The Terrible Twos.

Just how I feel! Two tired.
So punny. ;-)

Five miles of flat road, cold weather, and a busy mind. That was how I spent my afternoon today! As far as Tuesdays go, I don’t mind them, seeing that they mean the week is almost halfway over. Now Mondays on the other hand? Not a fan. Going to bed a bit too late last night wasn’t a great start to my day, and while it’s gotten gradually better throughout, I’ve now come to realize that I definitely can not function with only seven hours of sleep. Seven hours = one tired, slightly grumpy, and non-focused Gabby. Instead of running alone today, I was supposed to run with one of my best friends and teammates, buuuuuut he ended up getting busy. Tired? Check. Running alone? Check. This Tuesday didn’t quite turn out the way I thought it might when I started the week with a rough plan for it all in my head. So far I’ve found myself with two legs, two hours, and too much to talk about.

My team’s “Winter Conditioning” hasn’t officially begun, and won’t start until January, so my off-season training until then is all up to me. This means that from 3 to 5 every afternoon, I’m free to run whatever route I want, at whatever speed, for however long, and am free to make my own training. Slight problem with all of that … running alone all the time isn’t my cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong, I love my solo runs and there’s some days that I’d rather be alone, but the off-season is also when I love to run with others and I’ve made it my goal to do so this winter.  I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much as my friend who wasn’t able to run today is coming along tomorrow and one of the younger girls I run with is sick right now, but hmmm. Could’ve used a running partner today! I might’ve been tired, but was still in a good mood before my run and have a lot to catch up on with my friends. How frusturating.

As for my actual run? Five simple miles, that’s all. Since I’ve gotten back to running, I’ve been sure to ease back into the mileage I was running before. With this safe and smart plan in mind, I’ve been filling my runner’s log with various three and four milers. Somewhat different from the seven and eight mile runs I was used to doing during the summer! Either way, the lazy week I took from running after the cross country season ended at the beginning of the month is slowly wearing off, and I’m starting to feel like a runner again. That is, instead of some awkward wanna-be that I’ve been feeling like the past few weeks as I’ve come to remember the feeling of sore muscles and being short of breath from pure inactivity. Two weeks back into running, two days into a new week, and two hours more before I can relax. Chores, eating dinner, and homework all call my name. Not to mention getting some good sleep tonight! The terrible twos that Tuesday threw towards this thoughtful day have made it a day sure to pass by in the excitement near the end of the week, but still a good day nonetheless. With that bit of alliteration and thoughtful wittiness on my part, I’m off to enjoy my night. Hopefully the rest of the week is more eventful and a lot less twos. :-)

Sidenote: In my last post, I gave a shout out to my high school’s football team for a great season and to pass on good luck for their state semi-final game that was on Saturday. I’m pleased to add that WE WON on Saturday and are onto the state championship finals next Saturday for the first time since 1994. Not to mention that the last state title our football won was in 1994 against the very same team we’re playing this weekend. It should be interesting, that’s for sure. Good luck again to my school! It has been a long, hard season for not only the team, but the entire community, and I’m so proud to be a Bulldog. Go get ’em!

 

 

Until next time,

Gabby.

I love love love this! It’s so true and for right now at least, so relatable.

 

Bulldog Pride.

Happy Friday!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were able to enjoy the day with plenty of good food, and good company. My parents and I made our way up to visit my grandparents and had a great trip! As for the rest of the week, I’ve been meaning to post, but (of course) have gotten busy. For this post, I wanted to take a bit of a detour from my general running updates and focus more on who I run for. And by that I don’t mean for my own sanity. ;-)

Last Saturday, my high school’s football team played against the number one ranked team in the 1A state division. After an unexpected win the weekend before and going up against the previous years’ state champions, we were the underdogs. Nevertheless, halftime was upon us that night with a Bulldog lead shown on the scoreboard. The game came down to an intense finish with my team coming out on top in a 17 – 7 win. Woohoo! It might’ve been the most intense game I’ve ever seen and was a total upset at that! Of course last year when we made it to the semi-finals, we played into triple overtime until a disappointing loss. The game was loud. The whole Montesano community and local county were there to support our team. We’ve been through a lot the past year, been on the news too many times, and the win last weekend was much-needed by everyone.

Rather than explain it myself, I came across a link to the local news on our game. As a student of the highschool and having strong ties to the community through running, volunteering, and having lived here for the past seven years … this clip puts a smile on my face and is heart-warming in the support we’ve received.

http://landing.newsinc.com/shared/video.html?freewheel=91052&sitesection=kcpq&VID=23891868

(Sorry! Even after multiple help videos and articles, I couldn’t figure out how to embed a video on here.)

The news clip helped my realize, alongside my sore throat from yelling so much that night, how proud I am of my football team, community, and to be a Bulldog. I thought it would only be fair to support the rest of the athletes who practice through the fall as well as cheer on those same people who I pass in the hall and share classes with. Tomorrow, the Bulldogs play Mount Baker in the state semi-finals. The semi-finals are held in the Tacoma Dome and if we win? We’re into the finals with the chance to win a state championship. Montesano hasn’t won a state a title since 1994, as the newscaster said, but this year? I think there’s a really good chance. So with that, go get ’em dogs! We’re all behind you!

Until next time,

Gabby.

Out with the old, in with the new.

Happy Friday!

This has been an especially good day, and the end to a great week. As I write this post, I’m tired, sore, hungry, but overall? Just happy. :-) Of course getting back into running has helped make this week so much better. After a full eight days off, I went running on Monday for the first time. It was … short. I’d rather be safe than sorry and stay away from any injuries caused by doing “too much too soon,” so I ran a quick three miles, some stretching, and called it a day. My runs the rest of the week have been just as short, but it feel oh-so-good to be back. I missed having a schedule that involved running everyday! Of course that means being busy all the time, but also plenty of time to think about what I want out of my training this winter. After ending the cross country season on such a positive note, I’ve decided to carry on some of the changes I made near the end of the season into the rest of my life, as well as running in the off-season.

1) Circuits? Say hello to Tobi’s Strength Routines.

For Christmas, I want a pair of shoulders just like this woman has. Please and thank you!

During cross country, track, and the off-season, I always do some type of weight training. The past few years my coach has shown us new balance and strength routines. Deciding it was time again for something new, he’s gone and found a new strength routine. Instead of circuits, which are stations of different exercises and are what we normally do, we’ll now be doing Whitworth Track and Field’s Lifting Routine. Broken up into four routines per page you’re given, you mark down the amount of weight you are using for each exercise. Once you’ve done a total of twelve sessions, as you do the four routines in order, you can move onto the next sheet. Since I plan on working out in the weight room three times a week after my runs, it should take me about a month to finish the first page of routines.  Seeing that I did my first session earlier today and am already feeling sore, it should be an interesting four weeks. A lot of the exercises are different from what I’m used to and the routines focus a lot more on the weight aspect of cross-training. Like I told my coach earlier when we struggling to do “Alternate Arnold Presses” and “Incline Push Pops,” we’re going to have some nice looking shoulders by the beginning of track season! Until then, bring on being sore …

2) Positive attitude? Check.

Near the end of the cross country season, I was able to relax and put myself in a state of mind before races that left me feeling more positive and relaxed about my results. Having used this mindset more often lately and finding myself happier, I’m ready to drop any negativity and pessimism that I usually struggle with, and focus more on the positive. Instead of worrying about having taken a weeks off and having to get back in shape, of worrying about what my competition is doing during their own off-season, or even if I take it easy on runs, I’ve decided that I just need to relax and enjoy everything. Why worry so much about others or what they’re doing? The off-season is a time to focus on me and becoming the best I can be. It’s a time to get stronger and set a good base for track in the spring. Not to mention that it’s a time to really look back on your goals and decided what you want to become through your training. I’m looking forward to all of this, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store. No negative, just the positive. I want to be a role model and leader on my team, as well as a good friend and teammate. After all, who wants to be around a “Negative Nelly?” Not me.

3) WANTED: Running Partner(s).

In the past, I’ve used my off-season time to run alone and truthfully? I generally drill myself into the ground and get bored by running the same routes. This year, I want to change things up. Instead of running alone all the time, I want to make sure to run with people at least three times a week. I have some of the best friends and teammate anyone could ask for and since the off-season is all about relaxed, easy runs, I want to spend time with them. Some of my favorite memories that I have with my teammates are from crazy and spontaneous runs that we’ve gone on. For me, running with others gives me a new sense of adventure, conversation outside of mumbling to myself, and being able to get to know someone on a whole different level than you would ever be able to when not running. Besides, who else will I have to complain to about the horrible weather and hard workouts to? ;-)

Being more positive, more social, and a more well-rounded runner. The winter off-season is one of my favorite times of the year, but also one of the hardest for me. Hopefully with a little bit of change and a lot of hard work, I can emerge a better runner and person from it all. One thing that I want to change, but didn’t mention above, is my writing. I don’t blog nearly enough as I’d like to, and really want to focus on writing more often, and as being as entertaining and funny as I was when I first started my blog. Going back into the archives and reading some of my very first posts has given me a different outlook on blogging and why I first started. I want to share my running experiences and not just bore you all with rants, complaining, or catch-up posts if I was to lazy or busy to write sooner. So out with the old and in with the new. I’m ready for some change and think the smile on my face, soreness in my muscles, and end to this post is a good start. We’ll see!

Until next time,

Gabby.

Have I ever mentioned that I love being a runner? ♥

Now what?

With the cross country season ending last Saturday after state, my coach decided that it was best for me to take a break off of running. Seeing that I run year-round and compete in both cross country and track, he’s right. My body needs the rest and time to recover after a long, hard season. There’s only one problem … I’ve only ever taken three days off in a row max. That’s why this week has been so long, horrible, boring, sad relaxing and rejuvenating so far! I decided to take off a whole entire week and start again next Monday. By that, I mean a full eight days. Yeah, that’s a long time, right? I’ve made it so far and seeing that I’m busy tomorrow and Sundays are my usual rest days, I think I might make it. Key word: might.

Day 2.

Look how happy I looked at the beginning of the week! *Sigh.* After school on Monday, I used my extra two hours that I normally run, to catch up on some homework, relax, have my friend braid my hair, and hangout with my dad. Eventful, right? I was kind of on the edge about wanting to workout or run, but decided against it and really enjoyed not having to do anything. Now let’s jump ahead a few days …

Day 6.

Well, this was from earlier today. Don’t I look enthused? My school had an early out so I just decided to come home afterwards. Ugh, more homework. Since Monday, I haven’t really done much with all my free time. If you can tell, I got a haircut. I’ve also managed to go to the movies with my friends, and get back to volunteering at our local nursing home/rehab again. On the non-running side of things, the other day I cross-trained and lifted some weights. Other than that I’ve just been sitting at home like a normal, non-active teenager, getting chubby. Mission accomplished.

So this whole not running thing? Yeah, not a fan. I like my normal schedule of running and working out after school instead of coming home right away. The past week, I’ve been so screwed up. Only a few days left though! Throughout the week, I’ve been surprised by how hard it’s been mentally to not run. To keep from running, I just need to keep in mind that I do in fact run year-round and rarely take time off other than my usual Sunday. My body needs the rest and mentally, I’m sure I’ll be glad of it once I’m back. The idea of having to get back in shape after losing a week of training scares me, but I’ll take it as it comes. This is the first time on over two years that I’ve ever taken off more than three straight days running. Not running when I have my stress fracture doesn’t count, mainly since I had no choice in that matter. Who knows? Maybe taking some time off after the season will leave me stronger and better rested to run harder in the off-season while getting ready for track. That’s the hope at least! :-)

The weather the past few days has been perfect for fall. It’s been sunny out, but crisp and cold. Ah, I love it! Western Washington is usually known for rain and grey skies, but the past few days have been great. I hope it stays around. Tonight my high school’s football team has their first round of playoffs and as I’m in the band, I get to travel with them to play at it. Bring on two pairs of socks, a long sleeve shirt, cotton t-shirt, sweatshirt, Letterman jacket, gloves, and head-warmer! It’s going to be a long night for the Bulldogs as we’re facing a hard team, but it should be a good game. Cross country state out-of-the-way, I hope we won’t be the only sports team to make it to state this year as volleyball and golf didn’t make, and soccer didn’t make it past the first round. Just another Friday night under the stadium lights. Got to love high school sometimes!

Sure, a lot of this post is just me complaining about taking time off, but who else is going to listen to me? Pretty sure all my friends are sick of hearing about it and want Monday to be here already. Sorry guys! The time off has been somewhat relaxing, fattening, and overall …. weird. The past week has given me plenty of time to reflect on the cross country season and realize what I’ve gained out of another year of racing, and I’ve picked out a few things that I still need to work on improving. I can’t thank everyone enough for their support through reading this blog and offering advice along with all the comments of good-luck along the way. It means so so much! I still am not over how well everything ended this season and have a much more positive attitude looking forward to the future of my training and racing come spring. As Monday comes closer, I will be enjoying my time off and being a “normal” teenager who isn’t involved in sports. Thank goodness for Pinterest and Pandora … I mean for homework. Or at least that’s what I should be doing with all this extra time. ;-)

If you run, how often do you take time off? What’s you favorite part about fall?

Utnil next time,

Gabby.

Cherry on top.

Instead of leaving you hanging and wondering how state went, I’ll jump right in! So many things happened this weekend and I’m still so excited about how it went, I can’t wait to share. :-)

We left Thursday afternoon and made our way over the mountains to eastern Washington where the state meet is held. Our team likes to go over on Thursday, even though the race is on Saturday, because it gives us runners more time to relax and get settled before running. Not to mention having to race after 6 hours on the bus the day before does not sound fun. Once we checked into our hotel, we were off to Olive Garden for a good ‘ole carb-loading pasta night. Let’s just say … I have never eaten that many bread sticks in my life.

Teenage shenanigans before loading the bus to go to Olive Garden.

Two of my favorite sophomores. Taking a picture together on the way to dinner has become a tradition. The one on the top is from last year, and the one on the bottom is from Saturday. We haven’t changed too much, huh? ;-)

    

    Dinner at Olive Garden was sooo good. I stuck with lasagna, thinking simple pasta would be best and not hurt my stomach for Saturday’s race. Everything I did Thursday and Friday I asked myself, “Will this help or hurt my race on Saturday?” definitely played it safe. The rest of the night was spent back at the hotel where my two girls and I were roomies. Bookworms that they are, Linnea and Andrea read before bed, not bothering to wake me after I fell asleep at 9:15. Man! Who knew sitting on a bus could be so tiring!?

Friday morning we packed back on the bus and drove another hour or so to Pasco, where we previewed the course. Located on a golf course, the state course is an all grass, one-loop course. It is a hard course though, don’t get me wrong. Full of hills, the balance of downhill makes it a good course, if a tough one. As this was my third year at state, I felt a little more at home and was able to run the course and plan out race strategy. After our usual pre-race strideouts, which we call Kenyan Triangles, we were off to our next hotel before free time at the mall. At the mall that afternoon, a few of us went to go see Paranormal Activity 4, while others saw Wreck It Ralph. Paranormal Activity was a must-see for me since it has become somewhat of a tradition. As the movies have all come out in October, they have been in theaters for the past four years when cross country has gone to state. My freshman year I saw Paranormal Activity 2 with my older teammates who had seen the first one the year before. Since then, as each movie comes out, it has become a tradition of the team to go see the newest Paranormal Activity at state. Andrea and I were scared to death  screamed a few times when our teammates kept jumping out at us, but still had fun. Scary movie the night before state means nightmares, right? Not for this kid. ;-)

Saturday morning we were up early, got dressed, and made our way to breakfast. With my pre-race routine of peanut butter toast and a banana, I was ready. Our race was at 10:30, the second race of the day. Andrea and I got in a good warm-up in the cold morning, wearing our gloves, extra sweatshirts, and head-wraps to keep warm. Stretches done, strideouts, and team prayer over with … and we were ready to race. Bring it on.

The gun went off and race began. The last race of our 2012 cross country season, but lucky enough to have made it to the state championships. Right from the start, I made my way on the outside and was near the leaders. No pressure, right? I just had to hold on for 3.1 miles. At mile 1 though … my shoe came untied. I knew that if I wanted to run a good race that I would have to keep running and try not to focus on the fact that my shoe might come off at any minute. Focused more on catching a straggler from the lead pack, I drew even with the girl a little bit past the 2 mile mark. From then on, we race side by side, neither wanting to give a lead to the other. Coming up the last hill, I beat her to the top before having her catch-up with me at the 3 mile mark. The last 0.1 was a fight. I flew down the rest of the hill and gave it all I had, watching the clock hit tick into 19 minutes, all worry about my untied shoe behind.

I finished in 19:08, another PR. With that time, I placed 5th. After a long season, a long summer of training, and coming back from a stress fracture that ended my season last fall … I am completely and utterly happy with my race. Sure, my shoe might’ve come untied and sure, the girl who got 4th was only ahead of by less than a second, but either way … I couldn’t be happier. All the pressure I felt there was on me going into the race? I don’t feel like I let anyone down. I gave 110% that race and even though I didn’t break 19 minutes, it doesn’t matter. I’ve never felt totally happy with a race performance until Saturday. What a great way to end my season and what a confidence boost!

While I made the podium Saturday morning, I wasn’t the only one. “Kevin,” one of our seniors, placed 15th. He didn’t have the best race of his season and had been battling a cold, but still ran a great race and left Pasco with a medal. He’s probably sick of hearing it from me, but I am so proud of him and all that he’s accomplished the past two years that he’s run cross country. I can’t wait to see what happens this winter in his training and know that he will dominate once again in the spring during track! To “Kevin” I want to say – Thank you for being such a great teammate and friend. You’re awesome!

Of course, I couldn’t have made it this season without my team. This year, our boys’ team ended up 13th. It’s not the best that we’ve placed at the state met, but they all ran hard and I’m so proud of how far they’ve come this season. My girls and I weren’t a full team, but I’m just as proud of them. We made our on goal of becoming closer and more supportive this season, and we did just that. Even though they’re sometimes weird, annoying, loud, and crazy … they’re my weird, annoying, loud, and crazy team. Not only that, but they’re some of my best friends. These are people who I couldn’t imagine my life without and ones who are always there to support me and be the best of friends even when I don’t deserve it. To them I say – Thank you and you guys are the best!

These are my parents. If I’ve never mentioned how much of a support they are to me in every aspect of my life, then I’ve done wrong as a daughter. I owe everything that I’ve become to them and there’s no way I’d be as far as I am without their constant love and support. To them I say – I love you guys so much! ♥

In all my thanks, I can’t forget my coach. To me, he’s more than that. He’s a part of my family and I don’t where I would be now if I didn’t have him in my life. Even through the ups and downs of this season, he’s been there to push me and make me the runner I am today. Besides training, he’s shaped the person that I am and words can’t express how thankful I am. To my coach I say – Thank you so much, I love you!

With that, I’m off to relax. I’m taking a week off (or at least trying to!) from running and even trying not to exercise at all. I want to let my body recover before moving onto the off-season. definitely since I’m a year-round runner and rarely take any time off besides Sundays. While I’m going to miss the cross country season, my teammates, and all the memories that come with it … I’m ready for the cold, long, runs of the winter months and the adventures that I’ll have when Winter Conditioning starts up again and I’m re-united with float belts when we go swimming! More on that later. :-)

This has become a longer post than expected, but I didn’t think any of this weekend deserved to be forgotten. An awesome last few days with my team and a spectacular race have been the cherry on top of my season. There were tears, frustration, and points at which I wanted to give up, but overall? I wouldn’t change a thing. :-)

Until next time,

Gabby.

Best pre-race advice I’ve ever been given.