Chicago Marathon Weekend — Before the Race

Preparations for our Chicago trip were in full swing for most of last week. One of the most important things that had to be done before we left was a haircut. During the course of fundraising for Team Up! a friend had told me he was willing to make a sizeable donation this year, but I was going to have to earn it. An idea was thrown out and when another friend caught wind of it he agreed to match the donation. For a $400 donation, I had agreed to shave something into the back of my hair and it had to remain for the entirety of our trip.  This is the result:

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It’s a 13 hour drive from Upstate New York to Chicago, so to make it easier on the kids we left at bedtime on Thursday night. Within the span of a few minutes both kids were snoring in the back seat leaving us able to drive a solid chunk of the trip without having to stop. Traveling this way has it’s pros and cons – the kids sleep but that leaves us staying up the entire night driving – it’s exhausting!

Our first stop was at O’Hare International Airport to pick up our back up for the weekend – Grandma! She flew in from Michigan for the weekend to help us out with the kids while we attended the various activities that we had planned. Poor timing on our part left us stuck in early morning Chicago traffic. Once we left the airport it took us nearly an hour to get over to the expo.

Once we arrived at McCormick Place and walked what seemed like a mile to get to the actual expo it was time to pick up bibs! The kids were a little overwhelmed with the amount of people so they hung out with Grandma outside while we visited some of the vendors and did a little shopping. We also stopped at the Nike pace booth to sign up for a pace group for Sunday.

After the expo we were all pretty hungry so we checked into our hotel and set out for food. After dinner we were all pretty exhausted from traveling all night so it was an early bedtime.

On Saturday morning we were up bright and early as I had registered to run the Chicago International 5K.

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 The first International Chicago 5k began at Daley Plaza, where the Chicago Marathon starting line was many years ago. It was a great event and great start to the weekend. The course ran along Lake Michigan and finished a short distance from the marathon finish line. It was a timed event but I was using it as a shakeout run, so I just enjoyed the views and went for a three mile jog. 

We had plans to take the kids to the Shedd Aquarium so once the 5K was complete we picked up the kids and Grandma and made our way back across town.  We also had something extra special planned for the Aquarium. Parker was going to get a chance to meet his IRun4 buddy who flew in from New Orleans to run the marathon with Team Up! We were all very excited to get the chance to meet Rachel and her boyfriend. They spent the morning with us while we checked out all of the exhibits. Both kids had a blast – they especially loved the penguins!

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After several hours at Shedd it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready for the Team Up! Chicago team dinner. Just like last year it was held at Maggiano’s Little Italy. We got a chance to meet some other team members who would be running the next day. I also had the opportunity to speak and share a little bit about our family and our reasons for choosing to run with Team Up!

 

After spending a couple of hours at the dinner it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready to tackle 26.2 the next morning!

 

It’s Officially Chicago Marathon Week!

Good morning everyone and welcome back to the Tale of 2 Halfs. It may in fact be a dismal and rainy Monday in New York but it’s an exciting week as we leave for the 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Thursday evening.

It’s been a long and difficult road for both of us this summer and unfortunately, only one of us will make it to the starting line. As we’ve already mentioned, Jen suffered a hip injury this summer that is preventing her from running her first marathon. She still struggles with the reality and disappointment of  not be able to race after months of training and I know it will be hard on her all weekend. She worked her butt off this summer and as her husband, I could not be more proud of what she accomplished before her injury. She proved to herself that she could reach new heights and push herself, mentally and physically, to places she had never been.

Inside I pray Jen comes back strong and healthy and has even more passion and determination next year to accomplish her goal. If she does, then she truly will “Own Chicago” in 2017.

As for myself, my 18 weeks of training is concluding and the last few weeks have been crazy busy. Unfortunately my days don’t slow down before we leave. I’ve missed some runs and a lot of sleep and my body is letting me know! I’m exhausted and sore. I’m trying to remain positive, trust my training and envision a strong race.

I’ll finish this last week with a total of 791.2 miles of training. This is 34.94 miles less than last year’s total of 826.14 but with one huge caveat. The 2015 Chicago Marathon was first marathon of the year, thus my marathon training didn’t start till June – although I had been running all year. This year, I ran the Buffalo Marathon over Memorial weekend and had already trained for 18 weeks starting in late January and logged 794.46 miles during that training period. Minus my two weeks of rest following Buffalo in early June, I’ve mostly been training since January and have logged 1,585.66 miles!!

A lot of sweat goes into preparing for these races, for myself and everyone who trains. But something I like to remind myself before each event is this: The race is the reward after months of training. The hard work is over. Enjoy the moment! 

See you from Chicago!!!

On your mark…

It’s that time of year everybody – race season! Tomorrow begins a stretch of 3 races over the next two months. I begin with the Lake Placid Classic (a half marathon tune-up), followed by the Chicago Marathon on October 9th and close out the year with the New York City Marathon on November 6th.

Lake Placid Classic:

I last ran this event in 2014 and finished  a respectable 18th overall in 1:37:50, my best time at this point in history.

I hadn’t trained then nearly as hard as I have the last two years and since this race in 2014 I have lowered my half marathon time to 1:28:50. I have ambitions to best this time tomorrow, giving me a large boost of confidence as I begin my taper for Chicago. I’m realistic that this may not happen and I’m just hoping to enjoy the event and finish healthy.

2016 Chicago Marathon:

IMG_1624My “Main Event” this fall, this will be my second Chicago Marathon in a row. This is a special event for the fact that I am a member of Team Up! with Autism Speaks and running on behalf of my son. I’m saddened to know that Jen is not able to run this race with me this year after all her hard work training and fundraising due to her injury, but she’ll still be going and participating in most of festivities.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t aiming for a PR. I have worked hard all summer in pursuit of this goal. 30 more days before I see if it was enough.

 

 

New York City Marathon:

0038tMy final event for 2016 is the biggest of all marathons. Last year I ran this event on short notice as a last-minute charity runner. I finished under 3:30 and was impressed that I even ran that fast coming back from a great run in Chicago only weeks earlier. I definitely have a lot more understanding and respect for this race course now and although I don’t anticipate aiming for a PR, I would like to improve on my time from last year.

 

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When Things Don’t Go As Planned…

I (Jen) have been putting off writing this post for about a week now, probably because I’ve been trying not to think about it. I haven’t been able to run in nearly three weeks, and have had to defer the Chicago Marathon to 2017.

Lets back up a bit.

A few days before we left for Michigan my hips were sore, but that isn’t out of the ordinary for me. My hips get cranky frequently. I figured they just needed some extra stretching or foam rolling and I’d be good to go. Here’s how the next few days progressed

Saturday: Three miles on the schedule. I had woken up still feeling stiff and sore from being in the car for 18 hours, so I took it really easy. My right hip felt tight, but not overly uncomfortable

Sunday: 16 miles on the schedule, completed 15. My hips were both still really stiff so I was making a lot of stops to stretch and still taking it slowly. By the end of the run it was starting to get pretty uncomfortable but I didn’t really think much of it. I had run out of town and had Travis pick me up when I was finished and I remember him telling me just to stretch it really well and relax.

The view from my last long run- headed towards Lake Superior in the distance.

Monday: Rest day, lots of stretching but my right hip was really sore. We didn’t bring our foam roller along so I made do with a lacrosse ball that my brother had to try to get things loosened up.

Tuesday: Was planning on three easy miles, couldn’t make it through one. Every time I was landing and pushing off with my right leg I was getting pain all through my hip, and everything was seizing up (the feeling was like when you get a foot cramp). After talking to my coach we decided that a few days rest were in order.

Over the next few days the pain wasn’t letting up and I was feeling it while I was walking as well. All of the surrounding muscles were really tight and the joint of my hip was very tender. I got a massage and saw a chiropractor- the only things I could really do at that point being 18 hours away from home. My SI joint was really out of alignment and I was hoping that after an adjustment I would start to feel better, but no such luck.

I put in a call to my primary doctor, knowing that I would need a referral to see a PT. They weren’t able to get me an appointment for six weeks and were not willing to write a referral without physically seeing me. There wasn’t much I could do from Michigan so I would have to wait until we got home to try to figure out getting a PT referral. I called a ton of different doctors locally and nobody was able to get me into their schedule.

Once we were home I tested out my hip with a very short run to see if the several days off had helped. It hadn’t. I was also getting pain from just walking around the house doing normal activities and would end up limping by the days end.

Still not able to get an appointment, I called a friend of ours that is a physical therapist and she was willing to see me to take a look and give a general recommendation on what I could do. After checking the range of motion and doing several other tests with me she informed me that she was almost certain that I had a labral tear but I would need to follow up with orthopedic and have some imaging done to confirm it. Definitely not the news I wanted to hear.

After a lot of thinking and a few tears I decided that it was time to back out of the upcoming races- both Ragnar Adirondacks and Chicago.

A few days later I was in a lot of pain and decided to make a trip to urgent care. Within minutes of being there I had a referral to an orthopedic surgeon and an appointment for ten days later.

I still don’t have any concrete answers, and I’m not expecting them to come quickly. My appointment with the surgeon’s PA is on Monday, and I’ll still have to schedule any imaging after that.

To say that I’m not extremely disappointed about missing both of the races would be a lie. I gave myself a day to be angry about it and am now doing my best to shake it off. The only thing I can focus on now is rehabbing my hip so that I can get back to running again as soon as possible.In the meantime, I’m doing what I can in terms of exercising and going a little stir crazy in the process (there’s been a lot of crochet happening around here). My PT friend recommended not doing a ton until I saw ortho, so I’m trying to follow orders and keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t need surgery.

I also have to take into consideration how well the training was going before this all started, and I can be happy with what I had accomplished up to this point. I’m looking forward to coming back stronger than before.

 

Dont give up a goal due to the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway:

I’m still looking forward to heading back to Chicago to cheer on Travis while he runs and am thinking about what other races I’d like to do next year.

 

Phew. That ended up being a lot longer than I planned. Kudos to you if you made it to the end!

 

 

Travis’ Look Back at Nine Weeks of Training

Good morning and welcome back to the Tale of 2 Halfs.

This week I began the back half of my training plan for the Chicago Marathon and am currently only 57 days away from the start line. I thought this would be a great time to recap how my training went over the first nine weeks and look ahead to what’s in store over the final days.

I began this training plan by taking the entire first scheduled week of runs off as I had just completed the 2016 Buffalo Marathon and was still recovering from that hot and humid race. I picked up at the start of week two and haven’t looked back since.

Here are some stats:

Number of Runs: 49 Activities
Distance: 375.12 mi
Avg Run Distance: 7.66 mi
Total Time: 49:01:52 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 7,487 ft
Avg Speed: 7.7 mph
Calories Burned: 36,650 C

Over the course of eight weeks of running, I missed one scheduled run as part of a two-a-day and had to alter three other runs for various reasons. In total, I missed 7.75 scheduled miles – by far the fewest miles missed during the first half of a training plan and definitely an improvement over my last training cycle for the Buffalo Marathon. However, this week and next will be a challenge to get my runs completed with traveling and such, but that’s for the second half recap.

Over the next two months, I hit the longest of my long runs at 22 miles and have one final tune-up half marathon on September 10th at the Lake Placid Classic. Fundraising for Team Up! with Autism Speaks is complete, with hopefully a little more trickling in over the last days.

I’m looking forward to toeing the line in Chicago and going for a PR.

Weekly Wrap #33: 7/25-7/31

Happy Monday! It’s not been a very eventful week here. The majority of our free time was spent on our driveway project, which is now finished! I wasn’t completely sold on why we needed new rocks…but now that it’s done I’m very glad we did it. It looks a thousand times better than it did before!

Monday was our 7th wedding anniversary. We totally failed at taking a picture, but we celebrated with dinner out. We tried a new to us place just across the border into Canada called Truffles. They served specialty burgers and fries that did not disappoint! I wasn’t overly adventurous (they had alligator burgers as well as one coated in 23 karat gold) and got one topped with avocado while Travis had a venison burger.

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Tuesday we ended up spending some extra time at the doctor with Peyton. She’s been battling a nasty cough for the majority of the month that got significantly worse. Poor thing is finally getting back to normal now!

We’re prepping to leave for Michigan later this week. We’re really looking forward to spending some time with family. We’ve also got a wedding to attend this trip so we’ll get to see some extended family members that we don’t get to see often at all!

Travis: At the end of July I had amassed a total of 1,209 miles for the year and 216 in July. August should be my highest mileage month leading up to the Chicago Marathon which is now only 10 weeks away. I received my tenative corral assignment over the weekend which means it’s getting close! Just have to keep pushing through this sheer exhaustion and persevere. 

Monday: 6 miles (a.m.) @ 8:08 pace – I skipped my evening run to celebrate my anniversary. 

Tuesday:  2 Mile Warm Up, 8 x 800 meters @ 5k pace w/ 90 second recovery, 2 Mile Cool Down – 8:01 pace

Wednesday: 6 miles + Strides @ 7:27 pace

Thursday: 11 miles – 1 Mile Warm Up, 9 Miles Marathon Pace, 1 Mile Cool Down @ 7:18 pace

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 17 mile Long Run @ 8:03 pace

Sunday: 6 miles @ 9:00 pace

Total Weekly Mileage: 54 miles

Jen: I’ve been feeling downright exhausted lately. Most likely from training, heat, life in general…all of the above? I’ve already run double the miles that I ran last year. For our run the year challenge I’m currently sitting at 736 and July marked my highest mileage month ever with 132 miles. Its crazy for me to think that I ran somewhere just shy of 300 miles for the entire year last year and I did nearly half of that in one month alone. In an effort to tone up before our Dominican vacation in January I’ve started stepping up my strength workouts in the past week as well. Nothing like a week on a beach upcoming to provide a little extra motivation! There was a little step back in my long run this week to act as a recovery run.

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: unplanned rest day

Wednesday: 2 mile WU, 2×2 mile at tempo pace with 0.5 recovery, 0.5 mile CD- 7 miles total

Thursday: 3 miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 4 miles

Sunday: 10 miles

Total weekly mileage:  24 miles

WeeklyWrap

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