I was all set to let this blogging thing go, but recently I have felt like writing and being in the throes of marathon training, I actually have something to say on one of the subjects of this blog!
I am currently less than 40 days out from running the Chicago Marathon. Baby Nicholas is now almost 14 months—how is this possible?!—and yet he is still not sleeping through the night. He is still nursing at least once, if not 2 or 3 times through the night. I know he doesn’t need it, but I am having so much trouble weaning. I struggled so much with weaning Max as well, which is why I ended up nursing him for 2 ½ years!
Anyway, I’m only explaining the sleep/nursing stuff because it’s causing me to be exhausted, which of course is affecting my training. During my last marathon training cycle in 2015, shortly before I got pregnant with Nicholas, I was running really strong. I got up early every day before Max and my husband Andy got up, and I was super consistent. Things are very different now! Early runs are out of the question because Nicholas is usually up around 6 and Max is up shortly after. Andy got a new job (no more nights and weekends!), but he works from 7AM to 5:30 or 6 PM. So my runs are at lunchtime while I’m at work, post-work with the double jogging stroller or by myself after the husband gets home, or after the boys go to bed on my trusty garage treadmill J I do actually get to run on the weekends BY MYSELF OUTSIDE now, which is amazing and different and I love it!
Another positive to my husband being home on weekends is I can actually run races without having to find childcare – HUGE CHANGE. I randomly ran a half marathon in July because I could. I was just easing into Chicago training, but I managed to eek out a 1:47:39, which I was pretty pleased with—my PR is a 1:46:39.
Currently I am running anywhere from 35-45 miles per week, with one long run. I know that’s a big swing, but I sometimes have to take extra days off because of life. My longest run has been a 17, and I have plans to run 20 this weekend and hopefully one other 20. I was consistently doing speedwork one day a week, but in August I kind of fell off that and haven’t really picked it back up. My heart just isn’t in training for a specific time right now. I wasn’t prepared for how mentally and physically draining having two kids and working full-time would be when I entered the lottery for Chicago. This spring and summer have also brought some huge changes as far as life goes and I’ve faced some personal stuff that has tapped me out emotionally. I sometimes forget how huge of an emotional toll training takes, and how you really have to have your heart in it to be successful. I have been training for marathons since 2007, and yet I still forget how challenging it is mentally even when it’s semi-routine. I still have the desire to run the marathon, but I’m not putting the pressure of hitting a certain time on my shoulders right now!
That being said, I am doing my best to run my easy runs easy and to do some fast finish miles during long runs. I’m also running a very hilly route 1 to 2 days per week. I find long runs with fast miles in the middle or at the end and hill runs to be confidence building, and they seem easier to me than going to the track or doing speed on the treadmill. When I look back at my old training, I realize that I was running my easy runs far too fast. Easy pace for me is realistically closer to 9:30 maybe even 10, but I was pushing to run under 9 on easy runs. This wore me out too much to really go for it or be successful on my longer runs or speed work. Now I feel strong when I run my long runs and I have something in the tank for some quicker miles in there. I also feel pretty good on my hilly runs, so I must be gaining some power in my legs. I also occasionally just feel like running faster, which I can say I never felt in my last marathon training cycle 2 years ago. I definitely had to force myself to push the pace on certain runs. All of this will help when I hit the start line in Chicago.
Hopefully I can check in again closer to the race. I’m excited to run such a huge race and to have a weekend away from my kids with just my husband. Hopefully baby Nicholas will be sleeping through the night by then! Regardless, I want to enjoy the experience, as I have never run such a large race. Whatever the time on the clock reads when I finish, I will be happy and proud that I was able to complete a marathon during such a crazy time in my life.
Cheers and thank you for reading! Anyone else running Chicago?