Weeks In Review 10.3.16 to 10.16.16

October 3rd to October 9th

Monday: First Day of TAing, so off day by the time we left.

Tuesday: 8 miles early with Carl.

Wednesday: 7.5 miles with Will plus core.

Thursday: 8 mile fartlek workout. 5 by minute hard, minute easy. 5 by 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy. Great early workout minus the person who stole my headlamp!!

Friday: 5 mile run at Mills plus a 3 mile course walk.

Saturday: 4 mile run around Franklin Park.

Sunday: 3 mile course walk while volunteering then 4.5 mile run and Body Pump in the evening.

Total Miles: 37

October 10th to October 16th

Monday: 6 mile run with 2 by 1.5 miles at tempo pace. Almost embarrassingly sore from changing my squat and lunge weight on Sunday.

Tuesday: 4 mile recovery run.

Wednesday: 4.5 mile run.

Thursday: 7.65 mile run after a long day.

Friday: Big zero. Too much going on between TAing and Homecoming. We won Best Homecoming Float, though!

Saturday: 8.5 mile workout on the Hardack Course. Progressive warmup then 8 by minute hard, minute easy. Coaching sprints after the workout felt harder than usual…

Sunday: 7.5 miles easy through Intervale with Carl.

Total Miles 38.2

Feeling a little bit like my life is currently held together by duct tape and post-it notes. I’m TAing Anatomy this month which is a huge amount of fun but also takes a ton of time between dissections, teaching and studying for the next day not to mention holding office hours. Almost as soon as it started last Monday (the 3rd), I realized any hopes of big mileage this month are just shot. Between TAing and coaching, there isn’t enough time for my own training and that’s something I’m working on being okay with. After all, next year is likely to be similar (if not worse). I’m working on being grateful for the runs I do get in and trying to let go of days when my runs are short or non-existent. I also need to work on accepting that my house is going to be dirty and my to-do list a little longer than normal. Maybe next week…

First years have an exam tomorrow which makes tomorrow a marathon day. Hoping to get up early and get at least 30 minutes in on the treadmill before heading in for the whole day. On Tuesday, I’m off so will do the workout with the team and hopefully set myself up for a reasonable remainder of the week.

Week in Review 9.26.16 to 10.2.16

How is it already October?!

Monday: Woke up almost embarrassingly sore from hiking. Bit of a combo run, with a before practice then a few 1200s at 7:00 pace with some of the team. 8.5 miles.

Tuesday: Also known as, World’s Most Athletic Day. Hiked Eagle Mountain with Will and the dogs in the morning then did an hour run then went to CRWrx class (30 minutes of core). 4 miles with the team in the afternoon.

Wednesday: Sore, explanation above. My legs were fine but all the tiny stabilizer muscles in my core were on fire! 3.5 mile recovery run.

Thursday: 10.5 mile run at a very good clip in perfect fall weather.

Friday: 5.5 mile run in the morning then Body Pump.

Saturday: 7 mile run at Thetford plus coaching sprints.

Sunday: Felt awful all day but Will convinced me to get out for 5.

Total Miles: 51

Total September Miles: 225

Found a much better balance this week of getting out and enjoying the outdoors, being present to coach and training myself. My training isn’t particularly focused right now but I’m working on building general fitness and more importantly, actual strength through Body Pump and core class.

Had a great meeting with Dave from Skechers on Wednesday where we got to talk goals for 2017 and I got to see the new lineup! I have a bazillion pictures of all the snazzy new gear (can’t share them yet) but I was really impressed to see the following improvements:

  1. Refinement of the soles to make them more streamlined and lighter. Bonus for being more durable (~500 miles of durability in wear testing)
  2. Uppers are now all FlyKnit for a better fit and more comfortable ride
  3. The Meb Razor. This shoe is going to be an instant hit and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Week in Review 9.19.16 to 9.25.16

Monday: 7 mile recovery run.

Tuesday am: Body Pump then 7 miles easy.

Tuesday pm: 4 miles with the team, some moderately fast in their workout.

Wednesday: Interval workout. 10 by 400 on the track (87 to 89 for all). 10.5 miles total.

Thursday: 4 miles easy plus Body Pump.

Friday: 8 mile run in the rain and cold.

Saturday: 6 miles at Manchester.

Sunday: Power hiked Camel’s Hump with Will. 45 minutes up, 30 minutes down. Both of us are sore today!

Total Miles: 46.5

I’m starting to embrace whatever the day offers me for fitness. Part of me wants to be back on a strict training plan, with big race goals and high mileage, and part of me is loving the fact that when I woke up yesterday and it was 40 and sunny and crisp, I decided I wanted to go for a hike and did that instead. As I wrote last week, I’m struggling with a comparison trap and trying hard to get myself out of that rut. I did get a super successful workout in on the track last week and am happy with my effort in that. I’m also really loving getting to Body Pump a couple of times a week. I’m sore but definitely getting stronger again.

For this week, I have a marathon pace workout today (fits with the team workout…) and a long run Thursday plus Body Pump, some doubles and a hike up Mount Mansfield on Sunday.

The Comparison Trap

The other day, one of my girls said, “I’m in a pain hole and I can’t get out!” We spend a lot of time on our team working to push ourselves when you reach that fork in a race where you can either choose to blast through the pain tunnel or stay where it’s safe and (more) comfortable. She excels at getting into the pain tunnel but post-race can be just plain miserable for her; when she crosses the line, that’s all she has and we end up carrying her back to the tent. As much as we giggled about her pain hole comment (and her question about whether she still had arms), I found myself thinking about it this week as I checked my email for the fifteenth time looking for interview invites (for residency), checked an online message board for the interviews others were getting and scrolled through Instagram looking at everyone’s seemingly amazing training and racing posts. I realized that I’m caught in a comparison trap and I can’t get out. 

There’s a saying about never knowing about the rocks that other people carry and I think social media exacerbates this in a way. Despite knowing that social media is highly curated, it’s hard to avoid the creeping sensation that everyone else is running faster, doing more and generally better than you. For me, daily posts by other runners that include phrases like #neverstop #workharder #rundaily don’t inspire me, they discourage me. I’m nowhere near lazy; I’m busy coaching a team, applying to residency, and keeping life going but if I’m not killing my workouts (or even really interested in doing them), I feel like a failure by the time I’ve done my first internet scroll in the morning. I’m not sure what the solution is but I definitely need to start the process of building a ladder or find some teammates to carry me back to the tent to regroup.

How do you react to the comparison trap? Have you tried a social media hiatus? What is it about social media that makes us automatically filter our lives?

Week in Review: 9.12.16 to 9.18.16

Monday: Workout on the Eastern Trail. 10 by 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy in an 8 mile run. Actually felt pretty strong; relatively cool day, so I think that helped a lot.

Tuesday: Off day, prorated at 7 miles.

Wednesday: 5 mile easy run plus core.

Thursday: 8 mile tempo run with 4 by mile at tempo pace (6:24, 6:20, 6:20, 6:16). Body Pump at noon, easy run with the team in the afternoon.

Friday: 6 mile recovery run that was much needed.

Saturday: 7 miles around the U-32 Invitational. Double wins for the JV and Varsity girls! Such a proud day as a coach; they executed the race plan perfectly and didn’t get pulled out in fast starts.

Sunday: 12.5 mile long run. Thought dew points of 65 were gone but I was wrong. Total grind in the sun and humidity for this one.

Total Miles: 53.5

A bit of a weird week of running. I had two good workouts on Monday and Thursday but spent the rest of the week a little stressed out about trying to continue to train well with my other commitments. Although my schedule is relatively flexible right now, I sometimes struggle to fit in quality mileage for myself around the team schedule. I know the best thing is to get up and do my own run in the morning but then I end up doubling and that seems to grind me down as well. Hoping to firm up my racing schedule in the next week which should help me be more grounded in terms of workouts and motivation.

I’m happy that I went back to Body Pump and am looking forward to getting a couple more classes in this week. It’s so fun to do something a little different than running and challenge muscles that I used to have! My biceps, however, seem less excited about this particular plan.

Good Eats: The Garden Overrunneth

I’ve traveled a lot over the past few months and although I love adventures in new places, I missed my kitchen terribly. Apparently my garden missed me too because I am overrun with produce, especially of the zucchini variety. I also have a metric ton of ridiculously hot jalapenos that I’ve yet to come up with a good use for. Anyway, since getting home from North Carolina, I’ve made a few great dishes to celebrate being back in my beautiful kitchen. The joke in our house has now become, did Sarah hide zucchini in this? And the answer is yes, I probably did. 

Zucchini Rice: This first dish is a DELICIOUS side dish or perfect vegan/gluten free filling for burritos. I did coconut oil instead of butter (to keep it vegan**) and otherwise made it as listed on Damn Delicious. Like other dishes of its sort, you could swap out the kind of bean and corn to change the flavors. For example, kidney beans or navy beans plus italian dressing could make a delicious Mediterranean style dish while garbanzo beans plus curry powder and coriander could take it in a Middle Eastern direction.

Zucchini Chickpea Quinoa Salad: Another vegan, gluten free option that uses up zucchini and is delicious. I made this for a team dinner and quadrupled the recipe which made mixing the ingredients a bit difficult. If I were to do it again, I would do it in two bowls and then combine so that it was easier to stir. The other thing I did was cook the zucchini; I’m not sure why, but raw zucchini doesn’t appeal to me at all. It probably added a little liquid to the salad but it was delicious.

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken: Perfect for serving with the zucchini rice as above! I changed this recipe quite a bit because I didn’t have all of the ingredients and am trying to work through some stockpiled supplies but I’m sure her version is totally delicious too. I did fresh jalepenos from my garden (2, cut with gloves on…) instead of the green chiles and left out the liquid smoke. I also used chicken thighs; they have a higher fat content and I think they make a better shredded meat than chicken breast. They are also significantly cheaper, a must for me with crockpot cooking.

Caprese Calzones: I love homemade pizza and any combination of cheese and basil rocks my world, but what I liked most about these was that I could make them before practice and then just throw them in the oven when I got home. I used tomatoes and basil from my garden and they were delicious! I highly recommend splitting a portion of pizza dough into 4 so you can make roll size calzones. It created a much better stuffing to crust ratio!

Finally, the best for last: Homemade Falafel. Holy s&*$. I love falafel but it’s hard to find good falafel around these parts so I often just wait until I’m in a city to have some. I’ve made falafel at home once before and it was a bit of a disaster, so I was anxious about how this would turn out. However, this recipe is AMAZING and I can’t wait to make it again. I did add more flour than she called for which paid off when I started to fry them because they stayed together beautifully. For the frying, I put 4 tablespoons of oil in a skillet on 6/10 heat until it was warm and then started frying. I found that about 2 minutes per side was just perfect. I didn’t make the tahini sauce and instead served them with just fresh tomatoes and lettuce and they were perfection.

** I have a number of athletes who are vegan (much to my chagrin but I pick my battles) and friends who have Celiac, so I’m always on the hunt for recipes that they can enjoy that are healthy and hearty.

I do lots of recipe discovery on Pinterest; want to see what I’m planning next? Follow me here.

Week in Review 9.5.16 to 9.11.16

Monday: 7 mile run with 3.5 at tempo-ish with the team then mini-legs.

Tuesday: 6 mile recovery run around the home course. The heat is really hanging around!

Wednesday am: 8.2 mile run on the Causeway.

Wednesday pm: 5 mile run with the team. Both runs SO hot and humid.

Thursday: 4.5 mile normal run and Body Pump!!

Friday: 13 mile long run with Erin.

Saturday: 5 mile easy run with Will in Maine on the Eastern Trail

Sunday: 8 mile regular run around Old Orchard Beach with striders at the end.

Total Miles: 56.7

Another decent week of training. One would think that after 6 years of coaching, I would know the best way to get my own workout or run in around the team, but it’s still a struggle. I occasionally trip myself up because I think “well if the team is running 7 and I only need 8, I can just add on.” If I’m organized and no one needs anything, it works well. If I’m less organized or an athlete needs something, I wind up short on miles.

I am SO excited that I got to Body Pump this week. I forgot how much I love that class and am going to keep working on going to as many as I can fit in a week. My next hurdle is convincing myself to 1) try a yoga class at Campus Rec and 2) try a totally out of my comfort zone class to mix things up.

It’s still incredibly hot for September in Vermont up here; our home race last Friday was 86 degrees and humid. It’s finally starting to cool off in the forecast so I’m looking forward to feeling better as that happens. Still looking for some fall races to test fitness and have some experiences but it seems like most races are falling on Saturdays which makes it hard with Invitationals.

Week in Review 8.29.16 to 9.4.16

Monday: 7 miles while running around after the girls doing their tempo run.

Tuesday: 11.3 mile long run. First long run in a while, felt good to be out there!

Wednesday: 4.5 mile recovery run.

Thursday: Interval workout on the treadmill in Chicago. 2 mile warmup then 5 by (.25 at regular pace, .25 at tempo pace, .25 at interval pace, .25 at recovery pace) and 2 mile cooldown for 8 miles. Legs after.

Friday: Step 2 Clinical Skills Board, so I took this as a scheduled off day. 7 miles prorated.

Saturday: 7 miles easy on the Essex Invitational Course. A few sprints across the course to cheer.

Sunday: 8 miles on the rail trail in Cambridge.

Total Miles: 52.8

Total August Miles: 176

Happy with the way this week went and enjoying the slight increase in flexibility offered by the 9 day schedule. I knew I had to travel (back) to Chicago to take my last set of Boards on Friday (yay!!!!) and had the option of doing my interval workout on Thursday or Saturday. Since Race Days are always crazy and I feel strongly that the team should get 100% of me, I opted to do it on Thursday on slightly less recovered legs. Totally the right choice!

One of the things I’m currently working through is what shape I want my running to take this fall. I had initially had a thought that I’d start working towards a winter marathon but I’m starting to back track on that. Residency applications are due this week and this fall will be full of travel for interviews. Although I am happy to run in lots of places, it might not be the best set up for a good performance when I’m trying to balance all of that. On top of that, this will (sob) be my last year coaching and honestly, I’m happiest when I can give all my attention to coaching and not be distracted by my own running. I’ll keep chewing on this over the next few weeks but stay tuned!

Recently Read: On Running as a Woman and Olympic Rundown

The good: Jenny Simpson brought home the bronze in the 1500, the first American woman to do so. I don’t know Jenny but really admire her work ethic and her sportsmanship year after year.

The hard but good: A really important piece by Allison Schmitt on depression and the athlete. Although I’m sure the Olympic arena is an even more potent setup for depression and anxiety, it’s an ever-present issue at all levels of competition. Even at our own training camp last week, athletes offered stories about the depression, anxiety and stress that they had either experienced in the past or were currently experiencing. I spend a lot of time talking to people while coaching or doctoring and am acutely aware of how prevalent these issues are but it’s always amazing to hear my girls say things like “I didn’t know anyone else felt this way!”

Not sure I’m crazy about this: There seems to be a current obsession with eating clean, which in my not so humble opinion is just a synonym for disordered eating. One of my favorite blogging runners who I always admired for eating real food and having a normal body while running fast has recently fallen into this trap, shilling her “new style of clean eating” while posting pictures of her shrinking frame and lamenting her recent poor performances. This article seems to perpetuate a similar theme.  I think it makes total sense to make the bulk of your diet based on real foods (grains, fruits, veggies, proteins) but to do a juice fast or “meticulously” plan food just heads down a rabbit hole.

Finally, another important piece that I’ve thought about and talked about with female running friends recently in the light of another set of attacks that have left many of us (or at least, our mothers) on edge. I run alone almost all the time and often very early in the morning. When the attack in Massachusetts occurred, my sister sent me a text imploring me to be careful and I’ll admit, I pushed my morning run to the afternoon the next day because I was a little spooked by the whole scenario. The following morning, however, my alarm went off at 4:30 and off into the darkness I went, a move that was in some part a protest against the idea that I am inherently vulnerable by virtue of being female and a runner.

Week in Review 8.22.16 to 8.28.16

Monday: Minimal running around while the team ran their relay at Windridge.

Tuesday: 6.75 miles with striders on the track.

Wednesday: 7 miles with 4 by half mile hill at interval pace. Legs after.

Thursday am: 6.65 miles recovery plus arms after.

Thursday pm: 3 miles super easy with the team.

Friday: 6.8 mile regular run plus striders on the track.

Saturday: 8 miles with 3 by mile at tempo pace (6:28, 6:30, 6:23).

Sunday: 6 mile recovery run with Will.

Total Miles: 47.2 miles

Not a bad training week. Getting back into a routine at home and definitely didn’t do as much strength work as I wanted but did get in a reasonable number of miles. I’d been thinking of running the Downtown 10K as my first fall race but sadly, they canceled it this week. Downtown 10K is one of my favorite races of all time and is on an AWESOME course, but apparently interest was too low to keep it going.

Also so excited that cross country is back in full swing. As always, it’s a fantastic group of girls and I’m so excited for them to show off all their hard work from the summer. This was my first summer away from the team but they all motivated each other and are just in awesome shape going into the fall.

For the coming week, my two areas of focus are going to be getting in more strength (UVM has Body Pump now, so I’m really excited to get to a couple of classes) and finding a routine again with nutrition. We didn’t have much food in our house (Will lives on junk when I’m gone…) so I had a very random assortment of food over the last week. Unfortunately, I also have to travel back to Chicago for 24 hours at the end of the week for another set of boards (Step 2 Clinical Skills, which is under protest for a really skewed cost (~2000 if you’re lucky) to benefit (virtually none) ratio). The 9 day schedule let me put a rest day on Friday when I’m actually testing but I’ll definitely have to run on the treadmill in Chicago on Thursday.