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Chicago 11: Over the Edge

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Post  Dave-O on Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:52 pm

After taking a week off from even really thinking about running, I figure its time I own up to my disastrous performance and pen a report. Though, it can be summed up succinctly in four words: The Marathon owns me.

Nothing went right from the start. I had trouble holding down any calories in the morning and the predicted starting temps never dipped into the 50’s as forecasted. I went through the half in 1:18, already working too hard, and stumbled home in 2:51. The cramps hit earlier than ever, this year materializing as early as mile 18. I suffered through a miserable final eight miles, as I have too many times in the Chicago marathon. The thought of dropping out never really crossed my mind because frankly, I didn’t want to think about gearing back up for another race this fall. See? That’s ownership.

Sure, it’s easy to dismiss this as a bad day, but the truth of the matter is that I haven’t run a good marathon in over two years, since my 2:34 in the fall of 2009. That’s a long time. And I’ve run a lot of miles in the interim, as in, close to 9,000. It’s a tough pill to swallow to continue to dedicate such a large portion of my life to seemingly move backwards. I know I don’t race well in warm conditions, so this one isn’t entirely on me, but still, I didn’t expect such a massive blow up. It’s not like the mercury hit 90.

But there’s no use dwelling on it; it was a poor performance, much like the rest of 2011. Take it like a man and move on. Like Chris said as we commiserated afterwards, if a poor race is the worst thing we have going on in our lives, then we have it pretty good.

I don’t know what’s next for me. Right now, I know I don’t feel like thinking much about running and need some downtime. I won’t dial it back quite like I did last year – where my wedding and honeymoon pretty much eliminated running from my daily routine – but I also don’t want anything structured for a few weeks. I’ll know when the time is right to dial back up again.
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Post  Jerry on Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:25 pm

Chicago is just bad!
Sad
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Post  Michael Enright on Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:39 pm

Sorry to hear about your bad experience Dave.

I love the city, having lived there for the first 35 years of my life, but I think it is time for people to run other marathons instead. I ran Chicago in 2008, and it was a disaster.

I think its been somewhere between too hot and way too hot for '07, '08, '10 and '11. That's four out of the last five years. That's just a bad bet at this point. Sure, we can all hope for weather like in '09, but the odds don't seem good any more.

I say try a different fall marathon, and focus on the later ones.

You have too much talent to waste the effort on a bad bet.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:49 pm

Not much I can say other than Mike said it well in the post above. I had a 13 yr hiatus between running my PR marathon in 1987 and my next one in the fall of 2000, and many life things changed in that time frame. I never gave up running, but I did a lot of focusing on shorter races (10Ks and half marathons) and other such stuff. No harm in any of that, but I would not waste your running talent and give it up all together - just change your focus.
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Post  Dave-O on Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:27 pm

@Jerry wrote:Chicago is just bad!
Sad

True that.

@Michael Enright wrote:Sorry to hear about your bad experience Dave.

I love the city, having lived there for the first 35 years of my life, but I think it is time for people to run other marathons instead. I ran Chicago in 2008, and it was a disaster.

I think its been somewhere between too hot and way too hot for '07, '08, '10 and '11. That's four out of the last five years. That's just a bad bet at this point. Sure, we can all hope for weather like in '09, but the odds don't seem good any more.

I say try a different fall marathon, and focus on the later ones.

You have too much talent to waste the effort on a bad bet.

I do think I will try a different marathon next fall. Even if the weather is good, mentally I need a new course.

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Not much I can say other than Mike said it well in the post above. I had a 13 yr hiatus between running my PR marathon in 1987 and my next one in the fall of 2000, and many life things changed in that time frame. I never gave up running, but I did a lot of focusing on shorter races (10Ks and half marathons) and other such stuff. No harm in any of that, but I would not waste your running talent and give it up all together - just change your focus.

Thanks Michele. I'm not ready to give it up, but do need a change in approach one way or another.
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Post  Dave-O on Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:37 pm

Looking fast, but probably working too hard.

Chicago 11: Over the Edge Cm11510

Heading back into the loop, not as comfortable as I should be.

Chicago 11: Over the Edge Cm11210

Definitely too stressed for approximately mile 15.

Chicago 11: Over the Edge Cm11310

Why. Won't. This. Race. End.

Chicago 11: Over the Edge Cm11410

Misery. I need a beer or twelve.

Chicago 11: Over the Edge Cm11110

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Post  fostever on Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:47 pm

Not a bad time for a blow up. My brother had a PR back in the 80's of 2:22 and had a 2:46 in Philly one year during his peak. Like you said you like cooler weather and 2009 was a great scenario. Be patient and you may just get another one of those PR scenarios sooner than you think. I would not look at this as a defeat, but a step toward future gains! Way to hang tough and finish, Dave. That should pay dividends on a day when you feel strong at the end!
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Post  scottk on Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:08 pm

Tough day. Interesting article in the current Runner's World about the marathon and how challenging it is to be able to run it (if looking for optimal performance) only once or twice a year.

If you and Britt need some time away, Las Vegas on Dec. 4th still has openings for the HM. At night. An out and back on the strip. In Vegas. Just sayin'.

Good luck with your recovery.
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Post  Mark B on Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:33 pm

Well, that just stinks. If anybody deserved a break after a string of unsatisfying marathons, it was you. But it seems that very few people did well in Chicago this year. It's probably little comfort, but you were far from alone out there.

I couldn't help but noticing in those last two photos that your running shorts are drenched. So either you were tossing water on yourself to cool down (bad sign), or you were sweating so much you saturated your gear (worse sign). Either way, the conditions were apparently worse than they appeared.

I know I've suggested this before, but I'll do it one more time. Maybe it's time to bag Chicago for a year (or more) and aim for an early December race where you'd be more likely to get conditions more amenable to racing well. The California International Marathon would be a good example. It's a good course with great organization. I think you'd like it.

But that's later. For now, rest and recover.
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Post  Jack_Scaff on Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:46 pm

@Dave-O wrote: if a poor race is the worst thing we have going on in our lives, then we have it pretty good.

+1, my man.

And a comment and a question from an oaf like me.

Would a lighter training schedule do your body right?

Secondly...there are plenty of (formerly middle, quickly dropping to) back-of-the-pack turkeys like me that find yours, along with so many others here, to be incredibly impressive runners. That and 2 bucks will get you an Old Style at happy hour somewhere I guess.
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Post  jon c on Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:54 pm

Sorry your racing hasn't turned out like you'd like it to. It's got to be very frustrating putting the amount of mileage and effort into training like you all do. Hope that once you make your future plans they will work out well for you. I still think it's a possibility that you all run with so much intensity in a lot of your workouts that it makes it easier to overtrain and or flame out easier. I found that once I put my watch away for most of my runs, and ran easy for a lot of them, it peeled some minutes from my time. I realize you're in a different class of runner than I am so there may be some differences there. Anyway I wish you the best. You definitely don't have these issues from lack of effort, that's for sure.
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Post  Bob on Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:39 pm

Jon kind of beat me to it. I don't know half about training as you or Greg, but as I continue to be amazed, and even brag to others, about the mileage you guys put in, I too wonder if it's too much. What about hiring a coach (McMillan?) just for a different approach?

You're definitely young enough to still make PR's, and I don't think the marathon owns you. I just think the Bank of America added a year or two to your payments. You'll get the ownership soon.


Last edited by Bob on Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Diego on Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:54 pm

Dave-O, I can't wait to see what you do in a cooler race. Everyone talks about 2009--the only recent cool year, but they forget how bad the weather was on Saturday. 20-30 mph winds and a wind chill near 10 degrees!! We got lucky on Sunday.

If I had known that the weather would be 65 at the start, instead of 55, I would have activated that shock collar to prevent you, Chris and Jim from starting.

If you decide to try another state, consider Maine, Steamtown, the Rocket City Marathon, Toronto, and Eugene(seems like a gimme bet to me--you know, with you and Nike as tight as you are and the history of Eugene). I don't know if you could contain your excitement. And think of the beer and pinot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oops. I guess Portland is in the fall and Eugene in in the Spring. Both are good choices, tho.

Chicago 11: Over the Edge 1193849567

Good luck with whatever you decide and Happy Belated Anniversary to you and Britt!!


Last edited by Diego on Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post  dot520 on Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:06 pm

Oh, I don't think I'd ever say that the marathon owns you, but it certainly has you on a leash. It was just poor luck for the items out of your circle of influence...you were well trained and no reason not to reach your goals with what you were responsible for. You finished, it's over. Congratulations on gutting it out and finishing. I'm just really sorry it had this sort of ending.

Then again....this isn't your last race...so I'm still one of your biggest fans and looking forward to your next event.
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Post  Chris M on Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:44 pm

.[/quote]

I do think I will try a different marathon next fall. Even if the weather is good, mentally I need a new course.

[quote=""]


Philly 2012? It is always cold. Flat/fast course. Lots of fast people for you to run with. And we have a free place to stay with Dan perfectly situated 1/4 mile from the start/finish. You could even do Chicago 2012 as a slow LSD run. Hmmmm. Think on it. Drink on it.
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Post  Matt W on Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:17 pm



I'm sorry the race didn't go the way it should have. It seems like you've had a good attitude following your disappointment. Knowing how hard you work, I realize how frustrating it must be not having your outstanding training rewarded with a PR. You are just starting your marathon peak years so I hope you start a string of amazing races soon. Maybe a change of scenery will do some some good if that's the route you decide to go. I hope your time away from a structured schedule helps you refresh and refocus on what you want to do. Sometimes we need to stop chasing the marathon and let the race come to us. I know you have some great races coming your way. Recover well.
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Post  JohnP on Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:08 pm

That was a tough day and a tough race, Dave. I agree on all the advice on a November/December marathon. Even then, it's still the luck of the draw as Diego pointed out, it would be really windy out. I've had such good luck at Philly but it seems like there are plenty of other good ones out there too. Good luck, unfortunately we need a bit of that with marathons.
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Post  ssilvert on Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:56 am

As another runner show is just trying to regain his 2009 form, I can sympathize.

But don't discount the heat too much. A taller runner like yourself will be more affected than others.

I'm sure if you run some shorter races in the cooler weather you'll be able to feel fast and regain confidence. But most of all, just enjoy it the blessings of being active and striving to do your best.

Stan
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Post  healdgator on Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:25 am

Sorry, Dave. I feel for all of you who had bad days b/c of the effort and time and heart all of you put in to getting ready for it. It really does consume a large part of the limited free time we have. For it to be for naught, well, that just sucks.

I understand your belief that the marathon owns you. It's the competition, you against the race. I look at it the same way. Looking at it from the outside though, it doesn't own you. It has won a couple of rounds. It is imminently beatable, and you will get it back.
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Post  Alex Kubacki on Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:53 am

Sorry about the difficult day Dave. Take a mental break and re-evaluate everything. It does seem like a new course might be a good option for you.
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Post  Dave-O on Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:56 am

@fostever wrote:Not a bad time for a blow up. My brother had a PR back in the 80's of 2:22 and had a 2:46 in Philly one year during his peak. Like you said you like cooler weather and 2009 was a great scenario. Be patient and you may just get another one of those PR scenarios sooner than you think. I would not look at this as a defeat, but a step toward future gains! Way to hang tough and finish, Dave. That should pay dividends on a day when you feel strong at the end!

Thanks Steve. This sport definitely takes a lot of patience....step forward.

@scottk wrote:Tough day. Interesting article in the current Runner's World about the marathon and how challenging it is to be able to run it (if looking for optimal performance) only once or twice a year.

If you and Britt need some time away, Las Vegas on Dec. 4th still has openings for the HM. At night. An out and back on the strip. In Vegas. Just sayin'.

Good luck with your recovery.

Thanks Scott. We already have trips planned in November and January, so a trip to Sin City in December is no good. Plus, I don't think I'd want to worry about running if I was in Vegas... Twisted Evil

@Mark B wrote:Well, that just stinks. If anybody deserved a break after a string of unsatisfying marathons, it was you. But it seems that very few people did well in Chicago this year. It's probably little comfort, but you were far from alone out there.

I couldn't help but noticing in those last two photos that your running shorts are drenched. So either you were tossing water on yourself to cool down (bad sign), or you were sweating so much you saturated your gear (worse sign). Either way, the conditions were apparently worse than they appeared.

I know I've suggested this before, but I'll do it one more time. Maybe it's time to bag Chicago for a year (or more) and aim for an early December race where you'd be more likely to get conditions more amenable to racing well. The California International Marathon would be a good example. It's a good course with great organization. I think you'd like it.

But that's later. For now, rest and recover.

I poured water on my head, but that drenching is due to sweat. Yeah, it wasn't scorching hot, but like I said, heat really affects me. Those pictures do make it look warm. My face is quite flushed.

I do think I'll be skipping Chicago next year- or just using it as some sort of training run. CIM is a possibility.
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Post  Dave-O on Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:02 am

@Jack_Scaff wrote:

Would a lighter training schedule do your body right?

Secondly...there are plenty of (formerly middle, quickly dropping to) back-of-the-pack turkeys like me that find yours, along with so many others here, to be incredibly impressive runners. That and 2 bucks will get you an Old Style at happy hour somewhere I guess.

Its a fair question, and you're not the only one to ask, my wife included. I've given some thought in the past week, and I truly think 100-110 miles is where I need to be. Here's why:

I can think back to three periods with at least 8 weeks of sustained lower mileage. First, in 2009 before the XC Champiosnhips, I put in 50-70 miles per week. While it allowed me to hammer speed workouts, I felt my endurance sucked. After 90 minutes of a long run my effort level would noticeable increase. I couldn't have run a marathon on that mileage.

Second, the two times I've run Indy Mini, I've hung around 80-90 miles per week for periods. Again, I would struggle on 20 milers, and would need to slow my pace considerably. I don't think I could have PR'd a marathon on that mileage.

Maybe I'm crazy, but things just feel different when I have a huge aerobic base under me. Can any other high mileage folks explain it better? Sure there's muscle fatigue, but once you get moving, its like you can run for days on end without tiring. At least for me, that's what high mileage does.

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Post  Dave-O on Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:06 am

@jon c wrote:Sorry your racing hasn't turned out like you'd like it to. It's got to be very frustrating putting the amount of mileage and effort into training like you all do. Hope that once you make your future plans they will work out well for you. I still think it's a possibility that you all run with so much intensity in a lot of your workouts that it makes it easier to overtrain and or flame out easier. I found that once I put my watch away for most of my runs, and ran easy for a lot of them, it peeled some minutes from my time. I realize you're in a different class of runner than I am so there may be some differences there. Anyway I wish you the best. You definitely don't have these issues from lack of effort, that's for sure.

I've been better about putting my watch away, and I'm confident I didn't overtain this cycle. I felt under control the entire time. Oh well, things just didn't come together.

@Bob wrote:Jon kind of beat me to it. I don't know half about training as you or Greg, but as I continue to be amazed, and even brag to others, about the mileage you guys put in, I too wonder if it's too much. What about hiring a coach (McMillan?) just for a different approach?

You're definitely young enough to still make PR's, and I don't think the marathon owns you. I just think the Bank of America added a year or two to your payments. You'll get the ownership soon.

I have considered hiring a coach. I almost went with Hudson this past cycle but I thought it was a little more than I wanted to pay for a coach that was many states away. I need to give coaching another thought though, because if nothing else, I need to shake things up.

@Diego wrote:
If you decide to try another state, consider Maine, Steamtown, the Rocket City Marathon, Toronto, and Eugene(seems like a gimme bet to me--you know, with you and Nike as tight as you are and the history of Eugene). I don't know if you could contain your excitement. And think of the beer and pinot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oops. I guess Portland is in the fall and Eugene in in the Spring. Both are good choices, tho.

Good luck with whatever you decide and Happy Belated Anniversary to you and Britt!!

The races you listed are all possibilities. First I need to decide whether to go half or full in the spring. I do want to run the XC Championships in St. Louis in February though.

You're still early on the Anniversary - its this Sunday. We have a nice Saturday night planned, and then we're going on Honeymoon Part II over Thanksgiving - hopefully this time without a hurricane.

@dot520 wrote:Oh, I don't think I'd ever say that the marathon owns you, but it certainly has you on a leash. It was just poor luck for the items out of your circle of influence...you were well trained and no reason not to reach your goals with what you were responsible for. You finished, it's over. Congratulations on gutting it out and finishing. I'm just really sorry it had this sort of ending.

Then again....this isn't your last race...so I'm still one of your biggest fans and looking forward to your next event.

Haha, ok, on a leash, I can accept that. Thanks Dot.
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Post  Dave-O on Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:09 am

@Chris M wrote:

Philly 2012? It is always cold. Flat/fast course. Lots of fast people for you to run with. And we have a free place to stay with Dan perfectly situated 1/4 mile from the start/finish. You could even do Chicago 2012 as a slow LSD run. Hmmmm. Think on it. Drink on it.

Philly is a definitely possibility, with Chicago as a training run. I will drink on it.

@Matt W wrote:
I'm sorry the race didn't go the way it should have. It seems like you've had a good attitude following your disappointment. Knowing how hard you work, I realize how frustrating it must be not having your outstanding training rewarded with a PR. You are just starting your marathon peak years so I hope you start a string of amazing races soon. Maybe a change of scenery will do some some good if that's the route you decide to go. I hope your time away from a structured schedule helps you refresh and refocus on what you want to do. Sometimes we need to stop chasing the marathon and let the race come to us. I know you have some great races coming your way. Recover well.

Thanks Matt, all good advice.

@JohnP wrote:That was a tough day and a tough race, Dave. I agree on all the advice on a November/December marathon. Even then, it's still the luck of the draw as Diego pointed out, it would be really windy out. I've had such good luck at Philly but it seems like there are plenty of other good ones out there too. Good luck, unfortunately we need a bit of that with marathons.

Thanks John.

@ssilvert wrote:As another runner show is just trying to regain his 2009 form, I can sympathize.

But don't discount the heat too much. A taller runner like yourself will be more affected than others.

I'm sure if you run some shorter races in the cooler weather you'll be able to feel fast and regain confidence. But most of all, just enjoy it the blessings of being active and striving to do your best.

Stan

Indeed Stan. Its been too long since I've seen a string of fast races. I need that.

@healdgator wrote:Sorry, Dave. I feel for all of you who had bad days b/c of the effort and time and heart all of you put in to getting ready for it. It really does consume a large part of the limited free time we have. For it to be for naught, well, that just sucks.

I understand your belief that the marathon owns you. It's the competition, you against the race. I look at it the same way. Looking at it from the outside though, it doesn't own you. It has won a couple of rounds. It is imminently beatable, and you will get it back.

Well it definitely took that last round....

@Alex Kubacki wrote:Sorry about the difficult day Dave. Take a mental break and re-evaluate everything. It does seem like a new course might be a good option for you.

Thanks Alex.
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Post  Jim Lentz on Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:47 am

I don't do well in the warmer races either. Have you considered a spring marathon, Illinois or Green Bay? Both are well run and fast courses.
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