Chicago Marathon Training Week 2

Monday, June 17: 4.01 miles in 40:32 for a 10:07 pace.
Infuriating is not hearing your Garmin beep that last mile and stopping your watch at .01. Hate those little additional numbers. I wasn’t entirely sure how my Monday evening was going to shape up, so I opted to do NovaCare’s strength training before running. This meant I was pre-sweaty before I even got outside to run, and whoa baby was it a warm one on Monday. I really made a conscious effort to take it easy since I haven’t run in that much heat in a long time, but I still turned in a 9:29 first mile. Whyyyyy?? My pace slowed a lot as the run went on, though. It was definitely a tough one for me since I despise running in anything resembling heat, but I know uncomfortable runs are really important for training, since there’s nothing comfortable about running 26.2 miles. I’m hoping more suffering now = less suffering in October.


It doesn’t show up super well on the picture, but my hat was soaked through with sweat. Attractive. I refueled throughout this run on Flying Protein, aka gnats. If they weren’t affixing themselves to my shirt, they were either flying into my eyes or mouth. So that was fun. I also ran through my hip hop routine a couple of times later that evening, but my tummy wasn’t feeling super great so that didn’t last quite as long as I had hoped.

Tuesday, June 18: cross training.
Danced my face off, and then danced some more. So much sweat. Tuesday was graduation (I have now “graduated” from hip hop four times, which either makes me the worse student ever or a super senior. Or a grad student. Let’s go with grad student), and much to my dismay, my teacher wanted us to actually dress “well” for graduation this time, i.e.: no sweatpants and t-shirts. THE WORST. So instead I danced in skinny jeans, which surprise! Don’t breathe like baggy sweatpants. See: so much sweat.

Late Tuesday afternoon, I got up from my desk at work and out of absolutely nowhere had a sharp pain in my right hip. I had walked around plenty already that day with no pain whatsoever, so this was really weird, unexpected, and a bit concerning. The sharp pain came back a couple times later throughout the day (almost always when I started walking after not walking for awhile), but dulled to an ache throughout the evening/night. I honestly have NO idea what sparked this. Based on my symptoms, I promptly Internet diagnosed myself with trochanteric bursitis.

Wednesday, June 19: 4 miles in 39:43 for a 9:55 pace.
Another weekday run, another too-speedy four miles. At least the weather was picture perfect! Love me some comfortable running weather. I spent a highly awkward mile of this run playing leap frog with another woman. I must have passed her at least four times, and she passed me four or five as well. SO awkward. I promise I wasn’t trying to be competitive! We just happened to be running at inconvenient, inconsistent paces! I also strength trained for about 20 minutes before the run, which I think might be my new thing. I don’t like having to do anything but stretch and foam roll when I get home from a run, so knocking out a quick and easy circuit before running is the best way to make sure I don’t skip it.

My hip was kind of on and off all day. Sometimes it was achy–mostly when I was thinking about it–but other times it didn’t bother me at all. If I don’t have trochanteric bursitis, it’s probably just my chronic hypochondria flaring up. Definitely one or the other. It was achy on my run, but not painful, and I do think there’s a difference between the two. I just wish I had an explanation for this totally random injury. Hips of 22 year olds should not be injured in the process of standing up from their desk chairs!

Thursday, June 20: 30 minutes biking.
CARA’s novice marathon training program calls for four days of running per week, which made me nervous from the get-go. I didn’t trust that my legs could handle that without trouble, so before training started I reworked the program to sub in biking for running once every couple of weeks. I had planned on biking Thursday instead of running all along, and with my random hip issue, I was really glad that I didn’t have to run. I knocked out half an hour on the stat bike and worked up a nice sweat while getting some reading done in the process. My hip bugged me for a fair portion of the morning but felt totally fine while biking and continued to feel fine throughout the night, despite walking about 2.25 miles in not-at-all-supportive sandals over the course of the evening. A miraculous healing? Evidence that I’m just suffering from hypochondria, not bursitis?

Friday, June 21: rest

Saturday, June 22: 7 miles in 1:18:51 for a 11:08 pace.
I woke up Friday morning with that awful first-day-of-a-cold feeling and quickly dove into the five stages of grief, which is how I generally deal with illness. I spent a fair portion of Friday in denial (“I’m not really sick. Maybe it’s just allergies?”) followed by bargaining (“If I eat really well tonight and go to bed on time, I’ll feel better in the morning!”), and then regressed to anger Saturday morning (“Who gets colds in June?!?! COME ON, BODY! Work with me here!”) when I realized I legitimately had a cold. Since I’ve had plenty of colds in my life, I skipped over depression and went straight to acceptance, but not happily, given the fact that I had seven miles on tap for Saturday morning.

I was already on the fence about running with the 10:30s, so with my newfound congestion I decided it’d be best to run with the 11:00s this week. To be honest, I wasn’t really feelin’ it. I didn’t really like the vibe of the 11:00s, which probably is not a good enough reason to not run with them. At the beginning of the run our pace felt excruciatingly slow, which was also not particularly enjoyable, but it felt all right at the end. I was tired, but more in a “I haven’t run 7 miles since last September and this is just generally exhausting because of that” sense rather than a “That was really hard on my physical endurance” sense, if that makes any, um, sense. I didn’t have trouble maintaining the pace, is what I’m trying to say. But I didn’t have much that much trouble maintaining the 10:30 pace last week, either. GAH. It’s just all so confusing! I’m not sure what I’m “supposed” to be training at, since I have very minimal time goals for the marathon (finish in 4:59:59 or less, which should be attainable training at either 10:30 or 11:00) and feel like all the time guidance I receive just confuses me more. We got info from CARA this week on what our long run pace should be, and they said for slow pokes like me, it should be about :30 slower than our goal marathon pace. But I don’t HAVE a goal marathon pace! I just want to finish it! 4:59:59 is not my goal pace at all, and if it was, I should be training with the 12:00s. No thank you. If I thought 11:00 was slow, I can’t imagine how awful 12:00 would be. I mean…I don’t konw. I guess I wouldn’t mind finishing around 4:30ish? 4:45ish? But I really don’t care. I’m sure I’m overthinking all of this. It’s just tricky when you’re running with a group, you know? Because when you train on your own, you can just let your body do its own thing, but that doesn’t work when you’re in a pacing group. By the same token, though, I think I really do need to be training with a group for the motivation aspect of it. I did NOT want to run on Saturday. I felt congested and gross, I was in an all-around crappy mood due to the fact that half of my close social circle in Chicago left for a three week trip on Friday morning, and honestly, running seven miles was the last thing I wanted to do on Saturday morning. But I did it, and I know the only reason I was successful was because I was in the middle of a group. Pros and cons, for sure. Honestly, at the end of the day it’s probably more important for me to get my miles in period than get them in at a certain speed, so ultimately I think training with CARA is good for me.

In short: I did not enjoy Saturday’s run for a variety of reasons, but I got my miles in, so yay.

I also had breakdance for an hour in the afternoon. Fortunately the teacher I had Saturday prefers the “Let me teach you __ number of moves and then we’ll string them all together” method rather than the “Let me teach you a combo and we’ll see how many times we can run it until you collapse in a heap on the floor” method. Much better when I’ve already run seven miles. Also, I definitely have NOT practiced breakdance enough lately. Ugh. I swear there’s no skill I lose quicker without practice than breakdance. Must. Practice. Consistently.

Sunday, June 23: cross training.
Aka softball. We smoked our opponents by I think 10 runs? I lost track after we finished the first inning 10-0. None of this was thanks to me, mind you, though I did improve exponentially as the game went on. I was the only girl from my team to really show up on Sunday (one other official girl on my team was there, but she has a broken finger and can’t play, while two other girlfriends-of-boy-teammates got roped into subbing), and since you have to alternate guys and girls in the batting order, I got a lot of practice. Normally I have maybe two or three at-bats — I had at least seven on Sunday. I am, without question, the worst hitter on our team by a LONG shot, but I think I hit the ball on my last three at-bats? Last four? I don’t remember. All I know is I hit the ball and hit it relatively far, and that made me happy. Not striking out in general makes me happy. I also ended up walking around a lot on Sunday, which was THE WORST since it was stupid hot.

I definitely don’t feel like I’m in the honeymoon stage of marathon training anymore, but that’s all right. I’m still enjoying it for the most part and am relatively happy with where I am in the whole process. My hip hasn’t really bugged me at all since Thursday, so that’s good. I’m going to keep an eye on it and will probably stop into a sports doctor if it starts to get cranky and doesn’t stop being cranky, but for the moment I’m not *too* concerned about the situation. I’m more concerned about this cold, which, on top of the too-hot weather, has done nothing for my already crappy mood. I know that crappy moods = crappy runs almost every time for me, so I’m hoping I can shake my self-pity sooner rather than later so it doesn’t affect my training too much this week.

10 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 2

  1. Sounds like a great week of training, girl (minus the sick thing…i’ve been fighting a sinus thing for a few weeks now so i feel your pain). Trying to find a groove that works for you is hard, but i think you’re doing awesome! If i were you and i wasn’t feeling the vibe of one pace group, i’d probably go with the other just because for me, enjoying the people in my pace group is a little more important than time.,.plus, we rarely stick with the time we start out with as it is haha..,usually end up faster 😛

    • WEEKS?! That’s not what I want to hear! I want this madness gone by Friday, if not sooner! Haha. All fingers crossed I get my way 😛

      Our pace groups are actually really, really good about time. The pacers really know what they’re doing, and both weeks we’ve been pretty much spot on. Maybe a couple seconds off per mile every now and again, but by and large we’re right where we’re supposed to be. I don’t know how they do it — I am NOT that consistent of a runner on my own!

  2. This has some good exercises for your hips and core that you can do easily at home:

    Sorry I missed you on your run Saturday. I saw Kelsey, but I couldn’t find you. Wear a big hat next time! Speaking off, I can see the sweat in the hat! that’s a sign of effort!

    The flying protein has been GROSS this week. They get stuck on my body, neck… eat them, choke on them, barf.

    Good luck on the next week of training and being healthy!

  3. Every so often one of my hips/butt/hamstring will get achey when I’m sitting in my chair at work and I find that it helps to stand up, stretch, and walk around a bit. I actually mentioned it to my PT last time it happened in my hamstring and she felt around and found… nothing. Turns out that sometimes our muscles swell (heat, miles, etc.) and can pinch nerves. She recommended stretching, icing, foam rolling, and avoiding the where does it hurt runnersworld forum haha. Maybe something similar is going on with you. By all means, you need to listen to your body during training and stop if things start really hurting but don’t forget that you’re pushing your body harder and farther than you have before. It’s not always going to feel good, what’s important is figuring out how to distinguish between training aches and pains and pre-injury pain. It’s not easy though! I struggle with it too!

    I think you should run with the 10:30s. If you like the group better I say go with it. There may be other runners there too who fall in between the two groups and perhaps you can run with them so that if the pace gets too fast you can slow down? Plus, I believe the CARA groups stop for water and bathroom breaks right? That might be enough of a rest that you can keep up with the 10:30s. You’re running the marathon to have a good time and training is a HUGE component of that. If you’re more comfortable and happy with one group, I think you should try to run with them (so long as you can safely!!).

    • That’s so interesting! (About muscles causing nerve pinching, that is). I had no idea that was possible. Stretching, icing, foam rolling, etc. was pretty much my plan of attack. So far it seems to be working, so hopefully that’ll continue to be the case. And goodness knows I spend WAY too much time sitting at work, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that had something to do with it.

      We do stop for water (no bathroom breaks yet, but we’ve also only run 6 and 7 miles, which don’t really necessitate bathroom breaks quite like a 16 miler might), which will probably help me out some. I also know the 11s were very clear that if you need to slow down, that’s totally fine — just make sure a group leader knows so someone can stick with you if you want/need company. The 10:30s haven’t hammered that home quite like the 11s did, but I’m sure it’s the same with that group, so I imagine if I do need to slow the pace down some on a run, they’d be accommodating.

  4. Pingback: Chicago Marathon Training Week 16 | accidental intentions

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