Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lifetime Fitness Turkey Day 5k

I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving.   I was blessed to sit around, catch up on homework, play board games, visit with friends, and run for about five straight days over the holiday and weekend.  My grandma came from Phoenix and my aunt Tonya came from Rochester for the weekend.   My brother Dylan graduated from Carleton a few days before Thanksgiving, so he was home and stress free.  A couple of his teammates biked fifty miles from Northfield to join us for Thanksgiving dinner.  They got lost a few times, so we ended up eating without them, but they made it before the snow got too heavy.

I ran my first ‘hard effort’ of the season at the Lifetime Fitness Turkey Day 5k on Thanksgiving Day morning.  My teammates who are running Club Cross Country Nationals on December 8th (Meghan Peyton, Heather Kampf, Ladia Albertson-Junkas, and McKenzie Melander) all ran the race, except for Meghan who got to go do a 5k in San Jose, CA.  Although the race is not the best place to put in a serious racing effort, it is lots of fun, and I will not give up the tradition of running the race every year.  I started participating in the race as a fun post-cross country activity in high school, followed by a great way to catch up with high school friends while I was in college.  Now the race serves as a rust-buster in the fall before the Team USA Minnesota team starts our serious racing.  Thankfully, this year I was not harassed by older women who I got in front of at the starting line.  However, I did have to dodge some young children, old dudes with headphones, and a guy in a giant turkey hat who had not quite figured out start line etiquette of road races.  Which is: if you aren’t one of the top men or women, start behind them.  I took 3rd in the race behind McKenzie and Heather and ran around 16:50.  Not bad for a hard effort without crossing the line into racing. 
Start of the race! It's hard to see, but Ladia is in the purple, Heather is in the blue sports bra, and I'm in the all black.

My favorite part of the weekend was my double-run on Friday morning.  I ran twelve miles with a couple Run n Fun friends, Joe Sepe and Frances Eanes, as well as my roommate Elizabeth.  My mom, aunt, and grandma made eggs, bacon, fruit salad, and pancakes from scratch for us to munch on after the run.  No sooner had we finished eating then eight of my Southwest High School teammates came for a short run around Lake Harriet, followed by another brunch prepared by the wonderful women in my family.  I was so lucky to get to hang around my friends without worrying about cooking or cleaning up.  I don’t know a better combination than eating, running, friends, and family. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fall Base

I am back to running, back to living on my own, and back to being overwhelmed by activities. 

Running is going well.  I enjoy base training in the fall when I just get to focus on working hard and getting fit, without worrying about racing.  The first couple weeks were a quite a strain on my body, but I am not getting quite as sore, now that I am a month into training.  I made a couple changes this fall – I am doing weight training 1-2x per week with Aaron at FIT studio in St. Louis Park, and I am seeing Dr. Thuy Katzenberger at Chiropractic Healing Art Center in Edina for help with my plantar fasciitis.   Aaron is kicking my poor, out-of-shape muscles into gear.  I did a personal lifting session with him to go over Olympic lifts and kettle bell exercises, and now I am doing small group sessions.  He comes up with running-specific work-outs for Meghan Peyton and I, sometimes using Olympic lifts, sometimes using medicine balls, kettle bells, stability balls, lacrosse balls, bands, free weights or other crazy strengthening equipment.  Going to see him is expensive – and I’m not used to having to pay to work-out, but I appreciate the feedback I’m getting, as well as guidance in working strength and explosive systems that I usually do not give enough attention to.  Dr. Thuy and her staff are being very generous by volunteering their time with me.  I love/dread my visits to the office.  Never have I been in such pain in a doctor’s office (partially because three people are working on me at once), but my legs feel amazing when I leave.  Dr. Thuy is working with me to modify my running stride, which I believe needs to be done.  I think it has fallen apart over the past few years as I have bumped up my mileage without keeping enough focus on my speed and form. 

Another change – Elizabeth Yetzer and I are united again as home mates.  We are house-sitting in a beautiful home in Bloomington, a first-ring suburb of Minneapolis.  The homeowners care very much about energy efficiency, which is inspiring, but can also make the appliances confusing.  I managed to lock the stove while in the middle of preparing dinner for a few people coming over.  Elizabeth locked the oven when she was trying to bake herself a dinner.  This time around we have a bird, Willow, to care for, as well as a snake.  Thankfully Hyder is in hibernation; I do not think I would enjoy feeding him his frozen mice. 
                                               Our new friend, Willow.

As for being overwhelmed, I am back to normal.  No more days of exercising and napping, like I had this past spring and summer.  I am back to trying to balancing running with work and school.  I am currently an M.B.A. student and an assistant coach for the cross country and track programs at Augsburg College.  While I am enjoying getting to know the student-athletes at Augsburg and challenge myself in the classroom, I am not particularly passionate about my coaching responsibilities (mostly recruiting) or the subject matter in my classes.  This can make it difficult for me to stay excited about my busy schedule, but I am trying to focus on the long-term benefits.