Marathon Update: Week 12!

Week 12 was a pretty good one! It was a cutback in terms of weekly mileage, but I got to run in several different places, and participated in a fun race. If you want to read about previous weeks in my training plan, check them out here: Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4,Week 5,Week 6Week 7Week 8Week 9Week 10, and Week 11.

Monday I flew out to Charlotte, NC for an academic conference. Because I was travelling, and it was a cross day anyway, I didn’t do any specific workout. However, I did walk about a thousand miles (I don’t think I’m exaggerating here) through both Indy airport and Dulles, where I had a layover. I didn’t arrive to Charlotte until the evening, but the conference was having an opening reception that I rushed off to. It was at the NASCAR Hall of Fame which I wouldn’t have thought would be fun, but it was awesome. We got to sit in old cars and do a virtual race with actual feedback on the steering wheel–it was pretty neat! Afterwards I went out for drinks with some other people who were there from Purdue, and we found some neat outdoor seating to enjoy the evening.

Pretty hanging lights on the outdoor patio

I love running when I am in new places, so I set my alarm early on Tuesday and got up to run around Charlotte. It was still dark when I started, so it was  neat to see the entire city illuminated with street lights. Here is the Bank of American Stadium which I ran right past.

Carolina Panthers’ Stadium

I ran around the main part of the city, which was only 2.5 miles! I was surprised how small the city was despite feeling like a good-sized city. Because I had to be at a session soon, and running outside was a little slower than I was expecting due to traffic lights, I ran the other 2.5 miles of my run inside on the treadmill.

Wednesday was the day of my talk, so I didn’t want to run in the morning. I gave my talk in a session from 10:20-12 (I was the last one, 11:40-12), and it went well! I was wearing my watch, so I recorded my HR during the presentation to see how worked up I got. Pretty interesting. 🙂

Average: 83 bpm, Maximum: 100 bpm

As soon as my talk ended, I rushed back to the hotel to run 5 miles on the treadmill during our lunch break. I really wanted to run outside, but I knew it would take too long, so I had to settle for a treadmill run. I got it done quickly and headed back to the conference. I flew home that evening, so it was a short trip!

Thursday was a slightly stressful day because school had started on Monday, but I was gone at the conference. I had a class on Thursday morning, and then spent most of the rest of the day catching up on what I had missed during the first three days. I put off my run until the evening, when it was starting to get dark. I took Nova for the 1st mile, then dropped her off and just ran loops around the neighborhood until I hit 5 miles.

Friday and Saturday were both rest days because I had a trail half marathon on Sunday. Saturday I went up to Chicago early in the morning to meet up with my friend who was also doing the half. She had another friend come into town for the event as well, so there were three of us hanging out all day Saturday. We had brunch, went to an art fair, explored the Lincoln Park Zoo, and then finished the evening with a pasta dinner. Great day!

The three of us in front of the pretty Chicago Skyline
Sunday was the day of the trail half marathon. I have been running so much that I wasn’t worried about the distance of the race, but I was a little worried about the fact that it was a trail race. My friend Beth had actually driven out to the course the previous weekend, and said that the trails were all wide, made of crushed limestone, and the course was mostly flat. That was reassuring, but I was still slightly nervous. One of my roommate from college and her boyfriend were also doing the race, as well as another one of Beth’s friends, so we had a decent group participating. We met up prior to the race and got to chat a little bit before we started.
Our group all ready to go!
This race, The Nearly Sane Half, was extremely laid back, and everyone was so nice. I would definitely recommend any of the races put on by the organization, The Muddy Monk! The race itself included two small loops (in opposite directions), followed by an out-and-back portion, and then ended with the two small loops again. The first two loops were great. Beth and I decided to run together since we knew we run about at the same pace. As we were heading out on the out-and-back portion, we were starting to get a little warm. The humidity was extremely high that morning (95%), which wasn’t a big deal when the race started and it was cooler, but as the temperature heated up, the heat/humidity combo was a killer!
Once we hit the halfway point, we got a bit of a boost; however, when we entered the forested loops again, all I could focus on was the heat and humidity. The last 5k of the race was a struggle to keep going, but it was definitely nice to have a partner to hold me accountable. We slowed down slightly in this portion, but I was still proud of us for continuing on despite the heat. I told myself that this portion of the race was mental training for the marathon–I had to be able to keep going even when I wanted to quit. I ended up finishing the race in 2:13:59.  Certainly not my fastest half marathon ever, but I do think running on trails, even easier ones, is slower than running on pavement. Also, this was probably the hottest conditions I’ve ever actually tried to race in.
It was my college roommate’s first ever half marathon, so we were very proud of her for finishing strong even with non-ideal conditions. Everyone in our group finished the race despite two people having injuries, and we got our post-run group shot.
All finished!
After the race we each got a hot dog and unlimited beer! I think we were all feeling somewhat queasy from pushing it so hard in the heat, but we did manage to drink one beer together before we left. The rest of the day was spent eating lunch, having rooftop drinking, and eating some delicious ice cream before driving back home. Successful weekend!
Overall I think this was a good week. I ended up with 28.25 miles for the week, which definitely looks low to me after seeing 40+ weeks, but I know it’s good for my body to get a bit of a break. Training ramps back up this week with a 40+ week and my first 20 mile run. 😮 Keep your fingers crossed for me. 🙂
Have you ever run a trail half/full marathon? 
If so, how did your time compared to a road half/full?

5 thoughts on “Marathon Update: Week 12!

  1. Gotta embrace those cut back weeks, they are important. Trail race sounded awesome minus the humidity. My only trail “race” was a half mile race. Road time is 1:39 and my trail time was 2:20. Although one am into bad cramping at the trail race and could of scored a better time lol


  2. I would love to run a trail half someday. There is a pretty famous one around here in May, that's part of an ultra, but it sells out in like 20 minutes. I like the idea of not worrying about pace or time and just moving through nature. From what I hear, trail races have a much more laid back and friendly environment than road races. Great job on your half! Running long distance races in heat and humidity is just the worst – even when you slow down there are still so many more miles to go!


  3. Woah a trail half mile race sounds like it'd be crowded! ha. My calves felt like they might cramp during the trail half, and I've never felt that on the road–I guess the hilliness and soft trails work your calves a lot more!


  4. I don't think I have my life together enough to ever get into a race that sells out in 20 minutes! haha. This trail race was definitely WAY more laid back than any road race I've ever been to (even 5ks). The start was just a guy saying, “ok…3, 2, 1, GO!”, and everyone was extremely friendly to everyone else. I loved the atmosphere. 🙂


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