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.