Chicago Marathon Training Preseason Week 1



After the Phoenix Marathon fiasco, I have to admit I went into a dark place for a while. I lost my running mojo, ate unhealthy (more so than already), and was just overall not in a happy place.

I had trained so hard for that race. I felt like I was in the best shape of my life, was so confident that I was going to crush my goal. And to not be able to showcase my hard work, well, it was devastating. And it was difficult to come back from that.

So here I am now. Rejuvenated. Ready. Committed. Super pumped to start marathon training for Chicago. I have the same goal: sub 4:30; but now, more so now–even though it’s always been part of my plan for every race, I want to finish.

As part of the Ronald McDonald House Charity team, I was provided with a training schedule that I could use. After looking over it, I liked it! I’ll modify a few things but over all, it looked reasonable, doable, challenging enough. I usually rely on my go-to guy Hal, but I don’t think he’ll mind if I spice things up a bit πŸ™‚

The plan is 20 weeks long (whoa). So I’ve decided to use the first 2 weeks as a sort of pre season to get me ready for the long run. I haven’t been running consistently at all since Phoenix Marathon so I know I need to build up my base again.

Here are my Week 1 Preseason Stats:

Monday was a holiday and my husband had to work 😦 I took the kids on a playdate with a friend and while we were all hanging out, my little guy reached into a fountain to touch the water, slipped, and banged his little head on the concrete. I immediately became hysterical as I had never had my kids have an accident to that degree-he was bleeding profusely from a spot next to his eyebrow. We went straight to the Emergency and I called my husband who left work to meet us.

Needless to say, there was no working out that day.

I kept my little guy home on Tuesday. He was such a champ. In fact, right after the incident, he was back to his normal self. When we were at the hospital, he was laughing, and climbing on the waiting chairs, being his typical boy self. Luckily he didn’t need stitches but I was glad I took him in anyway. I kept him on Tuesday just to monitor him and make sure he was still okay, which he was. ❀

No work out.

Wednesday I took both kids to school and as soon as I got home, went for a run. It was my first run in a week and you could tell as my paces were so off. My 4 mile splits were: 9:44, 10:07, 10:09, 9:23. My legs felt super heavy and it just overall wasn’t a good run.

I wasn’t feeling encouraged about this preseason business.

Thursday I had an early hair appointment and took the day off.


When you have so much hair you need two stylists to blow dry #hairprobs

Fridays are usually my rest days but since I hadn’t run the previous day, I decided another 4 miler would be good.

Over all my paces were a little better, still all over the place, but my biggest mistake was starting later in the morning and already, at 8:30, it was too hot to run.

Holy hot city central

Holy hot city central

I wasn’t sure if I was going to long run Saturday or Sunday but I woke up on Saturday ready to go so I went. My husband and I decided we’d long run on whatever day the other didn’t. (He’s starting training too!)

I met up with my local run club at 6 a.m. with 6 miles on the schedule. I wanted to run them steady and at a more consistent pace than my previous two runs. I ended up doing so, but muuch slower than I’d hope.

At least I was somewhat consistent...

At least I was somewhat consistent…

As I was running, I was bummed to see miles 3, 4, and 5 tick a well past 10 minute mile. But I didn’t try and speed up after the first time I saw it, or even the second time. I just told myself, “Helly, this is what you feel good at right now so just keep going.” And then mile 5 ticked off the same thing and I figured, this is just where I’m at right now. It just is what it is. I’m fine.

It’s easy to become discouraged seeing times/paces you’re not used to. It happens to me a lot and it happened on Saturday. But I kept reminding myself that I was at the beginning of my training and the whole purpose of training is to improve. And I will improve. I know it.

I’d plan on taking my kids to my MRTT Sunday meet-up for a recovery walk while my husband did his long run but out of nowhere, my kids slept in! They usually are awake promptly at 5:30 but at 5:45, they were still snoozing. My husband said for me to go on and he’d stay with them and run later. I’ll never turn down an extra opportunity to run! πŸ™‚

So I met up with my girls and decided I’d do an easy 4 miler. Most of the girls were going longer but my buddy Jennifer @We’reRunningAMarathon? said she’d keep me company. She’s also training for Chicago so I’m so glad I’ll have a summer training partner.


After running 4 out of the past 5 days, my legs were tired so I wasn’t expecting much from this run. But, I was so glad to see that my pacing was better this time around. Maybe my body is remembering what to do! πŸ™‚

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 7.50.44 AM

I ended May with 56.24 miles. A lot more than I thought I’d run that month. Def win!

There’s week 1 of Preseason! I’m planning on doing more than running in June–I’m going to try and follow Blogilates‘ June Stretch Challenge

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 9.19.49 PM

and their monthly workout schedule (you can find that one on their website).

I know I need to do a lot of strength training, core work, and hip strengthening and I really enjoy the Blogilates videos (thanks Salt!).

I’m also doing a 10k a Day Steps Challenge with my MRTT moms. You can say that I’m a little motivated πŸ˜‰

I hope you have a great Monday and week!! ❀ , helly

–How did your May total mileage look like?

–Do you train for training?

–Do you like to follow monthly challenges?

5 Reasons Spectating is an Awesome Sport

Linking up today with the DC Trifecta ladies Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia for this week’s Friday Five. Thanks for hosting!!

I’ve been doing a lot of this lately, spectating, and I have been having a blast!

Before I begin, last Saturday I was the official spectator for my blogging buddy, Hailey@StridingStrong at a local 5k. She’s pure awesomeness.

I hadn’t met Hailey “in real life” but we’ve chatted quite a few times in the past year trying our best to get together. We live in the same freaking city! But, we kept missing each other. Until last weekend.

She told me she’d signed for this 5k. This was big news as Hailey doesn’t race often–not like someone else I know (Oh Helly…). I shockingly hadn’t signed up and figured this would be the perfect chance for me to meet her and see her run!!

I’ll be using her race to explain:


1.) A different point of view

This girl. Amazing.

She’s tiny, soft-spoken, (gorgeous), and just the sweetest person ever. BUT, holy wowzers can this girl run!!! Hailey is probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met yet there is a fierce strength about her. The Hailey I spoke with pre-race and the Hailey that toed the start line were two different girls. I was able to snap pictures of her before and after that caught this transformation.

Don't let the beautiful smile fool you--that girl is fierce!

Don’t let the beautiful smile fool you–that girl is fierce!

A beast.


Seriously one of the reasons I love spectating…

Like I mentioned, not participating in the race let me see it and the runners in a different light. These weren’t people I was running against, these were people I was admiring, studying, revering.

I spoke with Hailey pre-race and she said she was nervous. I definitely get the pre-race jitters too but seeing her, someone who does what she does very, very well, nervous reminded me that fast people are human too. Just because they’re good at what they do doesn’t mean they don’t experience anxiety.

Since I wasn’t getting ready to start a race, I was really able to see the different emotions on the runners as they began the race. From the ones who were at the very front, fierce and determined, to the ones starting from the back, at ease and jovial–it was really cool to watch.

2.) Part of the crowd

I got to meet Hailey’s family–her brother drove an hour to see her run and her mom had been at the same race the year before. I liked that because I wasn’t participating, I was able to see the support group, the people who motivate Hailey.

Same thing with the rest of the crowd. I knew I didn’t have much time to mingle. Hailey would be back under 20 for sure. But I chatted with some of the race volunteers, other spectators who were watching their sisters, moms, co-workers. I would likely never see these people again, but for that morning, we had something in common.

3.) No pressure

There was no goal time for me except making sure I was at the finish to see Hailey cross. The thing about spectating that is probably the most enjoyable (for me anyway) is that there is no pressure looming. I’m simply there to support. Of course, if the race doesn’t go well for whomever it is your supporting, there’s slight pressure in making sure they’re okay, that you do the best you can to comfort. But there is no feeling of frustration in not having met a goal.

Hailey crossed the finish line in 17:55, meeting her goal of sub 18 and 5 seconds away from her 5k PR she’d set in college. First female overall.

Like a boss.

Like a boss.

She said it was progress. (Love that girl.)

4.) The Signs!!

I had to make Hailey a sign. I mean, I just had to. And the English teacher in me had to take advantage of Hailey’s name. Students, what is my sign an example of?

Alliteration! :D

Alliteration! πŸ˜€ (It even says: Love, Helly for good measure!)

Every time I run a race, one of my favorite things to do is read the signs of the spectators. They’re so many good ones!! I don’t know about you, but I’m always thankful of those who take the time to make them. They help out more than I think spectators know.

5.) Free

Free fun. Free inspiration. Free motivation. Free learning. Free experience.

So much you take away–all for free.

The first runner over all crossing at 15:35

The first runner over all crossing at 15:35

I hope you all have a good weekend! ❀ , helly

–Do you enjoy spectating races? What’s your favorite thing?

–What do you notice/enjoy about spectators while you’re running?

Hope Run 5k Recap and Why Local Races Rock!

I mentioned in my last post how this past weekend was extraordinarily awesome πŸ˜€ Well, Saturday was an epic meet-up between two of my fave running groups and Sunday, my husband ran a 5k!

I absolutely love that my husband likes running and seeing him is a lot of the times more fun than me running lol!

The Hope Run 5k is a local race where proceeds went to Save the Children and American Association for Lost Children. This is a huuuuge reason why I love running local. I like knowing that while I’m doing something I love, others are benefitting.

The International Missing Children’s Day is observed in the month of May each year. It is a time to remember many thousands of small children who are lost, trafficked, or disadvantaged. Thank you for supporting the children! –Hope Run 5k, 10k

The race is in its third year and has been growing steadily. I spoke with the race director prior to the race and she told me that she had over a 100 more registrants this year than last! (It turned out there was even more as there were quite a few same-day registrants. So much so, they ran out of medals as they were unprepared for so many last minute racers.)


For a smaller, local race, they definitely didn’t skimp out on anything. Racers received a finisher’s medal AND t-shirt, the race offered age group awards not just overall, and they had a pretty sweet breakfast table set-up.


The 10k runners began the show and ten minutes later, the 5Kers lined up. My husband had signed up for the 5k and we made our way to the front to get a good starting position. We chatted for a few minutes and then he was off!


that’s him on the left!!

I knew that his goal was to PR–his previous 5k best was 21:07 and he really wanted to see 20. His ultimate goal is to see a teen but knows that’s a work in progress.

Oh, to be fast…..

Anyway, I hung out and visited a few of the vendors that were at the race. It wasn’t too long though before I saw the first place guy approaching. He. was. running.

One of the things I love about spectating races is that I get to see the race from such a different perspective. I would never be around the people who finish first and to see them cross the line is just super cool.

He crossed, grabbed his medal, and then made his way to me.

“Your husband’s right behind me.”

Say what????

Sure enough, there he was!!!

I could tell that he was giving it all he had as I’d never seen him finish with that much resolve.

I positioned myself to get a good finisher’s pic and as I was waiting, I saw the first place guy walk up to the finish line.

As my husband ran through, the first place guy reached out his hand to high five my husband.

: )

: )

The running community is amazing.

My husband grabbed his medal and I ran to him to give him a huge sweaty hug πŸ˜€

I couldn’t believe he’d gotten second place and ran so well finishing in 20:47!!! A new PR!!!

And you know what he said to me when I told him his time?

“I’m getting closer to 19.” Hahaha!! I love him. Runners are so competitive with themselves, aren’t they?? πŸ˜‰

We chatted with the first place guy for a while. He and my husband talked about how the course had a quite a few loop de loops that made it a little confusing. He was 20 and had ran cross country in high school. He said he preferred longer distances but runs 5Ks for fun. LOL.

The awards weren’t too long after and it turned out that my husband was able to get the first place medal for his age group and the second place overall award. Usually, I’ve seen races only give one if you’re the winner for both.

My speedy

My speedy

The age group award is pretty sweet. It’s a small first place plaque that hangs off the main medal. For the second place finish, he won a $15 certificate to Road ID–score!!!

The Hope Run 5k was just another race that solidified why I like running local. I get to meet and support people in my community and the race proceeds go to great causes.

Wearing daddy's medal <3

Wearing daddy’s medal ❀

Last month, I ran another local race, Run3rd 5k, where I got to meet Sean Astin. It was the race where I thought I had placed in my age group only to find as I was walking up to the podium that someone else had won. Remember?

Well the race director read my race review and contacted me to let me know what had happened! She said there was an issue with two racers whose bibs conflicted with the timing chips. They had to manually fix their times and one of them finished 3rd overall bumping the girl into placing in their age group instead–mine.

And the girl who started 2o minutes super duper late? It turns out she started about 5 minutes after (which to a runner feels like eternity right? ha!).

I thought it was so nice for the race director to go out of her way to explain to me what happened. Again, this is why I run local. These people seriously care about their runners ❀

I hope everyone is having a good week so far!!

❀ , helly

–Do you like running local races or bigger races?

–Ever won a race? or came close?