An Adventure

This weekend, I had Friday and Saturday off from work, so I made plans with some of my teammates to meet up in our college town.  Yesterday, I ran a workout, took an ice bath, and headed down after breakfast. After thunderstorms and bad traffic, I finally arrived…and one by one, all of my friends cancelled.

AWESOME.  I almost turned around and drove 3 hours home.

However, it’s important to be comfortable spending quality time with yourself!  Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you expected for a  reason.  The trip turned out differently than I expected, but it was honestly still a good time!  The worst part was the traffic.

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Since I hadn’t been back in our college town since the end of spring semester, I spent a couple hours just enjoying being there.  It was pretty stormy and gray, which was perfect weather to do a bit of outlet shopping and then take myself on a date to my favorite coffee shop/restaurant.

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I enjoyed some Caribbean blackened salmon, grains and veggies, and a massive slice of “Chocolate Overload” cake while reading A Walk Across America, Part 2.

After awhile, I made plans to crash at a friends’ apartment.  I met her subletter, who was extremely nice, and we actually ended up talking for a long time that evening!

This morning, I made plans to long run with a new teammate and another acquaintance who were both in the area.  We met early at a local park and bike path, and I ran with them for 100 minutes (~13 miles) for a new personal distance record!  I hadn’t spent too much time with either of them, but the run flew by as we all shared stories.  At one point, one of them mentioned that we had already been running for almost an hour, and I was shocked!

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After 13 miles, I headed back to the locker room to stretch, roll out, and ice bath.  Talked to a couple track teammates that happened to be there at the same time.  Then, I headed into the historic area to wander around (read: get coffee and free fudge samples) at all the cute shops.

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I had never been in this Spice and Tea place before!  Their peach turmeric tea was amazing.

After running some errands, I went to tour the apartment complex that my roommate and I will be moving into this year!  We’re excited to start planning the set-up.

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The most important part 😉

Finally, I hit the road and drove home.  Traffic wasn’t great, and it took a pretty long time.  Stopped for a fruit-and-yogurt pit stop.  I’m done driving long distances for awhile 😉

Anyway, this solo trip was definitely out of routine for me.  I am not the world’s most extroverted person, and I generally don’t spend hours talking to new people.  But for the past 26 hours, I did!  I met some awesome people, made plans that I wouldn’t normally make, was generally productive, and was also comfortable spending time with myself.  I’m quite happy about this.  To top it all off, this morning’s long run was incredible!  I felt like I could have gone farther and faster. 🙂

Life Update: Dean’s List, Country Music, Dates

I have amazing news for you!

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That is all.

Just kidding.  But seriously, today was beautiful: sunny and 82 degrees.  After literally three weeks of rain, my dog and I both made sure to get much more than our daily allotment of Vitamin D.

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Yes, I jumped on the Birks bandwagon…don’t judge me too much

This is my first “real” week of summer training, although the volume remains really low.  I have 24 miles and three days of cross training scheduled.  Yesterday, I ran four miles and did upper body strength and yoga, and this morning brought 5 miles and a leg lift.  I felt pretty good.

One of my many goals for this summer is to be self-motivated to do yoga at least once a week.  I am really bad at yoga but always feel better after I do it, even if it’s just twenty minutes!  (Sounds like bullshit, but it’s true.)

Other summery (and non-summery) things that have happened recently:

  • Pretty great date in Georgetown (the same place I went after high school graduation!)  This Brussel’s Sprout pizza has my heart.

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  • I made the Dean’s List!!  Hadn’t checked my grades yet since the end of spring semester, so the email was a nice surprise. 🙂

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  • Baked a triple berry crumble when we hosted some people over the other night.

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  • Scheduled a summer job interview…wish me luck!
  • Got a summer haircut…4 whole inches chopped off the mane!  Can you tell?

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  • Last but not least, I started listening to country music…I know.  Who am I? My whole life has been anti-country music.  But it’s not bad!

 

 

Coffee and Core

Happy Sunday!  I ventured out into the sixteenth consecutive day of gloomy weather and completed a nice little five-mile run to end a 17-mile week 😉  Afterwards, I enjoyed a lovely breakfast of oatmeal, yogurt, coffee, and bacon.  And Gone Girl.

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I thought I’d share my go-to core routine on this lovely, rainy Sunday.  (Seriously.  Enough with the rain.)

I didn’t start doing core exercises on a regular basis until the end of sophomore year of high school, and throughout high school my core routines were about five minutes long.  Which is better than nothing!  But I wasn’t really pushing myself to get stronger.  A strong core is vital for running efficiency and injury prevention.  When you’re at that point in a workout or race when your arms and legs get heavy, a strong core will prevent your form from breaking down, and you’ll waste less energy!

Once I got to college, we were doing some form of body-weight strengthening every single day, and improvements were noticeable.  The planks and bicycles and toe touches that I found impossible in high school have become just another thing to check off as I move through the routine.

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Feel free to make the routine longer by adding any exercises you wish to!  Don’t forget to incorporate back strengthening exercises such as bridges, Superman, donkey kicks, etc.  The back muscles are often neglected when they are a vital part of your core.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you do the same exercises in the same order every time, your muscles get used to it and you stop seeing as many benefits.  It’s important to mix it up and try new exercises, or a new order!  I’d suggest asking other people for their core routines; a few years ago, one of my good friends and I exchanged our “favorite” abs exercises.  As a dancer, she is physically one of the strongest people I know, and her “favorite routine” was killer.  It still is.

After completing this routine, if it’s still raining, I’d suggest foregoing all planned outdoor activities, curling up with a nice cup of coffee (or tea…I know I’m a traitor) and reading Gone Girl.  Or maybe that’s just what I’ll be doing…

Rain, rain, please go away.

 

Summer storms and micronutrients

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far, with the heat index exceeding 100 degrees.  The sun blazed for most of the day, so after 4.65 (sweaty) (gross) miles with some former teammates, I stayed inside for most of the day.  A 20-minute walk with the dog left me drenched and him panting like he’d just run 10 miles.

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Around 6 pm, a huge storm hit.  I think the nearby airport recorded gusts of wind as high as 50 miles per hour!  The trees outside my window were swaying dangerously, and the rain battered the houses.

The lights flickered for a bit, then went out.

Our street is always the street that has power no matter what.  In the derecho.  During Hurricane Sandy.  Et cetera.  We’re the lucky ones.  So this was annoying 😉

As far as we could tell, it was just our four houses (my house, the one behind us, the one next to us, and the one behind the one next to us) that had lost power.  Then we heard that the transformer in our backyards had caught on fire!!  Our next-door neighbors called 911, but of course with all the crazy rain and wind blowing around, the fire went out before the fire department actually got there.

Here in metropolitan/suburban America, you don’t actually realize how much you rely on electricity until you don’t have it.  No Internet.  Can’t charge your phone/computer/watch.  No lights.  Our preparation as far as candles and flashlights goes was pretty dismal.  You can’t open your fridge or freezer.  Can’t do laundry.  Can’t run the dishwasher.  All this stuff is totally “first world problems,” but you never realize how many times per day you do all of these things!  I must have gone to the fridge at least seven times…

I read for awhile by candlelight before going to bed around 10:30.

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(Yes, that is my fourth bowl of blueberries of the day in the back.)

It was pretty weird to realize how much of modern life is dependent on electricity.

So that’s my epiphany for this week. 😉  I read books for much of the evening and morning, and I went to the library this afternoon for an hour to charge my computer and use wifi, but they managed to restore our four houses’ power by the time I got back.


I finally got my training schedule yesterday, and it involves five days of running per week along with an entirely new amount of yoga and cross training.  Today was supposed to be my day “off” where I didn’t run and did an hour of either biking or swimming, but I woke up this morning to discover that the storm had one positive result; it left 70 degree temperatures in its wake!  Of course, I had to take advantage of it, so I did tomorrow’s run (5 miles) today.

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It was glorious to not start the run overheated.  I did my long run route (obviously shortened), which contains a long, steep hill towards the end that I always absolutely positively must summit quickly, and I accidentally sprinted up the entire thing.  Oops.  At the top I was going 6:05 pace.  This was around 4.3 miles.

All in all, it was a pretty good run.  I’ll take tomorrow off from running and do an hour of cross training.  Nothing like staring at the bottom of the pool for an hour.  At least the scenery changes when you’re running…

In four weeks, I should be up to at least 40 miles per week over five days of running, so I’ll be doing an average of 8 miles per day!  Goodness.  We’ll see how this goes.  I wonder where I’m supposed to be at the end of the summer.  I foresee many naps in my future.


A couple days ago, I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app, not because I wanted to track my calories (I honestly do not care how many calories I eat) but because I had the sneaking suspicion that my micronutrients were not up to par.  So I tracked what I ate yesterday, and my suspicions were confirmed…

IMG_5917The leftmost number is the amount I actually consumed, and the one in the middle is what MyFitnessPal thinks I should be aiming for.

The lack of calcium was just because we were out of milk so I made my oatmeal with water, so that number’s generally better on a daily basis.  My sugar intake surprised me by being higher than I expected (I think 134 grams), but I know that’s because I eat so many fruits and vegetables.  My sodium intake kind of confirmed my worries; yesterday, I even consciously tried to consume sodium by adding lemon-lime Nuun to my water and eating pickles, but I still barely got to half the recommended amount.  If I hadn’t eaten the Nuun or pickles, my intake would’ve been maybe 500 milligrams!!  I just seldom eat salty things!

(PS: Can you get Vitamin A and Vitamin C poisoning?  Sheesh.)

Today I drank more Nuun (strawberry lemonade) and picked up some freakin’ delicious Thai food (beef basil and spring rolls) for lunch, and the beef basil absolutely had a ton of sodium.  So hopefully I’ll actually get close to the recommended amount of sodium today.

Just to reiterate, I am not doing this to track calories.  I’m tracking micronutrients for a couple days just to see where I can improve (more sodium, less sugary fruit, etc.), and then I’ll probably delete the app once I figure out which foods I should be eating more or less of to fill the “holes” in my diet.

Summertime tiredness

Happy day after Father’s Day!

(PS, I did end up running on Friday.  Watchless approximately 4 mile easy run with my friend.)

Saturday was a ridiculously long day.  We celebrated Father’s Day a day early by doing all sorts of activities that my dad enjoys.  We woke up at 6:30 am and he picked us up a little past 7 am, and then we were off to go pick blueberries an hour away.  After picking blueberries, we parked 2.6 miles away from Harper’s Ferry, and we were off on a family bike/run on the C&O canal.

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Screenshotted a Snapchat video… terrible quality

They all biked while I ran, and the canal path was shady and cool since it’s near the water, so the run was nice.  Except we got to Harper’s Ferry and after visiting Jefferson’s Rock, my dad and brother decided to desert my other brother and me for 45 minutes, and I didn’t have my phone, so that was fun.  Turns out they decided to get ice cream and walk around a different way after leaving Jefferson’s Rock.

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We then biked/ran back to the car (my run ended up being 2.6 miles to Harper’s Ferry at an 8:07 pace, a loooong walking/climbing/sitting break at Harper’s Ferry, and then 2.6 miles back to the car at a 7:35 pace) and went to lunch.

After that, we drove some more and visited my grandmother, then headed home.  Whereupon I hopped in the shower, threw my stuff together, and headed off to drive a bunch of friends and myself to the Hozier concert an hour away!

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Yes, she did wear running clothes to a concert

The concert was pretty fun, although there were intense thunderstorms the whole time.  The picture above was taken at 7 pm, the concert was supposed to start at 8, but it didn’t start until 9:30.  We stayed in the car and walked around in the thunderstormy darkness while we waited.  It was insane.  The grassy hill turned into a mud pit, and we stood in a downpour the entire time Hozier was onstage.

IMG_5890It was worth it, though, because he was AMAZING.  He sounded exactly the same live as he does in his recorded songs, and he wasn’t too hard on the eyes either 😉

Very rough 11 pm picture in a torrential downpour

Very rough 11 pm picture in a torrential downpour

It took at least half an hour to get out of the parking lot, and by the time I dropped all my friends off and got back to my house, it was almost 1 am.  I fell dead asleep pretty much immediately.

I haven’t gotten my training schedule yet, so I just did 5 miles this morning, along with 45 push-ups.  The run was rough because it was really hot and sunny and humid, and I need to get back into my normal sleep schedule (the past few days I’ve gone to bed at 5:15 am, 10 pm, and 1:30 am).  I also need to get back into my normal food routine and keep myself accountable!  I’ve been eating a ridiculous amount of fruit (read: 12 fruits per day…) and unhealthful things such as a gyro and french fries and a chicken wing and pizza.

Today’s food so far:

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with peaches, banana, strawberries, almond butter, and cinnamon; homemade blueberry muffin
  • Lunch: leftover steak with Montreal seasoning, onions and mushrooms, swiss chard, peas, and a giant baked sweet potato; homemade chocolate brownie.

This week is pretty low-key; events on my schedule (besides running/strength of course) include babysitting, doing housework, catching up on sleep, going to the library, and going to the pool to both swim and relax.  A lot of my friends are at beach week or otherwise preoccupied, so I’m not going to be going out a lot this week.  Fine by me!  My beach week is in two weeks, and I am so excited.

Happy beginning of summer!

Regionals!

Although this was my last regional meet of high school, I ultimately made the decision to scratch any individual events because they fell on the same night as prom (Friday).  This means that I am not qualified for states in an individual event, but I’m okay with that 🙂

The 4×800 was on Thursday night, which did not bring ideal weather.  It was in the 80s and extremely humid, with lurking thunderstorms, which was not a surprise but still gross. We got to the meet around 6:50 pm and warmed up at 7:30 because there was a 15-minute storm delay.  I felt okay on the warm-up; I tend to get a stitch either before or during races, and I got a stitch during this warm-up, which was kind of a relief because I’d gotten it over with.  Weird, I know.  We were soaked in perspiration by the end of the warm-up.

We kept the same order that we ran at conferences, so I was running the first leg.  I really wanted to have a good race and just get back under that stupid 2:25 barrier that I hadn’t been able to break all season (even though my PR from last year was a 2:21).  If I was ever going to do it, this was the race.

As I lined up at the starting line, I was mentally shouting “I love racing” or something along those lines at myself in order to override any negative thoughts that were trying to creep in.

After three separate “on your marks” because someone kept stepping on the finish line, the gun finally went off.

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IMG_5441The first 200 went out pretty hard, but I felt good.  There was no finish line clock, so I had no idea what my 400 split was during the race.  I figured it was fast, but I still felt strong! (It turned out to be 66 high)

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Unfortunately, I got spiked and boxed in on the back stretch during the second lap.  I lost my balance and slowed down but still managed to hang in there.  Races are never perfect 🙂

I hardly remember anything from 500 to 700 meters, but as I came around to the final straightaway and tried to find my teammate, I realized she was lined up really far to the outside.  Trying to get to her wrecked my concentration a little bit, so my final kick wasn’t amazing and I slowed down drastically as I handed off to her in fourth place, but we managed not to drop the baton, and I turned around as fast as I could to check out my time on the scoreboard clock behind me.

When I turned around, the clock read 2:19.

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IMG_5449IMG_5450I love these pictures.  I was shocked!

As you can see, even though depth perception is hard in head-on pictures, I handed off about five meters before the line, so my leg was a little less than 800 meters.  But I’d like to think all the dodging and weaving I did made up for it 😉  If I had run all the way through the line, it would’ve either been 2:20 low or 2:19 high, so I’m calling it as a 2:19.  (I hope no one minds.) No matter what, it was a PR, which honestly I was not expecting at all after running 2:25-2:26 all season!

My teammates ran amazingly as well, and we actually set a season best, faster than we’d run when we had our original four!  Our soph anchor split a 2:16-2:17, her fastest time ever as well!

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On to states!  I have one more race left in my high school career!

 

 

 

Rain, rain, go away– except you brought a US#1 time, so stay!

Last week started out strong.  I made it through a Monday track workout (7x800m starting at 2:55 and ending at 2:49) and decided to aqua jog on Tuesday.  Wednesday I had a morning lifting session and an afternoon run.  Abs most days.  I was getting excited for our first meet scheduled for Saturday.  The usual.

On Thursday morning, I got out of bed and knew something was up.  My entire left calf muscle was extremely tight, not sore exactly, but it felt like someone had repeatedly taken a hammer and bludgeoned just the muscle, nothing else.  I brought my tiger tail to school, spent the day sort of hopping up and down the stairs, and heated the muscle for about twenty minutes after school.  I tried one warm-up lap around the track, but the muscle was just not in the mood to run; my coach told me to skip that day’s track workout, go home and rest.  I wasn’t even supposed to use the elliptical.

Grr! Do you know how mentally difficult/annoying it is for me to just…not exercise in the middle of the week?

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Real-time real mad. #angryselfie

So I skipped the workout, iced, and foam rolled all afternoon.  I knew I had made the right decision because there was no way I could have done the workout on that calf.

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Do you like my snowman sheets?

Friday I ran 25 minutes easy with my friend who was suffering from the same kind of calf thing.

I woke up early on Saturday to the sound of rain splattering the ground.  My coach and I had decided to keep me in the relay that day, so I fueled up with a cinnamon raisin English muffin, almond butter, and banana.  Thankfully, although my leg didn’t feel 100%, it at least felt run-able.  Our coach is really bad at meet time management, so we ended up being the last relay to check in. Our lead off leg was literally tying her spikes on the starting line.  Typical.  It was pouring rain and chilly; our goal for the race was to get a national auto and win because the next fastest team was seeded a full two minutes behind us.

By the time our first girl finished, we already had a 25-second lead, and our second leg increased our lead to probably 200 meters. As I grabbed the baton, I was surprised that I wasn’t more apprehensive about racing with zero speed work and a slight calf injury.  I focused on lapping other teams, and ran a solid 5:25 without feeling completely spent. Yay! Our anchor crossed the finish line after at least lapping every other team in the field.  Our time was not only a national auto, but a NATIONAL LEADER! We are (currently) US #1! And we can run faster than we actually did; if you add up our indoor times it’s something like 30 seconds faster than we ran on Saturday.

Mom: "Let me get a photo!" Us: "We are soaking wet and disgusting but oookayyy"

Your current national leaders! It’ll only last a few days though…

Splits: 79, 81, 84, 81. Decent enough after a week of just three days of running, not a single speed workout this season, and less-than-ideal weather.

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My mom managed to capture perfectly my feelings toward racing in the rain on a complaining calf.  See side picture 😉

Today we had a track workout of 400m repeats, and afterwards, I PR-ed in the number of consecutive push-ups I can do!

I ate very well today, and I’m excited to see what the rest of the week brings.  I just stocked my sports locker with KIND bars to save me in case a craving hits in the middle of class…

 

Snow day take 5

This morning dawned snowy and…also rainy.  With eight to ten inches of fresh powder trapping everyone in their homes, temperatures decided to rocket up to 37 degrees, causing still-falling snow to turn to cold rain and generally making for a miserable atmosphere.

What did I do about this, you may be wondering? Well, first I went running.

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“Help, I’ve frozen and I can’t get up.”

It was disgusting.  I was only required to run for 15-20 minutes, but it ended up being a 25-minute “run-stop-step in a melted snow puddle-run-avoid a car” type of slog.

After that, I made food! Surprise!

photo 3-3First, I made brownies.  Decadent, gooey, undercooked brownies made from  the Baker’s bar recipe, not healthy in the slightest.  They were amazing, and I confess to eating more than necessary.

I didn’t, however, go as crazy as my younger brother and his friend.  They ate three. Each.  They’re both nine and not particularly big, either.

photo 4-3After brownies, it was time for snickerdoodles.  I’d never actually made snickerdoodles before, so I wasn’t sure how they would turn out/if I’d even like them.

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Oh my god.

So good.

I used a recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie (“Skinny Snickerdoodles”) but accidentally made them double the size they were supposed to be, I think.  Oh, well.  Double the deliciousness in each cookie!!

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I wonder what would happen if you combined them to make a snickerdoodle brownie cake! 

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We’ve got another snow day tomorrow (man! I didn’t actually want a snow day on my birthday!) which means it is officially a five-day weekend. Yes/no! While I’m enjoying the prospect of not being forced to do homework, I’ve come to semi-dread these breaks because I’m always incredibly bored.

I kind of want to spend part of my birthday at the gym, to be honest.  Does that make me crazy?

On the schedule for tomorrow is a short-ish run and some foam rolling.  I’ll try to eat healthy even though it’s my birthday/a holiday notorious for chocolate/I have a preposterous quantity of dessert in my house.  I’m a little worried because of the regionals postponement; we’re doing some extreme tapering.  A 15-minute run the week before?? Whaaat?  I know it’s not like we lose a ton of fitness in a week when we’re still running, but I don’t want to let myself go or anything and end up feeling like I’m running through mud during the two mile.  We’ll see what happens.