Tag Archives: long slow run

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.


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:


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.


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!


My First 20-Miler

20 Nov

First 20-Miler

Yesterday I did something that I never thought possible: I ran 20 miles.

I just looked up the distance from my house in downtown Orlando to my mom’s house in Lake Mary and it’s 18 miles. The fact that I could’ve run home to visit my mom is absolutely insane to me. And yet I more than covered that distance yesterday.

My morning started up early Saturday with a 3:25 AM wake-up time. As I rolled out of bed, I couldn’t help but think that there were people probably just finishing their Friday nights. I rolled my legs with my BFF foam roller and got dressed while Donnie went out to the living room. Since we had fallen asleep at 9 PM the night before, he was wide awake.

When I walked out to the kitchen, I stared in the pantry and asked him “What do you think I should have for breakfast?” “Life,” he said. (If anyone watches The Soup like we religiously do, they you’ll get the reference to a bad scene from a soap opera where the dumb hunk says “It’s not what’s for breakfast any more. It’s what’s for life.”) Since life was too much for me to handle at that hour, I settled for some wheat bread with my new favorite peanut butter: Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams.

My new favorite peanut butter. Don't mind the smudge... I was just snacking on some. 😉

I left Donnie on the couch watching the movie Heat and drove to the spot where I was meeting the rest of my group. My friend, Christina, is training for the Walt Disney Marathon too and this was going to be her first time running 20 miles too. We started our run both excited and nervous. I reminded myself to take it one mile at a time.

Surprisingly, our first 10 miles went by pretty fast. I didn’t even check my distance until we were about six miles in and that’s because someone asked me to. I remember at one point asking my group to not ask me how far we’d run because I didn’t want to know. Don’t worry, this ignorance-is-bliss thing changed around mile 16. 😉

Our first 10-mile loop took us back to our meeting spot, so I took the opportunity to use the bathroom real quick and run over to my car and reapply glide under my sports bra. After a short break, we were on the road again. This time there were only three of us: Christina, Emily and me.

I need to mention that since the majority of our group has already run their fall marathons, our support for this long run was scarce. Our awesome group leaders, Sue and Emily, wanted to make sure that us noobs had support, so they developed a plan. Sue was experiencing some ankle problems and is running the Space Coast Marathon next weekend, so she decided to drive her car along the route and make sure we were okay. Emily, who’s also running the Space Coast Marathon, was on a taper, so she ran every other 2 to 3 miles with us, and rode with Sue the rest of the time.

The best parts about this plan:

  • This resulted in making Sue that creepy lady sitting in parking lots by herself. She got quite a few dirty looks from other runners, parents, etc. Awesome.
  • Emily’s little breaks gave her extra energy for the portions she did run with us. We fed off that energy.
  • It made us laugh every time they would ride along our side and yell encouragement as they sipped on their Starbucks Gingerbread lattes.
  • When it was dark, the car lights lit the rode ahead of us.
  • I was reassured knowing that if something happened to either of us, help was nearby.

What they both did for us was pretty awesome. They both went above and beyond and I can’t thank them enough.

Somewhere in the midst of our second 10-mile leg, Sue leaned out her window and told us that at the next stop we would be getting Atomic Energy Bites. This seemed to put a little pep in Christina’s step since she’d had some before. I, on the other hand, had only heard of this energy chew so I lacked her enthusiasm. I told Sue that it seemed like she was dangling a carrot in front of us. She said she was.

They don’t seem to have a website, so I still question the legality of Atomic Energy Bites and whether they are in fact FDA approved. But let me tell you, these things WORK. Within minutes I had a newfound pep in my step.

Here’s a pic of us right either right before or right after we took the Atomic Energy Bites:

Feeling strong around mile 17

If you ask me, we looked pretty strong regardless. 🙂

We then started to play the name game in order to distract us. This did the job for a couple of miles. But then we got bored and moved to the Food Game after Sue suggested it from her car.

She explained the rules of the Food Game: For your first mile, try to name as many food items that start with the letter A. For the second mile, do the same with the letter B and so on and so forth. We decided to break it down into 5-minute increments instead. I don’t think she intended for this to be such a funny game, but that’s what it became. I’m pretty sure delirium (and Atomic Energy Bites) had settled in at the point. Let’s just say that for the letter D, the first food I could come up with was “dead animal” and then I almost peed my pants laughing. I also insisted that “anaconda” was a food that people ate (people eat snake, right?).

At this point we were laughing uncontrollably. At one point we got to an intersection and realized we didn’t know which way to turn. We turned back to look at Sue’s car and then laughed so hard that it took approximately 20 seconds for me to spit out my question, “Which way do we go??” Sue took this opportunity to capture video. I swear, I look drunk in the video.

At mile 18 Emily joined us for the final two miles of our run. By this point my IT in my left leg was hurting me and the laughter had wore off. It was a quiet two miles where I started checking our distance every few seconds while Emily shouted the occasional encouragement.

Finally, my watch hit mile 20 and I yelled “stop!” and we started walking. And then the neighborhood tyrant rode his bicycle by us and cursed us out. I’m told he has Tourette Syndrome, but I think he must have something else too, because I didn’t think Tourette made you flick people off too. I pretended he was the crowd at the finish line, and instead of yelling “You stupid motherf#%@” he was yelling “Awesome job!”

Afterwards I went home and sat in my car for a few minutes while I contemplated how I would get out of the car. Donnie poked his head out of the front door and sent Rex, one of my two pugs, out to get me. I managed to get out and pet Rex and shuffle into my house, where I took an ice bath, a nice long, hot shower, and remained on the couch for the rest of the day.

Have you ever tried Atomic Energy Bites? Or do you have another other energy chews you use on your long runs?

10 Miles, 3 Peacocks and a Hawk on a Wire

13 Nov

Yesterday my marathon training plan for the Walt Disney World Marathon called for a 10 to 14 mile run. Since I’m coming back from injury, I opted for 10 miles and met the group at 6:30 am. After last week’s IT problems during our 16-miler, I made sure I was there early enough for some much needed dynamic stretching before the start.

I’m often worried before our long runs that I will become bored. I think this stems from training for my last two half marathons by myself. Boredom tempts me to cut my mileage short. And talk to myself. But that’s normal, right?

It’s usually not a problem these days since I now train with my Track Shack Marathonfest ladies (and one gent). Running with a group helps keep the conversation going, and it distracts me from the mile at hand. Also, for long slow runs, my ability to converse (or lack thereof) helps me determine if I pacing correctly: If I can talk with only short gasps for air, I’m okay on pace; If I’m gasping for air, I need to slow down.

Yesterday was full of wonderful distractions (none of which were pain, which is a very bad distraction):

  • Marine Corp Marathon and New York City Marathon: Two of our runners recently ran these races and it was their first time rejoining the group since their marathons. Since these are two races I want to run, I wasted no time asking them for full race recaps.
  • Hawk on a telephone wire: We stopped to look at this beautiful bird, but I must admit it was a little nervous that it would mistake my pony tail for prey and it would swoop down and get me. I did not stop to take a photo.
  • Three peacocks in a tree: First of all, I didn’t even know peacocks could fly up that high! And to find not one, but three peacocks perched in the same tree? This was picture-worthy:

From this angle I could only capture one peacock, but the other two are perched in the same tree. Look smack in the middle of the photo to see it.

  •  The pumpkin scarecrow family: Last week during our 16-miler, we ran by a family of pumpkin scarecrows that I became convinced was placed there to cheer us on during our run. This week I decided to get a photo of me high-fiving our number one supporters:

Me high-fiving my biggest supporters

In the end, yesterday’s run went really well. Afterwards, I took off for my much anticipated day at Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival.

Have you seen anything on a run recently that you wished you could’ve capture on camera?