During my marathon research, I found out that major marathons host a “shake out” run the day before the big event. Chicago Marathon’s is called the Abbott Chicago 5K. Even though I was nervous about running the day before the marathon, much of my research showed that it’s a positive thing, assuming you take it easy.
The course is a one-way 3.1 mile run through the heart of Chicago’s downtown loop area. It passes major landmarks and is just a fun way to see the city.
The course itself was very cool and a fun way to see the city. The race highlights different countries so many people had flags to run with to show their home countries.
I arrived too early because I had a hard time sleeping. It was a pretty morning and fun to watch people arrive. My guess is that many of the people running were also running the next day.
There’s not much to report on a 5K race going at a really easy pace. I felt strong the whole time but really was there to take it all in. The coolest part of the race was around a mile going up an exit. There was a group of people and I heard some rumblings. When I turned around, it was Shalane Flanagan walking up the ramp with some girls from Girls on the Run. A bunch of the runners freaked out and tried to take pictures as we passed. My pictures didn’t turn out, but it was really cool to see her on the course.
I felt great at the end. The run gave me a lot of energy, and they gave everyone a cute bag of snacks at the end. My final time was 35:24 which was about an 11:24/mile pace.
If anyone is doing the Chicago Marathon and is considering the Abbott 5K, I would highly recommend it. Not only was it a fun course, but it was a nice way to get out race jitters before standing at the start line. I think I would have been much more nervous on Sunday if I didn’t get this race in the day before. To read how the marathon went, check out my race recap.
I completed the 2021 Chicago Marathon on October 10, 2021. When I signed up and started training, it seemed like that day would never happen. That it was so far away, but then, all of the sudden I was waiting at the airport to fly to Chicago.
Friday, October 8, 2021
Travel and Logistics
I flew to Chicago on Friday morning and arrived in the afternoon. O’Hare was really busy, and you could see people wearing running shirts from past races. Once you got into the lobby for the L, there were signs that advertised marathon weekend. It made me really excited. The ticket even advertised the 2021 Chicago Marathon.
After taking the L into the city, I found my hotel, HI Hostel, which was a quick walk from one of the stations. While I understand this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I cannot say enough great things about this place. I was luckily able to book a private room with a shared bath before I was confirmed for the race (free cancelation) and paid $253.85 for the entire weekend and it is a literal block and a half walk to the corrals. It was perfect.
Once I settled in, I decided to take the Metra train from Millennial Park to McCormick Center. The cost was $4 round trip, but an Uber was $30 one way. Uber’s were incredibly expensive all weekend, so I opted for walking or public transportation the entire time. The train was easy, and I didn’t feel too uncomfortable. I think it was about 3 stops away.
I went to the expo on Friday afternoon. I’m not sure if it was like this all weekend or if that was the time everyone decided to go, but the line was absolutely ridiculous! There had to be thousands of people there.
Once I was in the expo, I found the packet pickup location and received my bib. We then proceeded to another location and picked up our t-shirts.
I’m not sure how the expo compared to previous years, but it was smaller than Disney (obviously) yet I thought it was still really big. I didn’t buy any gear because it was all a bit overwhelming. I focused on getting my bib and a picture before leaving.
Then it was time to make my way back to the hostel on the Metra to create my dinner plans. I decided on an Italian restaurant called Osteria Via Stato my brother recommended in the River North (I think) area. I took the L there, and after getting lost for a few blocks, found my way to the restaurant. Since it was race weekend, I treated myself to an appetizer (burrata) and Cacio de Pepe, which I hadn’t had in a long time. I really enjoyed the burrata, but I should have chosen a different pasta. Since I didn’t feel comfortable on the L, I walked home and saw some beautiful sights. I think it was my first time being downtown at night.
Then it was time for bed to wake up for the Abbott 5K.
Saturday, October 9, 2021
I slept okay but was up well before I needed to be to get ready for the Abbott 5K. The start line is in the same area as the marathon, so it was a quick 1.5 block walk to the start. Read more about this race in the race recap.
After showering and getting ready, I found a coffee on my way to Michigan Ave for the start of the architecture tour. I thought this would be a good activity to see the city but stay off my feet. I had been on one when we lived here in the early 2000s and remember it being awesome. It was the most perfect day, and I got some amazing pictures!
After the tour, I walked really fast to the train station to catch a Metra train to the suburbs to visit my best friend from high school. I spent the rest of the day with her family before taking the train back and walking to the hostel. Then I laid out my gear and tried to get a good night’s sleep.
After all of the early mornings and hard work, I couldn’t believe the day was almost here. I had a really hard time sleeping, but I just had to trust that it was all going to be okay.
Sunday, October 10, 2021 – MARATHON Sunday
Getting Ready and Start Line
Whew. I was terrified when I woke up in the morning. I knew I had everything, but I was still so nervous. For breakfast, I ate my granola bar around 6:00 am and saved my Honey Stinger waffle until the start line. I got dressed, put on body glide, sunscreen, and my bib. It was finally time to do the actual race. My plan was to run 60 seconds and then walk 30 seconds after running for the first 1 or 1.5 miles as a warm-up.
I left my hotel around 6:30 am since they suggest arriving at the gates at that time. It was a long time to be at the start line, but I knew I wouldn’t relax anymore in my room. I wandered around the corrals for a while. I was originally in corral M, but I requested a change to L. Because of the temperature, I knew there wasn’t a snowball’s chance I would get below 5 hours (wishful thinking) and felt guilty about going to L. It all ended up working out because I couldn’t even figure out how to get to the L group from where I entered. Also, I will note, that I shouldn’t have felt guilty about starting in an ambitious group. I think people do that often.
Anyway, my conscious felt better starting in my initial group of M. I went to the corral after checking my bag, using the restroom, and decided to just wait. I had a long time left to go. Slowly but surely things started and we made our way to the start!
Marathon Strategy and Goals
As I was visualizing the course, I put a strategy together that split the course into 6 sections.
Section 1: Miles 1-3 > the downtown warm up
Section 2: Miles 3-8 > going north
Section 3: Miles 8 – 13.1 > south to halfway
Section 4: Miles 13 – 17 > the west side
Section 5: Miles 18 – 23 > going south and banana time
Section 6: Miles 23 – 26.2 > home stretch
I thought this would give me shorter mile markers to focus on and phases for focus. I knew I needed to go slow for the first three sections because I had to feel good at the 13.1 marker or things wouldn’t go well. Sections 4 and 5 would be the hardest and most boring. I wanted to evaluate how I was feeling at section 6 so I could decide if I wanted to pick it up and push towards the end.
Run in at least 5:15
PR (I should have confirmed this time before the race, but I knew it was just under 6 hours)
Run a steady 60/30 pace
Change to a 30/30 pace at mile 20, if I can’t sustain 60/30
Run some after mile 18
Finish even if I have to crawl
Section 1: Miles 1-3
The race was off to a good start. I read a lot of race recaps from previous years on blogs and what they say is true – GPS doesn’t work and it’s crowded. Everyone was running faster than I felt they should be, but it was just so darn exciting! There were so many crowds with funny signs. I really tried to force myself to stay slow for the first 1.5 miles, but I was feeling good. When I started my run/walk series, I felt really out of place. Even in my back-of-the-pack crowd, no one was walking. I tried to stay on the edge and out of people’s way. It was a challenge because I knew I had to run my race. I couldn’t follow what other people were doing. I needed to feel good and not tired when I came back down to the river again.
Section 2: Miles 3 – 8
Shortly after passing the 5K mark, the city becomes less congested and more residential. I keep on my 60/30 pace and was surprised by how strong I was feeling. I couldn’t get my podcasts to work, which was frustrating, but I ended up taking in the crowds and the experience. Around mile 5, you get into a park. I stopped for a restroom break and also got down a little bit of Gatorade for some electrolytes. I hate it so much, but I felt like I needed to do it.
As you make your way further north, the neighborhoods change, but there were crowds the whole way. Even though it was warm out, it didn’t feel that bad. There were gusts of wind which made you feel cool. I tried not to think of that, but I took water at every aid station to drink and also put a few on my head to try to keep me cool. One of the things I learned during training is that your heart rate increases as you get warmer, so it is important to cool yourself off (thus, why I bought a pair of shorts).
Mile 8 was when you make your turn back south. I reached the most northern part of the course. I just kept chugging along. Slow and steady.
Section 3: Miles 8 – 13.1
The last part of the first half was upon me. At some point during this stretch, I picked up another Gatorade and choked it down. Yuck! The city started getting more condensed as we made our way back into River North.
But I just kept chugging along. I couldn’t believe I was feeling so good at the halfway mark. At some point, I passed the police car doing the 15-mile pace for Wave 2. I felt really good about that and felt confident that I could PR this race. I thought with all my training it would be no issue to PR, but maybe I would do better than expected.
But I knew I had to keep my mind calm. Just slow and steady, 60/30. Just keep going. Don’t get excited. Just be steady. After all, this truly was a marathon and not a sprint!
Then we started getting back into the thick of the city and back to the river when we made it to the halfway point!
I just couldn’t believe that I was feeling good and not too exhausted. Just stay steady!
Section 4: Miles 13 – 17
In my visualization, I knew this part would be hard. This was just an out-and-back going west. I wasn’t sure what would be out here to look at, but it wouldn’t be like the River District. Around mile 15, I started to not feel well. I decided to walk for a little bit, took a Huma gel, and stopped at the restroom again. Nausea just wouldn’t go away so I kept walking. When I tried to run, I just couldn’t. I started to get really frustrated with myself. What happened? Why couldn’t I run? I stopped at the restroom again another time or two but nothing was helping. I was so angry and upset.
As a note, you do pass the United Center (I think Chicago Bulls) and the place where the Blackhawks play.
Section 5: Miles 18 – 23
Section 5 did not go well at all. I was so angry. At some point, I walked over to a side street hoping I could throw up but I couldn’t. How did I start out so well for it to go so not well? I was scared I wouldn’t be able to finish because I felt so ill. I got my banana, but I couldn’t even think about taking a gel (the last one I could take was the one I had at 15). Should I just pull over and be done with it? No, I wanted the medal. I worked too hard. I told myself that my last goal was to finish – even if it was crawling over the finish line at midnight – I would get to the end, so I had to just put one foot in front of the other. Just keep going.
This section was just miserable. Just focusing on one foot then the other.
Section 6: Miles 23 – 26.2
Only a 5K remained. This was when I was supposed to evaluate to see if I could push myself further. I couldn’t I tried to run; whether it was 30/30 or just a little run. I struggled so much. By the time I made the turn back north, I started to feel hot. It hit me that it was quite hot outside. There also wasn’t any shade. My Apple Watch died around mile 24. Around mile 25, I was desperate for a water stop. I was feeling dehydrated, but I was almost there! Almost done.
Then I got to Mt. Roosevelt. I wanted to tackle this. It felt like I was running, but I doubt it looked that way. My “run” sustained until the very top when I had to walk, but I was almost there. After the top, you turn left, and just like the other recaps said – and there it was – THE FINISH LINE! I was so close. “Run, Kristin,” I told myself. “Keep going. You’re so close.”
I finally crossed the finish line and was overwhelmed. My emotions were everywhere – I was angry with myself, relieved that I was done, proud that I had completed a marathon, tired, dirty, hot. I couldn’t sort it all out. All I could focus on was finding water and then my medal. They had a cool rag which was AMAZING!
Once I got my water, I made my way to bag claim to get my things and find a place to sit down.
My final time was 5:53:38, which was a lot worse than I had hoped. I thought it may be a PR, but once I double-checked my first marathon was 5:52:32. Just one minute would have made a huge difference. I was so disappointed because I trained harder for this marathon than I did for my first one. The pace was about 13:45 minute/mile. I was doing closer to 11:30/mile at the beginning before it went down to 14-16 minutes during the rough time.
Marathon Goal Update
Run in at least 5:15 – nowhere close, but I think it wouldn’t have been in my reach if I didn’t get sick
PR – off my 1 minute!!
Run a steady 60/30 pace – oh sigh…
Change to a 30/30 pace at mile 20, if I can’t sustain 60/30 – even 30/30 was too much
Run some after mile 18 – I tried to do some running, but I couldn’t sustain anything
Finish even if I have to crawl – Achieved this one
At the end of the day, as people remind me, I did finish a marathon and my first world major. It was an amazing experience and is just further motivation to improve in the future.
Since I signed up, I knew I wanted to celebrate with a Chicago-style pizza from Giordano’s and a Magnolia Bakery red velvet cupcake. Mission accomplished and it was delicious!
Monday, October 11, 2021
Flew home and wore my medal in the airport with the other finishers. I was ready to go home and see my puppies.
AHH! Marathon week is HERE! Mileage on the training plan is really low this week because the focus is on making sure your muscles are rested so you can power through on Sunday.
My massage therapist was available for a massage and it was so needed. I had a really tight muscle in my lower right back. I didn’t realize how bad it was until she was working it out. That is going to help my legs a lot for this weekend.
Running after my massage did not go well. My back was so sore that I couldn’t move my legs fast enough to run. My three miles were very much a walk averaging at 12:16/mile. I know this week I need to go slow and not push it.
My neighbor ran 4 miles with me today, and we practiced my 60/30 pattern. This went well, and I felt really good. I averaged a 13:00 pace because we walked a lot at the beginning. Again, the goal was to take it really easy this week.
AHH! This was my last run at home before I flew to Chicago. I completed an easy 2 mile run at an 11:09/mile pace in the morning and then all thoughts turned to actually packing everything on my packing list. I was so nervous I was going to forget something. I couldn’t believe I completed all of my training runs and tomorrow was time to go to Chicago.
I should also note, I tried to eat more carbs this week, and while I never have a good diet, I felt really yucky this week. I know I didn’t do it right, and this was something to figure out in the future.
I flew to Chicago in the morning and took the “L” to my hotel – HI Hostel. I couldn’t have picked a better location as the start line was literally a block away. More on trip details later. After settling in, I took the Metra to McCormick Place for the Expo. I got my bib and then went to dinner before getting a good night’s sleep.
The Abbott Chicago 5K started at 7:30 am. I wanted to experience the race and just take it easy. I ran the whole thing averaging 12:07/mile pace. Read the race recap for more details.
Today was the big day! Bottom line, I finished the race. I didn’t meet a goal time, I didn’t PR, but I got my medal. I’m frustrated with myself, but I know the areas I need to improve. Completing a marathon is a big accomplishment no matter what the time is. I’m proud of myself because I stood at the start line feeling proud of my training and the dedication I put into this race. For more details, read my Chicago Marathon Race Recap.
It’s funny. I put in 18 weeks of effort and still didn’t do as well as I wanted to. It probably will always bother me. I’ve never stuck to a training plan as I did here. I’m really proud of myself for that. I know I must be in better shape than I was before, but I don’t always feel like it. What I do know is that I want running to be part of my life for the long term. This won’t be my last marathon, but I am going to focus on losing weight and getting strong with shorter distances. Once I feel like I have a more solid base, then I’ll work to attack another marathon – and hopefully earn a new PR.
The last training week before marathon day! I look back on where I started on Week 1and can’t believe I’m actually here.
Something I really need to focus on is finding a strength routine that I will actually do. Why do I hate doing it so much?! Sigh…no workout again.
I finished my 4 scheduled miles at 11:07/mile pace, and I felt really good.
Today was rough. I was supposed to do 6 miles, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I went out and got in 3 at a 12:15/mile pace. While I’m happy I did something, I was really frustrated with myself for not being able to commit to doing all 6. What if I “wasn’t feeling it” on race day? That night I read about running mindset because I have been feeling really nervous. This was helpful and tried to get me to think more positively.
Since I had 3 on the schedule today, I did the 6 that I should have completed yesterday. This went well and I averaged an 11:07/mile pace. I was pleased with this and happy to see trying to change my mindset was helping.
Today I did get in some bodyweight exercises and stretching, but nothing serious.
This was my last long run before race day. It’s hard to believe 8 miles seemed daunting at the beginning of my training, and now it was a lower mileage day. I averaged 8 miles at a 12:00/mile pace. Not sure why this was the first time, but I tried a 60/30 run/walk style which worked out well. I felt strong and somewhat consistent, so I think this is what I am going to do for marathon day. I felt like I could probably sustain that for a good period of time.
I rode my bike but otherwise took the day easy. Trying to make sure I don’t get hurt before the big day which is in ONE WEEK!
I can’t believe next week is race week. I’ve been stressing a lot about the race and worrying, but bottom line is, I have worked hard for this. Even though I am nervous, I am excited and that is what I need to focus on. This is such an opportunity. An opportunity that was taken away last year, and I don’t want to waste the opportunity again. It’s such a unique experience to run a World Major Marathon and the Chicago Marathon.
We’re down to the tail end of training. It’s the first week of tapering and quite a disappointing week for me. Trying to stay focused on being healthy, staying strong, and prepping for the big weekend.
Another strength day that I was determined to do. I did a short yoga stretch workout on Apple Fitness, but that was about it. I didn’t even close my rings. This continues to be a struggle that I need to figure out.
This is where the week really went south. I had 5 miles on the schedule and laid out my clothes the night before; I was ready to tackle all of my runs this week. Unfortunately, I got about two miles in, and I couldn’t ignore the pain. More than a goal of getting my runs in is making sure I’m healthy when I get to the start line. I’ve struggled with back pain and spasms for years. The Sunday or Monday I was supposed to leave for Florida for Dopey 2020, I had a spasm start which caused me to walk most of the 48.6-mile challenge – not what I wanted at all!
For this reason, I shortened my distance to 3 miles and walked the remainder. My new goal was to reduce the spasms to make sure it didn’t get any worse. This is a combination of stretching, icing, Biofreeze, and moving slowly.
Needless to say, my 8 miles was a no-go. My back still had sharp pains. I spent the morning trying to stretch and do light core workouts. This pain could be avoided if I would do yoga and strengthen my core. It all comes back to this – why do I avoid it! I was really nervous and mad at myself since it was a beautiful fall morning.
Still trying to be gentle, I didn’t go out for my 4-mile run but did a light walk on my 1.5-mile path. It went okay, and it was a nice morning. I iced my back and continued to stretch and do my core exercises. Even though I did an Epsom salt path after my 20-mile run on Sunday, I’m sure this flare-up was from that and not stretching enough. I vowed to myself that I would take strength training and core work more seriously. If I want to keep running and get better this MUST be part of my routine.
The sharp pain was gone when I woke up on Friday, so I decided to try to get my 4 miles in from yesterday. I told myself I must walk and call it short if the pain came back. Luckily, it didn’t, but I knew I needed to move slowly. Because of the beautiful weather, I averaged an 11:33/mile pace and kept my heart rate to 156 BPM. I did some core exercises and stretching when I got home. I wanted to make sure I was feeling good for Sunday’s 15K + 3 miles.
It was such a beautiful day, and I didn’t have any plans for the day! The pups and I had a lazy morning. I read an article in Runner’s World about Ryan and Sara Hall. Sara will be racing the 2020 Chicago Marathon, so I will be at the same race as her! She was interviewed on a podcast I listened to a few weekends ago and I instantly liked her. This article made me like them even more – they are a Christian couple who are complete rockstars in the running community. What wonderful role models! Who knows, maybe I will even pass them in person on race weekend!
As part of my training, I researched races I could do to make my long runs more entertaining. One I found is an annual race the Lake Norman 15K and 5K. It takes place in Cornelius, NC, and is one I have tried to do in the past. Today, I had twelve miles on the training schedule, so it worked out perfectly. I did 1.6 miles before the race, about 9.3 miles for the race, and finished with a final mile. Read my race recap to hear how it went!
The race keeps seeming more real! On Thursday I got my bib and fun beanie in the mail for the Abbot Chicago 5K, which I plan on doing the Saturday before the marathon. I love this hat and absolutely cannot wait to get there for race weekend! During my research, I decided to book an architecture river tour for after the 5K. Time is getting close, so I need to finalize my itinerary!
The race is getting closer, and I feel it getting more and more real. This week was “peak week” where I would complete my first 40-mile week and finish a 20 mile run. While I had slacked the last few weeks, I was determined to complete all 40 miles this week. I’m excited about the race, but I’m definitely nervous. This was like the last night to study before a big exam…YIKES!
Even though I had good intentions for the week, I went on a bike ride but didn’t do an actual strength workout. I had a lot of fun on my bike, so I need to keep doing that going forward – it’s hard!
I ran 5 miles with my neighbor doing a little bit of a speed workout. I still only averaged a 12:05/mile pace, but I was running at a 9 minute or below pace for my 0.25 mile sprints (then walking for recovery).
1.5 mile warm up
0.25 mile sprint / 0.25 recovery walk (repeat this until mile 4)
1 mile steady to finish
Of all the runs on the training plan, this was one of the top three that made me nervous; the other two were the 18 mile and 20 mile runs. For many of these Wednesday semi-long runs, I think the mental hurdle may have been the hardest. This one, 10 miles, was quite daunting. I laid out my clothes the night before, had a plan, and made sure to get out the door on time. I just had a Honey Stinger waffle beforehand then took two Huma gels at miles 4 and 7.
In the end, I did my 5-mile run twice. My average pace was 12:08/mile, which is pretty good. Doing loops of my common paths has been really helpful for me. I think it helps to take the mental hurdle away.
When I went downstairs on Thursday, I was dressed and ready to go. I opened up the door to take out the dogs and…it was raining! Such a bummer. I just couldn’t bring myself to run 5 miles, so I snuggled with the pups instead before they haircut.
As I mentioned, I was determined to complete all 40 miles this week. I got out early on Friday morning and did a 5-mile hill workout. I hadn’t done a hill workout in a long time, but I felt great! Even with a hill workout, I beat all of my other paces this week. This run was done at an average of 11:49/mile, which made me really happy.
This ended up being a hangout day. I paddle boarded for a while, which was great exercise, but otherwise, was pretty lazy.
20 Miles. The most scary run on the training schedule. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I knew I had to finish it. The furthest I had trained in my two previous marathons was 18 miles for the 2018 Disney Marathon and 16 for Dopey 2020. I never completed my training plan, and I was never confident at the start of the race. Even if it took me all day and I had to walk the entire way, I was going to finish 20 mile milestone.
I think one of the best things I learned during this training cycle is planning out my running path. It’s daunting to say “I’m going to run 20 miles” and not know how far that is. I’ve enjoyed doing loops of my common routes, and I feel like this has mentally made longer distances easier. So, all week I toyed with doing 4 loops of my 5 mile path or doing 3 of my 6 mile route with an extra two. In the end, I opted for the latter.
This proved to be very effective. I went out at 6:20 am knowing it would take me around 4 hours to finish. Having a realistic time in my head also helped with the mental challenge of running. I lined up podcasts from Bigger Pockets, Dave Ramsey, Marathon Training Academy, For the Long Run, and I’ll Have Another. Podcasts are a great source of information and inspiration, and best of all, they are FREE! Listening to Trevor from Marathon Training Academy discuss his grueling marathon in the Italian Alps was very entertaining as I attempted my own grueling workout. I discovered running podcasts a few months ago, and it has challenged me to think differently about my running, much like running blogs did at the beginning of this training cycle.
Each lap was hard, but I kept going. I got really tired in the middle, but was able to stay strong at the end of my final lap. In the end, I averaged a 12:43/mile pace, which I was very pleased with. I was most happy that I finished my 20 mile training run and that I got in the miles!
This was the final high-mileage week. Tappering starts now, and I’m only 3 weeks away from the big day. An exciting update from the week was that Chicago Marathon put out the participant’s guide, which was my bedtime reading Thursday night. It’s becoming more and more real! Time to focus and start my visualization exercise from my first marathon to think about how I will feel at each stage of the race.
Another training week is done, and this week marked 30 days left in the countdown and less than 1 month to go. I’m getting really nervous, but I am just trying to stay focused. I got in most of my runs but came up 4 miles short because of my Sunday long run.
This was a pretty lazy day, and I didn’t even close my rings. No strength training again…sigh.
My neighbor came out with me to run 5 miles. It was a really great run! We walked a few times, but I averaged an 11:34/mile pace. The weather was a bit humid but nowhere near where it was.
Today was supposed to be 9 miles. I went out and got in 0.5 miles before I heard thunder. I changed my mind to do another 5 until I saw lightning. I’m trying to push myself to run in the rain, but storms are a no-go. I turned around getting 1 in. Then I looked at the weather and decided to finish the remaining 4 in the evening. My average pace was slow at 12:51/mile.
Even though I finished the miles, I was reminded why I run in the morning and not the evening. It was so hard to fall asleep!
I had to get my 9 miles in; I didn’t want to, but I’m too close to race day, and there would be a lot of regret if I didn’t. Things were going okay until I took my gel around mile 4…and it was a major malfunction! Usually, I eat a little then hold it before taking some more. Unfortunately, I must have squeezed it, and Huma apples and cinnamon was all over my hand, and watch! I tried to wash off by dumping water from my water bottle, but I was nervous about ruining my watch. I kept on going until mile 5 or something. When I looked down, I had forgotten to restart my watch from the fiasco! I was deflated. I finished the 5.5 miles but went home to clean my watch and call it a day.
Then I saw my training plan on the fridge. I NEEDED to get my 9 miles in! It was only 3.5 miles. Even though I was frustrated, I knew I would be more upset to not finish it. I would regret it later. So I went. And I finished. I’m proud of myself for sticking it out and doing so many miles on a weekday. Also, my watch seems to be okay.
It was an early morning for travel to Denver. Needless to say, there was no strength training. I did get some walking in, but nothing strenuous.
I walked around Denver for some morning exercise. It was about 5 miles overall, and a nice way to see the city.
I was supposed to run 14 miles. This would be my first run at altitude, so I needed to make sure to take it slowly. I wasn’t sure how I would feel, and I didn’t want to get stuck somewhere. My friend told me to make sure to drink a lot of water, which I could do because I remembered my water bottle!
The Airbnb was not far from City Park, which is a large park in the middle of Denver and where the marathon/half marathon starts and finishes. It’s also where the Denver Zoo is; this reminded me a lot of Central Park Zoo, even though I didn’t get to go inside. It’s not a large zoo, but it has smaller animals and was advertising a new penguin exhibit. I wish I could have arranged this in my itinerary.
Anyway, back to the run. Jetlag and me being an early bird had me waiting for the sun to come out so I could go out. This was around 6:30 am, and it was a beautiful morning! The sunrise appeared over the golf course, and there was a slight chill in the air. I kept to a sub-13 pace, which was feeling like a nice, gentle trot. Then I just wandered. Eventually, I came across Ferrell Lake, and wow. Just wow. “Purple mountain majesty above the fruited plain” was shown in the distance. I took a lot of pictures but had to sit with it for a while. It was just too unbelievable. Probably the prettiest sight I have seen on a run.
I felt fine, but eventually, I ran out of water. That I felt and it did not feel good. I cut my run short at 10 miles. It was a bummer and probably not the right thing to do so close to race day, but I couldn’t keep going. I really needed water. I had to walk the last mile.
Yesterday, several people posted a 9.11 mile run in memory of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I paused and said a prayer when I reached this distance. It’s so important for us to remember the fear that was created that day and the unity and pride that came from it. We are Americans, and we are strong.
There are only 4 weeks until race day. Next week is my peak week, and I am getting really nervous. I don’t feel like I’m in good shape, but I know I’m better than when I started. Trying to stay the course. Here’s to 4 more weeks!
A solid 4.5 mile run today. Average pace of 12:41/mile
I didn’t run today. It was raining, and I just couldn’t think about doing 9.
9 miles on a weekday – this run was a major accomplishment! This is as much of a mental hurdle as it is a physical one. I did the run at an 11:51/mile pace.
1.5 miles. Just wasn’t feeling it…I couldn’t get myself to do the 5 miles the training plan had scheduled.
My training plan called for an 18-mile run this weekend. I went back and forth on this a lot. I’m not sure if it was the right thing to do, but ultimately, I decided to run 12 miles today and race my 10K on Sunday. It was tricky to figure out how to get 18 miles in with the race on Sunday starting at 8 am.
I felt good about this run which I did doing a 3/1 run/walk pattern and averaged a 12:09/mile pace. Afterward, I even played 15 holes of golf before having to leave to get to the expo before it closed.
Today was the big day! I was really excited about this race. The Around the Crown 10K is a really run event. The weather was great (even though I should have brought a hat because it was sunny!) I felt good and strong during the race which resulted in a new PR for a 10K. Read my race recap for more information.
Overall, I am proud of my performance this week. I PRed the 10K and completed my first 9-mile run on a weekday. I’d say that’s pretty good!
Much like last week, this week was a struggle. I felt frustrated and discouraged on many of my runs, but I’m just trying to focus on completing the miles on my marathon training schedule. Supposedly, I am getting stronger with every workout, but I feel like I’m getting worse. Just get in the miles…
Pure Barre on Monday night was great. Good workout and a big check on the plan to start the week.
Three-mile run was the scheduled run on Tuesday. My plan was to do a heart rate run, which got thrown off because of this cat! I kept pausing my watch because it was following me and eventually I messed up and hit stop not pause! I probably did this is a 12:30-ish pace with an average HR in the 140s, which is good. Thankfully, the cat has a home.
My last 6-mile Wednesday run! It was a struggle, but I somehow did it an 11:56/mile pace with an average HR of 155, so I was very pleased with this. What I was NOT pleased about is forgetting my Apple Watch on the charger, so I didn’t get my stands for the day! Super bummer.
Another 3-miler focusing on HR. Finished at 11:58/mile and an average HR of 141, which is right on target. I feel like I’m getting slower, but I’m hoping it’s just the humidity.
My standard 6 AM Pure Barre class went well. I’m not sure I’m getting any stronger though. I’m able to do some things better, but I’m just not sure how it’s impacting my running.
I went on a short walk and then to Pure Barre. Not quite the cross-training I should do, I just wasn’t in the mood to do much else. I meant to do a workout on my Apple app, but I didn’t quite get there. I did take a non-recorded 30-minute walk with one of my Wag! dogs, which was hot but nice, and made $17 in the process. Sweet!
Long-run day was so hard. I’ve had a chance to relax a few hours before writing this since I really needed it. It was so frustrating and gave me a lot of doubts as to whether I am going to be able to pull off this marathon. Long runs are the foundation of marathon training, and while not the singularly most important thing, a very important part of marathon training. Today was 13 miles (I made it 13.1 so I could officially call it halfway) which takes me back down to the river to start the south side of the course. I finished the route with 13.1 miles at a 13:06/mile pace and an average HR of 154 BPM.
It’s frustrating because I am sticking to my training plan. I’ve done almost every run and this week was hard. Just hard and awful. I left the house at 6 am since it was in the low 70s but the humidity was over 90%. My first 8 miles or so went well keeping my run 3 min/walk 1 min cycle. I had an Huma gel around mile 3.5. It was definitely getting warmer around mile 7 and my route wasn’t very shady. It was time for my treat of Clif Blocks around mile 7.5 and wasn’t too long after that when I couldn’t maintain my run/walk pattern.
I walked with a few run spurts before I made it back to my house around mile 9. It was necessary to refill my water bottle but had to tell myself not to sit down. The AC when I entered was glorious! Even though the pups wanted scratches, I couldn’t stay. The next mile was meh, as I did run some, but after mile 10, I was done. I kept saying “just get in the miles. It’s okay if you walk. Try to speed walk like Savannah Half Marathon.” It was miserable!
When I got back home, I sat on my yoga mat looking like I had gone swimming. My adorable dogs just wanted some loving and snuggled even though I had to be very smelly. After a shower, protein shake (which I forced since it’s supposed to be good to have protein after a run), and catnap, I started to feel better. Online church was greatly appreciated, as I was in no mood to go anywhere.
One of my friends responded to my Instagram story to tell me good job. I told him how discouraged I felt, and he reminded me to keep going and that it will pay off. Hot, humid runs are hard. He said, “a bad workout is a trillion times better than not doing it.” It was what I needed to hear to start week 9 training.
Week 9 is my halfway point. The mileage is going to increase and things are about to get hard. Part of training s mental. I just need to stick with it and have confidence this training plan will prepare me for marathon day.