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Marathon Mode

I’ve been keeping a secret and I can finally let it out.

For the past month, I have begun training for my first marathon (The Phoenix Rock n’ Roll Marathon in January). I’ve been training for this instead of track. That’s right. I am no longer an NCAA Division 1 athlete. (Not gonna lie, that was hard to type.) The decision to leave the team was all mine, and I waited until the end of cross country season to talk with my coach about my decision to leave the team. (I’m trying to avoid the word “quit” though I am fully aware that is technically what I have done.)

Quit: a word that doesn’t often come up in my vocabulary when I’m talking about myself. I haaaaate that word (more than the word “moist”…bleh).

7 years ago I was a high school freshman, dead last on the JV cross country team, and not the least interested in a future of running.

3 years ago, a senior in high school, I was being recruited by a couple dozen universities across the country and I started to like the idea of being a collegiate athlete.

Yesterday I ended that career, and today I started training for my first marathon.

When I was 17, I signed my Letter of Intent on National Signing Day in front of my team, coach and family at a little ceremony at my high school. One of my proudest moments ever!

National Signing Day 2011

Over the past three years at NAU, things just didn’t turn out how I expected. Overuse injuries plagued not just me but our entire girl’s team. In three years I was hit with three major setbacks and it feels like I spent more time injured and recovering than healthy and competing. Instead of training with a team and coach, I spent weeks at a time in physical therapy rehab sessions and substituted running with the bike and elliptical.

Conference 10k 2013 (stronglikemycoffee.com)

So now that my body is back to pre-injury shape, I’m not going to risk another “overuse” issue. I’m taking my training into my own hands and looking forward to my first ever 26.2 mile race in just 60 short days.

goofy team picturesObviously I’m going to miss having a team to train with! Since I was 14, I have had designated “practice” schedules, workouts dictated by a coach and a handful of teammates to run next to. Yesterday had a bittersweet moment emptying out my locker and realizing I’m no longer a collegiate athlete. Sigh, weird, ugh, ahhhh, what, okay getting over it.

team cheerSo here come the weekly marathon training updates, protein smoothie recipes, core and strength training sessions.

P.S. I hope this post doesn’t come across as regretting my decision to join the team/quit the team. I’m so appreciative of the opportunity to come to NAU as a student-athlete, work with the amazing athletic trainers and meet some incredible athletes. I only wish things had worked out differently, I’d been able to actually compete to my full potential and take advantage of my hard work and summer training. That being said, Long-distance Training > Track Workouts. No more spikes! :D

The 4-Part Birthday Workout!

As if he knew it was my birthday, my coach made Tuesday’s practice “on-your-own.” That translates to: SLEEP IN PAST 7am! The trails and roads are covered with a layer of ice and snow from the weekend’s storms, so my workout would be taking place in the comfort of the dry and heated gym. Because of said storm, I had already run for 60 minutes on the treadmill Saturday, and 85 minutes Sunday. So another long treadmill run didn’t interest me in the least bit.

I may have deviated from my training program for a day to mix things up a little bit and keep it interesting – girls just wanna have fun!

Birthday Work Out (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Our track team’s strength program has really been focusing on lower body lately, lots of overhead-weighted squats, hamstring curls and RDL’s, and hip mobility. Not to leave the upper body neglected, I decided to start out with upper body weights. I made up my workout as I went along, but it came out looking like this:

P.S. Don’t let the pink backgrounds fool you; this workout will leave you sweating and in need of some protein replenishment!

Birthday Workout Part One (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Note on the modified pull-ups: I used the machine that takes off some of your body weight so I was really lifting about 65% of my body weight. Since there are 3 sets, I did one set with parallel grip, one with chin-up grip, and one with pull-up grip.

Birthday Workout Part 2 (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Bursts of cardio to break a sweat! Followed by actual cardio machines, without the monotony of another treadmill day:

Birthday Workout Part 3 (stronglikemycoffee.com)

A workout is not complete without some CORE! These are pretty much my favorite core exercises, minus a couple. Like I said, I made it up as I went along but it looked something like:

Birthday Workout Part 4 (stronglikemycoffee.com)

This workout turned out WAY longer than I anticipated and I was at the gym for about 2 hours but I didn’t mind! It made a (little) dent in my birthday calories :) I definitely didn’t count calories this weekend with my parents, or on my actual birthday with some extra treats. Today it’s back on track with balanced meals and minimal desserts but it was nice to enjoy some “extras” off campus for a few days.

Apart from the exercise… I really enjoyed my birthday. I’m happy to have so many great people in my life and we had so much fun ending the birthday night getting frozen yogurt in 20 degrees. Die hard ice cream fan!

Birthday YogurtMy birthday was conveniently on “Fat Tuesday.” Which epitomized my diet for the day. Red Velvet yogurt with strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, all of which are invisible under this mound of granola & hot fudge. Going out with a bang!

Birthday Night collage (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Birthday Night (stronglikemycoffee.com)Birthday dessert (stronglikemycoffee.com)I added the tiaraBirthday in chalkBirthday and group

Starting the day in the gym and ending it with the best group of teammates and friends. Can’t ask for much more than that!

Cardio Carnival

Sometimes cardio can get boring, especially on a stationary machine for 60+ minutes. I love the gym and its convenience, however it seems the minutes tick by slower and slower each time I look up at the clock.

Doing Cardio at the Gym:

Pro: getting a high calorie-burning workout in an air-conditioned and safe facility, no weather or crazy drivers to deal with.

Con: Boredom.

One boredom buster I enjoy is people watching, through which I have noticed the 3 silliest gym trends:

  1. Guys who spend more time staring at themselves in the mirror than lifting anything.
  2. Girls who work out with their hair down, fixing and primping in between sets (heaven forbid they break a sweat!)
  3. Stationary Bikers on Level 1 pedalling about 10 rpms. (you could burn more calories chewing gum)

Solution: Mix It UP! My parents and I like to do a “Cardio Carnival” where we pick 3 different cardio machines for 20 minutes each. It’s a great way to keep the heart rate up for an hour without getting bored. Knowing that you are spending a smaller amount of time at each “station” allows you to push a little harder, and take a “rest” while moving from one cardio machine to another.

As you can tell, not a big gym crowd at 5am…

Cardio Menu:

Row Machine ~ Elliptical (forward and backward) ~ Sit-down Bike ~ Treadmill (walk with high incline OR jog/run) ~ Stairmaster

My Rotation of Choice:

Elliptical, Run (treadmill), Bike.

I put my least favorite at the end because I know when I finish that 20 minute set I am DONE. However incorporating Row, Stairmaster and Treadmill would be the best whole-body blast because it targets upper body, butt, and legs.

It’s like a personal triathlon to keep things fresh. Not to mention, calling it a “Carnival” instantly means it’s gotta be fun, right?!

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