Senior Year of College

Aaaand a month later, here’s another post.  This always happens.  Sorry, friends!!

I started the day off with a nice bowl of pumpkin chocolate oatmeal before going to do my long cross train of the week.  Yes, I’m still injured.  90 minutes of biking and aqua jogging later, I’m back in my apartment and ready for a nap.

To catch up briefly on the last month of my life, the end of summer was full of work, fun times with teammates on training trips, horrible travel days, and lots of reckless biking in the mountains!

IMG_0476.jpg

The OG 3 ❤

We had one training trip in the Poconos, followed by another training trip the day after the first one ended in Banner Elk, North Carolina.  What was already going to be a marathon travel day turned into a nightmare when my bike fell off the back of my car on the PA turnpike, then my car battery died, then the subsequent four-hour delay (and $200 new battery) caused my passenger to miss her train by four minutes, then I got locked out of my apartment for the night when I finally did make it to my college town 14 hours after the travel day began.  At least it makes for a good story!

IMG_0500.png

The training trips were fun and useful for team morale and building a championship culture, but it was nearly impossible for me to train on the second one since I couldn’t run.  I was frustrated and ready to have a little time away from constant stimulation by the end of the eight days 😉  On the plus side, it was nice and cool and picturesque everywhere we went!

IMG_0596.jpg

The road was awful for biking, but at least the views were amazing!

Most of us were in town for about a week before classes started, so we spent that time training, going out to eat, and getting ready for the year!

9724DAE3-8024-424C-AA1B-009FE8DB4D18.jpg

Classes began a week and a half ago, and at that point I was mandated by the trainer to take time completely off to see if my foot would heal.  This made for way too much free time.  I had no idea what to do!  It was also really hard to have to go to practice, do nothing, listen to beginning-of-the-season hype from the coaches and watch everyone else learn the new hurdle routines and stuff.  I did have a giant breakdown in the locker room, but my selfless teammates helped me through it.  I also finally began talking to the sports psychologist, which was great.

IMG_1009.jpg

Convocation 2018

Luckily, after five days, I was able to start cross training again.  While not the same as running, a familiar, regimented cross training routine truly makes me feel like myself.

I am now a senior in college (didn’t we just get here??) and finishing up my Marketing and Hispanic Studies majors and Accounting concentration with a very hypothetical plan of getting my Master of Accounting next year.  To do that, I am taking 15 credits this semester: four upper-level business classes and one senior seminar Spanish class (the last one I have to take!).  I have two 80-minute classes on Monday/Wednesday and three on Tuesday/Thursday.  None on Friday (shocker, right?)

IMG_1014.jpg

My non-athletic goals for this semester include keeping my apartment clean, establishing good study habits, avoiding the comparison/social media/boredom trap, implementing meditation and mindfulness into my everyday life, and taking advantage of any opportunity that comes my way.  I am really excited for this year- academically, socially, and career-wise!

50798417-DC16-4B76-A933-947AF3071B7A.jpg

In terms of running, my goal is to continue to approach every day, every training session, as an opportunity to get better.  Over the past many months of injury, I’ve learned how to back off and have a more balanced approach to training.  This is something I had trouble with in the peak of training when I was healthy, but I do think that is one silver lining of injury- being able to be more balanced and less rigid in all aspects of life!

Running will come back into my life on the timeline that it is meant to.  Everything happens for a reason, and I am happy to say that I am walk-jogging a little bit and my foot is hanging in there.  We’ll see how this trajectory continues!  I am hopeful and optimistic (at least, until my MRI follow-up on Tuesday…hehe).

In terms of this blog, I’d like to post more recipes, senior year updates and ruminations about future plans, college student/young adult budgeting tips, “Day-in-the-life” type stuff, and mindfulness discussions!

One last note- I made this cake for my friend’s birthday last week, and it was the best cake I’ve ever made/eaten.  It may have taken four tries to get the writing on top to turn out okay, but I was so proud. It was a homemade dark chocolate cake with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting, and everyone loved it!

IMG_0991.jpg

Ok that’s all for now- Gonna summarize my week of training in the next post!

Advertisements

Week of 8/6-8/12

Happy Sunday!  We’ve made it to the end of another (cross) training week.  I spent the morning working my last shift of the summer and the afternoon catching up with some old friends and making popsicles.  It’s also my 5-year blog anniversary…what!?

IMG_0133.jpg

Coconut chia mango popsicles made in mini muffin tins!

Week of 8/6-8/12:

  • Monday: AM: 60 min freestyle swim (3800 yards), felt awesome.  PM: circuits, incorporating more impact exercises.
  • Tuesday: active warm-up, 70 min bike workout (20 warm-up, 8x2h1e, 7x1h1e, 12 cool down, glute activation lift.  PM: 20 min elliptical.
  • Wednesday: 60 min swim.
  • Thursday: dynamic warm-up with skips, 5 x 1 min run 1 min walk on turf, 60 min bike, 25 min core/push-ups/squats/lateral lunges.
  • Friday: AM: 4,000 yard pool workout.  PM: 35 min bike ride on W&OD.
  • Saturday: 30 mile bike ride on the W&OD trail
  • Sunday: Off day.

This week was pretty high volume, even with a complete off day today, but it went well for the most part!  I set a distance PR during Monday’s swim and promptly broke it on Friday.  I can tell I’m getting faster in the pool!

On Thursday, I got to the gym to bike and couldn’t stand being shut up inside any longer.  So I did dynamic skips and ran a little bit.  5×1 min run, 1 min walk.  My foot felt all right during the run, but since then it’s definitely been a little aggravated.  I’m disappointed, especially since I’m medically cleared to run tomorrow, but I know I should not in good conscience clear myself.  I know my body best.

IMG_0105.png

It was nice to get outside, though!

On Friday, I finally got around to getting a bike.   After work, I gleefully took it for a test ride…and then on Saturday, I biked 30 miles through Northern Virginia for my long effort.  It was hot and humid and rainy and hard and awesome to be outside.  My quads were trashed halfway through, but I took a lemonade Huma gel at 20 miles and made it home okay 😉 My bike isn’t a road bike, it’s a hybrid, so it was a little less than aerodynamic…

lol im thrilled bike ride.png

bike ride feels

Took today completely off from exercise.  I didn’t sleep that great this week and am not sure why.  I opened the store 4 out of the past 7 days, which necessitated getting up early, but I kept waking up two hours before my alarm!  I got a few power naps in, though, so I’m trying not to worry about it.

In non-running news, I worked a lot this week and caught up with some friends.  It was great to see so many of them!  I spent time with my family, enjoyed the farmer’s market, drank coffee and read books, and am hyped to see my teammates on our training trips this coming week.  To be honest, I’m a little worried about comparison and feeling sad when they’ll all be running and working out and I will not.  But I love them as humans, not just as runners, so I’m looking forward SO MUCH to spending quality time with them in the beautiful mountains!

 

Week of 7/30-8/5

Good morning!  I’m sitting outside while typing this because it’s nice and sunny and not too hot (yet), and I need the vitamin D.  An Animal Control van just drove by…hmm.  I’m heading to work in a little while but figured I should probably type up a weekly training recap (on time for once!) before I go.

Week of 7/30-8/5:

  • Monday: AM: active warm-up, 60 min XT (30 elliptical, 20 bike, 10 elliptical) + 5 min core + Airex pad stability.  Legs and brain felt awful.  PM: circuits.
  • Tuesday: AM: 60 min swim (3500 yards).  PM: glute activation, 30 min bike, lift.  Felt much better today.
  • Wednesday: 60 min elliptical
  • Thursday: AM: 60 min pool (35 swim, 25 aqua jog).  PM: 30 min elliptical + core.
  • Friday: 30 min bike, 40 min lift, 30 min bike with some progressive/pick-ups
  • Saturday: 60 min swim + 75 min vinyasa flow yoga
  • Sunday: off

Overall, physically this week went pretty well.  I was able to do 60-90 minutes of cross training every day, along with solid lifts, circuits, and yoga.  I didn’t sleep quite as well as I wanted to, but I never got less than 7 hours of sleep per night.  I got in some quality efforts even though I didn’t feel like doing full-on “workouts”.  The workout efforts consisted of some pick-ups whenever I felt like doing them 😉

IMG_4845.jpg

Mentally, it’s a bit of a different story.  I’ve been struggling with body image this week in particular- not sure why it’s been worse than before, but I was extremely harsh towards myself.  Keeping it real!

On Tuesday, I didn’t really want to go to the pool, but I got there and saw my swim buddy!  (She’s in high school.)  This motivated me a lot more, and we were able to swim together for about 25 minutes.  Turns out she was having a (relatively) awful swim, so it was beneficial for both of us that we fought through our lack of motivation and got our butts in the water.

IMG_5041.jpg

Friday was a really weird day because I had to get up at the crack of dawn to go to work but was home by 6:45 and after eating breakfast, I intermittently slept until like 11 am.  I was exhausted and discombobulated.  In the early afternoon, I had like 3 breakdowns and ended up going on a walk and talking to my friend for an hour.  She was great, and I felt a lot better, and later in the afternoon I went to the gym and had a great bike and lift.  I incorporated split squats, weighted RDLs, and weighted back squats for the first time in forever, and my foot felt good!  However, it was just a weird, concerning day in general– and these days are becoming more frequent than before.

On Saturday, I woke up early to go to the pool before heading to a 75-minute vinyasa flow yoga class.  After swimming for an hour, my arms were DEAD during yoga!  But it was still really great.  After working all afternoon, my foot started hurting, but it’s a different kind of pain.  I think I tweaked the bunion during all that vinyasa flow.  Chaturanga!  Upward dog!  Downward dog!  Repeat!  AHH!  (Hopefully it’ll feel better asap.)

Also, my arms have never been this ripped.  Perks of injury!

IMG_0020.jpg

Another vegan dinner: sweet potato, broccoli, baked curried tahini tofu, corn on the cob, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast

I didn’t really take any interesting pictures this week, so here is a photo of Eat and Run (which I am re-reading) taken in portrait mode because I was messing around with my new, actually functional phone 😉

IMG_0006.jpg

On Thursday, I doubled on the elliptical in my basement and watched the Breaking2 documentary on YouTube to pass the time.  Eliud Kipchoge really struck a chord with me when he said “100% of me is nothing compared to 1% of the whole team. That’s teamwork.”  Throughout these many months of cross training, it’s important to keep in mind that I’m doing this for myself, yes, but more importantly for my amazing team!

37661432_1868751599814944_386228507505590272_n.jpg

Throwback to Penn State last year

Other than cross training, I just worked a lot and watched Scandal.  Almost all my friends are out of town, so I didn’t really have much social interaction this week (may have contributed to my solitary self-criticism, oops).  I didn’t “go out” this week because I think I’ve needed a break from all of that.  Alcohol makes me feel shittyyyyy.

I’m getting closer and closer to being able to run again.  Just gotta tough it out for another week! I know that being able to run won’t “solve” all the things I’ve been feeling, and I need to hash it out with myself, but it will hopefully improve my quality of life.  I realized the other day while walking that I haven’t been on any of the trails, bike paths, etc. that I used to frequent every single day.  I’ve also been cross training inside all summer!  Ahh! No wonder I’m going insane 😉

My intentions for the next week:

  1. Continue lower leg strength and stability (single-leg squats, you will be the death of me!)
  2. Stay off Instagram.  It’s not good for my mental health, and I waste way too much time on there.
  3. Speak more Spanish- listen to podcasts, music, and watch documentaries.
  4. Bike outside!  And go for walks outside!  Soak up the sun 🙂
  5. Compliment someone every day.
  6. Play the piano.
  7. Read two new books!  I’m currently reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte.

A little over a week until the training trips begin, and then it’s back to school for the start of senior year!

 

JULY

Oops, I did it again!  And by “it”, I mean I failed to write my weekly recaps for many, many weeks.  I’m sorry!

IMG_5029.jpg

It’s hard to believe it’s already August! Overall, July was more of the same, injury-wise.  I continued cross training, although my body felt off for a couple weeks and my training sessions weren’t the greatest.  It really didn’t help that I was on my period for like a month straight.  I’m not even kidding.  TMI?  Whatever.

IMG_4718.jpg

4th of July fireworks in DC- only partially blocked by the office building 😉

I ran once on the Alter-G (60% bodyweight for 15 minutes) and once on the treadmill (total of 10 minutes at like 8:30 pace) but could tell my foot wasn’t healed yet.  I had my follow-up appointment with the orthopedist on July 26th.  I was hoping he would clear me to run, but he determined that the broken metatarsals (although less “spongey” and inflamed than before) were not yet healed.  Therefore, I am counting down the days until August 13!

The good news is, I don’t have to wear the boot anymore, and there has been a marked improvement in my foot pain over the past week.  Some days it doesn’t hurt at all 🙂 I noticed at the pool this morning that it no longer hurts to walk barefooted across the pool deck.  It’s the little things…

I’m going to quickly summarize the last month of training and then jump into other things 🙂

Week of 7/2-7/8:

  • Monday: AM: active warm-up, 65 min progressive bike, lift (glute activation, Swiss ball core/hamstring curls, lateral band walks, cable row, quad curl, plate hip thrust, push-ups, 5 min core).  Felt strong!  PM: 1 hour slow flow yoga class.
  • Tuesday: Early AM: 40 min swim.  Felt crappy so stopped.   Later AM: 20 min elliptical.
  • Wednesday: 57 min aqua jog (with alternating hands above the water)
  • Thursday: 65 min bike workout + lift (same as last Friday).
  • Friday: 60 min easy steady bike.
  • Saturday: active warm-up, 80 min XT (60 moderate/hard bike + 10 easy bike + 10 erg)
  • Sunday: Off day.  Light yoga/core.

Week of 7/9-7/15:

  • Monday: AM: 60 min aqua jog, alt hands above water.  PM: 30 min elliptical + core.  Late night so little sleep.
  • Tuesday: active warm-up, 60 min bike workout, short-ish lift.
  • Wednesday: AM: 60 min easy aqua jog.  PM: 20 min yoga/foam roll. Sore quads!
  • Thursday: AM: 60 min swim workout.  PM: light core.  Was going to elliptical but foot hurt 😦
  • Friday: 60 min bike heart rate workout-KILLER!
  • Saturday: 20 min bike, 15 min Alter-G @ 60-65% body weight, 40 min bike
  • Sunday: off

Week of 7/16-7/22:

  • Monday: AM: 50 min pool.  Felt shitty. Two hour nap!  PM: 25 elliptical + planks + 1 hour slow flow yoga.
  • Tuesday: 60 min bike + short lift + theraband exercises.  Felt horrible again.
  • Wednesday: 40 min swim, surprisingly good.  Foot pain.
  • Thursday: 30 min bike (felt awful again) + 30 min elliptical.  Core, pull-ups, theraband exercises.  PM: foam roll.
  • Friday: AM: 60 pool.  Tried to do a workout but body still felt bad.  PM: 30 min elliptical.
  • Saturday: Off.
  • Sunday: 90 min XT (60 bike, 30 elliptical).  Felt crappy on bike but better on elliptical.

Week of 7/23-7/30:

  • Monday: AM: active warm-up, 15 min elliptical 2×5 min run on treadmill w/ 2 min walk break, 35 min elliptical, core.  PM: 1 hour slow flow yoga class.  Was awesome.
  • Tuesday: 10 min bike, 50 min elliptical workout, 10 min bike, lift.  Legs still felt dead on bike.  Foot soreness.
  • Wednesday: 60 min pool.
  • Thursday: AM: 40 min freestyle swim.  PM: 30 min bike, glute activation, lift.
  • Friday: 70 min HARD pool workout!  Was pretty awesome.
  • Saturday: Off.  My back hurts SO BADLY.
  • Sunday: 30 min yoga.  50 min aqua jog.  Didn’t feel like doing a long effort because body is #wrecked.

I’m not going to lie- cross training is getting old.  Some days it’s really hard to motivate myself to get on the bike/elliptical/pool for yet another session.  It’s been SEVEN MONTHS of almost nonstop injury!  What??? But I know all the aerobic work I am doing will help so much with this #comebackszn.  And I truly do love swimming and biking, sometimes…or at least the feeling you get after you’re done 😉

Soooo that brings us to this week!  So far, it’s gone well.  (Knock on wood.)

 


Outside of training, July was mostly really fun, even though it’s rained for like 3 weeks straight.  The lack of vitamin D is getting to me!  Some highlights:

1. My friend’s really fun 3rd of July party.

IMG_4692

2. I got to see Ludovico Einaudi at Wolftrap!!  He’s my favorite pianist ever, and none of my friends wanted to go to a piano concert with me, so I just went alone.  It was incredible.  I almost cried.

IMG_4758.jpg

3. My baby brother turned 14 years old!  He’s going to high school this year!

IMG_4857.jpg

4. We went down to our college town for the weekend.

IMG_4880.jpg

5.  Coffee dates with some of my favorite humans.

IMG_4942.jpg

6. Kesha and Macklemore concert at Jiffy Lube!  “Good Old Days” hit way too close to home for us seniors…

IMG_0058.jpg

PS: how the heck are we seniors in college?  Wasn’t I in high school like two minutes ago?

7. Lots of unattractive meals eaten out of Tupperware at work.  My friend and I decided to go vegan for two weeks (more on this later!)

IMG_5044.jpg

Rice, beans, lentils, sun shoots, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, avocado, red pepper flakes, nutritional yeast, tahini, lemon, basil

8.  I also had a few too many (fun) late nights and probably drank too much, but there’s nothing more fun than being 21 years old in DC, so yolo 😉

Aside from (cross) training recaps, my next few posts will include, in no particular order:

  • How to stay positive during injury (mentally, physically, etc.) and general things I’ve learned
  • My two weeks as a vegan (what I ate, what happened, why??)
  • Books I’ve read this summer
  • Musings about career and the future//reflections on 21
  • Why you shouldn’t fight body changes during an injury!//inspiration I’ve found

I’m writing that to stay accountable!  I really want to get back to writing on a regular basis- it’s much easier to write training recaps when running is going well, but it’s equally as important to write about the ups and downs of life because they are inevitable, and it’s helpful to know that others are going through hard stuff so that you don’t feel so alone!

Summer Training Weeks 3 and 4: Return from Spain and injury update

Happy Monday!  Sorry I forgot to publish last week’s summer training recap- 3 weeks in and I already slacked off 😉 Classic.  I have a ton of highlights for you, so settle in!

IMG_4546.jpg

The week of 6/18 to 6/24 was my last week in Spain.  I was planning on increasing the walk-to-runs and enjoying my last week, but unfortunately my foot got progressively worse.  After talking to my coach on that Wednesday, we ended up shutting down the walk-to-run progression and limiting me to an hour a day of cross training and no more than 3x/weekly strength exercises.  I took off on Saturday and Sunday because we spent those days traveling.

Week of 6/18-6/24

  • Monday: AM: 5×6 min run, 1 min walk + 25 bike.  PM: 35 min easy recumbent bike + core + push-ups + foam roll/ice.
  • Tuesday: AM: 70 min bike workout (15 w/u, 5 x hard song, easy song, 5 x 1h1e, 10 c/d) + strength.  Foot pain while walking.  Iced.
  • Wednesday: Foot pain 😦 Glute activation, 50 min easy recumbent bike, core.
  • Thursday: AM: ~30 min yoga by the ocean.  PM: 60 min recumbent bike, glute activation, light lift/core.
  • Friday: 52 min bike + light core.
  • Saturday: off. Travel from Cádiz to Madrid.
  • Sunday: off. Travel from Madrid to US.

Rundown from my running log: “Really sad about not being able to continue the walk-to-run & foot has almost constant pain- lots of breakdowns and bad body image BUT striving to see the positives <3”

After months and months of living in constant pain and trying with all my heart to come back to running, each time it gets taken away I feel a mixture of heartbreak, familiarity, and resignation.  This unfortunately made my last week in Spain less enjoyable.  Due to that and a month of sleep deprivation, I felt really non-functional on that Sunday and suffered from a depressive episode on that Monday that was scary and difficult.

DE86E91B-31C8-4D7F-81B0-95A1522C4BF3.jpg

So I got dressed up and took a selfie to feel better

There were some highlights- awesome sunsets, finishing classes, watching the World Cup at a sports bar, retail therapy (shopping haha), touring the Catedral de Cádiz and enjoying world-famous empanadas, watching our professor get sangria-drunk at a program dinner, and meeting up with our teammate in Madrid!

744A680F-6778-41B5-BC11-A887F9C291BE.jpg

I’m not gonna lie- my body image SUCKED.  I felt extremely uncomfortable and wasted a lot of mental energy hating myself, especially the weekend that we were traveling back to Madrid and then the US.  With injury, especially injuries that won’t heal, there’s a tendency to feel like your body is betraying you and become angry/sad/body-dysmorphic.  Add in travel where you’re out of routine, and it’s a perfect storm for self-hatred.  That’s exactly what happened to me.  Luckily, returning to the US and getting back into a “normal” summer routine, with enough sleep! (albeit without running), has done wonders for my mental state and self-perception.

IMG_4650.jpg

Cute doggos help, too


Week of 6/25-7/1

  • Monday: AM: early 60 min swim (3500 yds).  PM: 20 min glute activation/core/light dynamic strength.
  • Tuesday: 60 min bike with long pick-ups  Lift (Swiss ball core/hamstring curls, quad curl/cable row, hamstring machine/pull-ups, DB shoulder press, calf raises, lat pull-downs.)
  • Wednesday: AM: 60 min swim.  PM: 1 hour slow flow yoga.
  • Thursday: 50 min pool with my friend (30 swim, 20 aqua jog).
  • Friday: 65 min bike (20 miles) with some intervals.  Lift (glute activation, planks, chin-ups, hamstring curls, RDLs, lat pull-downs, hip thrusts with plate, ab leg raise, monster walks, core/DB push-up rows).
  • Saturday: Off. Light yoga.
  • Sunday: 60 min swim (3350 yds) with some harder intervals.

Rundown from my running log: “Nice week, great to get back in the pool & also find out what’s really wrong with my foot!  Work is tiring!  Did well on sleep this week but am staving off a cold.”

IMG_4633.jpg

20 miles later…

Last week, I got back in the pool with zest and zeal after 5 weeks of not swimming.  Jet lag made for some super early morning training sessions.  I also worked over 25 hours, and the store was 90+ degrees, so we were all dying…But gotta get that money!

I stuck to my coach’s instructions of an hour a day, and it has been just enough to keep me sane while not enough to make me feel like a walking zombie.  Excellent!

IMG_4611.jpg

Met up with some friends for dinner in Georgetown

On Thursday, I began wearing the AirCast again and met with an orthopedist at Georgetown Hospital to find out what the heck has been going on with my foot.  A few x-rays later, he told me that not only had I had a stress reaction in my second metatarsal, I had a (healing) stress fracture in my second metatarsal and a stress reaction in my third metatarsal!  Holy shit.  I felt crushingly relieved because this explained why a) my foot hadn’t healed, and b) why I was having what seemed like pain all over my foot, when it “should have” been localized to the stress reaction spot.  It all makes sense!

So to let this thing heal once and for all (jesus, it’s been almost 6 months of injury), I am wearing the boot until I feel zero pain, and then waiting another two full weeks before even attempting to run.  I’m sticking to my hour-a-day of cardio, and my goal is to get strong, sleep a lot, and be happy.  I’m motivated to increase my aerobic capacity and functional strength while letting my foot heal for good this time.  Once I’m in the clear to run, I have a “prescription” for a local Alter-G (haha) and a follow-up appointment at the orthopedist at the end of July.

Did I ever think I would be in this position right now? Never.  I distinctly remember back in January when I first got post tib, my teammate asked, “So you think this is going to be like a 3-week thing?” And I responded, “yeah, I think it’ll clear up pretty quick, I’m not too worried!” Little did we know…

But I have my whole life to run 🙂 There’s no law stating that I have to be as fast as I can ever be within these 4-5 years of NCAA eligibility.  And my current goal is to get hella fast in the pool (and #ripped in the weight room) because that is what I can do right now and there’s no point wiling the days away comparing myself to past summers and wishing I could be running 60+ miles per week.  Sustainable running careers are built off of loving the process, and my process right now consists of biking, swimming, lifting, and trying not to die of heatstroke throughout these 100-degree weeks, haha.

 

Summer Training 2018

(I wrote this post a week ago but had to publish it before I could start posting recaps!  Sorry for the lack of pictures)

Things that are terrifying when you combine them together: year after year of consistent summer training; a taste of success last year; five months of injury with very little running; and kicking off 2018 summer training by starting a walk-to-run program.

Greetings!  It’s hard to believe that it’s already June.  This is the month where summer training for cross country kicks off in full swing.  For the past several years, my daily summer routine has revolved around the day’s training and work.  However, as you know, I’ve been injured since January, the latest being a stress reaction in my second metatarsal that put me out for five weeks.  I’m essentially starting summer training with a base of zero.

This is honestly terrifying.  I’ve never been in this position before.  I was never really injured in high school, my mileage was low enough going into my freshman year of college that injury was essentially impossible, and I had great build-ups going into sophomore and junior year that helped me to some massive PRs.  I thought I knew the frustration that came with injury due to my bunion struggles in the spring of 2017, but I had no idea.  I was still able to train well, and I PRed in the 3k on the track and the 5k on the roads.  Looking back, I was freakin’ blessed!

Anyway.  Over the past five months, my body has changed, my mentality has changed, and my running goals for this year have changed.  After running 21:20 in the 6k last fall, my goals before the semester of injury were to break 17 minutes in the 5k on the track this past spring and be both the individual and team conference champion during cross country this coming fall.  These goals have not changed in and of themselves, but I am not going to put pressure on myself to achieve them this year.  I know my body will break again if I push it too hard too soon.

SO instead of the normal mileage build-up where I would start at like 30 miles and work up to 60+ and maintain around 55 and hardly do any cross training, I am going to spend the majority of the summer transitioning through a walk-to-run program and doing cross-training workouts.  My mileage is going to remain incredibly low for a frustratingly long period of time, and my cross country season may or may not be as successful as (the first half of) last year’s.  I might not run as fast.  I might feel a lot worse.  But I am going to cherish every second that I get to run because I now know what it’s like to not be able to run at all.  And then to ruin the little bit I did get to run this spring by ignoring the pain, racing a 5k on a stress reaction, and putting myself out of conference championship competition and endangering my cross country season.  Nice!

Tentative summer plan/goals for now:

  • Walk-to-run program until July
  • Build up mileage consistently and sustainably- if that means I’m only at 30 miles by the end of the summer, well, it’s better than zero.
  • Work hard on the bike and in the pool
  • Complete 2-3 long yoga sessions per week
  • Functional core and lifts
  • Foot rehab exercises
  • Sleep a lot!
  • Be inspired, not jealous, by teammates’ training

I’ll update you as I progress through the walk-jog and transition back to “real” running (I’m trying not to use that phrase, but you know what I mean!).  I’m in Spain for another 3 weeks, and I’m 2 parts loving it, 1 part homesick/ready for routine.

Sevilla y Granada

Time to catch you all up on some of our Spanish adventures!  No worries, my next post will be about summer cross country training. 🙂

IMG_8041.JPG

La Alhambra en Granada

Sevilla (5/26-5/27)

Last weekend, we went to Sevilla for two days!  It was only an hour and half ride from Cádiz, so we left on Saturday morning and returned on Sunday evening.

IMG_3495.jpgWe arrived at our hotel and almost immediately left for a two-hour walking tour of the city that ended at the Plaza de España.  The Plaza de España was beautiful, built in the shape of a “u” with a canal/moat, elegant bridges, and a fountain in the center of the square.

IMG_3504.jpg

After the walking tour, we had a bit of free time, so we ate lunch in the park next to the Plaza.  It was peaceful and beautiful, with gardens and fish and intermittent bouts of sunlight.

IMG_3555.jpg

We then walked some more and went on a tour of la Catedral de Sevilla, where we observed the incredible interior and climbed la Giralda, which was 33 flights of ramps.

IMG_3583.jpg

After the Catedral, we got to see a flamenco show!  (Photography prohibited).  Then we went to dinner, where we enjoyed several courses of tapas, fish, tinto, and a three-layer chocolate mousse cake that I would like to eat for the rest of my life.  That night, we went out for awhile, and I ended up walking 13 miles total that day.  RIP to the foot.

AB010859-D737-488C-B8B4-0A4CA9D41368.jpg

On our second day in Sevilla, we toured the Real Alcázar de Sevilla.  I loved it.  It was so peaceful and full of greenery and history.  I could have stayed there forever.  IMG_3632.jpg

We also toured the barrio de los judíos and some other places before climbing the Metropol Parasól, a weird wooden structure with great views of the city.

IMG_3644.jpg

After that, we ate lunch and wandered around before driving back to Cádiz.  Sevilla was super fun, but group sleep deprivation and a stolen phone made for a really rough second day for some people.  Yikes!

Granada (6/2-6/3)

This past weekend, we went to Granada.  The drive was a little longer than the one to Sevilla; it took about four hours, and I stubbornly tried to read a book on my Kindle the entire time even though I am prone to motion-sickness.  That went well 😉  After a minor bus breakdown, we arrived in Granada early in the afternoon and spent the evening looking at the shops, the Capilla Real, the Catedral, and of course Los italianos (ice cream).

IMG_3817.jpg

17th-century graffiti!  It says “victoria”, presumably after someone finished their exams

I loved the ceiling in the Capilla Real, and it blew my mind how long it must have taken to construct the Catedral, starting in the 16th century!

IMG_3820.jpg

I was feeling pretty sick that night, so I stayed in but didn’t sleep very much regardless.  Dang.  On the second day, we spent four hours exploring La Alhambra- the Islamic palace/fortress renovated in the 13th century.  My favorite part was the Generalife, which is the section of the palace where the kings would go on vacation.  It was tranquil and perfect, filled with lush plants, beautiful flowers, and trickling fountains.

IMG_3943.jpg

We then toured the actual castle portion, which was huge and luxurious and unbelievable.

IMG_3891.jpg

We climbed some towers, and the views were unbelievable.

IMG_3884.jpg

IMG_8109.jpg

No one I’d rather cram 5 people into a 3-person hotel room with

After many hours spent wandering the Alhambra, we crammed 27 people into a 15-person bus again and I spent the 10-minute ride down the mountain trying not to puke.  We ate lunch at a random restaurant, and I enjoyed another tinto de verano con limón, which has easily become my favorite alcoholic drink 🙂

IMG_3931.jpg

We rode the bus four hours back to Cádiz and arrived around dinner time.  I felt sick again, and my roommate has been sick all week, so we met our new housemates and I turned in early for the night.  I loved Granada, but I think it would be better to spend more time there, given the extent of the travel!

Málaga (6/7-6/10)

Next weekend, a few friends and I are going to go to Málaga to celebrate my friend’s 21st birthday.  We’re taking the train there and will spend the days hiking, sleeping, eating, and sunbathing (and probably running/biking if you’re me).  I’m super excited!

Cádiz Week 1

(I wrote this post before our Sevilla trip, so I’ll do another one ASAP about Sevilla because it was awesome!)

Buenos días!  We’re currently en route to Sevilla for the weekend.  I was working on a very subjective paper for my history/grammar class about finding your perfect match, but I’m feeling too cynical to continue that, so I’ll update you guys on our first week in Spain.

EADEDF55-4F00-40C0-838B-9C66E961C781.jpg

Taken in Sevilla

We’ve officially been in Spain for eight days (Cádiz for seven), and it honestly feels like we’ve been here forever.  After a free day last Sunday, classes started on Monday.  We’re all taking an art history class, an intermediate or advanced grammar/history/composition class depending on Spanish abilities, and conducting an independent research investigation over the course of the next month.

IMG_3091.jpg

View from the university

We have class from 9:30 am to 2 pm every day, with an hour-long break from 11-12.  A couple friends and I have been going to different café-bars during that break for una merienda: usually café solo (espresso) y un sandwich o tapitas.  After class, we go home and eat el almuerzo at 2 pm and then my roommate and I usually take advantage of siesta time from 2-5 pm if we don’t have a preplanned afternoon activity.  Almost everything closes during that time, and we’re usually in food comas from lunch, so it’s a perfect storm for a siesta.

Training-wise, after a weekend spent doing nothing but eating and traveling, I discovered last Monday that it’s entirely possible to aqua jog in the ocean!  The beach is right across the street from the university, and it’s calm and there are very few waves, which makes it perfect for aqua jogging and swimming.  I aqua jogged for an hour on Monday and Tuesday, and the views, sunshine, and vast expanse of water were a huge step up from my university’s windowless basement pool.

03D355F8-63F4-423B-92EB-42576F1A2414.jpg

I joined a gym on Wednesday afternoon, so now I have the ability to aqua jog and stationary bike and lift weights/do core.  I feel like myself again!  Not that working out is the main focus of my time here, but it’s nice to be able to train J  We walk to everything here, so I’m not too worried about training volume because I’ve been pretty tired from the walking.  I also don’t want to overdo it with my foot, although the plan is to do my first walk-to-run session this coming Monday.  I am pumped!  My foot has been feeling pretty good this week- I quit wearing the boot on Monday because it was just making the foot feel worse, and it was a pain in the butt to lug around for 5-6 miles every day.

14A580A0-A7D6-4F9C-AA0A-21ED1E19002D 2.jpg

So far, we’ve seen and done so many amazing things.  Cádiz is an incredibly beautiful, historic city, and the interior streets are a labyrinth of tiny stores, markets, plazas, and homes.  It’s completely unlike anywhere I’ve ever been.  Everything in the older part of Cádiz (where we’re staying) is within walking distance, so we’ve been meeting up in different plazas at night for helado or cerveza.

IMG_3085.jpg

On Tuesday, we got to visit Gadir, which is a super cool underground archeology site (Gadir was what the Phoenicians originally named Cadiz).  We also climbed the Torre de Tavira to see a birds’-eye view of the city, and it was incredible.  Their cámara oscura uses mirrors and sunlight to create a live panoramic view of the city—so it was like a photo but you could see the birds flying and laundry flapping and ocean waves in real time.  I was at a loss for words.

IMG_3210.jpg

We went to el Castillo de San Marcos on Friday, and it was incredible (and overwhelming) to be surrounded by such rich and sometimes violent history.  Parts of the interior dated back to the tenth century!  We got to tour the bodega and have a wine tasting.  We could see the bullet holes from the executions that occurred there.  I think I went through every emotion during our visit.

IMG_7554.JPG

 

As far as the food here, it’s a huge change from what I’m used to!  As I mentioned in the last post, breakfast is the smallest meal of the day and really doesn’t contain any protein.  Our host mom has started to learn our preferences, so I’ve been enjoying decaf black coffee before classes 🙂 My breakfast around 8:45 am consists of two pieces of pan tostada, topped with either almond butter and jelly or tomato with olive oil.  I usually have a piece of fruit as well.

EF32A2C7-A6E2-4CC3-AE26-622780110DED.jpg

La merienda

The almuerzo at 2 pm is the biggest meal of the day, but I usually get hungry before then, so I usually have a snack around 11 or 12.  This “snack” is usually espresso with either be a bar, fruit and nuts, or even an entire ham and cheese sandwich, haha.  Lunch at 2 pm is usually enormous and delicious, which is a wee bit tricky because I sometimes work out at like 3:30 pm while still very full.  Some examples of lunch:

  • A huge bowl of lentejas (lentils) y pasta, followed by tuna steaks and potato salad with vegetables and olive oil
  • Salmon with lemon and roasted eggplant and zucchini, followed by a big bowl of spaghetti with homemade meat sauce
  • A plate of meat and potatoes, and a plate of sautéed vegetables and olive oil with an egg on top

Yesterday, after spending the morning touring the Castillo de San Marcos en el Puerto de Santa María, we had a huge lunch.  After instructing us to eat a lot because dinner was going to be small, our host mom served us pretty much an entire chicken each, along with potatoes and a big pan of arroz con verduras y pescado.  I took her advice too literally and ate so much that I had to lie down for like 3 hours.  I dragged my butt to the gym at 6:30 pm and still felt like exploding, and I wasn’t even hungry for dinner (personal ham and cheese pizzas).  Oops! No regrets.  Well, maybe some regrets.

Anyway, as I mentioned, la cena (dinner) is small compared to lunch, although probably pretty normal-sized as I think about it more.  We’ve had omelets and a chicken-vegetable stir fry; last night’s personal pizza; lomo adobado y patatas al horno (marinated pork loin and roasted potatoes); etc.  Every meal ends in fruit.

IMG_3661.jpg

The biggest adjustments have been meal timing, not as many vegetables, and trying to figure out what time of day is best to work out based on how much we’re eating at different times of day.  It’s been interesting surrendering control of my diet to someone else and having every meal be a surprise.  I kind of miss oatmeal 😉  But we’ve eaten some truly incredible things- yesterday, the crispy chicken skin marinated in what tasted like sherry was divine- and I’m learning a ton about Spanish culture, Spanish cuisine, the intricacies and colloquialisms of the language, Cádiz history, etc.  I love it.

Now if I can just get more sleep…

Combating Training Rigidity

Good morning!  I hope everyone’s Tuesday is off to a wonderful start.  I just got back from the gym and am doing some last-minute study abroad prep before heading to work for the afternoon.  I’m currently icing my foot while typing this post 🙂

IMG_2930.jpg

Got some weird looks with my post-workout breakfast, per usual

I’ve got a lot on my mind that I want to say after this morning’s gym session (both good and bad!).  Recently, I’ve felt like I’ve been in a mental and physical rut with training.  Because I took my break early and am not allowed to run yet in order to let my second metatarsal heal, I’m on a slightly different timeline than my teammates.  They’re wrapping up their rest week and starting “active rest” and light training, while I’ve been doing that for 3-4 weeks now.  At this point in the year, all of our training is pretty much up to us.  The whole idea is to keep our bodies moving but fresh, and keep our minds eager and motivated by letting us do what we want when we want to, and take rest when we want to.  It’s supposed to be pressure-free and help us gear up for when summer cross country training ramps up.

IMG_2899.jpg

I was rebellious and did not wear the boot to the bookstore the other day…

I’m a creature of routine, so while I can thrive off of this freedom, I am not currently thriving.  There’s a little voice in the back of my head that has been constantly telling me things like, “You need to be doing this.  You need to be building up the cross training volume, you need to be doing a certain amount every day even though your coach is telling you to keep it relaxed.”  This has been exacerbated by the fact that I’m alone- counterintuitively, it’s easier for me to keep an open mind towards training when I’m surrounded by my teammates and coaches.  Also when I’m not injured 😉

Another unhealthy facet of what I’ve been doing is that I’ve been focusing on filling some sort of quota every time I train, whether it be minutes, calories, or the like.  (“Am I going to reach 400 minutes of cross training this week?”)  Then I’ve been super anal about my post-workout snack, the timing of my food, and other things that are good as long as you don’t overthink them.  Your body is not a goddamn robot, Kathryn.

IMG_2922.jpg

Biking and reading

The past few days, I’ve been a little sick, which has made me look forward to the cross training even less.  But I still biked on the recumbent bike for an hour yesterday.  I convinced myself that I felt awesome, which maybe I did during the bike, but afterwards, I felt like crap.  I’m having a hard time keeping the long-term in mind– been focusing too much on the daily/hourly/minutely (is that a word), and it’s made me start to dread the stationary bike and the pool.  I’m a person that loves weight training because it makes me feel strong and unstoppable…so why have I been only doing boring cardio???

I texted my coach yesterday to essentially tell him I was being a stubborn moron (no surprises there!), and he had a really good response.

Scott is smart.png

“Take some time doing active rest, not structured workouts.”  Music to my stubborn ears!!

So this morning, I took his advice to heart.  I got to the gym with the intent of doing another 60+ minutes on the infernal stationary bike.  However, I got there and had zero interest in doing that, so I made up a dynamic core/strength session as I went along.  It felt amazing to get my body moving dynamically (one of the consequences of the boot is that I can’t do anything impactful on my foot, so jumping exercises and even walks are out of the question.  I’ve felt antsy and just want to move some fast-twitch muscles!)  I continued to steer clear of jumps and too many weight-bearing exercises, but before I knew it, 45 minutes had flown by and my body was buzzing in that endorphin-fueled “I’m going to be incredibly sore tomorrow” state that I love.

Tuesday workout 5:15:18.png

Throughout the workout, I was literally dancing during my rest breaks.  This workout was the type that reminded me how much I crave the process of getting stronger.  Instead of sitting on the stationary bike or doing circles in the deep end of the pool looking at the clock every 15 seconds, I worked my entire body, was never bored, and only did things I wanted to do.  It was awesome.

My lesson of the day is to focus on doing the things you love.  This might change day to day, but listen to your body and don’t get caught up in the minutiae of training.  There are some days where I really do want to get on the bike for 90 minutes or swim a 70-minute workout.  Then there are days like today, and yesterday, and the day before…where I just don’t.  While my number one love is running, I can’t do that right now, so it’s important to trust myself and figure out how to stay healthy and happy (physically and mentally).

I leave for Spain in two days, which I think will be really good for me in all issues mentioned above.  And I get to start the walk-to-run program while I’m there!  But perfect training and fueling won’t be my primary focus- my primary focus will be to enjoy Cádiz, soak up all the experiences, conduct my independent research project about the markets, and learn millions of new things.

Have a wonderful day 🙂

 

Summer Training Week 13: 55 miles + yoga

The past week has been very eventful!  After an exhausting last week of work and running, I went to see Lifehouse, Switchfoot, and Brynn Elliott last Sunday with one of my best friends.  The concert was amazing…but we didn’t get home until midnight, and I’ve never felt less recovered after a recovery day. 😅 So I struggled through a morning run on Monday, skipped my double, and prayed that I’d feel better for our team training trip!  This week was sort of a down week- I still ran 54 miles… Isn’t it funny how our perspectives change based on where we’re at in training?

This morning, I went to a yoga class before heading to my favorite farmer’s market for the last time before I go back to school.  I swear, the people at this farmer’s market are the nicest, most compassionate people in the world.  Every time I go there, it restores my faith in humanity 🙂

IMG_7716.jpg

Lifehouse and Switchfoot concert!

Week 13 (8/14-8/20):

Monday: AM: 7 miles on bike path.  STRUGGLE- body is so tired.  Glute activation + push-ups.  PM: skipped my double, light core.

Tuesday:  Mosquito-infested workout with teammates on island soft surface: 20 min w/u, drills, 12-7-7 with 3 min recovery, 3 mile c/d.  Total = 11 miles.  Went really well!  I felt very strong mentally and physically.

Wednesday:  5 miles with teammates easy + core.  New shoes.  PM: eventful ocean swim with my freshman teammates in which we got caught in the riptide/current for awhile…

Thursday:  AM: 7 miles with teammates, drills, strides, strength (push-ups, lunges, roller abs, etc.) Lighthouse climb!  PM: 3 miles with teammates.

Friday:  Early workout with freshman teammate.  20 min w/u, drills, 7 x [3:00h, 1:00e], 20 min c/d.  Felt ok, not amazing.  Fewer mosquitoes!  Total: 9 miles.

Saturday: 13 miles on bike path.  Listened to podcast about accents.  Pretty humid/hot.  Took an energy gel at mile 9 and hammered the last 20 minutes.  Overall good run!  Trail was very crowded.

Sunday: off.  Vinyasa yoga class.

Total: 54 miles + 1 hour yoga class

Not the most interesting training week, but the concert and training trip were an absolute blast.  When Lifehouse played “You and Me” and “Hanging by a Moment” one right after the other, my friend and I almost cried.  We also got to meet Brynn Elliott after the show- she was incredibly affable and enthusiastic, and she’s only a year older than us!

IMG_7735.jpg

The training trip got off to an interesting start with a mosquito-infested workout on Tuesday morning.  Apparently, it was the worst mosquito day some of the locals could remember! A few of the girls looked like they had contracted a bad case of chickenpox.  Throughout the trip, we worked out together, went to the beach, climbed a lighthouse, ate immense amounts of ice cream every night, explored the island, saw wild ponies, had dance parties and ridiculous late-night talks, drank lots of coffee and took lots of pictures.  I am so happy this trip turned out as well as it did 🙂

IMG_7973.jpg

None of our seniors or fifth years came on the training trip, so the junior class (read: my class!) was unexpectedly thrust into leadership roles that we didn’t expect to have until next year.  One of my classmates organized the majority of the trip, and some of us took on the task of talking to the freshmen about team rules, team dynamic, goals, expectations, how each practice works, and college in general.  Everyone worked together really well with the cleaning, cooking, and carpooling.

Image-1-1.jpg

One of the freshmen and I ended up swimming far out into the ocean- farther than I had ever swum- which was exhilarating!  Until we got caught in a riptide/current that pulled us farther and farther out into the water.  There’s nothing like the feeling of being pulled backwards as you attempt to swim forwards.  This particular freshman and I are both pretty fearless, but even so, I felt a bit of apprehension as we made ZERO progress getting back to shore!  We eventually made it back by swimming with the waves and letting the current pull us around in a giant circle.  Phew!

IMG_7900.jpg

This trip was really good for my mental health and balance as well.  Reuniting with my teammates reminded me that all the hard work throughout the summer is done for a reason and reinvigorated me for the upcoming cross country season.  Also, a lot of last year’s top seven is in our senior/fifth year class, which meant that I was one of the faster and higher mileage runners on this trip.  Along with my fellow juniors and high mileage runners, I ended up leading workouts, runs, and conversations about college running for the freshmen.  It was surreal!

Since the juniors were the leaders on this trip, I really wanted to be a good role model for the underclassmen.  So this trip had the awesome effect of breaking unofficial routines and rules that I had gotten stuck in throughout the summer.  I just went with the flow.  Ice cream every night?  Absolutely yes.  Meals at weird times?  Waiting until 8 am to run- something that I hadn’t done all summer?  Staying up later than I had been comfortable with?  Relaxing in the afternoon?  I tried to say yes to everything.  Also tried to lead by example- post-workout recovery snack, rope stretching, foam rolling, treating myself, not hammering maintenance runs, and striking that tricky balance of relaxation and dedication to training.  I hope we (the juniors) did a good job.  The underclassmen reassured us that we did great, which was so gratifying 🙂

IMG_8002.jpg

One of the highlights from this morning was at the farmer’s market.  As I mentioned before, the people there are the nicest ever.  I stopped at one of the bread stands and made small talk with the woman who works there- we sort of know each other because the store where I work is very close with the farmers and small businesspeople from the market.  We talked about me going back to school, and when I tried to buy a lemon bite from her, she gave it to me for free and said, “save it for college”!  This happens all the time.  Do you see why I love it there??

IMG_8057.jpg

It was also really delicious.  The tangy glaze paired perfectly with the soft, sweet-yet-sour lemon pastry.

I also just adore the farmer’s market because you can find the most unique food items there.  Moroccan spiced carrot hummus?  Okra?  Dirt-cheap apples, peaches, and tomatoes?  Agave lime gazpacho??  I’ll probably miss it more than my home, to be honest…(mostly kidding).

IMG_8058.jpg

I’m going back to school and moving into my apartment later this week, so the next few days will be filled with planning, packing, (running) and convincing myself that I’ll be okay living 1.5 miles from campus without a car. 😉  I can’t believe summer is almost over!