Chicago Marathon Training Week 13

(Holy smokes! Week 13?! Where has time gone??)

Sunday, August 31: 13.19 miles in 2:16:50 for a 10:22 pace.
The Magnificent Mile Chicago Women’s Half Marathon, per my Garmin stats.

Monday, September 1: 9 miles in 1:39:09 for an 11:01 pace.
Hello, my name is Bethany, and I am an idiot.

I knew attempting a nine miler the day after I ran a half marathon would be foolish at best, buttttttt…I did it anyway. It hurt. It sucked. Really, everything about it was terrible. I hate trying to find time to squeeze in these midweek long runs on work days, and since I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it on Tuesday or Thursday, and Wednesday would be really tough, I opted to knowingly be stupid and crank out my nine Monday morning anyway. I was able to work out my leg soreness in the first mile or so, though my heel was being persnickity once again for the first 1.5ish. Boo. I thought things would improve from there, but oh no. It was hot, I was tired, my stomach wasn’t as cooperative as one would hope one’s stomach would be on a nine miler, and I was struggling to just keep moving by the last few miles. As soon as I got home, I made a beeline for our cupboards, where I grabbed this:


filled it with water, and polished it off in like 10 minutes. I, personally, appreciated the irony of my drinking out of a Wisconsin…stadium cup? It seems like more than a stadium cup, but I don’t know the ~official~ term for whatever that is…while wearing a Michigan BTN Big 10K shirt. Ha.

I’ve never taken an ice bath after anything shorter than 15, but in the name of leg preservation I took one once I got home. My legs were still SO SORE for the rest of the day, so I swaddled them in compression gear and hoped for the best.

Tuesday, September 2: Dance.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my legs weren’t sore after I put them through the ringer on Sunday and Monday. I was unpleasantly surprised to discover that my chest/shoulder hurt apropos of nothing (unless maybe I slept on it wrong? But you’d think I would’ve noticed that before like 10 a.m.). It hurt all day at work, all night at dance, and by the time my dance classes were over I was NOT happy about the whole situation.

Anyway, dance. In an unprecedented move, my teacher told us ahead of time that we were doing a Beyoncé medley this session, which he always followed with, “Serious inquiries only.” My friends and I were STOKED to see what this session would hold, and if Tuesday’s rehearsal was any indicator, it’s looking like a lot of sass and a lot of dancing. Super excited. PLUS I get to be Beyoncé at the beginning of the routine, which I’m pretty sure is every twentysomething woman’s dream. I’m also still taking breakdance this session, but have every intention of getting progressively more lame as we get closer to the marathon, since the LAST thing I need is a dance-induced injury.

Wednesday, September 3: 5 miles in 51:59 for a 10:24 pace.
My whole shoulder/neck/lat area hurt once again on Wednesday, though I chalked that up mostly to breakdancing for the first time in two weeks.

It was pretty warm on Wednesday, so I thought I’d try to find another shady route like I did on last Tuesday’s five miler. Those dreams died quickly when I turned on my Garmin and got the infamous “Battery Low” screen (despite having fully charged my Garmin earlier this week…hmph). So I resorted to less technologically advanced methods.


I’ve been in my place for such a short period of time and have run so many different routes that I don’t even know where exactly one mile from my apartment is yet, let alone anything beyond that, so I pulled up the map on my Garmin account from my five miler the week before and followed that as closely as possible.

Thursday, September 4: Personal Training + Dailey Method.
Soo I still had that upper body pain on Thursday :/ I debated bringing it up with my trainer and decided I wouldn’t until he made a comment about my shoulders, and then I spilled the whole situation (which basically amounted to, “I hurt, but I don’t know why, and that’s freaking me out.”). He had me do some muscle release stuff with a tennis ball, which pretty much did nothing but make me hyperaware of the area, and we all know how well that always ends (with me, on Google, seeing that jaw pain [which I had late last week and on Tuesday] and arm pain can be signs of a heart attack, convincing myself that I’ve somehow had a heart attack [despite being able to run 13.1, 9, and 5 miles with not even a little shortness of breath], convincing myself I’m going to need to go to the doctor, who’s going to tell me I’m not going to be able to run the marathon [this seems to be a theme in my life over the past four months…], and then calling my mother while we’re both at work in tears because my anxiety won again and I have no idea what I’m feeling is real and what’s not real. Woo.). But aside from that, personal training went pretty well. This week we did four sets of each superset. But no slow pushups! Haha.

I went to The Dailey Method Thursday night primarily for networking methods, but had a pretty good time! I’ve taken one barre-based class before and absolutely loathed it, so I was pleasantly surprised to not hate The Dailey Method (mostly because I could, you know, handle the workout, which was not the case at The Bar Method when I went last year.).

Friday, September 5: Physical Therapy.
I was still in pain on Friday with the whole shoulder/chest situation, which made me a Grade A Sourpuss (thus making Friday not at all different from Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Ha. When I got to the clinic my PT asked how I was doing and said, “Hangin’ in there?” Little did he know quite how accurate that statement was.). I didn’t tell my physical therapist about it because honestly, I’m tired of telling my physical therapist about things that hurt and making myself sound more and more insane. He took it really easy on me in light of my upcoming 18 miler and promised me he’d get me to the marathon. “And after that we never have to see each other again,” I said. Haha. So looking forward to dumping both of my fake boyfriends, my PT and the Chicago Marathon, after October 12 😛

Saturday, September 6: 18.04 miles in 3:09:20 for a 10:30 pace.
Well. How you like them apples, eh? Talk about good pacing! Although, to be honest, my Garmin stats are not 100% accurate, since I forgot to start my watch after one of our water stops for probably at least .1 miles, but whatever. Let’s just roll with it.

The weather on Saturday was picture perfect, which, considering that my shoulder/chest still hurt and I was thus still a Grade A Sourpuss, was definitely quite welcome. The run itself was kind of a mixed bag. On the one hand, I had zero trouble maintaining a 10:30 pace for the duration of the entire run and didn’t even have trouble still chatting with my running buddy at like mile 17.5, so in that sense the run went fabulously. On the other hand, I was a mental disaster zone and came quite close to breaking down on more than one occasion as a result of my mysterious pain, which ached throughout the run (obviously, since it had ached since Tuesday), and just other mental struggles that plagued me all week, as they tend to do. I know my anxiety works as a positive feedback loop and as such takes about .0004 seconds to go from “manageable” to “totally overwhelming and unbearable,” and since I am absolutely anxious about my pain, to say this past week in general has not been good would be a gross understatement.

I also fell for the first time ever on Saturday’s run, but it was about as undramatic as a fall could possibly be. While we were running over the Chicago River, my toe hit one of the joints in the bridge. This normally probably would’ve just made me stumble, but there happened to be mud where I hit, so instead of stumbling, I slid and fell (on my right [injured] knee, naturally). The same mud that tripped me up also made for a smooth landing, and I got up with barely even a scratch. I guess if I had to get a fall out of my system, that’s the way I’d like to do it!

Originally, I was going to give my chest/shoulder until Tuesday to get better and then call the doctor, but after Saturday’s run I had had it, so I have a doctor’s appointment Wednesday afternoon, which was the earliest I could get in. It’s felt a little better today (Sunday), but has still ached for most of the day. If there’s an armchair doctor in the virtual audience looking to give me an uneducated diagnosis, my pain has all been in my right pec, right shoulder, the top of my right arm, and in the muscles around my right armpit (my jaw pain was also on the right side when I had it, but it’s been gone since Tuesday). It really just aches: no stabbing, no throbbing, no tingling, no shooting. It hurts the worst when I take as deep of a breath as I can. I have full mobility in my shoulder. Stretching, foam rolling, and ibuprofen haven’t made it worse or better. I assume, based on the results of my 18 miler, that my heart and lungs are totally fine (I checked my pulse on the run a couple of times just to see what was going on, and found my heartbeat matched my cadence exactly. Since I have never for the life of me been able to get my cadence any higher than maybe 165 at BEST, I figure my heart rate must have been around there, which is normal for me on a long run.) and therefore think it’s most likely a muscular thing.

I’m not even going to bother trying to paint a rosy picture here: I was not okay last week. Mentally, I was in bad, bad shape, and as those of you who fight your own mental demons know all too well, it can be extraordinarily difficult to pull yourself out of that. As of Sunday afternoon, I’m still not doing super great, to be honest, but I’m trying to do what I can to not allow my anxiety to control my life. INFINITELY easier said than done, but at least I’m trying? Here’s to a mentally healthier (and, hopefully, less achey) week 14.

19 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 13

  1. i respect that kind of crazy. kind of like my nine miler this am after my 18 miler yesterday. ironically… not sore. however racing a half and then running the next day is a whole different level. ouch.

    ps please please please tell me you saw Sweet Redemption dance on the final episode of SYTYCD HOLY FREAKING MOSES god i loved it, adding it to my top favorite of all time

    • Oddly enough, the only real soreness I had post nine miler was my strange chest/shoulder business that I’m still dealing with. Naturally my legs are just dandy. Get it together, body.

      I haven’t! But I’m going to look it up ASAP! That’s a pretty solid review, after all.

  2. I’ve been battling some weird right collarbone pain for the past month and it’s just now starting to feel better, Weirdly, after it hurt like hell DURING yoga on Friday it started to ache less. I did go to the doc and she said it looked like I had subluxated my first rib and gave me a bunch of stretches to work out the tightness in my neck muscles that she said connected to where it hurt. Ironically, I think I hurt myself sitting on the couch. Anyway, if I’d been the type of person to go to a chiropractor I probably would have done that.

    • The past MONTH?! Oh goodness. Heaven help me if this lasts a month. Not gonna lie, I’m pretty nervous about what the doctor is going to tell me and that it may in some way involve “Stop running,” since I’m going to my regular doc instead of my sports doc (at least to start, since I don’t feel like this is a sports injury). But we’ll see!

  3. Great job on the training, and especially on that Mag Mile time! I don’t know about you, but that humidity absolutely KILLED me!
    And wow, you really did pick the absolute best way to fall. I haven’t had a good crash in a while and am probably due for one soon- I hope my next is just like yours :0D

  4. Ok so once I’m finally back in the city for good you’re going to have to share your dedication with me. I’m SO bad at dedicating time to running…like if one thing goes wrong, I’m like eh okay I’ll just run tomorrow. But you…you’re a rockstar! I really admire you!

  5. Huge huge huge hug to you right now 😦 I’m sorry last week was so rough. The mentally hard weeks are worse for me than the physically hard weeks and to have both in one week sucks the most. I think and hope you are super proud of yourself for getting out there and doing what you needed to do. Shake it off as best you can, hang in there till Wednesday, and remember…these weeks are a part of every training cycle and it’s better to get them out now than have it happen race day

    • Thank you so much, lady 🙂 You have no idea how much I appreciate you checking in on me! It really means the world. Mentally rough weeks are even worse than physically rough weeks in my experience, too, though I do think for me they tend to go hand in hand (feeling sick/sore/hurt/injured brings me down, leading to bad head spaces…yeah. Not fun.). Hopefully things will be all right on Wednesday…we’ll see!

  6. I had strange chest/shoulder pain the other day too. I think I did sleep on it funny, but it was super painful for a couple of days! Haha I can’t wait to dump my boyfriend (marathon training) after October 12th. I know I won’t want to dump the actual marathon just the annoying training part. He’s just so needy and won’t go away 😉 So sorry you had such a tough mental week. When I have those kinds of weeks I always take a step back from running and relax. I hope this week is going better for you already!

  7. What a bummer to hear about the strange shoulder/neck/lat pain. =( How are you feeling now? I wish you the speediest of recoveries! I understand the 0.00004 seconds it takes for the mentality to go downhill – it’s so hard. I also remember from my own experience with marathon training that August and early September (until the final taper) were absolutely killer. Hang in there – it WILL be worth it come race day! BIG HUGS!

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