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 🙂

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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

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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!”

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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??)

 

 

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Hump Day/Tempo Tuesday Recap

Happy Hump Day!  It’s been a long day.  This morning, my body once again decided that it didn’t need sleep.  I woke up at 4 am, again at 5 am, and then dozed until 6:20 when I decided to get my run in before my 8 am.

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I had class from 8 to 2, so I ate breakfast during our 8 am Business Analytics pressure cooker.  I’m sure my group members appreciated the weird beet-pink Picky Oats 😉  After class, I cancelled my training room appointment (lol) and spent four hours outside in the glorious weather, napping and getting some work done.  Went to the dining hall for dinner, hung out with the guy’s team while they did stupid reckless things as college guys tend to do, finished tomorrow’s Spanish presentation, and am now eating chocolate peanut butter ice cream before bed ❤

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Anyway, I wanted to recap yesterday morning’s workout!  It went much better than last Tuesday’s fiasco.  We warmed up for a little over two miles, did drills and strides, and then got instructions from our coach.  Our workout was 4 x 2000m on the track with 1:30 recovery between the first 3 and 2:00 before the last one.  My group (of about six) was supposed to start at 90 seconds per lap (6:00 mile pace).

We ran the first 2k retro (backwards on the track), the second one the right way, the 3rd retro, and the 4th the right way.  Our 2k splits ended up being 7:30, 7:25, 7:22, 7:18.  (For reference, the mile splits within the 2ks were 6:00, 5:57, 5:54, 5:51.)  The first 2k was perfectly paced, thanks to my teammate who is actually a metronome.  We split 1:30, 3:00, 4:30, 6:00, 7:30. IMG_8685.jpg

A 2k is a long interval, and 20 laps of work on the track was a little daunting!  But we got halfway through, our group was packed up and working together well, and it became more doable.  Everything felt controlled until the last 600ish of the last 2k.  That’s when I thought, “All right, this is definitely ‘balls to the wall’.”

Afterwards, we cooled down for about 20 minutes, refueled and rope stretched and headed to lift in the weight room.  My soleus had been bothering me, so I went to the training room after lift to get it worked on.  The scraping and active release hurt so badly, but it also helped so much!  I had to laugh afterwards when the trainer who bludgeoned my soleus said, “I hope we can still be friends.”

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Post-workout steak dinner…heck yes

Overall, the track workout went really well.  I’m excited to recover, rehydrate, fuel up (with ice cream, oops), and get ready for the race this weekend.  I don’t want to jinx anything, but I think I can have a strong performance, and it would be great to redeem myself from last year!

 

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!

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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.

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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.

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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 😉

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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 😉

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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!!

 

Summer Training Week 8 (54 miles)

Happy National Ice Cream Day!  After an easy 4 miles and core this morning, I dog sat, perused the farmer’s market, and have been checking various chores off my to-do list.  It’s been a busy week; I’ve worked every single day, and one more shift stands in the way of me and a day off 😉

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Week 7 (7/10-7/16):

Monday:  AM: drills, glutes, 7 miles,  strides.  I felt pretty crappy and was cranky on this run.  Core circuit.  PM: 3 miles neighborhood trail.  1 hour slow flow yoga class.  Got sick afterwards and puked/laid in bed all evening.

Tuesday:  AM: nothing: still sick.  Felt very achey/tired/lethargic, hibernated all day.  PM: 7 miles at 8:00 pace on treadmill.  Feet hurt by the end but body felt surprisingly okay.

Wednesday:  5 miles at Roosevelt Island.  Probably one of the top 5 worst runs I’ve ever had.  Heavy legs, felt off balance and achey, and it was super warm and humid.  But at least I did it!  Lift day 1: felt okay.

Thursday:  AM: fartlek on canal: 2 mile warm-up, 1-1-1-2-2-2-3-3-2-2-2-1-1-1 min on with 1 min recovery between everything, 2 mile cool down.  Very humid/muggy.  Didn’t feel amazing, but much better than Wednesday.  Ice bath.  PM: 2 miles at 8:10 pace on treadmill.  Very tired, and sore feet/legs!  Total = 11 miles

Friday: AM: 5 miles sidewalks.  Tired but progressively better.  Very humid/hot.  Lift day 2, unfortunately disrupted by some really horrible interactions.  The lift went pretty well, but I was not in a good mindset and therefore it didn’t feel as quality as it could have.  PM: was going to swim, but thunderstorms closed the pool, so I reluctantly took the afternoon off (which I definitely needed!!)

Saturday:  4 mile warm-up, 4 mile tempo (6:30, 6:33, 6:19, 6:12), 4 mile cool down all on bike path.  95% humidity.  Tempo was hard but got progressively mentally stronger throughout.  I knew I would need something extra, so I ate a citrus Clif energy gel after the tempo (so after 8 miles), and I don’t know if it was a placebo effect, but the last 4 miles felt surprisingly good!  Sore toes.  Ice bath. (Total: 12 miles)

Sunday: 4 miles + core

Total: 54 miles

This week was just weird.  I got sick on Monday and really didn’t feel well for about 5 days total.  Running wasn’t super fun, and I was annoyed that my mileage was lower than I wanted it to be.  Also, I managed to do 3 runs on soft-ish surfaces (yay!) but my legs were still super heavy and the constant, miserable heat and humidity didn’t help…

But I tried to listen to my body, and I’m proud of myself for taking Friday afternoon off (haha I’m aware how ridiculous that sounds).  I finally started to feel not-dead on Friday night.  Saturday’s long run took awhile to get into, and the tempo really did not feel great. So I was going to do 2×2 miles, and then “get to 3 miles and reevaluate”, but I got to 3 miles and felt progressively stronger so ended up doing 4 🙂  And I’m now an energy gel believer haha.

I’ve turned into a hermit that only runs and works.  I know my mindset was kinda crazy this week, so one of the things I’ll work on this coming week is not treating every run/mileage like the be-all, end-all of cross country success.  I have a tendency to micro-analyze every week and compare it to last year, etc. etc. etc.  I do really want to hit higher mileage, but I’m trying to remind myself that consistency is key!  There’s no need to rush things, especially after the spring semester…

One of the things I will try to incorporate this coming week is positive mantras.  Even a short phrase can re-center yourself and remind you of what’s important.  I go to a slow flow yoga class every week, and the instructor’s end-of-class mantra is “You are strong.  You are awesome.  You are inspiring.”  Heck yes, we all are!  Power poses can also play a big role in re-establishing yourself and getting out of a short-term funk.  I sound like such a hippie 😉 but I will incorporate these techniques.

Other random happenings:

  • My baby brother turned 13!
  • I finished reading A Walk Across America and re-read Born to Run and Eat and Run.  I’m a fan of all three books.  Now I’m reading Reconstructing Amelia.

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  • I poached eggs in a muffin tin for the first time.  They were delicious!  Just pop em in the oven for like 10 minutes.
  • Made Spicy Peanut Pad Thai for dinner one night (recipe from runonveg.com).  It was really good!  I used shrimp instead of tofu.  Also didn’t have aminos so used soy sauce, but that made it way too soy-sauce-y, so I had to add a bunch of honey to the sauce, haha.
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National Ice Cream Day concoction in the works.  Hint: involves three types of dough

  • Decompressed every night by eating lots of dessert and binge-watching The Great British Baking Show (until 10 pm because #earlyriserprobs)

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  • My coach shared with us the article, “Mindsets: Developing Talent Through a Growth Mindset” by Carol Dweck.  It was a really good read- I would recommend it to any athletes (or anyone!).  She also had us think about our beliefs about natural talent and effort.
  • I tend to align more with a fixed mindset in terms of “concealing deficiencies” and sometimes have trouble accepting criticism.  However, I have a growth mindset when it comes to Rule #2: “Work with passion and dedication- effort is key.”  Just some personal food for thought.

My goals (running and non-running) this week are to: have fun outside of training because I kind of failed at that this week; be less rigid with training and don’t stress about workouts; do something nice for someone every day; practice listening rather than just waiting until someone is done talking and then jumping in with whatever I have to say; plan more fall semester stuff; read a lot; stay off my phone!

“Garbage mileage”

This is kind of a mid-week weekly round-up because the past few days have been…interesting.

There’s always that point in training where the work you’ve done so far suddenly accumulates and your body feels like it’s been hit by a train.  If you’re doing it right and not overtraining, this feeling can last one day, a couple days…a week at most.  Then your body adjusts and you go back to feeling semi-normal.  However, if you’re overtraining, all of a sudden every run/lift/training session feels horrible for weeks on end.  Not good.

I had forgotten this feeling.  I think a lot of people can relate to this, but every time my training volume goes back up, I get complacent and think I’m invincible for a little while.  Until the accumulation of training volume happens, and then it’s a struggle to get out the door for a maintenance run 😉  Especially once the weather decides to never dip below 80 degrees or 80% humidity.  Ever.

After taking Sunday completely off, I felt surprisingly bad on Monday morning.  Two weeks ago, I joyfully bounded out the door the day after a complete rest day.  This week…nope.  My running buddy had to deal with my bitchiness for the first half of the run.  Eventually, I kinda warmed up, but no part of the 7 miles felt joyful.  That afternoon’s 3-miler was also “just another run.”

To make matters worse, I got sick on Monday night and spent the evening throwing up and lying curled up in the fetal position drinking ginger ale.  On Tuesday, I laid in bed for about 7 hours feeling weak and stressing about not doing the scheduled workout and being 11 miles under this week’s mileage.  Yeah.  I know, I’m insane and delusional.  Luckily, I felt progressively better throughout the day,before having a spurt of energy and jumping on the treadmill for 7 maintenance miles in the evening.  Again, I know.  I’m insane.  The run felt okay.  Nothing special.

Wednesday- hoo boy.  “You can go up to 6 miles as long as you feel fine,” I told myself. I drove to Roosevelt Island, and it was 80 degrees and 90% humidity at 7 am.  Right from the start, running felt impossible.  I struggled through every second of that miserable 5-miler.  My legs felt dead, my body felt heavy, my brain felt foggy.  That’s what you want!! 😉 I followed this nightmare up with a mediocre lifting session at the gym.

After four days of feeling like straight garbage, I was a walking pain in the ass.  Not a happy camper.  And the garbage-ness made me quite nervous to work out today.  Luckily, my friend volunteered to join me for the fartlek, and we did nine miles on the canal this morning.  It was already a sauna outside at 6:30 am, but we got it done.  While I didn’t feel great, it was significantly better than yesterday.  Did two miles on the treadmill after work, and my legs are, without a doubt, shot.

Runners are crazy!  It’s true.  When you’re in the thick of training, it’s easy to forget that what you’re doing is incredibly impressive, regardless of how fast you are/how many miles you’re running/what you’re training for.  It’s also easy to forget the importance of recovery and listening to your body and get caught up in the numbers/mileage/etc.  That is exactly where I’ve gone wrong this week, being the stubborn hypocritical collegian that I am, hehe.  I’ve been forcing myself to try to hit the mileage listed on my schedule rather than listening to my body because in the back (well, front) of my mind, I’m thinking, “Well, I ran X miles last year and I won’t be faster this year if I don’t run more miles than last year!”  I haven’t even wanted to cross train because my mileage would technically be lower (even if the workload is the same and it would be better for my joints, feet, body in general if I got in the freakin’ pool!).

Wow, writing that has made me realize that, um, Kathryn…you’re an idiot.

Soooo assuming I survive this week and make good decisions and my body doesn’t completely rebel, I’m going to take next week as somewhat of a recovery week, probs.  I’m writing this to keep myself accountable.  I do not need to be doing 7-3 doubles on maintenance days and 9-2 doubles on workout days if my body doesn’t want to.  The pool might be better on any given day!

Okay, sorry for all that…I think I’m done now…

Summer Training Week 7 (55 miles)

Just wrapped up four work days in a row- WOO!  The turnaround between a 5-10pm shift and a 12-5 pm shift always feels like, “Wasn’t I just here?”  But after two summers, I actually really like my workplace and know my coworkers better than last summer, so most of the time I don’t mind.

Anyway, this past week brought 55 miles!  And since I did last week’s long run on Sunday and this week’s on Saturday, I actually ran 66 miles in one week.  Ouch.

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Post-long run with the best ladies

Week 7 (7/3-7/9):

Monday:  AM: drills, 7 miles on sidewalks, strides, core circuit.  Tired from Sunday’s long run so ran watchless/relaxed and it turned out to be very pleasant.  PM: 2 miles on dirt trails, nice and slow.  1 hour slow flow yoga class.  Sunny, warm, humid.  Total = 9 miles.

Tuesday:  AM: 20 min w/u, drills, 4 mile tempo on bike path (6:27, 6:15, 6:18, 6:14), 20 min c/d, ice bath.  Pretty warm and humid.  PM: 2 miles on treadmill at 8:10 pace, felt surprisingly good and super happy!  Light lift.  Holy hunger!  Total = 11 miles.

Wednesday:  5 miles sidewalks (1 on turf).  Legs were tired but decent run.  Walked a fair amount around the Mall with out-of-town relatives  Very humid.

Thursday:  AM: 7 miles with friend on sidewalks/bike path.  Pouring rain.  Strides + light upper body lift.  Felt ok.  PM: 2 miles on treadmill at 8:15ish pace, didn’t enjoy it very much.  Total = 9 miles.

Friday:  2 mile warm-up, drills, fartlek on bike path (6-5-4-3-2-4×1 min with 1/2 recovery), 2 mile cool down.  Had to pump myself up for this.  Felt decent during the workout, but DIED on the cool down and got back to my house and felt like I was going to die for about 1.5 hours. Ice bath.  Total = 9 miles.

Saturday: 12 miles on the Mall, Mount Vernon bike path, Georgetown, etc. with teammates!! Ice bath. It was SO fun to run with them. Very humid.  My fuel tank was definitely empty the last 15 minutes of the run.  Longest run since October!!

Sunday: off

Total: 55 miles
Started workouts this week, and they didn’t go too badly!  The tempo was hard, and I mentally enjoyed the fartlek more, even though I felt like crap afterwards.  It was very humid and pretty hot all week, although it did rain a lot in the middle of the week.  I had running buddies on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday!
This week, our lifting coach gave us a down week, so we hardly did any strength.  Two light sessions and one core circuit- and I’m actually completely fine with that.  Looking forward to getting back into the weight room and doing more core this week, though.  It’s interesting to think back to last year when I was obsessed with doing core- like I’d lose my six-pack or not be “good enough” if I didn’t work abs every dang day.  News flash, old me- you can do core as infrequently as once a week and your weight room sessions will keep you fit and functionally stronger!  Revolutionary 😉
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We are terrible at actually taking pictures

My teammates actually came up to visit on Friday and Saturday, which was awesome.  We went to Jazz in the Garden on the Mall, went out to dinner, caught up with another friend, and long ran together on Saturday morning.  It was very scenic, and I tried to fit in as many monuments and historical sites as I could into the long run route.  Afterwards, we ice bathed and I made brunch for us- oatmeal with a toppings bar, scrambled eggs, yogurt, coffee, the works.
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Watched over by the Rolling Stones haha

There were a couple days this week that were very rollercoaster-y emotionally, as well as a few binge-like sessions that I’m not too proud of.  But if I remember correctly, that tends to happen as mileage increases and training intensifies.  There were also outside factors that contributed to a shaky emotional state.  I’m looking forward to leaving it behind, not continuing to guilt-trip myself, and learning to recognize the triggers that cause me to have trouble differentiating between physical hunger and mental tumult.
I wasn’t going to take today off even though I had an off day on schedule.  But I woke up this morning and my legs were screaming at me, so I listened to them and took the day off 😉  Used the extra time in the morning that I wasn’t running to make a killer breakfast. It is SO important to let the body recover to avoid overtraining!
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Heck yes

Since I completely failed at finding soft surfaces this week (3 miles out of 55 #nice), my goal this week is to get on some dirt or gravel trails.  It’s tricky because I have to dog sit, but I am determined to make it work.

The coming week has 58 miles on schedule, and I’m trying to hit 58-60.  The increased volume makes soft surface runs even more important- I know my body can’t handle 60 miles on sidewalks and asphalt.  Let’s goooo.

First workout back: 4-mile tempo run (in which I remember how hard tempo runs are)

(If you don’t want to read the whole thing: 6:27, 6:15, 6:18, 6:14)

Happy 4th of July!  I can’t say I’m always proud to be an American, but I’m grateful to live in a country with freedom and opportunity.  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and gets to spend time with family and friends.

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Speaking of family and friends, here’s a photo of all the cousins (and my gramma) from the wedding!

Today started off with an early morning workout.  I was up and ready to go at 6 am, so I ate some Ezekiel toast with peanut butter and banana before heading out to complete the first workout of summer/cross country season!

The workout was 2.5 mile warm-up, 4 mile tempo, 2.5 mile cool down for a total of 9 miles.  It was 75 degrees and about 85% humidity when I headed out the door, which wasn’t unbearable.  My legs were still pretty tired from Sunday’s long run, so I told myself that 6:20 pace sounded reasonable.

Warmed up for 20ish minutes and did drills on the asphalt bike path.  Didn’t feel stellar.  Contemplated studying the plants lining the side of the bike path instead of doing the tempo.  Just kidding.

Started the tempo…It felt a wee bit harder than it should have, and I hit the first mile in 6:27.  Reassured myself that it was fine and that I wasn’t a slow hobby-jogger 😉 Entering the second mile where two bike paths converged, some guy came tearing along of the adjacent bike path at the same time and pace that I was tearing along the other one.  So I latched onto him without asking, mostly because I couldn’t spare the breath to speak.  Hehe.  He pulled me through the second mile in 6:15, at which point I turned around.  Thanks, runner dude- hope you didn’t mind a random girl tailgating you for a mile!

I hit the third mile in 6:18 and contemplated quitting.  But not actually.  Well, kind of.  You know those moments where you dream of stopping but know it’ll never happen because a) you would kick yourself and b) pain is a mental construct and it isn’t real!! ?  Yeah.  It had been months since my last tempo, and I forgot how hard they are!  That last mile is always a grind.  I just tried to relax and told myself that I had done harder things and to stop being a baby.  Clearly I’m very nice to myself.  Fourth mile was a 6:14.  Total time for the tempo was 25:14.

The cool down was more of a shuffle because my legs kept deciding without my permission that they didn’t want to run anymore.  I finally got home after 87 years (20 minutes).  But after stretching, rolling, an ice bath, and a short walk with one of the dogs I’m dog-sitting, they’re feeling a bit better.  I’m drinking coffee for the second day in a row- crazy!  The rest of the day will include lunch (wedding leftovers for YEARS), a nap, spending time with family, another run for a total of 11 miles today, potentially a light leg lift, and 4th of July fireworks and dinner tonight.  I’m lucky enough to have today off from work, so I may binge-watch The Great British Baking Show 😉

Anyway, Cliff’s Notes version because I managed to write an essay about 25 minutes of my life: the first workout back was hard, now I remember what a grind tempos are, excited to get faster this summer, and I would love to find workout buddies.  The end!!

Summer Training Week 6 (52-55 miles + 30 min bike)

Greetings!  Today is a big day- the whole family’s in town, my mom and her husband are having a “wedding” party to celebrate their marriage, and also I hit the highest mileage in months and hammered the shit out of my long run 😉

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Who am I??

Week 6 (6/26-7/2):

Monday:  AM: 7 miles + core.  Legs felt pretty fresh after yesterday’s rest day!  PM: 2 miles + 1 hour slow flow yoga class at Mind the Mat
Tuesday:  AM: 8 miles on sidewalks/bike path. Drills + strides.  Lift day 1- felt strong, going to be sore.  PM: 2 miles, tired but gradually better.  Some negative personal thoughts.  Boo.
Wednesday:  5 miles W&OD bike path.  Sore, tired, but decent run.  Didn’t do 30 XT double because felt like body needed a break.
Thursday:  AM: 7 miles on sidewalks/bike path.  Felt good!  10 min core.  PM: 30 min bike, some random intervals thrown in.   Lift day 2- went well!  I did 26 out of 36 chin-ups unassisted…the most ever!
Friday:  AM: drills, 8 miles on bike path, strides.  Didn’t feel great for most of it.  PM: 2 miles @ 8:00 pace on treadmill.  Started crappy, finished better.
Saturday:  “Carry the Flag” 5k in Georgetown with my 9-year-old neighbor.  He sprinted the first 100m and then wanted to stop.  We ran/walked a stellar 29:35.
Sunday: 11 miles on the bike path…hammered the whole run and hit 6:40s on the way back…and it was 80 degrees and 80% humidity.

Total: 52-55 miles + 30 min bike
 
I LOVE this mileage right now.  I love it love it love it.  My feet felt (comparatively) fantastic even though I completely slacked off on rehab stuff…hehe.  There’s something magical about orthotics.  This week’s running routes were quite boring and hard surface-y because I stuck to the bike path/sidewalks…didn’t get a chance to drive to soft surfaces because I don’t have time (have to hurry over to dog-sitting right after morning runs).
I didn’t sleep super well this week and actually felt really out of it on Friday and Saturday.  Got home really late some nights due to evening work shifts and dog sitting.  Also, my body image and attitude towards food has been in the toilet (for me).  Just keeping it real.  It’s been weird.  But today’s long run was a kick in the pants and helped me remember to focus on getting stronger and training properly rather than stupid negative body/self-talk.  I’m HELLA STRONG, man!  Gotta remember that!
This week’s weather was humid as heck and some days were really hot.  Classic.
My neighbors convinced me to run a 5k with their son yesterday, and it was definitely an experience…I’m not sure if I should actually count it towards mileage because we walked at least half of it.  But it was a learning experience for me because I had to figure out things to say and do to motivate a 9-year-old to not quit/die.  Learned a lot!
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Not sure what’s going on in this photo but we’ll roll with it

Today’s long run…ooh.  The rest of the week’s runs were really boring, honestly, and I wanted to spice it up, so I actually used a GPS for once and hammered the run from the beginning (which was definitely not boring!).  I ran on the bike path again because I’m too lazy to come up with new routes….was wondering why it felt so hard and looked at my splits at the end and literally came to a dead stop in the middle of the street and said “What the heck?”  The last 5 miles were in the 6:40s.  I never do that.  It all makes sense now.
So happy to be back at this mileage/training…excited and apprehensive for workouts to start…and I’m gonna take tomorrow’s runs eeeeasy.
Other highlights from this week:
My friend turned 20 and had a “Roaring 20s” themed birthday party.  It was awesome.  She is a walking Pinterest board.
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I made some homemade vanilla espresso raw almond butter…yessss.  Much better than paying $14 for one jar of Wild Friends…sorry Wild Friends, I love your nut butter but not that much.
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Oats eaten out of not-really-empty peanut butter jars are the best way to go.
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Excited for the weeks to come!  Workouts will start on Tuesday, and I hope that I will find people crazy enough to run them with me!

Summer Training Week 5 (40 miles + 10 mile hike + 60 min bike)

Drinking coffee, listening to “Acoustic Sunrise” on the radio, farmers’ market ventures, and dog-sitting…sounds like Sunday 🙂

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This week’s training was a little different.  My brother and I spontaneously decided to go backpacking on Thursday and Friday, so I skipped my planned run doubles but did complete a very technical 10-mile loop!  So running mileage was a little lower, but overall mileage still increased.  My legs/glutes are sore, and today will definitely be a rest day!  I’ll recap our backpacking trip in more detail in the next post.

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Week 5 (6/19-6/25):

Monday: AM: 7 miles on sidewalks + bike path.  Core circuit.  Some toe pain.  Heat/STIM/ice.  PM: 30 min bike.  1 hour slow flow yoga…spent lots of time upside down so almost passed out a couple times haha
Tuesday: AM: glutes, drills, 8 miles bike path, strides.  Toe pain.  Heat/ice/stim.  PM: 2 miles + lower body lift.  Tired!
Wednesday: 3 miles into 30 min bike.  Pretty hot out!  Tired, took it easy, went ok.
Thursday: AM: 6 miles bike path.  PM: Strenuous technical 3.5 mile hike.  Camped overnight. Didn’t sleep that well but it was awesome.
Friday: AM: Technical 6.5 mile hike.  Foot hanging in there.  PM: 3 miles.  STIM/ice on feet.
Saturday: 11 miles on bike path, partially soft surface.  15 min ice bath, easy core circuit, STIM on calves.
Sunday: off

Total: 40 miles running + 10 miles hiking + 60 min bike

Overall, this week went well!  No soft surface runs until yesterday’s long run, but I did hike 10 miles through swamps and rocks and dirt and pine needles, so that counts, right?

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Soft surface?

Nutrition this week was a little weird.   I ate a ton.  While backpacking, we fueled up with beef jerky, bars, dried fruit, etc.  We carted all of our food and water up the mountain and ate instant mac and cheese, campfire-blackened sausages, ramen, and the like for dinner on Thursday.  I also had quite a few treat meals, and for some reason gorged myself on ice cream last night at work, which made my stomach feel less than stellar 😉  But it seemed like my body just burned through everything due to the constant strenuous activity!  So I’m not too concerned.  I think I’ll try to reduce the amount of ice cream I’m consuming at work, though…

(Nutritious and delicious…)

Sleep was okay.  Some nights were fine, but I hardly slept some other nights.  I’m a little groggy right now.  It’s hard to implement my normal bedtime routine because I’ve been working until 11 pm and now have to take care of three dogs after work.  But I’m trying to relax about it!

I recently switched to custom orthotics instead of SuperFeet, and they’ve honestly been helping a ton!  I was having significant toe pain last week, but I’ve been able to get through all of my runs with little-to-moderate pain.  It’s still there, but it’s bearable!

Saturday’s 11-miler was the longest run I’d done since April!  And I only ran 11 miles about 3 times from January through May because of all the foot issues.  I ran four miles by myself before meeting up with a teammate for 7 more.  I’m excited to try to increase my long run again and get back to the 12 I was running last year, and maybe even see how 13 feels.  But for now, I’m happy to be able to run 11 🙂

Throughout the coming week, I’ll really have to plan things out as mileage increases, dog-sitting takes up more time, and work continues to be crazy.  I don’t know what I’ll hit, mileage-wise, but I’m going to work on listening to my body, fueling properly, and taking care of my foot.  Mileage is lower at this point than it was last year, but that is okay!  Consistent training is more important than reaching high mileage for a week or two and having to take time off because you broke yourself.

 

Summer Training Week 4 (42 miles + 120 min XT)

#dead

#dead

#dead

#beenlisteningtomilkychancefor3hours

#revived to write this post 😉

Heck yeah, it’s time for another weekly summer training recap!  This week, I pushed my mileage a wee bit more (getting ready for that jump next week) and worked a lotttt of difficult shifts.  Definitely crashed and burned a bit by Saturday.  Got on a lot more soft surfaces, though!

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Long run views from this morning!

Week 4 (6/12-6/18):

Monday:  AM: 6 miles bike path.  Some soft(er) surface…for like a mile!  Core circuit.  Some foot pain but not too bad.  PM: 30 min swim.  Felt good.  Foot soak, roll, Tiger Balm.
Tuesday:  AM: 7 miles with Noah with one mile on the trails.  Significant foot pain during the second half of the run.  Drills and strides.  EXCELLENT lower body lift.  Pushed the weight and did the most unassisted parallel grip pull-ups I’ve ever done.  PM: 2 miles.  Crazy work shift until 10 pm per usual.
Wednesday:  60 min pool (50 swim, 10 aqua jog).  Was very pleasant.  1 hour slow flow yoga class.
Thursday:  AM: 7 miles @ 7:39 average on the C&O canal.  TBH felt pretty darn shitty.  PM: 30 min bike, felt good, upper body lift.  Busy work shift until 10 pm.
Friday:  AM: 7 miles on sidewalks/bike path.  Glute activation, drills, strides, core.  PM: 3 miles.  Tired from morning.  Long, crazy work shift until 11 pm.
Saturday: OFF.  Very glad for this rest day.  SO tired from the past couple days.  I felt like a zombie until like 6 pm.
Sunday:  10 miles @ 7:40 average at Manassas Battlefield.  All soft surface!  (Long grass/gravel/trails)  I had never run there before.  It was hot, humid, and hilly, but the views were unbeatable!

Total: 42 miles + 120 min XT.  
Dang…work this week kicked my ass.  Our ice cream store is getting more popular by the minute, and during today’s shift, we did not stop moving one time for five hours straight.  Also, the A/C in the store is broken, the freezers pump out hot air, and it never gets lower than 85 degrees.  After a hot, dehydrating ten-miler…I almost passed out into the dip case a couple times 😉  It’s just heat training, right??
I managed to get two soft-surface runs in this week, along with some sporadic dirt paths during a couple other runs!  So definitely an improvement from last week.
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Sleep this week wasn’t the greatest, unfortunately.  I worked a lot of late shifts, which riled me up at bedtime.  But I suppose it’s worth it for the paycheck!  #brokecollegestudentprobs
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And my nutrition has been okay, but not stellar- I’m just eating a lot of breads/baked goods and sugar, which is not prime fueling.  My post-run recovery foods are good (oatmeal, yogurt, eggs, nut butter, fruits, veggies…protein, complex carbs, healthy fats), but as the day progresses, I’ve been getting lazy!  And it’s hard at work when you’re just tryna stay alive, ya feel?  I get home after a long, hard shift and can’t tell if I’m physically ravenous or just mentally need some junk food.  Oh, well.  You live and learn (and lose a six-pack in the process, hehe).
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Homemade pumpkin bread

This morning’s long run was 80 degrees, 85% humidity, and very hilly with long grass, but the views were awesome!  I had originally planned to meet my friend out at the battlefields, but her foot has been bothering her, so I ran by myself.  Ran in silence over the hills and through the woods (literally) for the first half and then listened to a Runner’s World podcast during the second half.  It was kind of hard.IMG_6605.jpg
The new training week starts tomorrow, so gotta go rest up!  Running bright and early with one of my favorite running buddies.