Tag: goals

Journey to the 2013 Chicago Marathon & Race Goals

I signed up for the Chicago Marathon in February at the marathon kickoff event.

I was riding a high from completing the Goofy Challenge and starting my Boston Marathon training plan and got caught up in the excitement of running a hometown marathon. I expected to PR at Boston (didn’t happen) and then run Chicago for fun to make up for the awful experience I had two years ago.

Then I ran a bad race at Boston and I was frustrated. I had trained hard for a PR and felt like my fitness was where it should be going into a marathon (note: lack of hill training really killed me for the course). I decided to cut my post-race recovery short and ramp up my miles faster than normal. I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal because I had only raced 15 miles of the Boston course before starting a run/walk regimen that got me across the finish line. I started to look for a marathon in May and I even e-mailed the race director at one in the Chicago area inquiring about registering for the full. I also started taking strength classes and doing two-a-days (run + strength). This was not so smart two weeks post-marathon.

It’s really no surprise that a few weeks later I started noticing a weird pain in my “hip” area. It continued to get worse as overuse injuries tend to do and I finally went to my doctor and had an MRI. I was lucky and didn’t have a stress fracture but the multiple strains in my adductor and glutes meant that a May marathon was out of the question and running Chicago was up in the air. I was told I could run but I decided to drastically reduce the intensity and quantity of workouts I was doing and focus on physical therapy. I swam, I hung out on the recline bike with a book, and I rested a lot. Running felt awkward and uncomfortable and I took that as a sign that my body needed a break- not just from running but cardio in general.

My PT continued to go well (I was told that I healed incredibly fast, especially considering I had an adductor strain) and I was given the go ahead to run-walk. I started small and built up my base during the end of May and June. Running the Chicago Marathon seemed possible again but I was unsure in what capacity. The final push happened when Ian and I took a long weekend trip to Denver and I decided to cut my mileage over the weekend. The extra rest really helped and when I got back to Chicago my pain was minimal and my legs felt almost back to normal. Something magical seemed to happen in Denver (hint: Ian, can we move there already?).

Finally, by the end of June, I was ready to start my marathon training plan. I felt a little under prepared (I prefer to start marathon training capable of running a half marathon) but relatively healthy. I decided to use the Hansons Marathon Method training plan and focus on things like hydration and sleep that I tend to struggle with during training.

In a totally unexpected move, I changed my shoes, switching from my beloved Adrenalines to the Wave Inspires with custom insoles and I felt faster (placebo effect?). Training started to go really well. I hit my tempo paces and struggled (and succeeded) at my track workouts. I graduated from PT and ran all over Michigan (on two separate vacations!)

I hit my highest weekly mileage (66) and ran through crazy fog. I PR-ed a half without truly racing it and I logged week after week of early morning miles. Then life got busy (in a good way :)). I started taking classes while working full time and Ian proposed and we started planning our wedding. Family stuff (and stress) crept up and my life ended up being way busier and more hectic than I imagined it would be in October.

Yesterday, after an emotional day and a late night in Evanston, I talked to Ian about dropping out of the marathon. I’ve been so busy and so stressed lately that it seems like the marathon would just be one more thing I’d have to deal with. When I said this Ian looked at me like I was crazy. He reminded me about how much work and time I’ve put into training and told me I’d be insane to not run the race [side note: this is why I'm marrying this man, he gets my run-obsession]. I thought about it for a few minutes and then realized he was right. In February, I decided to run Chicago because I wanted to run a hometown marathon and I wanted to have a good experience on the course. I can definitely still do so.

So what does this mean about my goals for the race? Well, I’m definitely still chasing that 3:20 marathon but I’m not approaching Sunday like I approached Boston (i.e. 3:20 or bust), I’m challenging myself to just run on Sunday. To appreciate spending however long it takes me to finish the race, to not be concerned about family drama, homework, or other stresses and to enjoy doing something I love while running through the streets of my city. That 3:20 marathon will always be there and I know I’m capable of crushing my time goal in the proper circumstances but I’ll be happy and proud of myself no matter how the marathon goes on Sunday.

To anyone else running Chicago, good luck! I hope to see you on the course with a huge smile on your face!




Goals for 2013

I’ve decided that rather than coming up with New Year’s resolutions for 2013, I’m going to focus on a few goals that I’d like to accomplish in the next year. Hopefully, firm goals instead of loosely defined resolutions (like I had in 2012…) will be easier to remember and achieve :).

1. PR in the marathon.

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I know I am capable of this and I also know that I need to run smart to achieve this goal. No injuries in 2013!

2. Speaking of the above… foam roll every day and if possible 2x/day.

I know this sounds extreme but I’m not very good about stretching and I tend to have very tight calves that could potentially lead to injury. As I increase my mileage, I need to be more conscientious of other issues like flexibility, stretching, muscle weakness, etc.

3. Increase my mileage to XX/week while running more “slow” miles.

I’m not sure what the upper bound will be but I’d like to safely increase my weekly mileage while also listening to my body and knowing when too much is too much. If I’m going to successfully do this and not injure myself, I’m going to need to run my recovery runs even slower than I do now. The bulk of my training will have to be in the 8:00-8:30 min/mile range with a few days of speed work thrown in.

4. Get back to triathlons and compete in a longer distance tri.

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Most likely this will be olympic distance but it may be a half-Ironman if I can’t run a fall marathon.

5. Run more races than I did in 2012.

I took me until the end of 2012 to appreciate how much I like racing, even if it’s just for fun. I want to sign up for more races with friends next year and enjoy myself!

6. Lastly, I have one goal for this old blog, I’d like to give it more direction. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make my blog all serious but I would like to blog a little more purposefully. I have some ideas but I’m not quite sure what exact changes I’ll be making in 2013– TBA.

Do you have any goals for 2013?