Chicago Marathon Training Week 6

Sunday, July 14: Strength training – legs
After two weeks of not lifting anything (other than moving boxes, and then my body off the couch to throw away used tissues), I finally got back into it on Sunday. This was my first lifting session at the gym in my new apartment complex, and I was pleasantly surprised by the equipment situation. I had browsed the gym several times to see what was available, but there’s a difference between looking around and thinking, “This will probably work,” and actually using the equipment. The only thing I needed that the gym didn’t have was a kettlebell for kettlebell swings, but I can do those with a dumbbell, so it’s all right. I was supposed to do additional cross training on Sunday, per the schedule, but I ended up getting together with some family Sunday afternoon and didn’t have time.

Monday, July 15: 6 miles in 1:08:11 for an 11:22 pace (AM) + strength training – upper body (PM)
WELL, WELL. Look who went for a morning run! The forecast called for temperatures in the low 90s Monday afternoon, so since I had the flexibility to run in the morning, I decided to go for it. Don’t tell anyone, but I loved it?! It was such a nice way to start my day, especially since the running around here is a a bit less fraught (i.e.: a bit less on sidewalks filled with commuters) than it is in the city. I would go so far as to say it was downright pleasant. Wild! This was the second time I’ve run in the area, and I was quite surprised on the first run to discover that one of my potential outbound routes is actually on a very gentle incline that reminds me of running the Strip in Vegas during Rock ‘n’ Roll. It’s not visible at all, but it definitely slows me down enough to make me wonder why running feels so hard and slow. Fortunately, that means my inbound is on a very gentle decline, which makes me feel like a million bucks. That probably had a lot to do with me being in such a good mood at the end of my run, ha.

It was so weird to strength train in the afternoon. My strength training workouts are short by design, since I usually do them in the morning and need to get to work, but I’m used to long afternoon workouts. It felt strange to get in and out of the gym so quickly! It was also abundantly clear that I took two weeks off, because this workout was way tougher than it should have been.

Tuesday, July 16: Dance
I worried I’d be behind after skipping last week due to my cough, and I was right 😦 I barely remembered the choreography we had learned two weeks ago, and then we moved on and started doing even harder choreography. Phew. I’m going to need to practice on my own time this session, which hasn’t happened in awhile. Tuesday’s choreography was no joke.

Wednesday, July 17: 6 miles (2 mi WU, 5x.5 mi (4:47, 4:51, 4:47, 4:43, 4:49) w/ .25 mi recovery) in 1:06:20 for a 11:03 pace (AM) + strength training – legs (PM)
I am SHOCKED at how this run turned out. This was my first go at 800s on straightaways rather than a track (“track” – the .25 mile loop around a park in the city), and I didn’t know how not having a clear visual of how much farther I had to run would impact me – never mind how elevation changes and intersections would impact me. Since my 800s a few weeks ago were all 5:00+, that’s definitely what I expected would happen on this run as well. When I saw that I came through the first one in 4:47, I figured it was because I ran the whole thing on a slight downhill and that I would absolutely crash and burn by the last repeat. Instead, these 800s were around 10 seconds faster/repeat than when I did this exact same workout last year. I definitely don’t feel like I’m in better shape than I was this time last year, so to have the numbers suggest otherwise was an enormous surprise.

I went to the gym Wednesday afternoon to get in my last strength training workout for the week. The gym only has a 3D Smith machine and no power racks. It was fine for squats on Sunday but felt a little weird for deadlifts on Wednesday, mostly because the bar was much higher than I’m used to. My bigger potential issue is with the free weight arrangement. Some of the weights at the heavier end of my range (which I use primarily for glute bridges) are positioned in such a way that it’s really hard for me to get them off the rack (one single arm, which is all I can reach to get to it, unsurprisingly being much weaker than both of my glutes/hamstrings combined). I think I might have to switch to using plates for glute bridges rather than dumbbells.

Thursday, July 18: 38 minutes yoga
This one:

I was supposed to do 45 minutes of cross training on Thursday but didn’t quite have time, so this had to do. It was a nice practice, though I didn’t have a yoga mat handy, and all the low lunges on my knees were uncomfortable after awhile. The carpet remaining in my old apartment (where I was Thursday) isn’t really meant for yoga!

Friday, July 19: Rest

Saturday, July 20: 8.08 miles in 1:32:24 for an 11:26 pace
To my great dismay, CARA did not cancel Saturday’s run. To my great surprise, the weather Saturday morning was much friendlier than I anticipated. It was definitely quite warm (79 degrees at 6 a.m.) and definitely quite humid, but it was mostly overcast and there was a strong breeze coming out of the south. The cloud cover and wind made an enormous difference and helped this run go a lot better than it could have. I had a very small crew on Saturday of one marathoner and two half marathoners (compared to the previous week’s four half marathoners and my usual four marathoners), but everyone seemed to hold up quite well. I made sure we took an extra water break, and my marathoner and I took a walk break during mile six. I’m surprised my average pace turned out to be 11:26, because I was aiming for 12:04s per CARA’s weather-adjusted recommendation, and my building-interference-free miles were 11:49, 12:03, 11:54, and 11:55. But Map Pedometer says we ran 8.08 miles, so I guess I’ll trust their measurements.


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