Chicago Marathon Training Week 11

Sunday, August 16: Yoga.
I found another yoga practice on YouTube to do on Sunday. I wanted something a little challenging, and this is what I used:

Holy. Smokes. I don’t think my heart rate has ever gotten that high during yoga before. I was actually sore the following day from this practice. It’s no joke! The last 15 minutes are pretty calm, though, which was more of what I had in mind when I scheduled yoga for the day after a 15 miler.

Monday, August 17: Strength/HIIT
I did The Transformer from the NTC app (Get Lean: Advanced). NTC keeps a log of all your past workouts, and I was really surprised to see I hadn’t done The Transformer in its entirety since February 18 – almost six full months to the day! During the winter, I was all about the NTC app, and The Transformer was one of my go-to workouts. It beat me up a bit, but not as bad as I feared it would.

Tuesday, August 18: 5 miles (tempo) in 50:29 (9:56, 9:28, 9:38 tempo miles) for a 10:05 overall pace.
I once again started this run with lead legs like whoa, but as soon as I started my tempo miles things felt MUCH better. This was pre-Armageddon storm, so it was still pretty toasty and humid when I went out to run. I was quite surprised by my tempo times as a result, but I’m not complaining! I definitely felt it during the last half mile of my last tempo mile, but it felt really great to push myself.

I was so hot and tired when I got home that I never “officially” ended my session on my watch, so it ended it for me. When I was scrolling through my stats later (normally I do this as soon as I finish, but I was too concerned about drinking ALL OF THE WATER), I discovered that my watch not only gives me my mile splits, but my HR averages and average pace/mile for each mile as well. I had no idea! I’ve actually wanted this information and thought I had to upload everything to Polar Flow (like Garmin Connect) to get the info, but nope! I’ve just been pushing the wrong buttons all this time. Who knew!

m400hrstats

Wednesday, August 19: Climbing.
There’s a 5.9 upstairs that I have yet to conquer, so I decided to focus on that on Wednesday. I warmed up on a 5.8 (and the 5.7) upstairs and then got to the task at hand. I made several attempts but never made it quite to the top. I did get higher than I had gotten before, though, so that was something. This route has been up since early July, so I’ll be a little surprised if it sticks around much longer. I went downstairs to check out the scene and discovered a new 5.8 route. I gave it a couple half-hearted attempts, but my arms were so tired from the 5.9 upstairs that I didn’t get all that far (or expect to get all that far). Until I build up some more arm endurance (which I doubt will happen to the degree it needs to any time soon, since I’m not dedicating all that much time to climbing), I really can only concentrate on either an upstairs 5.9 or a downstairs 5.8, but not both in the same trip.

Crazy story: when I was upstairs, there was what appeared to be a family up there as well. A girl, maybe eight or nine years old, saw me and exclaimed to those with her, “She has a Hydro Flask!” I thought this was a pretty astute observation from an elementary school kid, but didn’t do anything. (Hydro Flask, in case you’re unfamiliar, is a water bottle brand. I blogged about mine ages ago). The family went downstairs, I did my 5.9 thang, and then while I was resting in between climbs, the family came back. At this point, the girl came up to me and said, “Do you have a Hydro Flask?” I said yes, and then she said, “My dad owns that company!” Well! I told her how much I loved the water bottle (which wasn’t a lie – out of the many [many] water bottles I’ve had in my day, this is FAR and away my favorite. It kept my water ice cold while it sat in the sun at gear check at Rock ‘n’ Roll, so yeah, it’s a pretty excellent water bottle in my opinion), and then her dad came over. She proceeded to tell him that I am the proud owner of a Hydro Flask, so I raved about the water bottle to him as well, and he was so excited that he made me repeat everything I said while he took a video on his iPhone. Here’s hoping my enthusiasm shows up at the company’s next board meeting, or whatever. Hahaha.

Thursday, August 20: 8 miles in 1:26:30 for a 10:48 pace.
This run was a little tougher than I expected. I had some shin pain, I think brought on by climbing (I had the exact same pain in the exact same location when I went climbing after a bit of a hiatus in March), but not enough to make me stop running. Some of my CARA group had run on the 606 the day before, so since I had a lot of ground to cover, i decided to check it out for myself. Oh MAN, you guys. The 606 is amazing! I loved, loved, loved the soft track surface along the sides, and compared to the Lakefront Trail, this was a dream. The crowds were comparable to winter on the Lakefront, and that is my kind of crowding – enough to not feel alone, but not so much that you feel you’re going to get run over. The trail has mile markers in the cement every tenth of a mile, which is awesome, and I bet in a few years when the trees grow taller, it’s going to be beautifully shaded. I was a big fan. Except no one warned me that there are HILLS. Well, not hills, exactly, but the trail certainly rolls, unlike, you know, everywhere else in Chicago. I was not prepared for that! I really felt like I was working towards the end of this run, and it was a bit tough, though I wouldn’t say I bonked, so at least that’s something.

Friday, August 21: Rest.
Shin was still a little touch and go, which, once again, is exactly what happened the last time I had this. Conclusion: I should go climbing more often 😛

Saturday, August 22: 16.12 miles in 2:47:42 for a 10:24 (!!!) pace + dance.
THIS RUN YOU GUYS. I know, second week in a row of this?! What’s going on?? The weather was absolutely perfect on Saturday. Well, 95% perfect. It would’ve been absolutely perfect if it had been overcast, but whatever. I’m not complaining. It was cool, it was dry, there was an ever-so-slight breeze, and compared to a month ago or so, these conditions were ideal. This was actually only the second time I’ve done a 16 miler–last year I was sick the week of the 16 miler and only did eight miles instead of 16–and the first time I did a 16 miler in 2013, it did NOT go well. That was my first-ever bonk, and considering my inability to stay with the group this year, I was pretty nervous headed into Saturday’s run. I was running with one of my friends from last year and told her off the bat that I was going to stick with the group as long as I could, but would likely drop back sooner rather than later. Except I felt fine, and continued to feel fine, and then got all sorts of excited talking about this project I just wrapped up at work that has been super fun for me, and yammered on about that for a solid three miles and…yeah. We hit Castaways on the way back, and I was still feeling great, and I made it over the North Ave. bridge (which sometimes kills me) still feeling great. I even briefly ran into Lauren! I dropped back to the back of the group (but didn’t lose them – just brought up the rear) in the last mile, but that was it. I can’t remember another time when I’ve stuck with the group for a run that long. I was absolutely beside myself with happiness 😀

In the afternoon I went to breakdance for the last time before the marathon (or at least the last time on a Saturday before the marathon). It’s getting too close to the marathon for me to feel like I can continue to double up on workouts on Saturdays without risking season-ending injury, and, let’s be real: no one needs to put in almost four hours of exercise in one day. It’s kind of a bummer, because I’ve really been liking my Saturday breakdance class lately. I’ve felt like I’ve had several breakthroughs with moves over the past couple of weeks, and I wish I could keep that momentum going. But the marathon, as always, has to take priority right now. Alas.

Since last week we talked about my weight, clearly no topics are off limits, so this week I want to solicit your opinions/advice on blister prevention. I started getting blisters on my toes when I began marathon training in 2013, and this year it has been out. of. control. I had the NASTIEST blister on my left big toe last week (which popped when I went climbing. That was attractive. Fortunately I was wearing a Band Aid, so it didn’t make a mess), and I’ve got a pretty disgusting one on my right big toe right now. Both of those blisters were so big that it was a bit painful to walk/bend my feet, which was an inconvenience to say the least. I have NO clue what to do to prevent them, however. I’ve worn every sock under the sun, and no matter how many brands or styles guarantee to keep my feet blister-free, none of them have come through in that department. I’m wearing different shoes now than I wore in 2013 and 2014 (same brand–Asics–but a different model), so I don’t think that’s necessarily the issue. I Body Glide the living daylights out of my big toes before I run, but nothing seems to make a difference. If anyone has ANY proven blister-prevention tricks, I am all ears. My feet are a sight to behold right now, and definitely not in a good way!

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5 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 11

  1. I wonder what would happen if you wrapped medical tape around your toes before running. That could help or it could just cause new blisters in new places.

    Do your feet sweat a lot? Maybe some kind of powder in your shoes/socks to help with moisture?

    • I’ve never thought my feet were all that sweaty, or at least not excessively so, but when I wore Bandaids on my toes on Saturday, they both sweated off, so maybe I’m sweatier than I realized. Since I’ve changed so many variables, it would make sense if the problem was actually with my feet, not what I’m putting on my feet.

  2. Hmmm. The only thing I might suggest trying is wearing two pairs of socks at the same time (which sounds awful during summertime, but if it prevents blisters it might be worth it). The theory is that the friction will then be caused by the socks rubbing against each other, as opposed to your foot.

    I LOVE the 606!!! It is so peaceful to have the above-ground view of all the neighborhoods!!! The mile markers every tenth of a mile is awesome, too. Although, I do feel bad for the folks who have living room windows literally next to the path. That would be a little invasive!

    • I have some really thin socks that I could try wearing over my running socks and see what happens. If it kept my feet from getting more blistered, I’d be willing to give it a try!

      And yes, that’s a good point about living right by the 606! I was actually thinking somewhat along those lines when I was running and wondering what it must be like to live there, in an area that presumably has been quite quiet for years but now is bustling with activity.

  3. I love reading your weekly run recaps! Since I’m not running a marathon this year, I’m totally living vicariously through you. I miss running long distances 😦

    Regarding blisters – please please share if you find a solution! I’ve been dealing with this issue too and have also tried everything with no luck. My issue (TMI) is that my toes are too close together so they rub together. I’ve tried Injinji socks, which actually worked for a while…until they didn’t so that’s that. Anyway, good luck and keep us posted!

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