garbage meat of this epic sandwich, or something like that...

We are three weeks out from the Chicago Marathon. Don't ask me what day of the week it is or which month we're in. I have a very loose grasp of anything outside of this 26.2 tunnel I've entered.

Last week I had the second hardest and first worst week of my training cycle. And it doesn't take a genius to figure out why. Because, as you'll soon see, I'm no genius.

In the 7 days before garbage week I had the most epically awesome/crazy week. I PRed in the half marathon after a 60+ mile week, flew to NYC the next day, slept a collective 14 hours and ran 30 miles over the course of my 3 days/nights there. On Wednesday I walked the runway at Nolcha for Oiselle, followed by a 8.5 mile run with 8 x minute pickups in 92ยบ heat, followed by dancing until 2am fueled on Rockstar and a bowl of oatmeal. Spent 11 hours attempting to get from Newark to Seattle during huge thunderstorms. After a day in the office, and a 13 mile run I packed my entire apartment and the next day moved it to our new house in Green Lake.

I started beating myself up less after solving this mindbending lifeload equation. Especially after I added the bonus 8th day of crazy, Sunday, when I ran 22 miles ending in 4 miles under 6:10 and 2 miles under 6:00. I gave it to that run. I pushed hard. But that wasn't the end of my day. I ended the run in West Seattle where I scrubbed down our old apartment with Owen for the next 3 hours.

At least I capped the day off like this. Who needs bedsheets? Photo credit Owen.
I took Monday off, and ran an easy 10 on Tuesday. But there was nothing easy about the last two miles of that run. I couldn't tell I was hitting the bottom until the next day when I finally blew up. My coach had me head out for a steady 8miles at under 6:15. I was feeling cocky and hitting 6:03s. Until mile 3 out of nowhere, I was seriously going sh*t my pants. My legs were falling off, my entire abdomen was on fire with cramps. I was blowing up on the Burke. I had to race into a coffee shop bathroom. Then tried to finish out the workout. I made it another mile before my pace was dropping off, hard. When my watch beeped 4 miles I was done. I hobbled back home barely hitting 9:45 minute pace.

Since then I've been dangling just above the land of the defeated, trying not to fall all the way in. I keep reflecting back on the email exchange I had with my coach before aiming at Chicago. When I told him I wanted to try to go under 2:43, even though it might kill me, even though it means an 11 minute PR and he wrote back, "I will coach you to run sub 2:43. If you can handle the training, you can run the time." Every workout I reminded myself of this. And I hit every workout. I know it's not logical, but this workout-fail feels like a shadow over my training.

On the plus side I did maintain decent mileage during garbage week, it certainly wasn't the peak week I'd planned but I kept my sh*t together. Yes, my slow pace feels hard. My IT band is pissed off. This Sunday, my side stab decided to jump in on all the fun I was having. But I do feel like I'm starting to get my legs back under me. But it's not the instantaneous, triumphant 'Aha! I'm fine! It was nothing!' I wish it was. I am fighting with the doubts in my head BUT I'm still focusing on the finish line clock bright with 2:42:__. Because it's just one week and one workout. And if epic weeks are followed by garbage weeks, garbage weeks must be followed by epic weeks. By that logic... I'm just in the garbage meat of this epic sandwich.


  1. "If you can handle the training, you can run the time."

    LOVE that! Almost as much as I'm loving your blog, lady! I'll be thinking speedy thoughts for you in Chicago.

  2. Do me a favor and get some sleep! :-) And then get back out there and have another epic week!

  3. I am just amazed at what you did during that week and how you were even moving the next. I hope this week is much better (I have faith it will be) followed a great race at Chicago.

    Also I love that shot of you walking for Oiselle. How awesome.

  4. Three weeks out is always a tenous time in marathon training so it's natural to feel the way you do and to have the doubts. I had a random flare up in post tibialis anterior the day before my first marathon and was scared $*#less/pissed off that after months of training it had to happend at that moment. Then came race morning and it magically dissappeared. I ran 2:43 and had an awesome experience. So if my story can at all give you hope, hang in there! Sounds like you are doing so well and definitely on track to hit your goal, if not CRUSH it (I don't think I did workouts like yours in my build up) You're a beast!

  5. Whoa! You had an insane week of craziness, no wonder your body was crashing. I don't even know how you managed to run during all of that. I can't wait for you to crush Chicago!!!

  6. Life adventures inevitably lead to exhaustion, even the best ones. But! It's almost taper time! Get the rest you deserve, and I have no doubt that your training will lead you to your 2:42.

  7. Thank you thank you thank you. I think my garbage week is officially over (so stupidly sick) and I have a tune up race this Sunday. I so hope your logic is right - an epic week will follow, right?

    Hang in there - 3 weeks out is such a tenuous, difficult time. You CAN do this! I can't wait for you to crush it!


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