Chicago Marathon Week 7 Training Recap

This week was a cut back week of sort. The mileage still increased but I did not do any dedicated speedwork sessions. I like that kind of cut back week.

Monday easy run with short hill intervals
It took me a while to get moving this morning even before the run. Besides that I felt pretty good on this run. My pace for the first half was slower than I wanted but I tried to pick it up. For whatever reason it is ridiculously difficult for me to accurately judge my pace when it’s dark. I need to work on that. For the last two miles, while the sun was finally coming up. My stride felt awesome and a slightly faster pace felt easier than my pace of the first four miles. Go figure.

Tuesday recovery/easy run
Since I opened at work Tuesday instead of Wednesday I had to switch those runs. I loved this run. I felt strong, like I could keep going for a while.

Wednesday easy run (longer)
My pace on this run was at the bottom of the range that I hope for with easy runs. However, given the horrible humidity I’ll take it. I’m still working on becoming a better judge of my pace in the dark. That will also help.

Thursday stationary bike and NTC Ab Burner
stationary bike: This ride was good although tempered by hunger and thirst. I don’t normally bring water with me on cross training days but I might start doing that now.
NTC Ab Burner: I was hungry and thirsty enough that I knew I couldn’t give strength training any decent effort so I opted to skip it this time and get home to get some breakfast.

Friday easy run
I really enjoyed this run. Waking up and getting out the door was hard but once I got started on the run I felt great. (Not counting the time I accidentally swiped a spider web taking the whole thing with me for a few steps.) My pace was exactly where I wanted it to be and most importantly that pace felt easy.

Saturday long run
This went way better than I expected. I guess I set the bar fairly low when it comes to long runs. I felt strong throughout. The pace felt unexpectedly easy. I did make a rookie mistake when it came to my Garmin. I meant to charge it Friday night and totally forgot. So, around mile nine I got a low battery alert. I then spent the next mile scrambling to figure out what I was going to do. I ended up saving the run that I had so far on the Garmin and then switching to run keeper so that I could still have the watch face of the Garmin to figure out when I needed to turn around as well as when I needed to start and stop the five-minute moderately hard intervals at the end. That worked out fairly well. Those intervals though, were tough but I love them. I had no idea that I was going to get close to 18 miles!

Sunday rest
My calves definitely felt the longer distance so I rocked the calf sleeves and enjoyed the off day.

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Chicago Marathon Week 6 Training Recap

Back over 40 miles again! I loved all my training runs and am looking forward to finally getting to run on the Swamp Rabbit Trail next Saturday. (Oh, and not having to get up before 5 on a Saturday morning.)

Monday easy run
This run went surprisingly well. At first I felt a bit sluggish but I warmed up quickly and felt strong throughout.

Tuesday tempo run
It took a while to get into this run mentally. After that the run went by fairly quickly. My stride felt good but I was counting down the minutes until the tempo portion was finished.

Wednesday recovery run
It took me a very long time to warm up on this run. My legs felt the work of the past few days but not more so than usual. I was more tired than normal this morning so that definitely played a factor. What those two things combined for was perfect negative splits.

Thursday stationary bike + NTC Ab Burner
stationary bike: This was another good ride that went by quickly.
NTC Ab Burner: Even though I really dislike strength training, it’s pretty cool to see improvements. I can definitely tell that I’m stronger than when I started doing this routine a few weeks ago. I pushed as hard as I could and could definitely feel it on the last round. (There are three rounds in the NTC workout we do.)

Friday interval run
When I started this run I seriously wondered if I would be able to complete the intervals as prescribed. Thankfully the warm up served its purpose. I almost lost track of how many intervals I had completed but other than that I felt good throughout. These intervals were tough but not too much so.

Saturday long run
I was not expecting to have this good of a long run. I felt good throughout the entire run. My splits with a couple exceptions were almost exactly the same the entire time. Mile seven was a little slower than I wanted but that’s because it was like a restart. I ran 30 minutes out and back, dropped off my headlamp, and met mom to run with her for the rest of the time. At the end of the run I picked up my pace just a little because I wanted to get to 14.5. Mom said that my stride looked exactly the same, but it didn’t look like I was putting any effort into picking up my speed. That’s encouraging.

Sunday rest
This was much enjoyed.

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Chicago Marathon Week 5 Training Recap

This marathon thing is starting to get real. While I still wish that I had just a bit more mileage, the long run is starting to increase and I love it!

Monday easy/recovery run
My legs were very tired going into this, as I expected post 10k. However, after a little while I warmed up a bit so it wasn’t a total slug-fest. I actually enjoyed it. It was definitely my slowest run in a while.

Tuesday tempo run
I definitely felt the fatigue at the start of this run and wondered if I would be able to make it through the tempo portion. Thankfully the warm up portion did its job. The tempo was tough but doable. I felt strong throughout.

Wednesday recovery run
It was tough to get started but after a few minutes I got into a good rhythm and finished strong.

Thursday stationary bike + NTC Ab Burner
stationary bike: Like most of my rides, this one was pretty average. It went by quickly. I felt good. Nothing extraordinary.
NTC Ab Burner: I can definitely see improvement. I felt so good on the first round that I pushed really hard, almost too hard it turns out. I paid the price on rounds two and three. I feel stronger though and almost ready to move up to the next level on ab workouts.

Friday interval run
This run would have been a lot easier if I had had access to the track at my local high school. Unfortunately, since the track was resurfaced last year they keep it locked up at all times. That meant that my intervals were on varying terrain, including hills, not exactly ideal but I worked with what I had. This run contained a total of 9 intervals: 3 each of 800m, 400m, and 200m in that order. The goal was to run these as fast as possible with each set of shorter intervals generally faster than the last. My splits were all over the place, not quite what I was shooting for but not too bad. In order: 3:50, 3:42, 3:29, 1.49, 1:41, 1:46, 0:48, 0.52, 0.52. All in all a successful interval run.

Saturday long run
My legs did not want to cooperate at the start of this run which is to be expected because of both Friday’s tough interval run and the fact that it was dark out. After the first half hour or so I got into a good rhythm and started to enjoy the run, especially as the sun came up. The faster intervals at the end were slightly challenging but so much fun!

Sunday rest
I always love rest days.

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Chicago Marathon Week 4 Training Recap

So, it turns out that when you’re not training for short speed, it’s a bit more difficult to achieve a 10k PR. Newsflash for everyone I’m sure. :) I still enjoyed the race and am very please with the past week of training. I’m ready for longer, though not that much slower, distances.

Monday easy run
It took a little while to warm up mentally. Physically, I felt pretty good. After a mile or so I was able to settle into the run and knock out the hill intervals with ease.

Tuesday tempo intervals
The first tempo interval was more difficult than I expected but after that I felt warned up and the rest of the tempo intervals went well. I felt strong.

Wednesday recovery run
My legs felt a bit tired at the start as to be expected with a recovery run. My form felt great though. I really enjoyed this run.

Thursday easy run with some short intervals at end
I expected my legs to protest a little at the fourth day in a row of running (like they have in the past the few times I’ve done it) but they loved it! I can’t remember the last time I felt that strong. It was awesome…apart from nearly running into the biggest spider web I’ve ever seen.

Friday stationary bike at gym
It was nice be able to do the ride on Friday like I used to always do. The ride itself, like usual, felt good and passed quickly.

Saturday Julie Valentine Run2Overcome 10k
Not quite what I had hoped for but a good performance for the day anyway.

Sunday rest
Well appreciated

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Julie Valentine Run2Overcome 10k

Race #96
10k #5
Julie Valentine Run2Overcome 10k #2

This has become one of my new favorite races. The weather’s not ideal. The course is crazy hilly. That doesn’t matter though. From top to bottom this is a hidden gem that I wish more people knew about.

The goal for this race was an average pace of 7:28. I also hoped for a win or at least a podium since I came in as 5th woman last year not even racing it. (I ran it just a week after a half marathon PR in San Francisco.) Silly me forgot all about the crazy hills, except for the last torturous one just past mile 4.

After we arrived and walked over to the bathrooms by the zoo, I saw local runner Ashley Liew. I turned to Mom and told her that he would definitely win overall. I was right. :)

We picked up our bibs and shirts and walked them back to the car with just enough time for a 15 minute warm up (for me).

I felt great through the warm up although I was a bit concerned that I did not see where the start would be. The course changed just slightly from last year pushing the start line of the 10k close to the start of the 5k.

I finished the warm up with about 4 minutes before the start but did not see Mom. I didn’t want her to miss the start so I texted her and gave her directions. She arrived in just enough time to turn around while still jogging and join the rest of the racers. Phew!

I was so distracted that I totally forgot to put my vivoactive on the activity screen and start my music so I spent the first 100 meters or so fixing both of those problems. Less than auspicious start.

I started right at the front with one other woman. Her pace seemed a touch faster than I wanted to run so I had to calm myself down to keep from going out too fast. I felt good and ready to race. For some reason this first mile was 10 seconds below goal pace, a bit disappointing because it was the easiest mile of the race.

Mile 1 7:39

During the next mile I ended up passing the girl I started with and being passed by two other women. These were the only other lead changes in the race. As soon as the second woman passed me I determined that I was not going to be passed by “orange shorts girl.” I wanted that podium finish. In hindsight this was the best motivation possible because she stayed pretty much on my heels for the rest of the race.

The hills started in the second mile. Honestly, I don’t remember much about this mile except for a thought of “why on earth am I doing this to myself again?”

Mile 2 7:47

Near Greenville Tech we make a turn that includes a significant downhill. As I tried to remember the course from last year I hoped that the changed course meant that we got to run down this hill, not up. Then I remembered, nope. We’d be heading right back up at the end of the race.

The hills on campus are no joke either. I hate them. Well, I actually had a love/hate relationship with hills in the race. I observed the “orange shorts girl” did not run hills well. The gap between us grew on the uphills and shrank on the downhills and on some of the flats. I hated the hills but towards the second half of the race I almost loved them because that meant putting more distance between us closer to the end of the race. My least favorite hill (tied for least favorite) was the hill that led from campus back to the road.

This was the worst mile for me not only because of the hills but also because my stomach was not happy. I’ve never had that feeling in a race before. I kept hoping that a burp would take care of it so I wouldn’t have to step to the side and hurl. At that point I made my peace with whatever happened. If she passed me, she passed me. She wasn’t in my age group so I would still get the age group win.

Mile 3 8:04

During this mile I started to feel better, thankfully. There were still plenty of hills but nothing significant, just enough to keep my pace slower than I wanted. Plus, I knew that the killer hill was still to come and I wanted to have something left in the tank. I didn’t know if I would though. Also, I don’t think I’ve looked over my shoulder more than I did in this race. (Probably not a good thing. :D)

Mile 4 7:57

Leading into the last hill there was a nice descent and flat which helped me gain some momentum. It was at this point that a volunteer told us “The hard part’s behind you!” I actually said out loud, “Have you seen the hill over there?” (or something like that.)

That hill was not pretty. I kept trudging though and waved off the water at the water stop at the top of the hill. Well, I thought I waved off the volunteer. He kept standing there until I said “No thanks.”

I thought we turned right at this intersection but no one said anything. I’d heard the course had changed so I kept going. Then I heard a friend of mine who was working the water stop call out my name and tell me to turn. I’m very thankful for that. I’m a little ticked at the volunteer who was standing at that corner with some cups of water who said or indicated absolutely nothing. I don’t think there was even an expression on his face.

Thankfully the course goes downhill and levels out from there.

Mile 5 8:12

I felt strongest the final mile and tried to get back as close to goal pace as I could. I hoped I wasn’t picking the pace up too soon though. I didn’t want to get passed with the finish line in sight.

Without looking I figured that “orange shorts girl” was probably laying on a finishing kick of her own – I have no idea if she did or not – so I had to put on one of my own. I think I started a tad too soon but I was able to hold on.

Mile 6 7:55 (not as fast as it felt)

Then came finishing and stopping the Garmin. Since the vivoactive is still new to me there’s still kinks to work out. One of those is notifications. Today I learned that if a notification comes right when you want to stop the time, the button will not work. You have to dismiss the notification first. Whoops.

I thought I would have to wait a while for the official times but they have already been posted. Officially: 48:20 not a PR by a long shot but good enough for third overall female and first in my age group.

Less than 6 minutes later Mom came in looking strong!
Run2Overcome 10k 2015

She finished in 52:44, 2nd in her age group! There were a lot of fast ladies out today.

While we were waiting for awards I figured out that I hate 10ks. They require both speed and endurance. I seem to be good with one or the other. Accomplishing both is crazy challenging. Of course, I’m a bit crazy so that means that I will be running every 10k I can find until I conquer the challenge.

We stuck around for awards and I am so glad that we did. The awards were painted by the child clients of the Julie Valentine Center. Well I should say hand and foot printed. So adorable!
Run2Overcome 10k 2015

Everyone at the Julie Valentine Center did a fabulous job with this race and do much needed work throughout the year. It’s a cause I definitely wholeheartedly support and am just a bit disappointed that I missed out on the first 5 years of this race. I don’t plan to miss again. If you aren’t familiar with the organization and the work they do I strongly urge you to look them up and support them in any way you can.

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Chicago Marathon Week 3 Training Recap

Sunday would have been the 5th year in a row that I had run one of the San Francisco Marathon races. It just didn’t make sense in my training or work schedule and certainly not in my bank account. I watched all the social media tweets and etc about the race and really wanted to be there. If only San Francisco was a little bit closer to the east coast. :)

Despite that, I had a great week of training and can’t wait to run the Julie Valentine Run2Overcome 10k on August 1st. After finishing the RWBS 5k three weeks ago and still not making my goal I was ready for a change in training. Once marathon training started I got pumped up again and that motivation has spread back to the 10k. I can’t wait to race.

Now to look at last week…

Monday easy run
This run felt awesome. I didn’t feel fatigued at all. My stride felt great. My feet loved the new shoes. Apart from a random GPS glitch that added .37 to my mileage (not included in this totals) and the weather of course, this was the perfect way to start the week.

Tuesday tempo run
This tempo was a bit faster than week 2 and correspondingly a little bit harder. I still felt really strong throughout and like I could keep going for a while.

Wednesday easy/recovery run
This run went really well. I felt a little bit tired at the beginning of the run as to be expected but after a mile or so I felt great. I think my pace might have been a touch fast but the effort definitely felt easy. I passed the “talk test” several times throughout the run.

Thursday stationary bike + NTC Ab Burner
stationary bike: My right hamstring has felt a little tight so I took it easier than the past few weeks. I’ll be stretching and foam rolling for sure. Other than that this was a good ride.
NTC Ab Burner: I definitely feel stronger doing this work out. It’s still hard but I love pushing myself and feeling the burn.

Friday interval run
I ran these intervals at a very slightly faster pace than last week. It definitely felt a little bit harder but still doable. I enjoyed the run.

Saturday long run
This run went really, really, really well. I wore my new OrangeMud vest and was surprised at how easy it was to use. I love having my hands free. I also loved the pocket on the shoulders. Those will make carrying fuel really easy. As to the run itself, I felt just a little bit sluggish at the start which is to be expected. Throughout the run I felt strong and my pace reflected that. Once again, long-run success.

Sunday rest

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Chicago Marathon Week 2 Training Recap

This was a solid week overall which left me wanting more. I can’t wait to get into the higher mileage, hard workouts portion of the training cycle.

Monday recovery/easy run
Aside from a slowish warm up first mile, I felt pretty good throughout this entire run. Of course, the humidity was abysmal as normal.

Tuesday tempo run
This run felt amazing. The tempo portion did not feel tough at all though. My stride felt great. I could have kept going for a while.

Wednesday recovery run
A little bit of the run may have been a touch too fast for a recovery run but since none of it felt hard at all I’m totally okay with it. Judging from this, Tuesday’s tempo definitely wasn’t hard enough.

Thursday stationary bike + NTC Ab Burner
stationary bike: I frequently feel a bit like a broken record when it comes to these rides. Once again, I felt good and the ride went by fairly quickly.
NTC Ab Burner: I can definitely tell that I’m getting stronger. This workout is still on the tough side but I think I might be able to “graduate” to a harder one soon.

Friday interval run
These intervals were tough but doable. I think I could have run these intervals a bit harder. It took a little while to warm up but that’s what the warmup is for. By the end I felt strong and pretty good.

Saturday long run
Despite the 74 degrees and 88% humidity, this run went exactly according to plan. I felt strong through the first easy 70 minutes and loved the faster 20 minutes at the end. I wondered before I started the run if I would be able to maintain that pace for the full 20 minutes. It ended up that the prescribed pace felt almost easy to maintain. I had to reign in my pace at a couple points. I’d call that long run success.

Sunday rest

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