Chicago Marathon Training Week 11

Sunday, August 12: 85 minutes cross training (30 minute circuit + 55 minute bike)
Something seemed to be going on at the gym on Sunday. The weekday crew staffed the front desk, the locker room was FULL of other women who seemed to be preparing (or perhaps finishing up with?) something important, based on the smell of hairspray and hot straighteners that hit me like a wall the second I opened the door and the literal suitcases of clothes on the floor, and most shockingly (and excitingly), the air conditioning was on!! I think the air is always “on” to some extent on the weekends, but it usually feels like it’s close to 80 degrees in the gym on Sundays, so to have it feel closer to a normal room temperature was a real treat! I did the same NTC circuit I’ve done the past couple of times I’ve done circuit workouts on Sundays, then hopped on the bike for almost an hour. My leg didn’t bother me at all, which really surprised me since I had done a lot of sitting that morning, between getting to/from church and being at church. I’m not complaining!

Monday, August 13: Strength training – legs (AM) + 10 miles in 1:54:39 for an 11:28 pace (PM)
I did ALL OF THE LEG PRESSES Monday morning at the gym. In total, I did 138 leg presses, which is somehow even more than I did last Monday, but 90 of those leg presses were single leg presses (45/leg), so overall, each leg was only (“only”) responsible for 93 leg presses. But still. This was the first time I’ve ever done single leg presses, and I was surprised by how little weight I had to use for it to feel challenging.

It was a balmy 88 degrees for my first weekday 10 miler of the season, so, once again, I did not make any particular efforts to challenge myself on this run. I felt fine (sweaty, but fine) until right around mile seven, when I started to get an ache in my hip–in the area of my iliacus, specifically. I’ve never had pain in that area before, and having pain develop during a run certainly didn’t make me feel good about the situation. I continued running, attempting to discern if I thought the pain felt muscular or skeletal (not that I really know what skeletal pain feels like, I suppose). When I got home, moving in certain directions made the ache feel like I was stretching it, which made me think it was more likely to be muscular. It continued to ache all night, sometimes more strongly when I’d take the first couple of steps after sitting (though not always), so I iced it in hopes that that would help.

Tuesday, August 14: Strength training – upper body (AM) + dance (PM)
I did not sleep well Monday night into Tuesday morning due to my achy hip and my inability to find a comfortable position for sleeping that didn’t aggravate the pain. Getting out of bed took some convincing Tuesday morning, and I was in A Mood at the gym – A Mood that was only made worse when I got there and discovered that the personal trainer had hijacked ALL of the dumbbells in the 15-25 lb range for his clients that morning. Hmph. It turned out that I mostly needed 10s for my workout on Tuesday anyway, but it was still SO annoying. Like, you work at this gym, dude. You should have an acute awareness of how limited we are in the equipment department. It’s bad gym behavior to hog equipment, period, but it’s even worse in my opinion when an employee of the gym is hogging the equipment. I ended up sequestering myself in the group fitness room where I could seethe in solitude. And exercise, I guess.

This session of dance wrapped up on Tuesday, so we had rehearsal followed by graduation. Graduation went MUCH better than I anticipated based on how class had gone this session. I still can’t get over how young some of the people in my class were, though. Parents came to graduation. I have never, in one session short of six full years of dance sessions, seen anyone’s parents come to graduation. It’s usually their spouses and children who come. There were no fewer than twelve friends associated with the three youngest girls there to show their support. Who has that many friends that are friends with each other?? Only high schoolers and college students, that’s who. I’m pretty sure the youngest girl in class is literally half my age (or if not literally half my age, very close to it), which is a pretty extreme departure from the usual crowd of 25-35 year olds who make up the class. A session to remember, that’s for sure.

Wednesday, August 15: 5.38 miles in 55:59 for a 10:24 pace
Oh, Wednesday’s run. First of all, my Mood from Tuesday had not dissipated by Wednesday, so I was grouchy basically from the get-go on Wednesday. Then at lunch, I realized in my haste to leave my house on time that morning (which definitely contributed to my grouchiness, being so rushed and flustered) I had left my water bottle at home (a miserable coincidence, since as I was leaving in my rushed/flustered/haste state, I thought, “I’m definitely forgetting something for my run commute.” Fail.). Not having a water bottle would be a nuisance under the best of circumstances, because I really prefer to have water readily available whenever I want it on a run, but on a run commute day it is a particular problem. My water bottle has a zippered pouch, and that pouch is where I store all my run commuting essentials: phone, keys, ID, etc. I had a 55 minute tempo run on my schedule and no interest in taking 30 minutes to commute home, 15 minutes to get ready, and THEN heading out for a 55 minute run. Due to forecasted rain, I had brought my Phone Poncho (aka a Ziploc sandwich bag) to work in case it was raining but not storming when it came time to run commute. I didn’t like it, but I figured I could use that to carry everything if I was going to insist on run commuting. So into the bag went my essentials, and into my sports bra went the bag with my essentials (because I 1) did not want to advertise to the entire world everything I was carrying on my person and 2) I worried that sweaty hands + a plastic bag would = high risk of dropping said bag). And no, running with a beat up plastic baggie stuffed with your phone, keys, ID, etc., is not comfortable, in case you were wondering.

So I set out on my run commute. It’s in the mid-80s with a stifling 76 degree dewpoint for a Real Feel in the 90s. I’m doing my least favorite workout. I’m in a crummy mood. And THEN, just to really top things off, a BUG flew directly into my mouth, not bothering to pass go, not collecting $200, and nestled itself into the back of my throat…THE. ONE. TIME. I. DON’T. HAVE. WATER. *explodes with rage* Swallowing is bug isn’t high on my list of things I enjoy during a run, but I can tolerate it from a grossness standpoint. What I couldn’t tolerate was how it was irritating the back of my throat when I had absolutely no way of getting it out of there. I ended up having a coughing fit for the ages, one so intense I legitimately gagged from how hard I was coughing, all because of a stupid bug with the WORST timing. I felt better (physically) after said coughing fit, and gargled some water when I encountered the first drinking fountain of my run to further soothe my throat. But I was still fightin’ mad.

As for the run itself, I think I did a decent job of gradually speeding up, peaking my speed at the middle of the run, and then gradually slowing down to the end. It’s hard to tell when I do these as part of a run commute, due to building/GPS woes. But I know everything was as it should be from a pace standpoint once I was no longer around buildings, so I’ll assume I did fine when I was around buildings, too.

Thursday, August 16: Strength training – legs (AM) + 55 minutes bike (PM)
I mentioned my hip soreness from Monday to Erin, so she altered Thursday’s workout to accommodate the situation. My “workout” ended up involving a little lifting and a lot of foam rolling, so it was much lower intensity than I’m used to. That was fine with me, though, because even though my hip was feeling decently better by Thursday, I was still–you guessed it–in A Mood Thursday morning and didn’t really want to be at the gym in the first place. At least this time the trainer only hogged weights I didn’t want to use.

I returned to the gym Thursday afternoon for 55 minutes on the bike. It was fairly uneventful, but gave me plenty of time to make progress on my book! I’m officially obsessed with the ability to download eBooks from the library onto my phone.

Friday, August 17: Rest

Saturday, August 18: 16.02 miles in 2:59:37 for an 11:13 pace
We had zero group leaders for the 11:30s on Saturday, but fortunately one of the women I met when I ran with the 11:30s a couple of weeks ago was there, so I didn’t have to do this run completely on my own. She and I did a good job of maintaining an 11:30 pace on our own. It was definitely on the humid side on Saturday, but we hung in there all the way down south. Things got a bit more challenging when we returned north, as there was a bit of a stiff breeze coming out of the north that was particularly vicious when running on parts of the trail that swing out closer to the lake, leaving us without trees, buildings, or any other sort of geography to buffer the wind. I struggled a bit on the return stretch, but had told my running buddy from the get-go that I wanted to fast finish  the last five miles of the run, so when we got to mile 11 she sent me on my way, much to my dismay. My fast finish miles went lot better than I anticipated, especially based on the wind situation. I don’t have super great data, because I forgot to start my watch after a water stop near the turnaround, but the miles I know were full fast miles were a 10:40, a 10:44, and a 10:52, so no complaints in that department.


It’s cutback week and I, for one, could not be more excited. I personally find the 15 and 16 miler weeks to be the most grinding of marathon season, partially because they’re back to back (whereas you get an extra cutback between 18 and 20), and I’m VERY excited to dial it back this week and recover. My hip has been touch and go since Monday, but I’ve refrained from seeking any sort of medical attention because right now, I can’t really even describe exactly what’s happening. The ache isn’t consistent enough in severity, location, or time of appearance for me to feel like it needs to be dealt with, and hopefully a lighter workload this week will help it get back to normal.



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