Sunday, August 28, 2016

Jess Goes Running: Marathon Training--Week 11

We meet week 11 of training for the Chicago Marathon on a sunny 4 mile run by the Lake.  I took an extra day of rest, shifting everything forward to Wednesday.  The schedule looked like this: 4, 8, 4, 16.  Yes, you read that right.  Week 11's long run was scheduled for 16 miles.  I spent all week hyping myself up for it.  Especially after how poorly my half marathon attempt had gone a few weeks ago (in retrospect, probably my worst run of training), I felt like I really needed to work up the courage and the physical fortitude to get it done.

So Wednesday was 4 miles, and I took it a little slower as I was still dealing with a bit of tightness in my calf from the previous Sunday's running adventure.  I felt like I was really tuned into my rhythm and pace, and the tightness never really progressed into anything worse.  I would have preferred to run it a little faster.  I got it done, though, and felt really good about it!

On Thursday, after work, I set out for an 8 mile run.  I felt a little daunted by the distance, but knew I would be okay because I had already done 13.1 miles, 9 miles.  This was my first run with my new Garmin Forerunner 220, and I LOVED it!  I made the decision to purchase a GPS running watch knowing that from here on out, the distances get longer so better accuracy than my phone would be nice.  Plus, it just looked so cool, and I received a bonus at work and had a bit of Amazon credit so I got it at a pretty good price!  I've only taken it out a couple of times but it definitely seems worth the investment so far.

The run was challenging at times, but I got through it!  Actually ended up running a little over 8.  I ran by myself, singing loudly as the sun set and I ran down the Lakefront Trail.  I felt really good after that run, and I felt like I was in a good headspace post-run.  I ended up taking Friday off from running, even though I had initially been planning on running 4 miles.  My body needed the rest.  This leads us to Sunday morning, and the long run.

Not just any long run... but the longest run of training so far, and also, the farthest distance I have ever run--16 miles.  I set out a little later than I wanted and headed south on the Lakefront Trail.  It was a crowded morning on the path, even more so as I got closer to downtown.  After all, Sunday was the second day of the Air and Water Show.  So by the time I got down to around Fullerton Beach, it was almost impossible to do anything other than walk.

I took the opportunity to rehydrate and enjoy some of the places.  Pretty dang impressive what they can do!  I ended up turning around before Oak Street Beach, making it 7 miles before I went back up north.  I did the last 2 miles near home, definitely feeling it there at the end.  But when all was said and done, I did it!  My farthest run ever.  The longest distance.  I did it, I made it happen.  And now that I have, it's amazing the mental freedom I seem to have over those lengths.  Don't get me wrong--I have an impossibly large respect for the distance.  But I also know what I am capable of, and I know if I work hard and I put my mind to it, I can accomplish even more than this.  The sky is the limit!  I ended this week of training feeling positive and optimistic for the next one.

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