Speeding

The past couple days I’ve been speeding. Not the driving in the car kind of speeding, but the running faster than I normally do kind of speeding on my easy runs.

yep, I'm fast as DUCK

yep, I’m fast as DUCK

I’m uncertain of the exact reason behind my speedy running, but I have a couple speculations…

  1. I’ve been increasing my weekly mileage, so my body is getting used to higher intensity running.
  2. My legs are getting stronger from lifting, squatting, lunging and all that other good stuff that I usually ignore.
  3. I’m getting bored running at a super easy pace for an extended period of time.
  4. I’m trying to become a Team New Balance runner (that’s not going to happen, but I can pretend, right?)
  5. I imagine that Emma Coburn and Cory McGee (current female running obsessions) are running next to me and I have to keep up with them or I’ll look silly.
  6. I’m fueling my body better by eating a meal with a good amount of carbs about 2-3 hours before I head out.
  7. I’m refilling my water bottle all day long to stay hydrated and drinking a Gatorade to refuel after every run.

    Round 700 of hydration!

    Round 700 of hydration!

  8. I feel accomplished when I log faster mile splits.
  9. A COMBINATION OF 1-8

I’m typically not a speedster, so seeing some faster splits my Garmin is pretty exciting. I’m also super excited about my increase in speed because that means my training has been effective. It feels so good to see some results of my hard, sweaty work. I’ve been so proud of myself that I text Tom my splits before I even get in the door. I try to impress him and prove that I can keep up with him when we run together, which never happens…

Last speedy mile!

Last speedy mile!

While I am so thrilled to be running faster, I know I can’t get too overzealous. Whenever I’m feeling this good, I tend to push myself a little too hard. Of course, that leads to injuries, which leads to time off running. I definitely don’t want that to happen!! I might lose my tiny bit of sanity if I have to stop running for a while.

Therefore, I am TRYING MY BEST to be smart. XT and rest days aren’t always my favorite, especially if I don’t feel like I need one, but I know they are essential to staying healthy. My body can usually handle 3-4 consecutive days of running before an XT/rest day. Yesterday was my 4th day in a row running, so today will be an XT day. Instead of dreading my indoor bike workout (I haven’t got my new bike yet!), I’ve been constantly reminding myself that biking for 1 day is going to feel WAY better than struggling through a run. I’ve also been getting sore and having to stop mid-run to stretch, so that’s just another sign that I need to recover. BONUS: I will get to spend some quality time with Isabella and Gabe, my rolling stick.

Tree hugging calf stretch.. my favorite

Tree hugging calf stretch.. my favorite

You better believe I brought Gabe to work.

Hi Gabey!

Hi Gabey!

I’m starting the “getting pumped for my XT day” ritual by eating some juicy fruit, stuffing my face with peanut butter toast and telling myself that today is going to be a good day!!!

Those will be gone by the end of the day :)

Those will be gone by the end of the day :)

How do you feel about XT-ing/taking rest days???

Why does it take me 3 miles to warm-up?

Something that’s always bothered me about my running is that it takes me at least 2.5-3 miles to start feeling good. On one hand, I don’t get fatigued early on in a long/mid-distance so I can keep endurance for a while. On the other hand, if I’m only running a short 3-4 miles, I feel pretty tight the entire time. Unfortunately, these 3-4 milers must happen at least twice a week because I don’t have time to get in a ton of miles everyday.

I’ve always wondered why it takes my body/legs so long to adjust. Do other people feel like it takes them a while to feel warmed-up? It took me 5 miles to start feeling good on my run yesterday…grrrr.

Last summer I was so confused about this that I went to a sports medicine doctor to check out what was going on. He said I have exertional compartment syndrome (more details about it here!), and that I should be careful and listen to my body. For a while I was really anxious to run in fear that my legs would go numb or that I would rupture some fascia. Once I got back to school and started running with my team, I felt safer because I was always with a group. However, my fatigued leg problem never went away.

Regionals with my favorite running buddies

Regionals with my favorite running buddies

Interestingly enough, I was reading an exercise science book today that gave a brief explanation as to why it takes endurance athletes a little bit to warm-up.

Basically, there are 3 ways our bodies release energy: the ATP-PC System, Glycolysis and the Oxidative System. The ATP-PC System is the simplest and fastest way for our bodies to rebuild and release energy. This process is anaerobic and doesn’t require the use of oxygen. Therefore, this form of energy is useful for intense but short activities such as a 1 max lift or a max effort sprint. Because it is the simplest and fastest, our bodies resort to this first.

The second form of energy production is also anaerobic and is called Glycolysis. Glycolysis produces more energy than ATP-PC and can sustain energy for a longer period of time (about 30 seconds- 1 minute).

The third form of energy production is the Oxidative System. All of the oxidative processes (aerobic glycolysis, the Krebs cycle and the electron transport chain) require oxygen and are therefore aerobic.

When we begin endurance exercise, our bodies use the easiest and most readily available sources of energy: ATP-PC and Glycolysis. However, once the body’s demand for energy exceeds the energy available from these systems our bodies hit a plateau. At this plateau, the body must adjust to rely on aerobic energy production from the oxidative system. In other words, our bodies go through the first 2 systems before oxidation.

This all happens so quickly; but it does explain why at the beginning of a run we feel out of breath for a couple minutes even if we aren’t running at max effort. It doesn’t explain why it takes my legs 3 miles to feel efficient, but it does give me the idea that it takes me that much longer to warm-up because my body is not only adjusting to exertion on my legs, but also adjusting to the switch between anaerobic and aerobic energy production. Millions of micro-processes go on to get our bodies running, but all we see is the end result as we actually run.

stretching break at the park

stretching break at the park

I say this all the time, but I really think our bodies are amazing in what they do for us. Being a runner is possibly (probably) the coolest thing ever.

Ironically, I did a 4 mile run this afternoon. I anticipated feeling tired and sore from my long-ish run yesterday, but I was actually feeling super speedy. 1 warm-up mile + 3 sub 8 miles. I was pleasantly surprised. It must have been the braids I spent 20 minutes putting in my hair beforehand. Just saying, Jordan Hasay wears her hair the same way…

I know you wanted to see my scalp

It was worth it

I think the USATF Outdoor Championships have inspired me to work on speed, so I can be on team New Balance with my idols someday… If you didn’t catch the meet, please go and watch some races on the USATF website. You won’t regret it.

I hope you all got in a run/lift/workout of any sort today!

P.S. I’m so so so so so excited to meet up with this guy tomorrow

Let's go back to SF

Let’s go back to SF

It’s been too long. SEE YA SOON <3

Long runs and other fun

I’ve gotten into a bad habit of leaving my computer at home for the day and then running out of time to write about my thoughts when I finally get home. Therefore, this post is essentially my thoughts (the ones I can remember) from the past 3ish days. Good thing I take tons of silly pictures to help trigger my memory.

post-run stretching session

post-run stretching session

All you tracksters out there probably know that the USATF Outdoor Championship has been going on these past couple days in Eugene, Oregon. Tom got the awesome opportunity to see the action firsthand because he was out there working the event. All the pictures and videos he sent me made me extremely jealous. I actually considered jumping on a plane and meeting him out there. However lucky for me, I got to hear and see some behind the scenes stuff.

Watching the athletes race made me miss running track a ton. I ran track for one season in college and hated it, but kind of loved it at the same time. Getting ready for an event gave me SO much anxiety, but once I finished I realized how great it felt. I got a rush of these emotions as I was watching my running idols (a.k.a Jenny Simpson, Cory McGee, Emma Coburn… any female runner on team New Balance) run on the track. I also got the urge to get up and run super fast after every race I watched. They make it look so effortless; so I decided that there’s no reason I can’t run fast (except the fact that I’m not a professional athlete). Therefore, I’ve been extra motivated to get in quality miles and workouts these last couple days.

I'm the one in front :)

I’m the one in front :)

As mentioned in the previous post, Friday was a lifting day. I was sore in my biceps and lats all day Saturday. My legs weren’t as tired as I thought they were going to be, so I felt good to go for a run. I believe Saturday’s run was a little over 5 miles; I can’t say the exact distance because my Garmin is dead right now. If I remember correctly, I picked up my speed every mile. My last mile felt the best. I remember because I was really excited and texted Tom about it before I even walked in the door.

I also spent about an hour chasing my dog around the park. I wouldn’t call that exercise, but it was definitely more active than the alternative: sitting on the couch and napping all day. It also made me smile and laugh, which is good for us too!

He wanted in on some kisses

He wanted in on some kisses

He's wiped out

He’s wiped out

Tough life for this little guy

Tough life for this little guy

Other fun Saturday news… I got a new bike!!!!!!! I am beyond excited to take her outside and show her the world. I don’t have her yet because she’s being shipped from the east coast and adjusted to fit me perfectly, but I will have her by the end of this week. Don’t worry, I have a name for her but I can’t share it out loud until she’s home in my arms!

In love

In love

On Sunday I decided I would try to bring back the weekly long run tradition. I was shooting for 8 miles, but ended up cutting it short to about 7.4 miles. I ran into 3 people I knew on the trail and I stopped for at least 10 minutes every time to talk (the second time I was talking for about 20 minutes!). Stopping for that long in the middle of a long run was not good for my body. Each time I stopped, it felt more difficult to get back into my cadence. My splits were all over the place and there was really no pattern to them. The only normal split was my last mile because it was my fastest as always. These longer breaks also gave my brain a chance to figure out that I was making by body do crazy things. Mistake for sure.

hello trees

hello trees

After the run, I quickly got showered and dressed for a concert with my mama and sisters. It’s always a good time with these chicas.

aris and I

Aris and I

family love

family love

I am officially exhausted. Time to start a new week!