Chicago Marathon Training: Week 14 recap

“The taper is meant to give your body just enough time to rest and recover while still maintaining all of the advances you have made through your training.” – Sarah Dudek, certified running coach – via Running On Healthy blog

Nike training group photo, from Monday, 22 September 2014. This was probably my best week yet!!

Week 13 of marathon training
Dates: 22 Sept. – 28 Sept. 2014
Number of runs: 4
Total Distance: 20.47 miles (out of a total of 35 miles)

Week 13 is over and so is summer. Monday (22 September) was the official last day of summer in the United States. I’m ready to delve into Autumn.


Hot chocolate, pumpkin carving, s’mores by the fire, blankets, tea, apple pie, and colourful leaves – these are some things that I think about when Autumn arrives 🙂 I love breathing in the crisp fresh air and getting lost in a corn maze. Don’t you?


Okay, back to running….haha.

This week is ‘Taper Week‘. Taper week is when a runner cuts back on her/his weekly total mileage (distance). The point of tapering is to get the muscles to recover after all that running from marathon training and also to make sure the body is relaxed before the big race day. Taper week continues next week.

I had a lot of fun this week because I met 3 very famous long distance runners and my ankle pain wasn’t as constant as it normally is. This is a long post my friends and if there is one post I suggest you read, it would be Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday.

Continue reading to find out how my week went:

Monday, 22 September 2014
Rest Day (I ran 2.2 miles – Recovery Run)

Me, Olympian Lisa Uhl, and Cindy

My Nike group (#2SixPoints2) met this evening for our weekly group run but today was rest day; thus, not everyone ran. Luc, one of the Nike group leaders, encouraged those who were running to run a conservative and slow pace in order to give our body time to heal and recover after last weekend’s 20 miler. Some ran 5 miles, some ran 3 miles, and some went home after the guest speaker spoke. My friend Azi and I decided to run a little over 2 miles. While we ran, Azi’s thighs started to hurt and I told her it was probably because of the long 20 mile run last weekend. Both my ankles this time were tight (stiff) rather than just the left but this is most likely because I started out running fast. It’s becoming really annoying having this pain in my ankle but I am remaining positive. I have thought about just stop running all together so that I can be 100% ready on marathon day. But I’ll just continue running very few miles everyday just so that I stay active.

Lisa Uhl, Nike professional distance runner, Azi, and I

Before running, Nike Bucktown held a Question and Answer session with a Nike Athlete at the Nike Bucktown store. The Athlete that spoke was Lisa Uhl. Lisa is a 27 year old Nike professional distance runner. It was so amazing to hear her story and she seems to be very genuine.

“At the 2012 Olympic Trials, Uhl qualified for the London Olympics in the 10,000m (10k). She finished 13th at the 2012 London Olympics in 31:12.80, which is the 6th fastest American time in a 10k.” – info via Wikipedia

She will run her Debut marathon (her first marathon) this year at the Chicago Marathon. I wish her the best of luck at the Chicago marathon. Her goal is to run under 2:37 and qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team (United States Olympic trails)


At the end of the night, I walked back home while snacking on a healthy KIND bar provided by Nike. Nike always has water bottles and KIND bars for all the runners after every group run.


Tuesday, 23 September 2014
10 miles (I ran 0 miles & went to a Yoga class)


At Eb and Flow Yoga studio

I was hoping to go out and run 6-8 miles today but after yesterday’s somewhat difficult run, I decided to take a rest.

I went to a heated power flow yoga class this morning at Eb & Flow Yoga. This class was free thanks to my ClassPass complimentary membership. I actually had no idea that the class was a heated yoga class until I arrived. I don’t mind heated classes because I’ve done them many times before but I haven’t taken a heated yoga class in a long time.

Class this morning was wonderful. It started off slow and the pace picked up to a typical vinyasa flowing yoga class. Moving through those chatarangas were challenging at times (low push-up to high push-up) but I got through it. It definitely felt very nice to stretch out my body for 75 minutes.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014
5 miles (I ran 4.58 miles total)

Today was the best day ever. Call me crazy, but I was out the door by 5:30am to workout with November Project Chicago, a free fitness movement. November Project was started by 2 guys in Boston and now the movement has expanded to about 14 other cities in the U.S. including a city in Canada.

As I headed over to the workout this morning, I walked by this beautiful sunrise (see photo below). Breath taking, isn’t it? God’s creation is beautiful.


I arrived at the meeting destination (Totem Pole) by 6:10am so I was early. Soon enough, one of the leaders arrived and I chatted with him for a bit before everyone arrived. Today was PR day – once a month, the same exercise is performed while being timed. The point is to see if you can beat your time from last month.

The workout today consisted of jogging over to Cricket Hill (about 1 mile). Once there, we performed our drill. The drill involved running through 4 corner points. The corner points were soccer posts.
1 – At the first point, we did 5 jumping jacks. Then we ran to the second point.
2 – At the second point, we did 5 burpees (a killer). Then we ran to the third point.
3 – At the third point, we did 5 push-ups. Then we ran to the fourth point.
4 – Jogging from the 3rd to 4th point was tough because the fourt point was the HILLS. We ran UP THE HILL…haha, yes….up, up, and away. This was fun at the beginning but it became tough later on.

So, the whole workout was for about 20-25 minutes where we all jogged between those 4 points and performed the exercises once we reached each point. At the end, we counted how many times we made it around the 4 points. I made it around 6 times and the highest number was 8. This part of the workout was about 1-1.5miles.

Overall, I really had a blast on my first November Project workout and the hill workout was especially great since I will be running the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon on October 19th. The Nike race course will go through the hills of San Francisco. You can read more about today’s workout on the Nov. project Chicago website here.


Just like the beautiful sunrise this morning, as I walked back home with my friend Cindy, I couldn’t help but take in the beauty of Montrose Harbour. Ahhh, I love my city 🙂


This evening, I ran 3 miles with The Crew Runs. I don’t really have a running crew because I like running with different groups but I do often run with da CRW! My friend Alexis came along to tonight’s run. I surprisingly felt really good running and I had no ankle pain. Perhaps the yoga/stretching from yesterday helped.

A photo before the run

After the run, Airrosti came to RoadRunner Sports for a lacrosse ball exercise session. This session lasted for about 20 minutes. It was great to go through a few exercises that were meant to stretch out the body and reduce pain in several areas. Tonight was also ladies night at Road Runner Sports but I didn’t win any items (they held a raffle for a Nike outfit).


Thursday, 25 September 2014
Cross Train (I cross trained)
I went to Sproing Sport this morning where I took a 45-min ‘SproingHIIT’ class (high intensity interval training drills and running sprints). Again, this class was free thanks to Class Pass. The machine that I exercised on looks like a treadmill but it is not because when you run, you land soft on the surface.

“Sproing’s soft, air-filled surface significantly reduces impact and joint stress making it ideal for rehab and physical therapy.”

I thought this class was okay perhaps because I am not used to running on a soft material. It was a cool experience though because you really learn proper running form when you use a sproint machine. Your waist is strapped in so as you run, your body is forced to stand up straight and move forward.


Friday, 26 September 2014
4 miles (I cross-trained and ran 0 miles)
In an ideal world and if I wasn’t still recovering from an injury, I probably would have ran today. But, I’m just taking it easy. I think if I wasn’t training for a marathon, I would have taken 3-4 months off from running. Although I think I’m getting better, only time will tell. Positive thoughts from here on out 🙂

Call me crazy but even after Wednesday’s double workout (morning and evening), and yesterday’s workout, I still exercised today. This was mostly because my 1 month free Class Pass membership is ending in a few days. So I want to try many classes in different gyms.

This morning, I took a class at Trainology Fitness (thanks to Class Pass) with my friend Cindy. I choose HIKE45 Upper Body and Abs – 45 minutes of hiking treadmill intervals combined with strength work focused on the upper body muscle groups, abdominals, and lower back. WHEW….what a tough workout. Class was divided into three 15 minute intervals of hiking up a treadmill and then doing strength training exercises.


I HATE running on treadmills so I was happy when the instructor, Dani, told the class that there was no need to run on the treadmill since most of the time would be spent going uphill on the treadmill. This class was so tough but so good at the same time. I definitely left sweating bullets. If you haven’t been to Trainology yet, I highly recommend. The owner Michael Wollpert was featured on the popular day time TV show, “Live with Kelly and Michael” as one of the top 5 fitness instructors in the U.S. Super cool hey? I love Michael’s classes especially his cycling classes that he teaches at Flywheel.


Saturday, 27 September 2014
16 miles (I ran 13 miles)

Sometimes I don’t agree with the Nike plus (Nike+) running app especially when the coach feature tells me to run 16 miles when the marathon is just around the corner. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s important to follow a training plan when training for a big race like a marathon. I have tried to follow my training plan this summer but I am also realistic and know what my body can and cannot handle. This is why I believe in tweaking a training plan to make it fit your own fitness level (make it an individualized plan).

Anyway, I woke up late this morning so I couldn’t meet my Nike group at 6:30am to run. My friend Azi and I decided to run together later around 8:30am (late). We ended up running about 13 miles. My favourite part of today was running to the new track by Montrose harbour. The track is beautiful and still smells fresh. There was a women’s soccer match going on as I ran so I didn’t get bored running around the track over and over again. Plus, I only ran about 2 miles around the track before heading back to the lakeshore path.


Sunday, 28 September 2014
Rest (I rested and met some Olympic athletes)

Yahoo! I love rest day. A time to sit back and relax. Since I love being a busy-bee, I was up early to head over to a marathon seminar. Since I am running my first marathon in less than 2 weeks, I want to learn as much as possible in successfully crossing that finish line. So , I went to a seminar.

Fleet Feet Sports Chicago held their annual “Breaking Through the Wall: Chicago Marathon Seminar.” You can read the news article here.

I really enjoyed the seminar this morning. I got to hear from a panel of experts about how to focus on the next 2 weeks before the marathon. There was a lot of talk about eating (proper nutrition) and hydrating. After the panelists spoke, everyone got to meet and take a picture with 2 very famous people. Photos was given free of charge for autographs.

Included in the panel of speakers was Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi. Here’s a little info about these renowned athletes:

Deena Kastor – American long-distance runner. “She holds American records in the marathon, half-marathon, and numerous road distances. She won the bronze medal in the women’s marathon at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.” She recently set a half-marathon masters world record and came third at the 2014 Rock n Roll Half-Marathon in Philadelphia – she ran the race in a time of 1 hour and 9 minutes. Unbelievably amazing for a 41 year old wife and mother.


Meb Keflezighi – Winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon. “American athlete, specializing in long distance running. He is a 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist in the Marathon and finished in 4th place in the 2012 Summer Olympics.” This man is super humble and funny. Being that I’m Nigerian, I was happy to meet a fellow African. His family and him were refugess from Eritrea before they came to the United States.



Wowza! This was a long blog post but I hope you enjoyed reading about my week. The Chicago Marathon is fast approaching and I can’t wait to run the race. Tell me, how was your week? Comment below.

If you are running a marathon, Coach Sara has written some great race day tips here on her blog. I met Sara earlier this year at a marathon nutrition seminar that was held at the Fleet Feet Sports store in the South Loop. Previously, I had only known her through twitter. She is a running coach and a nutrition health coach. She really cares about her clients and I hope to participate in one of her ‘clean eating’ programs one day.

For next week, I will continue to take it easy. After all, it is still taper week next week. Week 15 here we go!!



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