Chicago Marathon {Week 15}

Taper is here and I felt it this week.

My legs felt heavy and though I was exhausted, I could not sleep. I had my first, and hopefully last, pre-race nightmare. It started with me running late and having to climb a HUGE hill to get to the finish line. Of course the race had already started by the time I got to the line. Instead of starting to run, I ran into a tent to find a pacer and then started the race. We ran down the street and then through restaurant after restaurant, weaving through tables and kitchens. I never completed the race, but woke up anxious and hungry. I think my race fears got the best of me that evening.

Going into these last weeks, well really just one week now (this post is a bit delayed), I know that I have to focus on what I can control. I can control my hydration. I can control my fueling and I can finish the last of my runs strong. I can trust my training and make sure I have everything I need on race day. I can get as much sleep as possible and study the course map.


Monday – two mile walk + abs
Tuesday – 4 mile tempo + strength
Wednesday – 30 min cycle + 30 min elliptical
Thursday – 7×800 @ 6:58 min/mile (7 miles)
Friday – 2.5 mile walk
Saturday – 15 mile long run
Sunday – Rest

In order to try to prevent more nightmares, I’m working on not stressing about the weather or my finish time. While I am confident that I will set a new PR, I’m not as confident in my ability to BQ. I have a lot of cheerleaders telling me I can do it, but it is a lofty goal. When I look at how Fargo went (current PR – 3:47) with no speed work, no consistent training and nasty stomach issues, I get a little confidence boost. If I can set a three minute PR with those, what can I do in Chicago? 3:45, 3:40, 3:35?

Esprit de She 10k {Race Recap}

I looked forward to our local Esprit de She all summer. I had such a good time last year that I was eager to participate again. After all, who doesn’t like a race that gives you wine, food and musical entertainment afterwards? Not to mention a pretty nice running shirt. The weather was iffy all day. One minute it was pouring rain with thunderstorms and the next the sun was shining. When Morgan and I were driving to the race, it had just stopped sprinkling. We met for a big group picture before lining up to start the race.

MRTT Maple Grove

I had a tempo on my schedule so I figured I’d just run a little cool down at the end of the race to hit the seven miles on my schedule. I lined up near the front and tried to not go out too fast. While I did go out fast (7:10), I didn’t feel like I was going to keel over after the first mile. Just after the second mile marker, I turned the corner and I realized there was something off about the course (my 2nd mile – 7:28). When I crossed the 5k mark, I was just shy of a quarter mile short of the distance.(Mile 3 – 7:37) It wasn’t until my second loop that I realized where the course had gone wrong. They had mismarked one turn which changed the direction we ran up towards the finish line. I was starting to get damn tired. (Mile 4 – 7:32) I walked through the water stop just around the 5 mile mark (7:53).


I crossed the finish line at 5.73 miles. As I kept running I told the officials that the course was significantly short. My official results put me at 43:20 which was 10th overall and 8th in my age group. I’m in a very fast age group apparently. I figure that my 10k time was more like 46:58 ish which was a 7:33 min/mile average. The speed work must be working because that would be a three minute PR!

I finished my extra mileage and went to pick up food and wine. A couple glasses of wine later we went to hang out at a restaurant offering us half price appetizers. It turns out we were not the only ones disappointed to get kale salad rather than the usual turkey burger after the race. they had so many leftover they were handing us as many as we would take.

Moms Eat This Town

Obviously we had to order cheese curds and sweet potato fries as well. Have I mentioned that I love my running group?

Hopefully next year they will have the course on point.

Chicago Marathon Training {Weeks 13 &14}

I’m a little bit behind on training updates. With the start of preschool and all the activities that go along with it, we’ve been busy! These last few weeks leading up to taper have gone really well. I’ve nailed my runs and feel pretty good overall. That being said, I’m ready to be done with speed workouts for a little while. They are definitely helping me get faster, but it will be really nice to run for fun rather than to check off my training.

Week 13:

Monday – 2 mile walk + strength
Tuesday – 6 mile tempo run
Wednesday – 35 mins cycling + 30 mins elliptical + strength
Thursday – 6×800 @ 6:58 min/mile (6.25 miles)
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 17.1 mile run
Sunday – 2700 yd swim

Last week was my last big week before taper. It was a busy week which included a 10k race and a weekend in Nebraska. Nancy (my mother-in-law) was good enough to find some of her running group friends to run a good portion of my 22 miles with us. At a quarter to 5 am, she drove me across town to drop me off. At 5 am we started out in the dark. I had good company for just over 16 miles. When we returned to the Y where we had met, I refilled my water bottles and started running towards the Van Kirk’s house. Much to my surprise, I effortlessly sped up. I don’t have my watch set to show current pace, but when I looked down at it when I was at a stop light, my average pace was a few seconds faster than it had been.

The last mile was up hill, the entire way. It was rough but I made myself keep going. When I hit the 22 mile mark, I felt like I could have kept going. I was super hungry, but my body felt good. It was a relief to have such a good last long run.

22 mile selfie

When I reviewed my splits for the last six miles, I was surprised that I’d almost had negative splits. The last few miles were: 8:18, 8:22, 8:18, 8:12, 8:10 and 8:17. It made me feel good about running my way to a new PR in Chicago.

Time to taper!

Week 14:

Monday – 2 mile walk + strength
Tuesday – 6×1200 @ 7:13 min/mile (7.75 miles)
Wednesday – Deck of Pain + 1.5 mile walk
Thursday – Esprit de She 10k + 1.27 mile run (7 total)
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 22 mile run
Sunday – Rest

The battle of the belly

We are in the car for several hours which means I have nothing but open road to look at. I’m behind on my weekly training post but it seems like a lot of work to type up on my phone. Instead we’re going to talk about my continuing battle with my stomach. Or more specifically my digestive system. Not to worry I’m not going to get super specific.

Since Anderson was born my stomach has been increasingly sensitive. Over the past year it’s gotten so bad that there have been days that ingesting anything, even toast has me running to the bathroom. This obviously does not go well with running long distances. After having to emergency walk then sprint to the first ports potty I saw, I knew it was time to see someone.

About a month ago I went to the doctor. Telling her about my symptoms they decided to run an extensive panel of tests. Fortunately I am not a celiac, nor do I have any sort of infection, crohns or colitis. Unfortunately that didn’t give me a solution. What was suggested to me was trying a low FODMAP diet.

This diet basically takes out most of my favorite foods. Foods to avoid include items such as apples, peaches, watermelon, avocados, beans, legumes, asparagus, broccoli, wheat, dairy, sugar, garlic, onions, and peanut butter to name a few. Sounds fun right? This is a short version of the foods to avoid. 

I’ve started taking things out slowly. Dairy was the first to go because while I love cheese, sour cream, yogurt and ice cream, I know that they typically cause an upset stomach. I also took out peanut butter but was still having issues on my long runs. About two weeks ago I took out wheat. I broke down and bought some gluten free bread (gluten free is wheat free). Guess what? No issues on my long run last weekend. Thinking maybe it was a fluke, I ate regular bread the next day, it was a no go.

It seems wheat and dairy are primary culprits. Which is sad for me. But I’m going to do my best to not have either until after race day to really see if I feel better.

I also switched up my gels to Honey Stingers which are definitely easier for my to digest without the side effects. Fingers crossed I won’t have a repeat of Fargo in Chicago!

Chicago Marathon {Week 12}

A common symptom of overtraining is exhaustion. While I don’t think I’ve pushed myself into overtraining territory, last week I was tired. Really tired. So tired in fact that I was in bed at 8:45 pm on Monday night. As I climbed into my bed that evening, I felt guilty and lazy for not exercising. I had to remind myself that there are times when it is better to rest than to exercise like:

  • You’ve gotten less than six hours of sleep during the previous night
  • Becoming clumsy (for me, running into furniture, tripping on the stairs, etc.)
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Eyes and body feel heavy

Sleep was so sweet. When I woke up on Tuesday, I felt so much better. I was in a better mood, more attentive and ready for my run. I made the right decision. The rest of the week was great with the exception of my long run being taken inside due to severe weather both Saturday and Sunday.

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 5×1200 @ 7:03 min/mile (6.75 miles)
Wednesday – 30 min cycle + weights
Thursday – 8 mile tempo
Friday – 2.5 mile walk with family
Saturday – 21 mile run + 2-3ish mile walk with family
Sunday – 2.5 mile walk with Grandma