Chicago Marathon Training Week 8

Sunday, July 22: 13.1 miles in 2:19:13 for a 10:38 pace
Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago by my Garmin (sort of). My Garmin logged 13.95 miles, but that was due to the tall building-induced GPS hysteria more than a terrible effort at running the race’s tangents. I’m calling it 13.1 miles because that’s what it was supposed to be, so I’m going to assume I ran close enough to 13.1 miles to log it as such (even though I’m sure in reality I did more like 13.2, 13.3, maybe even 13.4).

Monday, July 23: Strength training – legs (AM) + 50 minutes yoga (PM)
After my grip-strength related complaints last week, Erin recommended that I switch over to using a barbell, which, duh, Bethany. I’ve avoided using a barbell…basically forever because it seemed too scary, it was always occupied, *insert whatever excuse is convenient here*. Well, on Monday it wasn’t occupied, and Erin has specifically told me to try to use the barbell, so I did. And it went great! It made me feel badass, which I of course enjoyed 🙂 I was supposed to use them for lunges, too, but someone else needed the barbell when I got to the lunge portion of my workout, so I let him have it since I knew I could do lunges with dumbbells.

I originally planned to bike in the afternoon, but I was stressed and sore, so I opted for this yoga instead:

It was WILDLY different than my usual YouTube yoga finds, both from a practice perspective and from a commentary perspective. It worked for me on Monday, though, and I did feel a lot calmer after I finished, so no complaints.

Tuesday, July 24: Strength training – upper body (AM) + dance (PM)
I made my first attempt at negative chin-ups on Tuesday. It…could have gone better. Haha. Obviously I expected them to be difficult, but when I decided to try an easier version that consisted of just hanging on the bar in a chin-up position, that was really hard, too! How come the stuff I used to do at recess is so impossible now?!

Dance took a turn for the serious on Tuesday (serious as in “let’s focus and get this done,” not serious as in “something bad or dramatic has happened”), and thank goodness. I know it’s not fair for me to get bent out of shape over dance being amateur hour when the class is specifically advertised as being for beginners with no experience, but it does frustrate me that people who can only manage to show up sporadically or who clearly refuse to even consider the possibility of practicing outside of class hold the rest of us back. It has apparently worn on my teacher’s patience, too, because Tuesday included lectures about the importance of reviewing parts of choreography you struggle to remember (you know things have gotten serious when he starts giving lectures), and, most significantly, him breaking us up into small groups. Breaking a large class into small groups isn’t entirely uncommon from my (limited) experience, but it NEVER happens in my Tuesday class. Making three or four people dance on their own in front of everyone else flies in the face of my teacher’s usual approach to class–that approach being, never call out an individual who is messing up, but instead address the entire class about the problem (“Point with your left arm, not your right arm. LEFT arm. LEFT ARM.”). Small groups don’t give you the opportunity to hide. Everyone’s going to see if you mess up, so you better figure out the choreography fast if you don’t want to make a mistake while everyone is watching. I think this helped us make a lot of progress on Tuesday, though I do worry it’s too little too late: with how slow people have been to grasp the choreography this session, I don’t have high hopes that we’ll start something new next week with only three classes remaining until graduation.

Wednesday, July 25: 9 miles in 1:43:54 for an 11:33 pace
I was a little surprised by my slow pace on Wednesday, until I looked at the weather on my Garmin report and found out it was 86 degrees when I went for my run on Wednesday. That’ll do it! I was also so sore on Wednesday from Monday and Tuesday’s strength training workouts, and I’m sure that didn’t help matters either. But slow miles are better than no miles!

Thursday, July 26: 4.81 miles in 50:46 for a 10:33 pace (AM) + strength training – legs (PM)
I took my July half day Thursday morning to go to the allergist to try to get the bottom of why my arm exploded after my tetanus shot in January. Because of the appointment, it made more sense to run in the morning and go to the gym in the afternoon. I really don’t enjoy running on weekday mornings–running when I know I have to be done by a certain time stresses me out–so I was glad that if I had to run in the morning, at least that run happened to fall on tempo run day. Since my tempo runs start so slow, it makes it much easier to warm up. I’m really happy with how this tempo run went. It was tough, just like they all are, but I executed the gradual speed-up followed by a gradual slowing perfectly (paces for my intervals: 11:42, 11:22, 10:47, 9:48, 9:28, 9:02, 9:46, 11:21, 11:23, 11:47) and that makes me very happy 🙂

It was so weird to strength train in the afternoon! Definitely not what I’m used to. I did deadlifts with a barbell for the first time ever on Thursday, and quickly realized I’m going to need to be a lot more conscious about my form when I’m trying to deadlift more than, you know, 30 pounds. The goal of strength training is to make me a better runner, not an injured runner, so I know I’ll need to work on that as time goes on.

Friday, July 27: Rest

Saturday, July 28: 13.47 miles in 2:33:18 for an 11:23 pace
What a delightful long run! The weather was SO nice compared to some runs this summer (temperatures were in the 60s *praise hands emoji*), my Garmin was accurate the entire time (?!?!), and even though I technically ran with the 11:00 pace group, we clearly did not run an 11:00 pace. Assuming my heart rate data is accurate, this is the lowest my heart rate has averaged on a run…like ever (probably not ever ever, but in recent memory: I averaged 156 bpm, when usually on a run, even a run I think is easy, I almost always average 166 bpm), which forces me to concede that yes, I probably should be running with the 11:30 pace group, not the 11:00 pace group. But whatever. If the 11:00 pace group leader runs close to an 11:30 pace, then I can run with the 11s and still run at an appropriate pace! 😛 Anyway, this run felt great from start to finish. I even saw a goldfinch while we were out, which was such a nice surprise! I barely ever see goldfinches in the city (though I saw another one right outside my apartment when I got home – crazy! I hadn’t seen a single goldfinch in the city since March 23, according to eBird, and then I saw two within two and a half hours!). I’ve never done two significantly long runs within six days of each other, and I was really pleased with how good I felt.


I logged 40.4 miles this week, which is officially the most miles I’ve ever logged in a calendar week (I know). Granted, that’s mostly because the 20 miler and Chicago Half Marathon are each on Sundays, which throws off my peak week milage (I usually run like 16 miles during the calendar week that counts as peak week since the 20 miler is on the Sunday of the next calendar week, haha). It’s an arbitrary thing–I’ve probably run 40 miles over the course of seven days before, just not seven days that started on Sunday and ended on Saturday–but I’m still really proud to have done it. I know 40 miles per week is NOTHING compared to what most marathoners log, but as a tried and true 25-35 miles per week sort of runner, crossing that threshold felt like A Big Deal. I rewarded myself with a donut from the bakery down the road from my apartment for my hard work 🙂 On to cutback week!

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