Chicago Marathon Training: Week 1 Recap

The first official week of training is in the book, friends!! And it was quite an eventful week!

Mondays I’ve marked cross-training days and I hit my local rec center for 30 minutes on the bike (7.25 miles). They’re pretty fancy bikes than what I’ve used before; each one has a big screen. I watched a show on VH1 that was highly entertaining –Love & Hip Hop in Atlanta. I’ve never seen or heard of this show nor knew anyone on it, but boy, those 30 minutes flew by jaja!! I don’t watch a lot of t.v. unless it’s Mickey Mouse Club House, Elmo, or sports. 🙂

I also did some core, back, and arm videos but in the comfort of my own home and not watching Love & Hip Hop lol!

Tuesday I met up with my running buddies at a local running store for a quick 3 miler. And it was quick! Despite the heat (and humidity!) I was able to pull out a fast (for me) negative split run.

How's that for humidity Kristina? ;)

How’s that for humidity Kristina? 😉

I was so freaking happy (and shocked) to see that last mile split! I didn’t feel completely dead either lol!

My plan had 4 miles on the schedule but I was okay with this quick 3.

Wednesday also had 4 miles on the schedule and I met up with my run club to get ‘er done. I was into mile 2 when a familiar sensation starting creeping up from my hands.

I was getting another allergic reaction.

If you’re a new reader, or haven’t heard yet lol, I experience what’s called Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis–basically, I’m allergic to exercise. I don’t have an attack each time I work out, but this was the second time in as many weeks it’s happened and this particular one was pretty bad.

I was 2 miles out from my car and knew I didn’t have much time before it (hives, itching, swelling) would begin to spread. One of my running buddies offered to run and get my car; I usually have about a 15 minute or so window before shit gets real. I knew it’d be close.

After a few minutes though, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to drive myself home and overdose on Benedryl (I stupidly didn’t have any on me or my EPI pen). So, I called my husband.

I was about a 10 minute drive from home and I had already been waiting for about 10, so when he finally found me, I was a hot itchy, red mess. I was trying hard not to scratch my scalp and skin off.

He had brought the goods and I immediately downed some Benedryl. I opted not to use my EPI pen as I can usually control the attack with medicine (and I’d avoid another ER visit).

The thing is, I get so frustrated that we can’t pin point what causes this thing. It doesn’t happen all the time, it doesn’t happen only outdoors (once was on a treadmill), and I don’t do anything out of the ordinary that could attribute to an attack. After the second time this happened, I started keeping a journal where I record everything–what I ate that day, what times, what I wore, products I used–everything, so I can try and find some commonality. But alas….

And when time goes by where I don’t get an attack, I become complacent with carrying my medicine and EPI pen. I know it’s dumb on my part but ….

A while back, my doctor suggested I take a Claritin before runs and Benedryl for if I sense an attack coming, so that’s what I do before runs (before complacency sets in) and what I’ve been doing after Wednesday’s fiasco.

I had 5 miles scheduled for Thursday morning and my husband left it up to me whether or not I’d do them.

I had to.

I just couldn’t let fear keep me from running. I know that it can happen but I also can’t really control it. I can try and prevent it–with taking a Claritin pill before I run–but even then, I don’t know if that really is preventative or if it was simply a run with no attack. Regardless, I knew I wanted to prove to myself that I wouldn’t let the anxiety of whether or not it would happen keep my from running.

So I got those 5 miles done.

Fight run.

Fight run.

Friday was a rest day thank goodness and it was also date night! My husband and I treated ourselves to a night out and we decided to do something we love but hadn’t done in a long time: bowling!!!

We are super competitive against each other so we take any form of sport we play seriously lol. He was going down!!

Pretty proud of my 170 :)

Pretty proud of my 170 🙂

And yup, yours truly came out on top!

Saturday I woke up so sore from the previous night’s bowling lol, but I made it out the door for my long run. It was pretty uneventful, which is good in my case. I made sure to start off slow and try to keep a steady pace throughout. After about mile 4, I felt myself settle in at a 9:45ish pace and that pleased me.


Sunday was a rest day and we took the kids to see Sesame Street Live 😀

Me and my bestie <3

Me and my bestie ❤

I was really productive this week besides my running by doing a lot of strength training videos at home. I did a few each day. I also met my 10k Steps Everyday in June Challenge 6 out of the 7 days (I like to give myself one rest day) and ended the week with a cumulative 49.26 miles–19.02 of them running.

Overall, very happy with the first week of training. Now, I’m looking forward to a new week aaaaand this:

Screenshot_2015-06-15-09-53-30-1 Hope everyone has a great week!!! ❤ , Helly

–Have you ever heard of Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis?
Anything you allergic to?

–Do you like bowling? Think you could beat me? 😉

–Favorite Sesame Street character? (We’re team Elmo because my son is obsessed. Although I’m a little partial to Cooke Monster because…duh…)


Mid-Week Musings

Happy Hump Day!!!

I hope everyone has been having a good week so far–we’re almost to Friday! 🙂

A few things I want to share with you today



First, yesterday I had such a great run! I’d been a little discouraged getting back into running after taking a brief break and any time you re-start something you have to expect some getting used to, you know? But, I finally feel like I’m coming back! 🙂

I met up with my friends at a local running store for a 3 miler (it was also Saucony demo night!) and wouldn’t you know it, negative splits..again!! This time at much faster paces I haven’t seen in a while: 9:08, 8:43, and 8:14 –yep, you’re seeing that third mile correctly! I felt like I was pushing myself but it wasn’t a painful pushing at all but a more comfortable uncomfortable and that’s something I’ve been wanting to work on–being okay with uncomfortable.

Running this way won’t happen all the time as I’m a big believer in that not all runs should be done fast, but it’s nice that on a run where I’m feeling good, I can challenge myself a little.

Maybe it was the Saucony's?

Maybe it was the Saucony’s?

Second, I have a brother update. If you’re a new reader or don’t remember the awesomeness that is my brother, you can read about his weight loss here and his amazing first half marathon here. Anyway, he ran a 5k this past weekend.

I don’t think you’re ready for this…..

…..He finished in 24:47! YES, 24:47!

He texted me Saturday morning and in my half-awake state, couldn’t believe the numbers on my screen. But there they were and were confirmed when I looked up the official race results! He is so amazing and he’s so proud of himself–almost as proud as I am of him ❤

His smile though... <3

His smile though… ❤

Finally, you guys all know about my BRF Salt, well…she made her Runner’s World Debut yesterday!!! She’s featured on their website, Runner’s World: Zelle, and you have to go read the article written about her fabulousness. Go ahead, I’ll wait!

My BRF and sole sister--Salt <3

My BRF and sole sister–Salt ❤

Anytime anyone tells me they hate running, I always say, “It might just not be your time yet.” I think of Salt, who didn’t discover running til later in her life and now is a superstar 😀

I hope everyone has a great rest of the week!! Keep your eyes on the Friday prize! ❤ , helly

–When’s the last time you had a great run?

–Any family members inspire you?

–Have you ever been in a newspaper/magazine?

Let The Training Begin!!

Pre-season is OVAH!! and now it’s time to get down to the real deal Holyfield 😀

But first, lemme recap last week — it was a productive base training week for sure:

Monday was supposed to be a rest day as I had run the previous Friday, Saturday, and Sunday–4, 6, 4 miles respectively–and was feeling it. But, my MRTT group had started a June One Miler Challenge where we run one mile at the beginning of June and one mile at the end (and hope for improvement lol!)


This was a tough mile. And it ended on a rough note — upon finishing, I felt my hands start to itch and my throat start to scratch and I knew it was coming. Another allergic reaction. Luckily, I was already home and when I walked inside, I told my husband what was happening. He quickly took out the Benedryl. I could feel my ears start to swell, I could see my hands turn red and bumps start to form on my legs–I wanted to scratch off my scalp.

But I was fine, and it wasn’t too long after overdosing taking some Benedryl that it went away and I was back to normal.

It’s just super scary while it’s happening and not knowing when it will or won’t is frustrating.

Tuesday I met up with a local running store for their weekly group run. I got in a really good (hot) 3 miler chatting with some friends and was very happy with my splits and pace.

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 7.39.27 AM

How’s the weather where you’re at? Lol!

Wednesday was National Running Day and I met up with my main running club at another running store to celebrate. The run was an out and back 3 miler, and my Chicago running partner and I (along with another MRTT friend) managed to negative split this hot, windy run. 9:18, 9:12, 9:03.



After six days of running in a row (a little mini streak there), I decided to call Thursday a break. I could feel a tinge of tightness in my right quad and had been foam rollin’ the hell out of it since earlier in the week. I knew with rest, I’d be alright.

Fridays are typical rest days so I rested from running but did some light upper body strength stuff and some abs stuff. And foam rolling.

By Saturday, I felt so much better. My husband, who is also Chicago Marathon training, and I decided that I’d long run Saturday and he’d long run Sunday. But, we had early plans on Sunday that would likely make him have to split the 7 miler scheduled. He’s not a fan of splitting runs so he went Saturday which meant an extra rest day for me 🙂 I’ll take it. (Plus, I was little sore from the arm and abs stuff from Friday lol!).

Sunday I knew that it was likely I’d have to split my run. We were meeting up with my run club for a Summer Sizzle Fun 5k and would have to be out the door by 7:15. I could run 4 miles at home and then run the 5k with the group; or, I could get my butt out of bed super early and get it all in at once.

Surprisingly, I got out of bed.

It ended being a great run! My body felt rested, my legs felt good. The first mile beeped 10:07. Then the second mile beeped 10:39 and I could swear it felt reversed. I had felt the first mile to be slow and steady, a good warm up pace. And I felt like I had “started” my run the second mile. But, the numbers don’t lie and I gathered myself up the third mile and kept going.

I ended up negative splitting the rest of the run.

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 8.03.23 AM

I wasn’t actively trying to negative split but I felt after the 4th mile to be warmed up and just ran, only looking at my watch when it would beep the mile split. When I was done, I felt so good, like I could have kept on going. That made me really happy as that’s how I always hope to end a long run.

We left to meet my run club not long after I got home from my run. I love my main running club because they’re seriously like family to me. We’ve done so many cool things with them that has brought us close together; my kids know everyone and I love how they’re growing up around such a positive community.


Also in June, I’m participating in a 10k Steps Challenge with my MRTT group and I’m happy to report 6/7 days met!


Overall, it was a great pre-season training week (14 total miles) and now I’m ready to get the show on the road. Things are getting real up in here! Chicago, here comes Helly!!!

I hope you all have a great Monday!! ❤ , helly

–Do you like long-running?

–What’s your favorite thing about training for a race?