School is officially back in session, and boy has it been hectic! Last week was our first full week back from Mammoth, and the week was jam packed with meetings and training. Needless to say, I will not be able to post as frequently, but will do my best to update my blog as often as possible. The last two weeks of training has been quite interesting; I started off two weeks ago feeling fatigued and in pain, and this week being fresh and ready to compete.
As mentioned in my last post, the Mustang Challenge didn’t nearly go as planned, and I came into the next week feeling like crud. I should have noticed during my long run on/Sunday and cut back, but I got too caught up in my mileage that I made sure I hit the 12 mile maximum. Right before we warmed up for the workout on Tuesday, I got this queasy feeling in my stomach; it didn’t seem to be right to do the workout, but I also feared telling my coach. After warming up and doing strides I felt no better, but decided it was best to get it over with. The first mile felt decent, the pace was easy and my shin wasn’t too bad, but going into the second mile everything changed. I was in excruciating pain and I noticed the shin pain traveled up to my left hip as well, preventing me from pushing off properly. Upon approaching mile three, I looked at my Garmin and saw my average pace wasn’t even close to tempo pace and I still had over a quarter mile until I got to my coach. Right then, I decided this wasn’t worth it. I was not willing to potentially cause an injury over one workout-if anything, I decided I would come back later in the day with the freshmen later in the day or jump on the alter-g, but I was not about to throw another season away. I stopped. It pained me, but I stopped and began walking towards my coach. I knew he was upset, but I tried my best to be proud of my executive decision. Rather than cool down, I drove back with him, awkward tension and all.
By the time we got back, I was fuming. I knew he was upset, but I was upset that he didn’t bother to find out why I stopped, so I called Coach Sumner and vented for a good 15 minutes. That’s the great thing about having Coach Sumner, he listens then brings me back to Earth with a plan. We had a solid plan and I jumped on the alter-g as well as arranged a meeting with my coach. My coach and I made a plan to keep me on the alter-g and in the pool up until Sunday and I would redo the workout during that time. Talking with him one-on-one was a relief, and I was focused on caring for my shin before looking forward to Washington. The rest of that week went well, and that brings me to this week.
Coming back on long run day was a challenge; nothing like going from 70% body weight to 100% for 12 miles. Aside from feeling heavy, I felt more fresh than I have since mid-Mammoth. To ensure everything went well, I got in the pool several times this week and rolled everything out. On Monday, one of our newest additions to the team, true freshman Carolina, got to finally run with us, and it felt great to be rolling at a familiar 7:15 minute mile pace (even though I was slowing her down). Later that day, I felt a cold coming on, so I monitored how I was feeling throughout the day and would base whether I would run my double off of how I felt after work. I felt terrible. Rather than run, I made a hearty, nutrient dense dinner and went to bed early. I woke up the next morning feeling slightly better and proud of myself for listening to my body– Tuesday morning was an important workout and I wanted to be sure I could ace it.
For the workout, my group had 6x1k that were to be between 3:38-3:42. Our pace went as following: 3:38, 3:37, 3:37, 3:36, 3:35, 3:33. Though I was in the second group, I felt great being able to roll through the K’s and even negative split the entire workout. This workout showed a great comeback, and even boosted my confidence for the upcoming race.
As far as other preparations for the Washington Invite, I’ve also made sure to carbo load properly over the past week-even including a bowl of pasta with my regular dinner. My coach and I created a solid plan for the race based off of the workout earlier this week, and mainly focusing on hydration. I am feeling great, even now as I sit on our plane above Seattle. I know there will be a noticeable improvement from the Mustang Challenge, but I’ve decided to abandon my focus on time for this race and place all my focus on bodies per kilometer. All these races will further prepare me for post season, and I look forward to learning from each of them.
Just Keep Running. XOXO
Ashlee Powers