Chicago Marathon Training {Week 11}

10 weeks down, six to go!

I’ve decided that I’m not longer a good evening runner. When we lived in Colorado, most of my runs were done after the kids went to bed. I’d be at the gym running until 9:30-10 pm without thinking twice about it. It was actually more difficult for me to get myself out of bed to go for my early morning runs on the weekend, than to motivate myself to run late. This is not the case any more.

My new schedule allows me to exercise in the mornings. Most of the time I get to the gym, drop off the kids and am ready to workout by 9:30 am. Thursday the kids and I were busy working reviewing/learning shapes, colors and patterns, then Ella’s swim camp, for me to get to the gym. Anderson is down to nursing only before bed, so I hate to miss the limited evenings we have left snuggling. I got him down, read and cuddled with Ella then off I went.

At about 8:45 pm I started my intervals. To say it was a struggle was an understatement. It was HARD. Every three intervals, I hopped off for the water I forgot to bring with me and blot off the crazy amount of sweat on my face. When I finished, I was happy I had done it. They were the fastest intervals I’d ever run.

Unfortunately I was so wired that I didn’t go to bed until midnight. Drawback to late night runs I suppose. I think I’ll stick to my morning routine as long as I can.

Monday – 30 min elliptical + 30 min cycle + weights
Tuesday – 5 mile tempo @ 7:47 min/mile
Wednesday – 30 Day Shred
Thursday – 12×400 @ 6:35 min/mile (7.75 miles)
Friday –¬†Rest
Saturday – 17 miles
Sunday – 5 miles walking around the state fair

Chicago Marathon Training {Week 10}

We’re almost to the peak of training. In these next few weeks I have two more 20+ milers before it’s taper time, in just 6.5 weeks. This training cycle is moving right along. It hasn’t felt like the long, dragged our process that it has in previous¬†cycles. My week day runs fly by. My weekend long runs, while challenging, have been wonderful thanks to my running BFFs, Amy and Dawn.

Running BFFs

These two mother runners have been my long run buddies. We have been trying out some new routes, pushing up hills and through killer humidity. I actually look forward to getting up in the 4 am hour to meet them by 5:30 am to start our runs. I honestly do not know how I trained for races by myself for so long. Amy and I have a common goal that Dawn is trying to help us achieve – the allusive (to us thus far) BQ. Dawn qualified and ran Boston a few years ago. She’s helping us push our pace and giving us tips along the way.

With only five more weeks of speed work, I’m going to push those paces a bit harder. Try to run my tempo miles at 7:45-8 min/mile pace. My intervals or varying distances at the faster paces in the ranges I calculated (anywhere from 5:48 min/mile for 400s to 7:23 min/mile for 1600s). Hopefully they help. The BRFs are my biggest cheerleaders. They are confident I can do it. I know Amy will qualify in October when she does Twin Cities. Fingers crossed for everything coming together, including my stomach toughing up, for an ideal race.

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 4×1600 @ 7:13 min/mile – 7.5 miles
Wednesday – 30 Day Shred
Thursday – 7 mile tempo
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 20 miles
Sunday – 2800 yd swim

Chicago Marathon Training {Week Nine}

A decade, well nearly 15 years ago, I was on my high school swim team. I was far from the fastest, but not the slowest. Every day after school we swam for two hours. I took for granted how easy it all seemed. After my junior year, I swam only to cool off after laying out to get the perfect tan. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with Anderson that I got back in to swim laps. It felt so good to be weightless.

Now that I have access to a pool regularly, I’m trying to take advantage. It started when I was training for the indoor triathlon. Now it’s my go to recovery workout. Last weekend after a very sweaty run on Saturday, I was so looking forward to the cool pool water. Dawn, a new running friend met me there and kept me motivated. I typically am done after I hit the 1750 yd mark. With Dawn there to hold me accountable I pushed a little further. When I finished I felt loose and limber, ready to face what will be my highest mileage week thus far.

Monday – No More Trouble Zones
Tuesday – 8×800 @ 7:08 min/mile (7.75 miles)
Wednesday – 35 mile elliptical, 30 min. bike, 50 of each: crunches, squats, push-ups, tricep dips
Thursday – 6 mile tempo
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 16 miles
Sunday – 2600 yd swim

Urban Wildland Half Marathon {Race Recap}

Until the Friday night prior to the race, I wasn’t even sure that I was going to run it. We were flying out to Colorado around lunch time and unless we had the help of our friends Peter and Rachel, there was no way I could make it work. Luckily for us, they are awesome friends. We decided that Josh and the kids would meet me at their house which was about 10 minutes from my race site and only 15 minutes or so from the airport. From there someone would take Josh to the airport (he was on an earlier flight) and then the kids and I would go later.

I woke up about 4 am to get myself ready for the race. I ate my chocolate chip cookie dough Larabar and grabbed some graham crackers for the road. The race was about 35 minutes from our house and I had to do day of packet pick-up so I gave myself plenty of time. My favorite thing about small races is how easy it is to pick up your stuff and get to the starting line. It took me all of 15 minutes to pick up my packet, hit the bathroom and drop my stuff in my car.

This was supposed to be a training run. A nice break from the really long ones, my shortest until taper. I wanted to see where my speed workouts were getting me and had some unspoken goals: A. Run sub 1:50 (most likely to achieve goal), B. Run 1:45 or faster, C. Run a sub-8 pace.

I lined up with the 1:45 pacer and called it good. We started almost right on time and were off. I’d say this race was a mixture of road and trail. In the first three miles I felt pretty good. The first two miles were sub-8’s and felt pretty easy. It was around the third mile that my knee started feeling off. I’ve been having some pulling thanks to a little bone fragment from fracturing my femur when I was 13, that has been floating around near my knee cap. Every once in a while it lodges itself in what feels like a ligament and causes a pulling sensation. I worked it out and got back on track.

The first thing I did wrong was not bring my own water. As we passed that third mile, the high school billboard noted that it was already 76 degrees. I grabbed a water at the stop and drank it quickly. Mile four was fairly shaded which was nice but I was getting hot. By mile five I was starting to overheat. At that water stop I grabbed two cups. One to drink and one to pour over my head. I was trying to do all I could to bring my core temperature down.

From about that point on I was basically running from water stop to water stop. When I got to the next stop just after the seventh mile, again, I poured water over my head and drank some as I walked for a minute, not wanting to spill any drop of the much needed water. I also took a gel to give me some energy. It don’t know if it didn’t work or I was just so damn hot that nothing was going to make me feel better. I knew the next water stop was around mile nine and then there would be a stop every mile until the end. I told myself to keep those feet moving. The faster I ran, the sooner I would be to the next stop.

Mile nine came and I wanted it to be over. I got some ice cubes to put down my shirt and hold in my hands. It helped momentarily. This was the first race, other than my first marathon, that I thought about dropping out of. That is how awful I felt. When I was running, I was killing my pace. My slowest mile of the entire race was an 8:30 and five of the 13 were under 8. I kept walking through the water stops, taking my time drinking water. I new I’d be worse off it I tried to skip it.

When I could see the finish line I sprinted the best I could to finish strong. I was so happy it was over.

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Official Results:

Time: 1:46:32 Avg. Pace: 8:08 min/mile

Even with all the walking I did, I was pleasantly surprised by my time. I was 16th out of the 126 women in my 30-39 age group and 173 out of 718 people who completed the event. I know that a sub-8 half is in me. Next time I’ll pick a half in cooler weather!

Chicago Marathon Training {Weeks Seven and Eight}

Man with all of the travel we’ve been doing I’m way behind. We were back from Lake Okoboji for a while two days before heading out to Colorado for a little over a week. I’ve been doing my best to stay focused on training while also enjoying time relaxing with my family.

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When we got back from the lake I knew I had to fit in my tempo run. Of course it was the longest tempo I’ll do during training. Unfortunately with the stuff we had to get done around the house, like mowing the lawn (now my job until Josh’s MCL is healed), I didn’t start running until 9 pm. While I used to run at night all the time, I’m out of practice these days. In fact it sucked! I struggled through it and then was wired until about 1 am. That will teach me.

Week Seven Training:

Monday – 3 mile walk wearing Anderson
Tuesday – 10 mile tempo
Wednesday – Bob Harper Kettlebell video (ouch!)
Thursday -3×1600 @ 7:29
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Urban Wildland Half Marathon (race report coming)
Sunday – Rest

Now onto our week in Colorado. This was the first time in nearly a year Josh visited. We were looking forward to seeing a lot of people and getting to enjoy the Colorado summer. I think we overbooked ourselves which left me scrambling to fit in our runs. Of course I knew I had to make it happen, less than two months to go! The altitude got my pretty good. Apparently I am no longer unaffected by the thin air. I don’t think I’ll be doing any races, at least any I was to PR at, in Colorado any time soon. The kids however, were running races between two trees at the park, no problem.

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Week Eight:

Monday – 30 minute elliptical + walk and park with kids
Tuesday – 7.5 mile run (supposed to be intervals, but not a chance)
Wednesday – 3 mile hike with family (wore Anderson for most of it)
Thursday – 5 mile run
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 18 mile run
Sunday – Rest