Tag Archives: training for Chicago Marathon

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!

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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? 

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. 😉