Monday, July 20, 2015

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 6 Recap

Before I get started, just want to send a massive thank you to everyone who texted, Facebook messaged, G-Chatted or commented here or on Facebook after my last post went up.  Your support and encouragement and kind words - and most of all - those who told me that they empathized with what I wrote have been dealing with similar struggles - all mean so much to me.  It's a big lesson that everyone has their various "things" and that none of us need to be alone.  Thank you all for being my community, my safe space, and my motivators.

And now, following that little interlude of self exposure and opening up about my psoriasis on here, I am back to regularly scheduled programming with another week of workout roundups.  I worked hard this week and had a few major personal wins that I am proud of, as well as a massive struggle workout on Sunday.  Let's recap the week, shall we?


In the evening, I went right from work to the local store where I bought my bike, my shoes, and have gone to with many of my biking questions.  I finally had the pedals switched out on my bike to get clip in pedals!  I already had the shoes and have been procrastinating getting the clip in pedals for my bike because I was scared.  But, I switched them up and went out for a bike ride on Monday night to try them out for the first time!  I rode 16 miles and was so impressed with the amount of power I was able to put into riding the bike by clipping in!  I LOVED it.  I've already been in love with my rode bike for a while and this made it even better, if it was possible.


AM workout doing a 1500 meter swim at the gym.  I swam at an easy pace, still just trying to get more comfortable doing that distance nonstop since that is the distance of the swim in the Olympic Triathlon I have on August 8th!  I want to start to increase the intensity when I do these 1500 meter swims and also try some in a lake or something soon.  I've also been trying to mimic swimming in open water in the pool by lifting my head up to pretend to sight for buoys and trying to do various pickups.

In the evening I went to the Movers + Pacers sprint night workout, running 3 miles beforehand with three friends.  The sprint workout is 10x100 meter sprints, which I somehow felt like I have been getting worse at over the months.  Maybe it's just because my legs are tired from other training, but it did feel good to get myself completely out of breathe on some of those sprints!  I was talking with a trainer at my gym and she said that spiking my heart rate like that will help to burn fat and hopefully get me over the final hump of where I'd like to be physically.  I'm all for trying that!!  And besides, sprint night is always just a ton of fun.  I haven't been in a while so was excited to get back out.


My mileage this week was to do 3-5-3-7.  The way my training plan is set up is to do three midweek runs and one weekend longer run.  I have been doing my runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday during the week so on Wednesday morning I got up to do 5 miles in the morning even though I had just run in the evening (I generally try not to do that - run evening, run AM.)  I met a friend who originally said she only wanted to do 3 with me but ended up sticking with me for the full five.  It was a gorgeous morning to run and I was so thankful for the company!

That evening I had plans for happy hour which was a major thumbs up and lots of fun.  However, as a couple random side notes... on Wednesday we went out to lunch for a team event at work.  We tried a restaurant called Chow Baby that is essentially make your own stir fry.  For those in New England, it's like an amped up version of Fire & Ice but way cheaper.  It was good and I really enjoyed the creations I made, but also, the options at these places stress me out.  I did a decent job of avoiding the carbs (no rice, which I LOVE) but still overate.  It was good though!

I'd forgotten we were doing the lunch and had packed my own food for the day.  Not wanting it to go to waste, I ate it in the car, with my fingers, while in traffic on the way to happy hour.  People really shouldn't let me out in public.


In the morning it was time for another three mile run and this time I had two friends to meet up with.  I felt like I was chasing them the whole time but kept my pace pushing and I finished this run, ending another week of sub 10 minute mile runs this week.  It has continued to be humid but I am fighting through it and continuing to stay super hydrated.

In the evening I met with a personal trainer at the gym for an hour session.  When I joined the gym in December, I got a number of free personal training sessions with the gym and I never used them all, so I decided to finish out those sessions.  Man, did she KICK MY BUTT on Thursday evening!  She had me doing all sorts of crazy crab walks, squats, and all sorts of craziness.  It felt good though and I was super proud of myself for toughing through it all and not giving up.  I was sort of feeling myself post workout and took some gym selfies.  Which I am told are called "swelfies" when you take pics after working out.

I celebrated by going to the bar at the gym and meeting a friend for a beer.  Yes, my gym has a bar.  And yes, on Thursdays they have $2 draft beers.  They are trying to keep us fat and paying members.  But I didn't hate it on Thursday!


Friday morning I got up for my regular Master's swim workout and it was great!  I really pushed myself hard, even though I was the last one to finish every set.  We did a number of 50 meter swims on a minute, and I was finishing 5 seconds under every time.  Granted, I was a bit disappointed that I wasn't swimming faster, but I was also proud of myself for finishing every set and not stopping.  I have been thinking a lot about how to improve.  And you can't improve by doing things at a moderate pace.  I also know that it probably makes sense for me to even cut back on some of the total time I am spending exercising and increasing the intensity - which is what I did on Thursday night and Friday morning.

There are a few things that I know are critically important at this point in training, part of which is getting adequate rest.  That is in the form of breaks from exercising, and also in the form of SLEEP.  I worked hard to try and get myself to bed earlier this week and it is something I need to continue to make a priority.  I was exhausted by week end and actually took a nap on Friday afternoon before going out in the evening.


My workout on Saturday consisted of a 4-mile run at the Decatur Dekalb Atlanta track Club race.  It was a great run and I finished with a time of 33:49, which makes it a PR for me in a 4-mile race!  Over on my Race Calendar and Results page, I track where I get personal best times.  I'm on my way to having a personal best in pretty much every distance for the year (fingers crossed on the marathon.)  I may be having to find myself a 15K to run later this year to have pink across the board in 2015!

Per usual I will do a full race recap, but it was a fun morning and had me feeling really good about the time I was able to pull off.


This is where things get bad.  So, I decided to let myself sleep in on Sunday.  And sleep in I did.  Due to also letting myself stay up later and having maybe one or two extra beverages that I didn't need to have, I had a lazy morning.  I woke up feeling fine, but definitely not hydrated to the point that I should be when going out to work out in 95 degree weather.

I left the house at about 10:15 a.m. and my plan was to do a 20 mile bike ride and then a 7 mile run.  I started out on the bike and very quickly realized that I was not feeling too well.  What didn't help is that the route that I was planning on riding apparently has construction going on and is being repaved.  So the road was totally torn apart in that pre-new paving ridged bumpy grossness.  I had to change course as I was trying to get over to the bike path (about 4 miles from me) and the route was just in blazing sunlight.  And on a main road, which made me really anxious.

I stopped a few times not sure what to do, feeling really terrible, wishing I had put on sunscreen, thinking about just driving to the bike path, etc. etc.  Well, I ended up just turning back and going home for a total of 6 miles.  I felt terrible.

This is no joke, I walked in my door and balanced my bike against the counter and immediately just lay down on the floor in the entryway right after you walk into my apartment.  I dropped all my things and lay on the floor and didn't get up until I had napped about an hour.

As I lay there I was thinking about the clock ticking away at the time, how late it was getting, and what I should do with the day.  I was thinking maybe I would cancel the afternoon plans I had and do the 7 miles.  Maybe I could do them on Monday and rearrange my whole running week?  Maybe I could just skip that run since I had done 4 the day before and 4 is kind of close to 7?  Maybe I could just melt into the floor and stay there forever and never run again?

I somehow arose from my magic floor nap a little bit more rejuvenated and I pulled out an old trick of mine and "compromised" with myself to get out to the bike path and run just 3 miles.  I figured if I ran 3 miles I would be at a total for 7 for the weekend and that would be okay.

So I got to the bike path, and what happened was what I hoped would happen.  When I got 1.5 miles out on the path, I told myself, "Why don't you just go another half mile further?" and then, "If you just keep going a little more you can get in 5 miles?" and so on and so on.  I ended up turning around at 3 miles, so I was heading back in for a total of 6 and my plan was to then do an out and back to get to 7.  However, when I hit about 4.5, I was feeling dead.  Just a week before I'd run the same path feeling awesome on the way back in and I started to feel not okay all over.

During that run on Sunday, I never zoned out.  I was consciously aware that I was running for every minute of it.  My head was pounding.  My skin was hot.  I didn't bring any water.  I felt like my brain was boiling over.  From mile 5 to 6, I was just trying to hold it together.  I was focusing on putting one foot in front of the other and being happy with whatever I could do to get myself closer.  The steps dragged on and every few feet felt like an eternity.

My pace had actually been pretty good for the first 4.5-5 miles, I was running under a 10 minute pace.  Even though I felt terrible the whole time!  I shuffled my way to finish 6 and told myself I could stop and get water before going out for mile 7.

So at 6, I stopped and guzzled some water at the water fountain and then went back out for a STRUGGLE mile.  It was brutal.  As slow and painful as that last mile was, this one felt even worse.  I managed to get myself to 6.65 and then I allowed myself to walk.  I've had a really long streak going of not walking during a run, no matter how hard I have wanted to.  But I was really concerned for my health.  My head felt so in the clouds.  I was afraid I was going to pass out.  It was almost 2pm, which is when the sun was the hottest and highest for the day and I was so unprepared and dehydrated on this run.  I walk/ran the last .35 miles, finishing RUNNING.  I always like to finish running, no matter what.  That was something that was important to me all the way back in the day when I did my first ever longer runs.

I tried so hard to keep my head in the game for the run Sunday, and I was mentally there, to be honest.  But my body was not with me.  Which is not an excuse, because that is my own fault.  But it was a challenging run.  I'm bummed I had to walk, but more mad at myself for just not planning better.  The situation could have been drastically avoided had I not felt over confident after the great week of workouts and had planned/prepared better.

I think I definitely learned my lesson.  Afterwards I refueled a ton, also buying some Powerade to get back any electrolytes I may need (I don't know if that's a myth or not, but I figured I'd try it.)  I also had told myself if I finished the run I could have a Starbucks Frappuccino, so I got that too.  And a sandwich at the deli because I didn't have the energy to make any food and knew I needed to refuel.

In the end, I probably didn't even need that 7 miles.  Which is stupid, because I could have done myself more harm than good by doing it.  However, I know myself, and I know that if I didn't do it, it would eat away at me for the rest of training.

For those of you who read through Paris Marathon training, you may recall that I never let go the fact that I ran every single mile of the training plan except for those TWO MILES when I was in Turkey!!  I can be a little crazy :)

Anyways, that was my week of training.  This week I am working on hydration, being prepared, and doing my best to get in cross training and all sorts of goodness even with a busy schedule.  Hope you had a good Monday!!

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