Chicago Marathon Training Week 12

Sunday, August 25: Strength training – legs + 50 minute bike
Sunday was not the best day of my life and got off to a very slow start (by which I mean I got up at 7:45 to go to church, spent the next hour crying because my stomach hurt and I was tired and I really, really, really, didn’t want to drive into the city, and then went back to bed for another two hours). I didn’t have a lot of momentum from the morning to push me to the gym, but I knew skipping wouldn’t make me feel any better, so off I went. I’m not wild about this week’s strength training lineup, so I tried to knock out Sunday’s workout as quickly as possible (i.e.: no playing on my phone during recovery periods) and then hopped on the bike for 50 minutes. I intended to read during that time, but naturally couldn’t drag myself off Twitter. And I wonder why it takes me so long to get through a book.

Monday, August 26: Strength training – upper body (AM) + 8 miles in 1:32:32 for an 11:34 pace (PM)
I went to bed Sunday night with the intention of getting up early to run Monday morning, but before my alarm even went off, I could hear rain coming down the gutters outside. Once my alarm did go off, I spent a solid 15 minutes stalking various radars trying to determine whether or not it would thunderstorm during the hour and a half I expected to need to complete my run. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t, but by the time I came to that conclusion, I had already wasted enough time that at that point, it wasn’t going to save me any time to run in the morning, so I figured I’d get 30 more minutes of sleep and go to the gym to strength train before work instead. Two of the four exercises I needed to do on Monday required equipment my apartment complex gym doesn’t have, so I had to get creative. Technically, I can finagle my way into lat pulldowns, but the area near the machine that comes the closest to being a lat pulldown machine was commandeered by a woman who’s almost always there in the mornings. She doesn’t give off the friendliest vibe (her propensity to sing along out loud to the R-rated songs apparently playing in her headphones adds to this impression), so rather than trying to work in with her, I opted to do bent-arm barbell pullovers instead, because the internet said those would also work my lats. The biggest benefit of this was that I used the EZ curl bar for the first time (ever – not just at this gym, but at any point) and realized that it will likely be a MUCH better way of doing hip raises moving forward than trying to deal with a 55 pound dumbbell. I can hip raise 55 pounds just fine, but getting the dumbbell of (and even more, back onto) the rack is a challenge. I think the EZ bar has the potential to be a good way to get around that.

Holy humidity, was it steamy for my run Monday afternoon! I was so sweaty that I may as well have just run in the rain in the morning. It would’ve led to the same outcome! I took a slightly different route than normal and got all bent out of shape over how slow I was running in the middle of the run, until I came home, looked at my Garmin stats, and realized the different part meant going uphill for almost a full mile. That explains the slowdown! I’m continually surprised by how subtly hilly it is near me. The elevation maps on my Garmin look a lot different than the ones I’d get running in the city!

Tuesday, August 27: Rest

Wednesday, August 28: Strength training – legs (AM) + 7.01 miles (2 mi WU, 7x.5 mi (4:39, 4:49, 4:46, 4:46, 4:53, 4:48, 4:43) w/ .25 mi recovery (skipped the last .25 recovery)) in 1:16:15 for a 10:52 pace (PM)
I planned to run Wednesday morning, but I was so tired when my alarm went off that I decided to push my workout to the afternoon instead. Per usual, I regretted that as soon as I walked out the door into delightfully chilly weather, which I wasted in the gym instead. Oh well. I did my strength training workout backwards because the loud lady was using the rack when I got there, so my deadlifts had to wait. I was able to eventually get everything in, though.

The wind picked up like CRAZY during the day, and I was concerned that it would really slow me down on my 800s Wednesday afternoon. My first 800 was downhill with the wind at my back, so unsurprisingly I didn’t hit that pace again during the run. Excluding that first rep, though, I’m really pleased with my consistency on these 800s, especially the back-to-back 4:46s. I’m also really pleased with how fast I’ve been doing my 800s in general. With no goals for the marathon this year, I’m doing 800s more out of curiosity’s sake (and because it’s nice to feel like I’m really working on a run every now and again) than to get an idea of what the marathon could hold for me in October. With only one 800s workout left (?!?!?! 😦 😦 😦 ), I’m averaging a 4:51 across all my 800s. If you take out the ones I did on the treadmill (where I had to keep up with the treadmill’s pace rather than setting it myself) and the ones from my first 800s workout this season (where I was running 5:xx for all of them), I’m averaging 4:47. It doesn’t really matter, but it’s nice to think that I might have the fitness to run somewhere in the neighborhood of a 4:47-4:51 marathon (if the weather cooperates – that pesky little x factor!). I’ve been feeling down on myself fitness-wise over the past week or so, and I like having tangible proof that I’m in better shape than I believed.

Thursday, August 29: 55 minutes yoga
This one:

Given that the name of this practice is, “Yoga for Strength & Tone,” I really had no right to be surprised by how active it was, but…I was surprised by how active it was. Ha. I don’t remember the last time I did yoga that was anything more than gentle stretching with maybe a sun salutation or two thrown in for good measure, so this was a bit of a change from what I’m used to. That being said, constantly moving made this practice go by a LOT faster than others, and I liked that a lot. I usually get bored 20-25 minutes into a slower yoga class on YouTube, so it was nice to not feel that way for a change.

Friday, August 30: Rest

Saturday, August 31: 12.13 miles in 2:20:33 for an 11:35 pace
At last, a wonderful long run! The weather was FABULOUS Saturday morning, which made running one billion times easier this weekend compared to last weekend. The fact that I had four fewer miles to run helped as well 😛 This was one of my best pacing efforts, which made me happy. Better late than never, I suppose. My biggest accomplishment of this long run, though, was getting the parking validation kerfuffle sorted out. Parking validation hadn’t been working for weeks, and though I contacted CARA about it the first time it happened, things hadn’t gotten better. I reached out again last week, and in my emails back and forth with CARA, discovered that the validations they gave us were only good for three hours. When you factor in the amount of time that passes between me pulling into the parking lot (thus starting the three hour clock) and actually starting the run, plus the time we spend out on the run that isn’t running time, plus the cool down time, I couldn’t get through all of that in under three hours when running 12 miles or longer. Now we have validations that are good for six hours, which should MORE than cover the amount of time we’ll be out there, even for the 18 miler.

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