Friday, June 29, 2012

My Marathon Training Plan

One of my goals for this year was to complete my first marathon and it is officially training time!  The Chicago Marathon this year will be on October 7th. 
When I trained for my first half marathon, almost two years ago now, I used Coach Jenny Hadfield and John "the Penguin" Bingham's run/walk training plan from Marathoning for Mortals.  I love their training philosophy and have used modified versions of it for every other long distance race I have trained for.  So why not go with what works for me, right?  I decided to reread the book and will be following the run training plan for the marathon.  They set the training program at 20 weeks, but I had just finished the Soldier Field 10 Mile race at week two so just picked up with week four to start my training.  I made a chart with all the dates and specified workouts for each day that I can mark on.  I may have to switch some days because of work, but my plan is to pretty much stick with what they have laid out.  
The plan has me run three or four days a week with two days of cross training and one or two rest days depending on the week.  I usually only run three days a week, but completely understand why some weeks there are four days of running, I mean the race is 26.2 miles long, I've gotta log some miles.  The longest run planned is 20 miles and I know you can run a marathon only having done 20, but I think I might try for at least 22.  They emphasize in the book that it is really about how long you are your feet, not necessarily the miles run so weekday runs are set as a time and long runs are miles.  The long runs are also done at a slower pace, so you are on your feet longer.  I just feel like 22 miles will make me feel more prepared for race day, but I'm going to go with how I feel and cross that bridge when I get to it.  

Another major factor with the Marathoning for Mortals training plan is running on effort or heart rate and not pace.  My nifty Garmin is also a heart rate monitor so I will be using it during all my training runs to track my heart rate.  I usually use it when I train for a longer distance, but haven't recently.  Rereading the book reminded me how important training by effort rather than pace is, especially because so many things can effect your pace from how much sleep you got to the weather.  I want to be careful not to overtrain either, because I do not want to hurt myself.  I am making sure to warmup before each workout and cool down after.  Plus I am stretching and foam rolling after runs and icing my knees.  This is the real deal people and I would be disappointed if I was to hurt myself.  

So I have completed the first two weeks of my 17 week training plan.  I am tracking all of my workouts on Daily Mile and marking them on my paper training plan.  For cross training days the past few weeks I have been doing yoga, either at Core Power or Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown DVD.  I plan to continue to keep yoga in my routine to help with my tight muscles throughout training.  I worked the morning shift at work the past week so I had a few very early mornings to get my runs in.  This ended up being OK though because I beat some of the heat.  Thankfully for my long runs it was a bit cooler.  In fact my 8 mile long run last week was done after work around 2pm, and it was cloudy and cool outside which was nice for running.  

Today marks 100 days until the Chicago Marathon!  Nine miles are the schedule for tomorrow!

If you have trained or are training for a marathon, how many weeks is your training program?   Where do you go to figure out a training program?  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Food, Food, Food!

So last week my mom came to Chicago to visit me.  We ran our races Saturday morning, but otherwise spent time hanging out, eating, and exploring the city.  There is so much to do and eat here, I must see a new place, or five, I want to visit every week.  I keep a list on my phone updated with all the places I want to try.  This is makes it easier to remember all the places and I can just choose something from the list when someone visits.

My mom flew into Chicago late Thursday evening.  I had to work early Friday morning so we grabbed breakfast at Over Easy, the same place I went when my friend Mari came to visit earlier this spring.  We decided to split one savory and one sweet plate.  We decided on a special omelet with swiss chard and the strawberry rhubarb french toast.  

The omelet was just OK, which I was a bit surprised about because the other two times they have been really good, but this one was just kind of bland.  The french toast however, was fabulous, no syrup needed either.  There was a delicious cream filling and plenty of strawberry-rhubarb compote to go around.  
After several hours at work my mom met me downtown so we could get an early dinner at a new restaurant called Grange Hall Burger Bar.  I read a description and review of the place and new immediately I wanted to try it.  It is a farm to table concept, so they use organic and local foods including grass fed beef.  The restaurant kind of looks like an open barn and since it was a pretty day we sat on the front patio.  The silverware was anitque looking and mismatched along with flowery cloth napkins.  Their menu is pretty simple; beef, turkey, or wild rice burger with your choice of toppings and then you can choose from about six sides.  There was a good selection of beers and drinks as well.  Plus a nice dessert menu that included homemade pie and milkshakes.  The food here did not disappoint. 
We got the beef and turkey burger to spilt and an order of fries and potato salad.  Everything was so good!  The turkey burger, which is made in house, had a great blend of spices mixed into the patty.  The grass fed beef burger was wonderful and everything a burger should be.  Sometimes grass fed beef can be over cooked and a little dry, but this was perfect!  The fries were giant hunks of potato goodness and the homemade potato salad was tasty too.  

We couldn't pass up the homemade pie of the month, strawberry-rhubarb, and got some a la mode.  MMM!  
I will definitely be going back to Grange Hall.  I absolutely loved it!

After napping after the race Saturday, we checked out the new Athleta store here in Chicago.  They have so many great workout and casual clothes.  I didn't end up getting anything, but my mom walked away with a new swimming suit.  
By then we were pretty hungry and went to try the food at Pequod's Pizza.  I have heard lots of people talk about this deep dish pizza and figured it was worth a try.  Luckily we didn't have to wait long to sit down.  We started off with some delicious bruchetta.  I forgot to take a picture, but it was really fresh and served with toasty pieces of bread.  We ordered a small pan pizza with fresh spinach and mushrooms.  One of the unique things about their pizza is the extra cheese put on the crust which caramelizes during the baking process.  The pizza wasn't greasy and tasted really fresh.  
I'm not sure it is the best deep dish I have had but it was good.  We were each satisfied with one slice and took the other two pieces home.  After dinner we headed to the bookstore to look around before heading back to my apartment.

Sunday was my mom's last day so we slept in just a bit and then went off to eat brunch at Orange.  There are a few locations in the city, but we headed over to the one in Roscoe Village.  We got there at the perfect time and were seated immediately.  Once again we decided to go with something savory and something sweet.  I love going to new restaurants with another person because then you get a chance to try more than one item from the menu.  We ended up getting two of the specials for the day the Black Bean Frittata and the Pancake Flight.  
The frittata was perfectly cooked and was particularly tasty with a little bit of hot sauce, avocado, tomato, and mixed greens.  Really a great brunch meal.

The pancake flight consisted of four different pancakes: chocolate chip, vanilla, strawberry, and rocky road.  You can't go wrong with a flight of pancakes, right?  They were all very good!  My favorites were the chocolate chips and vanilla.  I thought Orange was great and will certainly go back for brunch another day.  I saw a few people order the frushi which is fruit sushi so I would like to try that next time.  

We walked around the neighborhood a bit and made our way to Dinkel's Bakery to grab some of there doughnuts.  They are seriously the best doughnuts I have ever had.  The chocolate covered doughnut and raspberry bismarck are my favorites.  Forgot to take a picture again, but if you are in Chicago go get a doughnut from Dinkel's!  We then headed downtown so mom could pick up more Sprinkles cupcakes to take home to Andy, my step-dad, and some Garrett's Popcorn for her co-workers.  

The rest of the day was mostly spent organizing my apartment.  I really don't own any other furniture besides my bed and dresser and we looked for a chair or table, but I couldn't really decide on anything.  Instead we organized some books in my room and cleaned up part of the living room.  We also Skyped with Caroline, my sister, who is in Arizona at the time volunteering with AmeriCorp.
Soon after mom and had to pack all her things and head to the airport.  I walked with her to the train station and said goodbye.  
The weekend went by too fast, but I am glad things worked out for her to visit.  I always enjoy spending time with my mom.  Plus we got to indulge in some more of the tasty food Chicago has to offer!   The next visit will likely be in October when mom and Andy are going to come cheer me on for my first marathon!  
I finalized my training plan and will be posting more about it soon!

Do your prefer sweet or savory for breakfast?  Do you find you indulge more when people come to visit?  I know I do; there is just so much good food to fit in a small amount of time!  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Karhu Move and Groove 5K: Race Recap

Are you surprised to see a race recap?  My decision to run a race last weekend was very last minute.  My mom was coming into town to run the Chicago 13.1 Marathon and to see me.  She won a free entry and the timing worked out perfectly to visit me.  I was checking Twitter early last week and noticed that Amy from Second City Randomness was giving away a free entry to a 5K.  I soon realized it was the 5K that was in conjunction with 13.1 race, so I figured why not enter.  And as you can tell by now I won the free entry!  I registered for the race Thursday morning.

After dinner Friday night we made our way to the Piper's Alley Fleet Feet to get our race packets.  My mom then had to go to Trader Joe's to get some groceries to take back home to Florida.  Since there are no TJ's near her whenever she visits somewhere there is one she stocks up on her favorites.  We made it back to my apartment with two big bags full of TJ's goods!  We got home late and had a few bites of the Sprinkles cupcakes mom had picked up earlier.  I also took a while trying to figure out my race outfit, because I can be kind of indecisive and didn't get to be until 11:30pm.  

Before I knew it the alarm went off at 4 am and we were up and getting ready to make out way south to the starting area.  We took the El to Millennium Park where we boarded yellow school buses to the start area at the South Shore Cultural Center.  
We arrived around 6:15am and sat around waiting for the half marathon start.  It was a very pretty morning and we got see the sun rise over the lake.  
Early morning eyes...
Just before 7am mom made her way to the start corral and I went to watch the start.  I got to watch each wave go off and cheered on all of the runners.  Once the half marathon runners were off the 5K racers lined up.  I found a spot in the corral and waited for the countdown.  We went off around 7:45am and by the temperature was rising and the sun was shining bright. 

I mentioned that I was having some weird aches in my legs last week so my plan for this race was mostly to have fun.  After the first mile everything felt OK so I decided to try and push myself a bit to see if I could get a new PR.  The last time I ran a 5K was last August, so it had been awhile.  The course was a simple out and back.  We ran by part of the lake, but it was just an OK course.  There were three aid stations on the course which I briefly walked through to sip some Gatorade.  I was getting a little bitter faster as I kept going and pushed myself to finish strong.  As I made my way down the finish line chute the announcer said my name as I crossed the finish line.  
It felt like the race went by so fast!  I was just 15 seconds shy of a new personal record, but it's no big deal.  It was a really last minute decision to run the race and you can't PR at every one.  I was just grateful to have won the free entry (thanks again Amy!) and that my legs were feeling better.  It also gave me a chance to do something while waiting for my mom to finish her half marathon.  
I grabbed the post race snacks and a bottle of water and made my way to stand along the finish line.  I cheered on all the runners as they made their final sprint to the finish.  I really enjoy spectating a race.  It's interesting to see all the different people running and shouting out some encouraging words for them to finish.  They are really so inspiring!  Plus when I run it is always nice to hear people cheering you on.  It was getting pretty warm out there and it is hard to run in the heat, so I hope my cheers helped someone with that final push across the finish line.  The text updates weren't working for my mom's splits, but I knew she would likely finish around two hours or so.  I didn't have to wait too long before I saw her running towards the finish.  She ended up finishing in 2:15, which is great considering the heat; she's awesome!  
We each grabbed the a free slice of Lou Maltnati's pizza and mom grabbed a free post race beer (I'm not really a beer drinker.)  We sat and stretched in the shade before heading back on the bus back to Millennium Park.

Next we made our way to the Green City Market.  After the winter inside at the Nature Museum it is back outside in Lincoln Park and is one my favorite places to go.  All the food there looks and tastes great.  I always talk about going there and my mom finally got a chance to see how wonderful it is.  I have been eyeing the porchetta sandwiches at a new booth the past few weeks and we bought one to share.  They are made with locally raised pork and topped with caramelized onions and a fresh slaw.  It was really delicious.  I picked up my usual foods before we made out way back to my apartment.  We were both pretty tired from the early start that morning, so after showers we took much needed naps.  

It wasn't either of our best races, but I think it's always fun to participate in a race.  Plus it was pretty darn cool to have both won free entries!  It was beautiful, although warm day, and I'm glad we got to spend the morning running.  We had a great weekend, which I promise to share more of soon.

What is one of your favorite things to eat or drink post race?  What are some of the things you say to when spectating a race?  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Minor Setback

Last Thursday while at work I noticed some pain on the side of my right ankle.  I stand on my feet all day, so it was uncomfortable.  There was also an ache in my knees.  I immediately had a mini freakout thinking it was the worst possible thing.  
My last run had been the night before at Fleet Feet Chick's Night where I had a really great 4.5 mile run.  I felt a slight soreness in my leg, but just figured it was a muscle thing.  I didn't want to make things worse so I decided to ice the aching areas, rest my legs as much as possible at home, and wear my compression socks.  Things weren't great the next few days, but I continued my routine of rest, ice, and compression.

My legs and knees have finally started to feel better the past two days though, which I am so grateful for.  I love running, like seriously love it.  Not only does it help me lose/maintain my weight, but it is also a great stress reliever and makes me feel good in general.  I don't belong to a gym or anything so I haven't had access to a bike or elliptical to do some other form of cardio, which has made this week hard.  I did a yoga DVD Sunday morning for about 30 minutes and went to yoga at Core Power this morning for an hour.  I have had runner's knee issues in the past and the ache in my knees feels familiar, it is the ankle/calf pain that had me concerned.  I am going to attempt a run tomorrow morning.  My legs are pretty much back to normal and I think I should be good for a run.  I am going to take it easy and be really mindful of how I am feeling.  If I notice any pain I will stop.  I definitely do not want things to get worse.  Marathon training has just started so I am going to be really cautious.  Luckily it is just the beginning, so I think I should be OK.  
I am still not sure what was going on, maybe a pulled muscle or overtraining??  I am going to make sure to focus on stretching more after my runs.  I used to be really diligent about it, but have slacked off a bit.  I am still considering the Chicago Women's Half in a few weeks, but it all depends on how I feel running the next few days.

The internet and TV service went out at the apartment and we got the run around from the service provider, AT&T.  We have had no service for four days.  I was not happy.  I wanted to run, but couldn't, so the past few days have been a little stressful.  Thankfully, it was finally fixed this morning and I am so relieved.  I used my phone to check essential things, but not having the internet is just an inconvenience.  I did get to read some more of my book, Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult.  I have been reading this for awhile and am almost finished now.  It was the book I took with me when I babysat, but I haven't been doing that as much, so it was put to the side.  I also rented several movies at the nearby Redbox.  

I also just got some race pictures from Soldier Field 10 Mile that aren't too bad so I thought I'd share! 

Thursday evening my mom is coming to visit and will be running the Chicago 13.1 race this weekend.  I am so excited to see her! 

How do you deal with an injury or setback in your workout or training routine?