Chicago Marathon Training Week 12

Monday, August 26: 5 miles in 57:32 for a 11:30 pace.
As soon as I left my apartment to go to work on Monday morning, I wished I had run before work. While it was more or less comfortable Monday morning, I knew it would not be comfortable Monday afternoon, and I was right! (See: 11:30 pace). It was craaaaazy hot and I didn’t hit 10:xx for a single one of my miles. Since my primary concern was survival, not speed, this didn’t really bother me too much (except from a “this is taking forever and I really have other things I’d like to do tonight, like continue to catch up on So You Think You Can Dance and sit in my air conditioned bedroom eating peanut butter.” Picture of health right here, ladies and gents). When I trained for my first 10K, I noticed that when I would run long distances in heat after not having run much or far in heat, my chest would get tight. I don’t really have trouble breathing…it just doesn’t feel like how breathing feels when I’m sitting in my air conditioned bedroom eating peanut butter. Anyway, this happened for the first time in a long time on Monday (well, it actually happened last Saturday on that terrible long run, too, but I think that was more panic-induced than heat-induced), which also made me take it as easy as possible while running.

Tuesday, August 27: 4 miles in 43:something for a Who:Knows pace.
Because the weather looked like this:

Screen shot 2013-08-28 at 11.33.30 AM

My run looked like this:


Boooooo dreadmill. This was actually the first time I’ve ever done a full training run on the ‘mill. I spent most of my commute home arguing with myself over whether it’d be better to run outside in the heat (good for the head, bad for the body, probably) or run inside on the treadmill (awful for the head, probably better for the body), and ultimately I decided it would be best to tough it out for four miles on the treadmill, especially in light of my chest tightness Monday.

The gym in my building has two treadmills: one old one tucked away in a corner and one newer one right in front of the door. I generally opt for the old one because I don’t like feeling like I’m on display for everyone going past the gym. The only downside of the older one is that it only displays speeds in miles per hour (not minutes per mile), so I kind of guesstimated what I should run at. I usually do a 6.0, which I know is 10:00s, but I didn’t think I’d be able to handle that for a full four miles, so I ran the first two at 5.5 (which, according to Google, is an 11:00) and the second two at 5.7 (10:30! My favorite pace <3). In theory I probably should have been able to figure this out in my head, but my mental math skills, especially when they involve conversion, are utterly nonexistent. I also probably could’ve figured out that 5.5 thing by paying attention to the clock on the treadmill, but about half a mile into my run, my cousin called and I was too busy chatting with him to notice the clock. (Yes, I was that person in the gym. In my defense, I haven’t seen my cousin since Christmas, haven’t talked to him on the phone since February, and he’s been in Europe/Asia since May…so I felt it was worth breaking gym etiquette to talk to him. Also helped me know that I was running at a conversational pace!).

Wednesday, August 28: rest
Or “cross training,” maybe? I took my pace leaders’s advice and got my first massage EVER on Wednesday. Gotta do what you gotta do to recover, right?


My biggest takeaway from this experience: I am far more ticklish than I realized. My first instinct when I’m tickled is to squirm away from whatever’s causing the tickling, so this was quite the exercise in self-control.

Thursday, August 29: 8 miles in 1:29:10 for a 11:09 pace.
I was pretty uncomfortable for most of this run, but not for any of the usual reasons. For a very long time, I’ve been trying to figure out what exactly I want to do in regards to water/gear on my person during the marathon. For over a year now I’ve been running with a handheld water bottle every single time I run aside from races. My handheld has a pocket which is great for holding my keys, fuel, phone, etc. I knew I didn’t want to run the whole marathon with my handheld, but I also knew I wanted to run the marathon with my phone AND my fuel. I considered investing in a Spibelt, but I do like the idea of having water on me as that allows me to drink and fuel whenever need to, not whenever an aid station appears. So, after much hemming and hawing, I finally decided maybe my Fuel Belt, which I’ve had since last July but have never once used, might be my best option.



I ran with the Fuel Belt for the first time on Thursday, and just found it to be generally awkward. It took A LOT of getting used to, especially since I’m so accustomed to having a water bottle in my hands whenever I run.

The run itself was fine. The weather was weird. It felt cool, but it also felt humid, and the lake was CRAZY foggy, but only the lake, not the shore or anywhere inland. It was weird and I didn’t like it. Fog makes me…claustrophobic? That doesn’t seem like the right word. It makes me feel like I’m suffocating even though I can breathe just fine. Regardless of what the best word for that feeling is, it’s not great for running.

Friday, August 30: rest

Saturday, August 31: 11.95 miles in 2:04:46 for a 10:26 pace.
When I wake up on Saturday mornings, one of the first things I do is check my e-mail to make sure our long run isn’t cancelled. After I do that, I mess around with my phone while I’m eating my pre-run toast, and I generally check the weather during this time. When I looked at the radar, I saw storms headed towards Chicago and immediately began stressin’, because I had no idea how this was going to affect our run. As it turned out, not at all. We left on time, we ran just fine, all was well. We did get rained on, though, but such is life. I was actually really impressed with my socks and shoes, because my feet didn’t get wet at all on the run. After last week’s awful long run and all my 11:00ish runs this week, I really thought I might need to run with the 11s, but since I really didn’t want to run with the 11s, I ran with the 10:30s and am happy to report that it went quite well. I ran with the second group, but we still ended up moving right along. We had one 10:42 mile, but other than that all of our miles were actually faster than 10:30. I think having cloudy weather helped me out some on Saturday, especially in that Godforsaken concrete area of Hell between North Ave. and Navy Pier. Not having the rising sun bake you while you’re running through there was much better than last week.

Sunday, September 1: rest

All in all, perhaps not my best week of training. I’m trying to not let the consistent 11:00 runs bug me. It was really hot last week, which obviously affected my ability to run fast, as it always has. *Hopefully* we won’t have any more weeks like this past week for the remainder of marathon training. Speaking of weather, AccuWeather recently decided to start predicting the weather up to 45 days in advance, which means they’re now releasing forecasts for October 13. I’ve been keeping an eye on them not because I expect them to be correct, but more because I’m curious to see how they change over time. So far, AccuWeather says sunny and high 58, low 45 for marathon day. Therefore, I’m banking on stormy and 80/70. (For those of you concerned, AccuWeather has also consistently been predicting “abundant sunshine” for my birthday, which is a mere 17 days from now. !!!). Anyway, this week is going to be absurd once again from a mileage standpoint. I’ve got a midweek nine miler (yikes) and an 18 miler on the calendar. I’d like to knock out that nine miler today since I have a lot more free time today than I normally have during the week (hooray Labor Day!), but we’ll see. I’m mostly just trying to not think about how far south we’re going to have to run to make this 18 miler happen on Saturday.

14 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 12

  1. Hahahha your massage experience sounds a lot like mine. I actually really don’t like them, is that weird? They make me so uncomfortable! Unless they’re calf massages, in which case I love them and could get one every day and be the happiest girl alive. But back to your training. This heat really makes a huge difference. My pace has slowed considerably AND feels like I’m putting in a ton of effort, so trust me when I say you’re not alone. Hopefully this heat wave ends and our runs can go back to feeling awesome!

    • It definitely cooled down here a lot overnight, which is a HUGE relief, both for my running and my electricity bill! If I don’t have to run in any more 90+ degree days, that will be quite all right with me. I think my calves could use a daily massage as well. They’re sick of me beating them up with marathon training!

  2. I’m glad i’m not the only one who feels more tickled than anything during a massage 😉 i always end up trying not to squirm or laugh for at least half if not more. Don’t worry about your pace, love, either. Your body will thank you later on for going a little slower now in your training whether you wanted to or not. Trust me on that one!

    • Okay, seriously, thank you SO MUCH for this comment. I had another molasses run today even though the weather was way better, and I spent nine miles being all, “a;sldfkjadls;fkjsdf IT’S IN THE SEVENTIES WHY AM I RUNNING LIKE THIS.” So I really, really, really appreciate the reminder that it’s okay to be slow now, because I DEFINITELY needed that! Thank you!! ❤ ❤

  3. Did you get a sports massage or a relaxation massage? I find that there is no way you can be ticklish during a sports massage because they are pressing so hard that you’re just trying to stay relaxed!

    Also, south on the lakefront path is SO PRETTY! Focus on that 🙂

    • I got a…massage. Haha. I have no idea. I mean, I did specify that I was training for a marathon and that’s why I was there, but I didn’t ask for a sports massage in so many words. The only time the massage therapist was pressing so hard I could barely stay relaxed was when she was dealing with my oh-so knotted shoulders and neck (hooray desk work!), but those aren’t exactly areas of my body I normally associate with angry marathon muscles. Although my back does get pretty tight when I run sometimes…. Moral of the story: I may or may not have gotten a sports massage. Hahaha.

    • Aww thanks! I always get so excited when I friendly faces on the trail!

      Hahaha aside from the general cuteness that comes along with Weather Puppy, I think one of my favorite things about that app is the way the puppies react to the weather conditions. I heard the other day that there’s a Weather Kitty, too?! I’m half tempted to download it just to compare the kitty weather reactions to puppy weather reactions haha.

  4. Great job toughing through!
    I’m the same way with massages and therapy. I want to laugh and squirm away immediately! I’m sure we’ll all be singing faster and easier runs once the summer eases off!

  5. I still maintain that massage = training. And actually I might be getting another one in the next few weeks to recover from my races.
    The heat really is killer and it definitely can slow down your runs so don’t get discouraged! It even slows me down on bike rides and in general the heat doesn’t affect me nearly as much then!

    • Well, since you’re a half Iron(wo)man, I’ll take your word for it! If anyone knows if massages should count as training, I’d think it’s someone who competes in absurdly long races!

      I always get jealous of bikers when I’m running in heat. So much wind in your hair, so much speed!

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