Chicago Marathon Training Week 6: 9/16-9/21

Last week’s recap is coming at you a little late, but good news is peak week is over! Done. All down hill from here.

I’ve gotta admit though, compared to half ironman training, it didn’t feel like that big of a week…even though I logged 20 miles on Saturday…!!! Just two years ago I was unable to run one mile, I’d say that is an accomplishment! Training for triathlons, specifically the half ironman, has really given me a ton of mental strength and I plan to use this edge to push through the last part of the marathon.

Monday:

A morning 5.3 mile run (9:39 pace).

Tuesday:

I woke up extra early to get to a Hard Core class at 5:30AM. It was 30 minutes of straight ab/core work, no break. Wow! I was able to hold on for most of class, but had to back off towards the end. Only makes me want to come back for more!

An hour spin class followed. I haven’t been to a spin class in a while and couldn’t help but chuckle at the crazy high intensity and energy coming from the instructor.

Wednesday:

8 miles after work (9:15 pace). It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon and my legs felt like feathers. I ran one loop around Poplar Creek bike path – A nice change of scenery. Functional strength exercises followed.

photo 4
Typical view in Illinois

Thursday:

Rest Day.

Friday:

5 mile #runch (9:18 pace). No better way to blow off work day stress with a lunch time run. Functional strength exercises as well.

Saturday:

The big day.

After a good night of sleep I woke up early to drive down to Busse Woods in Elk Grove Village for the 20Miler. Sponsored by Chicago Athlete and Dick Pond Athletics this event is held annually for Chicagoland residents training for a Fall marathon. It is not a race, there is no timing or clocks, but it does come with a fee.

WaterMap
A very professional map of the course

I decided to sign up because what better way to tackle 20 miles than with 800 of my closest running buddies. But really, it a supported 20 mile run with aid stations (water and Gatorade) every 1 1/2 to 2 miles, medical staff, many restrooms along the route, pacers, and a post-run picnic.

photo 1
Sweet socks

TO SUM IT UP: I started with the 10:00 minute pace group and felt great. Now, I usually do my long runs at a 10:15-10:20 pace so I should have known better, but I wanted to see if I could keep up. My pace increased as the miles went on, which is not what I want to happen come race day. Hopefully by mid-October it won’t get as hot as it did.

By mile 2 I had to use the bathroom, so I made a really quick stop and then ran to catch up with the pace group…not the best idea as I then was going under the 10:00 pace. I walked through majority of the aid stations and took 4 Clif Bloks over the 20 miles.

By mile 10 I was starting to decline, but I just kept chugging along at my pace. Around this time I passed the fenced in area where there are elk! They were just sitting there, chilling, and I was envious. I finished in 3 hours and 34 minutes. 10:40 pace. I am pleased with this effort. I never took a break or stopped my Garmin (except for when I used the bathroom once). First time doing 20 miles, ran 5 strong miles the day before. I might actually be able to complete this marathon.

photo 3

photo 2

I downed a Core Power and Cool Mint Chocolate Clif Bar after making some new friends and headed home for a much needed shower. Then after a big lunch I was able to lay down and relax. These are the moments I love, refueling and recovering after a big training day. No other feeling like it.

Sunday:

Lazy Sunday morning. After hitting up the grocery store early (I was craving fruit) I spun out for 35 minutes on the trainer – EASY. And then did my functional strength exercises.

I had the usual aches that come from running 20 miles, but I was really sleepy too. And it has carried over into this week.

I am in taper mode now and I welcome taper with open arms. My body has been taking a beating and it is ready to rest, recover, and rebuild before I run all 26.2 miles come October 12th.

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