Boston Marathon 2014: Race Recap

No one likes to write a race report about a race that didn’t go well. I questioned putting these thoughts out there, but I know that I’ll be glad I did eventually. It will be good to look back on it in the future–hopefully when a race goes “right”.

On Tuesday and Wednesday last week, I didn’t really feel like reliving each mile of 26.2. And then I thought, “well, this year should be much easier to write than last year.” (biggest understatement ever made by anyone ever.) It’s clear that this recap may be easier to write for different reasons.

Like many, I found 4.15.2014 to be an emotional day. To be honest, I didn’t even fully realize it was 4.15 until that Tuesday  morning. I was so focused on being days out from reaching that start and finish line again that it hit me like a ton of bricks. I know I wasn’t alone (just like I wasn’t alone on 4.15.2013). Last year, I ran Boston in a 3+ minute PR of 3:14:37. It was a great day and then, suddenly, it was a terrible day. I surprised myself then. With practically zero hill training and a very short training cycle (just 14 weeks), I ran strong and hit almost every pace I planned in my race strategy. It was a day to remember. Yet a day I wanted to forget for so many days, weeks, months afterward.

This year, I wanted to repeat the race experience at Boston 2013 and enjoy being part of the kickass running community that clearly can’t be stopped.

I didn’t run the race I’m capable of on Monday. I ran 3:21:16, over 11 minutes off of my ‘B’ goal. I know I should be proud of this time. If you had told me 2 or 3 years ago that I would run this at Boston, I would be *over the moon*. I wouldn’t think of this as a failure or a disappointment. It’s perfectly ironic to me that my 2013 Boston experience was wonderful in terms of the race and so devastating in terms of its events — and that my 2014 Boston experience was absolutely wonderful in terms of the people I shared it with and disappointing in terms of my race.

But then, you think about last year. Facing each day was much harder the few days after last year’s Boston Marathon. I don’t want Boston 2014 to be about coming short of my goal. And I definitely don’t want to take the experience for granted. A few days ago, I gradually started to find a sense of humor about the whole experience. For example, how ridiculous is it that so many Midwestern runners (and elsewhere!) trained through one of the WORST winters in history and then ran 26.2 in 60+ degrees. (Luck of the draw with most spring marathons) Blaming the heat feels like an excuse for failing, but there were factors that I could control and others that I could not. That’s the way the marathon goes.

Even though miles 16-26.2 felt more like a slow march, I want to recap the miles of Boston 2014:

My goal was 7:10-7:15/mile or 3:08-3:10 for 26.2.

The last 8-9 weeks of my cycle went really, really well and I felt confident in this goal time. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I felt ready.

I woke up on Marathon Monday rested and calm. I slept surprisingly well and got up right away when my alarm sounded at 4:30 AM. Chanthana and I seemed to have a similar morning—we felt like we had plenty of time to get ready and we weren’t rushing around. We even had a few quiet moments to sit and have breakfast together. We left the hotel with Lauren with enough time to meet Corey and Molly near the buses at Boston Common. We all climbed on a bus together and chatted the entire ride. (I remember the bus ride being much longer last year–probably because I was super nervous then.)

2014-04-21 06.31.36-1Lauren, Corey, Molly, CT, and I about to check our bags and board the buses to Hopkinton 

Aren’t we super attractive, ladiezzzz?!

Quick shout-out to that $5 Walgreens blanket! I didn’t realize it was a Christmas tree until I opened it up on Sunday night! Almost didn’t want to ditch it in the Village. 🙂 Also, as I was leaving the hotel on Monday morning, I showed Manny my awesome hobo outfit and he immediately said, “you’re so lucky I love you.” I mean, how could you not with that kind of outfit?!

After spending the morning in Athlete Village laying down, chatting with friends, and waiting in the bathroom line (75% of my time was spent  there, I swear), I was in a bit of a rush to get to my corral. Never fails. You wait and wait and wait and then you’re suddenly in a rush to apply BodyGlide, count your Gus, double-check your watch is working, & get to corral before the start. I nervously walked up to my corral, walking a bit and jogging a bit when space allowed. By the time I got there, I had 5 minutes before the start of Wave 2. I saw Leticia and Michele (didn’t know they’d be at the start!) and told them I was nervous and a bit worried about the temp. With two minutes before the start, I heard the announcer say ‘alright runners, it’s 58 degrees right now. how about we hold it right there?’. And I thought, hell yeah man it’s already warm! I had throwaway arm-warmers on (because you come prepared for cold weather when you train in -10 to 40 degree temps!) and immediately threw them to the side. I most definitely wouldn’t need them.

2014-04-21 10.17.24

Miles 1-5:

My goal for these miles was just to let the downhill do the work. I wanted to stay relaxed and find a flow, without putting the ‘breaks’ on (that would just kill the quads even more). My pace for these miles should have been 6:55-7:05 per mile. I didn’t feel like I was getting caught up in the excitement of the race. I felt really smooth and focused on keeping my heart rate low.
Miles 1-5

Looking back on it, I probably could have cooled it down a tad. Running 6:50 compared to 7:05 doesn’t seem like a big difference but I know better.

Miles 6-14:

The course here is gently rolling with no major hills. It’s a good time to settle into goal pace range and just focus on fueling properly. The goal here was 7:107:15, to stay consistent. Even thought there are no major hills, it’s still a challenge –something I remember being surprised by last year.

Miles 6-14

This section felt pretty good. The rolling hills felt like the hills I had trained on at Morton Arborteum. My legs had more pep on the hills this year than they did last (which, again, makes sense because I did zero hill training in 2013). Miles 6 and 7 felt just as strong as Miles 1-5. Right after the Mile 7 marker, I felt like I need to make a pit stop and got lucky when I found an empty one. False alarm (insert profanity here). TMI: I thought I needed to go #2. Didn’t happen, but I did pee. And I only managed a few drops. I knew this was bad. At this point in the race, I should be plenty hydrated. When you realize that you may be flirting with dehydration at Mile 8 of a marathon, it’s a really bad sign. I tried not to think too much about it and kept running. I took water at every other water stop in the first 13 miles. Once I reached Mile 14, I knew I need to be taking in much more than that. I also started to pour water over my head and my back by mile 8. (And another bad sign– it felt so cold on my skin that it took my breath away for a second). I took a Gu about every 5 miles and washed it down with water.

Right after Mile 14, Jess and I exchanged a few words. She looked so strong and I have to say, I was 177% jealous of the water bottle she chose to carry during the race. She asked me how I felt and I said “I’m hot.” It was nice to see a familiar face when it all started to go downhill (errrr…uphill) (and she most definitely had some words of wisdom to share with me at gear check after the race). Thanks Jess!

Boston2014-6My face says it all: “Damn, it’s getting hot.”

The first time I looked at my splits after I finished (this wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon–didn’t have the nerve yet), I was actually shocked to look at these miles–the splits weren’t as bad as they were in my head! Miles 13-14 felt pretty tough, miles 8 and 11 were slow due to bathroom/water stops, but the remaining miles were pretty much in goal range. Still, the fact that they’re a bit erratic (even with the rolling course) isn’t a good sign.

Miles 15-21:

The hills. Yeah, this is where it gets real.

Miles 15-21

Mile 15 not good.

Mile 16 “Mayyyyyyybe I can get back into it.”

Mile 17. Nope.

Mile 18 Yeah, this isn’t going well.

By mile 18, I was playing mental games with myself. I spent so much mental energy just calculating and recalculating my projected finishing time. Each time I passed a mile marker, I weighed whether or not I could hold a pace closer to 7:00 and what the finish time would be. And then I gradually resigned to “ok, what if I just hold 8 min/mile? I mean, that’s 30 sec slower than your long run pace, Jenny!”. It wasn’t pretty and I stopped to walk at least 10 times. I’ve never walked in a marathon before (except to drink water or recover from choking on my water, heh…). My legs felt like lead and I was ashamed to even look ahead or to the side at the thousands of spectators lining the course. If there’s ever a time that I wished there were zero spectators at a race, it was then. [Spectators–you are amazing and in hindsight I’m happy you were there! I mean, I probably would have just sat on the curb if you hadn’t been screaming your f***ing heads off!]

2014-04-21 13.29.28Hyedi snapped this pic near Mile 19. I told her I was shocked she saw me when I wasn’t walking! Heh.

Miles 22-26.2:

Miles 22-finish

Just trying to hold it together. After the hills in previous section, my legs didn’t even want to run downhill. I wanted to love those downhills, but my legs definitely didn’t. They were boycotting and I felt like there really wasn’t anything I could do about it. I walked in this section a few more times, yelled at myself (internally) a bit (ex: “you only have 2,3,4 miles to go– do you really need a walk break?”), and generally just felt sorry for myself. The goal for this section was to just hold it together and just get back into goal pace after the hills. This clearly didn’t happen. (I remember thinking that my slowest mile of Boston 2013 was 7:59 around mile 22-23. After seeing a few 8’s on my watch, this made me disappointed.)I had a bit of a mental boost seeing the huge Chicago crew (seemingly led by Lynton) and getting a side-5 from Jeff around Mile 22. Seeing some familiar faces kind of snapped me out of my own head for a second–that was MUCH appreciated!  Around Mile 25, Mary said hello as she passed and did her best to keep me going, but I just didn’t have anything left.

Making the right on Hereford and the left on Boylston was emotional. The crowds were unbelievably loud yet I felt like I couldn’t quite hear them. Manny, my mom, my sister, and some friends told me they would be cheering on Boylston (closer to Hereford than the finish). I remember looking to my left several times to try to spot them. And once I turned my attention on that beautiful finish line and put my hands over my heart, the tears started to flow.

I cried because I felt lucky to be back again after last year. I cried because I didn’t run the race I wanted to. I cried because of the crowd support (despite wishing them away when the going got tough). I cried because my legs hurt. And I cried because there’s only one place I was thinking about throughout this cycle–the Boston Marathon Finish Line. It’s so beautiful.

Not every marathon can be beautiful but that finish line surely was.


Marathon #4 was the toughest marathon I’ve ever run. It was also the most meaningful after a difficult 2013. I know that a 3:08-3:10 is in these legs of mine. It’s probably just a matter of time before that happens. And I can’t wait until it does.

The stats: 

My goal in the future is to never, ever, EVER run such a huge positive split in a marathon again. 🙂

Boston Marathon 2014 Jenny Poore Results

 Things I’ve Learned:

  • Don’t be a silly goose. Readjust your expectations up until the minute the race starts according to the weather.
  • Just when you think you’ve had enough water to drink, drink way more (this goes for the day of and especially the day before). I’m normally good at hydrating before a race (and maybe my body just didn’t have enough time to acclimate), but I think I should have had more water on Sunday. Rookie status.
  • Just because I didn’t run the race I wanted to, does not mean that I’m not strong. (And one bad race usually means a great one is just around the corner.)
  • When a race is going poorly, try to at least make the mental switch to just enjoy yourself. –> I clearly didn’t do this. It’s obviously much easier said than done, but I wish I would have just let go and had fun with the crowds.
  • I had so much more fun training for this year’s Boston than I did last year’s. It’s no coincidence that it’s because I spent the majority of every Saturday with Chanthana and Corey. Those two helped me through long runs in ice, snow, and wind—and they’re both ridiculously good at brunching. (#alltheBACON!)
  • Returning to Boston with *almost* the same crew as last year (we missed you so much Kris!) was very special. I recommend stalking these people: Kevin, Scott, Chanthana, Lauren (shout-out to Timayyyy! Because, duh, he’s gonna be running Boston *very very soon*).

2014-04-22 07.18.51We did it!


2014-04-23 20.10.14-1

End of one chapter and the beginning of another, am I right?

Onward and upward!


Boston 2014 Training: Week 15 of 16


Belated training update! Now that the taper tantrums have really set in, it’s only appropriate that I recap taper week #1, right?

The goal this week was: “DON’T BE A HERO SLASH STUPID-HEAD!” (it’s a theme lately)

I ran 35 miles, 5 runs 1 hour spin , 1 hour massage, and 1x (?) core.

Monday: 1 hour easy spin at the gym + core x 1 

I was happy to get on the bike today. It was a nice day if I remember correctly but I was looking forward to a dark spin room all to myself for some reason. And the ‘entertainment’ didn’t disappoint. My gym has a one-way mirror from the spin room looking to the weights section. And you can certainly tell who has and who has not been to a spin class just by how they react to the mirrors on the other side. I swear, one of these days I’m going to create a Tumblr of people checking themselves out in that thing. (It’s the weirdest thing when you think they’re actually looking through the mirror at you …staring at them…but they’re actually just staring at themselves. :))

Tuesday: [5 x 1k workout] 7.8 miles, 7:09 average

I had a tough time getting out of bed this morning for this workout before work. I’m actually glad that I waited because I went out at 2 pm to sunshine and clear skies. I couldn’t have asked for better running weather! I ran 2.5ish warm-up (the underpass that I usually take to the lakefront has been flooded for a few days so I took an alternate route), 5 x 1k with 400m recovery jog, and 1 mi down. I felt GOOD today. Although, I’m quite impressed with my consistent positive splits on this one haha — went out too fast on the first 3 (tailwind!) and the last two are right where all 5 should have been. (All of them should have been around 5k pace, so 6:15-6:20— they spanned 5:58-6:18. whooopsieeeees!) I am pretty sure the 800 speed was still in my legs from the previous week and they didn’t realize they were allowed to run a slower pace. 😉

Splits: 3:42, 3:47, 3:51, 3:52, 3:55 (see consistent positive splits! LOLZ)

Wednesday: Recovery 4.17 miles, 7:28 average

It was a morning! My legs felt GREAT today and I almost timed all of the stoplights perfectly. 4 miles seems so short. #taperproblems

Thursday: [3 x 2 mi at GMP] 8.7 miles, 7:06 average

The only bad thing about this run was the hairy buttcrack on the dude I saw passing me on a bike. Like, get it together, dude. (For those of you that asked if he was on a Divvy, I’m 78.789% sure he was.)

I was supposed to do 2 x 3 mi at GMP but I ran it a weeeeee bit too fast. 2 mi warm-up, then 2 x 3 mi with 5 min jog between. My legs were pretty heavy today. Par for the course during taper so I’m not overthinking this one at all. Beautiful night for a run along the lake (and in shorts!)

6:58, 6:59, 7:04
7:03, 6:56, 6:51

Friday: Recovery 4 miles, 7:36 average.

Quick one around the neighborhood. I didn’t really feel like running today but tomorrow is a rest day. (Something about taper makes these shorties feel pointless, but I know they aren’t.) Looking forward to some bodywork tomorrow morning!

2014-04-11 22.13.09-2

That night, Man and I treated ourselves to some fresh airrrrrrr and a few drinks with some friends. It was the most perfect spring evening–60 degrees and a slight breeze. Just comfortable enough in a light sweater sitting by the warm fire. Remind me to do this more often!

Saturday: REST + Sports Massage

Saturday was another perfect spring day. Although, I think 75 degrees is more like summer. You could tell everyone in the city of Chicago was loving life on Saturday. I woke up early (for a Saturday without a long run) and went to a massage appointment. It was just what I needed and I’m glad that I rescheduled it for the weekend — I originally had it scheduled for Tuesday 4/15, but thought that might be too close to race day. The rest of the day was spent walking around downtown, grabbing a drink with some friends, and lounging at home.

Sunday: 10 mile “long run”, 7:45 average

What a weird run! Man and I ran to the lakefront together. On the way there, we were sweating and commenting that it was the first really warm run of the season. He ran north and I ran south and after only a mile in, you could feel the weather start to change. A fog rolled in at Ohio Street beach and a really cool breeze came in off of the lake. Running south with a tailwind was smooth but running back north was FRIGID. I could barely see 100 yards ahead and all the runners appeared through the fog out of nowhere. It was 60 degrees when we started the run and only 41 degrees when we finished. I knew the temp was going to drop today, but had no idea it was going to drop that quickly—within an hour!

2014-04-13 12.39.40

Left: fog starting to roll in around mile 3. Right: lake is nonexistent and it’s freakin’ frigid!

2014-04-13 11.22.01

The entire skyline disappeared!

Last longish run before Boston! I felt strong today, even in the wind, and my legs are feeling pretty relaxed after yesterday’s massage. Followed by a Mad Men marathon and puppy cuddles on the couch 🙂


I felt a bit “blah” and “meh” about running this week. My legs were heavy at times and super peppy at others. Again, this is all part of taper so I know to take that with a grain of salt. Later in the week, I remember thinking that I better savor each sip of coffee or beer because I’m calling it quits on both for the final week before race day. Keepin’ the eye on the prize, guys!

I’m really not sure if I’ll post before Boston. I think it’s going to be hard to put into words no matter what and I’m looking forward to spending time with my running family. I’ve been feeling the love lately and despite a few sad days as we remember 4.15.2013, I think it’s safe to say that I’m looking forward to a weekend full of smiles, happiness, gratitude, and warmth.

If you’re interested in tracking my progress throughout the race, text my bib number (9615) to 345-678 to receive text updates!


Boston 2014 Training: Week 14 of 16

Week 14

Major WORK this week! Last week was a mileage peak, while this week was a training peak in terms of key workouts. I did an 8-mile steady state on Tuesday and a 10 x 800 speed workout on Thursday.

This week I ran 49 miles: 5 runs, light hip strength, core x 2. 

This is how this it went:

Monday: Full REST Day 

My left calf was bothering me after Saturday’s hilly 20-miler and I knew one more rest day (after spectating the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday) would do the trick. It did!

Tuesday: 10.84 miles, 7:02 average [8-mile steady state]

I went back & forth on the decision to run outside vs. the treadmill today a million times. It was super windy all morning and I really wasn’t feeling up to battling it for a steady state workout. (The workout can be hard enough without the wind factor.) Ultimately, though, I’m really happy I decided to suck it up and run outside. There was an annoying crosswind from the west, which is easier to contend with than a headwind/tailwind situation. I ran 2 miles warm-up to the lakefront, 8 mile steady state, and 5 min cooldown. (I originally planned a 10-mile steady state as a benchmark but I figured 8 was enough of a challenge with the wind.)

Splits: (Headwind) 7:02, 7:01, 6:54, 6:55, (Tailwind) 6:49, 6:54, 6:57, 6:50.

I’m happy with how this felt (thought I’d settle into 7:05-7:10 but just went with it). 6:50-7:00 felt strong!

Wednesday: Recovery 6 on TM, 8:08 average 

Easy on the treadmill in the morning. Legs still had some pep and left calf didn’t bother me. I did a shortened version of my hip strength routine – the full routine is probably too much with Thursday’s 800s on the schedule.

Thursday: 11 miles, 7:30 average [10 x 800 with 2:45-3:00 recovery at the track]


10 x 800 Yassos are always a sign that race day is near. I woke up to thunderstorms and wind howling outside and thought “maybeeeee I should do this workout on Friday instead”. I was super nervous. I usually get a bit nervous before tough workouts but usually that’s just good energy to use on the run. This time, though, I think my nervous energy could have made the workout go either way. I had a huge pit in my stomach just thinking about it. I’m so happy Corey was there with me — she did the same workout the week before and we chatted in the car on the way to the track. Luckily, the rain and wind held off (well..kind of) for the majority of the workout — the headwind picked up on the east straightaway for the last 3-4 800s.

After running 2 miles easy, switching into our flats, and procrastinating a bit (AKA doing a bajillion leg swings just for the heck of it), it was time to begin.

2 mi up
10 x 800: 3.00, 3:05, 2:56, 2:59, 2:59, 2:58, 2:59, 2:58, 2:57, 2:56

(with 2:45-3:00 rest)
1 mi down

I thought I was fit, but not THAT FIT! I honestly didn’t have much of a goal going into the workout, but I thought that consistent 3:05s would be great. Anything faster would just be a bonus. After I finished the third 800, I thought “well, let’s just go with it”. It turns out my own expectations were completely off (as usual)— I locked into that pace and there was no way I was going to slow down. When I finished the final repeat, I literally screamed and felt like pulling a Brandi Chastain…but it was 30 degrees, the wind picked up, and the rain started again 10 minutes after we hopped back into the car.


I know I can’t place too much of an emphasis on one workout (and I’m not sure I believe the whole “Yassos predict your marathon time” thing), but this made me feel so confident in my training and preparation for Boston. I came away from this thinking, “Ok, I am READY FOR YOU, BOSTON!”. A really great feeling heading into taper! The hard work is done now! 🙂

2014-04-03 15.42.05

Thanks, Corey, for snapping some pics! 

Friday: Recovery 6 on TM, 8:10 average

My legs were tired on Friday but surprisingly peppy for this recovery run. They weren’t sore at all from the track workout and the recovery felt really good. Happy to get some easy miles in before a total rest day on Saturday.

Saturday: Full REST Day 

Sunday:  15.5 easy miles, 7:32 average

I woke up early (for me, at least — winter cycles typically mean a 9 or 10 am start time) to meet up with Efo on the lakefront. I’ve followed Efo’s blog for about a year and a half now and she just happened to be in town visiting a friend. I’m so happy she asked me to run with her! We met on the lakefront so we both got a few miles in before running ~9 miles together. I felt somewhat creaky in the first few miles but the 9 miles with her went by so quickly (chatterboxes!) and I ran a few GMP miles after leaving her at her hotel.

2014-04-06 09.51.36The next time we see each other will be in Boston! 

It was so nice out there today! It apparently ‘felt like’ 29 degrees when we started but the sun made it feel much warmer than that. I also didn’t realize the Chi Town Half was today and some of the front runners flew past us near North Ave.

Followed by, of course, BRUNCH with Corey, Chanthana, and Manny. (Because our lives revolve around running and bloody marys and bacon….duh.)


2014-04-06 14.30.29 [ I’m not sure what this means, but it made me mentally prepared to run fast. 🙂 ]

I am absolutely THRILLED with how this week felt. Nobody could wipe that goofy smile off my face after Thursday’s 800s. I was shocked and relieved and elated that I ran the fastest set of 800s I’ve ever run in my life, in less than perfect conditions. This cycle has been a bit of a mixed bag, considering I wasn’t 100% in January. The first 8 weeks of the cycle felt like a bit of a slog, while the last 5 weeks or so have felt strong and consistent. I haven’t been to physical therapy for my left hip or quad since the Tuesday after the NYC Half and I actually doubt I’ll be going before Boston. I feel strong again — like I did last year leading into Boston. It’s crazy to think how much has happened in a year, but I’m still surprised that I’m here again, just a few weeks out from an amazing experience.


– J

Boston 2014 Training: Week 13 of 16

 Week 13

52 miles and a couple of solid workouts (with minor hiccups) this week! And holy WUT, we are getting close to the single-digit countdown to Boston. The weather has been cooperating a bit more lately, but the wind won’t quit and that’s added a big challenge to some workouts. I’ll be happy once we have one of those perfect spring days when you feel like you could run forever. You know, when the sun is out in full force, you get the chance to show off those pasty legs, and not run against a WALL of wind. Crossing my fingers that this scenario happens soon (and if just so happens to be on race day, then I’ll be a happy girl).

This week, I ran 52 miles: 5 runs, 1 hour yoga, core routine x 3. 

[Whoops! Zero strength training? I blame Corey because she didn’t force me to go the gym with her 😉 I’ll be back at it this week, for sure.]

Monday: 6 miles, 7:42 average recovery miles + core 

Easy around the neighorhood. Glad I scheduled a recovery run today instead of a workout, legs felt heavier than I thought they would be (makes sense after 20 on Saturday and 5 on Sunday).

Tuesday: 11 miles, 7:02 average [8 mile progressive]

I debated between a progressive or a steady state run today. A steady state probably would have been more fun because the wind heading north was pretty brutal. I stopped to collect myself after mile 2 just to give myself a pep talk to run 2 more miles against it before turning south. (When you have to stop and give yourself a pep talk, you know it’s bad.) Wind gusts were over 20mph apparently, so at least it wasn’t all in my own head. My legs felt pretty peppy today but had trouble locking into the specific pace per mile – they either wanted to go slower or faster (typical for a progressive tempo).

Splits: (headwind) 7:13, 7:05, 7;02, 6:53 (tailwind) 6:45, 6:44, 6:41, 6:28. (2 up and 1 down)

Wednesday: 1 hour yoga cross-training

I found the sunny part of the studio. It felt so good to FLOW and start my day with yoga again.

Thursday: 9.23 miles, 7:24 average [4 x 1 mile repeats on the track]

Today was a tough day.

First speed workout on a track in ….. 7-8 years? Yeah, it’s been that long. Really don’t have a track nearby that’s convenient for weekly use so I jumped at the chance to go to North Park track with with Corey this morning. I woke up early to meet her before the wind picked up and the thunderstorms rolled in that afternoon. We didn’t quite escape the wind, though, which made each lap mentally difficult with a massive headwind down the straightaway. I just had a tough day mentally and I was stupid & silly about pacing. (Corey, on the other hand, rocked her 800 repeats and looked incredibly strong even in the wind! That girl is READY to race.)

You’d think it would be easier for me to gauge my pace on a track than it is on the lakefront path. Nope, not today. Without fail, I’d run the first 1-2 400s wayyyy too fast (like 400 m-800 m pace…) and suck wind for the last 2-3. The splits look impressive on paper, but when you factor in a 15 sec ‘mental stop’ after the first 400 of each repeat, it’s a little less impressive.

Splits: 6:08, 6:02 (what), 6:10, and 6:07. If you think about it, I basically split these up into 400 cruise intervals and 1200 m repeats. Blergh. I know I still put in the work but I’m disappointed that I just couldn’t get into the right pace zone today. Normally my mile repeats would be 6:20-25 — if I had just settled down a bit, that would have felt like a breeze, I think. I think I was just nervous, anxious, and excited to run on a track again. The next speed workout on the track should go smoothly. On to the next! (I’m practicing my short-term memory a bit on this one.)

2014-03-27 09.49.23-2

Giant. Dwarf.

Friday: 5.5 miles, 7:37 average recovery miles + core 

Afternoon recovery around the neighborhood. For such a gloomy grey day, it felt so nice out there. (Probably because I wasn’t fighting against a wall of wind)

Saturday: FINAL HILLY 20-MILER! 7:37/mi average 

I drove out to Morton Arboretum with Corey and Chanthana for our FINAL 20-miler before Boston! (Say what?! 3 weeks?!) I kept thinking about how much easier the hills felt compared to our first run out there in January (and this time we didn’t have to worry about slipping and falling on the ice!) I thought I might try to hit 2:45 total for the run today if I felt good. I’ve never run beyond 20 mi in training, but my left calf started to tighten around mile 15-16 and I knew it would be silly to run the extra time “just because” so I called it at 20. (Mantra: don’t be a hero slash stupid-head.) I felt really strong the entire time– conquered the hills and the pace was more even than it has been in the past. Side-5 with Connie and Pedro F. (around mile 16) — lots of Boston jackets out there today! Especially on the longer loop, it’s cool to pick your head up and see all of the runners training for Boston heading both directions. Lots of bright colors weaving between the trees.

Gu and water at mile 9
Gu and water at mile 14

I spent that afternoon monitoring my left calf/achilles. I wore compression socks the rest of the day, used the Roll Recovery on it, and iced it twice. (It loosened up by the time I went to bed and was only slightly sore on Sunday while spectating. I think taking a full (planned) rest day and walking around that day really helped.)

2014-03-29 11.04.53 HDR

As much as I like hot chocolate, I’m going to be so happy when it’s more of a treat and less of a necessity after a cold run.

Sunday: REST

Spectating at the Shamrock Shuffle, followed by breakfast pizza, french toast, bloody mary, BEER, fried chicken, and cupcake madness. I mean, I think this is recovery done right!

2014-03-30 09.07.49 HDRChanthana. The vuvuzela master.

2014-03-30 09.19.40

Guys, we were out there for over an hour. And judging by the amount of saliva we left on the sidewalk, we worked really hard.

If you ran the Shamrock Shuffle and heard a weird noise around Mile 2, that was probably us (orrrrrr the dude wearing a cereal box and grass skirt on his head trying to compete with us from across the street).

The  Man ran his first 8k with very little training. It’s the year of the DEBUT MARATHON and we’re easing into the training a bit. I’m excited for his big year!

Thoughts on This Week:

I’m happy with the work I put in this week. This cycle has been all about making those small gains a bit at a time. And I think the pieces are finally falling into place. When I started this week, I wasn’t sure if it would be peak week. It might turn out to be peak week in terms of mileage, but I still have two benchmark workouts on the calendar this coming week that will really give me an idea if I can commit to specific goal at Boston. I’ll be running ~50 miles this week, with two big workouts and 15-16 mile easy long run. And then? And then, I truly begin the taper. Last year I did a 2-week taper before Boston and it worked out well.

I leave you with Barklee’s presentation of this year’s Boston Welcome Packet. Because, you know, her face just needs to be included in this announcement somehow.

2014-03-28 14.38.01

She’s all business.


Boston 2014 Training: Week 12 of 16

Week 12

I ran 49 miles this week: 45 min easy spin, hip strength x 1, ART x 1. (Whoops, no core!)

Following the half marathon PR in NY, this was a bit of a different week. I didn’t really lock myself into two hard workouts this week before the weekend long run. I think I did a good job of letting my legs recover and putting in some solid work this week. I didn’t race the half all out and it only took me ~3 days to fully recover.

Monday: Full REST Day + travel back to Chicago

Tuesday: 6 recovery miles, 7:47 average pace.

Easy on the lakefront after work. Guess what? My legs still work! It felt good to move after a full day off yesterday. Some lingering soreness in my left calf but not too worried about it.

Wednesday: {6 x 1 min surges} 7.6 miles, 7:56 average. 

This was a ‘pseudo speed workout’ to slowly get back to workouts following the half. I had ART and Graston done on my left calf today and it was much looser than it was on Tuesday. It was still a bit tight but some more stretching after this run made it feel much better. The surges felt good too.

Thursday: {6 mile tempo} 10 miles, 6:53 average.

It’s finally nice enough for me to run to/from the lakefront instead of taking the bus (although I hear we have another freeze headed our way next week. Say it ain’t so!) Saving 30+ minutes by swapping the bus for my own legs does wonders for my mood, and running past traffic is always a good feeling.

2 mi up, 6 mile tempo, 2 down. I don’t know what happened last week, but all of a sudden my form feels super strong and paces that seemed incredibly hard are now manageable/”easy”. I love this part of marathon training when things start to click. Tempo splits were 6:35-6:42 (except last mile in 6:28). Psyched that my legs felt fresh enough to put in some solid work today.

Friday: 45 min spin + Full Hip Strength Routine

Corey is a good influence. I was planning on sitting on my butt today but she asked me if I wanted to spin and I figured some more active recovery would be a good idea before the long run on Saturday. We chatted for 45 minutes in the spin room and did the full hip strength routine.

Saturday: 20 miles, 7:29 average pace on the lakefront

Sore buns! I rarely do a strength workout the day before a long run — yesterday was an exception. Hips, glutes, and quads pretty sore but my form felt really strong (activated the right muscles at least). The headwind running north was pretty annoying but not terrible. I felt like I ‘explored’ more today. My legs were loving the soft surface trails up by Montrose (closer to the beach than the main path) and I ran through that park by the water treatment plant at Navy Pier (don’t know why I’ve never done that!).

2014-03-22 09.03.38

Seen on my run:
Corey and Walter! He was cheesin’ so hard! (Note: Walter is a dog.)
– The HiGuy.
– A fit dad running with his two daughters, looked like twins (thought of my sister)
– Massive side-5 fail with Ken W.
– Side-5 with Vicky M. (heyooo!)
– “Pseudo-side-5” with Kevin G. from the other side of the path (it’s the effort that counts)
– Lots of Boston jackets out there today- path was busiest I’ve seen it in awhile

Followed by 3 hours at the Chicago Beer Festival.

2014-03-22 15.42.05-2

Sunday: 5 miles, 8:10 pace recovery run 

I napped so hard this afternoon. After an hour and a half of puppy cuddles, I finally scraped myself off the couch and went to the gym to get a recovery run in. Legs are fatigued but not sore at all from yesterday’s 20. Good things! (15 min total walking as warm-up and cooldown)


This week was solid. I think I was smart with recovery — I wasn’t really sure if that 6 mile tempo was in the cards on Thursday but I went to the lakefront hopeful (I’m not afraid to shut the workout down if it’s just not there). I really feel like my fitness has turned a corner in the past couple weeks. I looked back at my training log the other day and couldn’t believe how much my training paces have changed since the beginning of this cycle. (One of my first tempos was 7:08-7:03 and now I tempo at 6:40). I wasn’t 100% when I started this cycle because I still had a little hitch in my stride from the left quad injury. Now that’s not a concern and I have been going to PT less and less throughout this cycle.

I can’t believe we’re less than 30 days away from Boston. I have 2 weeks left for hard workouts before the mileage begins to taper — ahhhh!

Boston 2014 Training: Week 11 of 16

Week 11

RACE WEEK! This was a bit of a recovery week with a short taper before the NYC Half. I’ll post a separate update on the race (and how amazing it felt) later, but here’s how the week’s training went:

I ran 39 miles with 5 runs: core x 2, hip strength x 1, and ART x 1.

Monday: 5.2 recovery miles, 7:53 average.

Easy 5 around the neighborhood (in SHORTS again!). Legs a bit tired after Sunday’s 15-miler but the shakeout helped.

Tuesday: {10 x 400s} 8 miles, 7:23 average + core routine

I beat the wind today. Didn’t realize the wind was going to pick up later today. Went out around 4 pm with a constant 11 mph wind from the N and gusts up to 35 mph. haha, not ideal for a workout. Decided to run 4 against it to begin with and the next 6 with a tailwind. Really really happy with how these went.

2 mi up, 10 x 400 with 90 sec RI (30 sec walk, 1 min jog), 2 down. Turnover seems strong right now! I turned the pace screen off on my watch and ran all 10 by feel to focus on running smooth and controlled. Mission accomplished!

Against wind: 1:24, 1:28, 1:29, 1:24
With wind: 1:23, 1:24, 1:25, 1:20, 1:23, 1:22

Wednesday: Complete REST

Thursday: Easy 7 miles, 8:10 average + core & hip strength routines

Easy peasey on the treadmill after work. Forgot my iPod needed to be charged so I stared at the TV screen. I shortened the hip strength routine today so that I wouldn’t be too sore for the next few days. (Turns out this was a smart decision because my hips and glutes were still a tiny bit sore on Saturday, but ready to race on Sunday!)

Friday: Complete REST – lots to do before traveling

Saturday: 4 mile shakeout in Central Park!

Such a gorgeous afternoon in Central Park for a shakeout. Corey and I flew in early Saturday morning, picked up our bibs at the expo, dropped our bags at the hotel, and ran around 2:30 pm that day. I finished the short jaunt with leg swings, dynamic stretching, and 4 x strides. I was getting antsy to race!

2014-03-15 14.47.47 HDR

Sunday: THE BIG DAY! 2 mile warm-up, 13.1 PR!

Spoiler alert: I ran a 3 min, 38 second PR with a 1:30:13. More on that in another post!

Boston 2014 Training: Week 10 of 16

Week 10

This week was probably the highest quality and happiest training week of this cycle so far. This is 100% due to the weather shift of *somewhat* warm temps and sunshine on the lakefront. It’s so refreshing to wear one less layer of clothing and actually be able to feel your face at the end of a workout. It’s the little things, ya know? I think I’ve made some progress recently and I’ve been able to string together a few good weeks of training. The confidence boost of completing the first 20-miler of the cycle was nice too.

I ran 47 miles this week: 5 runs, 2 hrs yoga, and 1 x core routine. (Must focus more on core & strength in the coming weeks !)

The Miles:

Monday: 6 recovery, 8:06 pace + core routine

Shakeout on the TM after work. A full rest day yesterday felt great. Both calves a bit sore, assuming because of the hills on Saturday’s 20.

Tuesday: {1200 repeats} 10.27 miles, 7:00 pace

The sun was out and the path was clear and I ran fast and I was happy. Rave run, for sure.

Runners HighThis is what you call a runner’s high. #excusetheselfie

Ran 2 mi w/up, 3 x (2 x 1200 @ 5k pace) with 2 min RI and 4 min RI between sets, and 2 mi c/down. I’m really happy with how these went. The first set felt pretty tough, the middle set felt like I was crawling, and somehow I magically had more of a spring in my step on the third and final set.

Splits: 4:46, 4:44, 4:43, 4:39, 4:41, 4:44 (6:13-6:21 pace)

Wednesday: Cross-train- 1 hr yoga at home

Also, my funny relationship with Chicago’s NBC weatherman continues….

2014-03-05 08.53.50

(I started my day with approximately 1.7 paczkis from Glazed and Infused. Donuts are part of my training program at this point.)

Thursday: {3 x 2 mi at HMP} 10.98 miles, 7:02 average pace.

Another rave run! 30 degrees out and sunny and clear and beautiful and SUNSHINE AND RAINBOWS (not really, but that’s what it felt like)! Ran 2 mi up, 3 x 2 miles at HMP-ish with 800m RI, 1.5 mi down. Had a tough time getting into a flow with the pace but pretty psyched about the workout. I think I ran this a bit too fast (because 6:40-6:45 pace is like “*dream* HMP” ha!) but it’s a good gauge before NYC.

Splits: 6:44, 6:38/ 6:40, 6:44/ 6:36, 6:42

I’ve pretty much decided that this shirt has magic powers. Anyone else think so too?

2014-03-07 15.35.57-2Pure magic.

Thursday night was bittersweet. Timayyyyyyy is moving to NYC so we stuffed our faces with pizza and beer (we’re good at it). It feels like less of a goodbye and more of a ‘see ya later’ because he’ll be there to cheer next weekend at the NYC Half! New York better be ready for his mad vuvuzela skillz.

Friday: Cross (1 hr yoga with Corey!) + Shakeout 5 miles, 7:40 pace

Yoga: Corey asked me to go to yoga with her this week because she had a free pass for a friend.

Run: 46 degrees, partly cloudy and light wind. Annnnnnd this was the first easy run of this cycle that I’ve actually been able to do around my neighborhood, instead of the lakefront or the treadmill. Ice has melted on the sidewalks so I jumped in all of the puddles.

Saturday: Complete REST & Recovery

Sunday: 15 miles with fast finish, 7:15 average pace.

This weekend was definitely atypical. Decided to push my long run to today after seeing tweets about the wind on Saturday morning (and a rest day sounded lovely, to be honest). Then, I had good intentions of running early this morning, but some quality time with the Man for brunch and tea won out. He’s on a shifted schedule, so I would have only been able to spend about an hour with him if I ran in the morning.

I didn’t even get to the lakefront until 2:30, but was really happy to run in warmish temps and light wind. I wore capris and jumped in some puddles. (The expected high was 50-something degrees, but it actually didn’t even get up to 40 degrees while I was running. Just perfect for capris. Shorts would have been ….cold.) The wind was pretty annoying heading south — a headwind with a swirly crosswind for 6.5 miles. But THEN, when I turned back north, it was smoooooth sailing. The legs had a lot of pep today.  The left calf is a bit tight so I stopped to stretch it twice just to loosen it up a bit. Not too worried about that one, especially with a PT appt on Monday morning.

I ran the last 3 miles at sub 7-pace and felt freaking *fantastic*: 6:58, 6:56, 6:44.

(Also, my Garmin clocked mile 12 at 5:18. Yeah, that’s impossible. So the overall pace might be slightly slower. Derp!)


I’m really happy with this week’s training. I put in a lot of quality work and the legs weren’t exhausted during the long run (quite the opposite actually). It’s funny how 15 miles feels like a stepback week now.

I don’t have a concrete plan for the NYC Half yet, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped thinking about it for the last few days. 🙂 My half PR seems sadly slow now (1:33:51). I know that I’m capable of blowing that time away but the priority is on Boston. I know that I won’t race it all out because that’s just asking for trouble, but I think a PR is possible while still being conservative. We shall see!

I basically have one quality workout this week before the New York Half next Sunday! Ahhhhhh! And check out this forecast for the race!

Perfection! Please stay that way!

Perfection! Please stay that way!

I’ve been really good about foam rolling, stretching, and using the Roll Recovery lately. I’ve been going to a weekly PT appointment for Graston and ART, so I know that’s helping to keep injury at bay too. But it just so happened that my PT was on vacation this week so I didn’t go to my normal appointment. And I’m happy to report I didn’t break! Haha, in all seriousness, I think I can space these appointments out more. If anything, I’m being super cautious because I’m just nervous. But SIX MORE WEEKS remain between here and the Boston start line. It’s insane to think that we’re already that close. Just a few more weeks of really good work before taperrrrrr.


Boston 2014 Training: Week 9 of 16

Week 9

A week of progress!

I ran 47 miles this week: 5 runs, 1 hour yoga, 1 x core, 1 x hip strength routine.

Progress! I was a bit worried about the dead leg situation last week, but (surprise, surprise) I think it led to somewhat of a breakthrough week. Solid speed workout, tempo, and first 20 of the cycle done!

Monday: 6 recovery, 8:05 pace + core

Felt pretty fresh and energetic today. Not a bad way to start the week! Lots of stretching and foam rolling and roll recovery’ing while watching TV in the evening felt great.

Tuesday: {speed: 2 x 1 mile, 2 x 800} 7.9 miles, 7:35 pace. 

Ahhhh, that’s more like it! I had a hectic day & ran on the treadmill after work, which meant that I had to wait in a LINE for a treadmill. So glad I don’t have to do that most days! I ran 2 mi w/up, 2 x 1 mile (3 min RI), 2 x 800 (2 min RI) and 2 mi c/down. Mile splits at 6:27 (power of the ‘mill) & 800s at 3:05. Pretty darn happy with how this one felt. Pushing the 800s after solid mile repeats was tough but I was surprised how the legs handled it.

Wednesday: 1 hour yoga at home


Thursday: {5 mile tempo} 8.5 miles, 7:24 pace + hip strength routine

Put the 5-mile tempo back on my schedule this week after last week’s failed attempt. I ran 2 mi up, 5 mile tempo, and 1.5 down. My tempos haven’t been strong this cycle so I started a bit conservatively at 6:58 and turned it into a mini progressive–last two miles 6:53, 6:49. I’ll take it!

Friday: Recovery 5, 8:05 pace.

Treadmill after work. Friday is normally a rest day but I had plans to go to a beer fest on Saturday night so I figured I wouldn’t feel like running on Sunday. 🙂

Saturday: Hilly 20-miler, 7:32 pace.

First 20 of the cycle DONE! Went out to Morton Arboretum with Tim R. and Corey early this morning. Corey brought some leftover bday cake for us to enjoy and she “made me” take a slice home. I wasn’t sure if I’d run 20 today, considering how heavy the legs felt last week but told myself I’d be happy with 17-18. Once I ran 12 miles, I decided the legs were ready for the full 20. Conditions were really good out there today, with only a few slick spots (snow covering the sheets of ice made them sneaky). I did 3 big loops and 2 small loops–mentally easy to get through the loops than an out and back would be, I think. Pretty happy with this considering I did ZERO hill training for Boston last year– arguably the toughest 20 miler I’ve ever logged (with over 2,000 ft elevation).

Water with Nuun after each Loop
Salted carmel Gu at 1 hr and 2 hr.

I got a kick out of what all of those loops look like on Garmin Connect 🙂

The rest of the day, I ate, napped hardcore, and drank a lot of beer. That’s proper recovery right?

2014-03-01 19.00.37-2

Brewhaha with Brad, Manny, and Corey 

Sunday: Complete rest

My legs weren’t dead on Sunday! But a full rest day with puppy cuddles on the couch was pretty darn nice.

I can’t believe that we’re less than 50 days away from Boston now and that I’ll be racing the NYC Half in less than two weeks. I’m really proud of the work that I put in this week. Feeling pretty strong and prepared for another strong week ahead!

– J

Boston 2014 Training: Week 8 of 16

Week 8

This week, I ran 45 miles: 5 runs, Core x 3, Hip Strength x 3, ART x 1, and Massage x 1. 

Week 8?! Like, when did that happen? Also, 18 miles? How the heck did that happen?

This week didn’t really go as I had planned. It was a big of a “blergh” week. I was fighting off some sore of cough/cold/virus, which made sleep more restless. I returned to a regular strength workout routine this week (which has been lacking the past few weeks—I learned that lesson last fall, thankyaverymuch!). And in general, the legs just didn’t want to GO this week.

Overall, this cycle has been unlike any other but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing…yet. Just trying to take it day-by-day, week-by-week and see how things progress.

Monday: 6 miles, 8:10 pace + Hip Strength Routine

I watched the Olympics and listened to This American Life on the run. Made the miles go by pretty quickly. And then I did the entire Hip Strength routine that my PT and I made last fall. I’ve been neglecting that part of my training (in favor of things like spin or Bodypump) in the past few weeks and knew I should get back to it. I was a sweaty mess by the time I was done with it.

Tuesday: 7.5 miles, 7:46 pace + Core Routine

….which leads me tooooooooooo…..the fact that my quads/hips/glutes were SUPER sore on Tuesday. (Shoulda known.) I had 12 x 400 on the calendar for today, but I just knew that wasn’t going to happen—or it would be incredibly ugly if I attempted it. Resigned to 6 x 2 minute cruise intervals at 6:40 pace to replace the speed intervals. Felt like I slogged through this one a bit.

Wednesday: 1 hour easy easy spin + Hip Strength Routine

Corey and I both wanted to spin easy so we met up early — it felt good to get this done first thing in the morning so I didn’t have to think about it the rest of the day. It felt good just to spin the legs, light resistance and high cadence. The legs were definitely still feeling the burn after Monday’s hip strength routine so I figured I should hit those muscles again. Corey and I did a shortened version of the routine together.

Thursday: 8 miles, 7:48 pace + Core Routine

Another day that really didn’t go as planned. (But again, I’m not terribly worried about it.) I had originally planned to run a 5-mile tempo on the lakefront with a group of speedy people (Annabelle, Tim, and Lynton) but the weather got the best of us (hello torrential rain!!!) and it seemed the majority of us were dealing with little niggles. I had to shuffle my day a bit and went to the treadmill to attempt the tempo. I extended the warm-up to 3.5 miles (mostly because I was just delaying the pain of a workout–normally do 2 mi warm-up) before starting. I ended up running 2 miles of the tempo at 6:58/mile before calling it an easy day with a lonnngggg cooldown. The legs just wouldn’t get with the program — breathing was totally even. There will be a serious redemption tempo in the near future.

Friday: ART + Complete REST

I was so tired today. I finally realized that I should be taking meds for whatever cough/cold/virus I was fighting. I even napped for two hours after work, which never happens. So yeah, maybe this little virus thing just bombed my workouts this week and my legs aren’t to blame.

Saturday: 18 miles, 7:37/mile pace + 60 min Sports Massage

Today was just a day to get it done. Legs felt heavy from the get-go but didn’t really become heavier as the run went on (not even sure how that’s possible). I ran south for the first time in months (maybe since October?!). It was nice to have a different view–the north section of path can be so boring after awhile. Around mile 3, Ken W. and I had an epic side-5. I knew it was him because of the shades. I ran 7 miles south until the path was pretty much impassable with a huge puddle. See?!

2014-02-22 12.24.38

Felt like Forrest Gump when he just feels like going home. Wind wasn’t too bad but annoying at times. I was so happy to see Charlyn C. out there with CB! (You both looked so happy!) The sun peaked out a few times and it was 100% sunny the last few miles. This didn’t feel amazing but I’m happy I got it done.

Really missed these views!

2014-02-22 09.41.05

2014-02-22 10.22.05

2014-02-22 12.05.17Garmin shot! You’re welcome!

I had a 60 minute sports massage in the afternoon that made me so relaxed, I was practically delirious afterward. Last year, I was pretty diligent about getting a very simple, relaxing massage every 4 weeks. I definitely needed to ‘reset’ after this week. I woke up on Sunday feeling really good–think it was just what I needed.

Also, I cuddled with Corey’s monsters, Walter and Ernie that evening while we watched House of Cards. Walter, you’re so inappropriate.

2014-02-22 19.52.14

Lady killer!

Sunday: 5 recovery miles, 8:18 pace + Core Routine

Nice and easy on the treadmill. I watched the Olympics closing ceremony and listened to the Slate Culture Gabfest. I’ve been listening to podcasts lately on my recovery runs. (Throw out some suggestions if you have any that you’re obsessed with!)


2014-02-23 11.53.05

I finally took the time to catch up on last month’s Running Times magazine. The entire issue was about recovery (which seemed super appropriate this week). The quote about spoke to me because I didn’t really feel that great this week. I might be toeing the line between feeling good and feeling good enough lately. I know what it’s like to feel bad and that’s not how I’m feeling right now. Hopefully all I needed this week was to reset, get some sleep, get some good bodywork and prepare for another week ahead.

20 Days to NYC Half and 56 days to Boston! 

Boston 2014 Training: Week 6 & 7 of 16

A belated training update!  Week 6 was a bit of a wash because of a silly foot issue that lingered from a tough 15-miler in the snow and Week 7 was spent getting back on track but being smart about monitoring my foot. I think I was able to get a decent amount of work in despite the challenges.

Note:  This is probably the longest post I’ve ever written. I started writing and this is what came out. If you read all the way to the end, I’m both confused and flattered by your interest. 🙂

Week 6: Recap

Week 6 RecapThis is somewhat depressing. But it had to happen. (I keep reminding myself we’re still early in the cycle!)

To be honest, I spent a majority of this week just holding my breathing and hoping that I didn’t have a stress fracture. {Cue classic runner dramatization of actual events} I’ve never a stress fracture and basically have no idea what one feels like but I knew that any kind of constant, localized pain in my foot was a bad sign. {I realize a lot of this stuff may sound super silly to anyone that has dealt with a stress fracture. It even sounds silly to me.}

Week 5’s training was fine, following that one snowy run. And I was even able to run 16 glorious, fast miles on Sunday Feb 2nd. My foot felt perfectly fine.  There was no sign during the run that it was struggling and I didn’t feel any pain or discomfort. It was a bit tender that night before I went to bed but seriously nothing to worry about.

Still, I was over-cautious alllllllllll week. [Corey and I have been talking about how we have “injury PTSD” because we’re really, really good at reading into every little ache and pain after minor injuries this past fall.]


50 min recovery spin 

My legs felt pretty heavy and sore after the 16 miles the day before and my foot was still a bit cranky so I hopped on the spin bike.


8 miles, 7:51 average [speed]

Took some sadness, frustration, and anger out on the treadmill today. It helped. (Don’t worry–I’m ok. Just dealing with an unexpected personal situation. And, as usual, running was my therapy.)

2 mi up, 2 x 1200 (400m RI), 4 x 800 (400m RI), 1 mi down
Splits: 4:44 for both 1200s, and consistent 3:06s for the 800 repeats

This felt surprisingly strong after heavy legs on Monday. My foot didn’t give me any problems until the cooldown, when I felt a small ache. (Noted: If I can get through 7 miles and several miles of speedwork, it’s a good sign.)


1 hr recovery spin Hip Strength Routine 

I forced myself to not be stubborn or stupid or idiotic today. (Listening to my body and all that jazz.) I woke up to a cranky foot despite it feeling fine the day before. I put compression socks on and iced it after Tuesday’s speedwork, but resigned to the spin bike for my scheduled shakeout. At this point, I’m not losing fitness by recovering on the bike as opposed to on the treadmill (or so I keep telling myself!).


Complete rest day. I had a tough tempo scheduled today, full of goal marathon, half marathon, and 10k paced miles but again, trying to be smart about this foot thing. If it’s sore upon waking, a workout isn’t happening. Taking it day by day, but Thursday was this week’s low point for sure. I convinced myself that I MUST have a stress fracture (heh) and continued to putz around the house (+ sip a beer or two that night). In general, I was a crankypants.


50 min spin class with steady climbs + Core Routine x 2  + ART! 

Ok, this is the day when things start to look up, I promise! :look it! progress!: I had a regular ART appointment scheduled with my PT and, once again, this guy proves that he’s some sort of magical healer. We talked through my foot issue and spent about 20 minutes manipulating specific parts of my foot. He’s 75% certain that I have a small ligament strain on the top of my foot. My pain pattern doesn’t seem to match a stress fracture and my foot felt noticeably better after an ‘adjustment’. (A good sign!) I agreed with him when he said that ‘something is just stuck’. That’s exactly what it feels like. His diagnosis made me relieved but I know that I have to take it with a grain of salt.

Anywho, I was pretty peppy after the appointment and went to spin for lunch. Which leads me to….

Question: What do you call a spin for lunch if a run over lunch is ‘runch’? After submitting this question to the Twitter world, I received some awesome answers:

  • spinch
  • spunch
  • sprunch

I think spunch works. What do you think?

Also, this happened….

2014-02-07 09.09.07Basically, you know you’ve made it when the local weatherman tweets ya.


Longish run at Morton Arboretum: 12 miles, 7:40 average.

Headed out to Morton Arboretum with Chanthana and Corey this morning. I was excited for my first run since Tuesday! I had 16-17 easy miles planned today but told myself to be happy with anything over 12 miles. Goal was just to run up until the foot became uncomfortable, if at all. I ran 10 with absolutely no problem and it started to feel sore around 10.5 so I called it quits once I finished the east loop. I’m definitely patting myself on the back for not being stupid & running the 16 miles as planned. I felt stronger on the hills this time than I did 4 weeks ago (I didn’t do any hill training for Boston 2013, so this bodes well!) Plus, as always, my motivation was ALL THE BACON at brunch with the girls post-run.


8 easy miles, 8:11 average. 

I woke up this morning and my foot felt noticeably better than it did all last week. Psyched to get to the gym for an easy shakeout. Watched the Olympics, the biathalon and cross-country skiing. 90% of those athletes collapse at the finish line because they’re so tired. Inspiration.

Totals, Week 6: 

3 runs, 28 miles; 1 x ART; 2 x Core Routine; 2 x Hip Strength Routine; 1 complete rest day; ~3 hrs spinning!

It’s hard not to look at this week and think, “what a waste”. I missed one workout and about 15 miles. Running isn’t fun when it’s painful (duh), so of course I’m glad that I rested. If it wasn’t for that ONE long run through the snow, this week would have been different! Three days off running seemed to help and I was able to let out a big sigh of relief on Sunday. I’m also pretty happy to replace running with spinning these days — it’s the closest you can come to a runner’s high while cross-training I think. As Chanthana pointed out, I was still able to run 20 miles in two days over the weekend. #brightside

Week 7: Recap

Week 7Woot! That’s more like it!

Because Week 7 was slated to be a recovery week, but that ended up happening early (ahem…Week 6!), this week included some good workouts. Still, the goal was to balance strong workouts with not being a big f***ing idiot and running through pain if it presented itself.

I wrote that at the top of my training log for this week in very bold writing: DON’T BE A F***ING IDIOT, JENNY! 


5 recovery miles, 8:18 pace. + 1 hour Bodypump

Anther good sign- woke up to a happier foot than I did last week. Just ran easy on the treadmill before going to Bodypump. Again, my neglected, sad upper body was in a bit of shock after a full hour of strength work but I know it’s good for me. Plus, you pretty much feel like you can take on the world when you do an hour of strength training on MONDAY MORNING.


9 miles (7 mile steady state at 7:13), 7:23 average pace.

First workout since last Tuesday and I have to say I’m pretty relieved about this foot  at this point. No discomfort to report (and I’ll take it as a great sign that I was able to run 4 days in a row). Ran 2 mi w/up and then settled into a steady state at 7:13 min/mile. I likely could have run this a bit faster but I started at 7:20 for steady states last cycle. Baby steps.


Cross-training: 1 hour LIVE DJ SPIN Class (REST or Cross-Training Day)

Returned to my favorite spin instructor for a live DJ class at the gym tonight. Another puddle found under the bike tonight. Success! One of the last song’s of the class was Spice Girls “Wannabe”. Not.kidding.


8.16 miles {6 x 800s speedwork}, 7ish  min/mile average

Ok, these are the fastest 800s I’ve ever run in my life. And I have no idea where this came from. I’ve never consistently run 800s at 3 min or faster before. I think it’s all because I felt like I was finally freeeeeeeee. I ditched the treadmill today in favor of warmish temps & sunshine on the lakefront in the morning and I really couldn’t have asked for a better day to get this done (especially with a dry, clear lakefront). With a half mile left in my warm-up, I glanced at my watch and it read 7:20/mi. And that felt like I was trotting. Everything really does feel easier running outside versus the treadmill to me. I extended the recovery period after each 800 from 2:30 to 3 min, which was definitely necessary. Splits: 2:56, 2:58, 2:59, 3:00, 2:58, 3:03. I felt like I was going into survival mode on the last 2 and my foot started to hurt a bit (the pain seemed to dissipate during cooldown). I seriously doubt I’ll be able to hold this pace for 8 -10 x 800s later this cycle but I guess I have something to shoot for now!


ART + Complete, beautiful rest day. 

Today’s highlight: punch!

2014-02-14 22.07.31


17.17 miles, 7:28 average pace long run. 

17 miles without a single twinge of silly foot pain! I drank approximately 3.7 too many punches at Punch House the night before and only slept 6ish hours so this one really could have gone down the drain fast. I’m pretty shocked I even dragged myself out of bed for this one, especially with some serious puppy cuddles happening. I kept telling myself to slow the effffffff down. 7:30/mi is feeling easy these days, but I know that I need to get some slow, steady long runs in the books in the next few weeks. I may or may not be doing myself any favors by running this a bit quicker than I normally do. Jury’s still out on that one! The HiGuy was out there riding his bike–normally don’t see him much in the winter.

I showered and headed over to Corey’s to watch the Millrose Games along with Chanthana and Tim. We ordered delivery twice, drank several beers, and put PJs on her dog. (Ahem…sorry for sticking around for over 7 hours, Corey!)

2014-02-15 17.38.24


5 easy peasey recovery TM miles, 8:20 average pace + core routine

Just an easy run while watching the Olympics at the gym.

Totals, Week 7: 

5 runs, 44 miles; Bodypump x 1, Spin x 1, ART x 1, and Core x 1 

Some general thoughts on Boston 2014 Training thus far:

:Insert tremendous relief that the foot pain dissipated by the end of the week:!  I was so happy to be able to run some pretty solid workouts this week. Now that we’re entering Week 8 of 16 (halfway!), I feel like I’ve really started to turn a corner. That said, I still have moments when I’m really worried that training will turn into a disaster because training is going so well (flashbacks to last fall).

Over dinner one night this week, I was talking with Man about my training and I told him that I’m basically scared that my body is going to breakdown like it did last fall; that just when I seem to turn a corner, my body will fail me. He had some really insightful things to say, but he said something that made everything ‘click’.

He said, “Jenny, you just need one good race.”

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how true it was. The last race that I can remember being completely satisfied was the Bastille Day 5k in July. And that was race mostly satisfying because it was an unplanned “redemption race” after the Chi Women’s 5k. I haven’t raced since then. I haven’t raced in 7 months…. (wut.) I sat out of a 10k when my left quad gave out and then Grand Rapids was out of the picture. 2013 was a rollercoaster year. Realizing that it’s been over 7 months since I’ve had a really great race experience (regardless of the outcome, PR or not), has made me even more motivated to work hard this year. I think I’ve made some smart changes to my training this time around and so far, so good.

To be honest, I’ve been hesitant to write about my training this time around because I feel like I could jinx myself. One of the hardest aspects of the last training cycle was that it seemed to be going soooooo well. Until, it just wasn’t anymore. I’m trying to keep a level head and continue to be patient & smart, to work hard, and to see where that takes me. No one likes to share their training when it’s not going as ‘planned’, but for now I’ll continue to share–in hopes that there are some strong weeks ahead.

On the bright side, my PT was encouraged by how my foot is progressing when I saw him on Friday. And I know that it’s gradually getting better. He says we should realistically allow 4-6 weeks for a slight sprain like this to return to normal. It’s been 3 weeks since that run in the snow and I’m hoping that he’s right about the timeline. If so, the New York Half might just be that one good race that I’ve been working toward (and the mental reset for Boston that could come with that would be nice too!).

Do you like sharing your training logs? Would you call a spin at lunch a ‘spunch’? When was the last time you raced and felt like a badass? Do you visualize the course of your upcoming race during your training? ALL THE QUESTIONS!

– J