Autumnal

It’s fall break!!  After an incredibly stressful week, I am now home for a quick 24 hours and plan on soaking in autumn and decompressing as much as possible 🙂  Currently lying in bed drinking lemon ginger tea following an amazing Irish dinner- corned beef, cabbage, and roasted potatoes and vegetables, followed by freshly baked apple crisp.

It’s good to be home 🙂

As I mentioned previously, the past week has been hard.  Everything seemed to happen all at once.  School round-up: Hispanic Studies paper due, followed by a Gender in Society paper, followed by an accounting midterm, an unnecessarily vicious problem set, a Spanish midterm, and a presentation.  I am generally pretty good about balancing schoolwork and stress levels, but this week was something else.  I just tried to take it day by day, and I ended up surviving and getting decent grades on both midterms!  Not sure about the other grades yet.

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Studying and lunching

Running-wise, with three weeks between races, we’ve been in the midst of a particularly meaty training block.  Workouts have been hard.  Thankfully, our lifting instructor has started to taper our weight room routines in preparation for our upcoming races.  This has been sort of fun!  We’ve been focusing on the quality, not quantity, of our lifts, and on Thursday, after completing the requisite 2 sets of 5 chin-ups unassisted, our lifts instructor had me do an extra set with chains!

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I felt pretty darn badass afterwards

The past two weeks have been interesting in that I’ve hit higher mileage within 6 days and therefore have gotten two weeks in a row with a complete off day!  Last week, I hit 59 miles by Saturday, so I took Sunday off.  Same thing happened this week:

10/3-10/9:

Monday: AM: 3 miles + core. PM: 2 lap w/u, form and hurdle drills, speed ladder, 7 miles, 6 x 100m strides, upper body circuit.  Total = 10 miles.
Tuesday: 3 mile w/u, drills/strides, 3 x [1000, 800, 400] on the track with 2-3 min rec and a lap on the turf between sets, 3ish c/d.  Struggled with some dizziness in the second half, so my 3rd 800 was a 600.  Overall a weird workout.  Lower body lift + stretch/roll in weight room.  Ice bath.  Splits below.  Total = 10 miles.

  • Set 1: 3:33, 2:43, 78
  • Set 2: 3:28, 2:45, 80
  • Set 3: 3:33, idk, 76

Wednesday: 6 solo miles trails.  A bit tired.
Thursday: AM: 2 lap w/u, drills, 7.5ish miles, 4 x 150m strides, upper body lift in WR (with chainz).  PM: 3 miles + core.  Total = 11ish miles.
Friday:  3.5 mile w/u, drills, 4 mile tempo on wooded gravel trails (very twisty/hilly so ran about 26 minutes but thought I rallied well on the hills), 6 x :60h with :60-2:00 rec, 20 min c/d.  Ice bath. Total = 11 miles.
Saturday: 11 miles on trails and battlefield loop.  Ice bath.
Sunday (planned): off day with a bit of yoga/stretching

Total: 59 miles

I think I’m just kind of in a rhythm with training/doubles now.  Haven’t really felt the need to go above 60 mpw, so I’m content with taking another complete rest day 🙂 In fact, I didn’t even bring my running shoes home!

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Other thoughts:

  • Our next invitational is in six days!  I’m going to focus on recovery until then.  I’m thankful that this last week of school was the hard one, and hopefully I can stay on top of schoolwork while also relaxing in the coming days/weeks 🙂
  • Goals for the next race:  Go out conservatively.  I want to be able to rally and have a strong second half.
  • I’d like to decrease my coffee consumption- not that 16 ounces per day is nearly as bad as some people, but ideally I’ll get down to 8 ounces.  One cup and no more.  Although Wawa’s $1 any size coffee month is making that difficult 😉 But I’ve done it for 3 days in a row now!
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  • Along the same vein, I haven’t been super frugal recently…but I’ll try my hardest to rein in the grocery spending.  Or so I say…
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I adore fall.  And good friends and food.

That’s all for now!  I hope to write more soon 🙂

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One of my top 5 hardest workouts

(OK, I actually did write this post this morning; I just forgot to publish it.)

Good morning!  It’s a beautiful spring day, I just finished my 3-mile double, and I thought I’d talk about Tuesday’s track workout while I eat a lovely breakfast of Greek yogurt, Wawa coffee, oatmeal with apple/chia seeds/almond butter/cinnamon, and of course my daily multivitamin.  No class until 12:30. 🙂

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Oatmeal is THE ugliest food ever but still so good

All right!  Tuesday’s workout…Let’s just say I have no trouble recalling the experience because my body still despises me two days later.

The (good? bad?) thing about getting fitter and faster is that your coaches will adjust your workout paces accordingly.  On Tuesday, I was put in sort of a new workout group.  We went out for our 3 mile warm-up and then did drills and strides before our coach told us the workout.

5 x 400 at 77-75 seconds, 4 x 800 at 2:38, 4-5 x 400 at 77-75 seconds

*Dies*

What actually happened: 5 x 400 at 76-75 seconds, 3 x 800 at 2:43, 2:47, 2:48, 1 x 600 at 2:04, 4 x 400 at 78, 77, 76, 76

By the time the first 5 x 400 was over, it felt like I’d already done an entire workout, and we were less than 1/3 done.  Our coach told us to hit 79 for each lap of the 800s (um, what), but I’m pretty sure the only time I ran 79 was the first lap of the first 800.  Each one after that got slower and slower.  And they were still fairly faster than I’m used to!  By the third 800, my legs were immovable logs and I was pretending the 800s were 600s because the last 200 doesn’t matter amirite 😉  So I’d get to 600m and then just death-march the last 200.  My coach modified my 4th 800 to a 600 (bless).

Am I being dramatic?

For the last set of 400s, she had us do the first two backwards on the track, which was pretty weird.  I led the last three 400s and at that point I was just riding the pain train home.  We hit 78, 77, 76, and 76.

After a 3 mile cool down in which we were so destroyed that we were babbling nonsensically, we completed a leg lift and then stretched, rolled, and ice bathed.

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Choosing my post-workout treat was hard (I chose a truffle)

The next morning, my roommate and I both woke up to cross train, fairly hobbled to the rec, and I sat at the edge of the pool for a little bit because I just could. not. get. in. Everything hurt.  I felt like a zombie.  But this is the work that will give us an edge in future races!

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In my meeting with my coach yesterday, she brought up a really good point (see above).  I’m at an entirely new fitness level for myself right now.  While the paces she gives me may sound scary, she gives them to me because she thinks/knows I can hit them.  Just because I’ve never run that fast before doesn’t mean I can’t do them now.  I need to work on believing in myself in races and in workouts when I get to the point where I can either make a move or stay where I am.  In this new fitness territory, it’s all about confidence!

Outdoor season opener: 3k PR (10:22.00)

Yesterday was my first collegiate outdoor meet!  It was a home invitational, which was super convenient because my dorm is a 5-minute walk from the track and our locker room was literally 20 seconds away.  Everything was right where we needed it to be!

The night before the race, I fueled up with grilled chicken, whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce, a giant salad, and pineapple-glazed carrots.

My race day breakfast of choice was oatmeal with almond butter/cinnamon/chia seeds/raspberries/bananas, plain Greek yogurt, Wawa coffee, and a multivitamin.

 

I ran the 3k along with like 15 other teammates.  The race was at 2:50, so I did my shakeout run at 7:30, ate breakfast (and drank too much Wawa coffee…) at 8:30, lunch at 11:30, watched my friends race the 1500 at 11:45, and headed over to the track for good around 1:15.

We warmed up for 20 minutes and did drills and strides on the infield.  A lot of people scratched, so they combined the 2 heats into one.  We lined up on the starting line, the gun went off, and we were off!

I didn’t feel great from the beginning, but I didn’t feel horrible either.  Honestly, I think it took me awhile to get mentally into the race because on lap 3 I could’ve sworn we were on lap 4, and I was not happy when I realized we still had over a mile to go.

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There wasn’t a clock so I have no idea what any of my splits were.  (Actually, I know my second lap was an 80.  That’s it.)  Oh, well.  Three of my teammates and I worked together for about a mile, and then with 600 to go we really started kicking it in.  I entered the last lap a little ahead of one of my teammates who has a great kick and we battled it out for 300 meters… she ended up outkicking me, but I was happy that I stayed with her and had a pretty strong kick!

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My finishing time was 10:22.00, which was a PR by over ten seconds!  I’m so excited.  That’s 25 seconds down since December and 10 seconds faster than last month.  It converts to roughly 11:04 for 3200, which is over 15 seconds faster than what I ran in high school!IMG_0827.PNG

After the race, we did a workout and a leg lift before stretching, rolling, and ice bathing.  Afterwards, I went out to dinner with my mom and grandma, who had come down to watch me race!

Amazing post-race dinner: steak with Merlot butter, sweet potato fries, and grilled zucchini.IMG_0829.JPG

Followed by the most decadent flourless chocolate cake I’ve ever had.  Paired with vanilla ice cream, strawberries, and cream, this cake was literally a truffle in cake form. IMG_0831.JPG

After not getting very much sleep last night, I woke up this morning, ate a bagel and a clementine, and ran 9 miles to shake out my legs from the race.

My mileage this week was about 49 miles, one mile short of 50 but still the highest mileage I’ve ever run in my life!  And I feel great!!

My mom brought down leftover corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes from their Saint Patrick’s Day dinner, so I devoured all of it after my MR+ today.

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Not the prettiest but SO GOOD (I had two plates…)

The past day after the race has been filled with extremely good food and a distinct lack of sleep, but it’s completely fine to indulge for a day after a race.  Once this weekend ends, it’s back to the grind of healthy food, sleep, midterms, etc. #balance

I’m so excited for the rest of the outdoor season.  I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, and all the hard work we’ve been doing day in and day out is paying off.  Hopefully, injury and illness don’t butt in.  While bad races await me just as good races do, I’ll take it all as long as it pays off in the long run.  All I want to do is contribute to my team.

The Mile

I raced my very first full mile on Saturday!  Because of my lower leg issues, my coaches and I didn’t decide if I was racing until a couple days before the meet.  I knew I was in decent shape, but I’ve been training more for the 3k and have only been doing one workout per week as a precautionary measure, so I wasn’t really sure what I could do in the mile.

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The meet was 2.5 hours away and the bus was leaving at 8 am, so after a low-key night of cooked cinnamon apples and Interstellar…

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I got up at 6:30 to do my shakeout, shower, and eat breakfast.  I ate oatmeal and blueberry acai yogurt for an early breakfast and packed a PB&J, banana, chocolate chip Clif bar, orange, Sabra hummus and pretzels, and another blueberry acai yogurt to bring to the meet.  I ate the banana and half the sandwich about 3 hours before the race.

Two and a half hours later, we rolled up to the meet.  Two of my teammates and I warmed up for about 20 minutes and did dynamic stretches, skips, and strides.  We lined up, the gun went off, and we were off.

I had never raced a full mile before, so it was weird lining up nine meters before the “normal” starting line.  The first lap was a bit of a madhouse, with twelve pairs of elbows flying and legs tripping each other up.  I found myself out in the third lane on the back stretch.  The clock said 40 or 41 as I passed it the first time, and I freaked out that we were going too slow for a second before realizing that-duh- that was for 209 meters.

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I have no idea what my splits were, but I think I passed halfway in 2:38, maybe?  I know my splits dropped off a little in the second half since I stuck behind two girls that were slowing down, but I eventually passed them.

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I waited until 200 meters out to kick even though my coach had wanted me to kick from much farther out, but I passed two more people and crossed the finish line in 5:17.07.

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I was hoping I’d crossed the line at 5:16.xx, but according to online conversions, a 5:17.07 full mile on a flat track converts to 5:15.23 for 1600 meters and 5:13.9 full mile on a banked track!  I’ll take it.  I haven’t even really been doing speedwork or many workouts at all.  It’s a solid point for the first race after break.

Afterwards, we jogged for a few minutes, did 8 minutes at an up-tempo pace (a little slower than pace run pace), and cooled down for about 12 minutes.  Total mileage for the day was about 8.5.

Last week’s training:

Monday: 6 miles, drills, strides, strength circuit
Tuesday: AM: hip stability, strength, ice cup at the trainer.  PM: 20 min w-u, 10 min tempo, 5 x [:60h, :30e], 5 min tempo, 5 x [:60h, :30e] w/ a couple min rest between each thing.  10ish min c-d.  Total: 9 miles
Wednesday: 60 minutes aqua jog, mini run (8 min) at the trainer
Thursday: 6 miles, drills, strides, strength circuit/abs, yoga
Friday: 4 miles pre-meet, strides
Saturday: 2 mile shakeout, 20 min w-u, mile (5:17.07), 22 min workout/c-d. Total: 8.5 miles
Sunday: 9 miles MR+

Total: 42.5 miles, 60 min XT, extra strength

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Post- 9 mile MR+ treats (the Wawa cup is half coffee, half hot chocolate)

I’ve been absolutely ravenous for the past few days and shoveling in all the fruits and vegetables and yogurt and potatoes and bagels and nut butter and chicken and ice cream I can possibly get my hands on.  I guess we’re hitting that point in training/racing!  The next couple weeks are probably going to hit me pretty hard what with travel, more intense schoolwork, increases in mileage and intensity, and more racing.  I’ll just try to take it as it comes, listen to my body, fuel properly, try to get in a solid sleep routine, and focus on my goals.  We had a team goal session today, and I shared one of my time goals; I’d really like to run 10:15 or faster in the 3k this year.  I shared it.  It’s real.  It’s on the table.  I might race a 3k on Saturday.  I’m feeling good about my fitness right now, so I’d just like to keep taking things as they come and see where that leads me.