Chicago Marathon Training Week 10


IrSunday, August 11: Strength training – lower body + 53 minutes bike
I had another 80 minutes of cross training on the schedule today, so once again I started out with some strength training and filled out the rest of my time with the bike. I finally bothered to look up the best way to do kettlebell swings with a dumbbell, and it was a thousand times easier now that I figured out a better way to do it (holding the weight plate rather than the bar between the two). I’m glad I can do them again! (I didn’t know this on Sunday, but the gym in my new office building also has kettlebells, so that might be an option moving forward as well).

Monday, August 12: 58 minutes yoga
This one:

Ironically, I was in a pretty good mood Monday afternoon and didn’t feel particularly stressed or anxious. I had been looking forward to some relaxing yoga for a while, though, so even though I didn’t particularly need this practice in that moment, it was still quite nice.

Tuesday, August 13: Dance
This session’s dance class had whittled down to three of us by last week, and in the middle of the afternoon, one of the girls texted the other two of us (the three of us have taken class together a bunch of times before) to let us know there had been some major drama at her office that day and she wasn’t going to be able to make class or graduation that night. Oh. So, it was just two of us for graduation. A similar thing actually happened I think five or six years ago (with the same classmate), so at least we knew what we were doing 😛

Wednesday, August 14: 6 miles in 1:03:42 for a 10:37 pace (AM) + strength training – upper body (PM)
I expected to be smacked in the face with humidity when I walked out the door to run Wednesday morning, so to be more tapped on the shoulder with it instead was a very nice surprise. This was a pace run, which would be a lot easier to do if I had any idea what kind of pace I want to run during the marathon, ha. I guess maybe 11:00ish? My “goal pace” is “finishing,” so I’m just kind of winging these pace runs. I (clearly) ended up averaging a 10:37, which would likely be a bit ambitious for the actual marathon, but who knows. I came very close to bailing early on this run due to some hip/leg pain that come on…maybe a mile and a half into the run? I had the same issue pop up on my nine miler a couple weeks ago, but it hasn’t happened any other time since. That time, I thought it was because I ran in the afternoon and had been sitting all day, but obviously that wasn’t the case this week. I’m wondering if maybe one of the moves in dance irritates my leg somehow and that’s why this has happened twice on Wednesdays now? It feels like an intense ache in my tensor fasciae latae (which has been a problem muscle for me in the past), but it creeps all the way down my IT band and is also accompanied by numbness in the same foot?? I don’t know. I’m hoping it’s a two-time thing and won’t come up again.

The gym was super packed in the afternoon. Usually there are one or two other people there, but on Wednesday, there were seven other people when I showed up! Unsurprisingly, it’s not that big of a gym, so I had to wrangle myself into a corner and hope I wasn’t going to end up in anyone’s way. Wednesday’s workout was high rep/low weight, so my arms were burning by the end.

Thursday, August 15: 9 miles (with six hill repeats) in 1:42:55 for an 11:26 pace (AM) + strength training – lower body (PM)
I woke up extra early Thursday morning to get my nine miles in before work. It still wasn’t early enough, so I’m going to have to remember that if I keep trying to do super long runs in the morning. My hip continued to bother me all day Wednesday, so I really wasn’t sure that I’d get all nine miles in anyway. All the residual soreness I felt was gone within a mile or so, though, and never came back, so I figured I may as well do my entire run. The fact that I was able to get through nine miles pain free furthers my suspicions that my pain yesterday and two weeks ago was dance related. Now that that routine is over, my fingers are crossed my hip issue is done, too. The weather was super perfect Thursday morning, which helped make this infinitely more enjoyable than the disaster that was my eight miler with five hill repeats a few weeks ago.

Thursday afternoon’s workout was another short and sweet one. I had no recollection of ever doing it before, which was weird to me. I’ve done all of these workouts at least twice, and most of them I remember in some capacity. Not this one, though! That’s all right – it made for a nice surprise 😛

Friday, August 16: Rest

Saturday, August 17: 15 miles in 2:57:22 for an 11:20 pace
For most of the summer, I’ve had four marathoners and two or three half marathoners in my little 11:30 pace group. My usual half marathoners were there Saturday morning, but I was stunned to suddenly find myself with SEVEN marathoners (with one of my usuals being absent). Where did all of these people come from?! Where had they been for the past TEN WEEKS?!! (Two of them had been at Montrose, one of them had been traveling for work, and the fourth one was apparently from San Antonio (like, lives there now, not originally from San Antonio), so I’m guessing he’s not signed up for CARA training and just showed up Saturday morning.) I was a little stressed about corralling all of these people through 15 miles, but  it ended up working out fine. My usual runners don’t like stopping at water stops (they grab water but drink it while walking), and I ended up not running with any of them pretty much at all. The San Antonio runner is actually training for New York, so he turned around after about five miles (my half marathoners were long gone at this point), so for the majority of the run I only had three runners with me. That’s more of what I’m used to! I really enjoyed chatting with my three new runners and I hope they come back! From a run perspective, I’m very happy with how this one went. It was one of my better pacing efforts and I felt good throughout the whole thing (the cloud cover definitely helped).

Thursday Things

1. Our new suburban office opened on Monday, and snap, you guys. It is SO nice. I guess that’s kind of the assumption when a brand new space opens (well, brand new-ish. The building isn’t new, but our office space within the building is), but it blew my mind when I got there Monday morning. Everything feels so gigantic and open and airy compared to the old space, which boasted a firmly early ’00s aesthetic. The kitchen is hilariously bougie (there’s sparkling water on tap, for goodness’s sake), the conference rooms look like they came straight out of a design magazine, and just all in all the entire space puts our Chicago office to shame–which is really saying something, because our Chicago office is quite nice.

I loved how first-day-of-school it felt on Monday, too (appropriate, considering how many suburban schools started up again this week). The executives were hanging out in the reception area in the morning to greet and direct everyone, a la the principal on the first day, and impromptu tour groups went past my cube all morning as everyone explored the new space. Speaking of which: the new office is SO big that all of a sudden, trying to get 250 steps per hour to appease my Fitbit is no longer a challenge. In the Chicago office, I have to take a circuitous route (desk -> kitchen -> water cooler -> desk -> bathroom -> desk) to get 250 steps. Now, I basically need to go to kitchen and back–and my desk is one of the closer ones to the kitchen! I honestly think if I did a lap around the floor I’m on, I’d get close to 1000 steps. It’s amazing!! Monday was the first day I’ve worked in the suburbs where I got 10,000 steps.

My only “dilemma” at the moment is how bare my cube feels. Nearly everything I had in Chicago was a relic from the decorating my boss three bosses ago (the one who hired me) did before I started, and since I don’t even do that job anymore, I got rid of everything when I packed up my desk. But now my desk is a bit…sparse.


I think I’m going to go to my favorite gift shop in Chicago, Foursided, when I’m in the city on Sunday and see if I can find some nice decorations – or at least a coaster or something, ha.

2. I’ve had a bunch of time to kill before dance the past two weeks (like, two and a half hours of time to kill), and since I don’t have an apartment in Chicago to use for time-killing purposes anymore, I instead opted for gigantic walks in Lincoln Park.


Ugh. I will never get over how amazing the boardwalk around the south pond is. It’s easily one of my favorite places in the whole city. Especially when you’re facing south and can see downtown, I feel like it just totally embodies Urbs in Horto (the official motto of Chicago, meaning “City in a Garden.”). And I’m OBSESSED with all the native plants.


*a million heart-eyed emojis*

It was literally buzzing two weeks ago, with bumblebees floating between flowers, butterflies everywhere (I saw four different kinds!), and barn swallows all over the place. Yes. Please.


(It might have been buzzing two days ago, too, but I was on a mission to get to the zoo to see if the penguins were out (three were!), so I wasn’t paying as much attention to the local fauna along the boardwalk.)

3. And if I may brag for a moment:


We had our annual Employee Appreciation Day last week, and since the venue included bowling, two of my coworkers and I bowled a game. I crushed it. I honestly think that was the best game of bowling I’ve ever had. Four strikes and a spare?! That is not how my bowling usually goes!

Chicago Marathon Training Week 9

Sunday, August 4: Strength training – legs + 54 minutes bike
Lifting was a bit harder than I anticipated on Sunday, but I got it done. I skipped the kettlebell swings I was supposed to finish with. I thought I could do kettlebell swings with a dumbbell (because there are no kettlebells at my gym), and while I technically can, it’s certainly a bit awkward. I didn’t feel like dealing with it on Sunday, and figured I still had a ton of cardio ahead of me anyway so I could probably manage to skip 25 kettlebell swings. I hopped on the bike after my strength training and tackled the random hill setting for just under an hour.

Monday, August 4: 7 miles in 1:19:32 for an 11:22 pace (AM) + strength training – upper body (PM)
I took my August half day Monday morning due to an appointment I had that day, which gave me ample time to do my run before work. It was also supposed to get up to 90 that afternoon, so I was more than happy to get my run done before the heat set in. It was a bit on the humid side compared to last week, so I was an absolute puddle by the time I got home. It also took me awhile to hit my pace, but I arranged my route so I’d finish on a downhill, which is always good for my ego 🙂

Monday’s strength training workout was short and sweet. It called for lat pulldowns, which opened my eyes to the fact that the new gym doesn’t really have a lat pulldown machine. It has one of those multi-function machines that you can kind of use for lat pulldowns, but following the diagram on the machine didn’t seem to be the best way to accomplish what I was trying to do. I felt like I was using my triceps much more than my lats, which kind of defeats the purpose. I’m going to have to see what other options I have the next time I need to do them.

Tuesday, August 6: Dance
One of my former classmates subbed for us on Tuesday, which was fun! Graduation is next week (this week by the time this post goes up), so we did a ton of review. I still don’t feel all that confident in my ability to remember the choreography this time around. Oof. However, the MOST devastating part of class was when the sub (who’s in my teacher’s company) told us to come to their show next month (it’s a really big deal – the company is part of a broader group, and all the groups will be here to do a performance. I know about the show because my teacher is always gone for it, but it’s never been in Chicago since I’ve been taking dance), and then told us it’s the NIGHT BEFORE THE 20 MILER. AT 8 P.M. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I so want to go!! I’ll admit that I’m very tempted to go even with the 20 miler the next day, because I’m really only in the marathon for the fun of it this time around, so the 20 miler is just another long run…but the show is downtown (like, downtown downtown, not just in the city somewhere), which would be a GIGANTIC hassle now that I live in the burbs. UGH UGH UGH UGH UGH.

Wednesday, August 7: 50 minutes bike
The office move made my schedule wonky this week, so I didn’t have time to run on Wednesday. I biked instead, and it was fairly uneventful. I’m starting to think level nine is the ideal one on the bike, though, for those of you anxiously waiting to see which level I settled on 😛

Thursday, August 8: 6 miles (1.5 mile WU, 6x.5 mi w/ .25 mi recovery) in 1:05:01 for a 10:50 pace (AM) + strength training – lower body (PM)
I was bound and determined to get my run in Thursday morning, for whatever reason, but when I woke up, it quickly became apparent that my dinner from the night before would make running outside risky, to say the least. I decided to take my run to the treadmill, where I’d have guaranteed, quick access to a bathroom at any time. (God bless this past winter’s half marathon training, where I was forced to figure out how to run on the treadmill without losing my mind, so that’s actually a viable option now.) Plus, running inside meant I didn’t have to put on sunscreen, which is always nice. I did a 1.5 mile warmup at 5.2 mph with a one percent incline, and then for my intervals did the half miles at 6.1 mph (one percent incline) and the recovery at 4.8 mph (no incline). It was fine, aside from the tummy troubles. After I finished my run, I realized that if I was down to do this run on the treadmill regardless, I should’ve just waited until the afternoon. My system almost certainly would’ve taken care of dinner by then, and if it were too hot to run outside, I would’ve ended up on the treadmill anyway. Oh well. Something to remember for next time, I guess.

I went back to the gym in the afternoon to strength train. It was a headache. I guess I just got too used to the equipment in the gym at work, so now everything at this gym doesn’t just seem different: it seems wrong and difficult. And it’s not helping me like strength training any more. It’s very frustrating, because I did really like strength training for the past year, but this gym situation is really killing my vibe. There’s apparently a gym in the new suburban office, so I’ll have to check that out to see if it meets my needs better. If so, I might start doing most of my strength training there instead.

Friday, August 9: Rest

Saturday, August 10: 10.56 miles in 2:04:13 for an 11:46 pace
Halfway through marathon training, and all of this getting up early, not getting enough sleep stuff finally caught up to me. I was dead tired when I got to the run and, uh, perhaps not the most engaging, enthusiastic group leader CARA has ever seen. I barely said a word until we were 1.75 miles into the run. One of my half marathoners struck up a conversation with me at that point, and it helped me be in a much better mood than I was when I started. It was overcast for almost the entire run for the first time all season, finally. That made things a bit more tolerable than usual. I’m sure we went too far, though I’m not sure we went a full half mile too far.


Friday Things

1. It’s been a long time since I haven’t been able to get a Thursday Things post together and had to push it back to Friday instead! Work has been UNBELIEVABLE this week. Our new suburban office is opening on Monday (“new” as in “new location.” We already had a suburban office – it’s just moving to a different building.), and while I have a very small role in that process compared to some people, my role was in full swing this week. We do business in all 50 states, and since part of my job is to make sure we’re legally allowed to do work in all 50 states, it became part of my job to tell all 50 states that we’re moving. Because it would be way too simple for every state to have the same process of updating your address, or for there to be one way to update your address on a national level so every state has the correct information, I had to hunt down the rules for each state and then update our address according to their rules. For a shocking number of states, that meant filling out a paper form, which was time consuming, to say the least. And that was just filling out the forms! Then I had to get signatures, which of course everyone has different rules for as well (“Wet signatures only!” “Must be signed by someone with a better job title than yours!”), and then coordinate returning the forms to every individual state, which–all together now!–everyone has different rules for. One state wants it emailed, one wants it faxed, one wants it mailed. It’s been over a year since I had any one task that so consumed my working days. I generally prefer to have a lot of little things going on rather than one big thing (mostly so I can at least get something all the way done in a day), but I have to say, having such a gigantic project to deal with definitely made my work days fly by this week!

2. Anyway, onto more interesting topics, like Broadway! This news is over a week old at this point, but last Thursday it was announced that Six is going to transfer to Broadway! SO exciting! I had heard rumblings that that was a possibility, that Chicago might’ve been an unofficial Broadway tryout, but I didn’t think that 1) it would actually happen or 2) that it would actually happen so soon. I hope the cast stays the same and they record an album! I found the London album on Apple Music and downloaded it, but I’d love to have an album of the cast I heard, too – especially if they become the original Broadway cast!

Also, looking forward to another Tony season where I show I saw premiere in Chicago gets walloped by a gigantic blockbuster 😦 I don’t know why they’re even bothering to have a Tony Awards next June. Moulin Rouge is obviously going to win every award its eligible for. I mean, for goodness’s sake, they had the cast of Moulin Rouge on the Tony’s this year, and the show hadn’t even OPENED yet. (This is part of why I wish Hadestown had waited to open until next year’s Tony season. The awards would’ve been a lot more interesting if it was Hadestown vs. Moulin Rouge in every category.) At least Six has a much better shot at Best Original Score!

3. Speaking of Broadway shows, I went to see Cats last week. I didn’t originally plan to go, but then the movie trailer came out and it was all, “From the director of Les Miserables,” as if that were a good thing, and suddenly going to see Cats became A Major Priority for me.

(I think the Les Miserables movie is trash, and I will not hear otherwise. YOU! CAN! NOT! REARRANGE! THE! SONGS! OF! A! THROUGH-SUNG! MUSICAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You just can’t!! The songs are in that order for a reason. They literally tell the entire story of the musical. If you rearrange them, you change the story. You can’t just CHANGE when “I Dreamed a Dream” falls in the story!! And don’t even get me STARTED on swapping the order of “On My Own” and “One Day More.” I can still feel the horror I felt in the movie theater when “On My Own” started and “One Day More” hadn’t happened yet, thinking that they DARED cut easily one of the most powerful songs in the entire production. There’s a reason that song concludes the first act!!!! Anyway, I hate the Les Miserables movie, and I do not trust Tom Hooper (the director) as far as I can throw him to do anything resembling justice to Cats if he’s in charge. Rather, I expect him to utterly destroy it, like he did to Les Misearbles. *dismounts soap box*)

Anyway, wanting very much to know how Cats actually goes, not how Tom Hooper (incorrectly) thinks it should go, I went to Cats last week. I had zero expectations and pretty limited knowledge of the show in advance. I had listened to the soundtrack a couple of times, I of course knew “Memory,” and I knew it was based on poems by T.S. Eliot. That was about it.

When I walked out of the theater after the show, I declared it to be, easily, one of my top three favorite musicals.

Guys. I was BLOWN. AWAY. I didn’t expect to like Cats, and instead I ended up loving it. ADORING it. It was amazing! The staging! THE LIGHTING (omg, the lighting. Mister Mistoffelees and his Amazing Techincolor Dreamcoat?!?!?! (#andrewlloydwebberjokes). I DIED.)! But most of all, THE DANCING. OH. EM. GEE. I had no idea that Cats was such a dance-y musical, and I was just delighted beyond words to discover that it is! It was like going to a two-and-a-half hour dance performance, but better, because there was singing. It put Newsies to shame in the dance department, which is really saying something, because I was not aware there were any musicals more dance-y than Newsies. But there is one! It’s Cats!

I so thoroughly loved the show that it’s almost certainly for the best I didn’t see it until a few days before they closed, because otherwise I would’ve gone more than once, which my wallet did not need. But !!!!! It was so good. I was so impressed. I’m so concerned the movie is going to be a gigantic letdown *nervous emoji*

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!

Thursday Things

1. For the past few years, I’ve gone to trivia just about weekly with a group of friends. Sometimes we’d have conflicts and would miss a week, but for the most part, we’ve been regulars at trivia for awhile. We do all right. We usually log three or four top three finishes per year (the top three finishers get a gift card to the bar that hosts trivia), but there are certainly teams that do a lot better than us on a much more regular basis.

Imagine my shock, then, when a few weeks ago, the host approached us to let us know we had qualified for the city-wide championship! (Region-wide, really, since some bars were from the suburbs – and one was even from Champaign!) The company that organizes these trivia nights at bars all over the city invites the top three teams from each bar to its championship, and somehow, we managed to be one of the top three teams from our bar.

The championship was on Saturday afternoon, and holy cow, it was no joke. There were 90 teams (!!) in attendance, and they were very strict about preventing cheating. Cell phones are never allowed during trivia, but they straight up confiscated all of our phones during the championship. We could access them between rounds if we wanted, but you weren’t allowed to have your phone at the table (which could be its own blog post, about how we all had trouble being without our phones for four hours – especially since we usually check our answers via Google after turning in our answer sheet for the round.). Normally, clues give a decent amount of leeway and/or guidance, like, “Name the celebrity whose initials are A.B.,” or, “There are four correct answers to this question. Get three of them, and a bonus point for getting all four,” or, “There are four correct answers to this question. Name all four in five guesses.” Stuff like that. But not at the championship! Now it was, “Name the celebrity without any additional hints other than that they are famous for some reason,” or “Get all four answers correct, no bonus points, no wiggle room.” It was so hard! We left before the final scores came out, but at the last update, we were in a 10-way tie for 64th. Ha. I was so impressed by the teams in the top 10. How can anyone possibly know that much trivia?!

I also found out that one of the bars that does this company’s trivia will be having a Chicago-themed trivia night next week, and ugh. It upsets me to no end that I won’t be able to go. I am extremely confident in my Chicago trivia abilities (assuming this is Chicago-the-city trivia, not Chicago-the-musical trivia. That would be a lot harder, haha.). Learning random Chicago facts has basically been my part-time hobby for the past seven years, and I would clean up. But alas, I’m not free that night. Fingers crossed they do a Chicago theme night at my bar one of these days!

2. As of midnight this morning, I’m officially no longer a Chicago resident 😦

While I moved to the suburbs almost a full month ago now, the lease on my last apartment in the city ran through July 31, and I was still spending a decent amount of time there. I usually spent the night after trivia, I stopped by to shower after my Saturday long run a couple of times, I slept there after I went to see Six and after the wedding I attended at the Field Museum. We didn’t have much there anymore–no TV, no internet, not even any flooring, since my landlord ripped up all the carpet a few days after we moved out–so it’s not like I was going there just to hang out, but I popped in for one reason or another at least once a week after moving out.

But now I can’t, because it’s not my apartment anymore.


I didn’t cry on moving day, but I cried a lot on Tuesday, which was when I dropped off my keys and left for the last time. That apartment was not without its issues or frustrations, but it was really special to me. Knowing that I can’t stop by anymore makes me very sad. The curse of getting attached to spaces, I guess.

3. Fortunately, I have a pool at my new apartment to help me wash away my sorrows.

The pool wasn’t really one of the selling points of this apartment complex to me. I don’t often want to go swimming, and I want to put on a bathing suit even less often, not from a self-conscious standpoint but from a sunscreen application standpoint. Being in a bathing suit means SO much skin is exposed, and it takes for-freaking-ever to put on all that sunscreen. After I put it on, I’m sticky and tacky and just generally feel like I need a shower. But my Dutch Scandinavian skin and reddish-side-of-brown hair can barely handle thinking about UV rays without getting burned, so I don’t have much of a choice.

It seemed like a waste to have a pool and never use it, though, so I got over myself on Sunday afternoon and went to the pool for an hour of floating around, and whoa. It was awesome. The water was comfortable, the landscaping around the pool was beautiful, and all in all it was such a perfect place to relax. Big fan.

Chicago Marathon Training Week 7

Sunday, July 21: Strength training – legs + 38 minutes bike
I had an hour of cross training on my schedule for Sunday, so I went to the building’s gym in the afternoon to knock that out. My strength training this week was almost exactly the same as last Sunday’s, which was nice because that meant I didn’t have to orient myself to too much new equipment. It took me 22 minutes to get through my strength training, leaving 38 minutes on the clock to bike. This was my first time on (the only) bike in the building’s gym, and I do still need to orient myself to it. A level 3 rolling hills workout was appropriately challenging on the bike at my old gym, but it was not appropriately challenging on this bike – like, it wasn’t challenging at all. I didn’t notice any difference between the uphills and downhills. I’m going to need to bike on a much higher level in the future!

Monday, July 22: 5 miles in 51:35 for a 10:19 pace (AM) + strength training – upper body (PM)
Um, oops? The weather was beautiful Monday morning (high 60s! Low humidity!) and since I’m apparently a morning runner now, I decided to knock out this week’s five miler before work. This run was supposed to be at marathon pace, which, LOLOLOLOL. Running the marathon at a 10:19 pace (a 4:30:29 marathon) seems wildly unlikely, especially when you consider that my “time goal” for this year is sub-5:25, i.e.: faster than my first marathon. While I certainly wouldn’t mind running the marathon that fast, I would be floored if I did run the marathon that fast, especially considering the burn in m quads after five miles at this pace. This probably shaped up to be more of a tempo run than a pace run, but it felt really, really nice to 1) be able to be outside without feeling like I would melt and 2) to run well over a minute/mile faster than I ran at any point last week/this entire marathon season, so I just rolled with it.

I went to the gym after work on Monday to lift for a bit. Upper body work has felt so difficult lately, I assume 1) because I took two weeks off and 2) I only do upper body work once a week. Upper body strength isn’t my top priority at the moment, so I don’t see that changing any time soon, but hopefully some more consistency will make things a little less challenging.

Tuesday, July 23: Dance
Blah. The choreography we’re learning right now is really tough, which makes class really tough, which makes Tuesday evenings not much fun. I shouldn’t whine. I spend most sessions wishing my teacher would give us harder choreography because I want to be challenged. Of course, now that I’m being challenged, I wish class were easier! I’m impossible to please 😛 I guess I don’t actually wish class were easier. I wish I were a better dancer! But that’s what harder choreography will do, so I should start embracing the struggle (and need to practice outside of class), because it’ll pay off in the long run.

Wednesday, July 24: Strength training – legs (AM) + 50 minutes bike (PM)
I had an early meeting Wednesday morning that kept me from having time to do eight miles before work, so I went to the gym instead. I realized that my gym doesn’t have boxes or steps, which made my lateral step-ups more challenging than usual. I think I could use a bench for forward step-ups, but it felt WAY too high for my current comfort level with lateral step-ups. I ended up using the treadmill deck since no one was using it, but I don’t think that’s the most sustainable option. We shall see!

I dialed the resistance on the bike up to 10 today to see if that would get closer to the level of difficulty I’m used to from the bikes in my old gym. It was a bit more challenging on the toughest part of the hills, but still a LOT easier on anything other than that. I keep track of my stationary bike distances on a note on my phone, and as a reference point, my 50 minute bikes last year would usually cover 8-10 miles. I did 14.8 on Wednesday. While I would love to pretend this is a reflection of better fitness, my RPMs on Wednesday were consistently in the 80s, whereas at my old gym, they’d rarely be higher than 70. One of these days I’ll figure out an appropriate level for the bike!

Thursday, July 25: 8 miles (with five hill repeats) in 1:43:54 for a 12:59 pace
WHAT a disaster. Holy cow, was this run a a mess. Since I didn’t have time to do this run in the morning any day this week, I went out in the afternoon, which, as you may recall, was my normal running time from June 2012 until literally three weeks ago. I am no stranger to afternoon running and its unique challenges. But boy, you’d think I’d never laced up my running shoes later than 8 a.m. with how terribly this went. It was a lot warmer than in the morning, unsurprisingly, but it wasn’t, like, Paris-in-the-recent-heatwave warm. The Real Feel was 93, but the humidity was quite low, and a fair portion of my run was in the shade where it was much cooler. No matter, though. I started off at nearly a 12:00 pace and things only got worse from there. I had to take two walk breaks, another break to stop to refill my water bottle (?!!? I can usually make it through 13 miles without needing to refill my water bottle!), and by the end I was STILL shuffling at mile-22-of-the-marathon-post-bonk pace. My last mile, which did not involve any walk breaks, was a 13:29. Literally the only times I’ve ever run that slow are after hitting the wall during a marathon. I don’t have any idea what made this go so poorly, but I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen again.

Friday, July 26: Rest

Saturday, July 27: 12 miles in 2:20:31 for an 11:42 pace
After weeks of external circumstances getting in the way of me feeling like I had a “normal” long run (getting sick, getting over being sick, massive heat wave), things finally went the way I expected/wanted them to on Saturday. My half marathoners and marathoners ran together for the first time, putting me in charge of five runners! My site coordinator jumped in with my group to help me group lead, which I appreciated. I don’t mind doing it solo when I have one or two people to be in charge of, but five felt like a lot. The run went pretty well, and I’m happy with my pacing. The last three or so miles were tough, though. The reconfigured Lakefront Trail means we run the last three miles with zero shade right along the water, and it’s not fun at all. It’s blazing hot and relentlessly sunny and just all-around miserable. 0/10, would not recommend. I’d rather dodge aggressive cyclists.