Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Road to Chicago is Paved with Poor Decisions

As of today, I am 4 weeks out from the Chicago Marathon. And I have absolutely no idea what my race day will look like. My training has been, oh, what's the word?

That's the word.

It actually didn't start out that way. It started out perfectly. I had done weeks of base building and then had to drop my weekly mileage when I started my plan in June. In the past I've used the Hal Higdon plan with some tweaks, but this time around I went with the Hansons Marathon Method.

Things have really fallen apart in the last few weeks, so let's break things down by section, shall we?

The first 5 weeks are dedicated to base building, all of which 4 weeks of which I executed flawlessly. The fifth week I had my sister and her crew visiting, so one day I chose to skip so I could do stuff with them (I could have gone out early in the day but I was lazy). Then we spent the weekend in Palm Desert where it was 124 degrees.

So while I could have jumped on the treadmill for my runs, I just opted for this instead:

Thus I ended my base building 15 miles short. But I wasn't worried because it was time for the next phase!

I jumped into this part with lots of excitement! I had a speed session and a tempo session each week, along with easy days. Long runs started in the second week of this phase. Right off, this was a big jump in mileage, from 24 to 37. BUUUuuuUUTTtt, I had only run 8.5 miles the week before, so it was a huge jump and I was pushing the pace. Other than this little snafu, I was spot on did okay, missing only two runs over the next two weeks.

My last speed week was PERFECT. I was feeling great about the distances and paces I was hitting and ready for the last big phase:

This is the longest phase, at 7 weeks. In the first week I switched out my rest day from Monday to Wednesday because it was my one chance to visit my grad school girls. This meant I started a new phase by running 8 days with no break.

Nope, nope. I'm sure that was fine.

Actually that point is moot anyway, because that Sunday was my first 16 miler. I was cool, I was confident; I scoffed when my husband said that I could text him if for any reason I needed to be picked up.

I really did feel good.

Just a few miles in, I stopped to snap a picture of Venice High because it is the front of Rydell High!

*I was obsessed with Grease growing up.

When I started up again I was hit with this sudden pain on the outside of my knee.

I was honestly confused.

What was this pain? Where did it come from? I tried walking it out. I tried digging the heel of my hand into my thigh. Moving made it worse, so after a quarter mile I texted my husband and he picked me up.

After a day off I tried to run again but couldn't go more than a couple of minutes without having to stop and walk.  I was pretty disappointed.

I decided to return to my strength exercises (far too late, I know), drastically decrease my mileage, rotate my shoes, and stick to flat routes. Following two weeks of this plan, more resting and buying an IT band strap, I'm back on track!

I still feel that pain edging up after a few miles so I'm taking walk breaks. I also have not done any long runs, but I will do 10 this weekend and hopefully be good to run longer next Sunday. After that it's taper time--I'm extending it from one to two weeks--so these two Sundays are all I have left. I have given up my PR hopes at this point and am hoping for finishing without injury.

Luckily, no matter what, I will be running (and walking) with my friend Erika so it will be a fun day! It has been far too long since we raced together.

I'll just leave the math to her this time.

*I am still somewhat obsessed with Grease.

1. Have you ever been hurt at this stage in your training and had a happy ending?
2. I know I asked this before, but are you running the Chicago Marathon?

UPCOMING POSTS: What I see on my runs, race recap


  1. Ouch!!!! This has to be so frustrating! Have you used Hanson's before? The mileage on those plans scares me (I''m a fan of Good Ole Hal), I had a strange hip/ groin "issue" kind of pop up last fall right as I stared tapering for Route 66. I had been running way more miles than was typical for me & cant help wondering if that was a factor. That strange hip/groin issue also showed up around mile 2 of the marathon & bothered me for the remaining 24.2 miles. I was able to suck it up & finish, but I had to take numerous walk breaks & my finish time was less than stellar, I'm glad my endurance & grit came through, but it was not the marathon I had trained for. I'm glad you'll have a friend with you .... and you have been able to adjust your training. Besides, PR's are kind of overrated... it's the race, route, and experience of being there that make 26.2's so special. Best of luck!

    1. Kimberly! Good job gutting out that marathon! That super sucks though about your hip/groin issue!! I did the Hansons Half plan and liked it...this one I think is too much for me. Or it could be my difficulty adhering to it. You're so right about the PR. I really thought I could and so even though I was excited for all the other parts of the race, that was important to me. But I do need to let that go and focus on the rest of the experience.

  2. Try some rock tape/kt tape on your IT band (check out youtube videos on how to apply it). My IT band basically stopped me from run/walks (and instead I'm into lifting). Take care of yourself!!!

    1. Thanks Linda, that is a great suggestion! Unfortunately tape makes me break out in hives :( . I'm definitely planning to get back into strength training after this race and run for fun for awhile.

  3. I hope that your long run went well - Wishing you a great experience in Chicago.

    1. Thanks Abby! The long run was good. We'll see how the next one goes--it's 1 run at a time for me.

  4. Oh, that stinks! I hope the past couple weeks were better and that you were able to get in a couple good long runs before your taper. :)

    1. Thanks Clarinda! They actually have gone well and I even got in a 16 miler! Now I'm just exhausted and ready to be done with this silly race. You know, regular taper stuff :D

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