Chicago Marathon Training: Week 16

Week 16 of Chicago Marathon training was completed a few days ago and I’m happy to report that I finished it with a BANG!

Not only did I have an amazing last long run of training (more on that later), all of my runs during the week felt terrific. I don’t recall any of my previous taper period beginnings to feel so great. I’m usually on the side of worrying about little nagging aches and pains, not jumping for joy!

Here are a few things that happened during week 16.

I purchased a box of GU in Salted Caramel flavor since I had heard so many awesome reviews. Trust me, guys, this particular GU tastes delicious (very similar to those little square cellophane-wrapped caramel chews from years past) and gave me magical wings during my last long run — more on that later!

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I definitely had a few adjustments to Week 16 training. Here are the miles as planned and with the adjustments reflected:

Monday: cross-training : took a rest day
Tuesday: 5 mile run : took a rest day
Wednesday: 6 mile run : ran 6.2 miles
Thursday: 5 mile run : ran 5.15 miles
Friday: rest : ran 3 miles
Saturday: 4 mile run : ran 6 miles
Sunday: 12 mile long run : ran 12 miles
Total miles: 32.35 miles

On Monday, I decided to take a rest day instead of the planned CrossFit session. At this point in training, I knew that squat day would yield some unnecessary soreness during the taper period, so I opted to rest.

On Tuesday, I decided to take yet another rest day and flip-flopped resting with Friday.

On Wednesday, I knocked out an easy 6 miles at an 8:33 pace. The motto “go fast, take chances” is one of my favorite Oiselle expressions and very applicable to running and life.

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Here’s a shot of the Fremont Bridge. The bridge was up and I was in the center of the universe viewing a large ship pass through.

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The origami girl at the intersection of the Burke-Gilman Trail with the top of the Eastlake Bridge yielded some quiet peace.

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On Thursday evening, I busted out 5.15 miles at an 8:15 pace. Love starting my runs feeling well-rested and colorful. Who doesn’t love an awesome, fashionable running outfit? It was breezy, so I opted to take out my Oiselle arm warmers.

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This is a view of my backyard (South Lake Union). So pretty.

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At the end of my run back in SLU.

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Side note: I received my official Chicago Marathon participant guide in the mail. So stoked! Days away. It’s starting to feel real.

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Friday, I decided to bust out only 3 out of the 5 makeup miles from Tuesday. I just wasn’t feeling the treadmill that evening.

Saturday, to make up for the 2 lost miles, I upped my mileage from 4 to 6 miles. Again, it was dreadful and rainy outside, so I hit the treadmill again. This time, I made the awesome decision to stream Spirit of the Marathon on Netflix during the 6 miles. This was honestly the best decision ever. It had been a while since I had last watched the 1st SOTM, so it was perfect timing to view this again. It’s very relevant to my race training as it takes place at the Chicago Marathon. If you haven’t seen it, prepare to be inspired to run your best.

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Busted out the 6 miles at an easy 9:00 pace. Sweaty, pumped full of energy, and ready to go tailgate at the UW Husky football game for the rest of the evening.

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On Sunday, I eagerly anticipated my last double-digit long run of marathon training. The plan called for 12 miles which seemed short compared to the two 20′s I had recently run. I was prepared physically but, mentally, the pending stormy weather made for some apprehension.

Nonetheless, I ate a sweet potato with almond butter (thanks again to my bestie and teammate, Becky, for introducing me to this pre-long run fuel) and hydrated with H20 around 8am.

I decided to take some Nuun in Lemon+Lime and the Salted Caramel GU with me on the run.

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The only problem with the run was that my Garmin Forerunner 305 decided not to sync with satellites. Thus, I opted to use my Runtastic Pro iOS app to track mileage, pace, etc. No biggie! I highly recommend this app if you don’t have a GPS watch.

I started from South Lake Union and ran 6 miles clockwise around Lake Union to the Burke-Gilman Trail and along the BG Trail path past the Husky stadium until I reached an even 6 miles.

So far, so good. Since I couldn’t use my Garmin, I ran by feel with my iPhone in my SPIBelt. All I heard was the voice at each mile announcing mileage and overall duration.

My first 6 miles had the following mile splits:

Mile 1: 9:19 min/mile
Mile 2: 8:26 min/mile
Mile 3: 7:58 min/mile
Mile 4: 8:20 min/mile
Mile 5: 8:09 min/mile
Mile 6: 7:42 min/mile

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At mile 6, I stopped and took the Salted Caramel GU. Let me reiterate that this has magical powers! As soon as I tasted it, I thought “hmm, delicious.” Then I proceeded to lick up every last bit of the GU. When has that ever happened? Once I finished the GU, I looked back towards the trail and immediately my eyes widened and I felt an amazing sensation in my body like I had been injected with some life! Maybe it was the 20mg of caffeine and “elevated electrolytes” in this particular GU… whatever it was, it totally pumped me up to run even faster splits for the remaining 6 miles of the run.

Check this out:

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Umm. Wow! What?! Still amazed. 12 miles at a 7:55 min/mi pace. What? This is faster than my current half marathon PR pace of 8:05 (1:45:55).

I’m ready for Chicago Marathon now. All I need is that Salted Caramel GU, well-rested legs, and the enthusiasm to get me through this and hopefully PR!

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Countdown: less than 12 days till the marathon.

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6 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training: Week 16

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