Chicago Marathon Training Week 17

Sunday, September 28: Rest.
Though I did attend Fleet Feet’s Breaking Through the Wall seminar. I went to the seminar last year as well, but at that point Meb Keflezighi was not the Boston Marathon champion and Deena Kastor hadn’t set the masters half marathon world record seven days earlier, so in terms of star power, I’d say this year was even cooler than last year 🙂 I also felt different sitting through the seminar this year, having been through the whole marathon song and dance once before and no longer having this naively optimistic thought in my mind that the marathon would be easy peasy. Spoiler alert: marathons are never easy. They hurt. A lot. Whatever mental tricks you’ve ever used to get through a run will all come into play on marathon day, and it was nice to know elites deal with the same wall struggles as us Wave 2 runners 😉

Monday, September 29: Personal Training.
Taper apparently does not translate to easy personal training. My trainer didn’t hold back at all when it came to weights, and though the weights I used technically weren’t *that* heavy, they sure felt heavy to me, especially when we’d get to reps 11 and 12. We did a kettle bell row that was a particular struggle, and I had much more trouble than I expected on hamstring curls as well.

Tuesday, September 30: Physical Therapy + Dance.
I ended up seeing a different physical therapist than my usual guy on Tuesday and was reminded why I prefer my usual guy to the other therapists in the clinic. The one I saw on Tuesday is ALL about the exercises (though surprisingly was not all about beating me up, which, in my past experience with this therapist, was certainly the case…although maybe I’m just immune to it by now 😛 ), and while I know exercising is good for me, I much prefer manual therapy. But whatever. At least I got a good workout!

I only went to hip hop on Tuesday, per my doctor’s orders to not breakdance for two weeks. My shoulder was definitely feelin’ it by the end of hip hop, so I was glad I had been told to leave, at least from a shoulder standpoint. Not so much from a social standpoint, which is the only reason I take breakdance anyway. Leaving the room to go home just as all your friends are getting to class sucks 😦

Wednesday, October 1: 6 miles in 1:01:23 for a 10:14 pace.
My Garmin and I got into a major fight again on Wednesday.


This screen is the bane of my existence.

While I (futilely) waited for my Garmin to find a satellite signal, I did some Chicago math to figure out where I needed to run in order to make it six miles and eventually overrode my Garmin’s satellite search and took off on my own. I manually reset the lap count when I knew, based on where I was block-wise, that I had run a mile, which messed with my splits but at least had my Garmin beep when I needed it to.

After the Garmin snafu, my run was so-so. My left Achilles/heel/toes was sore/numb in that order, both anatomically and pain speaking (first my Achilles, then my heel, then my toes), but at this point in the season I’m apt to chalk just about everything up to the taper and didn’t get too worked up about it. Instead, I spent the majority of my run debating whether or not I should run or go to the gym the following day.

Thursday, October 2: 4 miles in 41:20 for a 10:20 pace.
I ended up going to the gym.

I was a little hesitant to go to the gym, since I knew if I were to go to the gym, I’d have to go before work, which would give me less than 12 hours to recover. I figured, however, that if I went to the gym, I could run on the treadmill and if ANYTHING felt off, I could easily stop running and get on a bike/elliptical to finish my workout, whereas if I ran outside, I’d be stuck. So the dreadmill it was.

Man, four miles take forever on a treadmill. I actually haven’t run on a treadmill since…April? March? Long enough that I really have no room to complain, especially since I hadn’t run on one at all this training cycle. I watched NBC 5 (Stefan and Michelle and Lauren and Kye and Andy, I’ve missed you so!) and tried to not look at the mileage count every .2 seconds.

Friday, October 3: Physical Therapy.
Back with my PT 😀 An all-around much more enjoyable experience than Tuesday. It’s funny — last year I bounced among all three PTs in the clinic before finally settling down with one (not my current PT — my old/favorite PT in the clinic moved out of state earlier this year. Rude.), and switching between two PTs this week, I was reminded of how much I prefer one therapist’s style (i.e.: my therapist’s style) to other styles.

Saturday, October 4: 8.08 miles in 1:20:10 for a 9:55 pace.
Um, oops?

It was, once again, FREEZING on Saturday morning. Technically, it was pretty close in temperature to what we ran our 14 miler in a few weeks back, except when we ran 14 miles, it was at least sunny. On Saturday, it was cloudy and/or rainy/snowy(?). And they said this was “summer” marathon training…


We started off at a 10:20 pace, but quickly sped up and ran miles 3-8 at more of a 9:45 pace. LOLWHUT. So much for that whole “10:30” thing, eh? But it was cold, and it was only eight miles, and we were all excited to get to our post-run brunch, soo…yeah. Twas a speedy one.

The highlight of Saturday (aside from brunch, obviously) was that our group leaders let all of us take turns leading the group on our last two miles back. Having never had the guts to run anywhere close to the front of the group, that was a pretty special moment for me 🙂

OMG IT’S MARATHON WEEK. Honestly, I can’t believe it. I feel like this whole marathon season absolutely flew by, and I’m so, so sad that training (at least with my group) is over. I’ll of course see them all again on marathon day, and we’re getting together for a short little run the Saturday after the marathon (where I will absolutely violate my own “no running under any circumstance between Oct. 13 and Nov. 13” rule. Whatever. It’ll be fine.), so it’s not like this is the end the end…but it still makes me really sad. I had SUCH a phenomenal time training with my CARA group this year. I really feel like I made some awesome, awesome friends in my group, and that made such a difference for me comparing last year to this year.

On Monday during therapy (of the mental, not physical variety 😉 ) my therapist asked me if I thought I’d do it again next year, and I was like, “I mean…yeah. Yeah, definitely. I’m not even going to bother pretending like it’s something I’m just thinking about. My friends!” I’ve heard people say that with marathons, you’re either one and done or two and through, and I certainly understand that now. If I didn’t have my CARA group, or if no one in my CARA group planned to come back next year, it’d be a different story. But those people have become my people, and I can’t fathom spending next summer knowing all my friends are running together and I’m not with them. Whether I’ll do Chicago next year is TBD. To be honest, I felt like running for charity put WAY more pressure on me than I could handle, and while it was a great way to make sure I got into Chicago, I want next year’s marathon experience to be a bit more low key. Right now, I plan on entering the lottery for Chicago 2015 and seeing what happens. If I get in, great! If I don’t, I’ll probably look into either Grand Rapids or Detroit, which are the weekend after Chicago. Coincidentally, one of my CARA friends is thinking about Detroit for next year instead of Chicago, so that could make things really simple! But that’s all very, very far down the road. I’ve still got a marathon to run this year first 😉

8 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 17

  1. TAPER!!! I thought I would enjoy these two weeks a lot more than I actually am. I think I’m simply exhausted from 5 months of consistent training. Seriously, I can’t wait to take the rest of October off from running!

    I’m so sure you and I both will scramble to secretly sign up for our next marathons immediately after this weekend (well, maybe not immediately but still…). *knock on wood*

    P.S. what Garmin do you use? I’m on the market for a new one so I can give my current one to my sis!

    • You’ve done SO much training, I don’t blame you for being tired! 18 weeks is quite enough for me, so A+ to you for hanging in there for so much longer.

      I use a Garmin 210. I’ve had it for almost three years now (bought it February 2012), and aside from the occasional satellite issues (and I don’t know if those are the Garmin’s fault, satellites’s fault, the fault of buildings, etc.) and a spontaneously dead battery (every now and again I’ll turn it on after it’s been fully charged and it’ll tell me the battery’s dead…that’s probably happened five or six times in the almost three years I’ve had it), I like it! I know I’m not using it to its full potential–there are so many features I haven’t even begun to explore–but I think it’s a really great watch.

  2. I’m so excited for you! I was thinking of you earlier today. So glad that things have worked out and you will be able to run!! I love that you didn’t let those pesky injuries get in your way. I’m coming out to cheer on my roommate, so I will look for you too! xo!

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