Tag: racing

Fitness Swellness: 3 reasons I’m anxious about the 2018 Chicago Marathon


I’m about nine weeks into training for the Chicago Marathon and why’s it taken so long to post about this? Well, in part because training takes up a lot of time (leaving little time to blog…) and because I’m pretty nervous about this race.

This time around marathon training snuck up on me. A few months ago I’d talked to Nike Canada (one of the race’s sponsors) to explore whether running this race again would be possible (I ran it last year and in 2014) . Before I knew it, the race was three months away and boom, I met with Nike Run Coach Brittany Moran, and I had a three-month training schedule and had to kick things into high gear immediately.

For my personalized training plan, Brittany chatted with me about how I’ve trained thus far for the 11 marathons I’ve done, and asked me about my goals for this race. My goals (A, B and C) are all to PB.

When Nike sent me a magnet detailing my three months of training, with my goals boldly printed on the top, I started hyperventilating. Seeing it in print, with an intense schedule of training, well, shit just got real. I texted a few friends “Goodbye, see after October 7!” since it appeared I’d be doing nothing but running for the next three months.


When I had a chance to have a more careful read of the training plan, I realized it wasn’t that much more in terms of frequency than my training last year. Brittany’s training plan has me running mostly five days a week. She’s made some of the recovery runs longer than the ones I added in 2018. She also has my longest run, this week, at a distance of 34k (up from the usual 32k distance I’ve done in the past). In addition, she’s made some of them a little tougher (a few of the long runs, I’m to pick up the pace at the end, for example).

I’m very much a realist when it comes to most things. Perhaps that makes me approach things with less of a lofty, optimistic view, but that’s just how I think I’ve been wired. Is this a Capricorn thing?

In any case, my A-goal is to PB with a time that will guarantee I qualify and get into Boston. My B-goal is to meet the BQ standard. C-goal is to marathon PB (my marathon PB is from Chicago 2014).

And here’s the thing: right now, with three weeks to race day, I don’t feel like I can PB. There, I said it.

3 reasons why a PB feels out of reach to me:

  1. I’m basically going from couch to marathon. Typically, I maintain a certain level of running fitness year round, regardless if I have a goal race. But this winter and spring, I ran very sporadically. Then right when I was going to ramp it up and train consistently for the Lululemon 10k race in Toronto, I caught a cold and flu that knocked me out for three whole weeks. Then, finally well enough to run again having recovered from the flu, my eye doctor ordered me not to wear contact lenses for two whole weeks. I’m too nearsighted to run without lenses and running with my glasses would be very uncomfortable and awkward with my prescription so I took those two weeks off of running. Five weeks of no running meant I was a starting from zero. And I still haven’t gotten my strength and pace up again to what I used to run.
  2. My marathon training schedule is three months-long. I usually train using a four-month training plan. It wouldn’t normally be as much of an issue if I were in good shape to train over three months (…but see point #1 above regarding starting from scratch!).
  3. This summer’s brutal heat and humidity has drained me both physically and mentally. It’s been an incredibly hot and sticky summer. I know it affects everyone’s training, but if you’ve ever seen me exercise, I sweat a lot and am miserable when drenched in sweat. The conditions mean my runs are even slower and difficult than ever and I just spend a lot of the run thinking of how unhappy I am in that moment. What have summer weekends consisted of? First I spend a lot of time dreading the long run I have ahead of me and then the rest of the time I am feeling sorry for myself in a pool of my own sweat as I pound the pavement. I even cancelled plans to play tennis one weekend because I’m done with drowning in a pool of my own sweat all the time.

I know this isn’t the optimistic, I-can-do-it post that’s fun to read. But this is what the reality is for me right now. REAL TALK, that’s all the rage now, isn’t it? 

I swear this isn’t just pre-race jitters…I’ve thought this for weeks now, and runs that I think should feel effortless are still hard work.

On the bright side, I have learned a few things and can recognize the silver linings, too, with regards to training for Chicago 2018, and I’ll post about that in Part II of this blog post.

Are you running Chicago this year or another fall marathon? How’s your training going?


1 Comment September 18, 2018

Fitness Swellness: Sporting Life 10k 2015

in the finish area for Sporting Life 10k2015

Sunday I ran the Sporting Life 10k race (I think it’s the fifth time I’ve run this race, I’ve lost track!).

I normally haven’t been very sore after running a marathon other than the first time I ran one, but after last week’s Toronto Marathon, I felt a little more achey than usual, which made stairs a little bit tough for a day or two. I normally would’ve fit in one or two short runs in the week following before this 10k race, but I had a busy day Wednesday and was out of town with a busy itinerary Thursday and Friday. So I ended up not running at all, but that didn’t really faze me. I could tell my body could probably benefit from the recovery time.

Because I was out of town, and perhaps because I’m still somewhat disappointed with my Toronto Marathon (although I got so many kind messages and congrats, which helped cheer me up), I didn’t focus very much on this 10k. I knew I hoped to PB but knew it was a long shot given the fact I’d essentially have to run the pace of my 5k time trial with Nike but maintain it for twice the distance, which I didn’t feel was likely. My heart felt like it was going to explode during that time trial. Just typing this and I can feel the sensation of it about to burst through my ribs.

Add to this that on Sunday, thankfully it wasn’t raining (there had been a 60 percent chance of rain) but the weather was very warm. 18C and humid.

Sasha and I jumping, our ritual post-race

My friend Sasha of SoSasha.com and I planned informally to run beside each other, even though I assured her she would be faster than me. We were together til about 4k and then I slowed down. I was already feeling wiped out and was so terribly hot and sweaty. And I just couldn’t push myself more. I didn’t want to feel that intense pounding of my heart in my chest, to be honest it was a scary feeling during that time trial.

At the halfway mark, if I were able to maintain the same pace, I believe that would’ve been a personal best time (I haven’t broken out a calculator to be sure, but I think it’d be sub 47 minutes)…but just like last week’s marathon, I was confident I would be unable to maintain the pace for the last half. Dripping in sweat, and not drinking very much water as I was trying not to stop running, I was very much defeated by the heat. And my splits reflect that.

I ended up finishing in 49:51, which is nearly the same time as in 2013. Last year, I finished in 47:51 so I was hoping to finish this year in 45 or 46 minutes. But I’m fine with my time. This year, I don’t really feel my body or mind was as ready as it has been in the past to race again. And after having attended a barre class Monday night, I can definitely tell that my legs at least a few days of rest now after this 10k — I pushed my body hard in the last 8 days. In fact, in the photo here where me and Sasha are jumping, when I landed, my legs were so worn out and exhausted that I actually collapsed to my knees when I landed (thankfully, I didn’t hurt myself, just scraped one knee slightly).

As for the race itself, it is much better organized in terms of starting in waves and the finish no longer becomes a bottleneck the way it used to when it ended in Fort York. However, I felt there were far too few water stations along the route. And after crossing the finish line, it was a significant walk until reaching water and Gatorade. I felt lightheaded and considered sitting on the grass until I felt more steady, but I was frightened I’d make it worse and would end up possibly needing EMS help, so I made the long trek to water and gulped down four tiny cups and several Gatorade cups and devoured two bananas. This rejuvenated me, thankfully, and I went to find my friends.

high fives

I now have three weeks until my next race, the Run for Women 10k, and then the Nike Women’s 15k and then that’s it for racing this summer. As for the fall, right before this race, I was talking about likely racing the Detroit Marathon, but when I felt miserable during the 10k, and thought “I paid good money to put myself through this torture??” I started to reconsider a fall marathon…but I’ll probably soon forget all of this and my type A personality will have me kicking off marathon training in the next few weeks…

Leave a Comment May 12, 2015

Sporting Life 10k. Let’s do this.

Another Sunday, another race. Tomorrow, I run the Sporting Life 10k. It’s only the second time I’ve run this race (something usually comes up the weekend it’s on) and it’s only the third 10k race I’ve ever done. I will try to run it slow and easy (rather than race it) since I really should recuperating from the marathon last weekend. Even slow and easy will likely be a personal best time, though, as I’m much faster than I used to be (oh yeah, I also don’t have a pesky overactive thyroid anymore tiring me out).

My message on the Nike “Never stop…” sticker ($1 will be donated to Camp Ooch for each one collected)? Never stop trying — I took it from Coach Taylor’s playbook. “But you gotta try. That’s what character is. It’s in the trying.” (sigh, miss that show)

Thanks for the opportunity to run this fun race, Nike Canada!

P.S. My nails for the Sl10k? I’ve still got my chevron-dot marathon mani.

Leave a Comment May 12, 2012

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