Chicago Marathon Training Week 15

Sunday, September 10: Rest
I didn’t get home from Iowa until 8:30 and still needed to go grocery shopping and make lunches for the week after that. Obviously, the 90 minute workout I planned for the day didn’t happen. Though, looking over the past six weeks on my training log, that seems to be more the standard rather than the exception, so what else is new? At least if race day goes terribly this year, I certainly won’t have to spend any time wondering where I went wrong in training.

Monday, September 11: 10.39 miles in 1:47:33 for a 10:21 pace + SPF
I continue to be #unimpressed with Garmin’s utter failure at GPS tracking among buildings. According to my watch, I ran my first mile in 6:55, and my max speed was 117.5 miles per hour. Look, I understand that it’s hard to triangulate my position when there are buildings in the way, but COME ON. According to Google, the fastest animal (the Mexican free-tailed bat) can only travel at 99 mph, and that’s while it’s in flight. OBVIOUSLY a human–particularly a human who usually runs in the 5.0-5.7 mph range–can’t run 117.5 miles per hour. There really needs to be something built into the software on these watches that prevents these kind of blatant errors. GPS watches have existed since 2003. How has technology not improved to the point where a watch can AT LEAST see that something extremely fishy seems to be happening, and maybe, JUST MAYBE, the GPS pings it’s receiving don’t make sense? I’m not looking for perfection here, but since I am one billion percent sure I’m not the only runner on the planet attempting to use a GPS watch around buildings–and, as I have been dismayed to learn, with this Garmin in particular, it doesn’t even matter how tall the buildings are. While my watch is most inaccurate around tall buildings, the only time I get a good signal is out by the lake. My maps show me weaving all over the road even when I’m in my neighborhood, where the buildings are two to three stories tall–it really seems like it should be a MUCH higher priority to teach these watches how to look for obvious impossibilities and to smooth out erratic mapping accordingly.

Anyway, aside from continuing to think my watch was an utter waste of money and hating Garmin with the fury of one thousand suns, this run went pretty well. It went a lot better than my long run last Saturday, which was a relief. My knee bothered me a little bit, which was a reminder that I really need to dial it in on my PT exercises between now and the marathon.

Tuesday, September 12: Dance
We finished (I think?) the combo we started learning last week. If I’m being honest, I kind of hate the song and the combo, so I hope we’re done and can move on to something else. We had two people show up that weren’t there the week before and no one that didn’t show up from the week before, so it was a bit crowded.

Wednesday, September 13: Your guess is as good as mine in what should’ve been 60 minutes but wasn’t for a who knows pace + SPF
As much as I enjoy berating my watch at every possible opportunity, this disaster-from-a-tracking-standpoint of a run all came down to user error >.< Don’t you hate it when that happens? I had a 60 minute tempo run on my schedule for Wednesday: my first tempo run with my new watch. These tempo runs, if you recall, ask me to gradually increase my speed for the first half of my run, get to a 10K pace by the middle of my run, then gradually decrease my speed for the second half of my run. I do this in five minute increments, so I like using interval timers for these workouts. I figured out how to access the interval timer on my watch, and then set it up before I left work. I set it up on Run Indoor mode since I was still inside, but then when I went outside, I didn’t realize my watch was still on indoor–and thus, not searching for or using GPS–mode. Fail. When you run on indoor mode, your watch calculates distance based on the your average stride length, as determined by your GPS data. That’s all well and good, but considering that three of the five runs I had done with this watch prior to Wednesday had faulty GPS data, I have reservations about the accuracy of my average stride length as determined by Garmin. (For what it’s worth, my watch says I ran 5.9 miles, while MapMyRun says I ran 6.2.)

So that was user error #1 (though, with how frustrated I get by the crappy GPS reception my watch has around buildings, maybe I shouldn’t complain too much about that particular error). I was rolling along quite nicely on this run and was fortunate enough to not have to stop for lights until roughly a minute into interval eight of 12. I slowed down at the stoplight, pushed the button on the lower left corner of my watch, and watched in horror as it ended interval eight and started interval nine while I frantically tried to figure out what was happening and how I could make it stop. After a few seconds, I realized I had pressed the lap button, not the pause button–on my old watch, the button in the lower left corner was pause, while the button in the upper right corner was start/stop. On this watch, the button on the upper right corner is start/pause/stop. Since I had ruined my eighth interval AND was using the interval timer for the first time (so I didn’t know what it did at the end of the workout), I ended the whole workout and feverishly programed a new, five interval workout for to finish out my run. Overall, I ended up running for 63:01 instead of the 60:00 I planned to run. But whatever. I got the run in, and I guess that’s what matters the most.

Thursday, September 14: 65 minutes XT (bike)
All season long, I’ve used my Thursday cross training days to do yoga, but since I’m panicking over the miles I’ve missed this season and the ramifications that may or may not have on my marathon, I decided that for this week and next week, and possibly the week after, I’ll be biking rather than doing yoga on my cross training days to hopefully help my endurance out a bit. I did the rolling hills workout on the bike at the gym and covered 14.12 miles in 65 minutes. I didn’t really know anything about bike speeds before this year, but it is SHOCKING to me how slow I am on the bike! I’m usually somewhere in the 12.x MPH range, which seems awfully slow to me. Is that normal when you’re on a a stationary bike? (I genuinely have no idea.)

Friday, September 15: Rest

Saturday, September 16: Rest

This week went a lot better than I anticipated, which was a welcome change after last Saturday’s debacle of a long run. I’ll have run the 20 miler by the time this post goes up, but as I write this on Friday, I obviously haven’t done 20 miles yet. I have no idea what to expect out of Sunday. If the forecast holds, it will be far and away the worst weather we’ve ever had for the 20 miler (yay :|), with predicted highs in the low 80s and a decent chance for higher-than-pleasant humidity as well (*sobs*). Expectation is the root of all heartache, as the angsty quotes on the internet say, and I certainly learned that the hard way when I went into my 18-turned-12 miler last Saturday with high expectations. My plan for the 20 miler, therefore, is to go in with exceedingly low expectations. I probably won’t be fast. I probably won’t be comfortable. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had to walk at some point. But as long as I cross the finish line healthy, I’ll consider Sunday a success.

5 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 15

  1. My Garmin 920xt would sometimes have issues when I ran downtown but it seemed to do better if I let it acquire a signal and then stand in one place for a few minutes to let it settle down. Not sure if that will work for all Garmins, but it might be something to try if you haven’t done so already.

  2. I think the info you get from a stationary bike is all relative 🙂 Even when I am riding my indoor trainer, the speeds/distances I do on their don’t correlate nicely to what I can do outside. So I wouldn’t worry about being “so slow” 😉

    Reading about all your watch troubles makes me glad I live out here in suburbia!

    • That makes me feel much better about my biking abilities! I imagine it’s got to be somewhat like running on the treadmill vs. running outside. When it’s not a zillion degrees outside, I can usually run a 10:30 pace without issue, but trying to run that pace on a treadmill feels impossible.

      Ugh, seriously. When I used my watch in Iowa a couple of weeks ago I was obsessed with how perfect my GPS map turned out when it didn’t have any buildings to interfere!

  3. Pingback: Chicago Marathon Training Week 16 | accidental intentions

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