Wednesday, June 15, 2016


I am letting myself go lol. And it's not a bad thing. I think I need to learn to let myself go if I'm going to do the rest of my life and really be happy. Achieving stuff is pretty cool. This year and everything that's gone into it and how much I've improved has been really cool. But I want to feel like I have control over my life. I want to feel like I can make choices about what I do and don't do on any given day. I want to take a little bit of pressure off of myself and be a little bit happier than I usually am.

So really what I'm saying is I've been training less. I'm sort of throwing the plan out the window. And unfortunately with that goes a lot of the goals. I'm not expecting to run very fast at the 10k because despite the fact that I'm supposed to be in peak training weeks right now, I've taken four straight days off from training (and 6 off from running). I'm doing life instead and I love it and I'm willing to sacrifice a good 10k time to just do life instead. It's weird, this isn't how I usually roll, but I think it's something I needed to come to terms with and I'm glad I'm doing it.

I think the other responsibility I'm going to drop for a little while is this blog. It's been fun and it's been really meaningful and helpful to have a place to reflect on training and voice my frustrations and record everything I've accomplished and to let myself be proud of how far I've come. But I guess without really concrete goals and without me being really committed to something right now, it seems like a bit of a time sink that I don't need. I'll keep logging the way I used to, in short form locally on my computer, but I think I'm going to let the daily blogging fall away for a while. I'll probably be back at some point, but I don't know when or why. I'm sure I'll know when the time is right. For now, I'm going to go on a new adventure of finding the new balance in my life now that all the priorities have shifted. Wish me luck. (:

Much love,

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

No apologies...

[Day 160]

...For being missing for a few days this time. I was busy enjoying my weekend and I don't do that often enough so I'm glad I just let myself go and did whatever this weekend. And then I started work on Monday so things have been busy managing life and real work hours. That having been said, I do owe you/myself some training/race updates so let's get to it! (:

Skipped the swim on Friday morning because I had cramps Thursday night and wasn't sleeping well, took the Friday evening interval workout as planned, did a way better job than I thought I would and was really happy about that.

Friday's Workout: PM interval run, main set of 2 x 1 mi @ 10k pace (7:35-7:50) w/ 3 mins rest, 3-4 x ½ mi @ 5k pace (7:05-7:20) w/ 3 mins rest (walking rests)
  • Totals: 7.27 mi, 1:11:23, 9:50 average pace
  • 1 mi splits: 7:40.2, 7:38.4
  • 1/2 mi splits: 3:35.6 (7:11), 3:37.4 (7:15), 3:34.9 (7:10), 3:36.4 (7:13)
Hit Rate: 21/28 (75%)

Took Saturday off as planned so I could be ready to try and run fast on Sunday! At which I was sort of successful. Went a 23:17 (official time), which wasn't what I had hoped it would be (was aiming for a 22 something) but I feel okay about it. Aimed high, fell short, still came away with a PB which I'm not gonna complain about.

Sunday's race official: 5k, 23:17, 7:30 pace
Sunday's race via Garmin: 3.14 mi, 23:24, 7:27 pace, 182 spm average
Pace splits by mile: 7:24, 7:22, 7:42, 6:36
Hit Rate: 22/29 (75.8%)

Thoughts about the race: It was harder than I thought it was gonna be. It was a rainy cool day, which played to my advantage, no wind which was good, but I just didn't have enough in me for the third mile. The first mile felt strong, the second mile took a little pushing to hold pace and I really genuinely thought I could sustain that effort through mile three but I just didn't have it. I think I did mentally quit a little bit when it got tough and I settled for something in the 7:40 range when I probably shouldn't have, but really there was genuinely not much left in my legs at that point. Henry has a wonderful (read: awful) finish line photo of me and the look on my face is just such a disaster. I push my jaw forward when I'm in a lot of pain because it helps me restrict the tension to my face so it doesn't tighten up my shoulders when I'm running, but it looks so terrible, you can tell I'm just absolutely dying. In any case, it was what I had to give. 

For reference, when I ran this race last year, my splits were 7:25, 7:43, 7:50 so I was able to really improve on that seeing as I can hold that first mile pace for another mile now. The next time we do this (early July), the goal will be to see it through for all three miles. We'll see how it goes. For now, I'll take the PB and move on.

Monday's Workout: AM easy/base run, 8 mi
Summary: 8.44 mi, 1:23:53, 9:56 pace, 172 spm
Pace splits by mile: 10:08, 10:12, 10:12, 10:04, 9:55, 9:49, 9:43, 9:48, 9:07
Hit Rate: 23/30 (76.6%)

This one felt bad. It was a fasted morning workout the day after a race, what was I expecting really? I just felt sluggish the whole way, it felt like a struggle just finishing, although the splits will speak to the fact that I did seem to get warmer after the first four miles and things were incrementally improving as the run went on. In any case, it was just a run I took to get some more miles in, and that was all I needed from it.

Tuesday's Workout: AM CMSC practice, mid-distance free day
  • WU: 400 swim, 3 x 100 swim
  • Pre-set: 4 x 150 @ 10-15 SR, 50 kk/50 dr/50 sw
  • Main Set:
    • 6 x 50 @ 10SR, odds build to 80%, evens hold 80%
    • 3 x 200 @ base (3:10), descend 1-3
    • 4 x 50 @ 10SR, odds build to 80%, evens hold 80%
    • 3 x 200 @ base +5 (3:20), descend 1-3
    • 2 x 50 @ 10SR, odds build to 80%, evens hold 80%
    • 1 x 200 @ base +10 (3:30) - this was 3 x 200, descend 1-3 as written but we ran out of time
  • WD: 100 easy
  • Total Distance: 3400 LCM
Hit Rate: 24/31 (77.4%)

I was not a happy camper about going to this practice. I had been really emotionally upset about a lot of things the night before, although Henry did eventually get me to sleep. I didn't get a ton of sleep, I had actually planned on not going, but I woke up around 4:50 and I would've felt awful if I just went back to sleep so I sucked it up and went to practice. I really wasn't feeling it at all. I swam in the 1:35 base lane, turns out that the pace times are fine although everyone in the lane is super super fast which made me feel kind of crappy because I just like hung off the back 10-15 seconds behind everyone else and it's sort of obvious that I'm really slow. I couldn't really find a good excuse to leave the lane though. Honestly the slower lane is just way too slow and it wasn't like I was missing pace times or getting lapped so I felt like I just needed to suck up my pride and put my head down and do the work. 

In reality though "doing the work" was really just finishing. I didn't try that hard, I didn't actually descend anything, I just swam and made the pace times and that's all I did. I actually really wanted to leave like pretty much immediately after the warm up, and I kept saying to myself, "Okay I'll leave after this set", but I never did. I just kept saying it after each little bit of the set and at some point it was like, "Oh it's actually time to leave". So yeah, I got through it somehow. Only other notable thing was that I had that right shoulder kink again during warm up, but it actually didn't bother me at all during the set (my swimming was probably higher quality during the set), so hopefully it stays better.

This morning I skipped practice, just didn't feel like going, so this is happening...Hit Rate: 24/32 (75%) And this PM, I took a run!

Today's Workout: PM base run
Summary: 8.42 mi, 1:14:21, 8:50 pace, 173 spm average
Pace splits by mile: 8:55, 8:51, 9:03, 8:56, 8:45, 8:47, 8:48, 8:55, 7:55
Hit Rate: 25/33 (75.7%)

This was supposed to be a tempo run, but I've decided that I really don't care. There is so much in the world that I do care about and feeling the weight of expectations tethered to all of my workouts was really getting to me. I would like to go back to that phase of my college club swim career where all I did was show up to as many practices as was reasonable given whatever else was going on in my life and racing on random weekends knowing I was going to swim terribly and actually swimming terribly and having a blast doing it anyways. I want to be fit enough to race and enjoy the experience of racing. Improving and dropping time and winning things on the occasion is fantastic, but it takes so much out of me in order to do that. Sometimes you just have to decide when things aren't worth it anymore. I want to have mental and physical energy to put towards my clinic work and my studying and the time I have to spend with Henry and friends. I want my life to drift a little more closer to normal because I've been getting tastes of it here and there recently and I really like that. I want to keep racing and training because I love it, but I don't want either of those things to feel like a chore. It was starting to feel like a chore. So I'm gonna drop the expectations and the run training plan and just swim and run and try to do things because they're good for me and because I love them. I've never been good at that, but I'm gonna try. I'll still keep "planning" in the sense that I'll pen things into the calendar ahead of time because if I have no structure I'll just spend all my time napping, but it'll be flexible and there will be no demands on the kinds of workouts I have to do. Gonna keep working on that whole balance thing.

In any case, with regards to the actual run today, it felt sort of interesting...I knew it was a comfortable pace mentally just from the info I was getting from my legs and from my heart rate and breathing rate and what not, but it really never felt comfortable. I have a bit of a head cold so my nose is simultaneously really runny while feeling really dry and I've been coughing so my airway is a little irritated and the end result is that I think that's why I never got comfortable. It's hard to be comfortable with a head cold. The weather was cool though and the pace was quick in a very relaxed way and I was surprised that I was able to take a run at this kind of distance at this kind of pace and have it feel as good as it did. I really hope that's not an anomalous thing, I really hope my natural running pace is just coming up bit by bit. It'll take a lot of time to sort that out though, I'll try not to read too much into one run.

The plan as of right now for tomorrow is morning swim practice and a run with Henry in the evening. We'll see what actually happens. Happy Wednesday! (:

Much love,

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Taking an extra day off

[Day 154]

After some talk about it with Henry last night, we decided to forgo running today. I need the extra recovery day, I wanna do well this Sunday, that involves actually being rested so I'm going to rest today. I will count it against the hit rate, but I won't count it against my chain/streak thing because I do think I'm making the right decision. Be back tomorrow. (:

Hit Rate: 20/26 (76.9%)

Much love,

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sometimes I need to listen to my body more

[Day 153B]

So there are these two completely conflicting things that I find myself saying to myself a lot:

"Start where you are, not where you want to be." - for when I get too aggressive and try to do too much too fast.

"Bite off more than you can chew and chew it." - for when I'm scared of what I have planned and I need a little jolt of motivation.

I'm really bad at toeing the line between these two sentiments though. Inevitably I just spend all my time swinging too far from one end to the other and the balance seems like it's never there. But I think I'm starting to realize that balance isn't a thing anyone has perfected from day 1 when they draw up their plans. Every time I make plans I find myself changing them precisely because things feel off-balance and I need to get myself back on track. Today was life reminding me that I'm veering too far in one direction and I have to center myself again.

I'm not recovered. You'd think that'd be obvious to me given the fact that I don't really sleep through the night because of the nagging pain in my legs but no. I gave what I had to that tempo run and boy was it rough. The first 2 miles at HM pace were actually pretty solid, legs felt heavy but the pace wasn't hard to find or hold. As soon as I tried to hit the 10k pace mile though, things just fell apart. To the point where when I did finally decide that there was no way I was going to be able to do the rest of the workout and I should just run home at whatever pace I felt like, I couldn't even keep myself running at faster than 10:30 pace AND I was taking walking breaks. It was a rough day. I got ambitious this week with the residual soreness from the weekend combined with adding swimming back into my schedule and it wasn't prudent to be doing what I was doing but I did it anyways. Now I know I have to step back. And I have to go back to my calendar for the summer and re-plan things out in a way that will allow me to get the most out of my job and my training and the time I have here in Boston. And the way to do that is definitely not the way I've been going about it right now. Will have to figure out where the right balance is.

Today's PM Workout: A planned tempo run that sort of devolved into do whatever you can, logged as 6 miles in an hour, there was a good 2 mi pick up at HM pace (~8:20) in there.
Hit Rate: 20/25 (80%)

I needed a wake up call. Life gave it to me. Re-vamped schedule for the week involves not doing stadiums tomorrow and taking an easy short run with Henry in the AM instead. Then swim practice and an interval workout on Friday, Saturday off, and race day Sunday! Yay!

Much love,

All I do is sleep

[Day 153]

Things accomplished today: Woke up, went to practice, came home, ate breakfast, promptly fell back into bed and just woke up again. Good job Jess lol. Doubled up yesterday, so here's the summary from yesterday and today!

Yesterday's PM Workout: Easy run, 4 mi
Summary: 4.34 mi, 42:00, 9:40 pace, 176 spm
Pace splits by mile: 10:05, 9:29, 9:53, 9:41, 8:21
Hit Rate: 18/23 (78.2%)

This was way harder than I thought it was going to be. My legs just didn't feel with it, it was a struggle for most of the way until we did a little pick up push at the end of the run. Henry pretty much pulled me the entire time. I know he has a much easier time running with me when I'm beside him but I spent a lot of the run tucked in behind him because my legs just didn't feel like they could go any faster. It was rough. But whatever, we got it done.

Today's AM Workout: CMSC practice, IM day
  • WU: 400 swim, 3 x 100 swim
  • Main Set: I have no idea what any of the pace times were, I was just going last and leaving 5 off the person in front of me...
    • 4 x 150 @ base + :10/:15, 100 fly/50 back, 100 back/50 breast, 100 breast/50 free, 100 free/50 fly
    • 4 x 100 @ base + :10/:15, 50 build stroke/50 recovery choice
    • 4 x 50 @ base + :10, 15 underwater fast/35 recovery choice
    • (break)
    • 4 x 150 rolling IM @ base + :10/:15 (pretty sure these were on the 2:50?)
    • 4 x 100 @ base + :10/:15, 25 stroke FAST/25 recovery choice (pretty sure these were on the 1:50?)
    • 4 x 50 @ base + :10, 35 moderate/15 sprint to the finish (pretty sure these were on the :55?)
      • Did these 1-3 free as written, 4 easy b/c ran out of time lol
  • Total Distance: 3100 LCM
Hit Rate: 19/24 (79.1%)

Swam a lane up today, was definitely the slowest in the lane and really hope I wasn't ticking my lane mates off by being too slow. They seemed fine though, they left on whatever interval they were doing and for the most part I made all the pace times so I wasn't really holding people up I don't think. And I wasn't THAT much slower than the second slowest person in the lane lol. I'm gonna try to stick it out and see how things go with swimming in this lane. I don't even know what base pace they were using, but whatever it was, it worked for today.

I'm feeling stronger in the pool than I was expecting to. I mean long course fly is non-trivial but I managed to make an okay go of it. I had some pain in my right shoulder today but it's because my hand tends to deviate outwards on my freestyle catch, especially when I'm breathing to the left. If I'm careful about my freestyle form, my shoulder holds up fine, so I guess it's a good thing that it nags at me when I swim poorly. 

My legs are less sore today than they were yesterday for sure, but they're still keeping me up at night and they're definitely far from perfect. Gonna try and take that tempo run today, I feel pretty confident in my ability to at least hit the HM pace intervals, but less sure about those 10k pace intervals...just gotta remind myself that how I feel is probably not gonna be an accurate reflection of what my body is capable of and I just have to not freak out and focus on holding good form and get after it even if it seems way harder than it should be. Hopefully things will go alright. I'll report back in the PM.

Much love,

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Back to CMSC (:

[Day 152]

Today's Workout: AM CMSC practice, mid-distance free day (test set day)
  • WU: 400 free, 3 x 100 free
  • Pre-Set:
    • 300 as 25 kick/25 drill/50 swim
    • 4 x 150 free @ 10SR, 50 easy/50 build/50 cruise 
  • Main Set:
    • Test set of 10 x 100 free @ 1:40 (made them, yay!)
    • 100 easy
    • 2 x 200 free @ 3:30
  • WD: 100 easy
  • Total Distance: 3200 LCM
Hit Rate: 17/22 (77.2%)

Went to master's! Swam a lane down from where I usually swim, but will probably be moving back up tomorrow because I led the lane and I think they normally swim on a 1:45 base pace which feels a tad slow (even though 1:35 or 1:40 would be super challenging based on where I am right now, I think it'd be worth it to go back up a lane and try and hang with the faster swimmers). I don't feel as out of shape as I was expecting to, honestly the stroke felt strong, my legs which are completely non-functional on land presently actually did pretty well in the water, all in all I'm really happy with it. Long course will take some adjusting to, the pool feels endless and sometimes I don't stay focused the entire length and my form really drops off towards the end of each 50. I'll just have to figure out a way to cue myself back into focusing on my swimming since there's no wall at the 25 to help me reset. But yeah, it was a good way to get back in the pool. Hopefully I'll keep that up.

The plan was originally to take a tempo run today but I think I'm gonna swap today's run for tomorrow's because my legs definitely aren't up for it yet and I want to hit that workout right. Will take something short/easy with Henry today and try and hit the tempo run tomorrow instead. Trying to keep quality the priority. 

Much love,

Monday, May 30, 2016

Falling off the radar

[Day 151]

Exams will do that to you! I am pleased to report that I did in fact survive exam week. As of yet it is not officially known whether or not I actually passed all my exams, but I think I did fine, so I will just pretend that I did pass and that I am done with first year of med school for real. I came out to Boston on Thursday after my last exam and have been mostly adventuring with Henry. We went paddleboarding on Friday, hiking on Saturday, and ran stadiums with Tony and went to a movie yesterday! It's been good. I'm not gonna bother logging paddleboarding and hiking here, although it's up on Garmin Connect if anyone really cares. Here are the rest of the updates:

Yesterday's Workout: AM stadiums (~1/2 of Harvard stadium) + dryland circuit (5 rounds)
Summary: dryland reps
  • Push ups: 19, 16, 14, 14, 15 (78 total)
  • Sit ups: 14, 15, 14, 14, 14 (71 total)
  • Dips: 24, 21, 22, 24, 23 (114 total)
  • Squats: 21, 21, 21, 22, 22 (107 total)
Hit Rate: 15/20 (3 skipped exam week workouts; 75%)

Today's Workout: PM easy run, 4-5 mi
Summary: 4.88 mi, 43:38, 8:56 pace, 175 spm
Pace splits by mile: 9:21, 8:56, 8:45, 9:00, 8:34
Hit Rate: 16/21 (76.1%)

  • I'm really sore today. Really hoping that fixes itself by tomorrow because I have a tough tempo run on the books (and I'm planning on swimming in the morning, so it'll also be a double day) and I'd like my legs to be functional for that. 
  • The Harvard stadium is brutal. They were not kidding. I'm gonna try and work on that while I'm here, good way to try and keep some power/kick in my legs for the cycling while I'm away from my actual bike.
  • For some reason my body was like, RUN FASTER RUN FASTER my entire run today. I was gonna go for an easy 9:30-10:00 paced run and the entire time my brain/heart/lungs were like ew this is too fast what are we doing but my body was like, nah this is good let's keep going. It was bizarre. But I guess that instinct is also exactly why I do what I do. Sometimes I think at the core of who I am is just this sort of crazy inexplicable desire to go faster all the time. I guess that's why I keep at it. 
So yup, master's swim practice in the AM tomorrow and a tempo run in the PM. Wish me luck! (And happier legs!)

Much love,