Chicago Marathon Training: Week Ten & Eleven

Well, hello! I am now 49 days away from my next marathon. The past few weeks have definitely brought some mixed emotions.

Last weekend I was out of town, so I skipped out on writing a recap. There wasn’t much to write about, just more of the same. I was visiting my parents house for the weekend and had 18 miles on schedule. I decided to do six-mile loops so I could get back to their house to refill my water. It had stormed the night before and was so humid in the morning that I headed out into a thick fog which was kind of creepy.

My second set of mileage was actually an out-and-back. My parents live about a mile from the WO&D trail, but I hadn’t wanted to head out too early on the trail by myself. By the time I got out there, there were a ton of runners and it was my best section of the run.

I had forgotten how hilly my parents town is, but I was feeling good. I just didn’t realize how many rolling hills were in my final loop! By mile 15 my legs felt dead. Between the humidity and hills, I had nothing left. I decided to cut my run short to 17 miles instead of 18.

I got to visit two of my best friends while I was in town, one of which is a new mommy! I spent about two hours snuggling her sweet, perfect, two-month-old son. Sunday night my mom and I went to see Switchfoot, which was the whole reason for my visit. The concert was great as always, and somehow my mom scored us 10th row seats.

On to week eleven! My organization has an office in Northern Virginia and we had just moved that office, so I was able to work in a work-trip that Monday. I did my morning run around my parent’s town and then headed to visit our office before heading home.

Tuesday morning I had a chiropractor appointment to get work done on my calf. The visit started with some really painful Graston followed by some heat and about 45 minutes of super painful ART. I had a lot of bruising appear that evening which is normal, but man was I sore!

I am always amazed at how effective ART can be, and when I woke up Wednesday morning, my leg felt so much better. Not 100%, but the best it’s felt in a while. I went out for my mid-week long run, and when I looked down at mile six I was running way faster than I thought. It was definitely a nice feeling to be moving at a faster pace.

My leg felt pretty decent the rest of the week. I had initially wanted to run the Leeesburg 20K this weekend, but by mid-week I really didn’t feel like driving back up to Northern Virginia and opted to register for the Patrick Henry Half Marathon next weekend instead. To avoid having to run miles before/after, I decided to run my next scheduled 18 miler again this weekend.

I felt confident going into Saturday and had wanted to do some GMP miles during the run, but when I woke up and looked at the weather I knew I would have to change my plan. The temperature at 5 am was already 75 degrees and the humidity and dew point was just too high to push pace.

The run itself was so tough. I met up with some teammates to get extra miles in before the group run, and after those first four miles I knew it was going to be a rough day. The air was so thick and there was no breeze. By the time I got to our first SAG stop, my tank top was drenched and I decided just to ditch it for the rest of the run.

The rest of the run was a struggle for pretty much everyone. I took a few walk breaks and was so thankful to have some teammates to chat with during this run. My leg felt fine all throughout, but the heat just took everything out of me… and really, everyone else. But we finished and hopefully we’ll be better on race day because of it!

A small group of us had a post-run social which was nice after such a tough day. I had some yummy food, but didn’t stick around long because I was really feeling the need to take a good recovery nap.

I really have mixed feelings at this point during training. The heat/humidity has really been an obstacle for some of my training runs by preventing me from getting in a lot of the faster work I had been wanting to do. Add my calf issues on top of that, and I’m just not feeling very confident with just seven weeks to go. I only have a two-week taper, so I have five more weeks to get some work done, but traditionally the weather around here won’t cool off until my taper. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed I will have some decent weather for one of my 20 milers so I can at least get a little bit of confidence.

Another challenge the heat has been handing me is practicing my fueling. I can’t seem to stomach gels in this heat, but I know I’ll need them on race day.

I picked up some new shoes to add to my rotation and I’m looking forward to some runs in them. I didn’t buy a pair of Asics Gel Kayano’s last time around because the version was made super narrow and just didn’t work for me. Luckily, my GT 2000s lasted long enough to make it to the new version of the Kayano’s and they’re much improved (they feel lighter, too!). I’ve been wearing Kayano’s since high school and ran my first two marathons in them, so I’m glad to have them back in the rotation.

That’s about it here. I don’t plan to race my half marathon (traditionally I don’t during summer training), but it will be a nice switch from the normal Saturday runs.

2 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training: Week Ten & Eleven

  1. Jennifer @ Dashing in Style

    I think being able to complete those long runs in the intense heat and humidity is a huge testament to your fitness. Can you look at other fueling options besides gels? I’ve been reading about how important it is to train your gut. I just read this article on how one of the pros takes 6 gels (!!!) over 2 hours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That gel thing is crazy, mostly because I feel like so many amateur runners I know try to use as little fuel as possible like it’s a badge of honor to use very little.

      I’ve used gels in the past, so I’m not too worried about using them on race day, but I’m more concerned about the timing than digestion. It should at least be more reasonable for my 20 milers (I hope!) where I won’t have to use electrolyte mix so much. My stomach can’t handle both, but I really need the mix more than the gels when it’s hot. I’ve definitely been drinking large volumes of fluid as the article suggests, ha!


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