Chicago Marathon Training Week 10

Sunday, August 9: Dance.
I was OUT OF IT at this dance rehearsal. This is the second time in a row when we’ve had our Sunday-before-graduation extra rehearsal and I proceeded to forget basically all the choreography for everything. The vibe at rehearsal was also less-than-enthusiastic, which put me in a lousy mood. This really could’ve been better all across the board. I wore my heart rate monitor to dance for the first time on Sunday (I normally don’t wear it because I think it’d be uncomfortable during breakdance, but this rehearsal was exclusively hip hop), and was surprised to find that in terms of calorie burn and how my heart rate fluctuates, dance is nearly identical to climbing for me.

Monday, August 10: 5 miles (intervals) in 51:37 for a 10:16 pace.
I don’t think I’ve ever done this long of an interval run before. Once again I warmed up and cooled down for half a mile, and in between that did quarter-mile repeats. I thought it was going to rain (it didn’t), so I mostly stuck to two-mile loop I have close to home, but deviated off it for the last 1.5 miles because it had become clear that the weather would cooperate. My Achilles tends to get the most achey/sore/tender when I do intervals, so I tried to be really careful on Monday, but it still got a little grumpy. I found gradually speeding up instead of going 0-10 on a dime helped alleviate that somewhat, though I’m a little worried that intervals may not be the wisest form of training to continue if they still bug my Achilles.

Tuesday, August 11: Dance.
Graduation for the eleventy billionth time. We ran our hip hop routine over and over and over again, and once again basically had a boot camp disguised as a breakdance class instead of breakdance. We have the next two weeks off of dance, and though I enjoy it, I’m looking forward to the break. Just having that day free gives my training schedule SO much more flexibility, and I love that.

Wednesday, August 12: 7.01 miles in 1:12:01 for a 10:16 pace.
THIS RUN, YOU GUYS. (insert heart-eyed emoji here) Originally, I planned to go climbing and do this run on Thursday, but the forecast for Thursday was hot and humid, while Wednesday was cool(ish) and dry (plus I plan to climb for the next four weeks straight [and then probably not climb anymore at all until after the marathon], so no love lost). OMG. This was HANDS DOWN the best run I’ve had during marathon training so far, and I’d argue one of the best runs I’ve had ever. The weather was absolutely perfect for summer running, and I felt so good by mile five that I decided to attempt a fast finish run, which I’ve never done before. My original goal was to run 10 seconds faster for mile 5 and 20 seconds faster than for mile 6, and then I ended up running 15 seconds faster for mile 5 and almost 40 seconds faster for mile 6–I was actually really close to tempo pace on mile 6, and though I was breathing kind of hard, I wasn’t struggling by any means. My Polar M400 assigns a “running index” number to each run, which takes into account your heart rate and speed and decides how well you’re performing based on those things. In general, I get somewhere between a 44 and 46 (fair to average, on their scale – anything about 65 counts as “excellent”). On Wednesday, for the first time ever, I got a 50.



This was the run I’ve been waiting for for weeks.

Thursday, August 13: Yoga.
I wanted to do yoga for 45 minutes, and I didn’t want to do Advanced Yoga from NTC, so I headed to YouTube and found this practice.

I really, really liked it! It was so different from any other yoga practice I normally do at home, and I really liked the teacher’s style. Plus, during savasana she kept talking about marathon training, which was oh-so appropriate for me!

On another note, my left TFL was really bothering me on Thursday. (This is the third time I’ve had TFL issues: once last year after the 20 miler on my right side–that was when I learned what a TFL is, since I mentioned it to my PT–around Rock ‘n’ Roll this year on my right side, and right now.) Both of my hips were sore last Friday and Saturday from the NTC workout I did last Thursday, but that cleared up on my right side entirely by Sunday. My left side had stopped aching, but when I did leg raises (like rose wall slides, but standing) as part of my during-the-workday PT regimen (which I’ve been following so well, you guys! Granted, it’s not a lot of PT, but it’s something, and I’m so proud of myself for doing at least two exercises every single day), I noticed my left side still hurt. That continued all week on my left side, though the ache was always in my TFL. It didn’t hurt running on Wednesday, but it was rock hard when I woke up Thursday morning, so I spent some time rolling it out (in addition to my usual daily foam rolling). When I went to do leg raises Thursday morning, I realized my TFL hurt a LOT, and also realized this probably means I’ve been doing my leg raises wrong for quite some time, because in theory, I should be feeling that all in my booty, not my TFL. When I focused really hard, I could do them with just my glute muscles, but by that point my TFL was in trouble. It got SO TIGHT sitting at my desk, so I made a point of getting up more often than usual and attacked it with a tennis ball once I got home. I probably attacked it too enthusiastically, to be honest, because after that it hurt to touch it.

Friday, August 14: Rest.
Still dealing with a tight TFL. I changed my timer on my work computer to tell me to get up every 35 minutes instead of every 58 like usual. Walking around doesn’t bother me at all, but sitting in my chair at work was a nightmare. I propped my leg up, too, to try to keep the muscle from tightening up.

Saturday, August 15: 15.33 miles in 2:40:17 for a 10:29 pace + dance.
THIS! RUN! YOU! GUYS!!! (insert a billion heart-eyed emojis here). I had exceedingly low expectations for Saturday’s long run. My group went out to dinner Saturday night, which meant I went to bed over an hour and a half later than usual on Fridays. It was hot. It was humid. It was sunny. It was Air & Water Show weekend. Everything, everything, everything about this run should’ve gone terribly. But I was, for reasons FAR beyond my comprehension, in a fantastic mood Saturday morning, and not a fake, trying-to-convince-myself-I’m-happy-when-I’m-actually-not fantastic mood: a real, genuine, honest to goodness good mood. My run reflected that. I hit mile four, and thought, “I’m feeling really great!” I hit mile six and thought, “I’m…still feeling really great?!” When we hit mile eightish, I fell off the main group and settled into my own 10:45 pace with a couple of other girls, but I didn’t beat myself up over it. If I can’t do a 10:30 (or “10:30”) right now, so be it. It’s hot. It’s humid. I clearly have the ability to run faster than that (see: Wednesday), but if I couldn’t do it on Saturday morning, so be it. I hung around the 10:45 area for a few miles, and then I felt like the girls I was running with were holding me back. When they had both told me to go ahead after my watched beeped at mile 12, I went for it. I did a 10:27 mile. Then I did a 10:13 mile. Then I did a 10:01 mile. A 10-freaking-01 mile. I have never, ever, EVER, in my entire running life, run a 15th mile of anything that fast–not even close. I have never, ever, EVER, in my entire running life, felt that solid at the end of a run that long. I have never, ever, EVER, in this entire marathon cycle, had a long run that went that well. This, just like Wednesday, was the run I have been waiting for.


Celebrated with another post-run picnic. I hope this becomes a weekly thing for my group. I would be so down.

I went to breakdance in the afternoon as well and got to hang out with my dance friends! Hooray! I really like my Saturday breakdance class–SO much more than my Tuesday breakdance class–so even though jumping around for an hour after you already ran 15 miles is a bit tiring, it’s worth it to me.

On an entirely different note…

I want to talk about something I’m not supposed to mention, per my Good, Responsible, Socially Acceptable Blogger Handbook and my Guide to Being a Woman Handbook: my weight. I don’t have a scale, because I worry that a scale would lead to an even unhealthier attitude about my body than I already have. I weigh myself when I’m around scales, but I don’t make a habit of weighing myself every day, or week, or month. My apartment has two bathrooms, and in the second bathroom (not my bathroom), there’s a scale. Last Saturday (not a couple days ago: Saturday the 8th), I needed the bathroom RIGHT THAT SECOND, and “my” bathroom was occupied, so I used the other one. Since the scale was there, I stepped on it, and to say I was distressed by what I saw would be generous. I’m about 10 pounds up from where I was this time last year, and I am not pleased. (And no, it’s not all muscle, as much as I’d like to believe that’s the case. While I don’t weigh myself regularly, I do take measurements regularly, and my measurements do not reflect increased muscle, nor does the fit of a handful of my pants. Though, to be fair, it is probably time I stopped trying to squeeze into capris I bought in the Juniors department at JC Penney God only knows how many years ago.)

I know weight loss isn’t the key to happiness, but I am tired of hating how I look. I’m tired of finagling with everything I own to hide my stomach. I’m tired of staring down BMI and body fat percentage charts and watching myself steadily creep farther away from the middle of “healthy” and much closer to “overweight.” I’m tired of hiding in the back in group photos to keep my head in the sand about how I actually look. I’m tired of carrying around all this damn extra weight on every single run. And I don’t care about how beautiful I am on the inside or how looks don’t matter or about loving your body no matter what kind of lumps it has or whatever body-positive thing I’m supposed to be thinking about myself, because frankly, I don’t feel positive about my body in the slightest. I feel like I’m doing everything I’m “supposed” to be doing to, if NOTHING else, at least maintain my weight–exercising, moving around during the work day, going to bed on time, drinking enough water–and it still does nothing but go up, up, up.

The only conclusion I can come to is that it must be what I’m eating. I’d like to think I maintain a fairly healthy diet, but maybe I’m wrong. I know i have a bad snacking habit when I’m home, and that my snacks generally look like handfuls upon handfuls of pretzels and tortilla chips, and no number of salads I eat for lunch will counteract that. I’m not good about saying no to office treats, which come in maybe once every week and a half or so, and are never healthy. I get so nervous when it comes to changing my diet, though. Obviously during marathon season, I want to make sure I’m getting enough food to power me through everything. It’s not going to do me any favors to underfuel. I also don’t want to turn back into the person I was during my last couple of years of college: a person who would recoil at the thought of white bread or pasta, a person who wouldn’t consider eating anything that wasn’t “natural,” a person who never ordered what she really wanted at a restaurant because it didn’t seem healthy enough, a person who, when faced with a bowl full of candy in the student newspaper office, literally could not stop eating out of it, because she spent so much time depriving, depriving, depriving that when she’d eat something like that, she couldn’t stop bingeing, bingeing, bingeing. I’ve never been diagnosed with an eating disorder, but I have certainly felt like my eating habits have been disordered, and I really would rather not go back to that place.

I know I’m not going to lose 10 pounds before the marathon–healthfully, the most I could hope to lose between now and then would be eight. Any time I’ve tried to lose weight in the past, I’ve become discouraged at my complete lack of progress and gave up. I’ve felt like my body is physically incapable of actual weight loss, which doesn’t make me feel any better about my chances of losing one pound, let alone eight, between now and October 11, or between now and August 17, 2016, or ever. But I’m just so sick of this. Once again–this sure seems to be the refrain of my summer–I don’t know what to do, and I’m incredibly, incredibly frustrated.

15 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 10

  1. You have me on such a runner’s high from just reading about your awesome runs! I’m so glad you are finally having these amazing runs you’ve been working for!! You deserve them.

    • Woohoo! That’s so exciting! Even though this is my third time around with marathon training, just a few years ago I really never thought I could ever run more than two miles. I really believe anyone can do this if they set their mind to it! (And don’t have a major health condition or something similar that would prevent them from doing it, of course.)

  2. So glad to hear that you finally had some training runs this week that felt good!!! You’ve worked so hard and so persistently!!!

    I feel your pain with the weight gain, too. When I was training for Chicago in 2012, I gained 15 pounds! And was beside myself thinking, how could I possibly do so when I’m running double-digit mileage every single weekend??? For me, it was definitely the eating. In short, I thought my body was burning WAY more calories than it actually was during running – and I was completely overfueling! (I wrote a post about it on March 10, in case you want to hear all the details.) I think it’s a big step to come to this realization. And I have the utmost confidence that you will be able to work through it during the coming weeks in ways, and with results, that you will be happy with!!!

    • Thanks! I actually think I remember reading that post of yours earlier this year. I’ve been very sporadically using the Lose It! app for years (I always fall off the bandwagon after a couple of weeks because it’s just such a hassle…and reminds me of how boring and predictable my diet is haha), so I picked that back up last week to try to keep an eye on how much I’m consuming and make sure I don’t *too* crazy.

  3. Do you think your runs were good because you had zero expectations? Also, I think I ask you this every year, but what is your goal marathon pace?

    RE: the whole weight while marathon training thing. I remember the year I ran Milwaukee and Las Vegas some of my running group friends and I were joking that we couldn’t wait until marathon season was over so that we could get in shape!

    • I imagine having no expectations definitely helped. Especially in light of the past few weeks, all I really wanted to do was survive, which is a pretty low standard to set for myself haha. But maybe that’s how I should’ve been looking at things all along!

      I don’t have a super set in stone goal pace for the marathon. My main goal is to PR, so that would be anything faster than an 11:17 pace. In a perfect world, I’d like to do a 10:30 (well, in a perfect world, I’d like to do more like a 10:15, if I could). My “official” time goal is 4:45, which would be a 10:52 pace.

  4. I’m so glad you had some great runs!!! Your week sounds a lot like mine- with a mid-week run feeling absolutely amazing, but more importantly, the long run feeling great. That’s how mine felt this morning. I was on cloud 9 the entire time, probably because I was kind of expecting myself to feel terrible so anything would feel better than what I told myself I was going to feel like.

    And as for the weight gain thing- I’ve heard it happen so many times to so many people. I haven’t been weighed or been near a scale since last September and probably will be stepping on one soon at an upcoming doctors appointment which doesn’t thrill me. I’m happier judging myself by how I feel and how well my clothes fit. I think marathon training is so tricky because we feel like we need to eat more food to get enough but then we’re also constantly starving (or at least I am) so we’re like “oh! I must not have eaten enough. I’ll just have xyz.” I’m definitely trying to make sure I’m eating more of the healthier foods so I’m not reaching for cakes and ice creams several nights a week. It seems counterintuitive, but if I’m eating MORE of the right foods, I’ll probably still end up consuming less calories in the long run. But I also kind of think that when we decide to put our bodies through something like marathon training, that’s our primary focus and if we need to lose weight, it is probably easier to do after the marathon. I understand your frustration 100% though!! It sucks when we don’t feel good about the way we look. A whole lot.

    • I’m so glad to hear you had some great runs, too! There seriously is nothing better.

      And YES. This is actually the first time where I’ve felt like I’ve experienced “runger,” but man, the struggle is oh so real. Especially on days like Saturday after a long run, I want to eat ALL OF THE THINGS, and I want it to take NONE OF THE TIME, which makes it even easier to reach for things with lots of calories and barely any nutritional value. I’m trying to keep healthier food around the apartment so I have better snacking options if I need something, but even though almonds are better than tortilla chips, eating a zillion of them still isn’t the best life choice I could ever make. I DON’T KNOW. It’s just all so difficult and frustrating. BUT, I do 100% agree that marathon training, not weight loss, has to be the focus right now. (Weird how those two things don’t go hand in hand, though. I’ve met people who are like, “Yeah, I lost 30 pounds training for this marathon!” and I’m always like HOW. What kind of cyborg are you to pull of those shenanigans?? Hahaha.). Marathon now, weight loss later, healthy eating decisions always. That’s the goal.

  5. It sounds like you had a little running breakthrough this week! Yay! I hope the pattern continues! And hopefully the weather starts to cool down a bit!

    Marathon training was hard on my weight too. Long runs made me hungry but I also still had way too much time on my hands to eat (as compared to triathlon training). For me, I’ve found having lots of healthy snacks on hand (apples, hard-boiled eggs, almonds, carrot sticks and hummus) kept me from gorging myself on things like chips (my favorite!). Sure I still had chips and treats but I felt like I could just eat one serving instead of knocking back half a bag.

    But I hear you on the frustration. It’s defeating when you feel like you are doing most of the right things (working out, eating your veggies) and still not making any progress.

    • That’s definitely how it felt! So far the momentum has continued – hoping to ride this positive wave out as long as possible!

      I’m really trying hard to incorporate more healthy snacks into my general snacking. Almonds have become my go-to as of late, along with Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt popcorn. Though none of those things can hold a candle to tortilla chips, to be fair 😛 But at least they’re better for me.

  6. Pingback: Chicago Marathon Training Week 4 | accidental intentions

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