Chicago Marathon Training: Weeks Fourteen and Fifteen

Two more weeks down, three weeks until race day! I am starting to get really excited that my next marathon is just around the corner. The past two weeks have brought some really quality running and an ART session that seems to finally have helped knock out my cranky leg problems.

We headed out of town for a short overnight trip on Labor Day weekend to celebrate my husband’s grandfather’s 95th birthday. It was the first time we’ve been with his extended family since moving back to Virginia so I was really looking forward to it. We were able to leave the pups with my sister & her husband for the night which was a nice bonus and we really appreciated them being willing to take on three dogs (they have a dog of their own) for the night. Also, great practice, since the pups will be staying with them for three nights while we’re in Chicago!

Labor Day was my first run after taking a full week off to cross train and allow my legs to have a break/heal up/whatever. I did my run on the local greenway which was the flattest run I have done since moving to Virginia. I still had odd aches, tightness, and discomfort, but I could tell I had an overall improvement from my week off. This was also the first run of the season in sub-60 degree temperatures!

That Saturday was also my first 20-miler of the training cycle. We were really lucky to wake up to temperatures in the mid-50s and mostly cloudy skies. My legs were feeling good and I was looking forward to being able to complete my 20-miler in comfortable weather. I met up with three other runners training for Chicago for an early start. We got seven miles in together before the group run but only took a quit pit-stop before headed out on the group-run course. The course took us downtown which was a fun change, but it’s literally down… which means running back up again. It ended up being not too bad and we were able to maintain a steady pace. After mile 16, we went through solo stages of having a second wind and took turns pulling ahead. I took the final mile fast and felt really good when we finished. Then I went home and took my first ice bath of the season.

And now I interrupt my training recap to tell you a story about Saturday. My husband and I headed downtown in the afternoon for the Stone Brewing Throw Down RVA party to celebrate their one-year anniversary. When we got home we discovered that our basset hound had gotten into a bag of flour my husband had mindlessly left on the bottom shelf. He broke it open in the kitchen, dragged it into the den, carried it into the dining room, and left the bag in the living room! There was flour every where and little white paw prints on some of our area rugs – my husband was not happy. I couldn’t stop laughing. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw the video on my story that night.

My legs felt good Sunday morning on my recovery run, but Monday morning they felt tight and angry. It was a little frustrating since they had felt great all week. I had a chiropractor appointment that afternoon and he spent a lot of time performing ART on my calves. I have no idea what magic my chiropractor worked that Monday afternoon, but on my Wednesday morning long run my legs felt the best they’ve felt since before this all started mid-season. I met up with my friend Angela for that run and her calf is actually bothering her a bit. Plus, the heat and humidity were back in full-force, so I talked her into slowing down a bit. I had a really awesome run and felt so positive. This good-leg feeling has continued and I am hoping to go into marathon day without any discomfort.

There were some planned marches downtown for Saturday, so any training groups that normally meet around there met elsewhere for the morning. My group met out on my side of town, and our 15-mile route took us around where I have been doing my mid-week long runs. My weekday routes tend to seem really hilly, but I honestly just thought it was in my head after years of running really flat routes in Columbus. After finishing up Saturday’s run, many runners were commenting on how hilly it was around there which made me feel a lot better about the days I’m struggling and feel like the hills are out to get me. My coach has run Chicago in the past and assured me the course is going to feel flatter than flat given my weekday running route.

Our make-shift location was a restaurant owned by own of our coaches. Around mile 13 of 15, he was telling a few of us that he had bagels, watermelon, chocolate milk, and mimosas for a post-run treat. Then he decided it would be fun to make us eggs! I love eggs and was more than happy to snack on one after the run.

Overall, these past two weeks have been good. I’m heading into my final peak week now and then will have a two-week taper. I’m starting to get excited for Chicago. Although the race won’t be what I had hoped for at the beginning of the season, I’m feeling fit, strong, and ready to take on my next 26.2.

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