Chicago Marathon Training {Week Six}

It was still dark when I left my house Saturday morning. It was so humid there were clouds of fog hanging low making it difficult to see where I was going. I pulled up the chalet where I was meeting my BRF Amy at 5:25 am. Gah it was so early! I was momentarily chilly when I got out of my car. It was 67 degrees with a lovely 89% humidity level. Not the best running weather but we were ready for our longest training run of this cycle thus far.

Off we went into the rising sun and humidity clouds. The first few miles we talked about how easy we were going to take it since I was sick earlier in the week. I told Amy how I tried new fuel of a Larabar and a few graham crackers. A change from my normal peanut butter and jelly. I also was going to give Honey Stinger gels another go as I was able to run without gel digestive failure the previous week with them. I was optimistic that my stomach woes were over, at least for this run.

We were so busy chatting, complaining a little bit about the weather, that we didn’t pay attention to our pace at all. We were both somewhat shocked when we hit the water/bathroom stop at just over seven miles and noticed our average pace was 8:25 min/mile. We ran out a few more miles and then turned around to head back towards the chalet. We swore that we were going to slow down on the way back.

We were happily run along when the sun came out and it felt HOT. We took a water break every few miles and took another gel around mile 15. The last two miles worked us. I was so overheated that I was worn out. We took some walk breaks but somehow still ended our 18 miles with an 8:32 average pace.

I’m finally starting to feel more confident that I’m going to be able to run much faster in Chicago than I did in Fargo. Will I be able to run an average of at least 8:12, maybe not, but I think an 8:30 is a reasonable expectation.

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 8 mile tempo
Wednesday – Sick
Thursday – 7×800 @ 7:08 min/mile
Friday – 1750 yd swim
Saturday – 18 mile run
Sunday – 30 min open water swim + 30 min kayaking

Our Weekend Away

We have never spent a night away from Anderson together. We once, two years ago, spent a single night away from Ella. We stayed in the same city and were away for less than 24 hours. Last year when Josh was asked to be a groomsman in a friend’s wedding out East, we decided it was time for our first trip without the kids. It’s expensive to fly the entire family anywhere, especially with Anderson turning two next month. Plus, we needed a weekend free from parenting.

I was so excited but nervous about leaving the kids. My mom was generous enough to offer to fly out to stay with them for us. We bought her ticket and lined up our plans for the wedding. I started prepping the kids a few weeks out about our trip. Ella was totally fine, which I knew she would be. I was nervous about Anderson. He’s still (I know STILL) nursing three times/day and I had no idea how he would do without me at bedtimes. I spent way too long writing my mom notes about any nuances I could think of. I made a fresh loaf of bread and grocery shopped to make sure they had plenty of food.

When the day actually came, we said goodbye to the kids before putting them down for their naps. Even on the way to the airport, I was slightly freaking out. Not that my mom wasn’t capable, but we’d just never left the state without them. By the time we’d checked in and ordered our first drink and antipasta platter, I was relaxed.



We kept saying that it was so strange to not be making a dozen trips to the restroom, sitting in the play area and worrying about keeping kids entertained. To be honest, after a few drinks I had a buzz going. Our friends Ryan and Claire had just, basically that day, moved to Providence. They were amazing enough to pick us up at midnight. The next morning we were off for New Hampshire.

It took a bit longer than we expected, a little more than three hours of driving through the beautiful, lush trees.

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We arrived at the Bishop Farm B&B which was so cute and situated in the White Mountains. Absolutely gorgeous.


It was almost like being in college again. Ryan and Claire were in the room across from ours. We ate together, drank too much together and walked from all the wedding festivities together. Claire and I even picked ticks off of each other after getting more than a dozen between us during our afternoon stroll.

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The wedding was something straight off of Pinterest. Jess looked beautiful and Paul was beaming as he watched his bride walk down the aisle. They had a bluegrass band and tasty food in the barn.

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The next morning we drove back to Rhode Island, making a stop for Josh to enjoy his first lobster roll and me to hug a lobster. Plus a quick stop in Boston for some treats from Mike’s Pastry. Sadly our quick trip was all but over after enjoying a really delicious Italian dinner.

I don’t know why we waited so long to take a weekend away. The kids did amazing with my mom. She had them out and about all over the Twin Cities. When we got home, they ran to us for big hugs and kisses. I thought Anderson would wean while we were gone, but nope, the first thing he did was take my hand and ask to go night night aka, give me milk.

We celebrated our return home with some s’mores after dinner and a well deserved glass of wine for Nana.

Chicago Training {Week Five}

I walked into the room and picked a bike for my first Cycle/Sculpt class. I fiddled with my bike until I felt like it was adjusted just right. I hopped off to grab the rest of the equipment I needed. I saw everyone else had a set of weights and a mat. I collected mine and got back on the bike. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew I liked the instructor. She is also the instructor whose Total Conditioning class is my new favorite cross-training activity.

Cycle/Sculpt was a combination of a typical spinning class with intervals (less than 3 minutes) off the bike for weights. The cycling portion really made me push. We did sprints and hills with some steady pace intervals. When we hopped off the bikes we did squats, push-ups, lunges, and various arm exercises. At the end of the class I was drenched in sweat. My entire body had the post-awesome workout tingle. I decided I definitely wanted to go to the class again. Now I just have to make it there on Wednesday mornings.

Monday – 30 min elliptical + 15 minutes rowing
Tuesday – 7 mile tempo
Wednesday – Cycle/Sculpt
Thursday – 6.75 mile negative splits (Should have been intervals but I was too tired)
Friday – 2500 yd swim
Saturday – 15 mile run
Sunday – 30 minutes paddle boarding

Chicago Marathon Training {Week Four} + Rice Lake Classic Recap

You’d think half way through my second summer in Minnesota I’d be getting used to humidity. Not so much. Saturday morning it was the annual Rice Lake Classic. I meet some of my running friends for a quick picture before lining up to defend my age group title.

MRTT at Rice Lake Classic

I was half joking about defending my age group winner status. I really wanted to repeat my performance, but was not at all confident. It was 72 degree and nearly 80% humidity. Neither one are ideal for a run, especially one to push at. Regardless when the race was started, I carefully ran through the grass and picked up speed once I hit the pavement. I remembered that the course was a bit hilly but the flatest mile was the first. I covered it in 6:55. Yes, I ran a sub-7 minute mile. Just that one, but I did it! At the time it didn’t even feel like that fast of an effort. Of course as I started the second mile I started to feel that fast start. The sweet 16 year old girl I was running with started getting farther and farther ahead. I told her to keep it up because she could win for the women.

I walked through the water stop that was just before mile two. I drank half my cup and poured the other half on my head. I was happy to see the second mile marker which did not come nearly as quickly at the first (7:34). I told myself to keep running until the next hill just after the three mile mark. I forgot about the hill in between which I took a 30 second walk break at. I was totally overheating. My third mile was again slower, but still quick at 7:49. I hit the 5k mark at 23 minutes. Yeay!

Less than a mile to go and a hill right up to the finish line. I was so hot and so thirsty that I walked again on that last hill until people near the finish line could see me. I put in some effort to try to pick it up at the end, but we finished in grass again so I took care not to twist an ankle.

My official finish time was 28:16 (7:39 avg. pace). I improved my time by 1.12. I still had several miles to run after the race to get in my 14. Amy and Beth were nice enough to run two more miles with me while we waiting age group awards.

To my surprise not only did I win my age group but I was also the second woman overall. Thank you small race! My friend Amy also won her age group again and Beth got second in the same age group. It was fun to represent our running group well.

Age Group Winners

I finished my run inside in cool air conditioning before joining Josh and the kids for Maple Grove Days festivities.

The rest of the week in training:

Monday – 30 mins cycling + 30 mins incline walk + weights
Tuesday – 6 miles tempo
Wednesday – 35 mins elliptical + 10 mins stair climber + abs
Thursday – 10 x 400 @ 6:40 min/mile
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Rice Lake Classic + 9.25 miles = 14 miles
Sunday – 1200 yd swim

Chicago Marathon Training {Week Three}

Vacations are great. Fun, relaxation and lots of indulging. What they are not so great for is sticking to training plans. Last week we enjoyed a family vacation to the Wisconsin Dells immediately followed by a weekend in Lincoln with the Van Kirks for the 4th. I did my best to get my runs in as planned, but I didn’t do so great on was effective cross-training. I also was a champ at eating. Ice cream, chocolate and caramel topped pretzels, brats, s’mores, etc. Not at all stomach or race weight friendly. That’s a whole other battle this time around. That’s neither here nor there.

My hardest run last week was absolutely my tempo run. I woke up early to hit the country roads by our condo at Castle Rock Lake. It was already nearing 70 degrees with visible humidity. Not ideal for running but it did not deter me. I had beautiful scenery and a long empty road. I started my first mile at a easy pace. I had a five mile tempo on tap – a warm-up mile, three goal tempo pace miles, and one cool-down mile. Just as I was finishing the first mile, I saw a nice large hill. Where did that come from? I picked up the pace to try to get a sub-8 min/mile average for the three miles. I finished the first mile in 7:28. I was at the mid-point of another hill and stopped to catch my breath.

About a minute later and with a wipe of the sweat dripping from my head, I started on my next mile. I finished the next mile in 7:17. Again stopping to catch my breath. The hills were killing me. One last mile and I would finally be on cool down. Finally mile was my fastest, 7:06. Phew, I was done, one last easy mile and the torture would be over. Of course the biggest hill was the last one on my way back. I caught up with the family at the playground where I stopped to stretch and cool off on the cool sidewalk.

Monday – 2.5 mile hike with the fam
Tuesday – 5 mile tempo
Wednesday – 30 mins elliptical, 30 mins stationary bike
Thursday – 3×1600 @ 7:35 min/mile
Friday – Walk with the fam (about 2.5 miles)
Saturday – 12.09 miles
Sunday – Rest