk since…


Enjoy this Snapchat

Here’s the recap.

In the days leading up to the race, I slept like crap.  My runs felt like crap.  My body in general felt like crap.  Also, I had a vicious accounting midterm on Wednesday night.

Confidence booster, am I right? 😉

But I tried not to think about it.  On Tuesday and Wednesday, I focused on extra recovery and eating all of the carbs.

Breakfast (8 am): oatmeal with almond milk, egg whites, fruit, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric (which is why it’s yellow), peanut butter, and plain Greek yogurt.


Looks like a hot mess but so dang delicious

Mid-morning (10 am): some coffee, mostly decaf

I did a light upper body lift in the weight room, went for a 2-mile shakeout, and went to the training room for my normal treatment before getting lunch.  On the shakeout run, I noticed that my body felt much improved from the previous two days! 🙂

Lunch (12:30 pm): grilled chicken with honey mustard, sweet potato, steamed carrots, tomatoes, olive oil
Mid-afternoon (3:30): cinnamon raisin bagel with almond butter and banana


I watched Scandal, read “Obabakoak” for my Non-Castilian Spanish Literature class, and wasted time before making the very long 15-second journey to the locker room at 5 pm.

Pre-race (5:30): half a Picky bar

My teammate and I warmed up for 20 minutes, did drills and strides, and checked in to get our hip numbers.  We were both in the fast heat, towards the back.  It was a little chilly, but not too bad.

Both of us have been battling injuries recently, so this was both of our first races back.  Our coach told us to hang on to the back of the train for 800 meters and then start picking people off.  Quite a change from last year! (Throwback to telling this petrified freshman to “go through at your high school mile PR.”)

For this race, I honestly just wanted to go out there and race.  To not think about times or splits or paces at all.  I just wanted to compete.

Since I was racing unattached, I wore a purple tank top and buns.  Also, racing unattached means that the school sports photographer does not take pictures of you, so here is a horrible-quality Snapchat video screenshot.  I’m the purple and black blur with the yellow spikes.  You’re welcome 😉


The gun went off, and we settled in right where we needed to be.  It was so exciting to finally be in a race again!  The first few laps went by pretty quickly (around 80 seconds per lap, or 5:20 mile pace).  While I tried to keep the pace up throughout the second half of the race, I fell off my teammate a bit.  I wasn’t completely in the “race mode” mindset during the last 800, and I did not have a good kick.  I didn’t have a kick at all, actually.  That also stems from not being able to do speedwork or strides for the past few months 😉

I looked at the scoreboard clock with 300 to go, and it read 9:15ish.  That’s where I got complacent and thought, “well, I’m going to PR no matter what!”  and didn’t really try to kick it into the finish.  Three women passed me in the last 200 meters, but I finished in 10:17, which was 5 seconds faster than last year’s best.  I definitely had a little more in the tank at the end!


post-race gimp squad!

Unfortunately, right after the race ended, my left foot and bunion immediately tightened up so badly that I could not walk.  I tried to go for a cool down, but it was excruciating, and I ended up on the bike for a little while.  The pain was so horrible that I was in tears.  I iced forever, did Compex, elevated, took ibuprofen, and was still completely unable to sleep last night because of the discomfort.  It’s just as bad this morning 😦 and I’m sleep-deprived, so I’m cranky.

Post-race: plain Greek yogurt, Cosi pesto chicken sandwich, orange, and dark chocolate

So I really don’t know what I’m going to do for the rest of the season.  On the one hand, I just PR-ed off of no speedwork and minimal mileage and lots of cross training. (Proof that cross training works!!)  My aerobic capacity is there.  I feel like with a few more weeks under my belt, I can run a great 5k.  On the other hand, if this horrible pain is the consequence of a 3k, what happens when I race a 5k??


We’ll see.  I’m about to go swim for an hour or so- no running for me today! again- and then help out at the meet.  My roommate is running her first track 5k tonight, and I’m so excited to cheer her on!  Also, two of my teammates raced their first 10k last night and absolutely crushed it.  They ran 33:36 and 34:35.  Holy crap.  When they finished, it was so amazing and surreal and unbelievable that I actually cried.


NCAA D1 Regionals

The best cross country season of my life so far ended Friday in a slightly depressing way.

To put it lightly, regionals did not go as expected for the team.

We were expected to be in the mix to qualify for NCAA Division 1 Nationals in Terre Haute by finishing as one of the top two teams at regionals.  Unfortunately, we completely fell apart as a team and finished ninth.  Individually, I had a decent race.  It wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t that bad.  Life is weird.

IMG_0968.JPGI’d been experiencing progressively worse piriformis and adductor pain in my right leg to the point where it hurt to sit down, but I got through the race okay.  But I’m getting ahead of myself!

We left on Wednesday evening after dinner and arrived at the hotel around 8:30 pm.  On Thursday morning, we ate breakfast and headed to the course to pre-meet (5 miles, drills, strides, and a rope stretch).  It was then that the pain in my piriformis and adductor started really bothering me.  We ran the course, and I think I was overcompensating during that run and the strides that followed, because afterwards I was in a fair amount of pain.

On Friday morning, we completed our ten-minute shakeout at 7 am, followed by a rope stretch and breakfast.  Of course I had the typical oatmeal, almond butter, banana, and yogurt, along with black tea.

It was in the sixties and sunny when we got to the course around 9:30.  I was excited, nervous about the left side pain, and really, really hoping we would make nationals.

We warmed up for 20 minutes, completed our drills, and headed to the line and did strides.  This was the same course that I died on back in September, so I felt a bit apprehensive when the sun started blazing like it did that day.  It wasn’t quite as warm, but the temperatures were still unseasonably hot for this time of year!

The gun went off, and I got out badly, not gonna lie.  I found myself at the back of the giant pack, but I figured that would happen, so I just tried to get into a rhythm.  The first steep downhill-uphill rollercoaster jarred my piriformis/adductor…ouch.15036212_1218454414910150_586722439243613332_n.jpg

3k through 5k were pretty rough for me, and my legs just felt dead.  There’s a giant horrible hill at 4k that seemingly never ends and killed me in September, and I hit that hill with the goal of just trying to get over it.  Which I did, yay!  But that’s when I saw a couple of my teammates up ahead struggling. That’s also when I figured we weren’t going to make nationals as a team.


I hit the 5k mark in 119th place after losing ten spots and slowing significantly on the hilly middle portion, and I knew I had to rally and have a good last kilometer.  My headband fell off 800 meters from the finish (oops), I hit the creek and struggled up the crazy last hill, and threw myself into the final straightaway.  At this point, all thoughts of my piriformis had flown from my mind.


That straightaway is about 500 meters long, so at that point in the race, there’s still time to do some work.  I found myself running progressively stronger as I neared the finish line, and passed a fair amount of people.  I finished in 113th place in 22:38.


After finding out that we had not done well as a team, we took awhile to group back up (some people were struggling with medical issues; our top runner had to get an IV).  Our cool down was sad.  Afterwards, we watched the men’s 10k; our guys had a solid race and placed higher than their ranking with a very small time spread!

Our top runner was the first one out from qualifying individually for NCAAs, but we learned yesterday that she’d received one of the two at-large bids given out to the entire country!  No one deserves it more.

This was definitely not the way we were hoping to end our season, but it’s time to support our teammate at Nationals, take our break, and then refocus for the track season.  I’ll do a cross country reflection and track goals post soon.



XC Conference Championships 2016

Please pinch me; I’m pretty sure I’m dreaming.

Today was our conference race, and without further ado- We won individually and as a team, and I was the FIFTH scorer.


I kind of can’t believe it.

We left campus yesterday morning, rode 5 hours in the vans, and pre-meeted the course in the afternoon.  While the course was at a beautiful state park, it was probably one of the hardest courses we’d ever encountered.  Winding, narrow trails with tricky footing, treacherous roots, rolling hills, and a crazy hill at two miles:


After 5 miles, drills, and strides, we knocked all time goals out of our heads.  I had wanted to break 22, but I forgot all about that and zeroed in on my other goal– top seven.

We went to dinner (I had a lot of bread, bruschetta, and a chicken pesto pasta dish), did a bit of grocery shopping, and headed back to the hotel for the women’s team meeting.  We hadn’t tapered for conferences, with the focus being on regionals in two weeks.  We were expected to win, so our coach told us to use it as a hard effort and “practice” for regionals.  Get out well, settle in, and pack up.

To be honest, I was in a really weird funk the night before the race.  I felt so sad, and I had no interest in racing.  It was weird and unnerving.  I got a pretty good night’s sleep, though, and woke up this morning feeling a little more excited to race.  But I was kind of dreading the course.

We ran a 10-minute shakeout at 7 am, followed by a rope stretch and then breakfast.  I had the usual oatmeal with almond butter, a banana, cinnamon, and nutmeg, along with a vanilla Siggi’s and a splash of coffee.  My stomach was kind of in knots.

We headed to the course and got there about an hour and a half before the race.  It was windy and chilly, but the sights continued to astonish.  I had another half a banana and tri-berry Nuun.  Again we rope stretched and then headed for our warm-up.  Did drills, strides, and headed to the line.


The gun went off, and I tried to establish my position but got jostled around on the first steep downhill.  I settled in around 35th place and maybe 10th for my team and didn’t really try to pass anyone until the mile mark.  Surprisingly, I found myself moving up really well as we hit some narrow rolling hills.  Just before 3k, I made contact with one of my teammates, and as we passed our coach, she screamed, “Good! You’re in sixth and seventh!”

That’s when I started thinking, “Whoa.  I could do this.”

There was an incredibly steep hill right after the two mile mark, and it sucked the soul right out of most of the runners.  Our coach had told us not to hammer up this hill-just get up and over it to avoid going lactic- and I kept that in mind as we started the ascent.  It hurt a lot.  We finally reached the top to find…more hills!  At this point, I surged on the smaller uphills, and a gap formed between my teammate and me, leaving me solidly in sixth for our team.


The entire second half of the race, I mostly thought this: “OK, you are in the top seven and you are going to keep this position if it kills you!  Six minutes of pain left!  Suck it up and get to the finish!!”

I hit 5k, and it was hard to believe I had 1k to go.  I passed a few more girls and saw our fifth runner up ahead.  She has breathing issues and looked like she was struggling.  With 500 to go, I passed her up the last hill, willing her to come with me.  We rounded the last turn and shot out onto the finish straightaway.  I didn’t have the best kick today, but it was enough for seventeenth place overall, fifth place for the team, and a time of 22:31. I couldn’t stop smiling after I’d crossed the line.  For this insane course, I was so happy with it.  (My All-American teammate only ran mid-21s.) And I’m going to regionals!!

We only had time for a 20-minute cool down before the awards ceremony.  Afterwards, we packed up, and I headed home with my mom and spent the afternoon going to my brother’s game and gorging myself on food.  My mom is running the Marine Corps Marathon (her first marathon) tomorrow morning, and I’m staying to cheer her on!  I’m supposed to do a 3-5 mile shakeout run tomorrow, so I’ll try to plan my spectating route accordingly!  Then it’s back to campus for me– let’s hope I get on the right train this time.

Today was a great day!  I’m going to regionals!! (Sorry, I know I already said that, but I’m so excited!)  This was a dream that has gotten me through the hard, soul-crushing training cycles since the beginning of the summer, and now it’s starting to come true!




6k race (22:16)

Friday was my second 6k ever! And it went really well.

(First 6k ever– a year ago)


I woke up early, like always, and laid in bed until it was time to shake out at 7:30 am. It was 35 degrees outside- definitely a change from back home!- but it felt really nice. After the shakeout, we rope stretched and ate breakfast before packing up and heading to the course around 9:45. Pre-race breakfast: plain nonfat Fage, oatmeal with a banana and Justin’s almond butter, and a bit of coffee. I also had half of another banana and lemon-lime Nuun closer to race time.

We got to the course, which is on a picturesque golf course, and we rope stretched, warmed up, and did drills and strides. At this point, the temperatures had reached the mid-40s, which actually felt pretty good!


After a team huddle and stride back, we took off the last of our outer layers and got ready to roll. Honestly, I had a feeling this would be a good day. We had previewed the course multiple times, and while pretty much the entire last mile was uphill, we knew we could do it. After my last race, I had no expectations, and I was feeling a little nervous but also ready to “just run to your fitness level”, as my coach put it.

The gun went off, and I settled in pretty much right away. The plan was to go out relatively conservatively (compared to everyone else) because we knew that it would naturally be fast and we wanted to be able to rally in the second half. The first straightaway was kind of overwhelming, though, with hundreds of women stampeding down the golf course incline into a tight pass. On the first turn, we went from a sprint to almost a dead stop! I kept reminding myself to relax, relax, relax.

The first mile flew by, and it was so downhill that my 5:30something split felt like a 5:50 effort. Even going out in 5:30, I was still in like 150th place. I bunched up with two of my teammates during the second mile, and we came through two miles right over 11:30. Really started trying to pass people as the real hills began.

From 2.5 miles to the finish (6k, or 3.75 miles), there were three pretty intense hills. I dug deep and powered up the first one and told myself I’d be able to recover on the upcoming downhill. That didn’t work too well because I still felt very lactic when I hit the next hill, which was significantly longer, albeit less steep, than the previous one.

The last hill was half a mile long, and it hurt. A lot. Finally made it to the top and rounded the final turn, and we had a quarter mile to go. I kicked with what I had left, and with about 25 meters to go, my teammate (who has a notoriously lethal kick) flew by me. I went with her as much as I could, and we ended up passing a couple other girls before the finish. We finished together in 22:16, which was a 36-second PR for me, a minute PR for her, 5:58 average pace, and converts to an 18:21 5k!


Happy after big PRs 🙂

Afterwards, we cooled down for about 3 miles, did 4 strides, and cheered on our men’s team, who had a 19-second spread between runners 1-5 over the 5.2 mile race! I downed a vanilla Siggi’s yogurt, rope stretched for a bit, took some pictures, and finally we headed to get food. Stopped at Wegmans for the third time in two days 😉 I treated myself to a pretty amazing post-race meal of a chicken pot pie, sautéed garlic kale, mac and cheese, a cranberry Kombucha, and a Wegmans pumpkin muffin. On point.

Overall, this race was a giant step in the right direction. It was the biggest cross country race I’ve ever participated in (I finished 136th). I’m happy with a PR and know that there’s more in the tank. I’m also thrilled that my teammate and I, who were the two slowest walk-ons entering our freshman year, finished as the seventh and eighth runners for our team!! I think my coach’s philosophy of “we don’t need anyone to run out of their minds. Just run what you are physically capable of” really helped me stay calm and focus on race day.

Now for the not so good news- ended a relationship on Friday night, and the past 1.5 days have been pretty rough.  A veritable rollercoaster of emotion.  Doesn’t help that I’m 100% sleep-deprived.