Week 8: Wisconsin Half Marathon Training

After last week's too-low mileage, I reviewed my training spreadsheet to see how I could give myself the best chance to get all my miles in this week. I started by reviewing last week to see where I was missing runs and why. I have a speed session, a medium-long run, and a couple easy runs throughout the week, but the bulk of my mileage over the weekends. To get specific about it, only 35% of my miles are scheduled from Monday - Thursday, and the remaining 65% are all stacked on the weekend.

Ding ding! I don't know what it is -- I'm just not into running on these winter weekend days. I would so much rather sleep in, brunch, wander around, cook, be horizontal, and hang out in a stationary way. I lose all motivation to run as soon as someone suggests late morning yoga and early afternoon brunch. So this week I decided to stop fighting with myself and just move as many miles as I can to the front of my week.

Stand by for a report:

Monday: Monday was that weird, windy, warm day with thunderstorms at night. I was planning to run after work, but looked at the temperature dropping and decided to run around in Hyde Park to try to beat the rain before my one-hour commute home. I ran in shorts and borrowed rain gear, either in direct headwind so strong I could barely move at all (11:00 pace) or with a tailwind that actually lifted me up and pushed me along (5:30 pace) as if I were being scooped up by some Great Hand of God. I couldn't help manically laughing as I whooshed uncontrollably past people holding onto their bags and hats. 


Tuesday: Because no warm day goes unpunished in a Chicago winter, Tuesday was in the single digits -- 3, 7, 1, who cares. It was brutal. I wore more clothes than I'd ever worn before: wool crew socks, Nike hyperwarm tights, some shirt, another Nike hyperwarm half-zip, a wool hat with fleece lining from the Hamptons Half Marathon (a great piece of swag!!!), and some jacket I bought on a whim once at Target before a trip, that I've now worn for 3 consecutive winters of outside running. (I think of this jacket and all it's seen me through every time I'm tempted to buy a new, expensive piece of tech gear.) And no gloves: my hands get so warm while running that I almost never run in gloves, even in super-low temps.

I had low expectations for run club turnout, but lo, there were five of us. We all stuck together in solidarity and for practical windblocking purposes instead of breaking into our normal pace groups. When I got home I was numb all over for a few minutes before the horrible stinging part of the thawing-out process started. It took me maybe an hour to thaw out and another hour (post-shower) before I felt room temperature. 

...Which brings me to Tempo Wednesday. Last week I felt pretty sure I could have held my 7:5x tempo pace for another mile or two, and this week I got to test myself:

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I am thrilled with these splits. In my whole life, I've never seen this many 7:xx miles in a row on my watch; I'm hitting all of my McMillian-recommended paces, and (according to McMillian's calculator), I'm right on track with to go sub 1:45 in May.

Thursday and Friday (and all weekend) I was sick with a sinus infection. I went to work but took Thursday and Friday off of running so I could take naps after work and try to kick it. I still felt bad on Saturday but managed to get in six easy miles between naps.

I felt a tiny bit better on Sunday  and decided to go ahead with the 14-miler on my schedule. I was tempted to cut it short but I really wanted to hit 40 miles (which would be a new record for me).

Besides, I'd been gawking at Lake Michigan from the bus window on my commute every morning. Lake Michigan is my favorite thing about Chicago so far, and I was absolutely in mouth-agage awe when I realized it was frozen. ("Where's the lake?" I would wonder. "Is it behind that big snowy field?" not realizing the "field" was actually the frozen lake with snow on top.) Maybe it's because I'm from the ocean, but it's strange and surreal to see such a big body of water freeze over like this. On Sunday, I ran along the lakeshore transfixed by the lake. Blinding light was reflected and refracted from the sky to the lake to the skyscrapers so that the whole lakefront was lit up like the beginning of time. There were too many colors; hundreds of blues and greens and grays, in shades and combinations I don't think I've seen before. Patterns, too: cloudy swirls, trapped bubbles, sunken chunks trapped beneath large, flat expanses, shards of ice stuck violently on the surface, like an ax in a stump. It was THE BEST. I love it out there.

I need to break out my real camera to capture it properly before it melts.


February 18 - February 24

  • Monday - 6
  • Tuesday - 6
  • Wednesday - 7.7 with 6 at tempo pace (7:43, 7:50, 7:55, 7:59, 7:55, 7:50 )
  • Thursday - Rest
  • Friday - Rest
  • Saturday -  6.3
  • Sunday - 14.2

Total: 40.5 (New weekly distance record!) 

Days 'til Wisconsin: 67