Chicago Marathon 2015 Race Recap

Where to even begin?? My mom and I finished our third marathon together on Sunday and it was a truly great experience. Yes, the race did not go as planned, but Theodora reminded me in her recap post that we should never lose sight of the fact that running 26.2 is a feat in and of itself. I think runners beat themselves up over their times (I see it on my own XC team) and forget that the fact that we CAN run is most important. PS – this recap might be on the longer side!

We got into Chicago on Thursday and did our sightseeing Thursday and Friday. We were up at 5 am for our Thursday morning flight, so we were pretty tired when we got there but I wanted to see as much as possible.

Thursday we decided to go to Millenium Park and check out Cloud Gate/The Bean, then walked along Magnificent Mile, and then took a bus to Oak Street Beach to take a lakefront walk.


Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 10.06.45 AM

It was a lot of walking, which is why we decided to do it Thursday since we had a few days until the race.

Friday we slept in, then woke up for a shake-out run on the lakeshore path (which I loved!!). Then headed to the expo to pick up our bibs. I am dumb and forgot my license in the hotel, so we got there, tried to check in, then had to leave to get my license and come back. I’m pretty sure the woman didn’t believe me when I initially walked up, because I was like “omg I forgot my license!! can I show you my credit card or ANYTHING??” (worth a shot), and she said no (obviously), so I said I would be back. When I came back she was like oh wow you actually DID forget your license?? So I am thinking she thought I was trying to pick up someone else’s bib or something…good to know that they take all that seriously! Here are a few pics from the daytime:


It was cold and cloudy that day…it couldn’t stay like that for the race???



We did a lot of walking around the expo because I had to buy a few things. We decided to buy gels at the expo and I forgot to pack my hydration belt (rookie mistake lol), so I had to find something. I actually bought a Fitletic belt with just the loops for the gels AND their water bottle add-on and I actually really loved it! (I can’t find it on their website actually but here it is).

I wore my FlipBelt just to carry my phone (it is so light you don’t even feel it), then the Fitletic belt to hold my gels and the water. It did not feel heavy at all. I tried their other belts at their booth but they felt too big and bulky for me.

I also bought a pair of lightweight running sunglasses since it was going to be super sunny and I don’t own running glasses. The race director’s email recommended it to protect your eyes, so I got some. I know…”nothing new on race day” but I wanted to be safe.

Afterwards, we went back to drop off our stuff at the hotel and then head to Willis Tower. By this time it was around 6:45 PM. There was not much of a line since most people go during the day, but we got up there around 7:20. Then my only gripe about this entire trip happened…

We are waiting in line for the SkyDeck, which is actually just 3 tiny glass boxes basically, and each has a line. This group of probably 10 tourists are in there legit setting up a photo shoot. One would shine their flashlight on them while others took pictures. They would take a million pictures each, then switch with other people, do different poses, etc. No joke, they were in there for FIFTEEN MINUTES.

The people behind them in line were starting to get annoyed and finally a man went forward and said you need to leave you have been in there for 15 minutes it’s not fair. They continue taking photos. Then a person who works at SkyDeck came up to tell them 1-2 photos per person and then leave. He also says SkyDeck is closing in 10 minutes so everyone gets 1 photo. That really pissed people off because we had all been waiting patiently AND paid, yet now we are going to get kicked out?? By the time my mom and I got in there, we took literally 2 photos and he kicked us out. We didn’t even get to take in the sights. For me, that was a complete waste of $40. I tweeted at them with my thoughts but never heard back – oh well. Why isn’t there someone at each SkyDeck area monitoring how long people take????

ANYWAY, here’s a photo we did manage to get.


Moving on…so Saturday we went to Target to pick up race essentials (post-run recovery drinks, breakfast, etc.), ate lunch at Potbelly’s, then just relaxed all day. We laid in bed and watched videos on FloTrack Pro. I love the Driven series! We watched the Kara Goucher and Alexa Efraimson episodes to get ourselves pumped up to run.

Race Day

We woke up at 5:30 am and since we had put together everything the night before, we were quickly ready to go. We made our oatmeal with PB and banana, and coffee, and called our Uber. Our hotel was 2 miles from the start so it was super easy to get there (Chicago South Loop Hotel). On our walk to the starting area I was trying to eat my oatmeal but the nerves had set in. I had to force myself to eat it and not gag lol. I get bad race day nervous – I feel this way even in little local 5K races!

We got ready before checking our bags: leg massage with Tiger Balm, inhaler, tying shoes, putting hair ribbon on (priorities).


Oh that picture just reminded me I also bought a Sparkly Soul headband at the expo. Thick and did not budge at all during the race!

Once we checked our bags we hit the porta-a-potties one more time and did some strides. Corrals closed at 7:45, and we were in the opening for our corral at 7:43 yet the woman wouldn’t let us in. She was yelling at a bunch of runners CORRALS ARE CLOSED and this one women said IT’S NOT 7:45!! The woman would not let her in and told her she had to move back a corral. Well that runner did not care; she jumped the barrier and ran away. The woman legit tried to grab the runners arm to get her back…come on, it is not even 7:45 yet. I didn’t really care because I knew our goal pace was going to be slower than those in F corral anyway, so we went back to G.


Our wave started at 8 am, and by 8:08 we had crossed the start. We were on our way!! We really had to hold back in that first mile – the crowds were crazy! In mile 2.5ish, I had to stop at the port-a-potties again really quick, and we lost 2 minutes, but we made it up by the 10K mile marker.

I don’t have splits because I did not wear my Garmin. I had read that Garmins lose their signal and gets all funky PLUS the night before, my Garmin refused to turn on. I was like, oh cool, bad omen. Of course, now it works perfectly fine. But I’m thinking it was a good thing, or I would have been so disappointed in the second half seeing my pace splits.

Anyway, so I don’t have splits but I’ll tell you what I remember.

We were on pace for a 4:48ish all through half way. I felt good still at that point. The first half was all shaded too so it was perfect. I started thinking about how I would write a blog post about how I PR-ed…don’t ever get too ahead of yourself in a marathon haha.


At around mile 15 is where I started to feel tired and fading. The heat had started to play a role and the second half was not shaded at all, and as I have mentioned before I sweat A LOT. But I tried to not let it phase me. I kept repeating “Deal with it.” That was my mantra of choice.

I think around 16 or 17 I needed to put headphones in. I put on earbud in so I could still hear my mom if she needed to talk to me. When we got to areas with big crowds, that gave me a little boost and I’d try to pick it up a little.

By mile 18 I was like, nope, going to need to run/walk for now. I had a killer headache from neck tension I think. It’s weird because it’s not like my legs were tired or felt like lead, I think it was mainly dehydration issues. My face was now covered in salt. I made sure to take a salt pill every 30 minutes and stop at every water stop for 1-2 cups of water. I was taking GUs every 4 miles or so. I took my Honey Stinger waffle at 18 hoping it would give me a boost.

We got to mile 20 and my mom was like only 6 miles to go! At that point, I honestly thought to myself (didn’t say this to her though), “I don’t know if I can make it 6 more miles.” But I told myself to shut up and “grind it out.” That was my second mantra of the race. Honestly, if my mom weren’t with me and I didn’t want her to get mad at me (lol) I probably would have walked those last 6 miles.

At this point I knew 2 of our goals were out the window (anything below our PR, and 4:55). I was like ok, let’s try to do sub-5. But my pace just kept getting slower and slower. I was running for 3 minutes and walking for 1 minute. I would really try to pick it up in those 3 minutes. I stopped at a medical tent at one point to get advil for my headache that was not going away.

At mile 23, my mom was like come on! We can run these last 3 miles! I’m like, you can, I can’t. I told her to go on without me but she didn’t want to. I tried to continue picking it up when I could. I knew that now we were going to finish in over 5 hours.

Finally we hit one mile to go and I told her ok I will try to sprint for a 1 min (sprint…ha), and walk for 30 seconds. I would run as fast as I possibly could, recover for a bit, then repeat. I did pass some runners at least.

We saw the sign for 800 meters to go and I told myself I would run the rest of the way. It was 2 laps on the track. Then 400 meters to go (on a hill!!!) and then I saw the finish line. Wow people warned me about that hill before the finish and I’m sure in real life it is small but at that moment it felt never ended. We turned to the final straightaway and ran as hard as we could through the finish line.

Even though it was a miserable run (not as bad as my first marathon), we finished with smiles on our faces and happy to finish together.



Final race time was 5:12.

Despite the race conditions, I would run Chicago again. My mom said she likes NYC Marathon better (I still think nothing can compare to that marathon), but Chicago had great organization and crowd support. Water stops were well organized as well, and they had various wet sponge stations and banana stations! Although in the middle miles you are kind of in no-mans land with not many supporters, the same could be said for some miles in the NYC Marathon as well.

This was our first race outside of the tri-state area AND our first marathon besides NYC (which we have done twice).

Yes I was disappointed with my time, but I also know I tried as hard as I could with the conditions that were given to me. Thankfully my mom was with me or I might have walked those last 3 miles. She pushes me in races and in practice, and although she said she didn’t want to run another marathon again, I know she will ;) She did great and had zero issues/pain…she probably could have ran 4:30 or something if she wasn’t with me. I feel bad holding her back because of my hydration issues, and it is something I really need to figure out. Clearly I need more than salt pills and water/Gatorade every mile. I don’t know what the solution is, but I have to figure it out.

Oh we also made “mom” and “daughter” shirts and got lots of comments on the course about it! My mom keeps saying we should write a book about our mother/daughter running adventures lol…new ebook idea perhaps?


Surprisingly, after the race I was fine, legs-wise. I did stop in the medical tent at the end due to nausea, and they told me I was pretty dehydrated and gave me water + Gatorade. But my legs were fine. I was walking normally and felt no pain. So we went back to the hotel, showered, then went to check out Niketown. We wanted our medals engraved but the line was pretty long. I ordered myself a Chicago Marathon sweatshirt which should be arriving today :) 

We celebrated with an ice cold beer and some PF Changs. The next morning we were up at 5 am yet again to catch our flight back home. My legs were a bit sore for about 2 days but now I am back to normal and ready to get back to running. I usually take the winter off inadvertently because I will lift and stuff instead and am sick of running. But now, I want to keep training and build upon this training cycle so I can get that PR in NYC next fall.

If you read all of that…thanks for reading! I look forward to hearing your thoughts and input…and if you ran Chicago (or any marathon recently) congratulations!! No matter what your time is, we must remember that 26.2 is a tremendous feat and always something to be proud of.

Have a great weekend everyone!


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Marathon Mantras

Edit: I meant to post this yesterday but then my free wifi at the airport ran out lol.

I’m writing this while waiting for my flight to leave for Chicago :-O It still doesn’t feel real to me. I don’t think it will until I am IN Chicago and walking around. It will be awesome to explore a new city!

A few days ago I asked people to share their race day mantras with me. I plan on keeping many of these in mind as I run 26.2 miles, and wanted to share them with you as well. Thank you to all for your input, and also thank you to all of you who have read my posts throughout this 18 week journey and provided support and advice!

One of my mantras I plan on repeating in Chicago is: Deal With It. I read about it in the book The Champion’s Mind, and really liked it. I plan on thinking this when I start feeling tired and want to back off.

Here are some of the others that were shared with me (and their respective blogs so you can go check them out too!):

Running a marathon (or any race) soon? Check out these race day mantras to help you get to the finish line! 

  • I don’t know how helpful this little mantra is but ever since my late high school/early college years of when I was a track/xc runner, my dad always would say to me to repeat to myself ‘lookin’ good feelin’ good’ (i think its from a movie?!) and it always made me laugh! So to this day I still use it :-) – Alyssa (Bits Of Everything)
  • Then toward the end of the race I tend to say “do you have anything else to give” the answer is usually yes and I’ll pick up the pace or at least hold my pace. -Amy (Amy Says So)
  • I ask for prayer requests from FB people and assign each request a mile. That way, I always have something or someone to focus on. -Lauren (Running Slowly With Kids)
  • My mantra is : “the body achieves, what the mind believes.” Helps me everytime! -Daisy (Fit Wanderlust Runner)
  • My mantra is “Get There!” I have it engraved on my id band for my watch. It reminds me that my goal is to get to where I am going, it doesn’t matter what happens between the start and the finish if I get there I am a winner! -Missy (Getting Fit To Find Myself)
  • Your mind wants to give up before your legs do. -Katelyn
  • You can do hard things. -Sarah (Uplift Training)
  • Run THIS mile. — don’t worry about THAT hill or how far you have left to go – Coco (Got 2 Run 4 Me)
  • When any discomfort or pain comes up during a race I repeat “think, feel, relax.” I think about the exact area that hurts, really feel it, then tell it to relax and imagine my muscles healing themselves. You’d be surprised by how well this works! It’s a Zen Buddhist teaching :-) -Bri (Run Lift Yoga)
  • I always turn to Walt Disney when the going gets tough: “If you can dream it you can do it.” -Kathryn (Dancing To Running)
  • You can crumble or you can conquer. -Carmy 
  • I can do hard things. -Courtney (Eat Pray Run DC)

How good are all of those? One of my all time favorites is “The body achieves what the mind believes.” If you’re looking to improve your mental strength, I highly recommend checking out The Champion’s Mind. It really has opened my eyes as to how much your brain affects your performance.

Okay…time to get ready to board. HERE WE COME CHICAGO!!!

Edited to add: We are now actually in Chicago and it has been awesome lately. Heading to the Expo today! :-O


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Chicago Marathon Training Week 17 – It’s Marathon Week!

Marathon week is here!! Honestly though, I really don’t feel like I’m running a marathon this weekend OR even leaving for Chicago on Thursday. It probably won’t hit me until we actually land in Chicago.

This will be me and my mom’s first time in Chicago AND first time running a race outisde the tri-state area. I have had my doubts (still do) but I keep telling myself that the training is done and to think of Sunday as just another long run I need to do this week…a 26.2 mile long run :-O

Here’s what we did last week:

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Last real workout. 1 mile warm up, 1/2 mile in 5:05, break, 1 mile in 10:30 (was supposed to be 10:20 but we ran on the roads and this part was hilly), break, 1 mile in 9:50 (was supposed to be 10:00 but felt good!). 1 mile cooldown.

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: 8 miles. Last long-ish run. Goal was 10 but we were outdoors and it was raining/cold. Coach Marc had 8-10 on the plan so 8 was ok…would liked to have done 10 but oh well.


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Friday: Recovery 3 miles

Saturday: Off. Meant to run 4 miles but was up at 5 am for an XC meet in PA, didn’t get home until 4 pm, and was exhausted. Figured if I want rest, taper time is the time to do it! ;)

Sunday: Easy 3 miles. I actually felt really good on this run. I know it’s because of the tapering but felt like I could run forever! Averaged 10:19 pace for this which would be nice if I could do that in a marathon, but definitely will be starting off much slower on Sunday.

As you all know, I have had my doubts this whole training period. Many weeks I wanted to hit 40 or so miles but I never did. Closest I got was 37. I felt like I wasn’t running enough BUT I also did not want to force myself because the reason I would take days off or run less was because of shin pain.

My longest run was 17 miles, and most of my runs were in the 13-15 mile range. I believe you don’t need to run 20 miles in practice. I ran 18 as my longest before NYC Marathon in 2013 and PRed by 30 minutes. I prefer running until I hit 3 hours. I did not hit 3 hours this training round (I did hit 2:45), so who knows. I  mean 2:45 is not that far off from 3 hours right?

Here is what I’m afraid of:

  • Really struggling the second half. I mean we all struggle, but just feeling like I did in 2011. I NEVER want to feel that way in a race again.
  • My shin pain getting to be too much or hurting right when we start the race.
  • I’m not afraid of not finishing, I think I can finish (KNOCK ON WOOD) so I’m just keeping that in mind right now. I WILL finish – time doesn’t matter. Well, it does matter but I will be happy just finishing.

Here is what I’m telling myself to boost my confidence:

  • Thinking of it as “just” a 26.2 mile long run this weekend that needs to get done.
  • I trained for 18 weeks and although my mileage was lower than I would like, I would say I was consistent with running 5 days a week.
  • Just taking it mile by mile and enjoying the crowds and scenery. Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC made a good point on her blog which resonated with me: I am lucky to even be able to run 26.2 miles. THAT is what matters most…and the fact that I am able to do it with my mom!

If you’re running Chicago this weekend or a race in general good luck! If you have any words of wisdom or pieces of advice on the course, racing, mental strength, please leave a comment!


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Chicago Marathon Training Week 15

What was supposed to be peak week, but wasn’t. Almost but not quite.

Guys, I know I keep saying how nervous I am but I AM NERVOUS. I know that I’ve been running consistently for the past 15 weeks, and haven’t really skipped days or anything (minus those 3 days where I was REALLY fatigued)…but I just feel like mileage wise I should have been higher. 

My peak was 37 miles…then I found the Chicago Marathon training plan written by Nike from last year for beginners and they had them going up to 50, which is what I did in my 2013 NYC Marathon training cycle. 

Lately, I have had this nagging pain in my shin and I’m not sure what it is. It has been bothering me for the past 2 weeks, which is why I cut my long run short this past week from 18 miles to 13 miles. I have been talking to the athletic trainer at my job and she thinks it is just muscle tightness and (hopefully) nothing serious like a stress fracture. 

Anyway, here is this week’s training:

Monday: off

Tuesday: 4 miles. UGH this run made me so angry. I was supposed to do 6×800 repeats but barely finished 4. My legs felt like cement and I was supposed to run the 800s in 4:40, yet the last one I eeked out a 4:57. I called it off after that because I didn’t want to force it too much since I knew I had a long run in 2 days (Thursday). Was feeling annoyed and frustrated, but coach Marc reminded me that I ran the 5th Avenue Mile Sunday and it is normal for your legs to feel that way. I created this image for Instagram that night because sometimes, we all need to remember this!

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 10.16.57 AM

Wednesday: 6 miles. Just an easy paced run.

Thursday: 13 miles. This was supposed to be my last LONG, long run, and supposed to be 18 miles. I wanted to quit after the first 6 and was SO CLOSE. But I knew I had no other time to do it. I contemplated quitting and somehow finding the time to do it Friday night (I was going to be working late), but sucked it up and told myself, I will complete this no matter how slow I have to go.

I just felt off from the very first mile. Isn’t that the worst feelling? After 6 I didn’t think I could do it. But then I rallied and told my mom, look I feel like crap, I’m going to have to do run/walk intervals and see if I feel any better after a while. So I would run for 2 minutes then walk for 1 minute. After the next 3 miles, I started feeling better so I changed it to run 6-7 minutes, walk 1 minute. My shin was hurting and I just did not feel 100% so I was ok with taking it slow. 

By 8 pm we had finished 13 miles, but I decided to stop there. My shin was hurting with each step and it was now really dark, despite having a flashlight. We ran for 2:40ish minutes, and I figured that was good in terms of  “time on your feet.” Now though, I am kinda wishing we were able to finish those 18…


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Friday: Sloooow 5 mile recovery run.

Saturday: 3 miles. Another crappy run. Needed to do 5 but legs just felt like cement again. Every run this week was crappy. I ended up walking at 2.75 until mile 3 and called it a day.

Sunday: 4 miles. I did this on the treadmill and did some intervals. After yesterday’s slog, I wanted to try to do some faster pace stuff and knew the treadmill would help me. Honestly, I did NOT want to run considering the day before we had been tailgating for hours and then didn’t get to our hotel until 1 am, and THEN had to drive 2 hours home…but got it done anyway.


To make myself feel somewhat better, I went back to my 2013 training log and calculated my average weekly mileage. Despite peaking at 50 miles one or two weeks, my weekly average miles was 32. Currently, my weekly average is 30. So not too far off.

What do you do when you have a whole week of bad runs?

Do you think that a 20 miler is necessary in marathon training? I personally think 16-18 is good depending on your weekly mileage. I like Hansons Marathon Method because of that. They calculate your long run based on the percentage of your total weekly miles. Your long run, according to them, should never be half of your total miles.


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Chicago Marathon Training Week 14

I really can’t believe the marathon is so close! I have zero clue what to expect out of this race…but my mom and I will be shooting for a PR (anything below 4:50). 

I know last week I said I would try to hit 40 miles this past week, but I actually ended up changing my plan for the week. Originally, I would be doing my last longer run (18 miles), but since I had done 17 the week before, I decided to take a down week and do 10 instead, and move the 18 miles to this week. So with the shorter run, it made for less miles on the week.

I was feeling pretty fatigued so some runs also ended up only being 3 miles instead of 5-6. I figured a down week would be ok before going into this peak week.

Here’s last week’s training:

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 5 miles

Wednesday: 3 miles. Ever have those runs where you feel tired and out of breath from the start? This was one of those runs. It was also hot and humid (yet again), so instead of going for 5-6 I just turned back at 1.5 miles. Blah.

Thursday: 10 miles. It’s so funny how after a bad run you can have a great run. I was thankful for the rainy day because it meant less heat. Since it was thunderstorming when I got out of work, my mom and I ran 3 miles instead until the rain dissipated. Then we headed outside, and although it was a light drizzle, it felt nice! We did 6 miles outside (at tempo pace), then 1 mile on the treadmill (because it was getting dark). Finished with strides.


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Friday: 3 recovery miles.

Saturday: Off. 

Sunday: 6 total miles. 5th Avenue Mile (recap coming this week) + warm up and cool down miles. Ran it in 7:38…not my best (past 5th Ave Miles have been 7:07 and 7:20), but actually better than I thought I would do on tired legs from marathon training. I just gunned it and ran the first 2 quarter miles in 1:45, but then slowed from there lol. I want to keep writing but I’ll save it for my recap!


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Pretty cool I got to get a pic with Meb (and he fist bumped me when I told him I tried to run as fast as him lol). 

This week I am hoping to get over 40, then one more weak around 40 range, then it is TAPER TIME. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?? Because I can’t.

Have any of you ran the 5th Avenue Mile/any mile race? I think it’s my favorite race distance.

If you could meet any elite runner or athlete in general, who would it be?


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Chicago Marathon Training Week 13

Wow 5 weeks to go!! I feel like I am hitting my stride but for some reason am STILL really worried I’m not prepared enough. I do want to thank everyone who has commented and given me their insight and support – I truly appreciate it. 

I guess the reason I am nervous is because in 2011, I was running about 30-35 miles per week and MAJORLY BONKED at NYCM. But I’m telling myself it was also because 1) it was my first marathon and 2) I was really dehydrated.

In my second marathon, I was averaging about 40, and peaked at 50…and that was when I finished strong and PRed by 30 minutes. So I guess I’m nervous that since I’m not doing that this time, I will bonk like the first time. TIME WILL TELL :-O

Anyway, I did have a solid week last week and hit 37 miles!! The most so far in training. Here’s how it went down:

Monday: 7 miles. Mile repeats were on the schedule which made me nervous. We did a 1 mile warmup, then 4 mile repeats, then 1 mile cooldown. We ran .25 in between each at a slow jog to recover. We needed to hit about 9:35, and since it was hot and humid I thought to myself, “I’ll be fine with 9:45.” Well we crushed it! Our splits were: 9:35, 9:32, 9:31, 9:20. I like pushing myself on last reps of workouts and seeing what I can do…but that 9:20 was really hard haha. 


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: 5 easy miles. Super slow because it was yet another hot and humid day. Finished last mile run/walking but I was ok with it because we knew we had a long run the next day.

Thursday: 17 miles. Guys. I was freaking out about this run. I wrote more about it in my last post, but basically I was ready for it, but then got in my own head. I asked people about how to get through a really hot run and many people advised me not to do it and skip it. Then I started getting really nervous. Was I going to get heat stroke or something? Should I skip it? We decided to split it up between indoors and outdoors, which actually really helped the time go by so much faster.

We did 6 miles on the treadmill, 6 miles outside (with water stashed every 1.5 miles), 5 miles inside to finish up. Those last 5 miles were done at marathon goal pace because we haven’t really practiced that yet. It was kinda uncomfortable, but I kept telling myself that the race will be uncomfortable. I finished the last mile in 9:45 and felt great. I really, really hope that is how race day goes too!


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Oh I also changed my shirt 3 times because…sweat. lol as I have mentioned before, I sweat A LOT. So after I hopped off the treadmill I changed, and then again when I got back from outside. It also helps you mentally I think…you feel fresh, starting in a dry shirt. Or maybe it’s just me…

Friday: 3 recovery miles. Ran this on my lunch break before my team’s first XC meet. They did great! We are adding a few more people this week, so hopefully we can get a full team down before our next meet.

Saturday: Off. 

Sunday: 5 miles before my friend’s Beer Olympics BBQ :) Yes, not the best to be drinking a ton of beer while marathon training but you know what, I’m okay with it! It was so much fun – and no I did not run yesterday (day after). It was spent recovering on the couch ;)


This week I’m hoping to break 40. Here’s a little inspirational image I made for myself/other runners who can relate:


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Wouldn’t it be nice to be sponsored? :)

Have you ever participated in a beer olympics? It’s basically different team games + drinking (we did dizzy bat, water balloon toss, flip cup, etc.)

If you could be sponsored by a brand, which one would you choose? As much as Nike is in some heat in the track and field world, I would love to be outfitted in Nike gear from head to toe!


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Chicago Marathon Training Week 12

Another training week in the books. Felt much better this week! In week 11, I had to take a few days off to recoup mentally and physically. This past week I felt good on all my runs and had a great long run! However, still kinda am doubting how this marathon will go. I just feel like I should be ahead of where I’m at for being at 12 weeks. Though I have seen people who are doing their first 18-20 miler about now, so I keep telling myself I am not that far behind! Will be shooting for 17-18 miles this week.

Here’s how last week went:

Monday: off

Tuesday: 4 miles. I found a new park right by my house! This was a super slow run because I was on trails and ended up running up a mountain (kind of exaggerated but it was a steep hill, and at the top you could see NYC in the distance so it WAS kind of a mountain lol). I was actually pretty sore the next day…is this normal for new trail runners??


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Wednesday: 6 miles. Reaaaal easy. Didn’t wear a watch. It actually felt good to be able to chat with my mom while running – I never can do that! I used to think it was because of my asthma but perhaps I really was running too fast. I mean, multiple times I had to actively slow myself down to get back to an easy pace. I think the cooler weather helped too. Thursday: 14 miles. We meant to do 16 but since we went after work, it got dark. Sunset is now at 7:45, nooooo. I am SO ready for fall and fall weathe, just not for it to get dark earlier and earlier. Overall, I felt awesome on this run BUT afterwards and the day after, my knees were killing me. Not sure why. Took ibuprofen the next day and rested, and was fine by Saturday.


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Friday: off

Saturday: 4 miles

Sunday: 5.5 miles

TOTAL: 33.5 miles

This week I REALLY want to strength train at least twice. I think my mom and I both had knee pain after our long run because we have been neglecting lifting, and therefore our quads are weak. 

Also, I want to get close to 40 miles. I have said that for like 3 weeks now but I want to. I just think it will give me peace of mind.

Runners, when do you “peak” before a week? How many weeks out?

How long do you usually taper? I found in my last marathon that a 10 day taper was perfect. I think this time I’ll do 10-14 days.


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Chicago Marathon Training Week 11

Sigh. That’s how last week can be summed up. I’m not even going to write my daily runs, I just want to vent.

As I’ve said in previous training posts, I have been nervous that my training isn’t enough. I know many of you have said that running 30-35 miles per week is fine, and I can accept that, but what makes me feel like my training hasn’t been going well is the fact that my long runs are awful. I feel tired, struggling to breathe, getting side cramps…I have not had a good long run yet over 10 miles. Plus, I haven’t even done that many. I’ve done 10, 13, and 15. 

This past week I was supposed to do 17 miles but all week I was feeling exhausted. No joke, I would sleep at 10 am, get 8 hours of sleep, wake up tired. I would nap on days I could (perks of working from home I guess lol), and again, still wake up tired. WTF??

On Thursday I barely finished a 2 mile run. Like I ran 1.75 and walked the last bit. I was supposed to go out for 5 miles.

So Friday, the day I needed to do 17, I did 6 miles. I got another wicked side cramp that turned into heart burn (?????). I mean, I tried a new fueling product (Gen UCAN), but drank that an hour before my run. Maybe I needed more time to digest. What sucks too is that Gen UCAN is pretty pricey, so that money was wasted on a 6 mile run.

But let’s focus on the positive. One positive I can tell you from this is that the running community is amazing and supportive. I vented on reddit and the Fitfluential Runners group and got great responses from fellow runners. I decided to take the weekend off from running and start back up today.

I also spoke to Coach Marc…which is another great reason to have a running coach! After my crappy 6 miler on Thursday, I wrote him a long email as I was sitting in my car, about to be in tears because of frustration. I knowwww…a bit dramatic but I was feeling so annoyed and frustrated.

He replied and told me to take time off, and then we went back and forth with strategies for this week. Basically, I need to stay within my easy pace zone for runs, which I struggle to do. I just don’t want to be running in the 11:40s. But it is possible that pushing myself to run faster in this heat and humidity is what has caused me to feel flat.

So this week I plan on sticking to longer, easy paced runs (as opposed to track workouts) and trying to get those 16-18 miles in. 

My weakness is long runs. I hate long runs. But you have to do what you hate in order to get stronger right?

So my questions to you fellow runners are:

  • Do you think I have enough time to get some stronger training in? I have a time goal for Chicago. I don’t want to “just finish” and feel terrible during the race because of my training.
  • How do you motivate yourself on long runs? I run with my mom so it’s not like I’m alone, I just really don’t like running for hours on end unless it’s in a race lol
  • Have you ever had to take time off during marathon training because of fatigue or exhaustion?

Thanks in advance for your help. Here’s to hoping this week is much better.


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Chicago Marathon Training Week 8

Okay, officially kinda freaking out! It is week 8 and the longest run I’ve done so far is 10 miles. I was supposed to do 14 miles while I was away in Myrtle Beach, but there was no way that was happening with the heat wave and humidity. Someone tell me it’s okay I am not past 10 yet…?!?

Last week’s training was decent. Didn’t run this weekend because I was down the shore for birthday celebrations with friends :) But despite all this, it’s the first time this year I’ve hit 100 miles in a month! (104 to be exact.)

I plan on getting back on the horse this week. Striving for 35 miles. Here’s last week’s training:

Monday: Off (last day in Myrtle Beach)

Tuesday: 5 miles. Treadmill run with my mom! We did a 1 mile warm up, then hill repeats for 2:20 minutes with 2 minute rest, 1 mile cooldown.

Wednesday: 4.5 outdoor miles. 95 degrees but only 40% humidity which was fine with me after those 85% days in SC! Took it easy.


A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Thursday:  10 miles. We started outside but as soon as we started I knew it would be too hard. It was hot and humid after rain earlier in the day, and my exercise induced asthma kicked in. We completed 3 miles outdoors then headed inside to finish 7 miles on the treadmill.

Friday: 4 mile recovery run. Reeeallll slow. I hate recovery runs because I always feel SO stiff and sluggish!

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Off


This upcoming week I’m going to try making my long run 13-15 miles. I’m running a 5K in NYC Thursday night (Anyone else?) and think I’ll go in early to run about 12 miles beforehand. We’ll see. 

Are you marathon training? What’s your longest run so far? I feel like I have some catching up to do!


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Chicago Marathon Training Week 5

I was scrolling through #chicagomarathon on Twitter and then saw that we are under 100 days to go! The race will be here before we know it…kinda scary!

So far, training has been going really well knock on wood. Not much pain or fatigue. Again, knock on wood.

Here’s my recap of last week:

Monday: 6 miles. This workout was tough because it was something like 70% humidity out and almost 90 degrees. We were supposed to do a 1 mile warm up, then 8×2:20 minutes at 10K/half marathon effort, with 30 sec. break, and then repeat that one more time before a 1 mile cooldown. It sucked. I felt like I was really struggling. Which prompted me to write about this post about running by effort.

Tuesday: off

Wednesday: 10 miles. We did 6 outside and 4 on the treadmill due to thunderstorms. For some reason I was really doubting myself all week about this. I didn’t know if I could do it…though I knew I technically COULD since I can run 8 miles no problem, but I guess the double digit aspect of it scared me. But we did it!

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 10.44.04 AM

Thursday: 60 minute recovery run. Ended up running about 5 miles. We took it sloooowwww…

Friday: 60 minute run. Felt pretty good! We ran each mile a tiny bit faster (though mile 3-4 was slow because of a long hill), and ended with the last mile in 9:30. We ran 6 miles total. Also, I just started using Strava and love it! How do I add people? If you’re on there let me know!

Saturday: Rugged Maniac 5K. I did this obstacle course/mud run with my sister and it was so much fun! Skipped a few obstacles and am still sore today from it. I think all that climbing. Clearly need to work on my uppder body strength haha.

rugged maniac

It was fun doing a race just for fun and with my sister. I was really nervous leading up to it but I think I would do it again next year! I’ll be writing up a recap later this week.


I can’t believe I’m already at 30 miles! This week I am aiming for 33-35 miles. I am running the NYRR Run To Breathe 4 miler Saturday (anyone else), but plan on running 6-8 beforehand to get in my long run that day. I am sick of my usual running routes and running in NYC always makes the long runs go by faster.

Have you ever done a mud run? Did you like it? If not, what kind of  “specialty race” do you want to try (color run, mud run, etc.)?


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