Running is hard sometimes

Aloha!  Our A/C is on the fritz again, so I’m hibernating in the basement while I write this, since it’s not 100 degrees down here.  I think ice cream at work tonight will be a necessity.

Anyway.

You know those runs that just knock the life out of you?  I had one of those this morning.  After an off day from running yesterday (I did put in an hour in the pool and an hour-long yoga class), I woke up early today and drove out to the canal for a change of scenery.  I was so excited for a nice 7-mile maintenance run!  Alas…it was not to be.  My legs felt off from the beginning, and running just felt hard.   It felt like I was hammering, but apparently I was running my easy/maintenance pace (around 7:30 per mile).   I did a terrible job of listening to my body when I should have taken it easy, no matter what the “pace” said.

Afterwards, I just felt completely discombobulated.  Which resulted in me drinking coffee for the first time in eight days…on top of a white duvet…live life on the edge, you know? 😉  (PS: this summer has unexpectedly resulted in my coffee consumption diving down to almost zero!  Weird.)

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I’m not even really sure why this run felt so difficult- it was humid, yes, but not extremely hot, and I wasn’t that sleep-deprived.  I rarely use a GPS (actually broke my GPS watch), but I downloaded Strava for this run and was very surprised at the end when my average pace was like 7:35.  It had honestly felt like I was hammering the crap out of some sub-7-minute miles.

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Oh, well.  The good news is, I had a good swim yesterday!  50 minutes of laps followed by 10 minutes of easy aqua jogging.  Afterwards, I went to a yoga class.  Swimming has never been the most enjoyable thing for me, although I became a believer in the power of cross training this past semester.  But this week, I’ve actually looked forward to getting in the pool, and as such have done two cross training sessions in the water!  Some days, the laps just click by rhythmically.  I would love to do my swims in a lake or similar beautiful, natural setting, but the same old 25-meter stretch of warm chlorinated water will have to do for now 😉

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I have to go cross train and lift soon, so that’s about it for now.  Working tonight after my gym session, running twice tomorrow, working again tomorrow night…it’s the summertime grind 🙂  Craving a nice, cold peach!

3k PR: 10:15

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Home!! + Belated Conference 5k Recap

I’m home!! After finishing my last final on Monday, I arrived home yesterday and have spent the past day setting up my (new) room!  I’ll post an update about that later.

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Empty dorm room

Anyway, I realized I never published a conference recap.  Here it is.

I did it.  I ran (and finished) the 5k at conferences.  It was nowhere near as fast as I wanted, it felt pretty darn horrible, but I finished 12.5 laps in 18:29.

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Race day twilight sky

We left campus last Thursday and drove four hours to the hosting school on a super cool double-decker bus!  We ate dinner at an Italian restaurant and went to the hotel, and I went to bed around 10:45.

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Top floor of the bus

Woke up on Friday (race day) around 7:30 and ate oatmeal, yogurt, peanut butter, banana, and a hard-boiled egg for breakfast.  We went to lunch at Panera, and I got the turkey cranberry flatbread and fuji apple chicken salad.  I was still very full for our shakeout two hours later, so that didn’t feel so great. 😅

I was having a hard time getting in the zone.  I was still distracted and didn’t have that “race day” feeling.  The negativity that had been with me for weeks hadn’t cleared up yet.

We got to the track, ,checked in and then went for our warm-up around 5:45.  I finally started feeling like it was race day during the warm-up!  My stomach didn’t feel good, but anything was better than two weeks ago, so I didn’t mind.  We did drills, strides, put on our race stickers and spikes, took off our pants, and went to the line.

The gun went off, and I immediately found myself in the second pack with my fellow freshman teammate.  I don’t know many of the splits, but our first 1000 was a 3:27 and our first mile was approximately 5:32.  Ideally, I would’ve been able to hold that, but the past few weeks have not been great for my body and I knew that was a little…ambitious.

From 5 laps on, I was obsessively counting laps and simultaneously trying not to.  I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t help it!  We passed 3k (time ??), and I started falling off the pack of four that I was in.  My cadence slowed, my arms got heavy…it was that infamous point in the 5,000 that I had yet to experience.

The last mile was a freaking disaster, but I eventually finished… (as I mentioned before, 18:29).

Afterwards, my head coach was so extremely supportive and encouraging that I almost started bawling.  I’m blessed to be on such a supportive team.

After the race, I promptly began stuffing my face with everything in sight.

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Team cookout on the way home!!

Saturday marked the beginning of the break between seasons 😉

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Track cookies

I’m proud that I qualified for conferences.  Overall, aside from some bumps in the road, freshman year running was really, really good.  I would have wanted to run 17:45, but that will come.  The past four or so days have been a little wild as I’ve started my break, hopped off the nutrition train, and moved home.  I’ll start cross country base training in a week or two, but right now I’m giving my body a break and doing nothing more than some yoga and core.  My posterior tibialis and calf have been bothering me for about four days, so I also have some ankle stability to complete.  But hopefully that will clear up during this break from running.

Freshman year of college: Check!

 

Training week 6 (38 miles)

Greetings from Santa Clarita, California!  We arrived on Thursday night, and eleven hours later, I was running eight miles alongside the dry Santa Clara river.

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Week 6 recap:

Monday 7/27: 5 miles @ 8:15 average pace, 40 minutes stationary bike
Tuesday: AM 7 miles @ 8:02 average pace, PM 2 miles on an indoor gym-floor track @ 7:20 average pace, upper body strength
Wednesday: 60 minutes cross training (biking and swimming)
Thursday: 6 miles @ 7:55-8:00 pace (watch malfunctioned)
Friday: 8 miles @ 7:51 average pace, squats and lunges, 40 minutes swimming
Saturday: off (a lot of time in the pool, though)
Sunday: 10 miles @ 8:14 average pace

Total: 38 miles running, about 160 minutes of cross training

Comments: For the first time this summer, Tuesday’s run(s) were not too bad!  I had my first double on Tuesday, and the seven miles in the morning felt pretty good.  I went to the gym in the afternoon to do my strength routine, so I was just going to run two miles on the treadmill, but they were all full, so I had to run around the “track” that’s actually a gym floor.  My right ankle/shin was not pleased.

On Thursday, I ran 6 miles with my friend Sarah before I left for California.  We got to California around 11 pm Eastern time, 8 pm Pacific time.  I did 8 miles on Friday morning.

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Saturday was my off day, but I went to the pool for 2.5 hours with my brother and my cousins, and I actually did a lot of swimming/aqua jogging.  My cousin plays water polo, so she can tread water for hours! (Maybe not.  But definitely much longer than I can.)

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Sunday’s run was my first solo 10-miler.  Obviously, I’ve done ten miles before (two weeks ago), but I ran eight of those miles with Sarah, so today was my first time doing it alone.  I’m guessing this is because of the drought, but southern California’s bike paths present a distinct lack of water fountains!  After 7.5 miles of blazing sun and the dry sandy river, I was very dehydrated.  Finally, I randomly stumbled upon the only water fountain that exists (just kidding).  Thank goodness.  I guzzled the water and finished up the last 2.5 miles without the fear of passing out from dehydration 🙂  I started the run pretty conservatively, and for the most part, each mile was faster than the last.  My legs and breathing felt good, but my right ankle/foot was still bothering me.  I’ll ice it and elevate it.

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The run was very flat (until the end).  By the way, that’s a river on the right

long run 8:2

Real talk:  I haven’t been eating the healthiest, just because I’m on vacation and most of my family here (along with their friends) like to have parties and get-togethers and barbecues and breakfasts.  To be honest, I’m not 100 percent content with my body, etc., right now because I’ve never weighed this much, am not eating particularly well, and am no longer “skinny.”  I ate so much last night (hamburgers, potato salad, apple crisp, the whole nine yards) on my off day.  But I have to look at my awesome recent runs, the fact that I’m getting stronger and still looking forward to running (unlike last year), and then laugh in the face of my bad body image.  Really, four or five pounds and bigger quads are not a big deal. It’s all muscle anyway. 😉

We leave for Mount Whitney tomorrow, so I’m not really sure how I’ll fit all my runs in during this coming week.  I’m starting workouts, running six days instead of five, and hitting 40 miles for the first time, and I don’t think the bears and coyotes and snakes that frequent the area will be conducive to my training 😉 Also the fact that I’ll be on the tallest mountain in the continental United States… yeah.

There’s only a couple weeks until I move in to college and get to see all my teammates!  Breakfast last week was really fun, and I can’t wait to meet everyone else.

Until then, I’ll try not to get eaten by a bear or coyote.