Giving Chicago Another Go
Over the past few years, the 4th of July has served as my mid-year alarm clock; a reminder that a fall marathon is on the horizon and it’s time to get refocused. July 4th hardly seems like the appropriate time to start thinking about October – seriously, summer just started here in the Pacific Northwest! – but marathon runners live by 3-4 month training cycles.
Shortly after crossing the finish line in Boston – honestly, it probably happened before I had even sat down for dinner that evening – I found myself piecing together a fall marathon plan. My one goal for 2014 was to run a marathon under 2 hours and 13 minutes. Despite running well in Boston, the disappointment of not accomplishing the goal on the first go-round had a major impact on my fall marathon decision.
I thought about jetting over to Europe to chase a fast time at one of the German marathons – Berlin or Frankfurt – and considered what a plan would look like if I waited until December for either CIM (Sacramento) or Fukuoka (Japan), but ultimately I felt my best chance to run a fast time was to return to the flat, straight roads of Chicago for a third straight year. Runners like routines, and I know the drill for Chicago – from the training, to the course; the race committee, to the travel and all of the race weekend logistics – I’m comfortable being in a familiar place, surrounded by familiar people.
I’ve been fortunate to find success in Chicago. In 2012, I ran a then-personal best time of 2:15:38 and last year was able to run my current PB of 2:13:52. Both times I walked away pleased, but knew I left some time out on the course. I’m confident that I can continue progressing come October.
With the Olympic Marathon trials just a short 18 months in the future, it’s important to me that I run a time under 2:13. Even though I’ve strung together some great finishes these last few years, I’m not sure anyone could be considered a serious threat to make the team in 2016 without running a time below 2:13. Having a PB of 2:11/2:12, or faster, next to my name entering the Trials would be a huge confidence booster on race day.
Today is 12 weeks until the Chicago Marathon. This might end up being my last shot at running a fast time before the Olympic Trials, so I am totally committing myself to leaving no stone unturned these next 83 days. It’s hard to say you can do more when you see 150 mile training weeks in the squares of your running log, but you can always do more. I know that in the past I haven’t committed myself to doing every little thing possible during a marathon block: I’ve missed some post-run striders and skipped out on some strength and core sessions. Not this time. Not this fall. Not this Chicago.
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