Tag: chicago running

Marathon Training Week 11 {Boston Marathon}

I pinky promise that at this time I’m not stepping back from blogging, my lack of posts lately is due to a few things including still not having internet at home, getting food poisoning on Sunday night and not leaving my couch all day Monday, and then being busy at work wrapping stuff up before leaving for Boston. It’s been a busy few weeks and I’ve barely had time to get worried about taper.. which is a good thing I think. Anyway, here goes my training from last week.

week11Monday – OFF. First day in the new apartment and Ian and I both took the day off to get stuff done. We did pretty well but it was pretty jam packed with lots of running around.

Tuesday – Recovery 7 miler with 8 x 100 m strides (7:47 min/mile). I had a lot of energy so I let myself run by feel. My apartment is farther from the lake than my last one and as this was my first run from the new location, it was fun to see exactly how far away I was and to explore the area a bit.

tuesdayWednesday – V02 Max 8 miler with 3 x 1600 m at 5k race pace (5k race pace – 6:35 min/mile; overall for run- 7:34 min/mile). I slept through my alarm so I was already feeling scrambled when I headed out to run and I wasn’t mentally ready for a tough run. I ran a 2 mile warm up, 3 x 1600 m at 6:09, 6:32, and 6:45 with a 1600 m jog between. I was surprised how easy the 6:09 felt but then didn’t want to push hard on the last two (especially the last one). Even though I probably averaged around my target pace, I wasn’t happy with myself after this run.

wednesdayThursday – Recovery 6 miler (8:11 min/mile). I felt surprisingly good after my speed work on Wednesday and just wanted to keep running. I stuck to the taper schedule though and called it quits after 6 easy miles.

thursdayFriday – Easy 5 miler with 6 x 100 m strides (7:49 min/mile). I slept through my alarm again but was still able to squeeze in my short run. It was short and sweet and I felt pretty good.

friday1Saturday – Easy 6 miler (7:37 min/mile). I wanted to run a little harder so I let myself do it while exploring my neighborhood. I had no route in mind, just ran around and tried to wind up back at my place at mile 6. I really enjoyed this and will have to do more “exploring” after Boston.

Sunday – 12 miler (7:52 min/mile). I wasn’t feeling this run at all. Sometimes I psych myself out with shorter weekend long runs and don’t mentally prepare at all because “12 miles isn’t that long”… wrong! All long runs deserve more respect than that :P. To keep my mind entertained I ran to the tip of Navy Pier and stopped to take some pictures. I haven’t been out there since last summer.

sundayallAs you can see there was a complete lack of strength training last week. I debated doing some but decided not to because I wasn’t feeling it, our DVD player wasn’t set up, and I didn’t want to wear my body down anymore. Right now is the time to rest and trust my training.

Is everyone else loving running in the spring weather?

Chicago Fitness Question


Over the weekend, I received a question from someone who moved to Chicago over 2 years ago. While this individual has previously enjoyed running, swimming, and biking, they have had trouble finding love for fitness in Chicago due to constantly being surrounded by traffic and people and a flat landscape. The individual has tried joining running and triathlon groups and also has gone out to the burbs to bike but hasn’t loved any of the options. The individual asks, “I would love to hear you explain how/why you love fitness in Chicago…My question – how do you do it?”

Considering I’ve only lived in Chicago for about 2.5 years, I can’t pretend to be an expert on fitness in Chicago. However, I must say that I’ve really grown to love running and cycling in the city and I really want to help this individual out. I’m also guessing that these issues are not uncommon among transplants in Chicago. I figured I’d provide a few suggestions and then if you guys think of something else you can leave it in the comments for the individual to look through. People who don’t live in Chicago are more than welcome to suggest things as well, many of these issues with fitness in Chicago are most likely applicable to any large city.

  • I remember avoiding certain big roads when I first moved to Chicago because I didn’t like to run around all of the traffic and people. I’d cut through neighborhoods and side streets to avoid busy intersections and the thought of running down State Street or Michigan Ave would really stress me out. Eventually I think I just got over this. As I started to work out earlier in the morning, traffic and people became less of an issue and eventually, I adjusted to running around cars. I also started to appreciate seeing people because it made me feel safe.
  • I’m a very independent runner meaning that I like to run with others on occasion but I do most of my runs alone so I’m pretty unfamiliar with running and triathlon groups. One suggestion that I do have is trying to form a smaller running group that might be a better fit physically and mentally.  A smaller group may also hold you more accountable as you will be noticed if you miss a training session.

  • I do most of my training on the lakeshore path and I know that crowds (especially during the summer and leading up to the Chicago marathon) can be a huge pain. I try to get out the door really early (between 5 and 6 am) both to avoid the heat (summer) and the majority of the crowds and I find that really helps cut down on the congestion. During the winter, I only see a handful of people out running in the morning so it really feels like I own the path.

  • When I cycle, I ALWAYS go south of Roosevelt on lakeshore. The path is MUCH less congested in that direction and I can get some decent speed going. I’ve only tried to go north once and I ended up cutting my workout short and riding my bike back through the city because that was easier than weaving through all of the runners.

So what do you guys think? Any other tips on making city fitness more lovable? Why do you love working out where you live?

Marathon Training Week 2 {Boston Marathon}


Trying to explain to Ian how I feel like I have dinosaur feet
when I wear Injinji socks. [Only running-related pic this week.]

Monday - Took the usual OFF-day. I’d love to be motivated enough to strength train on my day off from cardio but usually I sleep in and miss the opportunity to work out in the morning and then just want to go home after work. I am human.
Tuesday – 11 mile medium long run outside (8:07 min/mile). It was almost 60 degrees when I woke up so I knew I had to run outside even if it was drizzling and windy. Had a great start to my run but when I turned around, I realized I’d been running with the wind at my back for the last 5.5 miles and that the last 5.5 miles would be straight into the wind. Oh well, I’ve heard Boston can have a major headwind so maybe runs like this one will come in handy!
Wednesday – Recovery 5 miles on the treadmill (8:17 min/mile). Talk about a temperature swing. By Wednesday the 60 degree weather was gone and we were way down into the teens. My recovery run was too fast (McMillan says I need to be slower than an 8:48…) but I just wanted my time on the treadmill to be over.
Thursday – Lactate threshold (tempo) 8 miler on the treadmill (7:39 min/mile). The weather stayed super cold so I kept my butt inside and on the ‘mill. Had some treadmill issues but I was able to complete three warm-up miles, 4 miles sub-7:20 (started at 7:20 and picked up the past each mile so my last mile was close to a 7:00 min/mile), and then one cool down mile. My tempo miles should be faster, 6:51-7:02, but I wanted to keep it easy on the treadmill. Injuries are no fun.
Friday – Recovery 5 miles on the treadmill (8:33 min/mile). Kept it pretty easy and watched 30 Rock on Netflix on my iPhone. I’ll most likely continue to watch something during my recovery runs because it stopped me from constantly checking my miles/time like I do when I watch the news.
Saturday – Easy 5 miles outside (7:43 min/mile). Ran outside through the snow and slush and had so much fun. I kept my pace easy — but I was feeling really good — and just enjoyed an old route through the city including my old neighborhood.
Sunday – 15 mile medium long run outside (8:00). It was 15 degrees feels like 8 when I woke up and I seriously considered just going to the gym. However, I knew that Kim was going to be running outside and I didn’t want to feel like a wimp so I bundled up in three layers on top, two layers below, two pairs of gloves, and a neck warmer and I headed outside. It honestly wasn’t so bad until the wind and snow picked up but even then it was pretty! My pace jumped around a lot- when the path was clear I tried to run around a 7:45 but when it was icy, snowy, or slick I just ran whatever pace felt safe and comfortable. I took half a Double Espresso Clifshot at mile 7 and then finished it at mile 11, I was surprised how much energy the gel packed!

Total miles: 49 running

I’m really working hard on hitting the right paces for each of my runs. Last training session, I ran my recovery runs and my long runs too fast and my body peaked too soon leaving me tired before the Goofy Challenge. I also know that if I am going to be running more slower miles, I need to be able to hit the faster paced tempo and speed work paces as well. I keep telling myself to trust the plan but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me nervous!

I’m also reworking my fueling. What worked for me during training for Goofy was too little too late when it came to race day. Any suggestions? At what distance do you start fueling and how much do you take in how frequently?

How has your training been? Have you had crazy weather this past week?

Double Digits

Woohoo! This morning I ran my first double digit run since I was trying to train for the Boston Marathon while injured and pushed my body too hard on a 16 mile run. Let’s just say you should never try to run 16 miles after taking 3 weeks off of running. It will be miserable and you will hurt yourself.

Anyway, I woke up at 5:30 and checked the weather. It was 76 degrees outside which normally for me is on the warm-side. However, after this week I will take anything in the 70′s. I got dressed, drank a protein shake, and headed out the door.

I started running on my 10 mile route with the intention of heading toward the lake. The more I thought about running on Lake Shore, the less I wanted to do it (I think I was a little sick of it from this past week) and I decided to run an out and back route instead. The sky was overcast for the first half of my run and I felt good. When my watch chirped 5 miles, I turned around and headed home.

The sun started to come out on my way home and I became really thirsty. I didn’t pack water because the Lake Shore path has plenty of drinking fountains and I was planning on running along the water for a good stretch of my 10 miles. Whoops. I spent the last 3 miles of my run searching for a water fountain. I tried open buildings, parks, schools, etc and had no luck. Around mile 9, I found a tennis court with a fountain and drank so much water it bounced around in my stomach after I started running again. I felt so much better that I didn’t care.

I’m planning on going to Sports Authority today to pick up a bunch of stuff. I’ll be picking up some new water bottles for my fuel belt as well (I tossed mine last year because they got gross). Lesson learned today, even when it’s not 90 degrees, I need water on my runs.


Besides the thirst debacle, I felt really strong on my run. My back and quads were sore from biking but everything else felt good :)

A long[er] run deserves a big breakfast and oats in a jar was on the menu today.

I cooked 1/2 cup oats and 1 tsp chia seeds in 11/2 cups of water. I stirred in half of a mashed and microwaved banana, about 1 T maple sugar, and 2 sliced raw dates (not dried).

I topped everything with millet granola that I made yesterday and is going fast. I cannot control myself around this stuff!

This breakfast was absolutely delicious. The jar had just the right amount of almond butter (roughly 1 T) but it was distributed evenly around the sides of the jar and not just on the bottom. Yum!

I have a few errands to run today and then I’m just planning on relaxing. I’ll be back tomorrow to recap the rest of the weekend in a Monday Things post!

Do you like oats in a jar? How do you bring water with you on a run?


I’m starting to feel really anxious, I just can’t wait to get to Boston! Unfortunately, there’s still like a billion things I need to do before we leave including pack. I hear that’s kind of important right ;)?

I started my Wednesday morning with a 7 mile run. I kept my pace at about an 8:15 min/mile and took it easy. It’s funny how I now notice all of the tendons and muscles in my legs tightening up when I run. That used to be background noise for me! Hopefully as I keep increasing my mileage the injury worries will go away and I’ll start to relax while running.

Around mile 5 I started implementing the Galloway method. I know that I can run 16+ miles without stopping but I don’t know that I can do it safely. I’ve never really walked during a marathon (besides for Chicago when the heat got to me) so I figured it would be smart to try it out before race day. As per the recommendations, I ran for 4 minutes and walked for 30 seconds. My legs felt fine but I was sick of staring at my watch waiting to slow down or speed up. I just can’t imagine doing that during a marathon. However, I do like the idea and want to have a backup plan in case an injury flares up or my musles start to ache.

Has anyone tried the Galloway method? Thoughts?

This morning I woke up nice and early and ellipticalled 6 miles at the gym. I was planning on going again tomorrow before our 9 a.m. flight but my throat is scratchy so I’ll probably sleep instead. I’m also going to down emergenC today, can’t be too careful!

And of course I totally didn’t start packing yesterday! I guess I’ll have to do that tonight, at least all of my laundry is done. I also wanted to ask those of you who commented saying that you’ve run Boston before, what should I pack? I know all of the basics but is there something that you forgot that you really wish you hadn’t? I want to be as prepared as possible :P

Also, Bostonians, do you have some must-see/must-do/must-eat things in the city? I’ve never been to Boston so I don’t really know where to start! The hotel I’m at staying in is in Cambridge but I’m sure we’ll be all over the place throughout the weekend.

I’m off to class have a great day!