Summer Training Week 2 (11 miles + 345 min XT + other stuff)

Happy Sunday!  I started off today’s off day nice and slow by reading a book all morning, then walked to a plaza, savored an helado in the sunshine, and enjoyed an iced café con leche at a café with some friends while working on a paper.  Then, I got yelled at for being late to lunch, and I am now writing this post while listening to bachata music 🙂

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Week of 6/11-6/17:

  • Monday: AM: 6×4 min run, 1 min walk + drills + 30 min bike.  PM: 30 min elliptical + ~20 min circuit I made up.  Lots of push-ups and dumbbell squats involved.  Iced foot and quads.
  • Tuesday: AM: 60 min bike workout.  Legs were dead again so I did what I could.  15 warm-up, 4 x [2 min hard, 1 easy], 4 x [2 min hard, 2 easy], 3 x 1h1e, 10 cool down.  PM: 10 min core.
  • Wednesday: 4-8-4-8-4 min run with 1 min walk + active warm-up + 25 min bike.  Legs/body were tired.  ~12 min core circuit.  PM: ice, some foot exercises, bachata class!
  • Thursday: AM: 70 min bike workout (15 warm-up, 45 min of hard/easy songs, 10 cool down).  Tired legs and foot hurt a bit.  PM: 20 min bike shakeout (legs felt great after!) + lift (glute and core activation, squats, OH/UH DB row, weighted RDLs, chin-ups, Swiss ball hamstring curls, TRX).
  • Friday: 6 x 5 min run, 1 min walk.  Later: 30 min aqua jog in the ocean.  Stayed in the sun too long and felt awful at night.
  • Saturday: 80 min XT (52 elliptical, 28 bike).  Very tired.
  • Sunday: off.  Yoga (planned).

Total: 11 miles + 345 min XT + strength/yoga/etc.

So my coach likes to refer to the first few weeks of a new training block as the “Valley of Fatigue”, where your body is adjusting to the increased workload and you generally feel like crap for awhile.  Looking back at this week, that’s exactly what happened 😉  Luckily, my teammates and I have been commiserating with each other and most of us have been feeling similarly, so we know it’s just this stage of training and (hopefully) it’ll pass/we’ll adjust.

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XT sweat overactivity??

Overall, I got some quality work in this week and increased the duration of my running intervals.  I had planned to do 7 x 4 min run, 1 min walk on Wednesday, but I impatiently and stubbornly skipped two of the 1-minute walk intervals, which resulted in two running intervals that were 8 minutes long (aka twice as long as I had been running).  This did not bode well for my foot.  It’s been hurting more than it had been for several days.  You live and you learn.  The concept of walk-to-run exists for a reason!

On Thursday, I didn’t feel like coming up with a structured bike workout, so I put on the Latin Dance Cardio playlist on Spotify and alternated hard/easy intervals depending on when the song switched.  It was a great way to switch things up!  However, I literally left a pool of sweat on/underneath the stationary bike.  Ew.

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Nice

I was getting kind of tired of the bike by the end of the week…

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On Friday, as I mentioned, I spent all afternoon in the blazing sun at the beach, which resulted in some mild sun poisoning 😉 OOPS.

This week, I also read The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll.  I would recommend it as a summer beach read!  I thought the ending was the best part, so I would say it’s worth wading through the somewhat melodramatic plot/characters and exaggerated pseudofeminism at times.

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Image source

I still didn’t sleep very much this week, which was annoying and has had negative repercussions on my body’s ability to recover.  However, I’m getting okay sleep, and I know it will all work out.

While so many aspects of study abroad have been absolutely amazing, by this point I am craving home and familiarity and starting to feel depressed and anxious (partially due to physical exhaustion).  At the risk of sounding like a spoiled princess, I am tired of not feeling comfortable in this house (due to a variety of factors).  I am tired of not having a name (my host mom can’t pronounce my name, so I’ve been nameless for a month, which is harder than you would think!).  I am tired of not sleeping well or having any privacy.  However, I am not tired of the beautiful Spanish language, friendliness of the people, cheap food, mercados, beach, university, or nice cool mornings!  There are some things I will miss so much when we leave in a week.

Last night, after an admittedly bad day, I dragged myself out of a depressive funk and went to watch the sunset on the beach with my close friends.  We ended up talking and laughing for over two hours, and by the end, I felt so much better.  It was unprecedentedly wonderful ❤

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Intentions for next week:

  • Continue icing (I did a pretty good job this week!)
  • Sleep as much as you can 🙂
  • Crush the last week of classes!
  • Safely increase running
  • Listen to your body about cross training intensity ❤
  • Learn 1+ new thing about Cádiz (or Spain in general) every day

And to end this post, here is a picture of a shark that you can actually buy at the Mercado Central.  I love that place.

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Racing woes and pumpkin EVERYTHING

Happy hump day!  I may or may not have spent 5 hours in the library today.  Never thought I would be that person…but a Trader Joe’s pumpkin bagel with maple almond butter made it better.

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Gotta love interpretive Spanish essays about the political power of 16th-century historians

The last two and a half weeks have included some little twinges here and there, some rough workouts, some strong workouts, lots of pumpkin things 😉 and one heck of a race.  Not exactly in a good way.

Last Friday, we raced at a pretty stacked invitational a few hours away from campus.  We left on Thursday evening; before leaving, I had lots of chicken parmigiana left over from a date night, along with some veggies.

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Sunset on the way to the meet!

Arrived at the hotel, made a quick Whole Foods run, had a team meeting, ate some fruit, and went to bed.  During the team meeting, our coach told us each what the general game plan was; personally, she thought I could be around 40th.  While the meet was stacked, the field was pretty small- only about 125 women.

We woke up at 5:45 for a shakeout, ate breakfast (oatmeal with almond butter and a banana, vanilla Siggi’s, and coffee), put on the flash tats and uniform, and headed to the meet!

It was almost-chilly when we arrived at the race venue, but all of a sudden the sun got really intense.  The temperature didn’t rise too much, but I didn’t feel great in the blazing sun.   Should’ve known…

Warm-up: ✓ Drills: ✓ Strides: ✓

Lined up at the start, pre-race butterflies, gun went off.  We rocketed out of the starting boxes like bats out of hell, relishing the downhill start.  I tried to rein it in a bit after the initial adrenaline-induced sprint, felt fine through 2k, and came through around 55th place, just over 7 minutes, which is 5:40/mile pace.  (I just calculated that’s a 17:36 5k.  LOL.  Maybe slightly ambitious.)  While I have been tired, I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, so I was hoping for mid-18s on this difficult, hilly course.

Around 2.5k, I guess the sun got to me or something happened, because I felt like shit.  I felt like someone had sucked the life out of me with a vacuum cleaner.

  • Me: “Legs, pls move.” Legs: “No.”
  • Me: “Eyes, pls open.” Eyes: “No.”
  • Me: “Body, pls run in straight line.”  Body: “nope.”

I weaved my way up the hill that notoriously breaks everyone, somehow managing to get to the top without walking.  I came through 2 miles in 11:45ish, I think.  Not horrible, but clearly I’d slowed down.  Hit 4k.  At this point, I was weaving into the flags lining the course.  My eyes would not stay open.  I was racing literally blind.

Hit another hill.  Weaved my way up it, doubled over.  Hit the finishing straight, and with 300 meters to go, I tunnel-visioned on the blue finish line mat, struggled down the home straight, and collapsed the second I reached the line.

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Me, hobby-jogging my way to the finish line.

I finished around 100th place in 19:43, which means it took me almost 8 minutes to crawl from 2 miles to the finish.  Awkward.

I felt okay, just weak and nauseous, for about 45 minutes after finishing, and my coach instructed me to walk around in the shade for a bit instead of going on the cool-down.  Tried to take in Gatorade and water, but the nausea just got worse.  Things took a turn for the worse about 45 minutes after finishing, and I could barely keep standing.  Felt extremely nauseous, generally weak, and like I was going to pass out.  Food was not happening.  Half a banana made me dry heave into the trash can for 10 minutes.  I spent some time in the medical tent with an ice-cold towel draped over my shoulders, dazedly watching all the passed-out, vomiting men being unloaded onto the cots.

Finally, after my mom forced a hat onto my head and force-fed me Nuun, the electrolytes kicked in, and I was able to actually walk around, pack up my stuff, and partake in Chipotle on the way home.  Still felt “eh” for the majority of the day.  Since I hadn’t done a cool-down, my legs felt pretty bad, so I stopped at the trainer when we arrived back to campus, and then headed to the rec and did a light bike shakeout for 30 minutes.  Took the long run extremely easy on Saturday morning, and it felt decent.

The good news is, yesterday we had a tough hill workout, and I actually felt very strong!  This was our third time this season doing this particular hill workout, and I hit my fastest splits and felt particularly strong on the longer circuits.  Afterwards, we had a lower body lift in the weight room that has left my legs very dead today 😉

And for a random end note to this long post, here’s Rob Thomas’s “Hold On Forever”!

 

♫Is it too late now to say sorry♫…

…to my coaches and my calf for running yesterday’s workout way too fast?

But first: Monday’s lunch!  ‘Twas simple yet gorgeous.

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PB&J, carrots, sugar snap peas, pretzels, edamame, and plain Greek yogurt with strawberries

After an easy (finally!) six miles on Monday, my calf wasn’t feeling great but the rest of me was raring to go.   The workout was the usual 20 minutes warm-up, drills, and strides, and then 4 sets of 3-4 x 400.  The freshmen (so, me) were instructed to only do 12 total, so I did 4 sets of 3.  The first set was supposed to be at lactate threshold pace, the second set at 10k pace, the third at 5k-3k pace, and the fourth at 3k-1500 pace, with rest time increasing as pace increased and a lap between sets.

But…um…it’s really hard to go lactate threshold pace for 400s.  The “comfortably hard” pace is ideal for pace runs and sometimes even mile repeats, but for speedwork?  Clearly, this workout stressed control, and I failed miserably.

Anyway, I warmed up to the track and cycled through the usual dynamic stretches and strides.  My first set of 3 was 87, 86, 85, which is definitely not my lactate threshold pace but definitely not hard either.  I was itching to go faster.  This pattern of “way too fast” continued for the rest of the workout…

Splits:

  • 1st set: 87, 86, 85
  • 2nd set: 82, 83, 82
  • 3rd set: 82, 82, 79
  • 4th set: 79, 76, 73

At least I decreased every set…

This workout included a lot more rest than I’ve had in awhile, and I felt good throughout the entire workout because of it.  I ended up circling the track during the same time my high school team was doing mile repeats.  On my last 400, the varsity boys were about 50 meters in front of me, and I was still full of energy from holding back the rest of the workout and really wanted to catch them, so I hammered…and I caught them.  Probably not the best decision, and it left my calves burning, but mentally, it was great. 😉  All in all, it was a good workout, even if it was much faster than it should’ve been!

Sorry, coaches.  Sorry, calves.  Please forgive me.

After a 20 minute cool down (total = 9 miles) and a couple of balance circuits, I refueled with plain Greek yogurt, melted frozen raspberries, and chia seeds.

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Yes, those are my workout instructions on my hand.  No, I did not follow them.

Followed by a lovely dinner of 2 bowls of homemade lentil soup, as well as toasted French bread with olive oil.

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The other night, my brother made cinnamon roll waffles… Just stick the Pillsbury dough in a waffle maker.  Decadent cinnamon rolls in waffle form!  Amazing.

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Today, one of my college teammates drove up, and we met up for lunch before he went off to explore the DC area.  It was great catching up with him after not being at college for a month!  I worked my way through 4 huge pieces of the same pizza from a couple weeks ago to fuel up for my super difficult cross train. 😉  Only did 50 minutes of stationary biking (60 on my schedule but only had time for 50) to give my calves and the rest of my body a bit of a break as I work through this high mileage week.  I completely failed at the post-cross train stretching, though.

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When you have to cover the numbers display with a sweatshirt so you don’t look at it every 5 seconds…

Gorgeous sunset after stationary biking.

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Dinner was once again incredible thanks to my mother.   Roasted pork loin with barbecue sauce, sweet potato, green beans, and a butternut squash/swiss chard/Gruyere casserole type thing that was quite delicious.  I might post the recipe!

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Tomorrow, I have the usual Thursday maintenance run, strides, and strength work.  Just a few more days until the return to school!