Week 4 recap and long run field trip

This was supposed to be a rest week, but since last week ended up being much more rest than run, I decided to redo last week's plan in lieu of re-resting.

Goal: 3 miles @11:22
Actual: Asleep in bed. Pretty much all day.

Over my weekend of being sick, I'm pretty sure I logged as many hours asleep as awake. Clearly I needed it. Happily, I'm feeling back to normal.

Goal: 1 mi w/u, 3 mi @9:45, 1 mi c/d
Actual: w/u (10:23), 3 mi @9:46, c/d (14:26)

This tempo run felt like redemption for me after failing miserably at it last week on the treadmill. Last week I was nowhere near the goal pace; this time I was really close. The biggest hitch came during the cooldown mile, when my knee started hurting enough that I had to walk for a while. After a minute or two, the combination of sweaty clothes and 29 degree evening convinced me that running was the slightly less painful option, so I jog/hobbled the rest of the way home. By the next day, my knee was feeling ok.

Goal: 10 miles @11:22
Actual: 10 miles @13:38

Like I mentioned in my brief blog post on Saturday, I ran this one on snowy trails.  I was awfully slow throughout. 

Mile 1.1-18:53 (but I took lots of pictures)

Mile 2 - 11:26
Mile 3 - 13:54
Mile 4 - 15:14
Mile 5 - 10:33 (whoo hoo!)
Mile 6 - 13:30
Mile 7 - 14:01
Mile 8 - 10:14 (feeling strong)
Mile 9 - 14:32 (strong feeling's gone)
Mile 10 - (will this EVER end??) 14:03

Between taking pictures and feeling some knee strain in the first half of the run, I took quite a few walk breaks.  I ran miles 5-9 with no stops, and then I walked again for part of mile 10.  Miles 5 and 8 were both on the same stretch of trail...must've been a gentle downhill or something.  If you can't tell from the splits, this run was hard for me. 

Since it's a multi-use trail and pedestrians are asked to stay off the ski tracks, that meant running in the choppy snow in the center. For the first few miles, I really enjoyed the quiet beauty of the park and stopped to take lots of pictures. By about mile four, though, I was over the snow and longing for a nice, flattened path through the snow.  I didn't have any problems with traction, though my ankles got a real workout in some areas with horse prints.


I've been trying to GU about 45 minutes to an hour into my long runs, so for this one I just figured I'd GU at the halfway point.  I don't really think I need it for this length of run, but I'm figuring I'm going to on the longer ones.  Plus, it gives me something to look forward to besides being finished. This particular GU had been tossed into my bag along with all my shampoo and lotion.  So, after scraping it all into my mouth with my teeth, I noticed a weird aftertaste.  And suddenly my mouth smelled kind of perfumey.  And then I remembered that the GU packet had had a lotion booger (you know, the little dried up piece of lotion you need to get out of the way before you get the fresh lotion?) on it when I threw it into my jacket pocket.  Yummy.  On the plus side, my lips weren't dried out anymore and the time it took to figure out the mystery was a nice distraction from the run (dissociative runner).

Another plus was that, despite running for over 2 hours on snow-covered trails and standing in about 5 inches of snow while I tried (and failed) to take a halfway decent picture of myself, when I got back to the hotel and took off my shoes, my socks were bone dry.  Nice job, Asics!

Speaking of getting back to the hotel, as I left the park, Jeff sent me a text saying that N's match (you know, the whole reason we were in Chicago) was just starting. He wasn't in the first game.  I managed to get to the gas station to pick up a soda, to the hotel, shower, change clothes, and back to the tournament venue in time to make it to the next game of the match.  That may have been the fastest time of my day!

All in all, though it was hard, slow, cold, and snowy, I'm happy with my run.  It feels good to get in double-digit miles again for the first time since November, and I'm glad to be back on track with my training.

Long run field trip

Since we were heading up to Chicago for a volleyball tournament, I had done a little research to find a nice trail area where I could do my long run. I was excited to find two great-sounding alternatives: Ryerson Woods and Half Day/Wright Woods Forest Preserves. I had pretty much decided on Ryerson Woods, but as I drove to drop everybody off at the tournament site, we passed the entrance to Half Day forest preserve.  It was almost right across the street.


Half Day and Wright Woods are adjoining forest preserves.  There are a number of trails ranging in length from .2 miles to a 2.7 mile loop, and the Des Plaines River Trail passes through the park as well.  I saw several playgrounds and some nice sized pavilions.  The bathrooms I saw had pit toilets, which aren't that great in the summer, but I sure like them in the winter if it means that bathrooms aren't closed for the season!Despite being right in town, the preserves weren't too busy.  I saw one guy walking his dog, two hikers, and several cross-country skiiers, but the majority of the time I was completely alone on the trails.

The trails are very well marked.  It would be really difficult to get lost here.  They're nice and wide--in most areas, you could probably drive a small car along the trail.  As far as I could tell, they seemed to be pretty level.  There were some very slight hills, but nothing major.  It definitely wasn't technical trail, but a nice place to get out in the woods and off of the roads.
I parked on the Half Day side but ran mostly on the Wright Woods side of the river.  To get to Wright Woods, you cross a bridge over the Des Plaines River.

Very pretty setting

Some Capt. Dan Wright history

If you look at the trail link above, you can see a trail map for the preserves.  I ran the red trail until it dead-ended at the yellow trail and then ran three loops of the yellow trail.  Well, most of three loops.  Enough to get me to ten miles and not much more.  The trails were marked in .25 mile increments, which was nice...and believe me, I was looking for those little signs a lot the second half!

Cross country skier
One of the several skiers sharing the trails
As I mentioned, the trails were multi-use.  I saw signs of skis, snowshoes, bikes, and runners.  I would have loved to have my bike out there, too.  Like I said, it was nothing technical, but it would've been great to have a change to practice my snow handling some more (of course, from the sound of the weather report, I have another good chance coming up!).

Des Plaines River
Des Plaines River

There's a pond somewhere under that snow.  Fishing is allowed at the park, too.

Nice, wide trail
I started out taking a ton of pictures, but before long I realized that they all looked pretty much the same.  Then I needed a new excuse for being slow.  Oh, well. 

I wish I'd managed to get to Ryerson Woods, too, but these parks were a nice spot for my wintery run.  They seem like a good place to get out among the trees, and a nice place to feel like you're away from it all while still being close to everything.


  1. Wow that is a lot of snow everywhere! Well done for doing those runs in the snow, I think it's great. Also good to hear you are not sick anymore. I like the idea of a long run field trip. have a great week!

  2. Snow, snow, snow! Would I be crazy to say that I miss it?

    While I'm sure the calories from GU helps me out on my runs/rides, I think they benefit me most by being a mental pick-me-up. It's like, "hey 6 miles, good job, have some candy".

    And that would just put anyone in a good mood for the return trip.

  3. Even though you might think you are slow, you are still doing something! Your pace will improve as you get stronger. It's great that you are taking advantage of different locations that you can visit. New places are so fun to explore!

  4. Looks like you did a lot of your own running in the snow! Impressive.

  5. I like those shoes A LOT. Question- do you ever get a little worried about your safety in the woods? Do you carry a gun? Do you get lonely? I would get lost, then scared and then lonely.

  6. Thanks, everybody!

    Johann, would you believe we've got more snow coming? Up to ten more inches by Wednesday!

    Jonathan, I'll trade your climate (or Johann's!) for mine right now! Your GU benefit sounds just like mine. Something to look forward to/mark time.

    Kristen, yes, no, and not really but company is nice. I get more bored than lonely.

  7. Great job on the 10-Miler. Snow needs to be treated as a fun day, when you can't expect to run the pace you want.

  8. You are my hero. I hate running in the snow. More of the fear of slipping on ice, but snow sucks too. If anything will get you ready for the marathon, it's this.

    I haven't ran 10 miles at once in about 6 months and I am missing it. I will be doing a running post soon though. I will be sure to let you know when.

    Hey, if you haven't seen it yet, I finally did the Barney orders Chinese food thing. It's posted now.

  9. Great pictures, Kate! Half Day Preserve is absolutely beautiful. Running on those trails would be tough, but the training would make you an Ironwoman! :)

  10. Beautiful photos and great write-up Kate, looking forward to heading over there one of these days and trying it out myself.

  11. I LOVE all of the trails. So jealous of the snow too - see also my most recent post :(

  12. I am completely proud of you for getting out in it. For all my bluster about how little the cold bothers me, I really struggle to enjoy any run when it is below freezing. You have done amazingly well keeping to a training plan.

  13. Food over sweet sweet brooks racing shoes!?!??! where are your priorities? :)


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