Chicago Marathon Training Week 17

Sunday, September 24: 13.23 miles in 2:29:31 for a 11:18 pace + PF
Chicago Half Marathon, by my watch.

Monday, September 25: 45 minutes XT
Ah, yet again, the best laid plans of mice and men. (I may as well adopt that line as my summary for this marathon season.) I had 40 minutes XT on my schedule for Monday and planned to either bike or do yoga, based on how I felt when I woke up that morning. I didn’t feel too sore, so I decided to bike at the gym after work. I packed up my gym bag, headed off to put in my eight hours, and when I got to the gym after I wrapped up my work day, discovered that I had left my gym bag at home. Good work, self. So I trudged back home, astounded by my ability to sabotage my workout so spectacularly, and did NTC’s Peaks and Valleys, a strength workout with a few moments of cardio thrown in, instead. During this, I discovered that my core strength is even worse than I expected, since I could hold a plank for a whopping 15 seconds before failing. Fabulous. On the bright side, this allowed me to log one NTC workout for September, which I didn’t think would happen, so yay for that.

Tuesday, September 26: Dance
A lot of people were missing from class on Tuesday, which surprised me but definitely didn’t bother me. Fewer people means more space to move. We reviewed what we learned last week and added on a little. I’m pretty sure we got thisclose to the part that I already know, so hopefully we’ll get there next week.

Wednesday, September 27: 6.44 miles in 1:02:42 for a 9:44 pace + SPF
I really ran six miles, not 6.44. I had a stressful day at work and was looking forward to an hour by myself to relax and decompress. My Garmin, unsurprisingly, had other ideas. After eight minutes of waiting while it failed to do IT’S MAIN JOB (find a GPS signal), I gave up and started running. It eventually found a signal, but by then had no idea what was going on and consistently showed me running at a 4:30 pace. Ok. I had had the foresight to actually make a note of where my mile markers would be when I mapped out my run ahead of time on MapMyRun, but when I tried to lap my watch when I hit the first mile, nothing happened, because for reasons far beyond my comprehension, the ability to manually lap your watch isn’t turned on by default. WHY. So I fumed for a few miles about how utterly deficient and useless I’ve found this watch to be, but fortunately by the time I hit mile four or so I had calmed down significantly. I’m glad I tried to do manual laps on this run, though: I know I’ll need to manually lap my watch during the Chicago Marathon, since downtown will inevitably ruin my watch’s tracking, and I really rely on manual tracking to have a clue as to how I’m doing. I would MUCH rather find out on a six miler that I needed to configure manual lapping than find that out at mile one of the marathon. Taking my angst out of the picture, this run went fairly well. It was quite nice to run when it was in the 70s as opposed to the 90s for a change.

Thursday, September 28: 4.1 miles in 40:10 for a 9:48 pace + SPF
Ugh, all of these stats are wrong. The distance is wrong, of course, because it always is (this was exactly four miles according to MapMyRun), but this time even the overall time is wrong because I lapped my watch at a stop light instead of pausing it and didn’t realize what I had done until the light turned green. Fail. It looks like I was stopped for 25 seconds, so that means I actually ran four miles in 39:45. All hail seasonable weather.

I used this run to try to figure out the lapping function on my watch, and while I now have it turned on, I don’t think using auto lap and manual lapping is going to get me the stats I want. Manually lapping my Polar watch would give me two different tables: one with the watch’s automatic laps and one with my manual laps. The output from my Garmin after letting auto lap run while manually lapping my watch is a little less clear.


The two splits in mile two were my own fault since I lapped my watch when I meant to pause it. But what’s weird to me is that my watch shows the first auto lap, and then only shows manual laps for the remainder of the run, but counts the first manual lap as starting after the first auto lap (rather than counting it from the start of the run). It also doesn’t show any of the auto laps after the first one, even though my watch kept beeping every time I hit an auto lap (one mile) by its count. o.O I have clearly been living in the Polar world too long and am not having an easy time adjusting to Garmin’s interface.

As for the run itself, I couldn’t believe how quickly this went by. I clearly was running a lot faster than usual, which I’m sure contributed to how fast the run felt, but I also haven’t done a four miler since June. It felt really weird to be done so quickly! My back had been bothering me all day at work–I think I was having some sort of spasm or cramp?–but it actually felt better while I was running than it felt sitting, and after a hot shower and some time with a heating pad at home, it felt back to normal.

Friday, September 29: Rest

Saturday, September 30: 8.19 miles in 1:25:58 for a 10:30 (!!) pace + SPF
Okay, so realistically, I probably didn’t actually run a 10:30 pace on my run, because I know my watch hit mile two too early, and I’m really pretty sure I only ran eight miles, not 8.19. But whatever. Let me have this one thing 😛 I had absolutely no desire to get up early and haul myself to my CARA group run for eight measly miles when I could sleep in and do those without issue on my own starting and ending at my house, so that’s what I did. The weather was FABULOUS and just what I’d love to have on race day…though who knows what we’ll get on race day (just a fun little tidbit here: as I write this post on Saturday afternoon, AccuWeather is calling for a high of 81 on Friday. Tom Skilling, WGN weather guru and fellow eclipse appreciator, is calling for a high of 71 on Friday. That is a TEN DEGREE difference, and what does that tell us? That long-range forecasting is a professional guessing game, and putting your faith in a forecast that far away is a fool’s errand. THIS IS WHY WE DO NOT FREAK OUT ABOUT THE FORECAST TWO WEEKS OUT, FOLKS.). I have come to loathe my hydration belt, since I feel like every time I’ve worn it, I’ve been extremely slow, so I decided to wear it on this run even though I most certainly did not need a hydration belt for eight miles. For once, it didn’t feel like it was weighing me down or throwing me off, so I think I just need to stop filling my flasks so full and I’ll be all right.

Here we are! Race week has arrived! It doesn’t feel real quite yet, to be honest. It didn’t even occur to me that this past week was one week out from race day until last Tuesday, and I still don’t think I’ve fully wrapped my mind around the fact that the race is THIS SUNDAY. I don’t really have any particular feelings about the race to discuss at the moment. I’m not anxious and I’m not restless. I just feel…normal. And a little bit in disbelief, I suppose. This happens every year, but I feel like marathon season flew by. I have absolutely no idea what to expect out of race day–I’m not even sure if I really have an actual, realistic goal beyond finishing–but I suppose we’ll find out the answer to that soon enough!

5 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 17

  1. I have no idea what to expect on race day either. Even if the weather is perfect, I feel like there is a 30 minute range of finish times I could realistically expect at this point. Lately I just never really know when my legs are going to show up and do their job on any given run. I had some pretty “meh” runs in the fabulous weather last week, and I also had some awesome runs on 80 degree evenings. It’s hard to know which version of me is going to be there on race day!

    I had to laugh because I had the same experience weather-stalking just this morning. I checked AccuWeather to find it had gone up to a high of 82 (from 77, like, 12 hours ago). While and wunderground are both still saying highs of 73. I say majority rules 🙂

  2. I have been reading but not commenting and have been meaning to tell you:
    1. Happy Belated Birthday!
    2. My 20-miler sucked also.
    3. I can’t believe your race is here and I’m so excited to cheer you on! I hope that, whatever the weather ends up being, you have a race you can be proud of. It’s understandable for you to feel a little unsure of what to expect, especially given that you didn’t get in all of your training, but you also have to remember that you’ve done this before! This one training cycle isn’t what got you (almost) to the start line. You’ve had months and years of other training and other races and other marathons that you just continued to build on during these last few months of marathon training (this is a revelation I just had today, so I may actually be talking to/about both of us). I can’t wait to hear all about it!

    • Tracy! What a wonderful surprise! Thanks for the birthday wishes, and especially for the insight about all the training I’ve done before. I tend to forget that ALL of my miles had led to this race, not just the ones I ran between week one of training and now. Sunday will definitely be familiar territory, both in the literal sense (having done the race four times before) and in a more figurative sense (having run marathons before, period, and having run them before in conditions similar to what’s predicted for Sunday). That was a really helpful insight and makes me feel a lot better about things 🙂 Thank you!!

      • You’re welcome! I have been feeling a similar way since I definitely did not hit all of my training, but I keep trying to remember that a) I did a whole lot in the last 20 weeks and b) I’ve done a whole whole lot in the last 6.5 years. It might not be as much as I wanted or feel like I needed, but it all has to add up, right? I was getting a little down on myself because I’m not going to be as fast as I had hoped to be, but the other day I just stopped and realized that regardless of how fast (or not) it goes, I built a body capable of covering 140.6 miles. And I didn’t just do that over the last four months, it’s all been cumulative. My body doesn’t measure its fitness by training cycles. It didn’t reset in late May just because that’s when I started measuring weeks until the race on my calendar, you know? It totally changed my perspective. Probably should have thought of that sooner, haha!
        Anyway, again, best of luck this weekend!!!

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