Race Recap: Chicago Marathon

The Chicago Marathon – remember that race that I ran a month ago?! It feels like forever ago but at the same time, it feels like yesterday. Everyone told me that my first world major would be amazing but honestly, I could not have imagined anything so amazing.

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Pre-Race Events / Things To Do

We arrived in Chicago late Friday night and left Tuesday morning. When I do this race again (I say “when” because I know I will), I will definitely fly in earlier. There were so many race-related things that I wanted to do, places that I wanted to see and runners that I wanted to meet.

  • Abbott Health & Fitness Expo, well duh.
  • Heartbreak Hill Running CompanyShakeout run
    • Store events
    • Time to shop!
  • Nike
    • The shuttle to/from the expo was a blast – we even got goodies!
    • More time to shop!
  • Tracksmith Pop-Up
    • Awesome gear
    • Shakeout run
    • Finisher posters after the race
  • A LOT of shakeout runs!

Expo

I was pretty stressed – as I mentioned earlier, we arrived late Friday night so we had to go to the expo on Saturday. We took a Lyft there and it was pretty easy to find. I expected to be overwhelmed but I did a decent job at containing my excitement and my energy. We took our time walking through the vendors and taking a couple of pictures before eventually taking the Nike shuttle back to the store. Transportation ended up being pretty easy to figure out.

The Weather

It was definitely a colder year – low 40s and very windy. Despite the weather, I decided to go with a tank top and shorts, with arm sleeves and gloves of course. I didn’t pack the best clothes to keep me warm at the start but HAND WARMERS were a must have item.

The Course

Wow – what can I say about the course. Coming off seven weeks of injury before the race, my strategy was to take it slow, have fun and try to make it as far as I could before bonking due to my lack of training. Even though my marathon PR was 3:48, I was hoping to run the race under 4:00 and at worst, under 4:30.

Miles 1-3: I don’t even remember because they went by so fast. Somewhere near mile 3, Cade and his parents found me!

Miles 4-9: My ankle started hurting but I was just in shock at the sheer number of runners around me and spectators along the course.

Miles 10-13: Heading back into the downtown area – AWESOME. I caught up to the 3:40 pace group and knew that I had started out WAY too fast so I pulled back. At mile 13, I found Cade and his parents again! And was a good place to ditch my arm sleeves and my earphones.

Miles 14-16: I was a little worried here because this is around where I bonked hard at the Flying Pig Marathon.. but no issues here!

Miles 17-20: I was even more worried here because this is where I usually bonk anyway – but again, NO ISSUES! Well, I did have to stop and use the bathroom at mile 20 but then I continued on my way.

Miles 21-24: I got a little hungry.. but I knew that I was on pace to PR so I asked myself, “how bad do you want this?”. Mentally, I was 100% there and I knew that I was almost done.

Miles 25-26: INSANELY WINDY – a drum got knocked over by the wind and I almost got knocked over too. You just have to keep reminding yourself that you’re almost there.

26.1-26.2: You think you’re almost there but you have one last hill and a couple of turns. TOTALLY DO-ABLE.

Post-Race

If there are two things that I remember forever, it’s this.

  1. There were bees everywhere.. it was so weird and slightly frightening but I was too tired to be scared.
  2. After finishing, I didn’t grab a bag so I had to carry my beer, apple, banana and other snacks in my two hands along with my phone. A sacrifice obviously had to be made so I said goodbye to my food and continued along with my beer and phone in hand – SUCCESS.

The Results

PR CITY – 3:41:27. This was quite literally, the craziest, most unexpected outcome EVER. I have spent the last two weeks reflecting on my race and I still can’t begin to understand it. I can find every reason why this shouldn’t have happened but I’m pretty proud that it did. Despite my injury and needing to use the bathroom mid-race, I think it’s safe to say that I crushed it with a 7 minute PR?!

What’s Next?

I don’t know what my 2020 race schedule will look like but I know there is one thing that I am chasing. Crossing my fingers that I can get this injury healed up quickly so I can start training for and chasing a BQ!

#sharetheSPARK Reveal with Momentum Jewelry

It’s time for one of my favorite campaigns of the year! #sharetheSPARK is “Momentum’s movement to inspire, encourage, & motivate others to find their own SPARK while becoming their very best selves”!

This year, there are TWO new mantras – “Keep Reaching Higher” and “Find Your Courage”. I decided to keep ‘Find Your Courage’ for myself and give ‘Keep Reaching Higher’ to my amazingly-talented friend, Christine (@christinerunsfast). I remember when I first met Christine at my first SFRRC Saturday club run in 2017. If it wasn’t intimidating enough just to join a new running group, it was also my first weekend as a San Francisco resident so I was a little anxious. I don’t remember really remember the actual run at all but I do remember the breakfast after. Christine and I talked about our favorite insta-famous runners and our personal running goals – BOOM, instant friendship! But really, I went home after that run and was like, omg did I just find a new BFF?!

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Since then, Christine has qualified for Boston several more times, finished her first Boston Marathon last month and is chasing a sub-3 hour marathon goal! How amazing is that?! On top of that though, she finds the time to inspire others because she is a teacher, but also other runners like me. She is there on the good days and the bad days; and the days when I don’t want to run up a hill but she makes me do it anyway.

So anyway, I am excited to #sharetheSPARK with Christine, it wasn’t the first time and probably won’t be the last (lol). And if you don’t already, go follow @christinerunsfast to see her ‘Keep Reaching Higher’ and accomplish her inspiring goal!


In true spirit of the movement, the #sharetheSPARK collection is on sale with an opportunity to pass it on and pay it forward! From now until May 6th, each of the #sharetheSPARK mantras are priced at $14/each and if you buy one, you can get a second for only $7! Check them out on https://momentumjewelry.com/.

Share your #sharetheSPARK story by tagging @momentumjewelry and using #sharetheSPARK.

I Deferred My Upcoming Marathon – Here’s Why

I put in 13 near-perfect weeks of training and there are still 7 weeks to go until the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon. So why did I decide to defer my race entry?

More Recovery Time

For starters, I’m injured. I haven’t run for the past two weeks and it looks like I’ll be going on a third week of no running. My ankle-area started hurting two weeks back and I won’t justify running through this pain. The first several days were tough – I wanted to run and sometimes I would even try, but then the pain would come and I would find myself walking home. My PT suggested giving myself another week to rest it before even thinking about deferring my race. That made my second week a little easier, without the pressure to run. I even enjoyed my cross-training workouts in the pool and the gym. Now I’ve made it to the third week and I feel really good about my decision to skip this race.

Who Knows Me Best

I am truly grateful that so many people have reached out during the last couple of weeks but one of the hardest parts has been having to explain myself, explain my reasons for deferring and having to listen and accept unsolicited advice. At the end of the day, I know myself best. I’ve been here numerous times before – injured and making the decision on whether or not I can realistically run the race that I want to (which takes me to my next point).

Goal Digger

The brutal truth is my goal this year wasn’t to run races for fun. I want to train hard, race hard and challenge myself to accomplish bigger goals. Even though my momentum has been strong in the past 6 months with new PRs and different challenges, I felt like I needed to sit this one out and that is all just a part of the journey.

On To The Next One

People always say, ‘there’s always next time’. And in my case, there is literally always the next one. While I would have loved to run Mountains 2 Beach, the Chicago Marathon was always my larger focus of 2019. And it looks like I will have a lot of work to do before October!

Mountains 2 Beach Training Week 12

A strong week overall but I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. I wanted to hit 44 miles this week and fell 2 miles short because I skipped my run on Sunday due to ankle pain.. it is silly to be disappointed about but some things are just all mental.

Monday 3/18

6 miles at 8:41 /mile – nothing special about this run. My legs felt heavy but I got outside and got my miles in.

Tuesday 3/19

6.4 miles total on the track – 1.6 mile warm up + track ladder (400 / 800 / 1600 / 2000 / 1600 / 800 / 400). This was really hard.. I was supposed to add in a couple 200s and cool down but my legs were done and I was getting kicked off the track by the high school teams anyway.

Wednesday 3/20

4.6 EASY miles at 8:27 /mile – my time was fast but my effort was definitely easier. I really didn’t want to run today.. my legs were tired and I felt like I had no power behind them.

Thursday 3/21

8.5 miles at 8:26 /mile! At surface level, this run looks good. But when you look mile by mile, this run looks great. I tried to start my first 4 mile loop “easy”, cutting down every mile. The second loop took a lot more effort with the start of the loop going uphill and then continuing to cut down every mile, ending with negative splits!

Friday 3/22

It’s finally rest day and I’ve never been more ready! Coming off the last two weeks of hard workouts and a race, my legs are 100% feeling it. I thought about taking a rest day earlier in the week but I pushed through and earned it today.

Saturday 3/23

16.2 miles of constant hills – the challenge felt pretty good but my ankle was hurting by the end of it. A few weeks ago, I ran 17 miles and it felt amazing. This run was almost the complete opposite but I made it through the whole thing!

Sunday 3/24

I wanted to run a couple of easy miles so badly but I knew that my ankle needed the rest.

TOTAL: 42

Mountains 2 Beach Training Week 10

What started out as a strong week ended in disappointment but I’m ready to put this behind me and move forward with training. Back to San Francisco on Friday!

Monday 3/4

KILLER WORKOUT – 1 mile warm up, 3 x 2 mile repeats at strength pace, 1 mile cool down. I was dreading this workout a little because I knew that it was going to be a tough one.. especially because it was also really cold!

Tuesday 3/5

I wanted to run again but I also wanted to give myself the rest after a tough track workout. Settled for a short run commute home after work; 1.5 miles at 8:46 /mile.

Wednesday 3/6

Yuck.. woke up to 29 degree weather. Another easy day in the books; 3 miles at 8:39 /mile. I’m definitely getting used to the weather and the hills in NC.

Thursday 3/7

Another Tempo Thursday with my 5:30a crew in North Carolina! 8.6 perfect miles at 8:55 /mile.. I almost didn’t notice that it was 23 degrees!

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Friday 3/8

Easy run after yesterday for one last run in Raleigh before heading back to San Francisco tonight! 3.1 miles at 8:57 /mile.

Saturday 3/9

I planned to run a shorter long run of 8 miles this week but it didn’t happen today. After flying home yesterday, almost fainting on my flight and getting home at 1:00am, I decided that I could use a day of rest. After all, there is always tomorrow.

Sunday 3/10

Disappointing. I had already pushed my long run back a day and I pretty much hit a wall immediately after I set out for my 8 mile run. Probably a combination of how I was feeling yesterday + jet lag + daylight savings. A short 3.5 miles at 9:12 pace.. but really a lot of walk breaks where I just stopped my watch completely.

TOTAL: 28

Mountains 2 Beach Training Week 6

Did I get my mojo back?! Almost did… until my psoas starting hurting towards the end of the week. But that is to be continued…

Monday 2/4

4 miles outside in the rain and wind, followed by my leg circuit.

Tuesday 2/5

5 miles at 8:50 /mile. Decently easy run in 41 degree weather! Even though this is nothing compared to what I ran in when I lived in North Carolina, this was COLD. I had to look around for my running tights and gloves! I was wanting to do a hill workout but my legs said not today.

Wednesday 2/6

8 miles at 9:01 /mile. So I was planning to run 4-6 miles but Emily texted me and asked if I wanted to run (she was planning to run 10 miles). I agreed to try for 8 miles if we ran slow; and we did. My legs were bust after but it felt good to get a longer weekday run done!

Thursday 2/7

EPIC. 5.2 miles at 7:47 /mile. I planned to take it easy but everything just felt good. I started at an 8:18 on the first mile, then progressed to 8:01 /mile on the second.. quickly went to 7:25 /mile and 7:31 /mile… AND finished with 6:54 /mile!! This was fun but I may have pushed it a little too hard.

Friday 2/8

Following yesterday’s epic run, my psoas feels like it is pinching a bit. Rest day it is and hopefully it will be fine for tomorrow’s long run.

Saturday 2/9

Not fine… planned to run 14 miles and finished with 9.5 miles. I got to the turn around point and started to slug my way back home in pain. Luckily, Christine had driven to her run nearby so I gave up and asked for a ride home. I was disappointed but as I limped my way back, I kind of knew that I made the right decision.

Sunday 2/10

Ok, I went for it again. I went out for an easy shakeout run and planned to go REALLY slow just to test things out. I swear it felt like a 10:00 /mile pace but I somehow finished 3.2 miles at an 8:27 /mile. My psoas was a little uncomfortable but not too horrible overall.

TOTAL: 35

Mountains 2 Beach Marathon Training Week 5

Tired. Have you ever had one of those days where you just don’t feel like doing anything? I had a whole week of them. I ended up taking most of the week off which may not have helped me physically but it will definitely help me mentally. So TL;DR there isn’t a whole lot going on in this week’s recap.

Monday 1/28

4 slow miles on the treadmill. No, it wasn’t rainy.. or dark.. or windy. I just didn’t feel like getting out there but at least I got a few miles in followed by my leg circuit.

Tuesday 1/29

SORE. I have no idea what hit me.. my workout on Monday was mediocre at best.

Wednesday 1/30

Tired and still sore? I really didn’t think I pushed it hard enough to be this sore but I was fine with taking another day of rest.

Thursday 1/31

What’s the point now? This was honestly just laziness.

Friday 2/1

Continuing the laziness trend at this point.

Saturday 2/2

I FINALLY RAN. Lol.. I actually woke up and still wasn’t mentally ready to run.. even after four days of rest. It was rainy and windy so I wanted to stay in bed but Christine made me commit to run an easy 7 miles with her before our races on Sunday. And it felt great to be outside! It wasn’t my planned 14 miles but my ankle was hurting a bit anyway.

Sunday 2/3

Race day – San Jose 408k! I didn’t have a lot of pressure on myself for this race but I’ll save the details for my race recap.

TOTAL: 16

Mountains 2 Beach Marathon Training Week 2

My second week of training is in the books and it felt SO good!

So first things first, what’s the deal with my leg circuits after my runs?

After being sidelined by a few injuries last year, I decided to make a conscious effort to add strength training to my marathon training routine. Part of that effort means that I need to stay accountable and the easiest way to do that is to do it right after my run. I am currently working with my physical therapist on my current circuit and can feel myself getting stronger already. I’m excited to see what comes next!

Monday 1/7

A short, “easy” run but can anyone say negative splits?! 4.1 miles, 8:40 /mile followed by my leg circuit (2×10 weighted front squats, 2×10 single leg deadlifts and 2×10 weighted lunges). Not anything spectacular but I’m starting to feel in my groove again.

Tuesday 1/8

What the HILL! Decided to do my first hill workout of the year, though it has really been awhile. My friend, Emily, joined in for the 5:30am fun. We warmed up for 2 miles and completed 10 repeats on a 20% grade hill, totaling 4.5 miles. And wow, I’m beat.

Wednesday 1/9

Rest day – after seven consecutive days “on”, I knew that I needed a real rest day. Not an active recovery or cross training day, but a rest day of doing nothing. I was expecting to wake up tired and feeling sore from the hill workout but instead, I woke up at 4:45am ready to go. As I laid in bed, I thought about going to the gym for a short biceps/back circuit but I opted for an extra hour and a half of sleep instead.

Thursday 1/10

THANK YOU AGAIN, EMILY! 6 miles easy today at 8:50 /mile. After the hills on Tuesday, Emily joined me at 5:30am again for some easy miles. Both of us were pretty beat so we definitely struggled a bit towards the end but appreciated the company!

Friday 1/11

Flywheel class. Again? Is this turning into a weekly routine?! My legs are exhausted.. but what a great cross-training workout. I dialed up the effort and finished with a higher number than last week – WOOHOO!

Saturday 1/12

11 miles at 8:50 /mile – BOOM! This felt AMAZING. There were a couple moments of struggle but I powered through and put the miles in. First double digit run of the year!

Sunday 1/13

My plan was to do an easy shakeout run but I took an extra rest day instead. Ready to start week 3 strong!

TOTAL MILES: 26