Category: Chicago Marathon

An evening with Bart Yasso

Yesterday I attended “Marathon Training Prep with Bart Yasso” hosted by Fleet Feet Chicago.  I’ve met him a few times but yesterday was the first time I actually heard him talk about his running adventures and his job.

There was a fun run at 6pm followed by his presentation.  I did not run.  I was not planning to but left my house early and still got caught in downtown traffic.  I arrived at the store at 6:45 and took a few minutes to look around.  It is gorgeous.  There was a fire a few months ago and so the whole store had to be remodeled and it was reopened in February.

This was my go to store before a new one opened up in the South Loop (closer to my house).


I remember they were asking for bibs to put on the wall and now I can see they did a good job with them.  No, I did not donate mine.

Anyway, Bart and the runners came back.  A few minutes later, he give us his marathon training tips.


Points he mentioned are:

  • Set a reasonable goal. 
  • Follow a plan.  You will make adjustments.  Listen to your body.  Ask yourself “Can I maintain this pace for 26.2 miles?”
  • Long run should be about 1 minute slower than marathon pace.  You will also need to adjust based on weather (hot day in Chicago).
  • Marathon pace-Two mile warmup and then a few miles at marathon pace and then cool down.  It teaches your body to run at that pace on marathon day.
  • Key workouts are: Long run for endurance; speed work for leg turnover and to get faster; recovery days is to back off and let your body recover.  Make sure to easy, easy (he emphasized easy) on those recovery days.
  • Cross training.  “I love cross training.  I find the cross training that helps my running is running in deep water.  Also the elliptical.  I don’t hold on to it and I ‘run’ on it.”

Someone asked him about work commitments and what would you prioritize?  He said that the long run is key.  That’s the most important one.  Next to that is the recovery run.

Also, why not run your long run at marathon pace if you feel like you can?  He said that if you do that then you are basically racing every weekend and you will slow down on marathon day.  He reminded us that “Running slower will make you faster.”  <I’ve heard this various times but it is kind of hard to believe, right?

Later on he showed pictures of a few of his running adventures.  Wow, I was in awe and just basically absorbed it all.  He also talked about his job (he is Chief Running Officer) at Runner’s World.  Bart has run marathons, ultramarathons (including Badwater and Comrades), Ironmans and has cycled twice across the country.  

He ended the evening talking about his experience with the Comrades Marathon.  He pointed to a runner that heard him talk about it last year and was so intrigued by it that later that evening she signed up for it.  The Comrades Marathon is the world’s largest and oldest ultramarathon race and is approximately 56 miles and takes places in South Africa.  The time limit is 12 hours.  He said he finished the race with 20 minutes to spare.  The finish line is inside a stadium and the gates are locked at that 12 hour mark.  So, if you get to the stadium after 12 hours, you will not be allowed to go in and finish and you will not get a medal.  Wow!!!

Afterwards, you had a chance to purchase his book signed by the man himself.  I did not and now I regret it.

It was a GREAT evening listening to Bart Yasso.  I almost did not go but I am so glad I did.  I love hearing about others’ running experiences and you can never have too many marathon tips.  I am excited and looking forward to my training and running the Chicago Marathon.  Bart will be there as well.

Why I am running the Chicago Marathon


Marathon training is here!!  I took a few days off after running the Buffalo Half Marathon.  Plus this week was my last week of school and I still had to pack up all of my stuff.  

I will be pacing again the 10:30 group with CES on Saturday morning.  Yesterday was our first run and it went well.  Last year was my first time running with the group and since then I’ve been a pacer for the Winter and Spring.

So, why am I running again the Chicago Marathon this year?

  • I LOVE this race!  It is a beautiful course.  You run through 29 different neighborhoods in the city.  Pretty cool right?
  • So many volunteers and spectators.  The streets are lined with people cheering and rooting for you.  They are the ones that will motivate you to keep on running when you feel like you cannot run anymore.
  • The course is FLAT.  Yep, definitely flat except for one small hill before the finish line.  <<So cruel!!
  • I got guaranteed entry thanks to CARA’s Marathon Incentive Program.  I do wish they would offer a discount for those in the program.
  • This will be my 5th time running it.  I’ve run it in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2015.
  • It is the first marathon I’ve run.  You never forget your first one right?  This year will be 10 years since that very first marathon.  I remember how I almost dropped out at mile 15 because my feet were hurting so much (rookie shoes).  But I also remember that great feeling I felt after crossing the finish line.


Are you currently training for a marathon?

Which marathon was your first one and when?

Hansons Training Plan

I am sure you’ve heard of this method right?  Well, in a nutshell it is based on the concept of cumulative fatigue.  You train your body to run successfully when you are tired at the end of a race.  These plans are 18 weeks and have you running 6 days (easy, speed/strength, tempo, and long runs) a week with one rest day.   Sounds exhausting right?  I know, I know.


I’ve heard so many great things about it and well I decided to go ahead and try it out.  For now I am slowly getting into the groove of running so many days per week.  My goal is to also implement this as I train for the 2016 Chicago Marathon which starts the first week of June.  I finally registered!

Chicago Marathon Entry 2016

Am I scared?  Yes.  Nervous?  Absolutely!  I’ve never run 6 days a week.  During the last few weeks of my training for the RnR NOLA in February, I was running 4 days a week and I had days in which I was tired but then also had days in which I felt great. 

A few weeks ago I put together my plan and added my runs to my calendar.  I am two weeks into it and so far it is going good.  Part of it could be that I was on Spring Break last week and was taking it really easy.  This week I’ve been more tired than usual (I realized I need more than 8 hours of sleep each night).  I do not feel sore and surprisingly am recovering better than I expected.  



Have you used this plan before in your training?  How did it go?  Thoughts and/or advice?

2015 Chicago Marathon

Last Sunday I ran my 7th marathon – the Chicago Marathon.  It was also the 4th time I’ve run this race (2006, 2008, 2010, and 2015).

You can read about my trip to the expo on Friday here.

I got my stuff ready and went to bed early.  I woke up around midnight to use the bathroom and had no trouble going back to sleep.  Before I knew it, it was 4am and time to get up and get ready.  I checked the weather and was somewhat pleased with it.  Too many suns in there worried me a little.

Well, nothing to do about it but get on the train and head downtown.  I chose to drive to the train station instead of walking.  I am so glad I did because I chafed really, really bad and could hardly walk.  Well, let me just say that it hurt more to walk from the chafing than from running 26.2 miles.

Anyway, I made it to the CES Race Resort.  Wow!  I am so amazed by it and glad I signed up.  I had a warm place to wait, plenty of real bathrooms to use, water, coffee, bananas, bagels, and other food.  That was just breakfast.  For after the race there was pizza, hummus, vegetables, mostaccioli, and other stuff I cannot remember.

It was finally time to go.  I found my corral and waited about 30 minutes for my official wave (2) to start. Then I waited about 15 more minutes to cross the start line.

It was gorgeous!  A bit sunny but not hot nor cold at all.  I started too fast and ran my first mile in 9:06. Yikes!  I stopped to walk because I knew I would pay for it later.  Mile 2-11:13; Mile 3-10:22; Mile 4-10:54; Mile 5-12:13.  I was feeling great and did not realize I was going faster than I should have.  I wore my watch but chose not to look at it all of the time.

There were areas that were sunny but many more were shaded which felt great.  Before I knew it, I was at the halfway point.  Per my Garmin, I finished 13 miles in 2:24:59.  I did not feel tired(yet) nor sore (could be the two Tylenols I took at the beginning of the race) which isn’t how I felt after finishing the Chicago Half Marathon two weeks ago.  When I finished the half I did not have it in me to run another 13.1 miles.  But I did not feel that way on Sunday.  I felt like I could run another 13.1 miles.


Then I got tired.  And really hot.  I walked.  But I ran too.  The sun simply would not go away.  I tried to listen to music but somehow that just aggravated me.  Plus, there were so many supporters and that helped me block any negative thoughts.

Then the chafing began.  Oh my goodness!  That was painful.  Then my feet hurt.  Not the actual feet but my toes and the sides of my feet.  I could feel so many blisters forming with each step I took.

I love Pilsen!  As a spectator that is the place I like to wait and cheer for the runners.  There were so many people.  I saw my friend Maria and that made me happy.  She hugged me and I hoped she did not notice I was smelling so bad.

I saw another friend at mile 20.  I was still hot and tired.  And my feet?  Just thinking that I still had 6.2 miles almost got me crying.


I don’t think I hit the wall.  I still felt good.  It was just my feet.  The last 6 miles were brutal.  I wonder if I would have felt better if I had taken off my shoes and ran without them.

I love seeing the markers letting me know that I had a mile to go, then half a mile, and finally a quarter of a mile.  I ran and walked up Mt. Roosevelt and was so happy to see the finish line.  Love it!

Finish time is 5:21:17.  Now here is where it gets “complicated”.  I know that no one really runs the tangents and usually ends up running more than the actual race distance.  I remember at one point of the race my watch was showing .40 more than the mile markers.  Well, my Garmin watch states I ran 27.64 miles.  It is a difference of 1.44 miles.  Is it possible?  I remember that for some parts of the race I did follow the blue line. But here we are looking at more than a mile.  The Nike+ app (which syncs with my watch) has me finishing a marathon in 5:01:41. Now I know that is not an official marathon finish time but at least I know that I did run 26.2 miles in that time.  Yes, that make me very happy.

As for my feet?  A few blisters and two nails with blood.  I read online that I can drain the blood using a paper clip but that kind of freaks me out.  But I also do not know what else to do.  Thoughts?

And the chafing?  Much better now.  I ran in the Oiselle Long Roga and have never had problems with them.

Sometime during the past few days I asked myself “What if? questions”  One of my goals was to PR (5:16:53). I know I missed it by about 5 minutes.  I looked back at the race and wondered “What if I hadn’t walked so much on 18th street (Pilsen)?”  What if I had used a run/walk timer to run the last 6 miles?  What if I had run without my shoes since they were giving me so much trouble?  It drove me crazy that finally I had enough.

I know I ran a great race.  I actually had fun running the marathon.  And I don’t remember EVER feeling that way.  My official finish time may not really reflect it but I know ran a marathon in 5 hours.

I think Lola likes the medal.  What do you think?


So bring on Chicago Marathon 2016!!!

What watch/app do you use for your races?  What has been the most difference in distance between your watch and the race?

2015 Chicago Marathon Expo

Last week on Friday I went to the expo to pick up my bib for the Chicago Marathon.  I bought more stuff than I should have.  But it is OK because most of the stuff I needed anyway.  🙂

I love the stairs right before going into the expo.

Come on in!  I do not know who the people are in the right photo.  I just wanted to take it because it shows the World Marathon Majors: Chicago, Boston, Tokyo, Berlin, New York City, and London.

I’ve run the Little Rock Half Marathon and would love to run the marathon just for the medal.  Look at the size of it!!

I saw Joan Benoit Samuelson.


I’ve heard great things about Gasparilla which has races of various race distances–13.1, 15k, 8k, and 5k.  For those that like a challenge, there are 3 that include running the 15k on Saturday and 8k on Sunday (Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus Challenge); running the 15k & 5k on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday (Michelob Ultra Amber Challenge); or running the 15k & 5k on Saturday and the half marathon and 5k on Sunday (Michelob Ultra Challenge).


I love the color of the Newton Kismet.  I also tried on the Fate (not pictured) and I think those are the ones I will get to train for my half marathon in February.


Just felt like taking pictures of these because I really like them and got me pumped up for the race on Sunday.

I thought this was cute too.


None other than Hal Higdon and Bart Yasso.

Everything that I bought.


Love the shirt color.  For sure I will be keeping this one.


What is the most you’ve spent at a race expo?  Are you currently training for a race?