Chi Town Training: Week 8


Completed 3.75/5 workouts for a total of 15 miles for the week + 0 strength workouts.

training week 8
Generally how the week shook out

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Last week felt incredibly busy. Work was a little nuts with some deadlines, and I felt like I was constantly playing catch-up with life stuff (literally didn’t realize I had pre-scheduled an annual doctor’s exam at last year’s appointment until I got an email reminder a few days before – score one for thinking WAY far ahead?). On top of all of that my weekend was officially booked: Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration was Saturday (race in the morning, party immediately following), and I had planned to help my best friend settle into her new place on Sunday (Ikea team, assemble!).

  • Workout #1: 40 min tempo @ 7:45-8:00 pace
    [Actual: 15min WU (9:27>>8:58 ); 12min tempo (8:13>>7:55); 12min CD)
    This was the first run I’ve done outside on the path at night in a very long time, and it felt weird having to pay such close attention to the ground/my footing. Weather was cool and pleasant, and the tempo miles felt hard but good. I didn’t have much in me, so the tempo miles weren’t nearly as long as I would have liked (about 1.5mi total), and my cooldown involved more walking than I’m proud of, but I didn’t beat myself up for it when I realized I’d literally had no water in probably close to 36 hours. Oops.
  • Workout #2RACE! (8k + WU/CD)
    [Actual – 4.48 mi @ 8:05 –> 36:14]
    This race had a steal of a deal; the first 8 registrants for the 8k only paid $8 (plus a few more in fees), so it was hard to pass up (even though it fell the morning of Chicago’s booze-heavy St. Patty’s Day celebrations). We lucked out with amazing weather (high 40s/low 50s), and a race course that was steps from my front door.There had been no course map available pre-race, but having run a fair amount of races in this general area, I had a sense of where we’d likely be running, and wasn’t too worried. We had slightly different pacing goals, but we planned to go out around 8:30 and try to reel things in based on how we were feeling (my personal goal was to try and make this a goal race pace effort better). I had hoped for a 15-20min warm-up, but that requires a bit more time management skills than I was working with. What I got was 0.25mi and some strides.

    • Mile 1 (7:41): Shit. Too fast. Turns out people who make plans to run while the rest of the city is four beers deep are probably fast and mean business. No mile marker, so we were still trying to figure out if this was Garmin error or human error (spoiler alert: human).
    • Mile 2 (8:28): Race clock confirms we fell into the most common trap of all kind – going out too fast. Slower second mile got us back on track.
    • Mile 3 (8:08): I picked things up around mile 2.5, but quickly realized that I wasn’t going to be able to rely on mile markers from that point on (markers 3 and 4 were about 1/2mi apart…).
    • Mile 4 (8:13): Not knowing exactly how much of the course I’d actually be running, and not wanting to run out of course before I pushed things made it difficult to plan. I had dreams of pushing a little faster, but my legs weren’t really interested. I was still feeling good, but not feeling faster.
    • Final 0.5mi (7:21): With about 3/4mi left, I realized that there wasn’t going to
      Windswept post-race

      be a hidden part of the course that would cover the missing distance, and that the course was almost 1/2mi short. I pushed as hard as I could, trying (unsuccessfully) to reel in a few women a bit too far ahead of me. The finishing stretch (dirt) was pretty torn up, and I was a bit nervous about biting it in view of the finish line, but the energetic race MC reeled me in with his high-five. A man dressed as Gumby cranked in about 30 seconds behind me, so my personal goal of not losing to a life-sized, rubber toy was achieved. While we didn’t get finisher medals, we got shower beers, and that makes us winners.

  • Long Run: None this week
    [Actual: 3mi shake out]
    I missed an easy 4.5mi run earlier in the week (work), so I figured a few easy miles would help get me closer to my intended mileage and serve to sweat out any remnants of green beer still swimming in my system.


Mental/Physical Update: This was the first race I’ve lined up for since last Fall, and it

lep leap results

felt good lining up for a low-maintenance race. I didn’t have many expectations for the race — my 8k PR was from 2013 (7:56 pace) — and while I didn’t expect to be quite back to that level, I wasn’t going to rule it out, either. This race was meant to serve more as a baseline, allowing me to figure out where my fitness stands in a race situation, and to get a sense for how to pace my goal race a month later. I felt incredibly strong during this race, and even felt like I left a bit out there due to the course uncertainty. Despite the shortened distance, I felt really proud that my pacing wasn’t too far off from a time when I had a huge baseline and far more fitness. Reminding my body what the red line felt like was the ultimate goal, and to be able to share that with my guy was really fun. (Plus, he absolutely annihilated his goals! It’s so much fun to celebrate the successes of the people you care about.)

Moving Forward: The race and my recent speed workouts have me feeling more confident about my half marathon, but I’m still not sure what race day will bring. I have a few longer race pace efforts in the weeks ahead, which will help to align my brain with my goals, and, um, help me establish those goals… The next three weeks will see the highest weekly mileage I’ve run in years, and I’d be lying if I said that mixing training + work + and social life felt easy right now. I can get overwhelmed when I feel like there are a lot of things on my plate, and it’s never fun to feel like you have to dial something down. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I’m actively working to embrace the busy, be flexible, and be kind to myself in this process.

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