First Impressions of My Bank of America Chicago Marathon Training

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Now that I’m in taper mode for the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, I wanted to write down some of my thoughts over this training cycle.

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After running my 2nd fastest half marathon at the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon (and 2nd fastest 5K the day before), I started my training for Chicago. I think the very first week set a bad tone as I did not run at all that week. It was one of two weeks during this cycle I did not run or work out. So, out of 16 weeks, 2 of them were complete shutouts. One of those weeks was due to illness. However, the week after the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon was just tiredness from a hard weekend of running two races chasing PR’s in both.

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One of the things that made this training cycle difficult was dealing with the wait to become a family of 3 through domestic infant adoption. I had decided to run for Adoption-Link and Holt International as a charity runner for the Chicago Marathon. Brooke and I got to attend the Choose Joy Event again this year. Going to this event is both therapeutic and difficult all at the same time. It’s great to be around other people pursuing adoption, but brings out all those emotions as well. The wait keeps getting harder to deal with. That showed up in missed runs and one failed distance on a long run. I feel amazing that I have been able to raise so much money for the adoption agencies I’m running for. However, I think that because I’m still in the middle of the wait, it didn’t help me as much as I thought it would.

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In July, an overcrowded and unorganized Awesome 80’s 5K combined with a lack of consistent training lead to a complete failure to get a new 5K PR. In all honesty, I think that, even if I had trained well enough, it would have been difficult to even best my Rock n Roll San Diego 5K. This race was too unorganized too crowded in the first mile. I did get a cool new medal, though!

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Labor Day Weekend, I set a new 2nd best 10K time at the Disneyland 10K!

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Then, I finished my 2nd official Dumbo Double Dare (third time doing the races for the Dumbo Double Dare) at the Disneyland Half Marathon. This race wasn’t about time at all. I finished with a respectable time for me right in the middle of the half marathon finish times I’ve been able to run. This was the funnest time I’ve ever had in my 3 Disneyland Half Marathons! I finally figured out how to run those miles between Angel Stadium and backstage Disney California Adventure! If I could figure out how to run through the parks quicker, a half marathon PR seems pretty doable!

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My 13 mile long run was less than stellar. I finished the miles, but just barely. My time was really slow for me. At the end of it I was just happy to be done.

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I missed my 15 mile long run. For the 17 mile long run, I ran at a different set of beaches. It was a hot and sunny day. By July the temperatures had really picked up. I believe the finishing temperatures were somewhere in the 80’s…even at the beach. This was a run that started off okay for me. However, by mile 9, the sun had taken it out of me. I’m pretty confident that I ended this run slightly dehydrated. It was fun to run at a new beach area. In the future, I’d really love to go back to the Strand and run again. Although, I’d probably keep it to The Strand alone. In this run, I went beyond The Strand. Also, I’d start earlier to stay out of the harsh sun.

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My 20 mile run was one of the hardest of this cycle. Temperatures in Pasadena were over 100 for the weekend. To top it all off, I ended up staying at my in-laws place because the air conditioning broke down (the first time of two break downs in this cycle…both with temps around 100 degrees).  I missed one training run because of the situation with the broken air conditioning. It was another harsh run. I started this run at 5:30am and it was already 75 degrees. When I finished, I believe the temperatures were in the low 90’s. My time was crazy slow. There were good moments and bad ones in this run. I ended up walking most of the last 6 miles because of the heat. Not fun!

Buzz Woody Cold

I got really sick towards the end of August. That caused me to miss a week of training as I battled a ridiculous cold. Because of that, I altered my training plan…skipping the 23 miles I wanted to do before the week before the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. It was a great plan that helped me get to the start line of the Disneyland 10K feeling pretty good.

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I had thought I’d make up the missed 23 mile run the weekend after the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend. However, running two races back to back really took it out of me and I skipped my second full week of training in this cycle. That ended all thoughts of having a 26 mile training run. I attempted to run 23 miles two weeks after the Disneyland Half Marathon. It all came crashing down on me in the 10th of 11.5 miles I’d complete that day. The sadness of waiting to adopt was too much for me and I couldn’t complete the run.

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So, I tried again the next weekend (last weekend) to get a 23 mile run in before it got too unbearably hot. I did much better than the week before! However, at 17.1 miles, I had to call it. I was dealing with some cramping in my lower left calf and the temps were already at 80 degrees and would get hotter.

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So, where does that leave me? The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is 10 days away. I’m in taper mode. There will be no more attempts at getting 23 miles until race day. I’m a little concerned about how poorly I did in my long runs. It’s been a roller coaster of a training cycle. The 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will probably be a one and done kind of race for me. No matter how awesome the actual race experience is…and I’ve heard glowing reports from everyone I’ve talked with about the race…having to do my crazy long runs in the two hottest months of the year in Southern California is not very fun at all. The heat has been brutal. Running 20 miles or more in such heat just sucks. There’s no other way of putting it. I think that I need to come back to this blog post if I ever get the notion of running Chicago again. So, I’m not planning on going back to Chicago because of the heat you have to deal with in training alone.

2016 LA Marthon Flash Sale

One of my big takeaways from this cycle is that I need a break from full marathons. So, I will not be running the 2016 Los Angeles Marathon. These 20 mile plus training runs take so much out of you and so much time for a runner as slow as me. I need a break. I plan on going to watch the U.S.A. Olympic Marathon Trial on February 13th. I’d also love to go out and be a spectator of the official Los Angeles Marathon to cheer on friends who I know are racing. However, I will need to sit this one out. I’m not giving up on running….just full marathons.

We Run Social Meet Up

If I ever do run a full marathon again, I need to either find a running buddy to train with or find a team to run with. We do have a running group here in Pasadena called the Pasadena Pacers. After Chicago, I need to find a time to check them out. The long runs are not only brutal because of the temps and the time it takes me to finish them, but because I’m doing them by myself. I think that if I had someone to run with, I might have had better results from those long runs. The We Run Social crew (pictured above) is a virtual group. I’d need a group to run with in real life. Finding someone who would be willing to run at my speed (and even push me a little bit) is what I’d need if I ever decided to run a full marathon again.

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Lastly, running for charity and all the fundraising has been truly humbling experience. It blows my mind every time I see that someone has donated towards this cause. I plan on thinking on this and writing a post just about this after the marathon. However, I just want to say a big huge THANK YOU to everyone who donated some money to help me out in what I need to raise and help the kiddos who need a forever home (as well as the families that can’t wait to welcome them into their family)! I have less than $300 to go in order to meet the minimum required. I need to reach my goal by Tuesday night of next week. So, if you have been waiting to send a donation my way, NOW is the time to make it. Click the image above and make your donation. Whether it’s $10, $25 or more…every bit helps and pushes me closer to the goal.

That’s all for this post. I leave for Chicago one week from Friday (October 9th). I will put up a post on that day with my final thoughts heading into the race weekend.

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Posted in Chicago Marathon
8 comments on “First Impressions of My Bank of America Chicago Marathon Training
  1. runner1313 says:

    Well, based on your training, you’ll have to rely on runner desire to a degree. Just don’t give up! Chicago is epic in every way. I am returning for a second straight year because I loved it so much last year. Crawl over that finish line if you have to.. :). And I totally get what you are saying about fundraising, as I am running for charity for the first time this year for the NYC Marathon, and it is completely humbling. My goal was $3,000, and with a month to go, still need to raise $970. I will be loving life if I only have $300 to go with a week remaining before the race like you do. Great job! See you in Chicago!

    • gloucks7 says:

      Thanks for the encouragement! I’m really curious how the various factors of a marathon will play out given my training. I’ve completed the training in much warmer weather than I will run in at Chicago and the routes I’ve run are way hillier with much more difficult inclines than I will face on race day. So, how will those differences play into my performance. I will work hard for it, though. I will do everything I can to get to that finish line!

  2. You’ve learned a lot from a tough training cycle. Stay safe and have fun in Chicago!

  3. you have definitely learned alot and the weather has been worse than ever this summer! I have found that by focusing on getting the miles in (18 miles, 20 miles, etc) no matter the time and i found that has helped but we will see once i get into my races.

    the long runs of marathons are SO tough-mainly because they take up a whole day! I stayed in engaged during my 20 miler last weeekend but getting a new audiobook (The Martian-SO GOOD!) so it at least distracted me.

    but seriously-you have raced and done well, chicago will be SUCH a fun experience (not to mention it is pretty flat and the weather shoul dbe great) have so much fun! i expect to see a picture of you with your medal by the bean! 🙂

    • gloucks7 says:

      Thanks Juliana! I do plan on getting a picture with the medal by the bean for sure! Good luck to you in running Long Beach. It’s going to be another scorching hot weekend next weekend. I know that you’ll do amazing!

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Official PR’s
5K - 32:46 - 2012 Pasadena 5K

10K - 1:15:42 - 2013 Pasadena 10K

Half Marathon - 2:43:25 - 2013 Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon

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