Weekly Recap 9/27-10/4 + A Few Miles for my Coach

I had a pretty good week of training this week. I’ve been having some gut issues on my longer runs but I think that’s mostly because I’ve been experimenting with when and what I eat before I run and how far in advance I eat. Some things are out of my control since I can’t cook out here, but I think I’ve realized that my supplements need to either be well before I work out or after, not right before or during.

I’m also using cycling to help supplement my running. It’s a nice change of pace. I may pay for it later during the races, but I think my goal is really just to finish and to do that I need to get to the starting line healthy and unhurt.

Part of staying healthy means taking the time to stretch, which I can be bad at.

This next week is a lower mileage week so I’m going to work on speedwork (which my computer is convinced should be “spadework”) and inclines/declines as well as focus more on lifting in my step-back weeks. On days where I know I have a lot to fit in, I just skip the lifting so I can get the miles in.

Lastly, a few days ago my college cross-country coach revealed that she is fighting another relapse of breast cancer. This woman is SO incredibly hardcore and super strong and I know that she will kick this recurrence of cancer out of the park. She is also unbelievably humble and caring. I was so fortunate to have her as my coach in college and she has helped me and so many others find joy through running.

Today is also the birthday of the woman whom my undergraduate college was named for, Mary Julia Baldwin. In honor of two strong, savvy women, I wanted to dedicate my run this morning to them.

I wore my new pink Raw Threads shirt, my Road Runner Sports shorts, my trusty Brooks Ghosts, and my new Stride Box socks I just got in yesterday. I ran the typical cross-country distance we raced in college and thought about all the early morning practices and the two-a-days and the thrill of racing the course. I love running and I am so thankful for those who have shared with me their time and experience.

Just. Keep. Running

What’s Up With My Supps?

I mentioned a while back that I’d recently added protein powder to my diet. I’m still doing it and loving it. I like knowing that I’m adding a clean source of protein to my diet and having it right after my workout means it’s getting to my muscles when they need it most.

I’ve been doing more reading on lifting and supplements and decided to add two more to my routine. I chose to add BCAAs first. BCAAs are Branched-Chain Amino Acids and work to increase the rate of protein synthesis which translates to muscle gain and maintenance.

The other I added was creatine. Creatine not only boosts endurance but also helps with recovery. I’m hoping it will make my legs less sore after a long run and my arms and back less sore after a heavy workout. Additionally, it also helps with increased muscle mass.

I didn’t plan on buying the same brand, but they were rated very highly on Bodybuilding.com, where I’ve been going for advice, workouts, and now supplements. I bought the creatine in “Snow Cone” flavor and the BCAAs in “Arctic Ice” flavor and while I mixed them both together, they were absolutely delicious. I have a huge sweet tooth so it was great to drink something so tasty and know that it was also good for me, too.

And not a supplement, but I also got my pumpkin spice-flavored high protein peanut butter in this week from Nuts ‘n More. It is delicious, though a tiny bit grainy from the added protein. I imagine it would be good on toast and waffles as well, though my preferred form of eating it has been with my spoon.

I love pumpkin spice flavored things and I am missing my PSLs this fall like nothing else. This helps fill that hole in my heart/stomach a little bit.

I’m looking forward to seeing how these added sups will increase my strength and endurance in the gym which will lead to me being stronger.

These Are a Few of my (Least) Favorite Things

Now that I’ve been here almost a month (really, how did that happen so quickly?) I was thinking of a few things that I wish I hadn’t brought with me.

Doxycycline. I really don’t like this stuff. It makes my skin more sensitive to the sun, reduces the effectiveness of my birth control, which although is not a priority out here, I use to keep me regular, and it gives me really scary dreams if I take it anywhere close to bed. It makes me queasy in the morning which is when I take my birth control and vitamin and I don’t come back here during the day. Also, I haven’t seen a single mosquito here.

What I wish I’d brought instead: Ibuprofen. I had to order some online. Meanwhile, for headaches and muscle aches I had to ask around for some pain relievers. I’m usually really good about bringing Vitamin I with me, I just forgot this time.

NoRinse Shampoo. I loved this stuff and the body wash when I was at NTC. However, I really don’t need it out here. I have a shower maybe 20 feet from my room and it’s inside. I think I used this once in traveling here to freshen up, but I could have just as easily taken a full shower.

What I wish I’d brought instead: Some sort of hair mask. It’s dry out here and my hair is falling out like I’m starting chemo. It’s depressing. 

Baby Wipes. Again, not sure where I thought I was going. I haven’t touched these at all. They’re currently living in a bag under my bed. I guess I’ll use them to help clean the dust that accumulates inside my weapons?

What I wish I’d brought instead: Some sort of exfoliating scrub. I don’t like loofahs but my skin was pretty itchy for a while, especially on my feet. 

Mascara. For real. Why on earth did I bring this? I think I wore it twice. I forgot it was on, I rubbed my eyes at some point during the day, probably to get the sweat and sunscreen out of them, and when I got back at night I looked like Raccoon Girl.

What I wish I’d brought instead: Queen Helen’s Mint Julep Mask for deep cleaning beyond my CeraVe daily cleansing formula. 

June Stridebox

About a month ago I signed up for a monthly assortment of running samples from a company called StrideBox. I got my June box in today and wanted to share.

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I think the packaging is so cute.

Inside is an assortment of goodies. Some drink powders for recovery by Mestrength in lemon lime and orange, two refueling gels from Hydrate in mocha and strawberry lemonade, a peanut butter dark chocolate Kate’s Stash Bar, and raspberry Skratch which says it’s an energy chew. I also got a nice gray towel, a new sticker, and an Action Wipe and a little tube of Ruby’s Lube. I already opened the lube and it smells really nice from the lemongrass in its formula.

One thing I really enjoy about StrideBox is that so far all of the products I’ve gotten have focused on being as natural as possible. I also enjoy that I get to try some new products without having to choose them myself. I’m really unadventurous in trying new fuels so it’s good to have some forced on me and since I hate wasting things, I’ll use them just to use them up if nothing else.

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The haul! Plus a couple of coupons from the makers, which is nice because if you like something it makes it even easier to get.

From this, I think I am pretty interested in trying everything. I’m heading down South where it’s blazing hot so I think the Mestrength beverage powders will help me stay hydrated on my runs, the Hydrate gels will be good while running, I’ll use my Action Wipe to clean up real quick, and honestly, I love energy chews. Sometimes/most of the time I eat them as a snack. The lube will help me not chafe in the extreme heat and I’ll probably eat the Stash Bar as a snack on the plane.

Maybe the best part of StrideBox is how affordable it is. It’s only $15 a month with a $15 sign-up fee (which I got discounted because a friend gave me a coupon). I love getting mail every month and I love that it’s a surprise about what I’m getting. So far I’ve really enjoyed the products and I think I’ll continue for as long as I’m enjoying it.