A blog by runners. For runners.


Nearly three weeks ago I posted about a training plan to ramp up from the Chicago Distance Classic to the Chicago Marathon on October 7th. It's over a month to the race and I'm reconsidering. I did the 6 miles and 4 miles on the 15th and 16th of August but that is where the training got stuck.
We flew to Boston on the Friday and after receiving an award at work I put the money to a Garmin Forerunner 305 finally. I've wanted one for the longest time but with a retail price of over $300 it was always an extravagant item. With the $100 and a $212 amazon special offer it was suddenly in my reach so I ordered one. Saturday we drove to just East of Hyannis for a week of vacation and waited for the rest of Melissa's family to join us. The next morning we got up early and ran 4 miles to get a start on the training, but clearly not the 14 miles I was planning.
On Tuesday Mike brought my Garmin from the house where he had been home so Wednesday was my first Garmin powered run. It's a lot of fun to be able to see your pace every step of the way and be able to set a pace and see your progress against it for any run. Unfortunately that was the last run of the vacation. We returned home and it was fun to install the Garmin software, upload the routes from the device and see the run plotted, comparing pace, heart rate and elevation in one graph and seeing the relationship between them all.
After the week of very little running I committed to running M,T,W,T but missed Wednesday thru some crazy work schedules. After running 4 miles on Monday I used the Garmin tool to create a 4 mile course I could use as a base for the runs for the rest of the week. The neat part of this is that you get to see your pace against the last time you ran the same course. The trouble is that my competitive nature caused my to run hard to beat myself and the Tuesday run was an average pace of 8:38 compared to Monday's 9:02. It was a fast, hard run but felt good. Thursday I ran with Melissa again and so we slowed it down to 9:48.
Friday night being the lead into the weekend I decided to push my 16 mile run to Sunday and we headed out to the beach after some work getting some new computers ready for WalkJogRun to make it run faster. We woke up this morning feeling good and Melissa decided to run the first 6 miles with me. The Garmin allowed me to keep us at a steady 10:00 min mile pace to make sure I could get all the way to the end and by the time Melissa cut out at Addison we were both feeling pretty good. Shortly after she left it was crazy time. Less than a mile down the running path I was trying to focus when a crazy man in a purple honda came flying down the running path, presumably after taking a wrong turn in the harbor parking lot. 100 yards later I learned the wonder of runners wrath. The same guy who had presumably scared the life out of the runners and cyclists I was heading towards came charging back down the path at about 20 mph! Several runners including an old Chicago guy put their hands in the air and signalled him to stop, called him out of the car and called the police! It was early in my run so I kept on chugging, leaving the guy to the vigilantes.
The first 11 miles went well and I turned near Navy Pier to head north again when I started to feel the heat on my back. Being from England I'm accustomed to cooler weather and the heat on my back was now really oppressive. The Garmin comes equipped with a heart rate monitor but I hadn't paid much attention as the run got really tough. I went from water stops every 3 miles to water stops every time I saw a water fountain. Around mile 13 I broke down and walked a while before starting out again. A little further and I was walking again. It went the same way to the finish where I finally ran 2 hours 50 minutes for the 16 miles, a pace of 10:36 per mile. It's not a bad pace but I was so discouraged to walk again. My training hasn't been ideal and I felt bad.
Here is the beauty of the Garmin. Just this evening I uploaded my data to my computer and it seems there was a very clear sign waiting to tell me that I had run too fast. At mile 13 where I had so much trouble today the graph clearly shows that my heart rate hit 100% of the maximum suggested heart rate for my age and weight. Every time I had tried to push myself to run again, my heart rate peaked at 100% again.
So the big question is whether this is a sign that I can't run Chicago or a sign I should try to slow down my average pace to 10:37 and see if this allows me to do the mileage I need. This coming week I'm scheduled for 5,7,5 and a 14 mile run next weekend. I'm going to strive to hit the mileage and see if I can make the 14 miles at a slower pace – around 10:37. If I can do that I'm going to try the 18 miles at the same pace the following week. If it works I'll be running Chicago around 4:35 – not a bad time but slower than I had hoped. I'm going to try to pay more attention on each run to my heart rate to make sure I stay lower than 170 bpm and see if I can finish Chicago.