If you’ve been following along, we’re now six weeks out from the Chicago Marathon. As if the first two months didn’t fly by fast enough, the days seem to be picking up speed and here I am finishing up my third month of training. At the rate time is passing me by, Chicago will be here probably by the weekend.
This month of training was a little bit of a setback. I went on vacation and didn’t run as much as I anticipated. But I know it happens and I’ve tried to not beat myself up too much over it. After I came back, it took a couple weeks to really get my legs moving again and once I did, my hip pain returned. It was a little frightening to feel the lingering hip soreness return with a bit more vengeance, especially as my miles continued to climb. I took a couple days off from both running and cross training hoping it would do enough. Thankfully, it did.
I had two pretty decent track workouts this month, both run a little quicker than I probably should have. The first was 1600m at half marathon pace, 1200m at 10k pace, 800m at 5k pace with 400m recovery between each set. I think overall I took the entire workout about :20 per mile too fast for what I could actually run that day, but it’s tough to judge your paces when you haven’t raced in forever. My second track workout was 5 x 800m at 3:50 pace with 400m recovery. I went back and forth between trying to be under 3:50 and trying to hit 7:40 pace. If I was hitting 7:40 pace, I was crossing the line in 3:5x. If I was aiming for finishing in 3:50, I was running under 7:40. GPS watches can be fickle, you know?
The runs that stood out to me most of all (despite loving my track workouts!) were my four long runs. Overall I’d consider them as the defining moments of this portion of the training cycle. My first long run was an attempted 14-15 miler while on vacation. J and I got lost, started late, and I took us straight up a mountain. To save time (and my legs), I split the run in two. Given the circumstances, we’ll consider this one a win. My second long run was a 16 mile disaster where I ran out of water around mile 8 and bonked, or something like it. Lesson learned – don’t run on just 20 oz of water without the option to refill when it’s 85 degrees and sunny. The third long run was on point for the first 11 miles of 9:30-9:40 pace before being entirely derailed by knee pain. I stopped after mile 12 when I realized it wasn’t getting better and wasn’t worth pushing through. But I redeemed myself on my final long run of 18 miles in Rochester with Laura. I practiced steady fueling, got stung in the face by some insect, stopped for a couple times to stretch out my tight hip, and managed to keep 12 of the 18 miles between 9:42-9:57 without much effort on my part. We’ll call that a win. A big win.
As I type this, my countdown on Running Ahead reminds me there’s 40 days left (39 when this is posted). When I gave things up for Lent as a child, 40 days seemed like a really long time but something tells me that will not be in the case here. In the next six weeks I have a 14 miler, another 18 miler, and two 20 milers before taper. Typed out it looks a little overwhelming but I’m ready for the confidence boost and finally seeing what
Chicago has in store for me I have in store for Chicago.