As I was thinking about this post, that scene from Billy Madison where he’s being a total child in the bathtub and yelling at an inanimate¬†object kept popping into mind. That’s sort of how I have felt this week. Irritable and childish, and not in a cool Gambino way. I am chalking it up to taper madness. I don’t normally feel grouchy during taper but work has been extremely stressful and my decreased miles mean no stress relief. Thus, childlike behavior. I haven’t thrown a shoe at anyone yet, so there’s that.

The million dollar question, considering the Chicago Marathon is next week… What is my goal?

If I’ve been asked this once, I’ve been asked it 1 million times. And while I have discussed pacing strategy with my coach, I’ve also shied away from really locking down a goal time on this one.

I will say, I told her a time and she told me I was nuts and said a faster time. Heh.

As a coach, I know that not having an exact goal can be frowned upon, but I know the marathon. And I know that, for me, so much depends on how my legs feel for me those first few miles. I am trained and ready to go, but I am also taking this one as a marathon refresher. This marathon is part of a bigger picture. I want to keep running marathons for a bit and try to qualify for Boston before I’m 90. I mean, I’ll still be happy to run Boston at 90, but I don’t necessarily want to wait that long. And to do so, I think I need to really hone in on the distance and keep chipping away at it. I’ll work hard and see if Boston and I can’t meet somewhere in the middle. Plus, since I’m keeping it real, I love the marathon. I am happier running now than I have been doing triathlon in a while. Again, I’m not quitting triathlon, we are just on a break.

Am I giving myself an out in case I have a shitty day? No. I have had shitty days and I am happy to own up to them. I just know that the marathons where I have had fewer expectations and didn’t put crazy pressure on myself, I’ve done much better. Am I tricking myself? Sure. But it works for me, and when I work with athletes I am A-Ok to let them use this same strategy. Not every race needs to be set on time goals. I have one athlete who likes to set goals more on how she feels and I think that’s awesome. She’s allowing herself the room to be an artist and not be so stuck into a Garmin pace. And, we’ve seen it work time and time again. I know that sometimes during a marathon when I’ve seen paces on the Garmin that I didn’t like it’s upset me and instead of lighting a fire it’s done the opposite. Not everyone is a racing robot and there’s no shame in that. Ultimately, we learn what works for us in breaking through those tough spots and what doesn’t.

On this bigger picture plan, I have a few other races lined up heading into the winter and spring. I’ve been having that groin/adductor twinge so I will definitely¬†need to see how that holds up during Chicago. I don’t think it’s one of my phantom injuries, but I say that before every marathon, don’t I? Ha.

I’m excited to run my 10th marathon in what is shaping up to be really nice conditions. It’s been nothing short of hellish training in this Florida heat so I’m thrilled to see temps in the 50’s and 60’s! I always want colder, but going from 85 to 60 is pretty damn excellent. I know I complain about the temps, but the company during this training could not have been better! I’m looking at you – Haley, Judy, Hugo, Jiri, Jeanette, Kelly, Dow, Celeste, Amy, Tori, Jeremie, and all my Safety Harbor Crackadawn and Tribal peeps.

I will promise to write a post after Chicago and give you all the mile by mile run down. And of course, all the ways I reward myself after.

Let’s do this Chi-town!