Chicago Marathon Training Week 3

Monday, June 24: 3 mile run in 30:52 for a 10:17 pace.
GAH SUMMER. So hot. So much sweat. Last week I realized that I really prefer strength training before a run to strength training after a run, so I planned to do the NovaCare circuit before knocking out three miles. I knew there were storms headed our direction, though, so when I checked the radar and saw they were just west of the far west suburbs, I decided it’d probably be in my best interest to run first and strength train later. Boy oh boy was I right.


What a storm! Even though I’m pretty sure I returned to my apartment just as drenched (in sweat) as I would have if I had been caught in the weather, I was more than happy to observe this from my air conditioned bedroom while I attempted to coax by core temperature down to something closer to 98.6 degrees. I did get around to strength training eventually, which was a pretty big win in my book.

My legs felt super dead on the run, and I’m not entirely sure why. Possibly the heat, possibly the humidity, possibly my cold and resulting three consecutive poor nights of sleep, possibly walking around a lot on Sunday, possibly poor weekend diet choices…so many possibilities! Who knows. I don’t exactly enjoy running on dead legs, but I do think working on fighting that mental battle now will make a difference in miles 20, 22, 24, etc. of the actual marathon.

Tuesday, June 25: cross training
Hip hop and breakdance started up again on Tuesday. This session has almost all new people in hip hop, which is the first time that’s happened in months. Fortunately the routine we learned Tuesday was still a little challenging, which was my only worry with so many new faces. It’s not as tough as last session for sure, but it’s also not too basic, which is nice. Half of my breakdance class is also new, which gave me the rare opportunity to actually look like I know what I’m doing in breakdance. I have about three moves that I’ve downright mastered in breakdance, which is not entirely impressive unless you’re in a class with people who have zero moves in their repertoire, and then you look incredible! Haha. I’m enjoying it while it lasts, which I’m sure won’t be long.

Wednesday, June 26: 3 mile run in 30:04 for a 10:01 pace.
So I did a really great job with keeping a steady pace on this run.

Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 11.39.12 AM

Or something.

Legs were dead again for this run. My cold had started to get better by this point, so I eliminated that as a possible source. I slept terribly Tuesday night, though (thank you, long and slow moving 4 a.m. thunderstorm), so maybe that has something to do with it. Mentally, though, I just have not been in the game recently. Whether it’s the weather or being sick or not sleeping enough or a combination of all three, both this run and Monday’s run (and last Saturday’s run) have been tough from an attitude standpoint. I’ve been very quick to get down on myself both in the distance department (“If I’m struggling this much on a three miler, how am I even going to handle five on Saturday? And what about 16 later on this summer?!”) and the body department (“All of these shirts used to fit a lot looser than they do right now…oh look! Another sports-bra-and-short-shorts-wearing, perfect-running-form wonder woman! Just what I wanted to see!”). While I don’t enjoy mentally tough runs, I do very clearly remember feeling the same way almost exactly one year ago. I got over that, and I know I’ll get over this, too. It’s all part of the process.

I originally thought I wouldn’t have time to strength train on Wednesday, but it turns out I did, so I once again took care of that after running. Practiced hip hop and breakdance, stretched and foam rolled. I like to put my phone on shuffle when I’m stretching, and for some reason lately my music has been all, “Hey, I know you’ve really not enjoyed having your friend out of town, so I’m going to pull up EVERY. SINGLE. SONG. in any way related to loneliness I can find in your library!” As such, I have been rebelling against its decision making and skipping ahead until I find happier songs. Without question, the highlight of this week:

You can have your N’SYNC, your Backstreet Boys, your New Kids on the Block. Dream Street, baby. All day. I have never had a celebrity crush like the one I had on Chris Trousdale when I was 11. Putting that CD on my iTunes before I moved to Chicago last year was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Thursday, June 27: rest
So. If you had the good fortune to not be in Chicago last week, it rained/stormed at some point just about every day. On Thursday, that point happened to be about 5:45 to 6:20ish. I had planned on running with Team PAWS for their weekly fun run on Thursday, but the run got cancelled and I was…not too pleased. I mean, I get it. Dogs can’t run in lightening just like humans can’t run in lightening. I was frustrated because even though the storm was on the radar and even though the National Weather Service started issuing severe thunderstorm warnings for the area at 5:30, the run didn’t get cancelled until 6 p.m., by which point I had already trudged about 3/4 of a mile through this storm to get to the adoption center only to be told the run had been called off. What was really frustrating about the situation, though, was that by 6:30, the sun had come out and stayed out until it set that night. So in short, our 6:15 run was called off at 6:00 because of weather that had completely passed by 6:30, which, if the standard “Wait 30 minutes from the last time you hear thunder before going outside again” rule had been followed, would have made the weather a nonissue. Now of course I’m sure there’s a lot of thought that goes into these things, and I’m sure there’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff I’m sure I’m not privy to, but it was still really, really frustrating. I obviously could have run on my own after I got home from the cancelled run, but with how training that week had gone up to Thursday both from a mental standpoint and from a legs standpoint, I decided to take the cancelled run as a sign that I needed an extra rest day and took it. I’m not too torn up about missing one four miler at this point in the game. As for running with PAWS, there will be plenty more opportunities to do that, and hopefully eventually I’ll get a run in with them. It’s really probably just a personal thing. I consider myself pretty flexible as far as making plans goes, but once my plans have been made–and even more so, once I’ve gone out of my way to rearrange my schedule, like I did in the case of this run–I do NOT do well with cancelled plans. I could refer you to a variety of friends who have all endured my passive aggressive wrath for canceling on me last minute. Things I need to work on FOR SURE.

Friday, June 28: rest day
Though I did have my first running-the-marathon dream this night! Dreamt I made it to the finish line and things were pretty quiet–most everyone had cleared out, and it was relatively inactive–but my family was there and that was nice. I looked down at my Garmin and saw that I ran a 4:59, which, since unofficial goal is 4:59:59 or faster, was lovely. And then I saw Carey Pinkowski and asked him who won the race. You know how I roll. (In Dreamland, the winners both had unpronounceable names I can’t remember, so no psychic predictions here, I’m afraid).

Saturday, June 29: 5.1 miles in 53:23 for a 10:28 pace.
Whaddup, cutback week. Not that I really felt like I needed to cut back at this point, but I’ll happily take it. I was also THRILLED with Saturday’s cool weather. It was chilly while we waited to run, but man, you will never, ever find me complaining about that, especially during the summer. I returned to the 10:30s this week and honestly had a 100% better experience with them than with the 11:00s last week. Again, probably a lot of this is personal–my cold was gone, emotionally I was in a lot better place this Saturday than I was last Saturday–but I just really, really like the vibe of the 10:30s, and I hope I can keep hanging with them when runs get longer and mornings get hotter. The five miles flew by and I felt pretty solid for all of them, which was also a nice change from my past three runs. After the run I tagged along with a bunch of 10:30s for breakfast at Kanela, which was fabulous. The 11:00s also went out for breakfast last week, but I didn’t have money or my CTA pass (or a good attitude…), so I passed on that opportunity. Never again! I love going out for breakfast, and it’s nice to go out with people who can throw around things like, “Oh yeah, let’s run Disney this year!” like it’s nothing. While have no desire to run Disney next January, it’s the principle of the matter — it’s just nice to be with people who speak your language, you know? People who don’t scoff when you say, “We’re only doing five today. I don’t think that even really counts as a long run,” or whatever. I<3 runners.

Sunday, June 30: cross training
Lost our softball game real bad. Sad day 😦 Playoffs start next week, and as a result of our loss we’ll probably be in the consolation bracket instead of the championship bracket. Sad day x2.

Overall, arguably not the best week of training of my life. Even though things were rough at points, though, I do think I did a relatively good job of staying positive. One of my goals heading into training was to stay positive regardless of what happened, and I really think I’m doing fairly well at that at this point. I was easily my own worst enemy when I trained for my half marathon last year, and I think so far I’ve avoided that this cycle. Next week should be interesting — we have nine miles on the schedule for our long run. I haven’t run nine miles since my half marathon last September, so I’m a little nervous about that. Hopefully it’ll go well!

8 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 3

  1. I think we sometimes have to have bad weeks to enjoy the good weeks more and I wouldn’t call yours a bad week, just a tired one! It happens 🙂 a long run is long no matter how far it is as long as its longer than the other runs you’re doing. You can only compare them to yourself!

  2. That is awesome that you have found your group with the 10:30s! 🙂

    Way to get your strength training in this week! I prefer to do it before I run too. I am just too spent when I get back. What kind of stuff do you do?

    The rain was ridiculous last week. I hope this week is a bit better!

    • Exactly! When I’m done running, I want to be done with everything — just let me stretch, roll, and get in the shower ASAP, man! For strength training I’ve been doing mostly core/lower body work, per suggestions at CARA’s super clinic. Lunges, bridges, leg raises, planks, cup pick-ups (HATE THOSE, although they’ve definitely revealed my strength imbalances!), chair squats to calf raises, a variety of band work (walks, rotations)…I think that’s pretty much the jist of it. Breakdance helps me get in upper body work as well, so I feel pretty balanced.

  3. The weather looks amazing this week although a bit warmer this weekend. The lower humidity was fabulous this morning!

    Way to hang in there and push through some tough runs, they will make you stronger come marathon day! Also, my running suffers the most when I don’t get enough sleep and that’s when I tend to get heavy leg syndrome. Hopefully you were able to rest up over the weekend and have some great runs this week!

  4. Happy to see you found your comfort zone and peeps in the run group! It’ll make getting out there on the down feeling days so much easier. Going out to catch up with so and so will sound better than a long run I’m sure!

    Good luck prepping for the 9 miles!

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