Chicago Marathon Training Week 14

Monday, September 9: 55 minutes bike.
Originally, I planned on doing one of my running cutback weeks last week, but if I had done that, I would’ve only run 33 miles last week. I didn’t want to jump from 33 to 40 weekly miles (which comes next week), so I opted to run four days last week to get in 36 miles and make this a super cutback week in terms of running. It was blazin’ hot on Monday, so I didn’t mind being inside and getting through a lot of Runner’s World instead of dying in the 90+ degree temps.

Tuesday, September 10: cross training.
Not much to report on the dance front. We didn’t do much new in hip hop, and then I spent the entirety of breakdance repeating to myself, “Don’t get injured. Don’t get injured. Don’t get injured.” Part of me kind of feels bad that I’m not even coming close to trying in breakdance these days, but a much larger part of me does not care one little bit, because breakdance is obviously not anywhere near my priority list at the moment.

Wednesday, September 11: 6ish miles in 1:04:11 for a 10:42 pace.
Just when I thought my Garmin and I had reached an understanding, it decided to spontaneously go all “Battery Low” on me when I turned it on Wednesday. Loser. Normally when I get this message it dies immediately, but since it was staying on, I decided to wear it, but also wore my run-of-the-mill watch just to be on the safe side.

My Garmin lasted all of .05 miles, so I was really glad I brought my cheap-o Target watch as well. I’m not particularly familiar with any six mile routes, but I am very familiar with my three mile loop, so I just ran that twice and called it good. Might have gone a little over six, might have gone a little under six…I’m not worried about it.

All day on Wednesday my left hamstring and piriformis were bugging me. I spent the majority of the day FREAKING. OUT. over this new soreness until I had a brief moment of clarity on my commute home where I realized, “Wait. I had dance yesterday, meaning I used muscles I haven’t used in awhile in ways I haven’t used them in awhile. Maybe, JUST MAYBE, I’m not dying, but am simply experiencing DOMS, because that’s what happens when you use muscles you haven’t used in awhile in ways you haven’t used them in awhile.” It was the first time in this entire cycle where I’ve actually had the sense to realize not feeling 100% perfect at every single second of my day does not mean I’m permanently injured. Better late than never?

Thursday, September 12: 9 miles in 1:35:09 for a 10:34 pace.
I was downright dreading this run pretty much all day. It wasn’t so much that I was tired or sore or whatever: I just plain and simple didn’t want to do it. Buttttttt I went out and did it anyway, and it went pretty well. My left hip flexor was pretty cranky for a bit of this run, because apparently my left leg just really want to get in on this hypochondria party that my right leg’s been throwing me for, mmm, the past 14 weeks or so.

Thursday was crazy windy, and my times definitely reflected that. Any guesses as to when I had the wind to my back and when I was running into it?

Screen shot 2013-09-13 at 11.36.40 AM

Yeah. It was nuts. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever run in that strong of a wind. When I got home my legs were covered in sand that was blowing across the path in the North Ave.-ish area! The waves on the lake were also crazy.


A very small part of me considered walking, what with the whole cranky hip flexor deal and everything, but I wouldn’t be wildly surprised if the wind comes out of the north on marathon day (i.e.: I have to run into the wind for the last two miles of the race), so I decided it’d be best to learn how to run into the wind and trust that my hip flexor was just being stupid.

Friday, September 13: rest

Saturday, September 14: 14ish miles in 2:27:42ish for a 10:35ish pace.
thought my Garmin was going to behave itself, since it turned on just fine and found a satellite signal just fine, but then right when I went to start it as we took off my Garmin was all, “LOL NOPE!” and spontaneously went back to the telling time screen (so not the stopwatch/GPS screen). Dumb. There was also a brief moment of user error when I forgot to restart my watch for a little bit after a water stop. My watch ended up measuring 13.96 miles, and from the beepings around me on our run, I’d guesstimate that was about .2 miles off.


One of the fringe benefits of marathon training is that I now have an acute awareness of sunrise and sunset times. While I definitely miss the long days of summer, it was pretty beautiful to see the sun rise right before we started our run on Saturday.


My pace leaders wanted us to get used to what it feels like to walk a water station rather than stop at a water station, so we walked through three of our five water stops on Saturday. NOT a fan. Catching up with the group is hard! Normally in races I run through water stations, but I have no idea what I’m going to do at the marathon itself. It’ll all depend on whether or not I run with my training group. Part of me wants to, but part of me wants to make the race my own thing…we’ll see. Speaking of the marathon and water stations, though, Carey Pinkowski, the race director of the Chicago Marathon, made an appearance at our first water stop on Saturday! I honestly think I’m the only one in our group who knew who he was, but I thought it was cool nevertheless.

As for the run itself, things went pretty well. We only had one group again, but I managed to stick with them the whole time! The weather was nearly perfect (though I wouldn’t have minded clouds instead of sun), which was a very welcome change. My hip flexor acted up again, and since we’re so close to the marathon and I don’t want to take any chances with anything, I stopped over by the PTs from NovaCare who hang out after our group runs and chatted with them. The PT I talked to felt my hip flexors and said that my left one was definitely tighter than my right, but I passed my hop test with flying colors, which is WONDERFUL since that means it’s more likely a muscle thing than a bone thing (i.e.: stress fracture). He pointed out which strength training exercises in our CARA packet I should concentrate on to build gluteus medius strength, because weakness there is usually what upsets hip flexors, so I’m going to be more diligent about that and foam rolling in that area, which he also recommended. *Hopefully* that will make it happy. If not, I have every intention of getting an injury screening. I’m all about being safe rather than sorry at this point in the game.

Sunday, September 15: cross training
Very seriously considered skipping strength training, and then was all, “Remember that one time like 24 hours ago when your hip flexor threw a temper tantrum?” That was a good enough kick in the pants for me. So I strength trained.

This coming week is the big one: 40 miles. Woof. The most important runs in my mind are my 10 miler on my birthday (hmph) and the 20 miler next Sunday. My hip felt fine on Sunday (aside from when I was rolling it out with The Stick, but then it really just felt sore in a bruised sort of way, not in an injured sort of way), so I’m going to try to get my five in today. How it goes will determine whether or not I do an additional five later on. Honestly, I just want to make it through that 20 miler on Sunday. My body and my free time are so ready to taper this sucker, and I would very much like to stop telling people, “Sorry, I can’t do *fill-in-the-blank.* I’m in an exclusive, abusive relationship with my jealous lover, the Chicago Marathon, and he demands all of my time.” I have, for the most part, really enjoyed marathon training, but man oh MAN am I ready to start getting my life back…next week.

15 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 14

  1. I feel you on Wednesday! That’s been like my every day for awhile hah

    Great job mentally sticking to runs, staying calm, and dedicated!

    Those waves were viscous! I climbed up to the upper sandy part when I hit that area!

    Stay strong!

  2. Seems like a good week of training if you ask me! That wind is NUTS. I hate my garmin because of the battery/satellite failures aka one of the reasons I never wear it. I usually go with my $12 watch from target because I like to map the distances before/after I go and not worry about it while I’m running. Good luck with your crazy distances this week!

    • Thanks! I really wish I knew what the actual wind speeds were when I was running, because I’m really curious what I was fighting that slowed me down by a full minute. I’ll never know! Most of the time I’m a big fan of my Garmin, but when it rebels, man, I get so frustrated at it. Why can’t you always work?!?! Sigh.

  3. The wind has been crazy lately. Definitely a sign that summer is over in Chicago. As for water stations, if its cool and/or early in the race, I’ll jog through water stations but by the end, I tend to walk through them. I qualified for Boston twice walking through water stations so it’s honestly not a big deal if you’re worried about time. It also gives you a second to check in with your legs and breathing before starting up again. Plus, if you’re like me and tend to choke on water when running through the stations, you’ll probably save time by not having to catch your breath.

    Is the CARA 20-miler run thing next weekend (not sure if it has a formal name)? If you do it, it’s a great chance to figure out your race strategy (solo vs. group, water stations, etc.)

    • Indeed, the Magellen Ready to Run 20 Miler (official name…though CARA 20 miler works just fine!) is this Sunday. I’m trying to treat this whole week like marathon week (except for the running a lot this week) in terms of eating, sleeping, the run on Sunday, etc….like a dress rehearsal!

      As for running/walking water stations during the race, the biggest issue for me on Saturday was not necessarily having to run after walking, but having to catch up with the pace group. Since I’m not particularly worried about hitting a specific time goal for the marathon, I don’t know if that will be as big of an issue to me during the race itself…we’ll see. I imagine a lot of it will depend on how I feel race day.

  4. That is smart to practice the water stops now and figure out what you want to do! I am surprised more people did not know who the race director is!

    Yay! Your 20 is coming up! I hope your watch behaves then and you have no DOMS!

    Enjoy your birthday 10 miler! 🙂

    • Thanks! I mean, I suppose it’s possible more people knew and were just very blasé about it, but it didn’t seem like anyone recognized him. But yes, it’s been very helpful to practice different approaches so I know what I want to do on race day (or at least have an idea of how different things feel). Our pace leaders keep saying they don’t want anything to surprise us on marathon day, and I’d be quite all right with that!

  5. Can I just say I’m so happy that you’re being so smart with watching how you feel and getting stuff checked out?? Seriously, this will serve you so well!! You are going to rock this marathon, girl 🙂 Big week for you too!! Bday and your first 20 miler? You celebrate like i do 😉

  6. I am pretty jealous you have a run group to do these runs with. I mean i think it is good to have some direction and give you motivation. I can’t believe even with your soreness and pain you pushed through a pretty kick ass training week.

    • Seriously, I don’t think there’s any way I would’ve made it this far in marathon training without my group. I’m not BFFs with anyone there (or really just plain friends, to be honest), but just having that company and the familiar faces and all that is really great for keeping me going.

  7. Stretch those hip flexors!!! And I almost always walk through water stations at marathons even when I’m carrying my own water. Especially towards the end when I’m usually out of water in my bottles and need to refill.

Leave a Reply to runningthewindycity Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s