Chicago Marathon Training Week 15

Sunday, September 14: Rest.

Monday, September 15: Personal Training.
After a miserable night of sleep courtesy of my insufferable neighbors, who took the Bears game as a perfect excuse to open the man cave up for Sunday night business, complete with armchair refereeing (“FLAG! Where was the flag?!” “HOLDING!”) and fanboying (“BEAR DOWN!”), I was NOT in the mood to go to personal training. I was exhausted, and, as a result, a major, major grumpy pants. And my arm/shoulder was killing me, because of course it was. My ever-perceptive trainer, bless his heart, knew something was off (perhaps my monosyllabic responses clued him in) and finally succeeded in getting me to complain with reckless abandon about my shoulder, my doctor, and my neighbors. As a result, he scrapped his entire plan for me for the day and instead had me spend the duration of my session with a tennis ball attempting to both work out the soreness in my arm and, possibly, figure out what the heck was going on with my shoulder in general. It hurt a lot, and obviously he’s no doctor so he couldn’t make any sort of diagnosis, but it was nice to feel like someone actually listened to me wanted me to feel better for a change. Of course, the whole spending-an-hour-digging-a-tennis-ball-into-my-shoulder thing made it ache for the rest of the day, which, combined with my exhaustion (and subsequent heightened anxiety), made for a less-than-stellar day.

Tuesday, September 16: Physical Therapy + Dance.
I don’t know what I did to get so lucky, but I once again made it through PT without having to do many exercises! Hooray! Haha. My PT did the usual knee stuff, since my knee hadn’t felt super stellar after my long run on Saturday, and messed around a little with my foot, which had also felt sore on Sunday post-run. He did a little work on my shoulder as well, which, of course, still hurt (though I will say it felt MUCH better when I woke up Tuesday morning than it had in awhile).

I went to dance on Tuesday but only put in a half effort. My shoulder wasn’t super thrilled with the idea of dancing, so I basically let my right arm hang by my side while trying to just use my left arm. I really didn’t want to fall behind on the choreography, so I figured being there and learning it, even if I couldn’t dance full out, was better than skipping class entirely. I did skip breakdance, however, since I knew I’d be useless with only one healthy arm.

Wednesday, September 17: 10 miles in 1:40:32 for a 10:03 pace.
Longest weekday run ever!


(I only did five instead of 10 last year, due to my birthday, a massive thunderstorm, and a strained hip flexor.)

I was really nervous about my run on Wednesday since I had been anxious all day (oh hey, story of my life) and it was making breathing…not difficult, exactly, but also not normal. I had a feeling I was working myself up and making the situation worse, so instead of letting my mind do whatever it wanted on my run like normal (or, worse, fixating on every little thing that felt wrong), I forced myself to spend my entire run–all 1:40 of it–thinking about things I’m thankful for. Family, school, old friends, new friends, old jobs, my current job, hobbies: if I was grateful for it for any reason, I thought about it on my run. And wouldn’t you know it: my breathing was fine, my body was (mostly) fine (my knee wasn’t super happy, but not to the point where I couldn’t run), and I held a really solid pace for 10 whole miles.

Thursday, September 18: Physical Therapy.
Kicked off my birthday with a nice hour of PT 🙂 Although I did have to do stim, which I really don’t like, but whatever. My PT only made me do 12 reps of exercises instead of 15 in honor of my birthday haha 😛

Friday, September 19: 5 miles in 52:07 for a 10:25 pace.
Whew. This run was ROUGH. My diet on Thursday did not at all reflect my normal eating habits (Portillo’s for lunch with a chicken sandwich, fries, and chocolate cake followed by Mia Francesca’s for dinner, which featured a TON of bread, the entire bowl of spaghetti [when I really could have only eaten half and been perfectly satisfied instead of overstuffed], a cocktail, AND dessert, in addition to breakfast, snacks, and the coffee cake I brought to work for my birthday), and my run (slash life in general) on Friday DEFINITELY reflected those messed-up eating habits. I felt pretty crummy for most of the day as my stomach tried to comprehend what on earth I had done to it the day before. I hoped it’d be able to run it off, but that was NOT the case. Not even a little bit. I felt okay for the first mile and a half or so, but mile 2 was a huge struggle in the nausea department, and I ended up taking a quarter-mile walk break from 2.75 to 3 to give my digestive system a chance to calm down. I planned on employing a run/walk method for the rest of the run if necessary, but fortunately I felt okay enough to run the rest of the way. Realistically, this is a lot like how I felt during the marathon last year, so I suppose Friday was good practice for what to do in case I feel like I may throw up at any second on October 12 (which hopefully will NOT happen!).

Saturday, September 20: Rest.
I did a bit of walking, courtesy of the CTA (WHY did they kill the bus on Lincoln Ave.?! I will never understand why they got rid of that bus. It made SO MUCH SENSE to have a bus that ran up and down a MAIN ROAD. It doesn’t make ANY sense to eliminate that route when there are no other viable alternatives, particularly since Lincoln is a diagonal road, so there aren’t any parallel routes you can take, which is stupid obnoxious when you have four errands to run up and down Lincoln Ave. and no simple way to get from Point A to Point B, even though Point A and Point B are on THE SAME ROAD. I don’t care that they got rid of that bus almost two years ago — I’m still annoyed by it, especially whenever I need to go to Universal Sole. /endrant) and picked up my 20 miler bib, but that was it.



My stomach was still feeling a bit touchy, so I spent nearly all of my afternoon in bed trying to convince my body to get its act together.

A couple thoughts from my experiences this week:
– I’ve got to make more of an effort to get this anxiety beast under control, because it has been nothing but out of control for the past…well, for the past 15 weeks, really. I know things I can do to help myself–mindfulness, talking about it, getting enough sleep–but instead of just knowing what helps, I need to actually implement those things, or I’m going to lose the one shred of sanity I have left by the end of taper.
– I think I need to develop a different approach to carb loading, particularly when I’m stressed/anxious. I carb load relatively gently throughout the week leading up to a half marathon or marathon (or 20 miler), adding in something carby to each meal (two slices of toast instead of one, extra pretzels, a side of naan with dinner [that’s my favorite 🙂 ]) before going ALL IN 48 hours prior to the run, where I basically stop eating anything that’s not white (white bread, white pasta, bananas, applesauce, chicken…and not much else). While this method has worked just fine when I’m not particularly worried about my run, I very clearly remember feeling MISERABLE in the days leading up to the marathon last year (when I was super stressed/anxious) and the two days following the marathon, and that’s how I felt on Friday and Saturday, too. While I think my anxiety absolutely contributes to my stomach woes, I think eating the same not-super-nutritious food over and over and over again meal after meal for 48 to 72 hours isn’t doing me a world of favors, either.



I’ve been hesitant to change my method because while it may not make me feel super great in the moment, it at least up to this point hasn’t made me sick on a run. I’d really rather not run a marathon feeling like death again, though, so some experimentation may be in order for three weeks from now. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears!

8 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 15

  1. Nice week of training hun! You’re allowed to have crappy runs the day after your birthday in my opinion, since you should anything and everything you want 😉 I fully expect my 10 on Sunday to suck, but I’m ok with that since hopefully Friday night and Saturday will be delightful and thus make it more than worth it! I have some friends who can’t do the pasta thing before races and instead go the potato route, and they have no issues. Perhaps give that a try?

    • I’ve honestly never even thought about potatoes. Maybe I’ll work on incorporating more of those into my diet especially at the beginning of marathon week, rather than ALL the wheat. Hahaha. Not that I am in any way anti-wheat — I just don’t think my tummy appreciates four straight days of nothing but pasta, you know?

    • It’s the whole week-long carb loading thing that really gets me. I’ve done fine on the night before a run and all that, but the thought of having to run 20 (or 26.2) miles makes me worry that I won’t have enough fuel in the tank, so to speak, if I don’t carb load all week! Though I suppose I’ve done just fine on an 18 miler without carb loading all week.

  2. I need to experiment with my food too. I don’t think I’m eating enough calories at all but I feel like I’m eating a ton! I think I finally have my fueling during a run down but that doesn’t matter if I’m not fueling correctly before and after a run. I agree with Caitlin potatoes are the way to go!

  3. Congratulations on your longest weekday run ever! Looks like you and I both conquered that milestone last week 🙂 I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s crazy to think that once upon a time 10 miles was our intimidating long run and now it’s simply a weekday run.

    I’m more lost than you are about carbo-loading and pre-race eating. I failed at monitoring what I eat the night before a long run, and I don’t eat anything (!) the day of my long runs. In fact, my diet is very very low in carbs in general which hasn’t really affected my running but I’m still so lost and slightly worried about hitting the wall 😦 Please share your eating experiments!

    • What’s going to be really crazy (for both of us, I imagine) is these next few weeks when we have runs of three or four miles. Is that even a thing? I don’t remember the last time I only ran three miles! That’s barely a warmup!

      If you think you’ve been doing all right with energy and all that up to this point, I’d guess you’re probably all right in terms of fueling. Of course, if you’ve been having problems, that’d be a great reason to mix things up, but it sounds like you’re doing all right!

Leave a Reply to courtruns4cupcakes 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