Race Week - Chicago Marathon Goals & Race Plan

I struggled a lot during this training cycle - that's no mystery. My body has been ready for a running hiatus for some time. I've pushed through it, but I've definitely adjusted my expectations for this race. I registered for this race with a projected finish time of 3:15. Hmmm, yeah that would be nice, but we'll refer to that as my A++++ goal. I'm a big fan of having several goals when going out for a race so they can be adjusted when things don't go as planned and I can still walk away feeling accomplished even if its my D Goal. 

A Goal - 3:20 finish time. I was hoping to run a 3:20 at Vancouver, but the heat and lack of rest after LA was not ideal. I'm hopeful for a 3:20 at Chicago even though that seems far off as well. I'll plan on heading out with the pace group and staying with them for as long as possible.

B Goal - PR. Anything under a 3:25 will make me happy. I haven't PR'd at the marathon distance in almost a year and I'm ready for it. I need it. 

C Goal - BQ. Anything under 3:35. I'm not sure I'll do Boston more than once, but I want to keep hit the BQ standard.

D Goal - Finish happy. This race is epic. I am so lucky to get to run one of the world marathon majors. The crowd and course should be an amazing experience. If nothing else goes as planned, I want to at least enjoy running through such an amazing city.

Race Plan & Fueling - My race plan is pretty simple. I'm going to stay with the 3:20 pace group. If I feel good, I plan on breaking off the last 5-7 miles to try to get under 3:20. If things go badly, I plan on just trying to stay with them for as long as I can. I'm not going to bring a water bottle with me, so I'll be taking water on the course. This will be a first for me. I also will be taking the Glukos gels for fuel. Because they are more liquidy, if I get to a point where I need to finish or start a gel and water isn't clearly in sight, it will be easier than with the thicker gels I normally take.

There's so much left to do before we leave in the morning and I'm really excited about our trip (or at least all the things I'll get to eat after the race)! Wishing everyone the best of luck this weekend!