Chi Town Training: Week 11

TRAINING WEEK 11: Ack! Wait! What?!

Completed 4/5 workouts for a total of 22 miles for the week + 0 strength workouts.

This week was another busy one, and much like the week before, I found myself trying to

Accurate calendar event description.

tuck workouts in where I could. With this kind of catch and release program, some weeks are more “catch,” and some more “release.” My schedule has me running both Saturday and Sunday of each weekend, and half of the time, I’m using Friday to catch up on an easy run I missed earlier in the week. That means that some weeks, I go four workouts before a rest day. On those weeks, Monday comes around and I’m like, “Ok so by ‘strength work’ you

French 75 at MONEYGUN

mean repeatedly lifting a one-pound burrito to my face, right?” As such, I finally amended my google calendar entry to reflect the reality of my “strength workouts.” (e.g. burrito and a couch/lamp emojis) This week, I celebrated my brother’s birthday over sushi, caught Run River North in concert (check out their swoony cover of City and Colour’s “The Girl”); waited in line for drinks at Chicago’s newest (tiniest) cocktail bar; and attended the first-ever Pizza Summit, sponsored by Old Style and hosted by Andrew WK (true, random story).

  • Workout #1: 2 X 400, 2 x 800, 2 x 400  (400 @ ~1:50, 800 @ ~3:40)
  • [Actual 4.65 mi– WU: 17:08 + 1:50, 1:50 + 3:40, 3:36 + 1:48, 1:46 + CD: 5:00 (recovery int. = half previous interval]
    This was unfortunately a treadmill track workout because RAIN. Lots of rain. Back when I had created this training schedule, I had randomly decided that this would be a 2×400, 2×1600, 1×400. LOLWUT. That literally doesn’t make sense after spending months running only 400s. I decided to meet in the middle and adjust the two middle intervals down to 800s so that I didn’t die. I used my Garmin in stopwatch mode to time these (not perfect, but fairly accurate), and was really pleased with how these felt. The 800s felt hard, but not impossible, and it was really satisfying to feel like I successfully completed a harder-and-newer-than-usual workout. My guy texted to tell me not to buy my usual post-gym Chipotle, because he was bringing me homemade soup and ham leftovers. #swoon
  • Workout #2: 7 race pace miles (8:15-8:30)
    [Actual: Fart noise. Ok, ok. 14 min WU + 1.5mi @ 8:50 + 5 min on bike +1mi @ 8:40 + 1mi @ 8:50]
    This was another gym workout; the weather forecast told me a high of 50-something, but it lied. I ran this workout in the shoes I’m testing, which felt pretty good, but the gym was stifling, and my mental focus was just shot. This is definitely something I’m struggling with – to the point that I ran for 20-some minutes, decided I was done and hopped on the bike to finish the remaining 25 minutes there, only to shame myself back onto the treadmill 5 minutes later. My legs felt surprisingly good and fresh, but my mind literally wouldn’t go there. If you had offered me a million dollars to stay on that treadmill and finish the workout, I still wouldn’t have been able to do it. The frustrating part was that the weather had started to turn warmer when I was done, but we had a date with Andrew WK, so I wasn’t able to push anything back to be able to do the workout outside. Whatever. I’ll chalk this up to the obligatory, shitty final workout that always seems to happen pre-race, but also add it to the evidence of “def needs to improve her mental stamina.”
  • Long Run: 8 easy
    [Actual: 9.5 windy trail miles @ ~10min pace]
    I’m co-hosting a friend’s babyshower this month, and needed to buy some spray waterfall glenpaint (I’m some ninja Martha Stewart, so bow down.), but you can’t buy spray paint in the city limits of Chicago (#graffiti). The guy quickly realized that we could combine our suburban craft needs with a trail run at Waterfall Glen (Lemont, IL), and so that’s exactly what we did. My schedule called for 8, but the trail we wanted to explore was a 9.5mile loop. It was easier and more fun to do the full loop than do just shy of a half loop twice. parking lotThe weather was WEIRD. Swirling 35mph wind, snow that looked like packing styrofoam, and sunny, almost-hot pockets of cloud breaks. We fortuitously and accidentally ran the trail counter-clockwise, which meant the wind was somehow at our backs almost every time we emerged into the more exposed prairie grass portions. Around mile 3-4, the wind caught my back on a slight downhill and I legitimately had trouble keeping my legs under me. This was tough on our legs – an elevation profile of 289ft gain/ 299ft loss may sound sad and easy to most, but our Chicago glutes were shocked into jelly. What’s kind of cool about this trail is that it literally encircles the Argonne Lab, home of a particle accelerator (like CERN, which you may know from its inclusion in the movie Angels and Demons). While we were running at a leisurely pace, there were atoms moving so fast beneath us that they were exploding and teaching scientists about the universe. (Puts our effort into perspective, a bit, I guess.) We were famished and freezing, so we refueled with snacks in the parking lot before scurrying off to Home Depot for our spray paint.


Mental/Physical Update: I’m still in a bit of denial that the race is coming up so quickly. I’ve set some loose time goals, but I’m really looking at this as a way to get reacquainted with training. I’m not in PR shape (man, I wish I was, though), but I’m feeling good about how far I’ve come in my endurance, and how well I’ve been able to recapture a lot of the speed I had gained pre-foot issue. I’ve been better about mental strength everywhere but on the treadmill – somehow it’s easier for me to literally push forward than push in place – but it’s something I’m really working to improve.

Moving Forward: I want this race to be a positive experience, so I’m focusing less on outcomes and more on the micro – whether I feel as if I’ve pushed myself hard enough, whether I remain positive in the face of potential cold/wind, whether I’m able to push through the final miles rather than pull back when it starts to feel hard (and it will), whether I can remain calm and focused. My taper is a more abbreviated – basically cutting back just this final week – and I’ve run well when my legs have been fresh. Once this race is behind me, I have several shorter distances (currently two 10ks) in the coming months. I’m hoping to shift pretty quickly to a 5-10k training cycle so that I can continue to build on the momentum I’ve built during this cycle.

Party Hard. Pizza Hard.

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