Chicago Marathon Training Week 8

Sunday, July 28: Strength training – legs + 42 minutes bike
I was pleasantly surprised Sunday afternoon to discover that the gym was a decent temperature for exercising. It was cooler last week, too, but I assumed that was because the outside temperature was cooler. It wasn’t cool at all Sunday afternoon, but the gym was pleasant, so there must’ve been some sort of air conditioning issue that resulted in it being so warm. Anyway, I did 70 total minutes of cross training on Sunday, starting with strength training and then moving onto the bike. This gym has a “real” leg press machine (i.e.: one where you’re essentially lying down and pushing up), as opposed to my old gym which had a more modified set-up (one where you’re setting and push away). It required a bit of adjusting when it came to my weight expectations! It also made my calves sore, so I suspect I was doing something wrong.

Monday, July 29: Strength training – upper body (AM) + 4.92 miles in 50:00 for a 10:10 pace (PM)
I wanted to run Monday morning, but it was rainy and humid, so I opted to go to the gym instead. I also got to sleep in an hour by doing so, which was nice! I really haven’t been feeling my upper body workouts lately and have started to wonder if the only reason I didn’t mind strength training for the past year was because I liked being around the people who were at the gym at the same time as me, ha. Hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of things sooner rather than later, even without my “friends.”

Feeling less-than-confident about the weather Monday afternoon, I took my run to the treadmill. (I know. Who am I?) Discovering over the winter that I can read on the treadmill made me less hesitant to run on it, and since an aggressive downpour ended about 10 minutes before my run, I decided I’d rather be safe than sorry. I also didn’t want to ruin my white running shoes, which is a bad reason for running on the treadmill, but whatever. My shoes are pretty, and I want them to stay pretty as long as possible. This was a tempo run, so I started at a 5.2 mph pace and 1.0 incline and worked my way up to a 6.5 mph pace and 1.0 incline before coming back down to 5.2/1.0. I held the 6.5 mph pace for 10 minutes, which I was proud of, especially considering that running at that speed made me bounce too much to read. I instead passed the time by thinking, “I can do anything for x minutes,” or “I can do anything for x minutes and 30 seconds,” at 30 second intervals, ha. Whatever it takes!

Tuesday, July 30: Dance
There were only three people in class on Tuesday, so we spent the whole hour reviewing the two combos we’ve learned this session. THANK GOODNESS. I’ve had such a hard time remembering the choreography, even when I make a point of practicing. I needed an hour of review and felt like it really helped. Now we just have to see if I still remember everything next Tuesday!

Wednesday, July 31: Strength training – legs (AM) + 9 miles in 1:45:13 for an 11:41 pace (PM)
I was tired and unmotivated when my alarm went off Wednesday morning, so instead of running like I planned, I slept in another hour and went to the gym to strength train instead. I regretted my decision the instant I walked out of my apartment into downright fall-like temperatures, but it was too late at that point to run nine miles. I was in a bad mood the whole time I was strength training, thinking I should be out running instead. The fact that I couldn’t maintain my balance during single leg deadlifts didn’t help my mood situation, either.

I had it in my head that I should probably allot 1:45 to do a nine mile run, so imagine my delight when that’s almost exactly how long it took! Good estimation work, self. While it almost certainly would’ve been more pleasant to run in 60 degree weather that morning, it was only 75 for this run. That helped it go a billion and a half times better than last week’s eight miler, which was reassuring – though I suppose the fact that it only took me two more minutes to run one more mile kind of gives that away 😛 It did feel really long, though. This run felt a lot longer than my weekend long runs have felt. I wonder if I’m just not used to running for that much time yet? Hopefully that will change soon, because my runs aren’t going to get substantially shorter for another, like, two months.

Thursday, August 1: 50 minutes bike
When I went to the gym in my former office building, another employee from my company was often there at the same time. We work on totally unrelated teams, so we didn’t interact much at first, but over time we started chatting and got to the point where I considered her to be my gym buddy. I still see her every now and again when I go into our downtown office, and when I was there on Tuesday, she happened to stop by my desk. She told me about a chat she had with one of the trainers at the gym that morning that got onto the topic of guest passes, and she let me know that you could get a day pass to the gym for $10, in case I ever wanted/needed to use the gym in the building. Her timing couldn’t have been better, as I had just found out the day before that I would need to be downtown on Thursday evening (so it would make sense to work in our downtown office during the day on Thursday) and was trying to figure how I would get a workout in. I thought about trying to find a yoga class, but I definitely couldn’t find any with a drop-in rate of $10 (plus I needed to be downtown because I was going to a show, so I didn’t have a ton of flexibility in my schedule to go to a class whenever it happened to be taking place), so I went back to the gym in the office building! It was so nice being on a bike whose levels I knew, and just being back in the gym in general. The gym at my apartment complex is perfectly sufficient, especially for an apartment complex gym–I’d say it’s quite good from that standpoint, actually, in terms of size and equipment–but as I touched on earlier in this post, I really do miss the office building gym a lot, and it made me really happy to be there again, even if it was for just 50 minutes 🙂

Friday, August 2: Rest

Saturday, August 3: 13 miles in 2:32:54 for an 11:46 pace
No half marathoners showed up on Saturday, so it was just me and my little marathon crew. The weather was ok-ish. No matter what the temperature, the sun is just so brutal on these Saturday morning runs. I hate how little shade there is on a good three mile stretch of our route – which is really six miles, since we have to run it both on the way out and on the way back. My group spread out as the run went on: one of my runners recently discovered the benefits of eating dinner and breakfast the day before a long run and has gotten a bit too quick for the rest of us, so he often pulls ahead midway through the run. Two of the others usually hang with us, but one runner in particular was especially struggling on Saturday, so I hung back with her while the others went on ahead. But we all got it done, so that’s what counts!

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