Chi Town Half Marathon Training Week 8

Sunday, March 3: Rest
I outright bailed on my workout Sunday. I didn’t feel good in both the stomach and sinus departments when I woke up Sunday morning, and then I stuck around church a lot longer than normal. It was one of the staff member’s last Sunday with us before moving to New England, and I wanted to hang out to say my goodbyes. I thought about still going to the gym, but when I realized I wouldn’t be home until close to 3 p.m. if I did, I decided it wasn’t worth it. I thought about maybe doing gentle yoga when I got home, but ultimately took a nap instead.

Monday, March 4: Strength training – legs (AM) + 6 miles (with six hill repeats) in 1:06:46 for an 11:08 pace (PM)
My sinus pressure from Sunday had turned into a bone fide cold (again) by the time I woke up Monday morning. Cool. I tried to fool myself into believe it was allergies (to…what? Subzero wind chills?) and took a Zyrtec before leaving for the gym. It eased my sinus pressure a little, so I guess it was worth it. I was mostly just glad that Monday’s workout wasn’t too tough, since I definitely didn’t feel up to lifting very heavy Monday morning.

I very seriously considered bailing on this run in favor of couch time Monday afternoon. I felt especially crummy during a meeting late Monday morning, and decided if I still felt that bad by the time I left work, I’d go home instead of to the gym. I perked up a bit after lunch, though, so I ultimately decided to at least try running and see how it went. I kept the pace super easy (5.4 mph) and left the incline on 0 whenever I wasn’t doing a hill repeat (including on my downhills). Surprisingly, I felt better while running than I had felt all day. I felt miserable by the time I got home, though–my energy was 100 percent zapped–and was in bed by 8:30 Monday night.

Tuesday, March 5: Strength training – upper body (AM) + dance (PM)
I slept all right Monday into Tuesday (about as good as anyone can hope to sleep when they’re basically sitting up due to all the gunk in their sinuses) and didn’t feel awful when I woke up, but I still was on the fence about going to the gym vs. staying in bed longer and getting some extra sleep. Since there was no getting around the whole having to go to work thing (thanks to our PTO policy, which rolls all our days off–sick, personal, vacation, what have you–into one bank. Sounds nice in theory, until you realize that means that every sick day you take is one less vacation day you have available. Want to travel? Go home for Christmas? Take a personal day because you just can’t any more? Better not get sick. Ever.), and since I didn’t think 40 additional minutes of sleep would be the difference between feeling like a million bucks and wanting to spend the whole day on the couch, I decided to go in and give my workout a shot. Once again, I felt much better working out than I did not working out, which leads me to think that I should spend the duration of this cold exercising or in the shower with hot water blasting my face, since those appear to be the only two things that give me any sort of relief.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I also considered skipping dance on Tuesday, and obviously did not. I didn’t feel great, but I didn’t have a fever (like, not even close. My temperature when I got home from work before dance was 97.5) and didn’t feel justified skipping when I didn’t have any symptoms that would justify skipping (neck or below symptoms: sore throat, cough, etc. Though I don’t know if fatigue counts as a neck or below symptom?). It didn’t help that it was the first week of the new session, and I really didn’t want to get off on a bad foot. So off I went to dance, where we learned a routine I learned this time last year, so I definitely could’ve skipped. But, like things had been going with this cold all along, I felt way better moving than I felt not moving, so at least I got a little relief from my above-neck symptoms for an hour.

Wednesday, March 6: Rest
While it’s one thing to tackle relatively easy workouts during a cold, it felt like another thing to try to do a 55 minute tempo run in Real Feel of less-than-20-degrees weather – or at all, really, because those tempo runs are challenging under healthy circumstances. While exercising may have alleviated my symptoms temporarily, I’m not entirely sure it was helping me recover in the long run, so I gave myself a break in an effort to try to get over the worst of this nonsense.

Thursday, March 7: Strength training – legs (AM) + 3 miles in 31:49 for a 10:36 pace
I felt a lot better on Thursday! Woo! I was still congested to high heaven, but I could occasionally breathe through my nose for a change, and, more importantly, I didn’t feel like doing anything other than laying on the couch required Herculean effort. Skipping that run on Wednesday was definitely the right call. Anyway, Thursday’s strength training workout went pretty well. It was a bit on the easy side, which is just what I needed to get myself back into the swing of things.

I felt good enough to run Thursday afternoon, so I went out for an easy three miles. I intentionally wore the warmest outfit I could think of (my warmest tights, Icebreakers base layer, running jacket, buff, hat, glittens) because I am SO OVER getting cold on my runs. I was finally comfortable for a change!

Friday, March 8: Rest

Saturday, March 9: 11 miles in 2:02:24 for an 11:08 pace
I had a low-key Saturday for a change and didn’t need to get out the door at the crack of dawn in order to get my long run in for the day. It was so nice to sleep in for once! I was worried it’d be cold on this run since AccuWeather made it sound like the wind was pretty strong, but it actually wasn’t so bad. My biggest struggle on this run was dehydration. I thought I had enough to drink Friday throughout the day, but my morning bathroom trip made it apparent that that wasn’t the case at all. You can’t really made up for a day of underhydrating in an hour before going out for a run, so I filled my water bottle to the brim and hoped for the best. By about mile four, I was dying of thirst. (Not literally, obviously, but I was thirsty enough that had it been summer, I would’ve stopped at a drinking fountain even though I had my water bottle.) God bless CARA and their Saturday morning water stations on the Lakefront Trail. I went a little bit beyond my turnaround point to hit one, and it was a lifesaver. (Again, not literally, but it felt that way!) Aside from that, though, I’m happy with my pace and how I felt on this run – though it is a little anxiety-inducing that I need to run 2.1 additional miles at least 2:25 faster in a month to break 2:00.

I’m two-thirds of the way through training for this half. I have two heavy weeks of training left…and that’s it. Yikes. I’m feeling a bit more optimistic about my chances of breaking 2:00 than I felt after the first third of training. I was able to stick to my schedule a lot better over the past four weeks than I did over the first four weeks–with the exception of my two cancelled workouts this week–and I hit paces on a couple of my runs under my own power (i.e.: outside, as opposed to on the treadmill, where the belt forces me to hit a certain pace), and that did a lot for more confidence. I have a few more workouts that I think will give me a good idea of what I’m capable of pace-wise, but I don’t think a decent half marathon is completely out of the question. The idea of trying to break 2:00 still freaks me out a bit, and I know my mental game could still use a bit of work. Plantar fasciitis has definitely been my biggest struggle over the past month. I think I’m getting a better idea of how to keep it to a minimum (routine stretching and strengthening, wearing my night split after long runs), so I’m hoping it won’t give me too much trouble over the next four weeks.

2 thoughts on “Chi Town Half Marathon Training Week 8

  1. UGH! I am so annoyed (for you that) you got sick AGAIN! LAME LAME LAME! I am glad working out didn’t feel horrible. And good call on skipping the tempo. It’s one thing to open up your lungs and get some nasty junk out, but they don’t need to be pushed that hard!

    Thank heavens for those water stations on the trail!

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