Tag Archives: marathonfest

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!


A Strong Fourteen Miles

1 Apr

Earlier today I posted my April Fool’s blog for the day, announcing that I was going to quit running. If you read down to the bottom, you caught that I would denounce this decision by Tuesday morning, when my next run is scheduled. Hee hee.

And while the reasons were quite honest (I really do hate waking up early and I miss sleeping in on Saturday mornings), I do believe that the benefits of running far outweigh these cons. Besides, running keeps me from going cray cray. 🙂

Since yesterday’s long training run was to be 10 to 14 miles, I set out for our run at 6 AM with the intent to run 10 miles. This is what happens when you give me a range… I mentally commit to the lowest mileage.

However, the stars were aligned yesterday and I felt so good that I ran just over 14 miles. Aside from the bug that stalked me for two blocks, I thoroughly enjoyed the run. Maybe it was my new favorite yummy running snack, the Vanilla Organic Stinger Waffle, that put a pep in my step. Or maybe it was the Mexican food I had for dinner the night before. Whatever it was, it worked!

Around mile 13 I convinced my wonderful Marathonfest group leaders to pose for this pic with me. I’m pretty sure they were welcoming the sit down break. 🙂

My group leaders, Emily and Sue, and I cheesin' at 13 miles

It really was the perfect day for a run! And with the Flying Pig Marathon only five weeks away, it was good to have a positive run!

Afterwards, one of my group mates and I doubled back to Panera. We wanted coffee badly.

Here were my run stats:

  • Distance: 14.29 miles
  • Time: 03:18:01
  • Avg Pace: 13:51/mile
Afterwards I headed home to begin a weekend of much needed rest.
Did you get your sweat on outside this weekend? 

Road Kill Saturday

19 Dec

On my last long run before my taper for the Walt Disney World Marathon, we saw no less than four dead carcasses on our run. The road kill was horrid, and the run was almost as bad. Let’s start at the beginning.

Friday night I had trouble falling asleep. Because I didn’t leave my job until almost 9 PM and still had to go buy dog food before grabbing dinner, I didn’t actually walk through my front door until 9:30 or so. Perhaps it was the eating dinner so late that made it difficult for me to fall asleep. Or the nerves. Or both. I even typed up my fears in this post as I laid in bed.

My post must’ve been a premonition of what was to come.

The first thing to go wrong: I slept through my alarm for an hour. It was one of those times where the alarm becomes part of your dream, and for the life of you, you can’t figure out why the phone won’t stop ringing in your dream. And then you wake up and realize it was your alarm the whole time. This is exactly what happened. I woke up in a startle and looked at my clock. The time read 4:21 AM. My alarm had been going off for an hour.

I tumbled out of bed and for the next 45 minutes was in a hazed panic. I called my group and arranged to meet them along the route at 5 AM. Unfortunately there was a bit of phone tag and a voicemail message was left on my phone instructing me to meet my group in a location I was unfamiliar with. Meanwhile I was tearing my house apart looking for my ankle brace, which had apparently gone into hiding.

After also having difficulty finding my fuel, I finally gave up on the ankle brace and raced out the door without stopping to pull up directions. I got lost and missed the 5 AM meet-up time, so I headed to the next  water stop.

I thought I would only have to wait 20 minutes for my group to arrive at this next location. It was cold, but I jumped out of my car to do some dynamic stretches. Soon, twenty minutes turned into forty minutes. I started to run around in a circle in order to stay warm and start working up my mileage. As the clock hit 6 AM, I realized I was losing those precious before sunrise hours and had to get going. Just as I headed out to start 20+ miles on my own, my group showed up. Thank God. That would’ve been a long, long run without my iPod.

My group was 6 miles into their run. My laps around the waiting area had knocked my mileage up to 1 mile, so I was only 5 miles behind them. I’m usually pretty chatty when I run, but at this point I was so frustrated with my morning that I was silent. Silent for 2 whole miles. This is unheard of for me. But all I could think of is after my group finishes their 22 miles, I was still going to have 5 more miles to run… by myself… without my iPod. I was horrified.

A couple miles into my run, we got to play my favorite game “Find an open bathroom” for one of my group members. Lucky for her I just happened to know where a nearby 7-11 was and led the way. We then headed to our next stop to meet up with the rest of the group that was joining us for the back half of the run. I think I was at 7 miles when we met up.

It was soon brought to my attention that I had taken over the role of group bitch. This distressed the former holder of said title and she vowed to regain the title. Meanwhile I just laughed. It took my group six months to figure this out? Impressive.

Every couple of miles we stumbled past some road kill. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was what I would look like towards the end of my run.

There were three highlights to the run:

  • The Street Drug Game – Go through the alphabet naming as many street drugs as possible for each letter. Things got a little hairy when I insisted (very loudly) that ‘beer’ was indeed a street drug.
  • The Sex Swing – We ran past this swing early during the training season and I’ve been wanting to capture it on camera since then. This totally looks like it belongs in someone’s bedroom, not their front yard:

  • I Sweat Pretty – This is exactly what the back of my group leader’s shirt said to me with her heart-shaped sweat mark on her lower back.

I broke off from my group around 16 miles into my run. They ran back to their original start point while I ran back towards my start point. By this point the sun had come up and was beating down on me. “Crap,” I thought, “I forgot to put on sunblock.”

My original plan had been to run to my car, get some water at the water stop, and then extend the run for whatever mileage was needed for me to hit 22 miles and end up back at my car. But when I got to the water stop, they were taking the water down. I filled up one last time and changed my route to run home. That would get me to 20 miles, I could grab some water from my house and then add on another 2 miles and have water available at the end of my run. I would just ask Donnie and his dad, who was visiting, to go get my car for me.

At the end of a long run, there’s not much rational thinking going on, so I was impressed that I had even been able to come up with that plan. However, halfway to my house I realized I had forgotten to grab my house key. At this point I wasn’t turning around, so I kept running. I decided to run on a more popular road in case Donnie and his pops happened to drive by. Thank God I did, because they did drive by on their way to breakfast and pulled over when they saw me. We did a quick key exchanged and I kept chugging along.

Around this point (18 miles), my IT band started to hurt. At 19 miles it was throbbing and by 20 miles I was having trouble bending my leg. I knew that if I stopped at my house for water I would end the run, so I tried to keep going. But I didn’t make it far. Whilst grunting I realized it was time to just call it and walked home.

It took 5:02:22 for me to cover 20.85 miles with some breaks along the way. I walked unto my front porch and sunk down into one of our porch chairs. Then I mustered the energy to make it inside my house, sprawled out on the hard wood floor, just like the unusually high amount of road kill we had run by all morning, and fell asleep for 10 minutes.

Then Team Hemarie (Donnie and his Pops) arrived with a big breakfast and three bags of ice for me. Their words of encouragement and the french toast made me feel better. And the ice bath made me curse. And scream. And helped reduce my swelling.

The first 16 miles of my run weren’t bad at all. I actually felt pretty good! And miles 16 to 18 were just lonely and hot. But when the IT pain hit me, I knew I only had a matter of time before I would lose the mobility of my leg.

I’m going to have to pay extra attention on leg before the marathon to try to delay the inevitable IT pain for as long as possible.

And now I’m officially tapering for my marathon. Let’s hope my alarm goes off for that one!