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  • Michelle Howell

Live from Training Camp

Hello, miles and miles!

I’m sorry I’ve been really slacking on my blog, but I promise I’ll make it up to you (at least attempt to) this season with a lot more updates on yours truly and the usual running-related musings.

After a short, but sweet indoor season, I’m gearing up for the long-awaited Olympic cycle here in Bradenton, Florida. This past month I’ve literally been living my best life in terms of Mike "The Situation" standards. A predictable routine of gym (but mostly run), tan, laundry (our apartment of six went through a sixteen pack of off-brand Tide pods in a week). And if you don’t know who Mike the Situation is, we don’t share the same taste in cringy reality television (which we’ve also been watching a lot of here).

It’s been a huge change of pace from training in DC. Weather-wise it’s the familiar unpredictable South Florida I grew up with except more windy than I remember the East Coast being. We landed in Tampa expecting short shorts and sunburns the first day only to have to throw on a light jacket for the high 50’s that kept coming and going the first week and battling the wind on the straightaways of the track during workouts. That being said it’s still worlds better than the remaining winter in DC (Have you tried running all out or race pace reps in layers? - it’s not fun and you do not feel fast).

While we're still building back a bit from the break after indoor season, it's been nice to throw in some consistent wicket and all-out speed days in the heat.

Even though we are building back, it only means our volume's been a bit higher compared to when we'll be racing. The first workout of descending 200-meter repeats starting at mile pace and creeping close to 400 had me knocked out asleep for two hours afterward. Only waking up because our afternoons include a cross-training double.

All our workout day consistently following this pattern: workout #1; lasting roughly four hours in total including a lift following our track session, eat; at the IMG dining hall which is actually pretty good for cafeteria food, sleep; proof how zapping running in the sun is since I haven’t taken regular naps after workouts since college, workout #2; cross-training, usually a swim workout at mile/ 3k pace (Whatever that means because either way I feel like I’m drowning the last leg of every rep and look something like those fake swimming fish that never seem to be able to stay swimming straight).

The day after these workout days (and after knocking out my cross-training) my goal is to be as useless as the g in lasagna. Loafing at the pool is still considered recovery right? If not you can also find us all in our villa bent over the $1.50 five hundred piece puzzle from Sunshine Thrift we bought the first week here (which we have now managed to finish, destroy, and start again). All while half paying attention to Love is Blind playing from the TV. We, the ladies of DTC and some of the guys, are now all obsessed with the show (our two big takeaways from the show you ask? Lauren is definitely struggling with some undiagnosed alcoholism and Mark has issues facing reality).

With our stay here coming to an end the things I'll miss the most besides the sunshine is by far the proximity of everything. Being close to the track, the gym, and recovery services feels like being back in college in the best way possible. In DC everything is so spread that I lose most of my day to traveling to and from these crucial aspects of my day that at the college level I feel we often take for granted.

While I'm excited to be heading back in the sense that it signals we'll be a step closer to racing, there's a bit of uncertainty developing around the coming outdoor season with the spreading of COVID 19. Things seem to be escalating in terms of trying to prevent the spread with the cancellation of major meets like NCAA Indoors and conferences are scrapping their seasons altogether. It's hard to not worry about what this will mean for the future of the season, but for now, all we can do is focus on staying fit and keeping our noses to the grind. As of now, we'll be opening up at George Mason on April 11th (if it doesn't get canceled in the next few weeks).

In the meantime, I guess I'll keep enjoying this sunshine state weather, wash my hands, and keep an eye on flight cancellations (a girl can dream right?)