Chicago Marathon Training Week 9: 9/29-10/5

Race week is here and it is about the only thing on my mind and about the only thing I want to talk about. It has consumed my life! I have a slight case of nerves, but I am more excited than anything.

With every race, first time or not, there are always uncertainties. It is hard to tell if my body is prepared to take on all 26.2 miles, but my mind is prepared. I know I can do this. Whatever happens out on that course, I am confident that I will be able to push through. Which is really half the battle.

I had a good week of tapering, here’s the recap –

Monday: 30 minute recovery ride on the trainer (6.8 miles) – nice and easy.

Tuesday: Evening 4 mile run (9:10) – I felt really good during this run, progressively faster each mile, ending with a 8:54. Most of my runs end by going up a steep hill. I usually do not look forward to running up the hill, but at the end of this run I was smiling! It was that good of a run.

Wednesday: 1 hour Power Yoga class during lunch. I had not been to yoga in a while and well it hurt/felt amazing. Glad to be back.

Thursday: Early morning 5 mile run (10:05) – I was super sore from yoga and super paranoid that a skunk or creeper man was going to attack me (as I was running in darkness). Fortunately, none of this happened.

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: So cold, so early – easy 3 mile run (9:41).

Sunday: A sunny and WINDY 8 miles (9:53). This run sucked. First half went great, then I headed back and was running into the wind the next 4 miles. I felt sluggish and I needed water, which of course I didn’t bring because it was only 8 miles…

Total Milage: 20 miles

In addition, I am still doing the functional strength exercises for my gluteus medius and stretching/rolling like it’s my part time job.

This week has been all about rest, rest, rest. I will check in on Saturday for one last post before the big day!


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.


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


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.


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.

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Typical view in Illinois


Rest Day.


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.


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.

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.

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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.

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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.


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.

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 1 8/11-8/17

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have embarked on my marathon training journey. And a journey it will be.

I bought Hal Higdon’s PLUS: Marathon – Chicago 2014 Intermediate 1 training plan on Training Peaks to guide me along. This was my first time purchasing a plan. I usually combine a few I see through Google searches, but I was recommended Hal Higdon by several people, so hopefully it works out well.

I started looking at the program the week before USAT Nationals, but I fully jumped in at week 10 of the 18 weeks. In addition to all the running, I am doing my best to roll out every chance I get, especially after and before I go to bed plus stretching and all that other fun stuff.


Cross Training day. I opted to swim since I am mad at my bike and I still need to put in some work for my 5K open water swim race. I pulled a workout from online which totaled to 4,100 yards. It was tough for what was supposed to be a light cross training day, but I felt good.


4 mile run followed by 30 minutes of strength training.


Pressed for time I had to split up my run. At lunch I ran two miles on the treadmill, went to my power yoga class, and then ran another two miles after.

After work I had my sports massage. He worked a ton on my hips/IT band as I am having issues there. I left feeling good and relaxed.


My family and I went to the Cubs game so I was off work for the day. That meant I was able to have a relaxing morning.

I drove over to Rollins Savanna, a forest preserve near me, and ran 8 miles. Coffee followed before showering and heading to the game.



It was a perfect day, the weather was beautiful, and although the Cubbies didn’t get the W, we all had a great time. The Blue Angels gave us a show as well, since they were practicing for the Chicago Air and Water Show happening over the weekend!

At Murphy’s before the game
Blue Angels!



You bet I indulged in a hot dog!




Rest day.


Another 8 miles at Rollins. Faster than Thursday. I rested, stretched, and rolled out in preparation for my first long run the next day.


Lunch: Veggie sandwich on ezekiel bread with sweet potato chips!


My longest run by a long shot, I ran 17 miles. My second longest run comes from two races, Illinois Half Marathon and Racine Half Ironman, both 13.1 miles.

I was incredibly nervous going into this run. Would I be able to do it? I was completing it solo and I knew it would take a lot of discipline to stay focused and take it easy, especially in the beginning. My goal was to just finish and not hit a wall. I accomplished all that. The weather was perfect, overcast, and a bit misty. I stayed in the zone for the entire run and it went by faster than I thought it would.



My joints did hurt afterwards as my body is not used to this amount of mileage. I recovered the best I could the rest of the day by jumping on the trainer for 10 easy minutes on the bike, light yoga, rolling, and icing.

Then I continued watching my newest obsession, Friday Night Lights.

Total Mileage: 41

I think the most running I have done in a week before this was around 24 miles. Although, that was with a bunch of biking and swimming.

So far, so good. This week the mileage increases!