Happy Spring – and Spring break to any of my fellow students out there! It doesn’t exactly feel like a break, given that I have a midterm the week after next, several assignments and a whole lot of reading and studying to do, but ten days without classes or the library is good enough for me!

Last week, I talked about breaking down the bigger, crazier picture into smaller, more manageable goals when your life is so relentlessly busy as mine is right now. One of goals for this semester was to kick butt on my first exam in eight years, to give myself confidence that my brain still works – check! Today, I will have completed another goal – SURVIVE THE WEEK.

Have you ever felt hungover, not because you had anything to drink but because your previous day was that insane? That’s how I felt Tuesday morning, after a long weekend of cramming and two exams back to back on Monday afternoon – my brain was beyond fried. I actually felt that way on Monday morning too, which didn’t bode well for being able to think clearly later in the day. Usually on mornings like these, all I want to do is pull the covers over my head when my alarm goes off. But what did I do instead? I went for a run (surprise, surprise) – nothing challenging, just a relaxed 3 miler along the river to flush my system and clear my head. Sometimes that extra bit of sleep helps, but at other times (if you’re already awake, feeling stressed out – as I was), a short, easy run will calm and then energize your system for whatever lies ahead. That day was VERY long, but I got through it and I think I even did quite well on both exams (I don’t find out for another week or two).

Better yet, I came home Monday evening to something very exciting that arrived in the mail – a copy of Sam Murphy’s latest running book, Real Women Run (published by Kyle Books, photos by Eddie Jacob), featuring my running story! I wrote my story and did the photo shoot last summer, as you may recall, and have been eagerly awaiting this package ever since. It was awesome to finally see my running story in print, along with five photos from my shoot (two with the story, and three elsewhere in the book). The book isn’t officially published until March 29th, so I have to wait until then to post my running story, but here’s a sneak peak of my two pages in the book:

Monday’s intensity really set the tone for the week. I was relieved to have completed three of my four midterms, but I still had so much to tackle, and as of now, I’m nowhere near finished with what I had hoped to accomplish by the end of today. Looking back on what I DID accomplish this week, however, perhaps I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. Here are a few highlights, in addition to those discussed above:

Successful tempo session – I’m seeing the PT again later today to check on my right hamstring, but overall I’d say that I’m feeling pretty solid. I’m not as fast as I’d like to be, nor was I able to build up to a decent tempo distance in this training cycle (I did 3M and 2x2M before I got injured, but on Tuesday, only reached 3×1.5M). At least I’m running without pain, and that certainly is a huge part of running success! I also got myself back down to 118 pounds from 124 back in January, so that will help with my speed. I normally do my tempo runs at 7:24 pace, and recently have been running closer to 7:30 – but as I increased the distance per interval on Tuesday, I realized that I needed to drop down to 7:35. I’m still not sure I can hold that pace for 13.1M, but I’m locking that in as my goal race pace for next Sunday. If I run around that pace, I can hit my sub-1:40 goal – nowhere near a PR, but that time would really give me confidence as I approach the start of Chicago training. Check out my training schedule for more details.

New volunteer position with City Harvest – As I’ve discussed before, a crucial piece of my education and training while I complete my DPD courses and eventually apply to a Dietietic Internship is volunteering at community centers, hospitals/long-term care facilities, and other nutrition-related organizations. I started my position at Physical Equilibrium last month, which has been going very well – I’m learning so much from the RD I work with – but a role at a private practice does not give me the experience I need to fully prepare myself for a Dietetic Internship. Thus, I applied for a nutrition education position with City Harvest – an incredible organization in NYC for anyone who has never heard of it.

The interview was on Tuesday afternoon and was slightly intense, given I haven’t done a formal interview in quite some time – several targeted questions about my teaching/coaching experience, what I can offer, and other more general interview questions – but it went well. I was offered and accepted the position! I will be conducting nutrition training and education sessions to groups of teachers at various pre-school and after-school sites across NYC, as part of City Harvest’s Fruit Bowl program. This program delivers fresh fruit and low-fat dairy foods to children, accompanied by education to help those children develop life-long healthy eating habits. The program has been in place since 2007, but my role as trainer to the teachers is something new. It’s going to be challenging and time consuming, but a really great opportunity to develop new skills and contribute to the community. I’m a bit nervous about the public speaking aspect of it – although I have performed on stage as an oboist in front of large crowds countless times, I’ve never had to speak! I’m sure I’ll be fine though, and I’ll have two other trainers with me. With this position, my schedule is officially MAXED out – it already feels maxed out now (I have no life outside of school, it’s sad), but I’ll make it work! I know it will be worth the time and effort.

Spring weather and successful track session: The weather on Wednesday and Thursday really lifted my spirits, even if I only got to enjoy it as I walked to/from campus and ran on Thursday. Isn’t it amazing what a little sunshine can do?! Thursday’s mid-day track session was a bit on the warm side, but I really enjoyed it. I can’t remember the last time I ran in WARM sunshine, in a tank top and shorts! It was amazing. I ran 2×1200, 4×400 and 2×200, with 1M warm up and cool down – it felt relatively easy and short, which I guess it was compared to previous track sessions. As with Tuesday’s tempo, I was mainly just pleased that I felt strong.

First interview as a coach: An editor from Competitor.com contacted me earlier in the week to see if I would be interested in talking to her over the phone about an article she was writing on fueling before morning runs and races. She had found me through RRCA’s website, which lists all certified coaches. I of course said yes, and we had a great chat Thursday afternoon about sports nutrition, among other things. I know it’s not a very big deal, particularly since she is interviewing several other coaches and it’s on their website rather than in print, but I still find it pretty cool! The article should be online in the next few weeks, including a few quotes from our conversation – hopefully I’ll sound okay! I have no clue what she’ll pull from our talk…

Today will be a big push to get work done, and then the weekend has some fun things in store! I’ll be working the Physical Equilibrium booth at the Multisport World NYC triathlon expo up at Columbia, from 9:30am – 12pm. If you happen to be in the area, come by and say hello! We may be doing mini nutrition assessments, among other things, and of course there are tons of other booths and lectures going on throughout the day (the event goes on until late afternoon). I plan on hearing Nancy Clarke, a very well-known sports nutritionist based in Boston, speak at 9:50am. Looking forward to hopefully meeting her too!

But the REALLY exciting part of tomorrow is E’s arrival in the afternoon!!! I haven’t seen him since I was in London 6 weeks ago. He will be visiting for my entire Spring break – he’s also running the NYC half with me next Sunday. We’re escaping to Vermont for a few nights which will be a huge treat, as I desperately need some time away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I miss being in nature!! His visit means that I won’t be able to get as much work done over break as I need to…but I’ll do what I can. I’m sure my brain needs a rest, anyway!

Happy Friday, Spring and Spring break everyone!