Final Chicago Thoughts & What’s Next

After I published my marathon recap, I thought for a while about why it was so hard to write. Usually a PR race recap is easy. It’s puppies and rainbows and everything that was right leading up to and during the race. Right?!

I think the reason that this one was hard to write is because it was a PR. It’s hard to talk about being really happy with the time, but not really happy with how I reacted to things getting hard. On paper, it was almost perfectly even splits (1:43:20 & 1:43:32) and the last 5k was the fastest of the day. But the race was anything but perfect.

2014-10-21 13-02-13_Bank of America Chicago Marathon

In the recap, I wanted to fully capture where my head was and truly how much my race was changed by Char coming along when she did. I am still not sure if I did justice to that. It was hard to find the words to describe the mental let down that I had during the race. I talked about being in a “dark place”, but that description really isn’t completely accurate.

When I think about being in a dark place during a marathon, I think about how I felt in Boston…where I was absolutely miserable and mad about it. During Chicago, I was never miserable. When I backed off the pace for ~15 sec/mile in those middles miles, it was a 100% conscious decision. And that’s really the part I am most disappointed in…It was like I gave myself an out. And the more I dwelled on the slower pace, the deeper I fell into a mixture of feeling sorry for myself: “Why didn’t my super fresh legs show up today?” “It’s not fair that I had the ‘perfect’ training cycle and am not having an incredible race to show for it.” and questioning myself: “I don’t think I can hold this pace for x more miles.” “I don’t know if I will be able to pick it up and make up the time I gave back.”

It really comes down to just thinking WAY too much. And then when Char came along…I had no choice. I was either going to let her go, which I didn’t truly see as an option. (I am WAY too competitive for that). Or I was going to move my feet as fast as she was and stay with her. And then once I made that decision, all questioning, thinking and analyzing was done. After that it was all about running with the only thinking focused on what it would take to keep moving at that pace (nutrition, hydration, etc.) I must have told her 100 times during and after the race how happy I was that she was there. I knew immediately what she had done for me and I was (and am) very grateful for her “saving my race” as I told her over and over. It also made those last miles of the race a whole lot of fun 🙂

corey and char2

And in reality, that is really why we do this, isn’t it?

So, What’s Next?

I think for the first time since I started running I can honestly answer this question with nothing. Of course, there will definitely be something, but it is the first time in a long time that I have finished a goal race with no races on the calendar. There are truly no registration confirmations in my inbox and I still have no idea what my spring training and/or racing will look like.

I do know that there won’t be a marathon. After 4 back-to-back training cycles, with three of those cycles all focused on a 3:23(ish) marathon, I think it is time to step back from this distance for a bit. It hurts my heart a little to think about not running a marathon for a whole year, but I know that if I really want to make progress then it makes more sense to step away. This winter I will focus on my 5k and 10k times and later in the spring, I will probably run a half marathon. I want to get faster and stronger (back to regular yoga, strength workouts and maybe some new stuff?) and see how that translates into a faster marathon next fall.

I have tossed around some half ideas with friends, but haven’t committed to registering for anything yet and I don’t even have a target 5k or 10k in mind. For now, I’ll focus on recovery (boring) and then once I am ready to start training again, I will work with Kevin to figure out what the right races will be. I do know that I am excited to mix things up a little and happy that I can race without having to recover for a month+!

About Corey

I am a 30-something swim, bike, run addict married to my best friend and in love with my two schnoodle doggies.
This entry was posted in Chicago, friends, Goals, Races, running. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Final Chicago Thoughts & What’s Next

  1. Steph says:

    Ironman, maybe??? haha. Congrats on a great race, even if it didn’t go exactly as planned. I think a year without a long distance event has a ton of appeal to it and I’m thinking of doing the same thing in 2016 =)

  2. Jodi says:

    If there weren’t some mental battles along the way, there would be no lessons, right?! You ran a killer race! As for mixing things up, I don’t run like you do, but when my leg started hurting, I backed way off, and I actually got stronger and faster in the last couple races I did with way, way less running in the last year (not fast, but my 15k was over 4 min faster and my 5k was a min faster this fall compared to last fall, of course my leg was killing me back then too). I’m doing all kinds of circuit classes, spin classes, insanity DVDs, treadmill intervals where I jump off every 1/2 mile or so and do some other moves, etc. Enjoy running with no real training and mixing up the workouts. 🙂

  3. Who knows, maybe instead of giving yourself an “out” when you backed off the pace, maybe you just really know your body and what it would take to be able to run strong at the end 🙂 Char finding you (esp in a race that big!) and the story of you two finishing together is so touching and heart warming, runner friends are the best! I think switching things up and taking some time off from the marathon is great – it will give you a chance to see what you can do in other areas and then you’ll be refreshed when you come back to it!

  4. Meredith says:

    A marathon swim next??????? Yes!!!!!! this season I am fully back in the pool…ive spent many years running, cycling and hating pool time but I’m back! Seriously 10k open water 2015?? Heeeee

  5. Pingback: Friday Fun XV |

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