Tag Archives: chicago

Chicago Marathon Training Week #4

I’m currently laying on the couch, feet up, with two different ice bags around my ankles.

Normal aches and soreness aside, this was a great week of training—and I’m zonked. But, I thought I’d give a quick baby recap of last week’s running/training.

M: spin + lifting

T: 10.3 m run

W:6 m treadmill run, 1 m warm up, 4 m < 7:50, 1 m cool down + body pump

T: 8.4 m run

F: Rest

S: 6.5 m trail run

S: 16.3 m run @ 8:30 avg pace

Total: 47.5 miles.

This week was run heavy. This was the first time in a while I’ve run 3 days in a row and 5/7 days of the week. I felt pretty good each day, although by the end I was experiencing some tendinitis in both my ankles. This could have been from doing a trail run in my Pure Connects, followed by a 16 miler the next day. Or just basic mileage increase.

Either way, the time for proceeding with caution is upon us. Although these are normal aches for me, I want to be especially careful to tend immediately to them. Ounce of prevention=pound of cure. On that note, my IT band continues to feel great, and maybe this week I’ll get brave enough to ween myself off of the strap I’ve been using. It’s really become a security blanket at this point…so hopefully before too long I’ll be comfortable heading out without.

That’s all for now, but I’ll leave you with a photo from the weekend. More to come soon! This is perhaps the funniest real-life photobomb I’ve seen. If you know my Granddad(the bomber in the photo) you’ll agree…

20120730-081114.jpg

Happy Monday!

This Time Around…

Warning:

This post is going to be all about running.

But that’s not too off-beat, I suppose.

Running!

This is what a stupid runner’s high-enduced smile looks like

I have been stupidly excited about my runs recently. Like, smile plastered on my face, greeting every person/biker/car/rollerblader I see going by with a toothy grin and an in-your-face “GOOD MORNING!”

Here’s an example about how this elation has taken over my better senses: Tuesday, I finished a 10.3 mile run feeling on top of the world, both literally and figuratively. I had just climbed the super steep hill up to my house, and I felt super confident about my overall speed. Also, my IT band/knee was completely unnoticeable, which took my runner’s high to a recovered runner’s high—a whole new degree of giddy. THEN, later as I was driving back down said hill I’d just climbed, I saw a fellow runner girl grinding back up, and you know what my thought was? “I wish that was ME doing that right now! Jealous!”

Seriously, someone cage me.

But overall, I think these euphoric (bordering on obnoxious…I know, you can say it) feelings are stemming from two things:

1) My return from injury

2) My new-and-improved approach to marathon training

Obvs returning from injury (and please knock on every wooden item near you right now) is great reason to dig your runs. You have such a heightened appreciation for running after being away from it for so long. Relatively speaking, I wasn’t away too long, but I think any unplanned time away from running can totally revamp your love for it. I always love running, but there’s something so renewing about it when you come back from injury.

I know I haven’t discussed much about my new training mentality, partly because it wasn’t complete, but I love what it’s been doing for both my physical and mental strength.

So what, pray tell, is this new approach?

Very simple: Take myself less seriously, try new things, and be flexible.

These things are working together quite well so far, and I think they’ve done wonders for my training.

I’m having more fun, I’m looking forward to workouts more, and I’m less stressed out about the whole shebang.

So what are the steps I’ve been taking to ensure that my new approach works correctly?

Well, to begin, I think that the biggest thing I’m working on is very intentionally caring less. This sounds counterintuitive, because…um, hello, doesn’t marathon training take a butt ton of self motivation?

Yes, but hear me out.

As I realized after the Tacoma Marathon, the physical training—meaning the daily workouts, the mileage buildup, and the general grind of it all—isn’t the hard part for me. By nature, I enjoy the physical challenge, and my brain is programmed to go!go!go! all the time in terms of pushing harder and getting stronger. I realize that this can be a benefit, particularly for someone who runs marathons, however it can absolutely be taken to a destructive level. Take the TCM for example, or the fact that to this day I have to force myself to be okay with taking days off.

No hard feelings, Tacoma. Kidding! There still are. I hate you. Oh, it was all my own fault? FINE. I still hate your hills though.

So, I needed a new mentality. And that entailed letting myself off the hook and focusing more on the day-to-day victories. I realize this may only make sense in my own head, but essentially what I’ve done is I’ve taken the pressure off of performing at an unreasonable standard. I still want to run fast, and I still want to run many miles, but those numbers aren’t the reason I love this sport. What I love more than anything is to just run—fast, slow, long, short, outside, inside (okay…that’s pushing it), alone, and with others. So although I am training with number and mile goals in mind, they aren’t my primary concern.

With that said, I am also trying to get myself out of my normal exercise comfort zones. Sure, I can muster up the energy for an easy run or a gym workout—but within my own agenda. Ask me to go to a class I’ve never been to before or try a crazy lifting move I’ve never seen—fogetta about it!

However, I am a big believer that it is outside of our comfort zones where we find excitement, challenge, and—ultimately—improvement. So I committed myself to trying new things, yes in hopes of building my physical strength, but more so in hopes of shaking up my routine.

And I’ve found that you never quite know what you like until you venture into the unknown. I have absolutely loved trying new things (weights classes, different running workouts (tempo!!), new yoga poses) and I think the best part is that they make me excited for each daily workout. Instead of just being a means to an end (the end being Chicago in this case), I’m taking pride in my day-to-day sweat sessions and enjoying the smaller victories they present.

In addition to trying new things, like lunges, squats, and mountain climbers (I want to go on record saying I HATE THESE), I’m also getting very cozy with my rest days. They are scheduled into my training, and I’m taking comfort in them instead of letting them make me anxious. I’m realizing that if you are training at a hard enough level, you should want your rest days instead of fear them. I think before, when I was avoiding any rest at all, it’s because I was operating on an at-threshold activity level just for the sake of not wearing myself out. I wouldn’t push myself too hard for the sake of not needing a rest day.

DUMB

I’d much rather work hard, recharge, and stay healthy. Plus, now that I need to wake up a 4:45, days off are like a beacon of light every week.

Resting must involve rehydrating with a tropical beverage.

I know you’re probably getting bored (that’s presuming you’re still reading…and if so, hi!) so I’ll be brief in finishing up my last approach to marathon training.

Be flexible…that’s the motto I keep telling myself.

Flexible, yes, in the sense of stretching and yoga (jk I haven’t been in two weeks). But more so in being okay with the fact that life is going to get in the way of marathon training. And I’m letting it—because when marathon training starts to take over all other joys in life, such as an extra beer or three the night before a long run, a weekend visit to see your friends, or a lazy Sunday, it starts to drain us.

Running is a huge part of my life, but it’s not all of it. I like to use running to enhance the other great things in life, not take away from them. This means that my training schedule is amendable, and I’m not freaking out over hitting every target workout every day of the week.

A perfect example would be this upcoming weekend. BF and I are going down to my Summerhouse to play with my family…meaning LR plans needed to be altered. Ordinarily, this would stress me out. But instead, I rearranged, I front loaded the weekend with some extra miles this week, and I’m allowing myself to be excited about everything else I’ll get to do.

I’ll probably run there, but I feel a lot less pressure to break X number of miles with so many other wonderful things to occupy my time with.

So there it is: Robyn’s New Approach to Marathon Training. I am sure someday I’ll be gunning for a specific time goal, BQ, etc. But for this training cycle, I’m more interested in enjoying the running, fundraising for Girls on the Run, and getting excited to run in one of the biggest races in the world.

Based on my current mood and euphoria about anything involving Body Glide or Brooks, I’d say my new technique is working.

What do you think is the best way to approach marathon training? Relaxed? Goal-Oriented? Nutella in one hand and Nuun cocktail in the other?

 

Chicago Marathon Training Week #3

Welcome to Monday, friends.

Lots of running related news to share with you, but let’s start with a recap of last week’s training.

M: Spin

T: 10 m run, 8:20 avg. pace

W: Body pump + stair-stepper

T: 7 m, 4 @ <7:30 pace +lifting

F: 80 min swim, 3500 meters

S: 8 m run (1.5 warm up, Float Dodger 5k, 3.5 m cool down)

S: 18 m run, 8:45 avg. pace

Total: 43 miles

This week felt great. I was feeling a little sluggish after last week, so I wanted to hit it pretty hard in terms of quality workouts this week. The swim on Friday was more of a “I’m awake and can’t fall back asleep so I might as well do something” kind of workout, but it was still refreshing and my muscles enjoyed it.

All my runs went well, particularly the tempo and my long run yesterday.

I was running on somewhat tired legs from the 5k I raced the day before, but aside from a little shin split, I felt pretty tip-top. BF joined me for 4 miles toward the end, which was a helpful distraction. And not once did I feel any pain in my knee from my IT band. I’m still wary of saying a big “Hallelujah!” but it does seem that my knee/leg is starting to get its shit together—finally. I finished in 2 hours, 40 minutes, which is right around where I want to be in terms of LR speed.

Some more to report from this weekend!

My sister came and hung out which always makes for a fun and entertaining time.

Excuse the red mood lighting…

We did little shopping, a little fro-yo eating, and a lot of giggling. I love when she comes to town.

BF and I also ran the inaugural Float Dodger 5k on Saturday, which was a great local race as well as my first race since the Tacoma Marathon. I’ll be doing a full race report tomorrow, but I will say that it went better than I had expected…

As for the whole “I felt great about this week” thing, I think a lot of it had to do with my IT band behaving well. It’s always encouraging when you’ve been dealing with the same nagging pain over a period of time to finally feel like you can see some light at the end of the tunnel of sadness. I also feel really good about how my recovery from each run is going. I haven’t had any calf fatigue, which is something that’s always plagued me, and my soreness from particular workouts seems to be going away quicker than normal.

I’m crediting this recovery speed to two things: my shoes and strength training. I think my changed foot-strike (using the Brooks Pure Connect) has a lot to do with my calves feeling less sore, as well as why my IT band has started loosening up. I also think the fact that I’ve finally started doing squats, lunges, etc. in my regular lifting routine is paying off in my running. Ground-breaking…I’m sure no one has ever made that statement. I’m learning…

That’s about all for today, but I will leave you with this precious gem for a Monday pick-me-up:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/the-cutest-things-that-ever-happened

Baby animals are the best. Enjoy.

Happy Monday!

Chicago Marathon Training Week #2

“What’s up with that chick who thinks she has a running blog but hasn’t posted in almost a week?”

That’s totally what you’re thinking, I know.

Sorry for my absence as of late. Actually, I’m not really sorry because I’ve been doing some fun things that have kept me away from the computer for nearly 4 days. And I’ve loved it.

So… sorry, I’m not sorry.

To give you the quick-and-dirty update, I left with BF on a jet plane last Friday morning for a lovely little vacation to our hometown of Colorado Springs. But more on that in a bit…

For now, Chi-town training week #2!

M: Rest

T: 10 m/8:30 avg. pace + lifting

W: Body pump class + spin

T: 7 m “tempo” run, 3m at <7:50 + yoga

F: Rest (lazy)

S: 13 m/8:45 avg. pace

S: 7.5 m recovery run/9:00 avg. pace

This was a cutback week (which correlated beautifully with the altitude in CO inhibiting my ability to breathe), and I ended with a total of 34.5 miles for the week. Not much down from last week, but I like not adding heavily back to back to back. Which means 18 is coming up this weekend…..yea…..

Now, back to the reason why I’ve been MIA.

I was in Colorado for 4 beautiful days, doing lots of fun things but mainly enjoying being home with my family. BF and I went to a wedding and an OAR concert at Redrocks, and if you know where that is you know it’s a good time. Basically, it’s an enormous outdoor amphitheater made up of really cool red rock. Like, obviously.

Here are some select photos from said Colorado vacation:

We are at a wedding! We are adults!  We are pros at self photos!

My puppy…and yes, she is in fact a “pure” lab.

OAR concert!

 

I always get nervous to run in Colorado. When you go from sea level to running at over 6,000 feet, scary things can happen to your lungs, heart rate, and muscles. Luckily, I was able to pump out a long run without too many issues, and I got reacquainted with the feeling of dripping with sweat after running. Both runs in CO were done in 80 degree morning heat, which added some pizzazz to the already compromising altitude conditions.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger I suppose. And plus, Chicago has been known to be hot in the past few years on marathon day…better to get used to it now.

In other news, I started a new job today! Which is definitely exciting, and I’ll give some details soon, however for now I just need to get used to a new daily schedule…including a significantly earlier running time. Which will get rough at some point, but with this as my wake up call, I think I’ll survive:

Hello Seattle, let’s be friends.

I hope your week is going great, and because I would love to hear from some of you out there…

Have you ever run at altitude? Are you training for anything right now? Running in the heat…love it or hate it? 

 

Chicago Marathon Training Week #1

Hello! Welcome to Monday. I hope your weekend was stupendous and filled with rest, relaxation, and ice cream.

Here’s how my first “official” week of training for Chicago looked:

M: Rest

T: 10 m run/8:30 avg. page + yoga

W: 10k fun run!

T: Spin + 20 min stair stepper

F: Maximum sculpt class + 80 min swim

S: 16.2 m run/8:45 avg. page

S: Spin + 4.4 m run

Totally weekly running mileage: 36.8 m

I wasn’t going to run yesterday. I had planned on a recovery run from Saturday’s LR, but since my knee hurt a bit from the day before, I decided to opt for spin. However, around 5:30 (and after a lot of beach relaxation) I felt a weird urge to go run in the evening heat. I went with the urge, headed out watch-less for a quick little out-and-back, and wound up feeling better than I’ve felt since I started running again!

It also felt fast, which immediately made me regret not wearing a timing device. But have no fear, because I’m OCD and was determined to figure out just how fast I was going, I tallied up the songs I had listened to on the run and added up their times.

Creativity points?

Anyways, I figured out that I was averaging 7:30 miles, which is much lower than I’ve been clocking recently. It was a little surprising, because like I said—I felt so good on this run and my legs felt happy and pain-free. Looks like I might need to let the chains let loose a little bit more.

This was one of those runs where I decided to listen to my body (not a training plan, not my Garmin) and just GO. And the results were great! It truly is best sometimes to just run by feel. I knew I would have been fine without going yesterday, but something was telling me to head on out. I loved this run, and I loved feeling some speed under me after so much time without.

The rest of the weekend can pretty much be summed up in one word: SUN!

So much sun. So many sunshine filled activities—including the aforementioned one above:

The rain does go away sometimes!

I made friends with a jelly fish yesterday, although I don’t think he was as into following me as I was into following him.

Also, does your face look like this after long runs?

Salty face by way of emo MySpace picture

I was told during my time in the medical tent at the Tacoma Marathon that I’m a “salty sweater” and I was a little surprised because I thought everyone got this salty during long runs. Do you? Just me?

How was your weekend?? What kinds of things did you do in the heat? Did you have to adjust your plans according to the hot weather? Are you a salty sweater?