Chicago Marathon Training Week 13

Monday, September 2: 9 miles in 1:40:32 for a 11:10 pace.
Well, the heat broke, but it sure didn’t do my pace any favors. Honestly, I don’t really know what the deal was. I hurt, but not any different than I normally hurt on a long run. I guess there was some wind, and the shade situation was a lot different than normal since I don’t normally run at 9 a.m. I think my body just might be tired. I’ve never had a training cycle longer than 12 weeks, and even the one 12 week training cycle I did last year for my half marathon didn’t involve four days of running, nor did it consistently involve 20+ mile weeks. This is all uncharted territory both from a time and distance standpoint, and while I’ve tried to take care of myself, get enough sleep, etc., I’m not entirely surprised my body’s kind of starting to be all, “Hey, are you going to stop this anytime soon? Because we’d really prefer chocolate chip cookies and Facebook to all this time you’re spending running, thanks.”

Since it’s getting to be about that time in marathon training, I headed down to Fleet Feet Monday afternoon to get some new kicks.



I was delightfully awkward, as I always am when I buy running shoes. Walked up to the sales associate who called my number, said, “I need a women’s size 8 pair of Asics Gel Cumulus 15s,” and then when he asked me if I wanted to try them on, said, “Nope. They’re fine.” Hahaha. I always try to seem like a normal human being when I’m in Fleet Feet, and I fail every time. Although on the bright side, I was probably the easiest sale that guy had all day, AND I didn’t force him to take out like 10 pairs of shoes for me to try on, which is my normal shoe shopping method.

Tuesday, September 3: cross training
DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! The last time I two weeks off from dance was during the Christmas/New Year break last year. Dance had become such a part of my Tuesdays and I really missed it during our “summer vacation.” Well, I suppose I mostly missed my dance friends, but I missed dancing, too (although I did not miss that constant, “I really should practice but I just ran lots of miles and it’s like practically 7:00 already and I’m not going to get around to eating dinner until 8:00 and I still have to make my lunch for tomorrow…” guilty feeling.). Half of my hip hop class is new, but none of them are new to dancing, which hopefully means we’ll get harder routines this time around. Breakdance was crazy. Normally we have four, maybe five people in break, but this session there were 11 people. Insane! And also: so crowded. Tragically, most of the new people are already good, so I don’t have the option to revel in temporary superiority. Sigh.

Wednesday, September 4: 4 miles in 41:09 for a 10:17 pace
Now, I would like to believe I am not *that runner* who’s always looking for an excuse outside herself for her slowness, aches, pains, etc. But you guys. This was my first run in my new shoes, and it was the best run I’ve had in WEEKS. I had no idea my old shoes were so broken down until I put on my new shoes and was all, “HOLY CUSHIONING WHERE HAS THIS BEEN?!” Like legitimately walking on clouds (appropriate, since they are Asics Gel-Cumulus, after all *rimshot*). I could not get over that, and then when my Garmin beeped my first mile and I saw a 9:55 split I about fell down and wept right then and there. Just on Monday I had been thinking back to earlier in this training cycle when I was consistently knocking out 9:xx miles, and I thought to myself, “I don’t know if I’m even capable of running that anymore.” Well LO AND BEHOLD, team, apparently I am. Granted the following four miles were all 10:xx, but whatever. That 9:55 did wonders for my head. This was also the first run since–goodness knows when. Probably early August–where I ran pain free. My hips didn’t hurt. My back didn’t hurt. My shins didn’t hurt. This weird just-slightly-higher-and-to-the-left-of-my-Achielles-tendon area on my left leg that’s been giving me trouble for the past two weeks didn’t hurt. My ankle didn’t hurt. I felt like a DREAM. Maybe it wasn’t all the shoes, and maybe it was just in my head, but I really think my first pair of Asics were deader than I thought, and switching shoes to a new pair appeared to be a super solid life choice.

Thursday, September 5: 5 miles in 50:59 for a 10:12 pace.
Let the record show that this was the fastest run I’ve had since August 8. I both felt solid on this run AND was pretty consistent through all five miles in my pacing, which is a rarity for me. Normally I don’t think much on runs, but I had a lot on my mind on Thursday and it was really nice to have almost an hour to process everything.

Friday, Setpember 6: rest
Although I did, for the first time, actually explore Garmin Connect, and discovered the “Reports” section, which I’m now realizing would’ve been a MUCH more effective tool in calculating the distance on my shoes rather than going through each run and adding up the number manually. Things to keep in mind. I also discovered that over the course of my entire running career (with the Garmin), my average running speed is 5.7 mph. aka 10:30. THE BEST. I also ran  401.96 miles last year. By the time this post goes up, I’ll have already surpassed that this year. Guess that’s what marathon training will do to you! (Holy smokes, you guys. My inner sports stat nerd is GEEKING OUT at all this stuff I’m discovering on Garmin Connect. How did I not know this was here?! This is all so cool and I can’t even stand it. I ❤ STATS SO MUCH YOU HAVE NO IDEA).

Saturday, September 7: 18.09 miles in 3:11:46 for a 10:36 pace
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 . That’s what I have to say about THAT! After having a night riddled with nightmares, I was not confident I’d have a good run on Saturday, and the closer I got to our training site, the more nervous I became (though I did happen to run into Declan, which was exciting! The lone CRB sighting of my day). I tried to get my head in the game while we waited to start, but I’m not gonna lie: after my really awful 16 miler two weeks ago, I was SUPER nervous about how this run was going to go. I tried very hard to do the whole “run the mile you’re in” thing until we got beyond mile 8, at which point I allowed myself to start counting down miles. I have, mercifully, reached the point in training where now anything 10 or under sounds easily attainable (my rule of thumb before training was anything 6 or under is attainable). Even more mercifully, some cloud cover just so happened to roll in right as we got to the Godforsaken concrete area of Hell, which made that section much easier to run than it was on our 16 miler. This was also the point where our 10:30 group kind of fell apart. People, myself included, were falling behind left and right (of our four pace leaders, only one was there on Saturday, so we only had one group of 10:30s instead of two), but at this point I’ve gotten used to being abandoned by the group, so no love lost. I did have three miles in the 11s, but they were low 11s (11:07, 11:10, 11:12), so again, no love lost. AND I ran a 10:39 last mile without the help of my crew!

Sunday, September 8: cross training
I strength trained (may or may not have neglected that all of last week…oops) and practiced dance, since I actually have dance to practice now. Need to remember that now is not the time to work on new breakdancing tricks, no matter how much my dance friends peer pressure me otherwise. Can. Not. Get. Injured. Especially by breakdancing.

As soon as my Garmin beeped that 16th mile on Saturday, meaning I was officially going farther than I had ever gone before, I couldn’t stop beaming. I was so proud of myself for what I was accomplishing, and I couldn’t help but think back to 11 years ago when I made it all of one half of a mile in a cross country race before calling it quits and walking the rest of the way. I know 11 years is a long time, but honestly, even two years ago I never would’ve dreamed I could run 18 miles. Saturday’s run was the first time where I truly believed that I’m capable of running a marathon, and that, friends, is an amazing feeling. We have one cutback week, one long run, and the taper standing between us and the marathon, and at long last, I actually think I’ll be able to do it.

14 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 13

  1. Ahhhhhhhhhjh!!!!!! Yayyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!! You rock love!!!! I’m so so so happy and proud of you!!! Seriously, best feeling in the world running those last few miles and knowing you’re in new territory AND not dying 😉 I’m counting on that to get me through my last 6.2 miles on Sunday 😛 i love the new shoes too! Amazing what a difference cushioning and good shoes makes, isn’t it? I’m glad the running felt better over the last part of the week, love, but keep that realization from the first part of the week in mind as you continue. It takes a long time for bodies to adjust to higher mileage and whatnot. One of my run club partners told me it took her months to fully acclimate to marathon mileage so be patient. Since she’s now amazing and running boston in 2014, i believe her 😉

  2. Congrats on the PDR! That’s so exciting! Only one more “long” training run and then the race, it’s getting so close :).

    And yay new shoes! They make a huuuge difference don’t they? I think that when you’re training for a longer race you need to be even more careful about shoe mileage because most days you’re running 4+ miles with a long run on the weekend. So if you wait to replace before too long, you’ll be wearing the shoes and on your feet for longer (and feel the side effects more) than if you’re training for a 5k and running 2 and 3 milers most days. That may not make complete sense but it’s my logic. Haha.

    • It totally blew my mind how big of a difference the new shoes made! I’ve obviously replaced my running shoes over the course of my running career, but I’ve never experienced anything like the difference between Monday and Wednesday. I expected to be able to feel that my old shoes were too worn down, but I didn’t at all until I got the new ones.

  3. Yay new PDR and awesome long run!

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Cumulus shoe. Sigh. And the new design is so cool. I am still buying the cheapie $55 14s on Amazon. I think I will wait a bit for the 15s. I am so happy they made you feel so much better! Do you think you will alternate between two pairs?

    I will have to check out that Garmin reports section!

    Congrats on already running so much more than last year!

    • They’re seriously SO awesome. I haven’t loved shoes this much since my New Balance 890s, which I still refer to as the ex-boyfriend I can’t get over hahaha. I was actually thinking about what I want to do with the two pairs on my way to work this morning. I want to keep these shoes as fresh as possible for the marathon, so I’m tempted to reserve them for my long runs and midweek long runs over the next couple of weeks and then run in them exclusively for the last week and a half leading up to the marathon or so…but I also don’t want to aggravate my aches and pains by running in shoes that have too many miles on them. DECISIONS. We’ll see what happens. I need to do some math to figure out how many miles I have left until the marathon and I’ll probably go from there.

  4. I was happy to finally meet you! I always thought you were in the group that started earlier and could never find you! What would the chances be to cross at that exact moment! too funny

    Great job with the PDR and the 9:xx miles!
    Stay healthy!

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