Deciding how to run the Chicago Marathon this year was a bit of a challenge. It was 8 days after my Grand to Grand Ultra 167 mile stage race finished. Another tricky part of the equation was that I’m pacing a friend at a hundo this weekend so I wanted to make sure I saved 30 good miles for her. Not having any idea what I’d be capable of coming off of G2G, I didn’t want to run too hard and still come up short. The cool weather (and the fact that I always run well at Chicago) proved too tempting and I decided to follow some of my own advice and ‘embrace the pain’ of a hard effort. I decided to try for a 3:15 which would be a PR and a ReQ® (my term for a BQ by somebody who has previously done so).
Channeling some G2G Stage 6 mojo, I ran harder and more focused on my goal than I have in a long time. I was actually on pace for a high 3:13/low 3:14 through 18 or 20 miles, but faded a bit the last 4-5 miles and ended up at 3:16:43 which was good enough for a 3.5 min PR.
I’m really glad I did it. Just like I did at G2G, I fluctuate between being a competitive/semi-serious runner and running to enjoy the experience and people. These last couple of weeks have given me a renewed sense of what I might be capable of if I were to set another challenging goal for myself and worked hard for a while to see how close I can get to it, maybe even tasting some failure along the way.