Just over THREE WEEKS to go until race day! This didn’t really click until I got an email from the Chicago Marathon folks yesterday, reminding me that I should double check my corral assignment. I was extremely happy to discover that they had moved me from Corral C – which matched my qualifying marathon time – to Corral B – which matches my goal marathon time. I’ve been so busy with other things lately that I’ve hardly thought about this marathon, and have kind of been in denial that it’s actually happening, perhaps to avoid getting nervous – now it definitely feels real! I’m really psyched because my 2010 NYC mara time was only a few minutes over the qualifying time for corral B, so I’m glad they let me move up.

This week is my heaviest training week before I begin my taper. My mileage has been so low this training cycle – I’m quite excited to FINALLY hit 40 miles! My legs are a little tired – and my hip is occasionally a bit achey – but overall I’ve been feeling good since the Bronx 10. After the race, I sat down with my empty training schedule to make a plan. I knew I wanted to do one more long run and a three week taper, but wanted to do try some new things mixed into what I usually do leading up to a big race. A friend sent me this article, which had some slightly “unconventional” training ideas for the last four weeks before running a marathon, geared towards someone who hasn’t had the perfect training cycle (i.e. not enough speedwork, recent long runs etc). Although I decided to keep my last long run in the schedule for tomorrow, I am reducing it slightly (aiming for 18 with some MP miles rather than 20) and I tried out a couple other workouts the author described this past week.

On Tuesday, I did a modified version of the marathon pace run in the article – I ran 5.5 rather than 7M, then 3M at MP and 0.5M easy. I usually don’t run 9M during the week, but I wanted to try running MP after having run more miles. My past MP runs were simply 5-6M at MP and that’s it. The MP miles felt nice and easy – it will be interesting to see how that same number of MP miles will feel after having run 15M tomorrow!

On Thursday, I tried the speed/strength circuit in the article, listed under Day 1. I did this at the gym on the treadmill, and modified some of the exercises (I moved the chin ups to the second half, to fit my gym’s setup a bit better, and did them on the machine because I can’t do real chin up…and I did knee push-ups instead of regular/elevated push-ups and slightly easier bench dips…). It was challenging but really fun – and it really was the only way I could squeeze in a quality total body workout including speed work into a CRAZY day of school. The running part took me about 48 minutes and totals 5.25M, and the whole thing, with some stretching afterwards and water breaks, took around 1hr20min. Here’s the circuit if you want to give it a try!

2-mile warm-up, and then ‘Speed-Strength Circuit’:

1) Run 400 metres at 5k pace (I did 6:49 pace, or 8.8mph on the treadmill)

2) Do 12 squat thrusts with jumps (burpees), 3 chin-ups, 12 push-ups, 30 crunches and 24 body-weight squats

3) Run 400 metres at 5k pace

4) Do 10 squat and dumbbell presses with 10-pound dumbbells, 8 feet-elevated push-ups, 12 bench dips, 30 low-back extensions and 15 lunges with each leg

5) Run 400 meters at 5k pace

6) Repeat steps 2-5  

2-mile cool down

After the circuit, I went back to campus for some time in the kitchen (part of a class assignment – catering an NYU event) followed by three hours of class. By the time I got out at 7:30pm, I was exhausted. E picked me up from school to take me somewhere – I didn’t know where, but thought it was dinner or he had said something about a foot massage. Turns out it was a surprise birthday party!!! I am a hard one to surprise and I was SO surprised. Apparently he had been plotting for quite some time with one of my close friends. I am so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life! I felt very loved. My birthday isn’t until Monday – we are heading to the Berkshires after our long run tomorrow to celebrate – but it was the perfect way to kick off the festivities and such a nice end to a very very long day. The 20-something cupcakes (Baked by Melissa) I ate probably weren’t the best thing for my training, but that’s okay!


This morning I was only supposed to do a 4M recovery run, but it was so nice out (and I felt slightly guilty from last night’s indulgences) that I went a bit longer. The real reason was that I finally wanted to check out Williamsburg Bridge – and to run halfway across from my place that’s nearly 5.5M. It was worth it though – beautiful views, some good inclines and a nice change to be above the water rather than next to it! The bridge is a great setup for some harder MP or tempo work – definitely going to make the bridge a regular part of my running repertoire.

Time to head back to the kitchen – our event is tonight and we have lots of work to do!