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!
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.
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.
Obviously 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.
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
On Black Friday, many people braved the crowds in the wee hours of the morning, while my family drove to the San Gabriel River in the Angeles Forest for a beautiful 10 mile hike to “The Bridge to Nowhere.” It was an out-and-back trail, and we packed our lunch to enjoy at the midpoint – the bridge (which is frequently used for bungee jumping!)
Within the first mile, we had to cross the flowing river, as the trail weaved back and forth. We would cross the river a total of 8 times, sometimes over rocks and logs, other times walking straight through the water and cooling off our feet.
We made it to the bridge in just over 2 hours and 30 minutes. Perfect rest/lunch stop before heading back:
My mom and I have a history of clumsiness. We can’t seem to clear a table or counter top without bumping our hip, or walk near a coffee table without smacking our shin. So I would’ve expected one of us to take a tumble in the river, or at least trip over the rock.
But it wasn’t my mom or I who came home that night with a cast. It was the seasoned hiker – my dad. And I’m sure he would like to say that his fall was the result of a treacherous climb up a vertical rock structure, 30 feet off of the ground. But the truth is he stepped weird off of a rock not 8 inches from the ground. CRACK! We all heard the noise his ankle made; it immediately swelled up to his shin.
The problem was, we were still 2 miles from the car and not an easy 2 miles. We needed to climb up and down steep rocks and slopes, and cross the river a couple more times. There was NO cell service, and no way my mom and I could support him through parts of the single-file trail. No, dad had to walk on his broken and swollen ankle for over an hour as we hiked out. We found him a “walking stick” though I’m not sure what a help it was.
Aside from all the teasing and grief we gave him for his uncharacteristically clumsy move, I gotta give him credit for that painful hike. BEAST. Detour to Urgent Care on the way home for some X-rays (yep, it’s broken!) and a temporary splint until the swelling goes down. No hiking anytime soon for you!
So it turns out that the Bridge to Nowhere leads to Urgent Care for this family. Minus the whole broken ankle thing, it was an INCREDIBLE hike! We can’t wait to go again. Late November was the best time of the year to go too, because the weather wasn’t too hot and the trees were dark orange and yellow and made the trail beautifully colored. It was challenging and pretty and fun. We also made these delicious Pumpkin Butterscotch Granola Bars to take with us that I will share the recipe for tomorrow :)
Time to enjoy my last day home before heading back to school tomorrow.
On the 12th week of recovery from my facial surgery, I’ve been reunited with cardio workouts. Couldn’t be happier! Just last Monday I had my pity party, and it’s amazing what happens in just a week :D
Basically, after the extremely complicated surgery to remove the venous malformation in my cheek, I had a fat graft placed in the cheek to fill in the newly-empty gaps. The fat graft takes a while to be accepted by the body and soften. I’ve been waiting patiently (well…somewhat patiently) for 12 long weeks to get back to the workouts I love! Just last Friday, I received an email from my surgeon. It had one line: “It is okay for you to return to normal physical activities.”
You would have thought I won the lottery, those eleven words made me so happy. :) I grabbed my tennies and headed to the gym the first chance I got to hit the elliptical. I could finally get my heart rate above 100!
(It’s a temporary reunion, as my next surgery is in just 8 weeks. Still – I’ll take what I can get!)
For anyone coming back from an injury or exercise hiatus, the most important thing to remember is eeeease back into it. I’m SO guilty of breaking this rule – the excitement of being back to running makes it easy for me to do too much too soon. Gotta keep it light for the first week, at least!
Beginning Elliptical Workout:
5 min on Level 1 – keep rpm’s above 60
10 min on Level 4 – keep rpm’s above 60
10 min on Level 4 – keep rpm’s above 65
5 min on Level 2 – cool down
Enough to sweat and log a couple miles on the elliptical, and feel good about a REAL workout :)
Now that cardio is fair-game, I’m excited to share more elliptical, stair master, bike and rowing workouts.