Chicago marathon training: week 12

IMG_0054Hello hello. Slightly belated greetings from the end of another 40 mile week–woot woot!! Despite a shorter long run this week, I was able to top out 40.5 miles total. I actually felt really strong on my 14 mile long run despite the longer mid-week miles, so I really hope to keep this up until I start cutting back for the taper in just a few short weeks. Also, hurrah for cooler morning weather! We definitely still had a few steamy mornings this past week, but things are looking grand on the running weather front🙂

After an absolutely nutty month of travel and life events and such, this weekend I took a much-needed breather and got in some chill couch time along with a solid solo long run. I love running with friends but sometimes I really appreciate going solo too, especially for the slightly shorter runs. It’s still crazy to me that I think of 14 miles as a shorter run! We also had J’s nephew in town for his 11th birthday and his first Red Sox game, which was really fun. Mama runners, I give you all of the props–having a kiddo around takes some serious energy.IMG_0038

By way of a shoe update, I’m pretty sure I’m sticking with the Asics GT 2000 4‘s for Chicago. Now that I’ve discovered Trail Toes for my blisters (thank you times 100000 to HoHo Runs for this incredible recommendation), I realized I otherwise really love these shoes. I have extremely narrow feet so my shoe choice is somewhat limited to the few companies that make running sneaks in widths, and this version of the Asics shoe is actually cut even more narrow than usual.

I got a second chance to try out a treadmill class at HHRC Cambridge on Thursday–I’ll always prefer an outdoor workout, but it’s a great way to get hills/speed done in a cooler environment with fun coaching and music. This is actually my second stab at indoor treadmill classes, so keep an eye out for a post about them in the near future. Last but not least, I switched up to a faster pace group for this morning’s track workout and man, it was killer! It was interesting to really push myself to my max speed and effort–I definitely ended our 400s completely out of breath. It’s cool to see what I’m capable of, although I may take it a little bit easier heading into pre-marathon month. Full recap below:

IMG_0012Week 12:

  • Tuesday: 6 mile tempo run, 7:54 average
  • Wednesday: 4 easy miles
  • Thursday: 6.4 miles total with treadmill hills at HHRC
  • Friday: 3.9 recovery miles at 8:56
  • Saturday: 14 miles at 8:22
  • Sunday: 90 minute yoga and an easy hike with J
  • Monday: 4 easy miles, 6 strides
  • Tuesday: Track! 5.2 total miles, speedwork at 5:40 (OOF)

Thursday I’m back at it with the gals for a slow and steady 3 hour timed run, and then I’m officially registered for the Lake Auburn Half Marathon on 9/11. Happy almost Labor Day, friends–enjoy those last few moments of summer!!

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap, hosted by HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin and with PattyErika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the run!

My favorite running clothes

Hi all! My dear friend from college asked me to put together a post about my favorite running clothes, so of course I had to do it. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’m a major creature of habit when it comes to my exercise clothes. When I find something I love, I’ll wear it forever (case in point: the purple tank top/white visor combo below). Here’s a candid, unsponsored overview of a few of my favorites… Deby, this one’s for you!

IMG_0013Tops: As a curvy gal, I love the fit of Athleta’s tank tops. They tend to be the only ones that are fitted but not skintight, and they come in a great variety of cuts and colors. Also, for my short ladies, it can be super tricky to find tanks in an appropriate length!! Hip length usually = a cute mini-dress. Athleta to the rescue! Just be sure to size down–I wear an XXS here vs. a 4/6 at Lulu. Unfortunately my number one favorite tank I can’t seem to find this season, but the Surge Tank seems to be the closest thing–super lightweight for hot days. I also love the Chi Tank–a slightly heavier fabric but it works for running or yoga. I swear this only fits me correctly in the varied stripe version. It also happens to be on sale–go for it!

IMG_9761Shorts: I’ve written in the past about my love for slightly longer shorts, but this summer as my body composition has shifted a bit (thank you speedwork) I’ve started opting for shorter and more fitted pairs. I don’t totally love supporting Lululemon, but for long runs you can’t beat their Speed Track shorts. They have the perfect mid-length inseam and enough pockets to store your phone, keys, headphones, credit cards, and Gu without batting an eyelash.

Bras: Every time a bustier runner mentions bra issues, all I say over and over again is Moving Comfort, Moving Comfort, Moving Comfort. These bras are INCREDIBLE–I never ever wear anything but the Rebound Racer! I love that this lightweight bra has relatively narrowly spaced straps that don’t cut up under my arms (short people problems), no weird foam cup padding, and super adjustable straps. This baby has nearly eliminated any chafing issues for me!

IMG_9747Socks: Apologies for this whole post turning into a rant about short people probz, but being a smaller sized human comes with having very very tiny feet. This means I need socks that come in a full range of sizes (one size fits all is a hoax!) I also like a good amount of padding in my socks since I’m pretty blister-prone, and a nice cotton-y feel. Enter Bombas! These babies do the trick, and they have tons of fun colors to boot. If you’re looking for a good compression sock, I love Pro Compression’s Marathon socks, although they’re a little thin so I mostly use them for recovery. I’ve been lusting after the Marathon Elites which have more padding to actually run in, but at $55 I’m hesitant. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve tried ’em!

Headwear: It may not be the coolest-looking thing, but if you’re training in the summer, do yourself a favor and get a visor!! I have this super basic one from Target and it is a life saver.

What are your favorite running clothing items?

Linking up with PattyErika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the run!

Chicago marathon training: week 11

sunriseGuess who just ran her first 40+ mile week?? This gal!! I’m super pleased with how things went this week overall–I definitely met both my goals to run with friends and to increase my overall weekly mileage.

This week kicked off as toasty as ever, and I’m glad I front-loaded the miles because my run buddies requested a Friday morning long run for our 18 miler. I was pretty hesitant about pushing that hard on a workday, but it was a quiet week and I decided to bite the bullet–always better to run with company for the longer hauls. We met up for a gorgeous sunrise and then hit it for a steady and strong run. These girls are so super encouraging, even when one of us is having a tough time–I’m so grateful to have them! The bonus is that we’re all running Chicago, so we have a lot of similar things to keep in mind. I love love love this post about how to wake up for morning workouts–if you don’t follow Ali’s blog, you totally should. She’s awesome. #fangirlstatus

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Long run ladies!

I am also sooo sad that the Olympics are over! I get super deep into track (and gymnastics) nerd-dom for these couple of weeks and am always sorry to see them go. Tuesday we did a workout inspired by the indomitable Allyson Felix and then of course had to do a quick dive to the finish at the end of track🙂 Check us out below–gold medals for all of those winners for sure.

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Beach sunsets forever, pls.

The rest of the week flew by with lots and lots of catch-up sessions both with local friends and folks from out of town. It was so wonderful to see a couple of ladies who just make my soul sing. Special big ups to my friend M who gave me this incredibly helpful book. SO many good tips, if you’re also in the midst of wedding planning mania. J and I wrapped things up this weekend with some solid beach time at our friends’ house. I’m not generally a beach person but it felt great to chill out and spend some time with his old grad school crew.

Other things this week–Heartbreak Hill Running Company opened a new store in Cambridge, and as a member of the Heartbreakers team I got to try out a sneak preview class at their treadmill studio! It was a super fun change and a great way to sneak in extra hills and speedwork–definitely give it a whirl once they’re fully open to the public.

SpeedRun_8_16_16__MG_6850 (1)Week 11:

  • Monday: 7 miles at 8:30 pace
  • Tuesday: Track, obvs. 5.3 miles total with the speedwork @ 6:02 average (details here)
  • Wednesday: 4 hot’n’sweaty recovery miles at an 8:57 average
  • Thursday: 4 easy miles at 8:44 pace
  • Friday: Longest long run yet! 18 miles at an 8:19 average
  • Saturday: 90 minute yoga
  • Sunday: 4 miles with 6 long strides for an 8:09 average
  • Monday: 6 miles total including a treadmill class!

My big goal for the coming week is going to be to finally buy a new pair of kicks–my current pair have definitely hit their mileage limit and it’s time to break in a pair for the big race. Still deciding if I want to get refitted or stick with my Asics–updates to come soon!

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap, hosted by HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin!

Chicago marathon training: week 10

IMG_9946OH HAI! My recap is super duper not on schedule this week, but my head is still a little bit in the clouds with all of the wedding-y stuff so I’m going to keep blaming it on that for the time being. Either way, I’ve mostly been keeping up with my mileage despite the fact that Boston has been a freaking sauna for the last few weeks, so that’s a plus. I may shake up my schedule to post these weekly recaps on Sundays from here on out, mostly because it’s fun to revisit my long runs on my rest day. Also, Strava counts my weekly mileage totals from Monday-Sunday so that’s helpful.

These last couple of long runs were tough for different reasons. My 16.5 was supposed to be 17-18, but after a couple of nights of just not getting nearly enough sleep (dang engagement excitement and Opening Ceremonies shenanigans) I hit a major wall and didn’t have it in me to keep going. Thankfully I planned to do this run with some girls from track who are also running Chicago, so I definitely was able to feed off of their energy to keep the paces up.

IMG_9947This past weekend J and I were up at the cabin, where it was super duper humid but thankfully in the low 60s for my run on Saturday. As always, I struggled a bit with the lack of basically any flat terrain given the fact that I knew I had a fast finish long run on tap (aka each of the last 7 miles was supposed to be faster than the previous one). My splits weren’t quite as clean as I wanted them to be, mainly because I accidentally negatively split the entire run instead of just the end, but I’ll take it. J and I basically spent the rest of the weekend talking about wedding things and eating (#sorrynotsorry for all of the food pics, instafriends) and drinking mimosas. Not bad for a rainy-ish weekend!

Week 10:

  • Friday: 3 easy miles with J (SO EXCITED BUT ALSO DIDN’T SLEEP OOPS)
  • Saturday: 16.5 miles with the speedy track ladies at an 8:23 average
  • Sunday: 11 mile hike
  • Monday: 60 minute yoga/OFFIMG_9923
  • Tuesday: Track attack! 400s, 300s, 200s, and 100s–speedwork at 6:12 (details here)
  • Wednesday: 5.5 miles at 8:36 pace
  • Thursday: 6.5 miles with 10 minutes of 30 sec on/off intervals
  • Friday: 60 minute yoga and 3 easy miles with J
  • Saturday: 13 FAST finish miles for an 8:13 average
  • Sunday: OFF

Gripe of the week: since training started, I’ve had some gnarly recurring blisters on my right toes. Pretty much all toes have been afflicted at this point, but there’s one sucker on my big toe that’s so icky J and I have been referring to it as my “toe tumor” (he is SO thrilled to be marrying a lady with such attractive feet). I’m not sure if this is a shoe thing or a sock thing–I’m sure it indicates something funky with my gait but I figure it’s worth looking into gear/getting refitted for new kicks and seeing if that helps. It’s probably getting to time to replace my sneaks anyway (and get my marathon pair!) so I’ll keep y’all posted on that. Any blister avoidance tips are more than welcome.

Less than two months til MARATHON DAY!!!

Leah

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap, hosted by HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin!

Weekending… and some big news!

IMG_9865Let’s get the big exciting news off the table first, mmk? Last week J and I had a picnic in a local park for our fourth anniversary, at the end of which he got down on one knee and popped the question! I knew this was coming at some point but he did an amazing job and I was still super surprised and excited. I’m pretty sure I was doing so much crying and saying yes that I forgot to even look at the ring until a couple of minutes later😉 If you’re into that sort of thing, the ring is the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever owned–vintage, totally unique, and very “me.” IMG_9874And before you ask–we don’t have a date yet, but we’re planning to get married next summer in Maine. I’m semi-dreading some of the wedding planning stuff but I am SO excited to marry such an incredible guy! We’re having a ton of fun introducing each other as “my fiance” (so weird) and just reveling in the joy of making it official.

After we called and texted and Facebooked on Thursday night, I was basically too jazzed to fall asleep so I woke up bright and early for a quick 3 miler around our neighborhood with J. Friday was a haze of congratulations (you all are incredible, thank you x10000 for the calls, texts, comments, hugs, cards, etc.) and Friday night it was time for the Olympics Opening Ceremonies aka the start of my favorite athletic event of the year! IMG_9872This is my third time in a row hosting an Opening Ceremonies party and this one was extra celebratory given our news. All of my thoughts about the actual ceremonies are pretty much summed up here–but holy heck were they just as ridiculous as always. I effing love the Olympics so if you need me over the next few weeks, I’ll be geeking out about women’s gymnastics and obviously all of the running events.

Saturday morning I battled my way through a tough long run with friends (more to come in the weekly update) and then we were off to NH for a gathering with J’s family. We had been planning to camp that night before a Sunday hike, but we decided to treat ourselves to a night at a B&B to celebrate. Thanks to AirBnB, we stumbled onto the cutest/quirkiest little spot, and I couldn’t have been happier to get a great night’s sleep and a delish breakfast before our hike. EDBD1C7A-FDB0-4C45-8803-71BA2D60DE66

The weather was perfect and we summitted both North and South Twin Mountains–two more 4000 footers down! It was a perfect day hike–definitely challenging with some technical spots, but we were able to wrap up 11 miles and approximately 3000 feet of elevation gain in 6-ish hours. It was really nice to get to spend some time doing something we love together.

All-in-all, it was a whirlwind weekend and my head is still spinning, but I am beyond thrilled. Love is the best!

Leah

Chicago marathon training: week 9

IMG_9848Another week down, another weekend away! I spent last weekend down the Cape for a high school friend’s bachelorette. Despite the lack of sleep, I managed to sneak in a 14 miler along the course of my first Ragnar Cape Cod leg, which was a fun blast from the past. It was interesting to do a super flat long run–I’ve realized I actually like how hills break up the monotony, so I’m hoping to keep my long runs on the flatter side moving forward to get ready for Chicago. The weekend was super fun–I’m so grateful to have a lovely group of friends who I’ve known for so long.

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To the beach!

The temps have been much friendlier this week, but unfortunately it’s been pretty humid so not a ton of relief is in sight. August is definitely the longest slog of marathon training, as the temps get higher and the runs get longer. It’s the perfect time to bring in reinforcements, so this weekend I’ll be doing a long run with some of the track girls and I manage to drag J on a run at the end of last week. I even recruited a work friend to her first track session–hopefully she doesn’t hate me too much after that😉

As to my other goal for marathon training part two, I’m super pleased to be upping the mileage and feeling good doing it. IMG_9847The keys for me are keeping my Fridays easy, my Sundays empty, and lots of self care in between (aka yoga and massages!) I got my first massage of training this week at the new-to-me Soul Flower Wellness. Bostonians, if you’re looking for a place Laska was amazing!! I was super proud when she told me my IT bands were in pretty good shape, but holy moly did she go to town on my back and glutes. It’s always something–gotta keep up the stretching, corework, and foam rolling for sure.

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Pre-run cheese

This week is a particularly special one since J and I are celebrating our 4th anniversary. Happiest of happies to my number one fan–I’m SO lucky to have you in my life!!

Week 9:

  • Thursday: PM 90 minute yoga (AM run recap listed last week)
  • Friday: easy 3 miler with J
  • Saturday: 14 miles with a fast finish, 8:29 average
  • Sunday: OFF
  • Monday: 5 miles at 8:39 pace
  • Tuesday: Track! See Strava for workout details, speedwork at 6:25 average, 90 minute yoga
  • Wednesday: 4 miles at 8:40 pace
  • Thursday: 2 mile w/u, 2 miles at tempo (7:14, 7:00, 7:50), 1.5 mile c/d

Chicago marathon training: week 8

IMG_9757Has anyone else been singing this song in their head all week? Holy heatwave, Boston! It basically has been in the 90s every day, which means even my early morning runs have been sweatfests. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned approximately one million times, I don’t tolerate heat super well and especially when it’s also humid, it really impacts my running–which you’ll see reflected in my paces this week. Here’s a really handy tool if you’re interested in how heat might affect your pace, but keep in mind that every body is different and be sure to give yourself a break/drink when you need it.

IMG_9738As I discussed in my last couple of posts, this week started off with an extra rest day to take care of some soreness in my hip. Luckily, it paid off and I was able to complete a tough 17 mile long run along the entire course of the Newton hills! I realized that if I run from my apartment to my childhood home in Newton and back it’s exactly 17 miles, so it was a really fun trip down memory lane. Aka Comm Ave. I was out the door by 6:15 a.m. and with 3 stops to fill up my water bottle, I was able to hold onto a strong 8:38 pace despite the temps!

Since I’m about halfway into my training, I have a few goals in mind that I plan to implement in the coming weeks. First, I want to make more of an effort to do some long runs with friends. IMG_9761My travel schedule has been pretty limiting here, but I’ve met some awesome ladies also training for Chicago at track (hi guys!) and am hoping to meet up with them for some upcoming runs. Also, my weekly mileage has worked out to be a little bit lower than I was planning. I’d like to incorporate a ‘longer’ mid-week run of 6+ miles, probably on Wednesdays or Thursdays. My hope would be to average around 40 miles/week–it’s all about learning to run on tired legs so that miles 20-26 of the marathon feel like a breeze🙂 Lastly, I’d like to make sure I’m doing some tempo running once a week to incorporate speed beyond my track workouts.

This weekend I’m off to the Cape for a high school friend’s bachelorette–looking forward to some flat running in slightly cooler temps, and of course to some quality beach time with the gals. Full weekly recap is below!

IMG_9764Week 8:

  • Friday: OFF
  • Saturday: 17 miles at 8:38 pace
  • Sunday: 90 minute yoga/OFF
  • Monday: 3 miles at 9:02 pace
  • Tuesday: Track! 800, 4×400, 800, 4×400
  • Wednesday: 5.4 miles at 8:34 pace
  • Thursday: 6.6 miles, 3-5 at MGP, 6 x strides for an 8:09 average

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap, hosted by HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin!