Chicago Marathon Training Week 4

Sunday, June 30: Rest
I was going to go to the gym one last time on Sunday, but ultimately decided it’d be better to skip the gym and use that time to make some more progress on packing instead. Plus, it was hot over the weekend, and since my (now former) gym was located in my (now former) office building, the air conditioning situation was usually pretty dire on the weekends. That’s great from an environmental standpoint, but not so great from a comfortable workout standpoint. I also didn’t feel super great when I woke up Sunday morning–I was surprisingly sore from the moving and packing I had done on Saturday–so that also contributed to my decision to skip the gym. Finally, I had the foresight when I put my training plan together to schedule a rest day for this particular Sunday anyway, due to the move, so I didn’t feel too bad about taking the rest day I planned to take in the first place, even if it did throw off my strength training for the week.

Monday, July 1: 5.67 miles (with three hill repeats) in 1:08:24 for a 12:04 pace
If I needed to find two words to describe this run–this run that was meant to be seven miles with four hill repeats–those two words would be “unmitigated disaster.” Or perhaps “utter debacle.” Or maybe “complete catastrophe.”

You get the point.

The weather was horrible Monday afternoon, and anyone who disagrees with me can [redacted]. It was very hot. It was very humid. It was very sunny. It was very still. It was about as bad as running weather can be, in my opinion. On top of that, I was on a deadline. I head an eye doctor appointment at 6 p.m., so I needed to get home, cool off, and shower by 5:45 at the absolute latest to get there on time. To accommodate that, I came into work early on Monday and left at 3:30–but only kind of. Had I left at 3:30, I might’ve been all right. But I turned my computer off at 3:30. I still had to change into my running clothes, sunscreen, and put everything away. By the time all of that happened, it was 3:50. That left me with 1:25 total to do seven miles in 90 degree, full sun, mid-afternoon weather AND wait through the usual 10 or so minutes of stop lights at intersections I deal with on run commutes, which meant I really had 1:15 to do the run. That’s a 10:42 pace, which would be perfectly attainable for me if it were, you know, 45 degrees outside.

Things started going poorly almost immediately. I was in an absolutely foul mood, and dealing with all the people on the Riverwalk didn’t help my attitude one bit. The Riverwalk often figured into my run commutes, and let me tell you, if you intend to do anything other than casually stroll along the Riverwalk any time between Memorial Day and Labor Day (including run commuting), you’re on a fool’s errand. It’s crowded by people with no sense of personal space, absolutely no awareness for what constitutes an appropriate amount of walkway to occupy, and total ignorance as to what to do if you see someone running directly at you (YOU. MOVE. OUT. OF. THE. WAY. It’s not that complicated!!!!!!!!) Running along the Riverwalk always aggravates me (except on those blessed days when it’s cold/gross/rainy outside, and the only other people on it are commuters who have a basic idea of how to be a pedestrian in Chicago), but it’s the most intersection-free way to get to the Lakefront Trail, so I’ve suffered through it for two years of run commuting. But I sure didn’t like it! (From a people perspective. I very much liked it from a scenery perspective, though I do miss the older, quieter, pre-renovation east side.)

Anyway, I finally got off the Riverwalk and trudged along the Lakefront Trail to Mt. Roosevelt, where I typically did my hill repeats because it’s 1) easy to access and 2) obviously the perfect place to do hill repeats when preparing for the Chicago Marathon, given that it is the hill I’m training for. By the time I got there, however, I was logging 12:30+ miles. Obviously things were not going well for me. On the downhill after my second repeat, I looked at my Fitbit and saw that it was 4:44, which was so incomprehensible I checked it two more times to make sure I read it correctly. 4:44?!?! I had two repeats and like 2.5 more miles to run, including stop lights and only 30 minutes to do it! It would be physically impossible to accomplish that (for me).

I really wanted to get in those four repeats, because I have no idea what the hill situation will be by my new apartment (though I assume it’ll be dire, since this is Illinois we’re talking about) and this could be my only good chance to do hill repeats all season. When I finished the third one, though, I knew I couldn’t possibly justify another one, so I started heading home. I was barely moving, absolutely baking in the sun, frustrated to the point of crying, and finally just quit. I saw a bus that would get me near my house coming up behind me, so I ran to its next stop and threw in the towel.

This run would’ve been disappointing and frustrating under the best of circumstances, but the fact that it was my last run commute made it that much more upsetting. I really, really enjoyed run commuting during the past two marathon seasons and certainly would’ve done it more often if the weather allowed. Run commuting is probably one of the biggest things I’ll miss about living in the city, especially because I don’t know when/if I’ll ever have the opportunity to do it again. To have my last one be so difficult and unfulfilling was a huge letdown.

Tuesday, July 2: Dance
This has been quite the session of dance so far. Though my class lasts an hour, my Fitbit usually logs around 45 minutes of activity per class, when you account for how low key the warmup is and all that. This past Tuesday, my Fitbit logged an hour and two minutes of activity! We start dancing when class starts and don’t stop until it ends now, apparently. But that’s fine with me! Bring on the choreography!

Wednesday, July 3: Moving
I didn’t do a formal workout on Wednesday because I feel like moving is enough of a workout in and of itself. It’s also a pretty time-consuming activity, so even if I had wanted to get in a workout, I wouldn’t have had time to do so.

Thursday, July 4: 5.33 miles in 1:00:27 for an 11:20 pace
I planned to run four miles on Thursday, but I was feeling really good when I hit four miles, so I kept going to 5.33 to make up for what I missed on Monday. This was my first run in the suburbs! Actually, now that I think about it, it was only the fourth time I’ve run in the suburbs at all, and the previous three were all during races. Anyway, I explored the area a bit and was genuinely, truly SHOCKED by how friendly people were. Cyclists calmly announced when they were approaching, runners and walkers coming in the other direction said good morning: it was crazy! Nearly all of my running life has been lived on the Lakefront Trail, so my expectation for runs is to be ignored most of the time and verbally harassed (generally by angsty cyclists) every now and again. This was very outside my normal experience!

Friday, July 5: Rest

Saturday, July 6: 9.1 miles in 1:49:06 for an 11:49 pace
I felt off when I woke up Friday morning and spent all day guzzling water in an attempt to deal with what felt like a dry throat (or, more specifically, a dry soft palate). When I woke up Saturday morning, I quickly determined that my “dry throat” was the beginnings of a cold. I felt like absolute crap when my alarm went off at 4 a.m. (and not just because my alarm was going off at 4 a.m.!) and really, really did not want to drive into the city for my long run. I don’t have a co-group leader, however, and our site coordinator was out of town, so if I didn’t show up, there wouldn’t be anyone to lead. So I drug myself into the city, my full sinuses making my face feel like it could explode at any moment and just generally feeling ick. On top of that, it was stupidly humid Saturday morning, so I knew this was not going to be the most impressive long run I’d ever had. I told my runners I had come down with a cold the day before and I would do my best to get them through nine miles, but I couldn’t make any promises that it would be at an 11:30 pace. They were all understanding, which I appreciated. I had two new runners on Saturday and felt bad that I wasn’t up to engaging with them, like, at all, but hopefully they’ll keep coming back and I can get to know them better when I feel a little less like death. Running did help me feel slightly better, which I thought it might–I’ve found as long as my symptoms are above the neck, running can help ease sinus pressure a bit–but “slightly better” certainly wasn’t “normal,” and eventually we were running so slow that the 12:00 pace group passed us. I’d feel worse about it if I thought I was holding my runners back, but since all but one of them fell off the group to stop and walk, I’m not really beating myself up over it.

3 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 4

  1. Last week’s weather was just ridiculous. Those hot weather lovers probably don’t run in it. But hey you got it done AND you moved! It’s a little disorienting running in a new place. When we moved to the ‘burbs from the city a million years ago, I missed running in the city. A lot. Then I found all kinds of trails and green spots and it’s really nice. If I go to the forest preserves, I get the occasional madman on a bike, but mostly it’s just runners.

    Enjoy the much better weather this week!

    • That’s what I always think – I’d like to make one of those people who enjoys weather in the 90s and humid go for a long run in that weather and see what they say then! Nothing like being a runner to make you into a spring/summer person, haha.

  2. Pingback: Thursday Things | accidental intentions

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