Chicago Marathon Training: Week Two + Heart Update

Post-race medal photo!

Post-race medal photo!

My second week of training for Chicago was jam-packed with some really exciting things that I’m happy to share (with anyone who cares)!

My Bitty Heart

First, after doing a stress echocardiogram on Monday, my cardiologist cleared me for running. For the past two months I’ve been going through some tests at the hospital to figure out the cause of my chest pain during my April half marathon. After an abnormal EKG, my primary care physician referred me to a cardiologist for further testing. I had a normal echocardiogram done which showed I have an AV conduction delay. At first my cardiologist wasn’t sure why this was showing up, as it’s usually more common in elderly people, not athletic 24-year-old women, but with further testing and the stress echo, he concluded the conduction delay was actually a result of me having a healthy runner’s heart. After reviewing blood work, he told me, “I think you should just keep running.” Yay! I haven’t had any issues with chest pain since the half in April so I think it’s safe to say I can now fully dedicate myself to training hard for Chicago.

Firecracker 4-Miler

Another bit of good news from last week is that I won my first ever age group award at a local Firecracker 4-miler on the Fourth of July! It was quite a surprise, and I will probably write another post about it since I did everything wrong leading up to the race and somehow managed setting a 5-minute 4-mile PR and came in second in my age group. Adam came in second overall and I couldn’t have been more proud of him!

Hardest Run Ever

One other thing to share is not really good but I just wanted to put it out there- I ran the hardest 8-miler of my life on Saturday. We decided to go on an adventure run through the Trexler Nature Preserve. Adam ran this a few weeks ago and he said it was tough (his average pace slowed by two minutes which is saying a lot because he’s wicked fast) but man, it felt impossible to me! It was a humbling experience but worth it for the beautiful views of Pennsylvania hills and we got to run through a river!

That’s all the news I have for now! Here’s a recap of my workouts last week:

Monday, June 30 – Rest

I had my stress echo at the hospital at 2:00 p.m. so I had to miss the yoga class at work. However, the echo included about 20-minutes of walking/running on a steep inclined treadmill.

Tuesday, July 1- 4 miles, easy + Strength Training

It was a warm and humid run out there this morning, even at 5:30 a.m.! I was happy to run in the morning before work though because any other time would have been impossible. My pace was a little slower than I would’ve liked, especially the first mile, but I think that was due to the humidity and my legs still feeling a little sore/sluggish.

Plan: 4 miles, easy (10:00/mile)
Actual: 4 miles in 35:25 at 8:51/mile

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 4
Conditions: 70 degrees, 78% humidity

Wednesday, July 2- 5 miles, hill repeats

I had to do hills today so I decided to do 5x100m hill sprints. It was a humid morning though- at 5 a.m. it was already 75 degrees with a real feel of 81. I was soaked by the time my run was done!

Plan: 5 miles, hills
Actual: 4.91 miles with 5x100m hill sprints in 43:58 at 8:57/mile

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 4
Conditions: 75 degrees, 87% humidity

Thursday, July 3- Strength Training

Oiselle “Dozen” Ab Workout + Ankle strengthening exercises

Friday, July 4- Firecracker 4-miler (+ 0.5-mile warm-up for 4.5 miles total)

Well this was a huge surprise! Adam and I registered for this race the day of and I wasn’t planning on “racing” it at all- I just wanted an excuse to wear my 4th of July themed #RUNootd. I ended up setting a 5-minute 4-miler PR, won second in my age group, and ran my fastest mile yet.

Plan: 5 miles, easy (according to my training plan)
Actual: 4 miles in 30:55 at 7:43/mile average (plus 0.5-mile warm up)
Splits: 7:48, 7:43, 8:26, 6:55

Shoes: Nike LunarGlide 6

Saturday, July 5- 7.9 miles, trails

This was arguably the hardest run of my life. I ran through Trexler Nature Preserve on trails and it was difficult. The climbs on this run were crazy and I had to walk most of the hills. It was also incredibly hot!

Plan: 5 miles, easy (according to training plan)
Actual: 8 miles, trails

Shoes: Nike Zoom Kiger trail shoes

Sunday, July 6- 11 miles, easy

My legs were absolutely dead from the race Friday and the trail run Saturday so this was a long, slow slog. Once I actually started running I felt good but I was pretty unmotivated and tired so I didn’t get out the door until much later than I would have liked.

Plan: 12 miles, easy
Actual: 11 miles in 1:45:29 at 9:35/mile average

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 4

Weekly Mileage Total: 32 miles

Chicago Marathon Training: Week One

Photo from running in York Harbor, Maine with Adam. (Photo credit: Adam K.)

Photo from running in York Harbor, Maine with Adam. (Photo credit: Adam K.)

The first week of training went pretty well! Despite it being incredibly hot and humid I was able to get all of my runs done. I was a little disappointed to only be able to get one strength training session in but my schedule unfortunately didn’t allow for any wiggle room. I had a really great first “long” run and I was relieved because for some reason I was a little nervous. This upcoming week I’m hoping to get in more early morning runs and strength sessions than last week. Happy running!

Monday, June 23 – Yoga

XT – 45 minutes of Vinyasa Flow Yoga

A nice and easy Vinyasa Flow yoga class to kick off week one of training for the Chicago Marathon!

Tuesday, June 24 – 4.28 miles

I ran with the local running store tonight and Saucony was there wear-testing shoes. It was perfect because I’ve been thinking about adding a more cushioned shoe into my rotation for training and they were testing the Ride 7. It was much more stable than I’m used to (I typically run in the Mirage 4) but it felt good and I think it will be good for long runs and easy runs. Other than that the run was good. I went a little too fast to start, first mile ticked off at 7:59, but it was a hot one so I dialed in the pace for the rest of the run.

Plan: 4 miles, easy
Actual: 4.28 miles in 37:35 at 8:46/mile pace

Shoes: Saucony Ride 7
Conditions: 85 degrees, sunny, humid

Wednesday, June 25- 4 miles

I ran up 10th Street for this workout (500 ft. elevation gain over a mile). It was the first time I ran it in months so it was pretty hard. I walked a lot but I got to the top and the downhill was so great.

Plan- 4 miles, hills
Actual- 4 miles in 36:42 (0.6-mile warmup, 1-mile up, 1-mile down, cool down)

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 4
Conditions: 84 degrees (real feel 93) with 90 percent humidity

Thursday, June 26- 4 miles

I was testing out some treadmills for work today so I ran two miles on one treadmill and another two miles on the other. I was actually relieved to run indoors because the humidity has been absolutely killing me lately and unfortunately my schedule this week hasn’t allowed for early morning runs.

Plan- 4 miles, easy
Actual- 4 miles in 35:xx minutes (8:45/mile)

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 4
Conditions: Air conditioned, indoors

Friday, June 27- Strength

Strength Training -

  • “The Dozen” Ab Workout
  • Ankle strengthening exercises – single leg lunges, single leg squats, hamstring curls with a stability ball
  • Arm exercises

Saturday, June 28- 4 miles

Just ran an easy shakeout run before my Sunday long run. Did an out and back near my house. It was really humid and I waited way too late to head out.

Plan: 4 miles, easy
Actual: 4 miles in 35:40 at 8:55/mile

Shoes: Nike Volmero 2
Conditions: HOT

Sunday, June 29- 10 miles

This was one of the best long runs I’ve had in quite some time. My pace was extremely even, I even had enough energy to pick it up for the final two miles. I ran on the Saucon Rail Trail path because it’s incredibly flat and just about the only flat terrain around where I live. I wanted to run long on flat terrain because Chicago is going to be much flatter than anything I’m used to running. While I’m still incorporating hills into my weekly workouts, I want to also incorporate some long, flat runs as well to practice running on similar terrain as Chicago.

Plan: 10 miles at 10:00/mile pace
Actual: 10 miles in 1:33:xx at 9:18/mile
Nutrition:

  • Prerun: 1 everything bagel with butter an hour before the run, 1 cup of coffee, water.
  • During: 1 vanilla bean Gu 6 miles into the run, water
  • Postrun: 1 32oz Gatorade and Brunch with friends!

Shoes: Asics Gel Flux (still waiting for my new Saucony Ride 7s to come in)
Conditions: 63 degrees to start, humid, sunny

Mileage total: 26.28

Also, with my new Nike+ Sportswatch I’m now on Nike+.com. Add me as a friend if you’re on there too!

The Start of Chicago Marathon Training

(Source: Etsy.com although it's no longer available. Womp womp.)

(Source: Etsy.com although it’s no longer available. Womp womp.)

I love the beginning of a new training cycle.

Similar to the first day of school, a new training cycle is filled with opportunity. There are goals on the line and the hope of success at the finish. There’s also room for mistakes, meaning plenty of opportunities to learn. Sometimes you don’t feel completely prepared at the start but to me that’s the beauty of training for a marathon. You can plan for everything but then the unexpected can happen.

Yesterday marked day one of training for the 2014 Chicago Marathon. While I feel prepared in the logistical sense – I have a training plan and goals – I’m not sure my fitness is where it should be at the start of marathon training. After my failure of a spring goal race in April, I took it easy (maybe a little too easy) and I think I got a little out of shape. I spent the winter and spring training for a just-out-of-reach half marathon time goal. While I felt overly prepared going into that training cycle, I lost sight of the smaller things like taking easy runs easy, not pushing the pace too much in workouts, remembering to stretch, and more. Forgetting those things during training turned my just-out-of-reach goal into a completely out of reach goal.

That’s not going to happen for Chicago. In Chicago, I know I’m going to reach my goal. I’m going to train hard but not overtrain. I’m going to stretch and listen to my body and not push myself when it’s telling me to take it easy. I’m going to challenge myself in workouts. Wake up early for long midweek mileage. Eat right. Get enough sleep. At least that’s the plan for now.

More than all of these plans and goals I want to have fun with this training cycle. Training through the summer can be miserable, hard and really test the dedication of even the most determined runner. But with my last training cycle I pushed myself too hard and began resenting (even hating, sometimes) running. I don’t want that this time around.

I love the beginning of a new training cycle because of the opportunity but also the unknown. Good luck to everyone training for Chicago!

{Monday Motivation} Love the Process

My running has been in a bit of a slump lately. If I’m being honest with myself, I think I’m out of shape. Since my bad race at the end of April, and the doctors appointments that followed (still trying to get that sorted out), I’ve had to take it easy. No speed workouts. No racing (although I did run our Heartbreak Hill Half which was a blast!). No pushing the pace whatsoever. I hate this! But with training for the Chicago Marathon starting in a week, now is not the time to push myself too hard and possibly get hurt.

During this “off” period though I’ve been able to get some other habits into place that I hope to continue with during Chicago training. I’ve been going to spin at least once a week and I’ve been running in the mornings. I’m learning to love my morning runs because it’s just so peaceful and the cooler weather doesn’t hurt. I’m loving spin because of the challenge it poses for me. I think I’ve needed these changes these past few weeks to get me more motivated to start training hard for Chicago. I know once I start my training plan I will be able to focus in and get inspired, but for now, I’m learning to love the process. Happy running this week!

LoveProcess

{Monday Motivation} Heartbeat

I saw this graphic on Pinterest and thought it was a good reminder for this week as I await results from the doctors to find out what caused my chest pain at the half marathon about a month ago. I keep stressing about whether or not the results will allow me to continue to run (fast), how I will react to the news, and what my life would look like if I couldn’t run. But none of that is important right now. Someone once told me, “Worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet is just a waste of time.” And it’s true. So I’m going to relax and wait for the news but in the meantime I’m not going to worry, I’m going to just live.

Heartbeat

#RUNootd (Running Outfit of the Day)

OOTD_intro

My mom always told me, “If you think you look good, you’ll feel good.” I think this totally applies to running. If you look good, you’ll run well. I’m not ashamed to admit I put a little bit ok, a lot, of thought into what I wear on my runs every day. If my outfit is some old race t-shirt and those fluffy Nike running shorts from high school (you all know which kind I’m talking about) then I might not feel as good on my run. But if I have on some bright colors and a well-coordinated outfit, I usually feel fantastic. This might sound shallow to some people who just wear whatever is on top in their drawer but whatever, that’s your prerogative.

Lately though, I’ve noticed some followers on Instagram asking where a certain pair of shorts were from or what shoes I was wearing, so I decided, why not share this with you all? I’m trying to get #RUNootd (Run outfit of the day) going on Instagram/Twitter. This might already be a thing (is it? I don’t know) but I think it would be fun to share our running outfits. So, to kick off my first #RUNootd, I bring you this outfit I wore today.

May 26, 2014 #RUNootd.

May 26, 2014 #RUNootd.

Tank: Oiselle Flyte Tank in bright pink

Sports Bra: Nike Pro sports bra

Shorts: Under Armour Heat Gear ArmourVent Shorty 

Shoes: Hoka One One Clifton (sorry, these don’t hit retailers until Fall 2014!)

Socks: Swiftwick Vibe

Some comments on this #RUNootd:

  • The Oiselle Flyte Tank is the perfect summer running tank. It hugs close to the body without feeling too tight and lets in a lot of air. I think it’s perfect for days when it’s really warm out but not warm enough to warrant a sports-bra-only run.
  • I have been eying this Nike sports bra since we featured it in the magazine last year. I am obsessed with the speckled colors and finally brought myself to buy it this weekend at our local running store (which was having a 25% off sale on all apparel, what what??).
  • As I venture into the summer of the bootay shorts, I’ve been looking for a pair that are short but come down over my butt so they don’t ride up. I also wanted a pair that would “vent” well and not feel too hot. Oh, and I was in desperate need of bootay shorts with pockets. These shorts covered all of these bases (and I also got them for 25% off at the Run Inn!).

I’m going to try to make this whole #RUNootd thing an actual thing so it would be awesome if y’all joined in. Share your #RUNootd on instagram, tag me even if you want me to see (@HannahMcGold), and let’s share our awesome running outfits!

Goals for #ChiTown 2014

ChiTrainingPlan

Sub-4:00 training plan from runnersworld.com.

I feel like I’ve been thinking about a fall marathon since January. Actually, I know I have. It’s always funny to me that after finishing one race, I immediately start thinking about the next. It happened to me when I crossed the finish at my first marathon at Big Sur last year and it happened to me after Marine Corps in October.

But I needed a mental break from marathon training. I wanted to take the spring off to try to get faster by running half marathons and shorter distances. My plan almost worked and I definitely got faster, but more than that, my mental vacation was just what I needed to get excited about training for a marathon again. And, man, am I excited for Chicago!

Now, here I am, with about a month to go before training starts and I’m already setting my goals. It might seem a bit early but most of my goals for Chicago are more “habit changers” than race goals. I won’t really know my race goals until closer to October 12, but I do know there are some changes I want to make to the way I train this time around that need to be set in place before training even begins.

  1. Sub-4:00 – Ok, so here’s my one “race goal” so far. I want to cross the finish at Chicago with a 3:xx:xx on my watch. Right now I have no idea what the xx:xx part of that time is going to be, I just want to see a 3 at the beginning. My current PR is 4:07:06 which I set a Marine Corps (26 minutes faster than my first marathon) and I’ve made leaps and bounds in terms of fitness and speed since then so we’ll see what I can do in the next 20 weeks.
  2. Become a morning workout person – This is going to be crucial for training during the warm and humid summer months. I’m lucky enough to be able to run during lunch at work but during the summer a lunch run can feel more like a burden than a blessing. I’d like to try to run before work at least two times a week. This is not going to be easy because I relish the fact that I can sleep in until 7 a.m. but I need to make it happen.
  3. Stop doing so many doubles – In past training cycles I’ve broken up many of my workouts in an effort to get the miles in. For example, if my training plan says “Run 9 miles with 6×800″ I’ll probably run the 6×800 with a 1-mile warmup and cooldown during lunch and then finish up the mileage after work. This is ok every now and then but you really don’t get the benefits of the full workout. I mainly do this because I’m not speedy enough to run 9 miles during lunch but I’m hoping that by trying to get these runs done before work I’ll be able to get the whole workout in.
  4. Incorporate strength training at least three times a week – Over the winter I’ve gotten into the habit of adding more strength training into my weekly schedule. Before my races this spring I was doing IronStrength on Mondays and another strength workout on Fridays. I want to add in another mini strength workout on Wednesdays as well. Jess from Race Pace Jess made an awesome “mini workout” to add into an already packed training schedule so I’m going to try to do that.
  5. Nail down my nutrition – I need to take better note of what I’m eating pre-run and how I recover post-run. I am usually pretty good with my nutrition but I think I could get a little better and really figure out what works for me and what doesn’t.
  6. Be able to run/wear these shorts in public and not be self-conscious about it.  – I have these bootay shorts and they are meant for running but I only ever wear them around my apartment. For some reason I’m self-conscious about wearing them in public or going running in them, which is silly. So, in training for #ChiTown I want to gain enough confidence to be able to rock the spandex on a run without stressing about my butt falling out. This is my silly-but-important goal.

What kind of goals do you like to set for marathon training? Tell me about ‘em in the comments below!

Making the Smart Decision (For Once)

Plan BI used to pride myself on having a high tolerance for pain. I’ve been lucky to have only a few minor running injuries in the two years since I started, like IT Band Syndrome, Runner’s Knee, some possible Plantar, but nothing major.

That is until three weeks ago when I started having chest pains 8 miles into my spring goal race. The pains passed, I was able to finish the race, but I missed my goal of setting a PR and none of my runs have felt the same since. My easy runs have felt harder than they should, and my race pace runs have felt really tough – I’ve been walking, a lot.

I would be kidding myself if I said I was in shape to hit my goal PR this weekend at the Brooklyn Half Marathon. I’d also be kidding myself if I said I wasn’t scared those chest pains would return mid-race. The truth of the matter is I’ve been really disappointed in my running since the race three weeks ago and honestly I’ve lost some of that confidence I gained over the past few months of training.

I’m not 100 percent and I know if I decided to race at Brooklyn this weekend, my heart wouldn’t truly be in it (no pun intended). So I’m not going to run. It sucks. A part of me thinks taking the DNS (did not start) is the easy way out but a bigger part of me knows this is the smart decision, both physically and mentally.

I have a doctor’s appointment scheduled so I can figure out what’s up and hopefully get the all clear. I’m just going to take this time to refocus, try to get healthy, and regain some of that running confidence in time to start training for my fall goal – The Chicago Marathon.

Have you ever taken a DNS for a race? How did you deal with it?

Enough with Cat Calling Female Runners

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

Yesterday, I was nearing the end of my final tempo mile along a busy-ish road near work when all of a sudden a massive tractor-trailer honked his horn at me… four times.

I was so startled from the noise of the honking, and the fact that I was in the middle of a very fast-for-me mile, that I stopped dead in my tracks. Instead of catching my breathe and calming down, I turned to the truck and flipped him the bird with not one, but both of my hands.

I know, bad behavior shouldn’t illicit more bad behavior but I’ve had enough. And I’m not the only one. This week alone, I have been honked at five times during a run by guys driving by. Scores of women runners, of all shapes and sizes, have had moments like this. You’re running along, minding your own business, when a dude driving by beeps his horn at you, and whistles out his window, or says some other obscenities.

It happens to me almost every time I go for a run by myself. It happens when I go out running with a friend. It even happened once when I was doing a hill workout with my boyfriend who was about a half-mile ahead of me. No matter the time of day, year, or what I’m wearing I get beeped or cat called at.

A writer over at Competitor wrote a story about this today, which prompted me to write my own. Another writer friend wrote a post about it for Philly.com and told me that after she published her piece she actually got HATE emails from men (and women too!) defending these actions. What the hell, people?

Besides it being annoying and interrupting my otherwise killer tempo run, I wondered, what did that disgusting trucker think he was going to get out of that? He wasn’t turning me on. I wasn’t flattered. I was pissed off.

Like the author of the Competitor piece, all I wanted to do was get my tempo miles done, cool down, and go back to the office for lunch. Instead my run was interrupted because some trucker decided I looked good enough during my run to honk at. Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution for the problem, and I don’t have much faith in the changing the men who tend to cat call, but we need to make it clear that it’s not a compliment and it’s not OK.