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Chicago and continuing to look forward



I’ve been putting off writing anything about Chicago because I feel ungrateful and a bit guilty about the race. I ran a decent time but it was pretty far off where I thought my fitness was but in hindsight I think I was over trained and the weather did no favors. 


Going in to the race I had had a good training cycle, never felt great throughout and definitely bombed a tune up but I had been hitting MP in some pretty humid weather and figured after a taper I’d be in a good position to run a big PR. 



However as the race got closer my legs never got any pop back and I began to worry that the week after the tune up where I went overboard had caused me to go over the line (i think you can guess which week it is). The in-laws flew in for the weekend to watch our son so my wife and I could go to Chicago and she’d be able to run around without a almost 3 year old pitching a fit. We drove up to Chicago Friday afternoon, got settled in to the hotel and proceeded to wait a long time for some Chicago style pizza at Lou Malnatis. From our hotel room balcony we could see the starting line which was cool.



Saturday was pretty laid back, I did a 5 mile shakeout by the lake and then we took it easy at the hotel until the pasta dinner. We went hoping to meet and/or hear Deana Kastor speak but we were either too late or she went on after we left, but i wanted to get to bed early. I laid everything out for the next morning and hoped the weather would miraculously cool off more. For what it’s worth, those are the Nike Vaporfly 4%’s and they are awesome. 



Race morning I woke up at 5, grabbed some coffee and food downstairs and got ready to go. Did a short easy warm up down to the security gates and navigated the mayhem that is the corral system of a big race and finally got settled in on the right side where I got to watch Galen Rupp do strides prior to getting lined up. I wasn’t feeling super great, it was pretty humid in the upper 50’s and was going to warm up fairly quickly (note, I run like crap in the heat, I “run” very hot and prefer temps in the 40’s). I was very careful not to go out too quickly and was hoping to run the first few miles in 6:30-6:40 then settle in to 6:25-ish for a goal time of 2:48. Long story short, I didn’t make it to goal pace until around miles 8-9 when I finally started to feel like I was in a rhythm and then it was gone shortly after the halfway mark and I fell back to 6:40-ish again. Started struggling around 18 and began to slow down even more into the 7’s. 2nd marathon in a row i was able to finish without ever walking and not running a single split slower than 7:xx’s so there is that bright side. My final time was 2:58:57 which is about a minute slower than last year at Indy. I’m feeling generally ok now after some time to think about it, especially considering that I can go sub-3 on a bad day, but still bothers me a bit. I feel bad because people keep congratulating me for going under 3 and I feel like an ungrateful sh**head for saying “yeah but...”. 








Reflecting back on the past year, I really ran subpar race results all year and think I really was skirting with overtraining the entire time. Don’t think I ever fully recovered from the marathon last year before jumping back into higher mileage and then it just continued to compound as the months went by. I’m taking a conservative approach to returning to running this time, took a whole week off completely and this week I ran Monday, took today off, will run easy 2 days take another off and then proceed from there. No races are scheduled except for pacing my wife in Indy next month and then I will do some easy running for a few weeks before doing any training. The winter will be some casual racing to keep some speed going before turning the focus to Boston training. I’m viewing Chicago as a stepping stone in my marathon progress and the PR in Boston will be that much sweeter after a tougher race. 

Thanks for reading, hope everyone’s training is going well. 

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I'm not really qualified to speak on your program (and I'm much slower than you) but I ran my 2 marathon's last year on similar mileage to you - though I usually do it over ~16 week cycles which is more than enough for me (10 weeks of peak). Even at my age I didn't feel over trained and your only relatively young. It looks like you've jumped about 30% in your mileage? So many factors involved though & it's different for everyone.

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Lots of miles there. Faster, too. And a warm, humid race day. I've seen this movie. Don't beat yourself up, but make sure you learn the lessons your body's trying to teach.

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I think you are on the right path with getting some rest before the next training cycle. However, I don't have experience with that kind of mileage.

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Many of us do the "yea but..." thing when complimented, me included. Probably comes with the drive to improve ourselves. Anyways, congrats on the sub-3!

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It's perfectly okay to be disappointed in a race result. We all have been, regardless of how fast we have gone. Heck, I've PR'd and been disappointed. 

I must say though, race pic #2 is wicked awesome. Can someone give me a "OH MY QUADS"???

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Not what you hoped for, but still solid. You could have blown up much more than that.

It seems a break is in order and you have a good plan before starting Boston training.

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You did fantastic hanging in there, but I completely understand being disappointed and almost hating the congrats.  You'll work towards and meet you goal in the future; each training cycle helps the next.  Recover well, and on to the next!

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The way I see it, you have your own goals and it's your life. If you want to sulk about you finish time then do it! You sound kinda like me in that regard (I can't run anywhere close to a sub-3 marathon). I like to beat myself up even when I've done a good job. You do you and don't worry about it! If you've learned some things from the race and your training, then good! Great job, btw! I'm glad you can see how awesome it is now.

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It was too hot this year to hit your A-goal in Chicago.  (Especially for a cold weather runner.)  Don't beat yourself up - congrats and "Oh My Quad!"  Nice Pic!

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