Chicago Marathon Training Week 13

Sunday, August 28: Yoga + walking.
But just barely. I was a bit more sore than I expected to be after my half marathon the day before, so I did a short, 15 minute recovery practice I found on YouTube. Later that afternoon, I went on a walk with my mom and brother on the nature trail around my grandparents’ retirement home for about an hour.
Monday, August 29: 5 miles in 55:01 for a 10:59 pace.
THE HILLS. Oh, my gosh, the hills. My grandparents have lived in their retirement home since I was two, so I’m perfectly well aware of the fact that they live on the top of a hill. What I did not realize, however, was just how high that hill is until I tried to run up and down it on this five miler. The hill is 300 feet tall from top to bottom, which, for this flatlander in particular, is really freaking tall. Add to the fact that those 300 feet of elevation gain primarily happen over the course of a whopping half mile, and you have a horrendously steep hill bent on destroying your quads. I ran most of these five miles, but definitely walked up the hill. Despite the hills, however, this was a lovely run. Temperatures in the 50s when I set out? Yes. Please. Fall cannot get to Chicago fast enough.
Tuesday, August 30: Hike.
To say what I did on Tuesday was a “hike” is probably a little generous, but I’m going to call it that anyway. We spent Tuesday in the Hoh Rain Forest at the Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, and while there walked both the Hall of Mosses Trail, which is .8 miles, and the Spruce Nature Trail, which is 1.2 miles. Admittedly not a whole lot of activity, but it was really pretty!

Wednesday, August 31: Walk.
After sitting in the car for a long drive back to the Seattle area from the peninsula, I was dying for some activity, so my mom and I went on a half hour walk to help appease my Fitbit and my antsiness over my pathetic amount of activity last week.
Thursday, September 1: 9 miles in 1:42:05 for an 11:20 pace.
THE HILLS. Nine miles on the hilly terrain surrounding my grandparents’ place was, unsurprisingly, not any easier than five miles on that same terrain. I had a sore shin on Tuesday, which I figured came from my run on Monday, and though the soreness had gone away by Wednesday, it came back and hung with me from miles 3-6 on this run. Probably not coincidentally, mile three-ish, when the soreness came back, was also when I was descending the largest and steepest hill on the run. I imagine the pounding associated with that descent, both on Monday and Thursday, is responsible for setting my shin off. Though I was exhausted afterwards, I was really proud of myself for getting a lot of miles in despite the hills.

Friday, September 2: Rest.
Though I did walk 10,000 steps almost entirely in SeaTac while I waited for my flight (my parents and brother flew out two hours before I did, as they flew to Detroit while I, obviously, flew to Chicago, so I was at the airport three and a half hours early and spent nearly all of that time walking around the airport), so it wasn’t quite as restful as some Fridays.
Saturday, September 3: 20 miles in 3:40:42 for an 11:02 pace.
In my past marathon training cycles, I’ve always run my 20 miler with CARA during its organized Ready to Run 20 Miler three weeks before the Chicago Marathon. However, as I am 1) running my first marathon of the season that day this year and 2) did not want to run 20 miles on vacation in Seattle, I ended up doing my 20 miler on Saturday, two weeks before Fox Valley, while the rest of my group did 18 miles.


It took me a LONG time to get into this run. Six and a half miles in, I was already declaring myself super over it and wanted to throw in the towel not because I was tired or injured or feeling sick or anything like that, but because I simply did not want to run 20 miles on Saturday. I didn’t get home until after 5 p.m. on Friday evening and had to leave for a wedding at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon, and, after a week of poor sleep and far less relaxing than I had hoped for/expected on vacation, I just wanted to be at home, in bed, being lazy, i.e.: the opposite of running 20 miles. When my group got to the Soldier Field/McCormick Place area, I was already at 10.25 miles (I had run 1.3 before our group run began), and turned around while they continued on to the south end of McCormick Place. As soon as I ditched my group, I felt a LOT better. I don’t consider myself to be strongly introverted, but in my normal, day-to-day life, I usually get at least an hour or so every day where I may not be alone, but I don’t have to socialize with other people, whether that’s during a workout, when I’m home in the evening, or even at work, when I’m sitting at my desk and no one is talking to me. I had brief moments of alone time on vacation, but for the most part, I was constantly surrounded by my family. That’s not a bad thing at all, of course, but I was DYING to just be left alone, which I didn’t realize until I ditched my running group and had 9.75 glorious, glorious miles all to myself. I felt a lot better once I was on my own, at least mentally. It wasn’t too hot on Saturday, but it was incredibly sunny, and that definitely drained my energy during the stretch of concrete between Navy Pier and Castaways, which was somewhere in the 13 mile area for me. Instead of killing myself getting through there, I decided to drop down to run/walking, running for four minutes and walking for one, and kept that up until about mile 18 or so, when I resumed exclusively running. This was my slowest 20 miler to date, but also included more walking than any previous 20 milers, and was under wildly different circumstances than my other three 20 milers, so I’m not too concerned with my time. Besides, all three of my past 20 milers have been 3:37s, but my marathon times have been different each race, so I don’t see the 20 miler as an infallible way of predicting my marathon performance anyway.
TAPER TIME. Thank the Lord. I think I’m sufficiently worn out from training at this point and am absolutely thrilled to enjoy lower mileage and more free time over the next two weeks (and likely for the three weeks after that as well, as I recover from Fox Valley/maintain my fitness for Chicago). I won’t lie: I was pretty stressed out on vacation over how little activity I got in, particularly for it being peak week. I’m glad I logged 34 miles, which is a number that I feel comfortable with for peak week, but wish I had been able to get in more intense activity throughout the week, rather than just barely cracking 10,000 steps most days and having to make a concentrated effort just to get in that amount of movement. But there’s no use beating myself up over it at this point. I cannot believe I’m running a marathon in less than two weeks, but I’m trying to not think about it too much and just take things day by day, as difficult as that may be. I feel rather undertrained and underprepared, but I’d rather feel that way than overtrained and injured, so things could be worse. And regardless of how undertrained I feel, I am so, so excited to welcome low mileage back into my life between now and my marathons.

4 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 13

  1. Yay, taper time! The hay is in the barn. Yes, it’s better to be undertrained and underprepared than otherwise! On race day, just lock in a pace that matches your fitness and you’ll do well.

  2. Congratulations on knocking out that 20 miler!! We all know that feeling oh-too-well…wanting to give up 30 minutes into a run. It now takes me almost an hour (~6 miles) to get into a run thanks to all the high mileage. But you did it and now it’s taper time! I never understood why the taper drives people crazy. Personally, I remember LOVING the break from 3+ hour-long runs. Enjoy the taper!

    • Thanks! I’ve certainly had my fair share of taper crazies over the past few years of running marathons, mostly just because I’ve lost my outlet for burning off nervous energy AND have this new thing (a marathon) to stress about all at the same time. Fortunately, this year I’m a bit less stressed about my marathon (or at least, I’m a bit less stressed about it right now haha), so up to this point taper has treated me quite well. We’ll see how I hold up next week, though 😛

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