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Chicago Marathon Training | Week 14

9 Sep

Week 14 of my Chicago Marathon Training has come and gone. It was a relaxing week for me since I had a one week break between my MBA courses. This meant that I was finally able to do some laundry, pick up the mess that follows me everywhere I go around the house and catch up with my husband and lady friends.

Here’s how my training went:

Tuesday Monday / Track Nice Leisurely Run

Some running friends were meeting at 7 AM on Labor Day for a 7-mile run. I knew that most of my other running friends were coming back from trips and rated their chances of bailing on track as very high. I decided to wake up early on my holiday so that I wouldn’t have to run track by myself the next day. I hate running track by myself.

I am definitely a vampire running. Running in daylight was killer. I quickly began to curse our late 7 AM start time.

And I forgot my watch, so I ran clueless to time and mileage. That part was lovely!

Also, I made the right decision. No one ended up running track on Tuesday morning. Lonely runner crisis averted.

Thursday / 9 miles 7 miles

I was scheduled to run 9 miles, but since I ran 7 miles on Monday, I decided to take it easy with just 7 miles on Thursday morning. Since we were running hills on Saturday, we stuck to flat lands on our run.

  • Distance: 7 mi
  • Time: 1:27:25
  • Avg Pace: 12.29/mi

Saturday / Long Run (12 miles) (10 miles)

If the hills had eyes, they would have witnessed many runners on Saturday.

Our group drove out to Apopka for some “hill training.” I’ve tried to avoid hill training at all costs this training session because I think too many hills strain my IT band. However, one of our team members had to put water out in Apopka so we were guilted into supporting her. Otherwise she would have to run hills all by her lonesome. I agreed to run, but decided to cut my mileage by a couple of miles. In my eyes, 12 regular miles equals 10 hilly miles. 🙂

I arrived about 10 minutes early to our meeting spot. Apparently the further from home we run, the closer to on time I get. I quickly noticed I was the only one from our group there. I was deep in thoughts considering how I excited I would be to sleep in my car when some other group members arrived to join the run. Boo. No car sleeping.

A few minutes later the group was there and we set out for our run. Apopka seemed unusually dark and there was a fog rolling over the hills. We couldn’t see much on our first big loop.

However, on our second loop it was lighter out and the fog had lifted. Now I could clearly see the top of that hill I was running on! The top seemed so far away. I think I liked running in the darkness and fog better.

Before we knew it, 10 miles were done. We walked it back a mile for a nice cool down.

  • Distance: 10.10 mi
  • Time: 02:17:24
  • Avg Pace: 13:36/mi

Afterwards I met some friends for breakfast and then headed to Starbucks for my cheat treat: my first pumpkin spice latte of the season! I made it a little less horrible for me by ordering it with skim milk and just one pump of pumpkin spice syrup (anything more than that is just too sweet now). It was delicious.

I enjoyed a lazy weekend with my husband. Today I start class again and I’m sure life will be a whirlwind until I leave for Chicago in just over a month from now. I’m starting to get excited about the marathon!

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Chicago Marathon Training | Weeks 8-13

3 Sep

Since I started my MBA program at the end of July, training for the Chicago Marathon has called for some serious flexibility. Plus, my beautiful little sister got married to her best friend! August was a fun, but hectic month.

Here’s how training with a crazy busy schedule went:

Week 8:

Tuesday / Track Tempo (4 mi)

What can I say? I’m easily talked into ditching the track for the road. This was proof. 🙂

  • Distance: 4.14 mi
  • Time: 49:46.37
  • Avg Pace: 12:01/mi

Thursday / Tempo (6 mi)

  • Distance: 6.01 mi
  • Time: 01:12:24
  • Avg Pace: 12:03/mi

Sunday / Long Run (14 mi)

I started my MBA program on Saturday and had class all day. Lucky for me, my Chicago Marathon training partner, Beth, agreed to run long with me on Sunday.

We spent a lot of time laughing and hunting for drinking water. We also got lost towards the end of the run when spontaneously trying out a new route. This really made some of the final miles go by quickly.

  • Distance: 14 mil
  • Time: 03:04:53
  • Avg Pace: 13:12/mi

Week 9:

I had classes Wednesday night and all day Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Plus, my little Sister got married on Saturday and my bro was in town. Let’s just say that I had to temporarily cease my RedBull ban .

Tuesday / Track (8 mi)

The 4 AM wake-up call during a crazy busy week was brutal, but needed in order to maintain my weekly mileage. The good thing about running so far this early is that you’re usually halfway through your run before you even wake up.

  • Distance: 8.37 mi
  • Time: 01:56:08
  • Avg Pace: 13.52/mi

Thursday / Tempo (6 mi) (8 mi)

This was my first time running parking garages. Surprisingly, they weren’t as bad as I thought they would be!

We ran mile repeats for about 3 miles to our first parking garage structure. Once we arrived, I took a deep breathe and charged up to the top floor (I believe there were 4 floors). Once we got to the top, we walked a glorious lap around the top floor (where the wind temporarily cooled me off) then headed back down. We ran to a nearby second parking garage structure and did this one more time. Running back on the flat road seemed really easy afterwards!

  • Distance: 7.83 mi (though I’m told we lose GPS in the parking garages)
  • Time: 01:55:38
  • Avg Pace: 14:45/mi

Saturday / Long Run (20 mi) School and my Sister’s Wedding!

Okay, so I didn’t do my long run, but this day should practically count. I spent all week mentally preparing myself for what I knew would be an extremely long day.

I had to report at school at 8 AM. Our teams had four hours to write a paper and prepare a presentation. Then we had one hour to eat lunch while practicing for our presentation. Our group went first, so it was nice to get it out of the way. We then received feedback from our peers and professors on our presentations.

Next I was making a mad dash home to change into something more appropriate for celebrating. As soon as I walked in the door I asked my husband to pour me a cocktail. My most important speech of the day was still ahead of me: my toast to my little Sis and her new husband.

One drink and a party dress later, I was ready to celebrate and toast the beautiful couple. My sister is spontaneous, fun and laid-back and her wedding was a great reflection of that. It was a beautiful night and fun times were had by all!

DSC02046

My Sis and Me

Week 10:

Tuesday / Track (6 x 800’s)

I love running 800’s, mainly out of curiosity. There’s a workout called the Yasso 800’s which is accompanied by a very loose theory.

In describing the theory, Bart Yasso said:

I’ve been doing this particular workout for about 15 years, and it always seems to work for me. If I can get my 800s down to 2 minutes 50 seconds, I’m in 2:50 marathon shape. If I can get down to 2:40 (minuses), I can run a 2:40 marathon. I’m shooting for a 2:37 marathon right now, so I’m running my 800s in 2:37.

Based on Yasso’s theory, I should be running a marathon in about 5:15. Admittedly that is a bit too fast for me, but it’s not far from my 5:30 goal.

  • 800 / 1: 05:08.06 / 09:55/mi
  • 800 / 2: 05:17.34 / 10:07/mi
  • 800 / 3: 05:15.47 / 10:09/mi
  • 800 / 4: 05:14.95 / 10:03/mi
  • 800 / 5: 05:10.62 / 09:56/mi
  • 800 / 6: 05:14.25 / 10:12/mi

Thursday / Tempo (7 mi)

We ran Thursday’s tempo run with mile repeats. As my Thursday mileage creeps up, so does my wake-up time. Setting your alarm for 3:20 AM is normal, right?

  • Distance: 7 mi
  • Time: 01:26:05
  • Avg Pace: 12:17/mi

Saturday / Long Run (12 mi) (16 mi)

In order to make up for some lost milage, my wonderful group leader Em met up with me at 4 AM to run an early four miles before the rest of the group joined us. Once the sun rose, I saw myself quickly deteriorating. Lucky for me I only had about an hour and a half of sun running.

  • Distance: 16.23 mi
  • Time: 04:03:25
  • Avg Pace: 14:59/mi

Week 11:

Tuesday / Track 

I have no idea if I ran. My Garmin doesn’t have a run recorded, but that could mean I forgot my watch. Don’t worry; I won’t let this mystery keep me up at night.

Thursday / Tempo (7 mi)

These were seven sweaty miles. Also, I was apparently having issues remembering my Garmin, so I have no idea how long it took us.

Saturday / Long Run (14 mi) (18 mi)

Still trying to make up for some lost mileage, I opted to run an extra four miles early in the morning before our start for 14 miles. I was happy to have a friend join me. Misery loves company. 🙂

I remember one thing about this run: the humidity. It was brutal. It actually felt better later in the day when the sun came up and burned up some of that humidity.

  • Distance: 18.12 mi
  • Time: 04:17:33
  • Avg Pace: 14:12/mi

Week 12:

Tuesday / Track Tempo (3 mi)

Since I ran long on Saturday, I quickly agreed to go on a short run instead of hitting the track. It felt like I was running with weights around my ankles.

  • Distance: 3.26 mi
  • Time: 30:10.47
  • Avg Pace: 12:01/mi

Thursday / Hills (8 mi)

On deck for the morning were parking garages. This time around I wasn’t as scared as I was the first time. Instead, I chased my running buddy Jean up the inclines.

  • Distance: 7.57 mi (I’m told we lose GPS in the garages)
  • Time: 01:36:30
  • Avg Pace: 12:44/mi

Saturday / Long Run (20 mi) School

Week 13:

Tuesday / Track Tempo (3 mi)

I woke up to see  texts from my running partners canceling on the morning’s track run. I decided to sleep in for an hour and run 3 miles locally.

On a side note, I ended up leaving for my run at 6:40 AM and not long after saw my mistake. As I was busy playing “dodge the bad, adolescent drivers” I realized that the local high school was back in session.

The run was slow and my legs felt heavy. Plus, I got caught at a lot of intersections, but I can’t say that I minded the breaks terribly. 🙂

  • Distance: 3.24 mi
  • Time: 40:03.00
  • Avg Pace: 12:22/mi

Thursday / Tempo (8 mi) Sleep 

When I woke up at 3 AM and saw that my only running partner that was still in town for the holiday had sent a bail-out text just an hour earlier, I made the proper decision to roll over and go back to bed.

Saturday / Long Run (10 mi)

It was a holiday weekend and an OYO run. A handful of us got together to run 10 miles.

I’m starting to think I’m a vampire. As soon as the sun comes up I start melting.

  • Distance: 10.58 mi
  • Time: 02:23:57
  • Avg Page: 13:36/mi

Afterwards we decided to change up our breakfast routine. A holiday run deserves a special breakfast, right?

We had breakfast as The Briar Patch. It was indulgent and delicious. I split the southern breakfast … eggs and fried green tomatoes and sugar-cured bacon and cheese grits oh my!

Breakfast from The Briar Patch

Breakfast from The Briar Patch

Even splitting my breakfast left me stuffed! I also stole a bite of those stuffed blueberry pancakes. They. Were. Amazing. Also, I’m pretty sure they lead to heart attacks, so eat at your own risk. My friend didn’t get very far before she had to throw in the towel.

Only six more weeks until the Chicago Marathon. I can’t believe it. It will be here before I know it!

When I realized that there’s no way I can run this weekend’s long run …

31 Jul

happy-dance-

Source

Between school this weekend and my little Sister’s wedding, I have no spare time to run 20 miles. Sometimes you just have to skip a run. I’ll consider a reward for all of my hard work. 😉

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!