Catching Up: Marathon Training Update Week 4

I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since the Chicago Half Marathon. Time really has gone by quickly and I’m getting more and more anxious as I see my countdown calendar on my phone tick down.

17 days and counting! Can you believe it?

In 17 days, I will be able to consider myself a marathoner. Marathoner=badass. It’s official. No question about it. I may be ‘tiny’ and I may have midget feet, but I can definitely kick ass when it comes to running. And that’s just what I’ll do on October 9th.

These past few weeks have been a mixture of emotions. I feel like one day I’m super excited to run, the next day I’m just too tired to run, and somewhere amongst all of that, I find the time to get nervous about race day!

I’m not really nervous about waking up that morning, getting to my corral on time, or even that my Garmin will poop out on me that day. I get nervous when I think about timing. So let’s break this down.

  • Yes, this will be my first marathon.
  • No, I don’t have anything to prove.
  • Yes, I should have as much fun as I possibly can.
  • No, you should not be upset if you don’t run a BQ on your first marathon.
  • Yes, you should be smart.
  • No, you should not let other runners get into your head.
  • Yes, I should tie my shoelaces super tight.
  • No, I should not be mad at myself for taking a pit stop. It’s a marathon damn it.

Yes No Yes No Yes No…YES? Lately it’s just been a mental battle. Let’s just say the taper madness has begun–I think I realized that just now. Ok, moving on. Because you can’t dwell on how few miles you’ve run this week. You’ve gotta recognize how many miles you ran last week and how much of a badass you are.

After another PR at the Chicago Half, I was pretty much on Cloud 9. My body was tired after 18 miles total that day, but I think I realized how much my body has changed in the past 8 months and what I’m truly capable of if I set my mind to it.

(Btw, if you haven’t check out this article on deception and it’s role in a long distance athlete’s ability to push harder than ever, do it now. It will give you something to think about.)

Yes. This is me. I did this. Look how far my legs can carry me in one week!

That’s pretty cool. I took an appropriate amount of rest after my half on Sunday and slowly eased back into a heavy training week (and apparently ‘peak week’ of my training cycle). Tuesday called for a short oil change, which made me feel a lot better.

On Wednesday, I had 10 x 800s on the schedule. I was originally going to run this workout before work but I’m good at hitting the ‘snooze’ button multiple times. Instead of shortening the distance or the reps, I decided I’d pack my gear and>>Home. The Urban Commute.” href=””> run straight home from work. (If you’ve never done it and it’s feasible…you definitely should). I ran from the office to the lake during my warm-up and started my 800 m repeats in the cool air. It was just cool enough to wear shorts and a long-sleeve running top. I felt super heavy when I started but eventually the ‘kick’ returned and I was able to power through. All of my splits were under 3:40 and the last two splits were the fastest. I feel like 10 x 800s was less strenuous than the 8 x 800s I did last month—again, Jenny, this is a good thing! And we must dwell on the GOOD for the next 17 days!

2.5 warm-up, 10 x 800 m repeats under 3:40 with 3:30 active recovery, 2 mile cooldown.

Splits: 3:38, 3:39, 3:38, 3:37, 3:36, 3:35, 3:35, 3:35, 3:34, 3:31


I also realized at this point that I had yet to purchase my marathon pair of Kinvaras! I’ve gone through three different pairs (in three different colors) and wanted to make sure I picked the most badass color out there for the big 26.2. I’m NOT a pink kind o’ gal, but I decided to get the HOT PINK ONES!

They arrived in the mail yesterday. Aren’t they pretty?

The end of my week got a bit hectic and I didn’t have time to dedicate to a good run so I pushed it ’til Saturday. (My mom got back from a solo week-long trip to Helsinki and I had some time to spend with her and my grandma on Friday. I love how spontaneous she is! Maybe that’s where I get it from…). On Saturday, Chanthana, Sara, and I had planned a fun brunch at Yolk to celebrate the beginning of our taper for the Chicago Marathon. It was a nice day and I was running late anyway so I decided to run to brunch! Again, commuting my running is so much fun. PLUS, I probably got their faster on foot than I would have by public transportation. FACT!

About half of the group had just completed their last super long run of the season and were starving for some yummy breakfast food. Others (ahem…me) were “carbo-loading” for their own long runs the following morning. I ordered the banana nut french toast with syrup and peanut butter. It was DELICIOUS! And then…I ran home. And no, my stomach didn’t hurt one bit! I must have some type of iron stomach because I typically don’t have those kinds of issues. Please, stomach, let this be the case on October 9th, 2011 between the approximate times of 7:30 and 11:00 am!

On Sunday, I woke up, fueled with some oatmeal, Gu Chomps, half a cup of coffee, and some Gu Brew (weird mixture, I know). And then, I ran 22.2 miles. I did it!

It was overcast and windy and slightly misty but it was a great day for a run. My legs were pretty dead tired at the end and I tried to push for a stronger pace during the last two miles but my legs were kinda zapped. To be expected after a steady 20 miles, I’d say. It’s not even 4 days later and I still can’t believe that I ran 22.2 miles and feel like a rockstar already. That’s pretty neat.

Taper, welcome to my life.You are my friend. I like you. You allow me to dedicate some more time to yoga, stretching, foam rolling, and falling asleep on the couch at an hour much earlier than any normal adult would allow.

I am going to hot yoga tonight and I might squeeze in a few miles afterward. Not sure what’s on my plan for this weekend yet, but mentally? …Anything less than 20 is going to feel like a breeze. 🙂

PSA Alert!!!!!

If you haven’t heard about the new ‘world record’ versus ‘world best’ women’s marathon regulations, check out this article. It will make you mad. Especially if you’re a woman. And a runner.


Chicago Half Marathon Race Recap…Kinda

If you’ve been following my marathon training on Twitter, then this post may not be as interesting as you’d been hoping. 🙂 I usually like to spend some time thinking about a race before committing it to memory by recapping it here on the blog, but I don’t feel the need to do that this time around. Sometimes when there are no words to assign to a race experience. Sure, most of the time there are MANY words that come to mind when thinking about running long distance (most of these words go something like: ouch, painful, the “wheels came off”, I went out too fast etc.). I have 27 days left until the Chicago Marathon and I don’t even know what I’m thinking or how I’m feeling besides this:

“What am I going to do once all the training is done with and I race my first marathon?”

Let’s be honest. This is probably normal. I have a ridiculous fear that I will become depressed and slothful after October 9th. I may need to scrape myself off of the couch and work up the motivation to get out of the house (or onto my new rooftop deck). And you know what? It may just happen. But hopefully not for long. I figure I should be able to sleep, eat, drink, and relax all I want after dedicating EIGHT months to marathon training this year.

After 8 months of running at least 3-4 days a week, my reward will be a kickass first marathon.

A wonderful, supportive friend was there to see me and another friend, Dustin, complete the half on Sunday. 🙂

This past weekend was a tiny peak at what that day could be like. I ran the Chicago Half Marathon yesterday and surprised myself…again. In fact, I think I have surprised a lot of people in the past few months. But, let me tell you, no one is as surprised as I am right now. Yesterday’s plan was to work the half marathon into a ‘training run’. I would run 3 miles before even starting the race, run a very smart race pace-wise, and run 2-3 miles cooldown afterward. And, just as it has been for the past couple of months, I can honestly say “mission accomplished”.

A total of 18.2 miles yesterday, with 13.1 badass racing miles. I’m all SMILES about yesterday’s race and what I’ve been able to accomplish in 8 months. This week will be another tough training week for me, with my last long run ( 3 1/2 hours) to run on Sunday. I’m really really ready to rest up and to taper. And I know once I do taper, those Taper Tantrums will come to get me. But taking it easy sounds pretty perfect right about now. Alas, I have just a few more short weeks until that big START LINE  flashes before me on October 9th. Until then, I’m going to keep my head down, put those miles in, see the hard work pay off even more, and sleep as much as I possibly can.

FINALLY!  A “flying feet” racing photo 🙂

Pretty darn happy 🙂


Marathon Training Update: Week 6

I’m playing catch-up…again! As I mentioned in my last post, I had a lot going on in the past week and a half.

  1. Packing up my entire apartment in preparation to move to Wicker Park on Friday 🙂 All smiles!
  2. Selling some furniture and acquiring some new stuff for the new place, as well — Craigslist, you are wonderful!
  3. Going to North Coast Music Fest to celebrate summer’s last stand here in Chicago
  4. Unpacking and settling into the new place
  5. Eating…drinking…sleeping!
  6. Oh yeah, and RUNNING!

It was a long week and after only being at the new apartment for 4 full days, I am beginning to feel comfortable. New place= fresh slate and the onset of Jenny’s decorating frenzy. Yes, it has begun!

So in the middle of all of that, I managed to get my runs in last week. This week was probably the most difficult week I’ve had in awhile. I put in some serious mileage and felt like an insomniac at times, but I think that’s pretty typical for anyone trying to hold down a full time job, moving, and running all at the same time. I give myself props for this (although, Iwasn’t in the mindset to give myself props for it last week.)

I ran approximately 39 miles last week. It’s a record for me. (Even though I ran my long run on Monday–Labor Day–I’m going to pretend it happened on Sunday because DUH it felt like a Sunday!) I finally hit the 700 mile mark since I began my training at the beginning of February. Kind of an insane number when you think about it! And I’m only just beginning.

Monday, August 29th: Shakeout

3 miles/ 27:33

After running my first 20 miler the Saturday beforehand, I knew a shakeout would do me good. Despite the apartment looking like a mess and knowing that I needed to get those boxes filled of all my belongings, I went out for a short jog. Nice and easy.

Tuesday, August 30th: 1200 Meter Repeats

8.84 miles/ 1:16:05

Repeats can be daunting sometimes. Speedwork is always tough, especially on a Tuesday when you feel like you still haven’t jumped into your week full throttle yet. I decided to get a full night’s sleep on Monday and slept in on Tuesday, which pushed my run to Tuesday evening. I had a really difficult day at work–my motivation to work hard was totally zapped due to some commission technicalities and I felt helpless and useless. In the afternoon, when I was feeling pretty low, I knew that I was run the s*** out of these repeats. Yup, I always run fast when I’m mad. But when I got home, my energy was completely gone and I had to struggle to get myself out the door. I pushed through these repeats, but didn’t feel particularly speedy. That’s for another day.

2 mile warm up
1200 m repeats: 5:34, 5:29, 5:29, 5:25, 5:28, 5:24
1 mile cool down

Thursday, September 1st: “Threshold”

10.21 miles/1:25

At this point, the apartment was TRULY a mess, with moving day coming up on Friday. Boxes were in the hallway, furniture was askew in the living room, the kitchen was mostly packed up, and I couldn’t wait to get OUT. I managed to get up before work to run, knowing that I wouldn’t have the time or motivation that evening. So, the goal for this run was to find a groove as close to 8:00 min/mile and stick to it like glue (thanks, Coach).

I lost it at Mile 7. Mojo=gone.

Double digit runs during the week, especially before work, are not the norm for me, but according to Coach I better get used to it. After all, I only have a few more weeks to run run run before the Chicago Marathon.

Monday, September 5th: 17 mi LSD

17.01 miles/2:24/8:25 average pace

This run ‘almost’ happened on Saturday. And then it ALMOST happened again on Sunday. But didn’t. My legs were zapped after standing for 6+ hours at North Coast Fest on both Saturday and Sunday and I knew I didn’t want to just struggle through it. Afterall, Coach let me run this one fast!!! (and totally abandon the 1 minute + goal pace for long runs–what a rebel!). It was my first run from my first apartment and I enjoyed taking in the new sights and coming to the realization that I was starting fresh and that my new view of the city was just as beautiful as I imagined. At mile 4, near the Oak Street Beach “S-curve”, the waves were crashing into the break wall on the trail. Some runners nearby and I had a laugh together as we sped up to avoid letting the cold waves catch our feet. All the way south along the lake, the waves were my entertainment. Just south of McCormick Place, the waves were crashing and spewing 25-30 feet in the air. I really wish I had brought my phone with me so I could share with you what this looked like on my run. The air was so fresh and crisp–fall is definitely in the Chicago air! After a not so graceful fall at mile 16 near some sidewalk construction, I finished 17 miles at a consistent 8:25 pace and went on with my day. Like nothing happened. Oh, but it did!

After that, I had friends over and we took in my new view of the Chicago skyline. All the hard work is paying off, in more ways than one. Running this past week didn’t take a backseat. It was hard, but it also kept me level headed and prevented me from becoming frustrated with packing my life into cardboard boxes one at a time. 39 miles and a 17 mile training PR. I’ll take it!

My new view. I don’t think it will ever get old.

I’m running the Chicago Half Marathon this weekend. My plan until then is to get in two solid training runs, settle into my new apartment even more, rest, hydrate, and cook some delicious meals in my new kitchen. 🙂 Have a good week, everyone!