Tag Archive for Chicago Marathon Training

2014: The Year of the PR

Running in 2014 turned out to be pretty fantastic, even though I spent the last couple of months dealing with an injury. I could also call 2014 The Year of the PR, I’ll focus on that and not the injury! I discovered while going through races for this post that I set personal records in 8 of the 13 races that I ran this year! I know I’m probably not supposed to say it (because it’s about me…) but, that’s amazing!

 

Johnston's Half Marathon | amotherspace.net

 

I set my 5K PR in January and then broke it again in May. It now stands at 25:38. I set my 4 mile PR in March with a 34:04 time. In April I PR’d in the 10K with a time of 52:35. Then I made several half marathon PR’s. The first was in May (2:04:21) then again in August (2:02:37) and finally I broke the 2 hour barrier with another PR in September (1:57:02.) I ran my second full marathon in October and set a 40+ minute PR with the time of 4:22:54.

That’s most definitely a fantastic year! In fact, it makes me a little nervous about 2015 because in no way is it going to compare to how great 2014 was for my running. I’m okay with that though!

 

Chicago Marathon 2014 | amotherspace.net

Photo Credit: Photogenic Chicago

My goal race for the year was the Chicago Marathon in October. I spent the entire year preparing for it, even before training started. I wanted to make sure that I had a good base heading into training. The marathon turned out to be the best racing and possibly running experience of my life. Yes, it was that incredible. Did you miss that recap? You can read all about it —–> here. If you are contemplating running a marathon and the Chicago Marathon is one you are considering…sign up for the lottery or run for a charity, like the Ronald McDonald House. I can’t recommend it enough.

My year in numbers.

 

1,261.89: number of running miles

2014 blew away my past mileage high of 622 miles. I set my Run This Year goal way back in January to run 2,014 kilometers throughout the year. I exceeded it last week and went on to run a total of 2,030.82 kilometers for the year.

 

Run This Year | amotherspace.net

 

165.44: highest mileage in one month

12: number of running months

16: number of days with no running due to Plantar Fasciitus after the Chicago Marathon. (It felt like forever so I’m surprised to see that it was only 16 days!)

13: number of races (Frosty 5K, 3 5 by the 5th virtual races, St. Patrick’s Day Party and Run 4 miler, Easter SunRun 10K, World Run Virtual 10K, Spring Prairie Fire Half Marathon, Get Your Rear in Gear 5K, Southside Scorcher 10K, Run for Your Momma Half Marathon, Johnston’s Half Marathon, Chicago Marathon)

One of my goals for 2014 was to race 14 races. (#14in2014) if I had added them up before this week and found out I was only one race short I might have tried to squeeze one more race in this year!

4: number of virtual races (Spring 5 by the 5th Series + the World Run)

2014 in Review | amotherspace.net

6: number of medals

2: Age Group Awards

0: number of DNS (did not start) races

4: number of states I ran in (KS, IA, OK, IL)

4: number of people in my (immediate) family that supported me every step of the way. I couldn’t have had the running year that I had without their understanding and support as I went out on all my miles this year.
Family | amotherspace.net

So, I kinda feel like I was bragging a lot in this post. I’m proud of my running improvements over the year (and shocked by them) but I don’t mean to share them to brag.  I’ve had a good year and I always like to keep all these numbers in one nice little post at the end of the year. If you’ve made it to the end, thanks for reading!

Are you a numbers geek like me? 
Do you like to look back on all the running numbers of the year?
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The Secret to Running a PR Race

Mental Side of Running | amotherspace.net

 

Recently I’ve ran a few PRs (Personal Records) and I’ve had a lot of people ask how I did it. I took 40+ minutes off of my marathon time a couple of weeks ago. My first marathon time was 5:04:52 in 2011 and on October 12th of this year I ran it in 4:22:54. But even more noticeable, I shaved 5+ minutes off of my half marathon time about 6 weeks ago. I finished 13.1 miles in 1:57:02 and finally met my sub 2 hour goal that I had been chasing. Just a month earlier I had set my half PR at 2:02:37. My very first half marathon was in 2007 and I ran it in 2:17:55.

 

Mental Side of Running | amotherspace.net

Feeling strong at the end of my recent half marathon PR.

 

So what has changed with my running?

A few things.

  • I kept running a steady amount in between races. I had a good running base going into my races.
  • I picked a plan that I was comfortable for me but challenging at the same time.
  • My plan included speed work. You have to run faster to run faster.
  • My plan included a lot of miles. I added the mileage in gradually and worked from the base I had already built.
  • I worked on the mental side of running.

By far the most important –and new to me– skill listed above is working on the mental side of running. I’ve ran races in the past where I am questioning why I signed up for the race the entire time I am running. I would run and make deals with myself that I would never have to sign up for another race again. I would notice my pace slipping and make excuses and negative talk would take over in my head.

Racing didn’t seem to be something that I enjoyed because of how I was thinking during the race. I enjoyed the idea of racing but when the toughness of the race set in my mind was not in the game at all.

At some point this summer I purchased the book “Mind Gym” by Gary Mack with David Casstevens. (affiliate link) This book was my first look into mental preparation for running and I firmly believe that it helped me improve my running enough to make some key PRs in recent races.

 

Mental Side of Running | amotherspace.net

Our Royals made it to the World Series!

 

The author has worked with a lot of baseball players over the years and so the baseball references throughout the book didn’t hurt anything for this baseball fan. But even if you aren’t a baseball fan I think that this book can help a runner drastically. I can tell you the gist of the book but there’s just something about reading it for yourself and even rereading it that will be beneficial. I should also say that I purchased the book on my own and have no tie to the authors. I just wanted to share my secret!

Basically the idea behind the book is to believe in yourself and visualize yourself in every aspect of your race or even a tough workout. Visualize difficulty, visualize feeling good, visualize the finish line. Spend time visualizing little details and even details you can’t control, such as different types of weather because it can all affect your race. Visualize yourself running, glancing down at your wrist to see the pace you want to hit on your watch.

Before both of my races I spent a good amount of time thinking about my race beforehand. Visualizing the pace that I wanted to hit. Usually I would spend a few minutes before bed or maybe during nap time while the kids were sleeping in the afternoon. Before the Chicago Marathon I was driving to Chicago and literally spent hours thinking of the turns on the map, the pace I wanted to run, the crowds of people and smiling while running.

I would do the same before long runs or a hard speed workout as well. I would also practice during a long run, especially if I was hitting the pace that I wanted. I would imagine that I was racing in Chicago and hitting my pace as well.

It’s hard to explain how confident this made me before race day. I had was not nervous before either race in the slightest. I felt excited and ready to race on both race day mornings.

So that’s it, that’s my secret. The mental side of running is the key to improving running and earning a PR!

 

Mental Side of Running | amotherspace.net

 

Read my race recaps from my recent PRs: Johnston’s Half Marathon Race Recap & Chicago Marathon Race Recap

 

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I’m running I ran the Chicago Marathon with Team RMHC!

To find out more read my post about Running for Charity or head over to my fundraising page to make a donation.

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Life Lately, Chicago and the Expo

I have one last lingering Chicago Marathon post and then it will be back to regular programming. Well, it might not be regular but I’ll update you on that situation on Monday with my Weekly Workouts report.

Today I’m veering slightly from my Friday Favorites to post some favorites in life and from the Chicago Marathon Expo. We had an amazing long weekend in Chicago and have been pretty busy since then as well so hopefully this post will make me up to date!

Instagram

I always like to stop by Instagram first on Fridays. It’s fun to show what has been going on in ‘life lately’ through my Instagram account.

Instagram Favorites | amotherspace.net

[one] The Pumpkin Patch! This year we went two days in a row with both Little A & Little O’s classes. We had beautiful days both times and now have 6 pumpkins at our house. [two] I’ll keep the pumpkin theme going and talk about how much I am LOVING pumpkin beer this season. Usually I’m all about the Octoberfest brews but this year I can’t get enough of my pumpkin beers. I’ve been trying out several varieties but so far my favorite is this one, Yumkin Pumpkin, from our local brewery, Wichita Brewing Company. [three] I’m participating in a short Instagram challenge this week with Team Sparkle. I always like posting with challenges like these because it makes me put up photos that I might not have otherwise. Like, I’m sure I wouldn’t have taken a photo of my Chicago Marathon medal… :)  [four] My favorite throwback lately was from my first marathon. I was 9 months postpartum. It was taken at mile 3 with a sea of runners behind me on a rainy day in October. [five] I caught my son reading a cookbook! The fun part is that I tagged Nom Nom Paleo in my Instagram post and she commented! Now he just needs to start making the recipes for me!

Follow me on Instagram —-> here.

Chicago Marathon Expo

 

Chicago Marathon Expo | amotherspace.net

 

I had heard to allow for a couple of hours at the Expo. I probably could have spent the whole day there! We ended up at the Expo a little later than anticipated and didn’t time lunch very well. We ended up eating there instead of going somewhere fun for lunch.

I’ve never been to a big city expo before so I was very impressed with the organization. It was a breeze to pick up the bib number and then the t-shirt pick up was easy as well. The only other place that I had to go was the Ronald McDonald table to pick up my charity tent wristbands. The other stops that I wanted to make were to the Sparkly Soul booth to pick out a red headband to match my Team RMHC shirt on marathon day and the Gu booth to pick up an Espresso Gu that I had forgotten at home.

My favorite part about the Expo was meeting the one and only Bart Yasso. I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face after meeting him!

 

Chicago Marathon Expo | amotherspace.net

I also was able to meet Coach Jenny at the Runner’s World booth. We chatted briefly about her coaching app that runners can use during the Chicago Marathon because I was planning on using it. I thought it would be helpful to get tips on running the tangents because I’d heard that this was an easy race to add distance onto your marathon finish if you didn’t run the tangents smartly. She also points out local attractions and points of interest along the way. I was very disappointed when I forgot my headphones and was unable to listen to it during the race.

Chicago Marathon Expo | amotherspace.net

I couldn’t resist taking some photos at all the photo op areas. The first photo below is from the New Balance booth. The photographer made me jump and the picture turned out fun!

Chicago Marathon Expo | amotherspace.net

Goose Island had some 312 samples available and I also picked up on of their shirts. 312 is one of my favorite refreshing summer beers that I fall back on every year. I was pretty excited that this was what was at the finish line and that we could sample it at the expo as well.

Chicago Marathon Expo | amotherspace.net

And that’s a wrap on the Expo! I think if I lived in the Chicago area I would come to the Expo even if I wasn’t running the race.

Chicago

My sister and brother-in-law live in Chicago so we hung out at their place a lot but we did get out and enjoy some sights. My kids have been on the el before but that doesn’t mean they didn’t love riding the train any chance we had.

 

Chicago | amotherspace.net

We went to the Shedd Aquarium. My Little O asks to visit the aquarium anytime we travel so it was a must on this short trip to Chicago. We went on Friday so I would have Saturday to be off my feet a little more before the marathon.

Chicago | amotherspace.net

Photo Credit: Photogenic Chicago

Chicago | amotherspace.net

Photo Credit: Photogenic Chicago

And finally we enjoyed the food in Chicago. We had pizza, of course, and it was amazing but the most memorable dining experience was at Big Bowl. Not because the food was delicious (it was) but because of my daughter. I was in tears watching her enjoy her meal. She has the best expressions!

Chicago | amotherspace.net

Photo Credit: Photogenic Chicago

If my sister has to live hours from home I’m glad that she picked Chicago. It’s my favorite city to visit and I’m glad we get to go there often.

Have you been to Chicago? What’s your favorite big city?

 

I’m running I ran the Chicago Marathon with Team RMHC!

To find out more read my post about Running for Charity or head over to my fundraising page to make a donation.

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