Marathon Lessons

In my Chicago Marathon Recap, I talked about how I have learned something from every marathon I have ever run. The funny thing is though, the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. It seems like I am able to take even more away from each subsequent race. So I thought it might be fun to go back through each marathon one-by-one and think about the lessons I learned from each one and how they have manifested into where I am as a runner today.

Marathon #1: Indianapolis Marathon: 4:23:35

Race pic

Oh, where do I even start. In your first marathon, no matter how experienced you *think* you are, in reality, you have no idea what to expect. The main things I learned:

  • Don’t do every single long run at marathon pace. (yes, this happened)
  • Don’t go out too fast.
  • You never know what will happen in those last 6 miles.

It’s funny looking back now because the list of things I did wrong could be MUCH longer, but at the time, once the initial disappointment passed, these are the things that I knew to be true.

Marathon #2: Kiawah Island Marathon: 3:46:00

Char and Corey Kiawah running

  • Fueling is everything.
  • Long runs are for training not tests. (And one bad long run doesn’t kill the training)

My first BQ attempt (when 3:40 was the qualifying standard). My last 20-miler was a disaster. Going into the run, I looked at it as the one true test of whether I could BQ or not. That pressure combined with traveling for work, being up late the night before and not eating a good dinner resulted in me walking most of the last 4 miles. I lost all confidence and almost gave up on my goal. Thankfully Char talked me into going for it anyway (sound familiar?!). While I hit a wall after mile 22 and didn’t BQ, I was still very proud of the race and knew that fueling was the key to finishing strong in the future.

Marathon #3: Houston Marathon: 3:43:59

There is Nuun in that handheld!

  • Stay off my feet the day before the marathon.
  • I need to learn to be mentally tough in the last 6 miles.
  • Sometimes changing one little thing can change your attitude and turn things around.

The Olympic Marathon trials were in Houston the year I ran the marathon. I woke up really early the day before the race to spectate the trials (i.e. standing on my feet), walked around the expo for a few hours with Laura, then ended up at the mall later that afternoon. It’s no wonder that I never felt fresh from the beginning. I had a low point at mile 13-14 and took a cup of Gatorade and felt immediately better for several miles, which was a great lesson for me at the time in “getting a second wind.” This was also the marathon where I finally didn’t bonk super hard, but in the last 6 miles, when I knew I would PR but not break 3:40, I kind of gave in. I could have given more at the end. I knew I had to learn how to get mentally tougher when it hurts if I wanted to run a strong marathon in the future.

Marathon #4: Eugene Marathon: 3:57:12


  • Stress causes very real fatigue.
  • Strong training does not guarantee marathon success.
  • Never take a marathon finish for granted.
  • Don’t stop for the bathroom until I am sure I really need to.

My second BQ attempt. I ran this marathon the week after moving to Chicago and my body was just flat out exhausted. Despite an excellent training cycle, I did so many things wrong before the race. The one thing I did right was finish. From mile 15+, I questioned whether I could keep moving forward and I was very happy I finished instead of taking a DNF.

Marathon #5: Bayshore Marathon: 3:30:04

bayshore chute

  • Lose the Garmin.
  • I have a good feel for pace when I don’t obsess over the watch.
  • It is possible to feel amazing in a marathon.
  • Running a redemption marathon CAN work, but only under the right circumstances.
  • Having a pacer is game changing.

There isn’t a great deal to say about this…It’s as close to a perfect race as I can imagine and having Molly pace me gave me the confidence I needed to have a big breakthrough day. I do want to note that I don’t at all recommend running another marathon 6 weeks after the first one (it took a toll on my body). BUT since Eugene wasn’t a *real* marathon effort (i.e. 11+ min/miles after mile 18), I believe that my body wasn’t as fatigued as it normally would be after a typical marathon effort.

Marathon #6: New York City Marathon: 3:33:38

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  • No really, DITCH THE GARMIN. Running on feel is fun.
  • I can lock into a pace without a watch telling me how fast I am running.
  • I can run a solid marathon without running a 20-miler in training (if I race smart)
  • Cross training works.
  • I still need to learn to get tough in the final miles of the race.
  • Don’t cut the start of the race too close. 

I was injured 7 weeks out from the race. I never ran over 18 miles in the cycle and never ran over 15 miles in the 6 weeks before the race. But I had more fun in this marathon than I ever thought I could and I was shocked how well my body held up in the later miles despite a lack of long runs. I still think I could have pushed harder from 23+. And also…I missed the start of my wave – I don’t recommend that to anyone :)

Marathon #7: Boston Marathon: 3:41:45


  • Adjust goals based on weather.
  • The Boston Marathon course is brutal.
  • Don’t try to do too much in the days leading up to the marathon.
  • I need to try to keep my emotions in check until I really need them for a boost or after the race.
  • Sometimes the body you want to race just doesn’t show up (I seem to need to keep re-learning this one).

Oh boy, this was a tough one. I did many things wrong in the days leading up to the race and I could feel how tired I was emotionally. I even told Kevin a couple of days before the race that I was feeling a little like I felt in Eugene. That, combined with the weather, should have given me the information I needed to have to make major adjustments to my race plan.

Marathon #8: Chicago Marathon: 3:26:52

corey smile

  • Stop thinking so much and just run.
  • Working together with someone helps a ton.
  • Hometown races are amazing.
  • Sometimes running a little faster feels better than slowing down.
  • A mid-race low point can be turned around (hmmm…seems to be the second time I have had to learn that one!)

It’s kind of fun to look back through each of these races. It shows me how far I have come (57 min. from #1 to #8), but I also know my marathon days still have so much more to teach me. And hopefully faster times to come along with it…

It also reminds me that there are a few lessons that I have had to learn more than once. I might have to revisit these thoughts before #9 so that I can put these little lessons in my pocket and remember them when things get tough.

Tell me…what is the biggest lesson you have learned from a marathon?

Posted in Goals, Races, running, training | 14 Comments

Final Chicago Thoughts & What’s Next

After I published my marathon recap, I thought for a while about why it was so hard to write. Usually a PR race recap is easy. It’s puppies and rainbows and everything that was right leading up to and during the race. Right?!

I think the reason that this one was hard to write is because it was a PR. It’s hard to talk about being really happy with the time, but not really happy with how I reacted to things getting hard. On paper, it was almost perfectly even splits (1:43:20 & 1:43:32) and the last 5k was the fastest of the day. But the race was anything but perfect.

2014-10-21 13-02-13_Bank of America Chicago Marathon

In the recap, I wanted to fully capture where my head was and truly how much my race was changed by Char coming along when she did. I am still not sure if I did justice to that. It was hard to find the words to describe the mental let down that I had during the race. I talked about being in a “dark place”, but that description really isn’t completely accurate.

When I think about being in a dark place during a marathon, I think about how I felt in Boston…where I was absolutely miserable and mad about it. During Chicago, I was never miserable. When I backed off the pace for ~15 sec/mile in those middles miles, it was a 100% conscious decision. And that’s really the part I am most disappointed in…It was like I gave myself an out. And the more I dwelled on the slower pace, the deeper I fell into a mixture of feeling sorry for myself: “Why didn’t my super fresh legs show up today?” “It’s not fair that I had the ‘perfect’ training cycle and am not having an incredible race to show for it.” and questioning myself: “I don’t think I can hold this pace for x more miles.” “I don’t know if I will be able to pick it up and make up the time I gave back.”

It really comes down to just thinking WAY too much. And then when Char came along…I had no choice. I was either going to let her go, which I didn’t truly see as an option. (I am WAY too competitive for that). Or I was going to move my feet as fast as she was and stay with her. And then once I made that decision, all questioning, thinking and analyzing was done. After that it was all about running with the only thinking focused on what it would take to keep moving at that pace (nutrition, hydration, etc.) I must have told her 100 times during and after the race how happy I was that she was there. I knew immediately what she had done for me and I was (and am) very grateful for her “saving my race” as I told her over and over. It also made those last miles of the race a whole lot of fun :)

corey and char2

And in reality, that is really why we do this, isn’t it?

So, What’s Next?

I think for the first time since I started running I can honestly answer this question with nothing. Of course, there will definitely be something, but it is the first time in a long time that I have finished a goal race with no races on the calendar. There are truly no registration confirmations in my inbox and I still have no idea what my spring training and/or racing will look like.

I do know that there won’t be a marathon. After 4 back-to-back training cycles, with three of those cycles all focused on a 3:23(ish) marathon, I think it is time to step back from this distance for a bit. It hurts my heart a little to think about not running a marathon for a whole year, but I know that if I really want to make progress then it makes more sense to step away. This winter I will focus on my 5k and 10k times and later in the spring, I will probably run a half marathon. I want to get faster and stronger (back to regular yoga, strength workouts and maybe some new stuff?) and see how that translates into a faster marathon next fall.

I have tossed around some half ideas with friends, but haven’t committed to registering for anything yet and I don’t even have a target 5k or 10k in mind. For now, I’ll focus on recovery (boring) and then once I am ready to start training again, I will work with Kevin to figure out what the right races will be. I do know that I am excited to mix things up a little and happy that I can race without having to recover for a month+!

Posted in Chicago, friends, Goals, Races, running | 7 Comments

Chicago Marathon: A Mental Battle

I am not sure why it has been so hard for me get my thoughts down about this race. Sure, I have been busy with work and family in town, but I have sat in front of my computer or had time to sit in front of my computer several times and the words just haven’t come. The race feels like it was ages ago, when in reality it was just over a week. But finally…here we go:

If anyone would have asked me a few months ago if I thought I was a “mental” runner, I would have told them absolutely not. I love to run. I like to believe that I train hard, but smart (Thanks to Coach) and have been running long enough to know that one bad run (or one bad week for that matter) can’t make or break a training cycle. I would have said that I have learned how to run on feel in the marathon and can find a pace and lock it in like clockwork. And because of that I don’t over-analyze Garmin data every other minute or get too worked up about “too fast” or “too slow” during the race. I would have said the mental part of my running wasn’t where I needed improvement. Boy, was I wrong.

In the last few weeks leading up to Chicago Marathon, I found myself in my own head way too often. During every run, I was constantly thinking about how my legs were feeling and worrying if I was fresh enough. Despite everything I know about taper, I definitely let it get to me. I even wrote a note to coach telling him I had no idea where all this mental BS was coming from, but I just couldn’t shake it. I would like to be able to write this race report and tell you that what was happening in my head before the race didn’t affect my race, but that’s definitely not the case.

BUT, I am very happy that something changed and I was able to walk away with a race (and PR!) that I am very happy with. I can’t take the credit myself..I definitely didn’t have an “Aha!” moment and pull myself out of a negative place. The credit absolutely goes to a very good friend {and maybe a little bit of my competitive (stubborn?) nature.}

Race Weekend

The weekend leading up to the race couldn’t have been more perfect. I was surrounded by a small group of close friends to share lots of laughs but also some quiet time relaxing at my house.

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Saturday  shake-out with my house guests Jocelyn, Char, Holly & Walter!

It may sound odd, but there was something about doing dishes and laundry the day before the marathon that made me really happy. It meant that I was in my normal routine which is about the most relaxed I can be. Being at home made the whole race not seem “real” in some ways. I never got really nervous or overly excited, which is a different feeling, but I have learned keeping my emotions in check is important for me (see Boston 2014 for “everything Corey shouldn’t do before a race”.)

Race Morning

I slept well and when my alarm went off at 5 a.m., I felt refreshed. I had plenty of time to do all the pre-race things, eat, get last minute items for everyone who needed them (safety pins! Gu! warm clothes!) and still be out of the house by 6 as planned. Major public transit fail when we walked up to the train and realized we missed it by less than a minute and had to wait 15 minutes for the next one. But we still had plenty of time and there was no reason to get worried. We chatted and laughed nervously while we waited on the train platform and I was very grateful to have my friends there to share the time. Once we got off the train, it was chaotic and kind of crazy trying to stay together with Char, Jocelyn and Batch to get to baggage drop and then to our corral.


One of the worst selfies in history (Char, Me, Batch, Jocelyn)

We managed to do it all by 7:10ish and were in the corral area with 20 minutes to spare. Unfortunately the porta potty lines were really long and there was definitely some panicking over whether they were going to shut the gates of the corrals while we were standing in lines only a few feet away. People were peeing everywhere and I lost Jocelyn, Char and Batch, but I decided to wait for a porta potty and take my chances. It ended up being completely fine and I was stripping off throwaways and squeezing into the corral with Nicole (who we ran into in the porta potty line) like a herd of cattle with well over 5 min to spare.

{I am going to break the recap into beginning, middle and end rather than in 5 mile increments like I normally would. It will tell the story of the mental part of my race most accurately.}

The Beginning (Miles 1-9): 7:50, 7:53, 7:50, 7:55, 7:46, 7:58, 7:46, 7:57, 7:46

Those first few steps of a marathon are always surreal. You work so hard and wait so long for the day to come and then you are finally running and it is always a bit like an out of body experience. I tried to take a deep breath and take it all in.

I was super happy to clock mile 1 EXACTLY on target, thinking it was a good sign that I had settled in right away. I stayed to the left and got a big wave and smile from Jenny and Holly right after the 1-mile marker. Over the next few miles, I focused on locking in the pace and getting to the next place where I knew friends were cheering. I saw both Char and Jocelyn on the course between miles 2 and 3. I missed Jacqueline and George at mile 4 and somehow missed Brad and the dogs at mile 6, but I passed my teammate, Vicki, around mile 7. It was nice to see a friendly face and fall into step with her for a few minutes.

The next few miles were by far my absolute favorite part of the race. Running through Boy’s Town was amazing with the enthusiastic crowds, loud music and people watching. Huge bonus that the whole section from 6-10ish is basically my own neighborhood. Running through familiar blocks where you know every storefront and curve in the road makes the miles fly. This was also the section where I saw the most friends! I heard my name and got a solid side-five from Jeff around mile 8, then saw Brad, our neighbor, Joe, and the dogs around mile 9 and got lots of cheers and side fives from Jenny, Tim, Holly and crew at 9.5.

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Photo Credit: Jenny. Hand Credit: Carla

At that point, I was flying high. I got a huge adrenaline boost from from seeing everyone and the crowds in the next few miles were fantastic.

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Side Five Perfection. Photo Credit: Jenny

BUT…I noticed pretty early that while the pace felt comfortable, it didn’t feel like I was necessarily holding back to keep it there. I had hoped that I would have to force myself to slow down to keep it around 7:50, but that definitely wasn’t the case. I tried not to let it concern me and to just focus on taking it all in and having fun. 

The Middle (Miles 10-18): 7:56, 7:55, 7:55, 7:56, 16:11 (14&15), 7:53, 8:03, 8:05

Not worrying about the splits worked for the first section of the race, but as I got to the middle miles, my head took over and I stopped trusting myself. When I hit 4 miles in a row at 7:55-56, I basically freaked out. I felt like I was putting down the same amount of effort and was steadily getting slower. These middle miles were definitely the darkest moments of the race. I knew that if my body was slowing down already that the last 10-12 miles would be rough.

I got a small boost at mile 11 when I saw Jacqueline & George and then looked forward to seeing and giving Kevin a big wave and smile at Mile 13.5. But shortly after that, I made a decision…I am not sure if it was a good one or not, but it did give me some mental relief at the time. I consciously decided to back off the pace. I felt like I kind of shook my own shoulders and said “Why are you pressing?” I thought by slowing slightly meant that I had a better chance of having something left from 20+. It did help a little and I also got a boost when I realized that I missed a mile marker so that I saw Mile 15 when I was expecting 14 to come next. Then I got another small boost when mile 16 was back down to 7:53. And I even thought to myself, “I am going to be okay. I am going to finish this strong.”

That didn’t last too long and by the time Kevin fell into step with me at Mile 17ish, I was back at 8+ min/miles. When he asked how I was feeling, I tried to stay positive. I told him I didn’t feel bad, but that I didn’t feel great and that I had backed off the pace. He told me that I looked really good and relaxed and that I needed to focus on getting to 20 and then laying it out for the last 10k. I left him with a smile and a “Yep! That’s the plan!”.

The next two miles took me back to a dark place again. I felt like I had given up on the race a little and was content to just sit at 8:05’s and just hold on.

The End (Miles 19-26.2): 7:54, 7:52, 8:00, 7:41, 7:49, 7:45, 7:47, 7:43, 7:25(0.2)

Shortly after I passed the 18-mile marker, I heard a voice behind me that said, “We were meant to finish this together.” It was Char. She came up behind me charging fast and with a ton of energy. She was feeling great and even better when she realized that we were going to get to run together. I was so so happy to see her, but as I picked up the pace to fall into step, my mind immediately went back to questioning. Can I hold this pace? Should I let her go? I told her I hadn’t been feeling great and that if she felt like she could run faster she should go. She told me that she was fine right at that pace and just said, “You can do this. Let’s just work together.”

And so we did. We ran every single step after that side by side. At some point I stopped questioning whether I could do it and just made up my mind that I would do it. It got hard for both of us a different times, but we just fed off of each other. When we would get separated at water stops, neither of us slowed. Whoever was behind would pick the other one up and use that momentum to keep pressing. We smiled and told each other great job every time we hit a mile marker at 7:4x. But other than that, we talked very little except the occasional “You/we have got this” or to announce what was happening next: “I am taking a Gu here.” “I am getting Gatorade at the next water stop.”

It was the most familiar and comfortable feeling. I have run thousands of miles next to Char and it seemed so natural and perfect that we would be running together in the final miles of the race. Having her there gave me the confidence that I was missing in the first 18 miles of the race and finally allowed me to get out of my own head and just RUN.

corey smile

Happy Runner. Mile 24.5. Photo Credit: Charlyn

We smiled and waved at Jenny at mile 19, heard Jacqueline and George again at 21, big smiles for Charlyn and Annabelle at mile 24.5, a big yell for our mutual friend, Liz, at 25.5 and then fist pumps and smiles for Kevin and Tim at mile 26.

corey and char2

Side by Side. Photo Credit: Charlyn.

We crossed the finish line together, followed by the biggest hugs.

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Chicago Marathon: 3:26:52 (3:12 PR)


I learn something from every marathon that I run and #8 was definitely not an exception. In fact, I think overcoming my own mental battle is one of the biggest lessons I can take away from a marathon up to this point. In the future, I am going to have to learn to do that on my own, without the help of Char. And to remember that the feeling of pressing might just be all in my head. It might not mean that I need to back off, but actually maybe to speed up slightly or just change something. While I wish that I hadn’t given in during the middle miles, it’s hard to say whether it was the right decision or not. The push that was there to make the last 5k the fastest tells me that there was definitely more left in my body than I thought at mile 16. But maybe the 15 seconds per mile I gave back for 4 miles is the reason?

Overall, I absolutely loved the race. Running through the streets of Chicago with the spectacular crowds, amazing volunteers and friends all over the course made me fall even more in love with this city.

Posted in Chicago, friends, Goals, Race reports, Races, running, training, Weather | 15 Comments

Chicago Marathon Results


Photo credit: Charlyn

I have spent the last few days celebrating and enjoying time with friends. Now I am in Peoria for work and with family so it will be a few days before I’ll get to the race report.

But as always, there were lessons learned and I have a lot to say about the day. The race didn’t go at all like I thought it might, but I am beyond happy and proud of the results and a PR is something I will NEVER take for granted.

Back soon with more!

Posted in Chicago, Goals, Race reports, Races, running | 5 Comments

Chicago Marathon RACE WEEK!

1 week until Chicago Marathon

Welp, it’s race week, folks. I decided to go ahead and post this BEFORE the race so that the first post after the race is a recap or at least a highlight of how it all went down. This week was all about getting out of my own head with how my body was feeling and trying to focus on eating, sleeping, hydrating and mentally prepping for the race. (Oh and a quick work trip in the middle of the week…not ideal, but a good distraction.)


  • Plan: 50 min – 1:00 Easy
  • Actual: 6.25M @ 8:21

Another cool morning and also another day where I was WAY over thinking how I was feeling. Walter ran with me and after about 5 miles when I eventually changed my focus to just enjoying the miles with him instead of over analyzing how my legs felt, I started to feel pretty darn good.


  • Plan: Taper Medley: 1M @ MP (7:45) + 2×800 @ ~10k pace (3:30) + 4×400 @ ~10k pace (1:40-45)
  • Actual: 7.75M @ 8:08 w/1M: 7:44, 2×800: 3:29, 3:28, 4×400: 1:43, 1:43, 1:42, 1:49 (?)

This taper medley is always a workout that I don’t end up loving. I look forward to it because, on paper, it is a really fun workout. But at this point in taper, I always find myself a little all over the place on the paces. They end up looking good on paper, but I feel like I am slowing/surging constantly to hit them and don’t feel controlled and smooth. This might also have something to do with how better I am with speedwork on the track. When I have only a lap watch and a split every 200 m, I can lock into 5k or 10k pace like clockwork, but with the Garmin on the lakefront, I am really inconsistent. There are also places where the signals are wonky…like in the last 400 where my Garmin jumped from a 6:05 pace to a 7:49 pace in about 5 seconds and then never equalized out. Blerg.


  • Plan: 20 – 25 min Easy
  • Actual: 3M @ 8:17

It’s weird to wake up and know that my workout is going to take less than 30 min. I kinda like it! Walter and I had a nice, easy run on a chilly morning. I found that picking up the pace just a tad helped me feel a TON better. Running in my normal “easy” range (8:20-8:30) just felt really blah but I found a little spring in my step around 8:15 pace.

After the run I came home to pack and get the dogs ready to go to camp for the night, then headed off to the airport for my flight to Norfolk. Once I got there, I was chauffeur and ring master for our director and managers so that everything would go smoothly for dinner followed by the big meeting Thursday.


  • Plan: 20 – 25 min Easy
  • Actual: 3M @ 8:20

I was still dark when I got up at 6 a.m. in my hotel room in Virginia Beach, but fortunately the area I was staying in is well lit. I ran a nice easy 3 miles and felt pretty good. It’s a little hard to tell how you even feel in such a short run.

The work day went really well, but unfortunately I got stuck in the airport that evening with a 4 hour delay…Air Traffic Control strikes again. I finally got back home a little after 11, but it was nice that Brad and I both landed in Chicago at the same time and were able to head home together.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

I woke up a little tired from a late and somewhat stressful evening, but ready for a busy day of work, expo-ing and dinner with friends. I felt kind of blah all day and a little detached from everything race related, but a solid couple of hours of downtime in the afternoon helped a ton.


  • Plan: 20 min Easy w/striders
  • Actual: 3ish Miles @ 8:30ish pace

I slept in as much as I could…until 7:15 or so. I finally got up for good around 8 and then did a little house shake-out run (including Brad!). I didn’t have my garmin on so I have no idea how fast or how far we ran, but it was around 25ish min. The weather was spectacular and my legs felt as fresh as they have since taper started.


Brad wouldn’t hang around long enough for a picture of everyone, but the girls got one on the lakefront. As Chanthana said…”Walter and his ladieesss.”



  • Run: 23 miles (before the marathon)
  • Cross training: 0
  • Strength: 0
  • Yoga: 0
Posted in Chicago, friends, Goals, running, training, walter, Weather, weekly recap, Yoga | 1 Comment

Friday Fun XIV – Marathon Edition


  1. Chicago Marathon. It’s Sunday…two days away! ’nuff said. Runner Tracking: Bib #5340.
  2. Home. Fun fact: I have never slept in my own bed the night before a marathon. This is one of the biggest reasons why I am over the moon for this race. I get to stay in my “normal” routine, sleep in my own bed and (maybe most important) I don’t have to pack!
  3. House Guests. I have been telling friends since we moved here that if they wanted to run Chicago Marathon and stay with us, they were more than welcome. I am happy that Holly & Batch, Char and Jocelyn took us up on that offer for this weekend! It is always more fun for me to experience the race with friends so I am stoked to have this crew here to share all the pre and post race nerves and excitement with.
  4. Saturday Plans. I went to the expo today and, other than my shake-out run, I don’t plan to step a foot outside of my house tomorrow. That means take-out for dinner and watching football and movies in the basement ALL day. I can’t think of a better way to prep for 26.2.
  5. Cara MioAnother bonus of a hometown race? Knowing exactly where you want to carb load. Cara Mio is my favorite little Italian restaurant in Chicago. The service is great, it’s BYOB (!!), the prices are reasonable and the food is delicious. And for tonight, maybe most important…it is far away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown marathon crowds. Brad and I are going with Chanthana, Manny, Jenny, Liz, Kevin, Batch and Holly. Good friends, good food. Can’t beat it.
  6. These Pants. (Oiselle lux track pant, if you don’t want to click the link) Don’t worry, I am not going all fan-girl up in here. But I really DO love these pants. I bought them after my last 21-miler to celebrate completing peak training for this race. Needless to say, I have spent alot of time in them during taper. Yes, they are a bit on the expensive side for “sweat pants”, but the material, fit and comfort is out of this world.
  7. Forecast. I always say that ANYTHING reigns over heat in my world. And with Chicago’s history of 80+ degree days and my struggle in the warm-ish temps at Boston, that was definitely a fear of mine for this race. So while some people may be fretting over the chance of rain, I will embrace it along with the 50-something temps. I’ll have all my chafe-potential spots lubed up and a hat on and will run my heart out in that rain.
  8. Goals. I am a little hesitant to put hard and fast goals out there, internet or otherwise, because I am really focused on running on feel and seeing what my body has to give. I had the best training cycle I have ever had and I know I am really fit, but I also know that doesn’t necessarily translate into a PR marathon. My #1 goal is to run a faster race than I have ever run before (sub-3:30), but I really feel like I am fit enough to run something in the low to mid-3:20’s. So, we’ll see what body shows up on race day and I will give it all I’ve got!

Good luck to everyone running a marathon tomorrow or Sunday or running long this weekend!

Posted in Chicago, Ernie, friends, life, Races, running, swimming, training, Travel, triathlon, workout clothes | 7 Comments

Searching for Fresh Legs

2 weeks until Chicago Marathon

I was so happy to be back home for this full week. I had some catching up to do on life, sleep and just general rest. In the early part of the week I was getting a little concerned that my legs still felt heavy and sluggish. Later in the week, I started to see a glimpse of freshness and then by Saturday I was feeling decent, but still thinking and over-analyzing WAY too much.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

I was unexpectedly in NYC Monday morning after flight cancellations Sunday. I started the day with an hour and $100+ Uber trip to Laguardia from Manhattan (a 6.5 mile drive). I was lucky to arrive 30 min before the flight and still make the plane, but we sat on the runway for a few hours while Air Traffic Control was still backed up in Chicago. I finally made it to O’Hare around 1:30. Exhausted. Starving. But home. Happy Monday.


  • Plan: Tempo Run w/2M @ 7:10
  • Actual: 7M @ 7:54 w/tempo: 7:08, 7:04

Sleep won out over a run before my morning meetings and I didn’t get a chance to run until around lunch time (yay for fall weather allowing this!). I felt decent and the tempo miles weren’t bad, but I was definitely still not feeling any pep in my legs from the reduced mileage.


  • Plan: 1:00 Easy + yoga
  • Actual: 7.1M @ 8:28 + yoga

I actually acknowledged my alarm when it went off to run before my morning calls. It was a beautiful morning, but a little windy. Walter went with me for 6 miles and I felt pretty sluggish for for the first 3, but a little better after that. Where’s the fresh springy feeling that taper is supposed to bring?

I went to an evening yoga class, hoping to work out some tightness. It was perfect, for the most part, but there was one sequence of holding humble warrior/extended side angle/low lunge twists that just felt like too much for where I am in taper right now. My competitive side doesn’t like to give in and go to child’s pose, but I had no choice once my legs got really shaky and weak. I probably shouldn’t even have held as long as I did.


  • Plan: Speedwork w/3×1000 @ 10k pace (4:15)
  • Actual: 7.25M @ 8:08 w/1k: 4:15, 4:15, 4:14

It was much warmer than the last few weeks of morning runs, but I didn’t mind because for me to run on the track without too long of a warm-up/cool-down, I need to walk the beginning and end of the run. My legs felt a tiny bit of spring in them in the warm-up which was a nice surprise after the previous two days’ sluggishness. The repeats didn’t feel as easy as I would like them to at 10k pace, but at least I was able to lock it in and hold it. By the time I was cooling down, my legs felt fatigued again, similar to how they felt earlier in the week.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

I originally thought I might go to yoga, but since I was still searching for some recovery and freshness in the legs, I knew I needed a complete rest day. I rested like a champ…even working all day from my bed.


  • Plan: 1:00 – 1:20 Run w/1M in the middle @ race pace
  • Actual: 8.65M @ 8:05 w/Mile 4: 7:49

I went from running in a tank top and shorts on Thursday to capris and a light jacket on Saturday. I woke up to the sound of howling wind, temp of 37* with a “feels like” temp of 28 and rumors of snow flurries. But Walter was really excited to run in the colder temps and made it a solid 7 miles. When I started, my legs felt much better than they have at the beginning of the last few runs, but as I picked up the pace a little, it just felt harder than it should have. The one mile at race pace took me a while to lock in, but once I was in the range it really didn’t feel too bad. I was definitely ready to be done when I hit the 1:10 mark.

I spent the rest of the day with Chanthana, Manny and Jenny. We brunched, saw Gone Girl then got take-out later that night. Perfect way to spend a cold, windy, rainy day.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Another day where I thought I might want to go to yoga, but in the end opted for rest. It was a super productive day though. This is what taper does to me! I got a bunch of errands run and things done around the house…including planting fall flowers in my planters.



P.S. I wish I didn’t live in a world where I have to blur out my house number for safety purposes, but alas…




  • Run: 30 miles
  • Cross training: 0
  • Strength: 0
  • Yoga: 1 class
Posted in Chicago, friends, Goals, running, training, walter, Weather, weekly recap, Yoga | 2 Comments