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Chicago Marathon Training | Week 7

24 Jul

Have I already trained for the Chicago Marathon for seven weeks now? It seems like just yesterday I was fretting over my first long training run.

Here’s how the week went …

Week 7:

Tuesday Wednesday / Track Easy Run

After running 18 miles, going to St. Pete Beach for my Sister’s bachelorette weekend, then coming back to Orlando to pull an all-nighter on a project, I was exhausted on Monday. While on my 3rd cup of black coffee at work, I decided I needed a good night’s worth of sleep Monday night. I texted my group and let them know I was going to skip the morning run and run that night instead.

Tuesday I woke up feeling a million times better. And I fully intended on running that night after work … except that later that afternoon I received some fantastic news that required some celebrating. In fact, my husband insisted we celebrate so I decided to run Wednesday instead.

By the time I finally started my run Wednesday night, my legs had several days of rest from the previous Saturday’s 18-miler. Apparently that wasn’t enough. My legs felt like lead. I had to keep looking down to make sure they were moving. Also, I ran by myself and was feeling lonely. So naturally I talked to myself.

  • Distance: 3.29 mi
  • Time: 39:40.24
  • Avg Pace: 12:03/mi

Thursday / Tempo Run (5 mi)

I guess everyone was jealous of my sleeping in on Tuesday morning so they decided to all take the morning off on Thursday. Two days of running by myself? Ugh.

It was hot, muggy and my legs were still feeling like lead. I decided to run with intervals (5:1) and there was no tempo in my step.

  • Distance: 5 mi
  • Time: 01:03:55
  • Avg Pace: 12:47/mi

Saturday / Long Run (12 mi)

Friday after work I came home to find a special package waiting for me: new shoes. While looking through some old receipts, I realized that I had gotten my last pair of Nike Frees last October which put me on nine months of running with the same shoes (though only two of those were marathon training months). I immediately started to scour the internet for another pair of my Nike Free 3.0 shoes and found some on sale at RunningWarehouse.com. I’m considering stocking up on another pair since this shoe has been so good to me!

So Saturday morning I woke up, ate a an egg-and-oatmeal pancake, got dressed and threw on my new running shoes:

Nike Free 3.0

Nike Free 3.0

I know… I shouldn’t wear a brand new pair of running shoes on a long run. But since this is my third pair of these shoes, I had 100% faith in them being a perfect fit. I was right. They fit like a glove and I had zero issues with them. But don’t try this at home kids.

I was so busy trying on the new shoes before I left the house that I forgot to grab my borrowed Garmin. And the only other runner that has a Garmin and ran the full 12 miles had her battery die halfway through our run. It was weird running long without any concept of time. But before I knew it, the run was over!

  • Distance: 12-ish mi
  • Time: it took us a while
  • Avg Pace: snail pace

Cross-Training

Nothing. Nada. Insert shame here.

My schedule is going to be crazy these next couple of weeks, which will call for some shifting of my training runs. I just hope that when it’s all said and done, my husband doesn’t find me asleep with my face in my dinner.

Chicago Marathon Training | Weeks Five & Six

17 Jul

The last two weeks have been nothing short of a craziness for me. Work is busy. Life is busy. Mileage is building. Toss in a special project, a holiday and my Sister’s bachelorette party weekend and you have nothing short of pure madness.

Here’s what I had on deck for weeks five and six of my Chicago Marathon training:

Runs for Weeks 5 & 6 of Chicago Marathon Training

Runs for Weeks 5 & 6 of Chicago Marathon Training

Out of those six runs, I ran 4.5. I would say that is pretty good. 🙂

Week 5:

Tuesday / Track

Do you know those days when you wake up and you know you really, really should go back to bed? That’s how I felt Tuesday. But I didn’t want to cancel on my training partners so I dragged myself out of bed.

Even though I have all of our workouts in my calendar, I try not to look at them ahead of time so I don’t psyche myself out too soon. When I got to the track I found out we were running 400’s. This workout is nicknamed “The Puker” though I don’t mind it.

After our coach ran through how many sets we should do (2 sets of 4 to 6  x 400’s … we chose 5) and at what pace (5k pace), she reminded us that Thursday was a holiday and considered an “on your own” run. Then she said something that hit me: “Or take it as a rest day. Especially if you’re feeling fatigued.”

That was it! Fatigue was exactly what I was feeling. Just hearing the word made me want to cry.

I set off around the track and my legs were like lead. I couldn’t seem to pick them up. I was hot. I was slow. I couldn’t breathe. I was miserable.

After my first set of 400’s I stopped to get a drink of water. My running partners were chatting when I interrupted.

“I’m going home,” I said.

They looked at me like I had just announced that I had killed a baby kitten with my bare hands. <Blink>

The sad part is that I didn’t even have it in me to explain to them that I was about to collapse. I muttered that I was taking Thursday off too and walked away as they stared at the back of my head.

  • 400 / 1: 02:48.09 / 10:33/mi
  • 400 / 2: 02:44.45 / 10:33/mi
  • 400 / 3: 02:36.22 / 10:00/mi
  • 400 / 4: 02:26.35 / 09:24/mi
  • 400 / 5: 02:30.90 / 09:37/mi

Thursday / Nothing (see Tuesday)

I did get to see some fireworks though. 🙂

Fireworks at Lake Eola

Fireworks at Lake Eola

Saturday / Long Run (10 mi)

Saturday’s run was another “on your own” run. Our group got together with another training group and we had a run from our group leader’s house followed by a potluck breakfast. After running 16 miles the previous week, I was overconfident for these 10 miles.

We started a little later than usual (6 am) and it wasn’t long before I was sweating terribly. The neighborhood we were running in didn’t have a lot of shade and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I thought I was going to die.

I cursed myself for only eating a peanut butter protein bite before the run. I could feel the energy being zapped out of me.

I’m still not quite sure how me and my training partner managed to finish the run, but we did.

  • Distance: 10.42
  • Time: 02:16:19
  • Avg. Pace: 13:05/mi

Breakfast afterwards was yummy and full of laughs. Afterwards, some of us headed over to the pool. I couldn’t help but shake my head at the clouds that now seemed to be plentiful in the sky.

Cross-training

I did an hour of yoga on Friday. It was amazing.

Week 6:

Tuesday / Track 

Tuesday we did three sets of ladders (800, 600, 400). I was also attacked by a frog. Well, I actually stepped on it. But that was the second frog I had stepped on in a week. I am starting to feel like word has gotten around that I will assist in  froggy suicide.

Also, I forgot my borrowed Garmin so I just ran as fast as my body felt comfortable doing so.

Thursday / Hills (5 mi)

I use the term “hills” very loosely. Those of you that actually have hills might call what we have “a slight incline in elevation.”

I forgot to hit the start button on my watch until we were over halfway through our first mile.

  • Distance: 4.70
  • Time: 58:41.73
  • Avg Pace: 12:28/mi

Saturday / Long Run (18 mi)

Remember how I said that these last two weeks were crazy busy? Well this past weekend was the craziest part.

Friday night I left my job at 5:15 PM and did the following:

  • Picked up dinner from my favorite Thai place in Winter Park – Siam Garden
  • Dropped dinner off at my house
  • Picked up my friend Rox
  • Drove to Mall of Millenia to pick up a little something for the girls and the future bride
  • Went to Total Wine and picked up weekend supplies for the bachelorette party
  • Hit up Dick’s Sporting Goods for energy chews
  • Dropped Rox off
  • Went to Publix and picked up snacks for the weekend
  • Went home and washed running clothes
  • Ate dinner
  • Went to bed

All by 11 o’clock. Not. Too. Shabby. And just a few hours later I was up at 3:15 AM for a 4 AM start time.

All week I had psyched myself out for this run. Running 18 miles can go good … or it can go bad. Since my 16 miler a couple of weeks earlier had gone so well, I just assumed this run would be horrific. People don’t get two good long runs back-to-back, right?

It ended up being quite the opposite. Those 18 miles seem to fly by. In between all of the laughter and the jokes, I almost forgot I was running! Runs like Saturday’s are why I run. Run’s like the previous Saturday’s run are why I think I’m crazy.

Everyone credited my oatmeal and egg pancakes for my delightful mood. Not me. I think I was just so happy to be running and not thinking.

  • Distance: 18 mi
  • Time: 04:11:52
  • Avg Pace: 13:59/mi

Afterwards I grabbed some breakfast with the group then headed home to get ready for a weekend at St. Pete Beach with my little Sister that’s getting married in just a few weeks. How I lasted until until almost midnight with the ladies is beyond me.

Sister, sister.

Sister, sister.

Cross-Training:

None. But I did stay at work late every night working. Does that count for something?

How do you fight fatigue when training for a marathon?

When I stepped on a frog this AM while running track…

9 Jul

does_not_want

Source: Reaction GIFS

This is the second frog I’ve stepped on this week. I think they are out to get me. Or maybe I’m out to get them. Regardless, I don’t like what’s happening here one bit.

Chicago Marathon Training | Week Four

4 Jul

Week four of training for the Chicago Marathon coincided with a very busy, stressful week at work. By Friday afternoon I was exhausted and still 16 miles from being able to start my weekend. Just the thought of having to run that far had my stomach turning. If you talked to me Friday, I’m sorry for being so whiny. My immediate future was looking so bleak. 😉

Here’s how week four of training went.

Week 4:

Tuesday / Track Easy Run

We were schedule to run a descending ladder, but my back was still hurting so I decided to go for an easy run instead. Lucky for me, my running partners joined me. This made for a much better run than a slow solo run.

  • Distance: 4.04 mi
  • Time: 45:45.60
  • Avg Pace: 11:20/mi

After the run, I came home and did a stretching yoga workout for 15 minutes. My body felt so good afterwards.

Thursday / Tempo Run (4 mi)

I was practically sleep walking through getting ready for my run Thursday morning when I almost brushed my teeth with IcyHot. Luckily I looked down at the tube in my hand just as I was about to put my toothbrush in my mouth and caught myself just in time.

Thursday’s run wasn’t horrible, but I did have Saturday’s long run looming ahead of me.

  • Distance: 4.72 mi
  • Time: 54:25.20
  • Avg Pace: 11:32/mi

Afterwards I came home and did a 30-minute yoga workout. My body loved every minute of it.

Saturday / Long Run (16 mi)

In preparation of my long run, Friday night I ate my new favorite pre-long run meal: pad se-ew. My friend has been swearing by it for over a year, but it wasn’t until recently that I tried it. I strongly recommend getting this plate from Siam Garden in Winter Park. If you haven’t tried pad se-ew before, it’s a thick rice noodle stir fried with broccoli in black bean sauce. I add chicken to mine. It seems to do the trick perfectly!

Saturday morning I woke up extra early. Since I was almost left behind last week for being a couple minutes late, I knew I had to make a better attempt at getting there 15 minutes before our 4:45 AM start. Ew.

I gotta do something to laugh in the mornings.

I gotta do something to laugh in the mornings.

I started the morning with an oatmeal pancake, which is super easy to make. I mix one egg, half a cup of oatmeal and a spoonful of greek yogurt and cook on a skillet like I would a pancake.

Oatmeal pancake

Oatmeal pancake

It requires an extra couple of minutes, but since I’m not eating bread anymore I need something that will sustain me for long runs. When I have more time, I toss in some blueberries. Sometimes I overcook the pancake since I’m doing other things, but it still tastes yummy. And it works.

I made it to the run with minutes to spare, which meant I didn’t get left behind. That’s always a good start. You know what wasn’t good? Ninety percent humidity. That’s not fun at all.

humidity

It’s like running through a thick cloud of wet. Ugh.

This long run went a lot better than the previous one. In fact, at one point I remember seeing that we had already run 12 miles and only had four more to go. The difference between a good run and a bad run: thinking “I only have four more miles to go” vs thinking “Damn… four more miles to go.”

Plus, we had this pretty sunrise moment:

16_mile_sunrise

Lake Baldwin

As I mentioned earlier, I had a crazy busy week at work so I ran out of time to go buy some Shock Blocks. I’ve seen my friends use M&Ms and pretzels for energy during workouts so I picked up a bag of peanut M&Ms at the convenience store on my way home Friday night. This did just the trick! Not only did I enjoy my snack breaks, but I wasn’t choking on them like I do the chews when I can’t get them down fast enough. I may never go back to chews again!

Before I knew it, our run was over.

The time and average pace is not accurate. Since we run in a group there were a couple of times we were waiting on someone or using the restroom but feel it would be too confusing to stop our watches since we run intervals. We just let it run. 😉

  • Distance: 16 mi
  • Time: 03:59:31
  • Avg Pace: 14:58/mi

Afterwards a few of us went to Bikes, Beans & Bordeaux for breakfast. It was my first time going, but I’ll be back for sure. I was hot, so I settled on lots of liquids for breakfast: an iced black coffee (their coffee is delicious) and a smoothie made with organic peanut butter, yogurt, honey, banana and soy milk. Just writing about the smoothie makes me want to go get one.

16_mile_liquids

Iced coffees and a smoothie from Bikes, Beans & Bordeaux

Week five of marathon training is in full swing… sort of. Today is a holiday so I’m taking the day off. Thank goodness … I needed it!

That moment …

2 Jul

… when you realize you just squeezed Icy Hot on your toothbrush instead of toothpaste.

icyhot_toothpaste

Toothpaste at top. Icy Hot below by the sink.

Don’t keep the Icy Hot anywhere near your toothpaste. 😉

Chicago Marathon Training | Week Three

24 Jun

Usually when I start training for a race, the first two weeks are spent getting my body adjusted to the training and the third week is about the time my body starts to complain to me about it. This week was no exception and my body certainly got the message across to me.

Week 3:

Tuesday / Track

Tuesday morning I woke up on my couch disoriented and in a little bit of pain. I hate falling asleep on the couch because of what it does to my back. Alas, my husband was out of town so he couldn’t wake me up and drag me to bed like he normally does. Yes, I’m like a child. Anyhow, I’m going to add “sleep in bed” to my list of how to train for a marathon properly.

In my bewildered state I seriously considered texting my training partners and letting them know I was a failure skipping track,but I somehow decided against it. I rolled out of bed off the couch, brushed my teeth, washed my face, threw on my running clothes and was out of my front door before I could talk myself out of it. I arrived to the track just in time to hear our workout.

Our workout was to run two or three sets of 1200, 800, 400. In other words, run three laps at 10k pace, jog/walk half a lap for recovery, run two laps at 10k pace, jog/walk half a lap for recovery, run one lap at 5k pace, rest for a few minutes, shoot yourself repeat. Since we’re only three weeks into our training, I chose to do just two sets.

  • 1200/1: 07:24.52 / 09:29/mi
  • 800/1: 05:00.97 / 09:37/mi
  • 400/1: 02:20.52 / 08:56/mi
  • 1200/2: 07:20.80 / 09:26/mi
  • 800/2: 04:55.07 / 09:22/mi
  • 400/2: 02:22.80 / 09:09/mi

While running laps I don’t tend to check my watch much; I just listen to my body. I tell myself that at 10k pace I should be able to talk but with a little difficulty, and at 5k pace I should only be able to get a few curse words out here and there. It’s interesting to see how that lines up. Since I just recently ran a trial 5k at a 10:13/mi pace, it looks like I’m running these laps a little fast. Oops!

Thursday / Hills (3 mi)

Since my week had been so busy, I didn’t have time to properly roll my lower back or stretch it out. By Thursday morning my back pain had grown, but was still bearable. I went ahead with our hill workout.

Anyone that has true hills would likely scoff at our “hill” workouts. Really it’s not a hill … It’s a nearby neighborhood with a killer incline. You may scoff however you like. It still hurt. And, well … I hurt.

  • Distance: 3.03 mi
  • Time: 34:41.74
  • Avg Pace: 11:28/mi

Afterwards I came home to stretch, stretch, stretch.

Saturday / Long Run (14 mi)

I don’t have many good things to say about Saturday’s run. I was late to the start and was lucky to catch my group as they were headed out. It was hot and humid and I was in pain … a lot of it. I had foolishly decided to run despite my back pain.

Essentially, if I ran with perfect form I was fine. But any time I leaned a little bit too far forward or backward, pain would shoot up my back or down my left leg, giving me a slight jerk to the body. Early in the run I was able to maintain good form, but as my body got tired that changed. Before I knew it I was grunting in pain and body jerking every minute. I remember realizing we were only halfway through the run and wanting to cry.

Surprisingly I was able to get through the run, but I gave myself a lecture later. It’s that stubbornness that can cause an injury that can sideline me for weeks and I need to listen to my body, especially this early in my training.

After the run we got ice pops. That was the best damn ice pop ever.

  • Distance: 14.00 mi
  • Time: 03:04:12
  • Avg Pace: 13:09/mi

Cross Training

The back pain threw me off this week. I did do some squats after Tuesday and Thursday’s run and did some strength training for my hips. On Sunday I took a short bicycle ride to get lunch and I took the dogs on some extra long walks this week. Otherwise, I spent most of my time stretching and rolling and getting Icy Hot rub downs. Mmmm… I love smelling like Icy Hot. 😉

My back is feeling a little better today, but I’m going to swap tomorrow’s track workout for an easy run. My goal is to have my back back to normal before Saturday’s long run.

Have you ever trained through your injury? Was it worth it? 

Inside Out

20 Jun

insideout

When I’m this tired, I can’t be bothered with little things like trying to figure out which way my shirt goes on.

Oddly enough, it seems I’m creating quite the habit of putting on my running clothes inside out. Does this happen to anyone else? Or am I just “special”?

Chicago Marathon Training | Two Weeks In

17 Jun

In February I posted that I had lost my mind (aka signed up for another marathon). I suppose the decision to run another marathon must be very similar to deciding you want to have another child; eventually enough time passes where you forget how much you suffered and only remember the highlights of the experience and you decide to do it again. So here I am, in the midst of a very steamy and sticky Florida summer, two weeks into my training for the 2013 Chicago Marathon. Here’s how training has gone thus far …

Week 1:

Tuesday / Track

Tuesday morning I stepped back onto the track for the first time in quite a while. In the spirit of properly training for this race, I agreed to step back onto this round circle of death, but did so very tentatively. To welcome me back, the weather made sure it was extra hot and muggy for the special occasion. Our workout was 1200’s at race pace. In normal people terms: run three times around the track without burning out before you finish and do so without falling, tripping, and becoming a speed bump to other runners.

Against my better judgement, I agreed to run four sets with my running buddies and we took off. I can proudly say that none of us became human speed bumps. And our pace was pretty much on point. I think there was a point during our third set where I got tired and started to curse a lot in my head, but somehow I managed to clean up my language and get back on pace:

  • 1200/1: 07:46.59/09:53/mi
  • 1200/2: 07:45.05/09:51/mi
  • 1200/3: 08:04.75/10:21/mi
  • 1200/4: 07:47.94/09:54/mi

Afterwards I stretched the hell out of our legs. I will not have IT issues … I will not have IT issues … I will not have IT issues.

On a side note, running track caught up to me at work. I had to have a cup of black coffee in the afternoon to pep me up.

Thursday / Tempo Sleep 

There was torrential downpour when I woke up for my run. So naturally I went back to bed.

Sunday / Long Run (10 mi)

I couldn’t make Saturday’s first long run of the summer/fall session with my training group, so one of my running buddies offered to run with me on Sunday instead. It had been a while since either of us last ran 10 miles so we were both nervous that we wouldn’t be able to make it the full distance. However, I think our brains were so happy to not be running circles around the track, that we actually enjoyed the run! As usual for our long runs, we ran intervals (run five minutes/walk one minute).

Here’s how we did:

  • Distance: 10.01 mi
  • Time: 02:09.03
  • Avg Pace: 12:53/mi

I didn’t get any cross-training or yoga in, but I did ride my bicycle to a nearby bar and had to drag my dogs through the rain a lot. That counts, right?

Week 2:

Tuesday / Track

I seriously considered bailing on Tuesday track, but decided it was way too early in my training to start such shenanigans. Instead I dragged myself out of bed.

The workout was almost as bad as the prior week’s track workout. We had to run 2 to 4 sets of 1200 at 10k pace followed by 400 at 5k pace. In other words, run around the track three times, walk half the track, then run around once a little faster.

Again, against my better judgement, I agreed to do three sets with my running buddies. Realistically I thought I should start with just two sets since I was still rusty to the track. You can see me getting tired on the third set:

  • 1200/1: 07:38.42/09:42/mi
  • 400/1: 02:13.25/08:34/mi
  • 1200/2: 07:33.12/09:38/mi
  • 400/2: 02:18.91/08:52/mi
  • 1200/3: 07:38.03/09:45/mi
  • 400/3: 02:27.20/09:29/mi

The only reason the pace for the last 400 was any faster than the 1200 was because I sprinted at the end. As my friend Beth refers to it, I wanted to get off that hell train.

Thursday / 5k Time Trial

Thursday was hot. And muggy. And hot. It was like running a 5k in a sauna. But knowing your 5k pace is a good start to figuring out your marathon pace so I did it.

There was a brief moment at the start where I suddenly couldn’t remember if I had restarted my watch or just continued it from an old run so I had to try to figure that out. Since it was so dark, I had to run over to a light and it probably took about 10 seconds to see that I had in fact started my run fresh and could carry on with my 5k. Argh.

Since it was so hot, and we were running without intervals, there wasn’t much talking between myself and my running bud. There were, however, occasional grunts and curses that allowed us to know that the other was still alive and equally hating this as much as we were.

  • Distance: 3.14 mi
  • Time: 32:07.90
  • Avg Pace: 10:13/mi

Our time put us right in range for a 5:30 marathon, which is our goal so that made us both super happy. What would make me happier is less humidity.

Saturday / Long Run (12 mi)

Saturday I had to take my boo to the airport before my long run so lucky me got an extra early 3:45 AM wake-up call. An hour and half, one egg-and-oatmeal pancake and a coffee later, I was happy to be taking off with the old crew for twelve miles.

Our run went much better than expected. It was hot, but in comparison to the workouts earlier in the week, running intervals seemed so much easier. We played a fun game of “we need to find a bathroom” mid-run and encountered peacocks on the roof of a house.

  • Distance: 12 mi
  • Time: 02:43:07
  • Avg Pace: 13:35/mi

After the run a fellow runner kindly offered us some ice-cold chocolate milk. Chocolate milk is the best recovery drink and at first it sounded and tasted like a good idea. But for a girl that hasn’t had a glass of milk in quite some time, it turned into a bad idea. Oh well… it was a nice reminder that dairy is the devil. Or at least that’s what I will tell myself the next time someone offers me some delicious ice-cold chocolate milk.

Again, I got in no cross-training. But I did go to the mall with my mom and my sister to look for a special dress for my Sis. Again… that has to count for something, right?

So far I’m feeling pretty good and I’m looking forward to week three of Chicago Marathon training. This week is a another super busy week for me, but I’m going to make an extra effort to fit in two yoga sessions. And I’m going to try to curse less during the track workout. Wish me luck on that one. 😉