Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Training for the Chicago Marathon: A Season in Review

They say it’s the journey that counts, so I decided to write this post before the Chicago Marathon, not after. Yes this race matters to me—it matters to me a lot—but it’s important to look back on all the work I put in and remember that I enjoyed (most of) it.

In no particular order, here’s a list of superlatives that offer a snapshot review of my training season:

Best Workout
In September, J___ gave me 5 x 1 mile 6:40, 6:30, 6:20, 6:10, 6:10. I nailed it within a second of every pace until the 6:10s . . . which I ran more like 6:05s. I have never hit a workout—alone—so spot on.

Worst Workout
I don’t remember the exact details, but there was a workout in the spring where I had to run 4 miles straight at some particular pace, and I got so frustrated after putting in what felt like sprint-level effort and missing the first two miles by nearly 15 seconds (each!) that I stopped and rested for two minutes before the third mile and then again before the fourth.  It felt like failure—well, it was failure—and failure is the worst.

Most Complicated Workout
On a track, in meters: 200-200-200-400-200-600-200-800-200-800-200-600-200-400-200-200. Oh and there were 200m recovery jogs between each of these. Dizzy yet?

Biggest Inspiration
Watching M___ run Boston literally like a machine: she ran textbook negative splits to finish well below 3:10. Incredible.

Biggest Sacrifice
Leaving my Thursday night writing group in order to attend running sessions at the track. Of course I made better friends with the Thursday night runners, which was awesome, but I miss my writing friends. Scheduling sucks.

Most Surprising Discovery
I’ll probably regret putting this in writing, but I actually like track workouts. (I think???) So long as my teammates are around of course!

Most Annoying Discovery
I need sleep—a lot of sleep. The higher my mileage climbed, the earlier I wanted to go (and often did go) to bed. Also, I don’t get super hungry during peak weeks; no, I get super hungry during taper weeks. How does that make sense?!

Proudest Accomplishment
I think this one’s a tie. On one hand, this was my first season of doubles, and I am proud to say that I didn’t skip a single one! (For those of you who might not know what a “double” is, your guess was probably right: it’s running twice in one day.) But I’m a pretty by-the-book person—if a coach tells me to do something, I intend to go do it as to-the-letter as I can—so I guess that’s not truly my proudest accomplishment. Therefore, I guess I’d have to say I am most proud of running 65 miles in one week . . . three times! Never in my life did I think I’d do that. Who knows what might come next!

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