Life of a College Runner: I’m Back!

Right. First of all, I’m back! Hello beautiful people! I’m really glad to be writing this little blog again. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve written on this site, so I think I should do a little recap.

RECAP OF THE LAST 5 MONTHS

I guess I stopped writing at the end of September, so those who read this missed out on some of the best races and some of the worst. Cross country season ended on a really high note for me. After a disappointing conference race, I managed to come back and run 24:40 at Regionals, which was on the same Wartburg course that I left off on in my blog. It was one of the best races of my life, and I could not have been happier with how it turned out. That marked the end of cross country season. We had our annual banquet in December to celebrate all of our accomplishments. I received the “Most Improved” award, which I was so incredibly proud of. And so, yeah, that was the end of cross country.

Indoor track was another story entirely. It was a rocky road, to be sure. I came into the season a little out of shape and low on iron, but I finished out my season by running a PR in the 3k at 11:36. Then I left the country!! Yep, I was in Rome for the next 3 weeks! I had the most amazing time. I even got to run early in the mornings there. I got to run past the Colosseum with no one around, and my teammate Lexi and I did some workouts around the Circus Maximus. Overall, it was an incredible experience. We just didn’t have that much time for running.

I was back in Iowa for the last few days before Spring Break, and then the unthinkable happened. I was doing my afternoon double on Monday(we had morning practice that day) and all of a sudden felt a huge pain in my side. It hurt enough to make me slow down but not enough to stop. I finished my double. But then, the next day, it felt worse. I was in pain during the warm-up for our workout. I went to the trainer, and she thought it was either a strained abdominal muscle or a gallbladder issue. One of those things is slightly more serious than the other. So I stretched out a bit and tried a 1k rep on the track, and it felt good. Coach had me do a couple 400’s and then a cool-down. The next morning, I woke up and tried to do the double, but I made it only three laps before I started crying from the pain. I was in some of the worst pain I’ve ever felt, and on top of that, I had a fever, chills, and felt nauseous. I ended up going to the emergency room that afternoon. Long story short(too late, I know) I had a severe abdominal strain, and I needed to take a full week of rest before doing any running. I complied with the doctor’s orders, I ran a short distance for a couple days, and now here I am!! So let’s finally get to the story of this week, shall we?

Monday

5 miles, 40:23 (8:04/mile)

’Twas my first day back running with the team!! We went out and back on Ink. I got to run five miles with Kamryn and Lexi, which was a lot of fun. After the run, we did 4 hill sprints and 4 regular strides on the track. It all felt fine. I was pretty nervous about running again, and I wanted to be on the cautious side for at least my first week back. Still, I was surprised when Coach had me do steeplechase practice afterward. Oh yeah, it’s my favorite time of year… STEEPLECHASE SEASON!!! I know my teammates make fun of me for getting so excited, but I love this time of year! Truth be told, I’ve been looking forward to outdoor track since November. And now that it’s finally here, I’m so excited! Anyway, steeple went well. I’m still a bit rusty, but hopefully I’ll get back into it soon.

Tuesday

6 miles, 46:40 (7:50/mile)

We were cruising today! We ran out and back on Willow Creek and Henik. After our second mile was 7:30, I dropped back. Katie and I ran together for the rest, which was nice. I had the chance to catch up with her, since we really hadn’t talked much since I left for Rome. We went a little slower but not that much slower. We were still sub-8:00 pace for the rest of the run. But it didn’t feel that challenging, which is a great sign. There was a med ball routine after the run.

Wednesday

6.5 miles

Our workout was moved to today because of a lacrosse game yesterday. It was my first workout in a really long time. That being said, I knew it would be challenging, but it was not a disappointment. I was in a group with Miranda, Katie, and Zoe, and we were doing 800’s at 3:20. We were exactly on for all five of them, and it felt pretty easy. Then we had 4 x 200 at mile race pace. I did 40, 41, 40, 40. What really killed me today was the lifting afterward. My legs felt all shaky during balance routine and squats. It really does feel good to be back to normal.

Thursday

6 miles, 46:47 (7:53/mile)

We went out and back on Standing Rock. It was lovely out today. The sun was shining and, were it not for the wind, it would have felt hot. My legs, however, felt really sore today, even though I managed to stay with the group without much trouble. We even saw a man with his horse on the side of the road today! Once we got back, we did hurdle step-over drills, and then I got to do steeple again. My legs complained but I did not. I had one good set of jumps; the rest were not that great. I really need to work on getting my trail leg up so it doesn’t catch on the hurdle.

Friday

7.5 miles

Today was our second workout of the week. We were to do 300’s and then a short tempo run. I was with Miranda again for this workout, and I did 8 x 300 at 63 seconds. My first five were exactly on, and then I had one 64 and two 62’s. I felt pretty good about it. Coach had the steeplers jump one hurdle during our rest period in between reps, so I did 8 hurdles total. None of them were really good. And they kept getting worse throughout the workout, as they do, because I was getting more tired. I need to get used to that feeling again, that’s for sure. We had a one-mile jog in between the 300’s and the tempo run. It was a 2 mile tempo at 7:00 pace for my group. I got discouraged when I fell behind after the first mile, but I stayed on pace and finished at 14:00. That felt alright, too, but my legs felt like jelly. Coach said I passed with flying colors for my first week back, so yay!

Saturday

9 miles, 1:13:12 (8:09/mile)

Today was a long run. It was nice and cool to start out and it gradually got warmer. Perfect weather for a long run. Our route took us out on Green Ridge Road, which is one of the prettiest places to run around here, in my opinion. It’s where we usually do our yearly hill workout during cross country, where there are two hills; on one side is a long, gradual hill and on the other is a short, steep hill, and we usually run up and down one and go right to the other, and repeat that several times. Unfortunately, Green Ridge has been closed a lot due to the bypass construction going on. Running there today was very different. A lot of the beautiful trees and grass is gone, and it made me rather sad, looking out at all the dirt and concrete.

Anyway, our run seemed pretty long in places. I was not optimistic at the start because my legs felt so heavy and sore, but it got better along the way, especially because we were talking through most of the run. Katie’s cousin was able to run with us, which was cool. We don’t often have non-team members run with us, besides President Brand and Coach Schofer’s wife on occasion. Overall, the run felt really nice. Okay, well the last two miles hurt like hell, but other than that it was nice. I kind of felt like I wasn’t going to make it back with my group around that point, but they were nice enough to wait for me at the top of the hill on 1st Street, which was really nice.

So, yeah, that was my week! It was a pretty good first week back, and I’m happy with it. I’m happy with where I am in training right now, actually. The reason I wanted to start this blog again is because I’m finally getting excited about running again. For a while there, in the long cold winter months, I lost my love, my drive, my passion for running. And I hate feeling like that. This blog always made me excited, so I want to start it again. And I think this is worth it, especially if people enjoy reading it.

Thank you to everyone who has read this! I really do appreciate it. Let me know if you think I should change or fix anything. Comments are appreciated :)

See you next week!!

— Morgan

Teacher, Runner, Reader, and Writer. Destined for great things, I think.