Training went exactly as planned as I followed the Hal Higdon Novice 2 program as closely as I could. I missed 2 or 3 individual, mid week runs out of the entire 18 week program. My longest runs included an 18 miler on the Clinton River Trail and 19 and 20 milers at Kensington Metro Park. All of my long runs except the 20 miler were just as I expected them to be. During the 20 miler, I experience a recurrence of some ankle pain, but overall, the run was fine. I was trained to meet my 4 hour goal.
Two weeks before Chicago, I ran the Brooksie Way Half Marathon. I signed up for this race long before I was certain I would run any marathon this year. Because it was so close to the Marathon, I decided to take it easy for this race. While I didn't go as "easy" as planned, I did run it close to what I thought was my marathon pace and finished in 1:52 and some change. It was about 4 minutes slower than last year and I felt pretty confident that if I would have fully "raced" this one, I could have PR'd and beat my 1:48something time from last year. Everything was on schedule.
Brooksie Way Half Marathon:
The Taper:There was nothing wrong with my 3 week taper. I did what I was supposed to to, except, right after the Brooksie Way, I got sick. It wasn't a bad illness and it was confined primarily to sinuses and throat. No chest congestion or congestion in general. I seemed to be getting better after 4 or 5 days, but it reached a certain point and did not improve. I could breathe, but I had laryngitis and a dripping in my throat that produced occasional coughing and just general mucus goodness (sorry). Even so, I got most of my taper runs in and thought I would be fine for race day.
The Expo:The whole family traveled to Illinois for the race. We stayed with my Dad in the SW Chicago burbs and on Saturday took the train into the city. Neither of us (my wife and I) had taken the Metra train into the city before, so it was a new experience. The ticket counter was closed, but we soon found out you buy your ticket on the train (take cash). On weekends, a weekend pass is $7 each, a pretty good deal where you can ride all you want on the system with that pass (individual rides from our location are normally $5.50 each way). So, we got 4 trips each (to city and back) with the pass.
I did a walk / run combo from there - probably 2 or 3 parts running to 1 part walking, but it wasn't timed or anything. I set mini goals until the end of the race. Get to that sign. Run through Chinatown. I think I ran the entire last mile. I certainly ran the last half mile plus.
I finished in 4:29 something, Not close to my goal and I didn't beat my previous marathon time. I wasn't upset with my effort though - it was the best I could do while dealing with this cold / allergy / whatever it was. It affected me for almost a month. I was upset that I trained well, did all I needed to meet my goals, and a stupid cold blew it all up.
I am finishing this post that I started in October now in January. Reading back over what I wrote, I still have disappointment over the results of the race. It probably led, in part, to my running funk that I've been trying to get out of for about 3 months. (That will likely be a separate post). Just finishing the race with how I felt was an accomplishment, but it also felt (feels) like 4 months of work down the drain.
I've decided that, for 2015, I'm not going to run a marathon. Actually, I'm content to run 5ks and 10ks and would like to PR both distances, if I can ever get my act together...