by Anne Jones
Fall training this year has been going really well! A total 180° turn from last year, in fact. I began to associate cold weather and grass workouts with feeling like death after my iron-deficient stint of training last winter, but have been so pleasantly surprised lately with my fitness. Particularly because I am taking 21 hours of school and feel completely overwhelmed about 99% of the time. I have only been able to do one quality session per week and can only go to about half of the RogueAC practices due to class conflicts. But I have found that this may be what my body responds to best and is exactly what I need, both mentally and physically. I have always been afraid to back off from training, believing that I will get behind, but this semester has forced me to take two steps back in my approach and intensity. I am able to really focus on my one weekly workout and get more out of it than had I been trying to split my energy between two tough days, and can focus on school and recovery for the remainder of the week. In fact, I ran a low-key 5k in Houston two weeks ago (my first race since June) and ran 25 seconds faster than last year on the same course despite training only about half as much this year. Although this more relaxed approach obviously won’t and can’t last through track season, I think that coming out of this Fall fit, motivated, and healthy will really do a lot to help my track season.
En route to the aforementioned PR
In other news, pharmacy school has been pushing me to my breaking point this semester, but, all things considered, is still going pretty well. I’m counting down the class days left, though (13!). Next semester I will have a much lighter class load, which is going to be great for traveling to meets and for focusing more on track. I will move to Houston next summer for one year of rotations then will graduate the following summer in 2016 (finally!). My fiancé Daniel is in medical school at UT Houston, so I am really excited to finally be with him and start our wedding planning (eee!).
I have one more race planned for the Fall (the Dallas Turkey Trot) and am so excited to get another good 5k effort in before I transition my training for track. I have never felt so strong coming out of Fall training and am more optimistic for this track season than I have been in years.
by Anne Jones
While my teammates were crushing old PRs this past weekend at the Stanford Invitational, I spent a long weekend at home in Houston. Although the weekend was filled mostly with studying, I returned to my old stomping grounds and enjoyed two of the best runs I have ever had. My long run on Sunday night along Buffalo Bayou and into Downtown, though a little drizzly, was beautiful. It was the first time I had run there since Houston began its renovations and I took many detours to explore all the new paths offered. I ran Monday through Hermann Park, which is my favorite place in the whole city, and the beautiful weather coupled with my love for Hermann were ideal for a magnificent run. The amount of enjoyment I got out of all three of my runs this weekend was actually astonishing to me and made me realize what I had let running become to me as of late. It had become just another checkbox on my daily to-do lists. I squeeze runs and lifts and physical therapy and core exercises into my schedule whenever I find time, and I have viewed them all as chores for several years now as a result. It has been a long time since I have enjoyed training as its own process instead of just enjoying the endpoint. It took a weekend back to my roots to make me see this. So my cliché lesson for the month is to stop and smell the roses, literally, while running and training. Or, more appropriately for running in the spring in Houston, stop and smell the azaleas (which are honestly much more worth stopping for anyway.)
Nothing like your roots to revitalize your running
A rare humid day in Houston
Often mistaken for the Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool, actually just a nice park in Houston.
Otherwise training has been going infinitely better since I last wrote. Although I missed out on reaping the benefits of a lot of our base work this winter, my body feels back to normal now. I have been able to finish a couple of workouts that I know I never would have been able to do in the past and I feel motivated and hungry again. I raced a 1500 m at the Victor Lopez Classic a couple of weeks ago, which was my first race in just under a year. I would say I was a little disappointed with my efforts (there was much more rust to be busted than I expected) but it was my fastest opener ever so I know I am in a good spot regardless. Unfortunately my pharmacy school class schedule is preventing me from traveling to any of the big meets during the semester, so I plan on racing mostly local meets until potentially flying out to Nashville for a race in June. Next weekend I will race the 800 m at the Texas Invitational, and I am sure it will be bittersweet to race on my old track but without my old Texas uniform. But don’t worry, I’ll be sure to stop and smell some azaleas before then.