Catch up:  The Road to Chicago (i.e. what to expect from this series)      |     Marathon Base Building     |     Week 1     |     Week 2     |     Week 3      |     Weeks 4 & 5

Week 6

I kept the theme of Week 5 intact here with another climb in weekly mileage set for Week 6.

Goal:  37 miles, just two miles shy of my biggest week ever, which happened last October.

The 37 miles as a whole didn’t intimidate me so much as the Friday/Saturday runs specifically. I had 7 miles at race pace Friday, very doable, then 15 on Saturday. Similar to Week 5’s 7/14 scenario but this time I would also throw an additional physical event in the middle on Friday night: a concert.

While I may not have been the one on stage performing, have YOU ever been able to go to a concert and stand still? Yeah me neither. I did my best though to try and dance as mildly as I could while still having fun. Legit I have never put so much effort into NOT dancing at a concert as I did that Friday but I knew I had 15 miles in the morning and the extra workout from dancing would only make it harder.

Paying the Price

Saturday rolled around, I grabbed my gear  and headed out to my starting point for a solo 15 miler. You know how long it’s been since I ran 15 miles totally alone? Ummm….neither do I.

I have been very fortunate to have training partners and/or runner friends who, while they don’t ever want to do the full long run, will join me for the latter portion. Sadly, this week my running partners also attended the concert leaving me S.O.L. for company.

Physical test: Run 15 miles on tired legs after 7 miles at pace and  jumping around like a fool at Yacht Rock Revue.

Mental test: Run 15 miles SOLO on tired legs after 7 miles at pace and  jumping around like a fool at Yacht Rock Revue.

Sure enough, miles 12 – 15 were less than fun and more water buffalo-ish, but I did it!

37 miles down, two lessons learned:

              1. Trust the training
              2. Yacht Rock is totally worth being tired the next day.

Week 7: Benchmark Runs

Benchmark 1: The 1-Mile

My training plan called for a benchmark half marathon at the end of Week 7. What it didn’t plan for, but I threw in anyways, was an additional 1-mile benchmark run at OrangeTheory (OTF) on Thursday of that week.

The last time I did a 1-mile benchmark run at OTF I came up short….by 21 seconds. This took place just two months after surgery and one month back into running. I knew it would probably be a stretch to get a new PR after such trauma and time off from running, but I would at least show up and try. I left that day feeling somewhat disappointed and INSANELY proud because, as the sign says: I gave my all.

This time around I had more months of training under my belt and saw a new PR in my sights. Yet again, I came up short. This time though, by 6 seconds. Six measly little seconds. Seconds I could have probably shaved off if I had paid attention to the right metric on the treadmill while running.

Nonetheless, I gave it all I had and even though a PR didn’t happen, progress did happen. Progress in the form of 15 seconds. I’ll take it.

Benchmark 2: The Half Marathon 

I took a rest day on Friday to let my legs recover so I could give my best performance on Saturday’s half marathon distance. (I say “distance” there because it was not an official race, just a 13.1 mile run.)

This run had two goals:

                  1. See if I can hold my intended marathon pace for a consistent 13.1 miles.
                  2. Gauge how much gas I have left in the tank at the end to get a better answer to the question: Can you do that whole thing again at the same pace?

Number 1 didn’t really worry me at all because while I hadn’t pushed myself to that distance at that pace in a while, my full  marathon pace is slower than my half  marathon pace so this would be attainable.

Number 2 on the other hand, well that’s the real kicker. I set the intended race pace range into my watch and off I ran. Despite seriously identifying with Goldilocks throughout the whole run, (i.e. my watch beeping at me “too fast”, “too slow”, “in range”) I got it done AND I felt like I had more to give.

If I can keep on top of my training, I’m looking at anywhere from a 15 to 30 minute PR in Chicago🤞🏻

(Note: That is a HUGE amount and 100% contingent on whether I can keep my head together after mile 21.)


Channing Muller is an award winning marketing & public relations consultant and the principal of DCM Communications, based out of Chicago. She works with event professionals and business owners to grow and scale their businesses with refined marketing strategies developed through one-on-one and group consulting, customized marketing programs and public relations. She has been named a "25 Young Event Pro to Watch" by Special Events magazine and "40 Under 40" by Connect Meetings. Channing is an avid runner, lover of Labrador Retrievers, good food, delicious drinks, and an advocate for the American Heart Association.

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