Tag Archives: Chicago Marathon

Stuff I Did to PR

All this marathon talk isn’t over. I have another one at the end of the month that I was way more jazzed about when I registered for it than I am now. So get ready for some more bitching, particularly about my shoulder because that issue hasn’t gone away. *cries*

With any big race or PR, I like to reflect on what I did differently during training so I have something to look back on. First, let me say that I know everyone trains differently. I read Michelle’s post on what she did to PR and thought, “no way that would work for me” but it worked for her and she got a massive PR. So I realize this is mostly for my benefit. Selfish post comin’ at cha.

Here’s what I did for an almost six minute PR:

I ran three days a week.

I ran three days a week for my last marathon too (one easy, one speed, one long) and it’s about all I can take. I barely have time to do my laundry much less increase my running so I kept it at three days. I also cut my Crossfit from three days to two days a week. One thing I will never do is completely cut strength training. I am a firm believer that is helps prevent injury.

I cut my training time.

Last time around, I trained for five months and was burned out six weeks before the marathon. This time, I trained for three months and started with a 10 mile base. I enjoyed my long runs so much more. I also ran two 20+ milers instead of three. I was worried it wasn’t enough at first, but it definitely was.

I walked every mile during long runs.

It’s nasty hot in Orlando. If I don’t walk, I’m not getting through a long run. So I walked between .10-.25 of every mile. The time on your feet is what’s important so I tried to kept that in mind when I saw how much those walks killed my pace. Some people have a hard time with the stop and go but I find that it gives me more energy.

I skipped runs and that was ok.

I missed a bunch of weekday runs and one or two long runs. Almost all of those were because of social plans. I used to stress out about skipping runs but this time around, I enjoyed the occasional break.

I kept up with speed training.

If I missed a weekday run, I made sure it was my easy run. I always tried to get speed work in. The first time around, I followed my running group’s speed work schedule. It was a lot of “2 x 4 x 400” or “2 x 1200 x 800 x 600 x 400” type runs which I think did absolutely nothing for me. This year, my speed runs were the same every time. I ran one slower warm-up mile and then 2-4 speed miles at the fastest pace I could without needing to stop, usually between 8:45 – 9:10 depending on how I was feeling. Consistent speed works much better for me.

That’s about it. Nothing really crazy in there. Of course, I also had that giant knot in my calf (must start stretching) that I got rid of with sports massages. I’m hoping my shoulder can make it through this next race because another 26 miles of that pain is not something I want to go through again. This next marathon should be interesting.

What’s your favorite PR strategy? How do I go about detaching my shoulder for this next race? Isn’t that selfish panda the cutest thing ever?

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Marathon #3

This morning, and maybe while you’re reading this, I’m running the Chicago Marathon!

I don’t want to forget the most important reason I’m running this race:


I’m running in memory of my dad by raising money for the American Heart Association. His birthday would have been tomorrow, so the race is also timely. If you’re new around these parts and didn’t read the story of why I’m running Chicago, you can check it out HERE. I’ve already made my fundraising goal thanks to a lot of you, but I’m still raising money. If you have the means to give and would like to or meant to and forgot, you can still do that HERE. Every bit counts.

I’ll talk to you all after the race. In the meantime, check out this thoughtful little gift my team at work put together for me. ❤


The gonna hold them to that bag of Oreos. And that second ear on the bunny being X’ed out is appreciated.


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Register for All the Races

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who donated to the charity I’m supporting – from my friends, to those who donated anonymously, to my internet friends that I haven’t met personally. I’m at 43% of my goal and I owe it to you guys and your big hearts. Thank you so much.


I have a little registration button clicking problem lately. Besides the Chicago Marathon, I’ve registered for three other races in the past week and will now be eating Ramen noodles and stealing other people’s lunches at work for the month of March.

This might be the most races I’ve registered for so early in the year, so race registration PR going on here.

1.  Space Coast Marathon – 11/30/14

Space Coast

That’s the medal, yo.

Self peer pressure made me do this one. I guess that’s a thing? I’d rather run the half but I also want to run two marathons this year and this one happens to have perfect timing after Chicago (6 weeks) where I don’t really need to keep training much. In other words, I could stop 80% of my training and still run it no problem so it leaves the option to be a lazy piece of crap after Chicago wide open. Also, it’s 40 minutes away from home and that = no hotel cost. So I peer pressured myself into this one even though I really wanted to enter the Houston Lottery. *sniff*

2.  Lake Nona Half Marathon – 10/26/14

This is an inaugural race and I’m a sucker for new races. It’s super cheap ($40), close to home, and two weeks after Chicago so hopefully my legs will function.

3.  Storm the Campus 10 miler –  3/30/14

This is another new race on the campus of UCF, my alma mater. I’m running Best Damn Race Orlando (it’s a half) this weekend and was going to stop running over 6 miles (at a time not cumulative, though that doesn’t sound bad either) after that until training starts for Chicago, but I love running through UCF so that will be postponed a month. That was a long sentence. Anyway, the campus is pretty and I can pretend like I’m a young, carefee college student again without an obscene amount of taxes to pay by April.

So that’s the schedule so far. Next, I need to figure out my training plan for Chicago.



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Why I'm Running Chicago for Charity

The Chicago Marathon has been on my “to run” list for a few years now. Chicago is my hometown so I knew if I ever did another full marathon, Chicago would be it. So when they announced the race would be a lottery this year, I was a little bummed, but I thought running for charity would be a good way to bypass the lottery while in turn giving me Heaven points.

I researched charities and nothing really clicked. I was really discouraged because during my research, I realized I’d rather not run Chicago at all if it meant raising money for a charity I didn’t care about. (I know. I’m just as surprised as you are that my heart is not cold and black.) Just when I was ready to forget the whole charity thing and take my chances with the lottery, I found the American Heart Association (AHA).

I just knew AHA was it. I have to raise more money as a part of AHA than other official Chicago Marathon charities, which is a little scary for me since I’ve never done this before, but AHA is the only one that felt right for a few reasons. Not only do I try to make physical activity a part of my everyday life, but I lost my dad to a heart attack five years ago.

His senior year and the hunky days, apparently.

I lost him two weeks after his birthday.

One month before we were going to spend our first Thanksgiving together.

And four months before he was going to walk me down the aisle.

So that sealed it. I’m running with the American Heart Association in memory of my dad.

As long as I knew him, he always had a weight problem, which probably has something to do with my workout and food obsession. My dad loved food too. I think butter was his favorite food group. Whenever we talked on the phone, I’d ask him if he was getting on his stationary bike and eating well (and he’d ask me when I was going to finish college, heh). If he told me he wasn’t being good about it, I’d always tell him to get on the bike for me so he could stay around a few more years.

He was one of the most positive, good-spirited people I’ve ever known.  My ridiculous sense of humor came from him. He made friends easier than I’ve ever seen. When we went out to a restaurant, I’d have to wait 10 minutes to order food while he asked the waitress 20 questions about her life because he was genuinely interested in other people. He retired to Florida from Illinois three years before he died and made enough friends in that time to pack an entire church full of people at his funeral. It was ridiculous. My brother and I even said that we’d be happy to have a fourth of that amount of people at our funerals.

Everyone loved him. Especially me.

Anyway, that’s just a little about my dad. I’m going “home” and running this race for him. Or someone like him. If the money I raise can help just one other person’s dad stick around a little longer than mine did, then it’s all worth it.

So, if you have the means and are interested in donating a few dollars, you can donate on my personal page. I will be so grateful.


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