Chicago Marathon Training Week 11

Sunday, August 17: Pilates.
On Sunday, I made my way to Harmony in Lincoln Park for my first ever Pilates class! One of my CARA group leaders organized a class as a fundraiser for the Kidney Cancer Association, and I definitely wanted to support her efforts. Goodness gracious, team. Pilates is no joke! I had a vague awareness of what Pilates entailed and figured I’d be all right (“I can handle our one minute plank at the end of our long runs no problem!”) but boy oh boy was I wrong. That business is tough! I definitely understand how incorporating it into your normal training routine can have a major positive impact on your running (and how my group leader has never been injured in five years. I don’t think you can regularly practice Pilates and have muscles imbalance/weakness, based on my experience Sunday).

I also started coughing on Sunday, which concerned me. I’ve had plenty of colds over the past two years or so, but never had they lead to coughing.

Monday, August 18: Personal Training + Physical Therapy.
Or perhaps we should call it MANday, since that’s what I sounded like (<–terrible joke).

My mucus-ified lungs and I dragged ourselves to the gym for personal training, where, mercifully, my trainer had already planned to return to supersets instead of circuits or tri-sets. Thank goodness. Don’t be fooled, though: I still worked hard. The split-squat/lat pull down superset in particular did me in. I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy lat pull downs.

My knee was sore after personal training, so my PT primarily focused on that–i.e.: no foot scraping. Hooray! He just bruised my IT band instead, as it was feeling “bandy.” Whatever. Anything to avoid foot scraping.

Tuesday, August 19: Yoga.
Since I was still coughing up a lung on Tuesday, I skipped my run and did a light 30-minute yoga practice instead.


This whole illness irked me, because on the whole, my body felt fine. I wasn’t generally achy, sore, tired, etc. I was just snotty and my chest hurt from all the coughing I’d done. But I know the rule is if you have symptoms below the neck (which includes coughing), you shouldn’t exercise. Personally, I think that 15 miler last Saturday wore my immune system down too much and is why my cold got so much worse, so I figured it’d be in my best interest to take it super, super easy and hope for as quick of a recovery as possible.

Wednesday, August 20: Yoga + Physical Therapy.
After Internet-and-past-life-experience-diagnosing myself with bronchitis on Tuesday, I e-mailed CARA to see what I should do about training with this whole cough thing. I got my reply on Wednesday and was told to “definitely take it easy this week, but if you are able to get out for a few miles on Saturday, that might be helpful (maybe 6 miles). Definitely don’t do 16.”


So I busted out the yoga mat once again, dialed up a detox/flexibility practice on Pocket Yoga (an excellent app, if you’re in the market. And it’s free!), and did my best to chill. In high school, I came down nasty respiratory junk usually once a year or so, and I know from that time that laying low was usually the best recipe for healing. When I’d take two days off school to get better, I was usually fine within a few days. When I soldiered on, I’d stay sick for weeks. That’s pretty high on my list of Things I Don’t Want During Marathon Season, so we’ll just call this Super Crazy Unplanned Cutback Week and roll with it.

I also spent some quality time with my BFF PT and absolutely played the, “I’m sick” card as hard as I could. Oh MAN was I whiny. He can handle it 😛 My knee had actually been surprisingly sore all day, given my lack of running, but he kindly left my IT band alone after decorating it with bruises on Monday (“Those are from me, aren’t they?” YES. YES THEY ARE. I’m not grimacing over here because this is so comfortable!). I also barely had to do any exercises since I was sick 😀 Instead he did e-stim on the bottom of my foot, which surprisingly was better than getting it on my quad a few weeks back.

Also, maybe funny story: on Wednesday night I had a dream that I had gotten a letter from my health insurance telling me that I was running out of PT appointments. I was thisclose to digging out my benefits book at 2 a.m. to check to see if I actually did only get a certain number per year (that was the case with my old insurance), but instead decided it could wait until, you know, not 2 a.m. (According to the person I talked to on the phone Thursday morning, I’m not limited to x number of appointments, so no need to panic.).

Thursday, August 21: Guesses? Anyone?

Yoga. Of course.

For having practiced yoga exactly zero times since my CorePower membership expired at the beginning of June, I’d say I more than made up for lost time this week. Although let’s be honest: I would’ve struggled to convince myself to go outside for a run on Thursday anyway.


Eesh. Travel sized umbrellas: great for storing in your work bag, questionable at best about keeping you dry in a downpour.

Friday, August 22: Rest.

Saturday, August 23: 7.91 miles in 1:24:26 for a 10:40 pace.
Unnecessary information: my new apartment came with a new-to-me toaster, and I’m still trying to figure out its quirks and intricacies. 4.5 didn’t get my toast toasty enough, so I turned it up to 5.



Anyway. Saturday was miserable in the weather department. All the summer we missed seemed to unleash itself Saturday morning, and it was hot and humid. Never did I imagine I’d be so happy to have been specifically told not to run 16 miles even though my schedule called for it. Despite not *needing* to run with my group, I chose to get up early on Saturday and run with my group anyway, because I ❤ them. While telling some of my friends about my bronchitis/cold woes, one of the girls mentioned that she only planned to run eight miles that day instead of 16, and if I wanted to join her I was more than welcome. I figured eight was close enough to six, so I stuck with her when we ditched the group.

Man oh man was this run tough. I was drenched with sweat by the end of the first mile, and by mile six I knew I was done. I absolutely could not hold a 10:30 pace any longer (my last two miles were 10:57 and 11:28), so I can only imagine how much of a death march eight more miles would have been had I run 16. Also my toes went numb 😡 Stupid toes. I thought those days were behind me!

All things considered, I’m surprisingly okay with how light last week ended up being. I think missing a build week has the potential to be more mentally challenging than endurance-building challenging, but with how messed up my entire marathon season has been, I think maybe this wasn’t the worst thing to ever have happen. I took six full days 100% off any sort of cardio exercise. I think the last time that happened was the week after the Chicago Marathon last year. Even with all my injuries I insisted on doing something for the sake of training, and I imagine my body probably needed a bit of a break. I’m feeling much, much better now and hopefully will be able to log some solid runs this week.

13 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 11

  1. So much yoga! Honestly, though, that’s the way to solve so many of the injuries that come about from high-impact activities like running. I’ve never tried pilates but my friend does it all the time and raves about it…idk that and barre just scare me!

  2. Ah man I’m sorry you had that annoying cough. Such a random time to get sick! You seriously can’t catch a break in your training :/ I’m glad you’re feeling better now and I hope this week goes way better for you!

  3. LOL at the burnt toast! Whenever I burn toast to that extent (it happens more than I would like to admit) my fire alarm goes off immediately. Damn tiny studio apartment!

    First of all, I must congratulate you on keeping up with cross-training (including all your therapy appts.), I’m super impressed! I ditched cross-training the moment I quit the gym, yoga and all, and haven’t been able to jump back into it since 😦 I’m curious to hear more about this scraping. I’ve read about it a few times and really want to find someone who can do it for me. What are your general thoughts on it? Does it seem to help?

    P.S. – I hope you feel better soon!!! Coughs are the worst because they seem to linger forever. Visit a doctor if it doesn’t get better soon!

    • I was actually pretty surprised my toast didn’t start smoking. I didn’t even smell it starting to burn! I just thought, “Hm, I feel like my toast has been in there for awhile,” and as soon as I pressed the cancel button, realized I was in trouble 😛 Ohhhhh well. Life goes on.

      Hahaha it’s funny you say that, because when I read your recaps I’m impressed with how many rest days you take and are still able to do all this! Actually, truth be told, that was what got me through last week: “If Irina can take all these rest days and still do fine on her runs, then I can handle just doing yoga instead of running.” No joke! I’m actually a little worried about what’s going to happen going forward, since my membership at the gym expires in two days and unless I can get it extended, I’m going to be gym-less pretty soon, but we’ll see!

      So, scraping. Even though I had been calling it Astym, I don’t think it’s ~officially~ Astym, but that’s basically the concept (that or the Graston technique). From what I understand of both of those methods (and what my PT himself does), the point of all of it is to break up scar tissue to promote healing. My PT uses the handle of reflex hammer, though my old PT did it with a miso soup spoon. In either case, they use the handle/soup spoon to scrape out a little bit of cocoa butter from a jar of…cocoa butter (haha duh 😛 ), and then use that cocoa butter as lubricant, more or less, so they can scrape the handle/spoon against my foot/calf/hip/quad/wherever. Again, the point of the pressure is to break up scar tissue (although when they use cocoa butter, I get the added benefit of soft and pretty smelling skin 😛 AND it makes their hands soft as well, which is delightful haha). As for whether or not I think it works, I’m kind of on the fence. My heel hasn’t bothered me much at all in two weeks or so, so it might’ve done some good for me there. My knee, on the other hand, still hurts after I exercise, and my hip flexor strain last year took like three months to go away completely, so who knows. The effectiveness could also depend on the type of injury, however. I don’t know this for sure, but I believe fascia is a bit structurally different than the muscles in my hips/quads/ so that could affect things, maybe?

  4. Pingback: Thursday Things | accidental intentions

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