Recovery: Tools of the Trade

 

This year, I have had a little more time then I used to. While perhaps that has meant an increase in milage by about 5%, what the extra time has really been critical for is to learn to utilize RECOVERY to help me be prepared to workout harder and gain those small improvements. At this stage, the hope is to improve by seconds, percentage points, not leaps and bounds. Thankfully, I have been so lucky to learn about and be supported by a few AMAZING brands that deserve a shout – out here.

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  1. Roll Recovery: Made my runners and athletes, these tools are fantastic as a means of self maintenance and massage before and after runs and especially hard efforts. The R3 roller is fabulous for plantar, a problem I struggled with in a major way all last year. In addition, the R8 roller is perfect for getting those muscles that stick (like IT Bands and calves for me!) to loosen up a bit and relax after you put them through a hard effort. Moreover, they are killing it with this classy mat that makes pre and post run stretching and prep a lot more stylish and comfy.
  2. Cheribundi: I love tart cherry juice and have become obsessed with this brand for a few years now. These perfect sized bottles come in three types, regular, recovery, and relax. Personally, I use the recovery post workout to have some quick protein and have the relax at night as it helps me get to bed. It is even replaced my favorite, red wine, at times ! Now that is a high compliment.
  3. Enduropacks: Made my triathletes who understand the rigors of intense training, this product has been a new addition to my line up and made a huge difference in my opinion. I truly feel more recovered than ever. First off, their pack consists of a daily multivitamin in the morning, an electrolyte spray that I can spritz right into my water bottle or even just straight into my mouth to gain some quick electrolytes, and then a recovery patch with amino acids I use after hard workout days. There are also glutamine pills for the evening that just aid in sleep in recovery. There is nothing better that products created by people who have been there and saw the need for something. I highly recommend giving them a shot, especially if you, like me, need a one stop shop for the vitamins and right stuff an athlete’s body needs!
  4. Beet Elite: I started trying Beet Elite powder with a bit of water right before my hardest sessions and have not stopped since. As someone who hates beets, the new runner food to many, this product helps give me the boost and nitric oxide that is so good for runners but in a tastier form that I can enjoy. Mainly, it helps me feel ready to take on those hard, fast, lactic acid inducing sessions without fear!

In addition, USATF has partnered with other companies who have made a big difference in the little things that are really big things. First HelloFresh has helped make healthy good meals affordable for my budget. Eating the right stuff shouldn’t be excusable for any reason. It is also fun to have so many new exciting recipes! Second, getting my very own Normatec has been amazing! Not only is it so fun for my non-runner friends and family to watch it work, but it really helps my legs feel as if I have gotten a message or ice bath after 10-15 minutes in the boots. For me, having an attachment for my hips has also really helped me with hurdle workouts and soreness.

So – THANK YOU guys for helping me be a better athlete and more prepared for the tough races ahead.

 

Hello, 2016

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Well here we are – 2016, and me being late as always on the blog. So very much has changed and I am going to work hard to actually spend some time to check in here now that spring has sprung! So, for now, a recap of where my life is now that we have arrived to April and spring of 2016!

I went down to Florida to open up my season at the Florida relays and it was a blast! I was able to head down with the more Middle Distance oriented contingent of our team, meaning I got to do a 1500 and a 4×800. I was really happy and excited to leave with a win in the 1500, especially since we went out quite slow so to see my second half of the race develop was exciting. The 800 on the other hand, did not go out too slow for me, as I went out in basically my all out 400 pace and died a horrible death. Nevertheless a great learning experience, a win for the team, and an 800 pr given I have not run one in years! I will take the 4:12 and 2:07.

Practice has been FUN and I am so thankful to be able to say (knock on wood) that I am healthy, something that was truly a struggle last year. My darn plantar just refused to cooperate for months, really putting a damper on my confidence and at times my motivation last year. Nothing worse than an injury that makes you doubt yourself or wonder what it is you should or should not be doing. Thankfully, it seems we have found a way to keep my feet and legs happy! (More on recovery later this week!)

Last, for once – running has become the forefront of my life! The bar exam was in February and I now am anxiously waiting results from that, and apart from training my free time often entails, well, not much at all! Having free time has been a new thing for me and while at times I struggle with it, overall I have been enjoying this time in my life to focus on goals on the track and just live a little bit ore slowly – but more on that too upcoming!

For now, STEEPLE SEASON begins tomorrow with a nice opener at my alma mater, Princeton. A nice local race that can serve as a gut check, but also be an opportunity to see a lot of friends and family. Hoping it is a good one – will report back after – I promise it won’t take a year~!

Winter Recap!

Just like that – my indoor track season is over! It has been a chilly couple weeks here in New Jersey, complete with frozen pipes and days snowed in, but we are getting the work done. That has sort of been the motto throughout the winter, just get the work done. The season was a quick three races in four weeks, starting off with a mile, then two miles, then a 3,000 meter race all at the infamous New York City Armory. The indoor track feels like home, as we practice there often.

So far 2015 can be described as: “so far, so good … now keep your head down and work harder.”
PC ZHetrickI opened up the season with a personal best in the mile at 4:32, and continued with a personal best in the two mile as well, 9:42 and finished up with a near-best of 8:57 at the Millrose Games in the 3,000. This winter, considering last winter did not go at all how I hoped, the plan was to train, decide what I was ready to do, and execute on that plan. As crazy as it may sound, it has been a really long time since I have set time goals for myself and then set out to just execute them.

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Gags is infamous for his pep talk pre-race which sounds like this “Above all, be a great freakin’ competitor.” That is all he asks of us – and I think it is pretty crucial. That being said, I think equally important is believing that you are prepared. Emotion and going above and beyond is what makes someone great, but you need to keep that on reserve. A large part of the process is remaining calm, and gaining confidence by checking off the boxes in training and then seeing how that hard work can create logical race results. This winter, I was doubly lucky because of the strong, fit, and impressive training partners I have! Watching them beat a former World Record, achieve personal bests, and improve tremendously helped me to believe in myself too. To have such great training partners helping me improve on weaknesses has been an integral part of my development with this group. Moreover, to have such great friends has helped me to believe in myself, because they believe in me! (*aww*)

armoryworkout_123Next up, is a whole lot of weeks of training! I gave myself a down week, which included a day or two off and then just running however much I wanted to for a week. Now, it is back to work and hoping that the snow continues to melt away! I will head down to Florida in March to see my parents, which will be a great way to kick start the spring season. It is time to think about hurdling and steepling – I cannot wait.

Moreover, it is time to think about GRADUATING~! I have a few important tests coming up and thoughts to consider when it comes to the non-running component of my life and I am looking forward to resolving those things as well. For my last semester I have been working as a clinical law student, meaning I get to work on real cases with real clients, not just read books all day. It has been a really wonderful way to culminate the experience.
Talk to you soon! For now:

doThanks Zach Hetrick for the amazing photos at practice this winter! http://www.zachhetrick.com

I’m Back!

2015 blog

Seems as if 2014 flew by me, given it has been over a year since I have decided to post here, but with the New Year I thought it a good time to attempt to start thinking, planning, dreaming, and sharing. I recognize that one of the hardest things for me about running and life is taking ownership of my goals. Sure, I think about them on the inside and I work toward “being better” than the last time, but as far as writing it down or taking some time to being very aware of where I am at in the process, at times I can sort of push that aside, especially when the going gets tough. Let’s face it, goals are scary.

This year, things feel good, runnerific even! Entering my fourth season with NJNYTC, I feel as if at the very least, I am gaining some understanding of what to expect and I am more willing to work with my coaches to prepare a plan. I am back to living in Clinton, NJ which has been one of the best shifts this year so far for me, it feels like home. Living in New Brunswick for the past two years, it was more efficient for school but perhaps a lot easier to give into temptation, eat out, and shut off my “runner” mindset with non-running friends in town. Moreover, my parents just moved south at the start of 2015…😦 After a quarter of a century living at least 30-40 minutes from them, it has been great to have teammates, friends, and family living close to me here and reminding me that my NJ roots are pretty deep. With three coffee shops, two amazing trails, and a beautiful red mill – Clinton is pretty perfect.

Moreover, last year I assigned more of my energy and mindset to my law school world. I got an amazing job offer, which entailed 10 weeks of full time work at a law firm in the summer as an intern first, the meatiest part of the professional track season. Classic me, for better or worse!

I am so glad I made the choice to pursue an awesome opportunity; I learned a lot, gained a whole new support system on and off the track, and feel 150% more excited about track than ever before. Moreover, I recognized how lucky I am to have coaches willing to understand and support me fully and who have the knowledge to get me prepared to run well in all types of conditions.

This year, I enter 2015 with one semester to go in school, and a world team season awaiting. Last year I saw new PRs in the 3k, 5k, and steeple as well as a 2nd place finish at the US Championships. More importantly, I saw my event (the 3,000 meter steeplechase) shift in a huge way, with multiple women running world class times. It makes me even more excited for the year ahead – a year worth attempting to go big and surprise myself.

2015: Let’s Do This.

Check-in in Belgium

“you will find that it is necessary to let things go simply for the reason that they are heavy…”

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Two races done and the end of euro trip #1 is sort of in sight. The days are long but the time has gone so fast. After my first race (a steeple in Lusanne, Switzerland) I ran a 1500 in Huesden, Belgium last night. In between, there has been time for chocolates, a day trip to Brugge, and some tasty group dinners in our little kitchenette. It has been a great time to consider the rest of this season, while starting to look ahead to a whole new year of running, school, and thoughts. Summer is always seemingly a time of reflection, given I am still a student so the year sort of ‘resets’ in September. As too does running. So… not precisely sure where that lands me in the world of internships, races, and life. But, coming here reminds me it’s all going to be alright.

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The races are a bit of a blur, but some good takeaways from both. First, a lot to learn when racing with “the big girls” in the world of steeple. I let stress and the bumping around in the pack get to me more than I should have, but I am hoping it was a good lesson learned. In the 1500 in Belgium, I worked really hard to stay calm and utilize as little energy as possible and saw a huge improvement (and a pr! always nice). Next up is another mile in Ireland. Pretty excited about seeing a new country and racing in another mile. I realized how few races I have actually run this year and am looking forward to competing a bunch more. For now, time to soak up the last few days in Brussels🙂

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“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. For the joy of living or for your food. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies only in yourself”