Chicago feels like the close of a huge chapter in my athletic life. It's the closing of the past two years steady declines in performance due to lack of proper training, nutrition, and recovery. I've reflected a lot since Sunday, and there are a lot of conflicting emotions. I'm not ready to put them all on the internet, but I'll share a couple.
There was no way I was going to PR on Sunday -my body was still too damn tired. Lets not forget in addition to everything else, I also completed a 70.3 just 4 weeks before the marathon. Did I race it hard? Nope. But I was out there swim/bike/run for 6 hours - my longest training day ever. However, I would be lying if I said I wasn't hoping for one of those special days in Chicago where it all magically comes together. That didn't happen, and I'm at peace with it at the moment. I did what I set out to do, which is collect data that will allow me to become faster in 2012. I also finished the race feeling good - as of Tuesday, my legs felt totally fine. It's a blessing, but also a reminder that I didn't push these legs as hard as they can go.
I'm hungry - I want to be faster than ever before. I want to start ticking off PR's, one at a time. I don't want anymore "have fun" marathons - or big races for that matter. I want to start every goal race fully tapered and mentally ready to put absolutely everything I have out there. I love to compete, and I want to get back to that place where the smiles come from passing people on the roads.
I look forward to 2012, it's going to be the year of the comeback for this girl. I can't wait to get back in the saddle, train hard, and see results. I'm ready to sweat a lot in 2012, and put in more miles than ever before. The difference is that next year, I'm going to do it the right way. And I'm so damn excited.
I'll leave you with a couple more pictures from Chicago - thank you everyone for your support!
Up next - the best marathon sports bra EVER!! And yes, I bought it in Chicago on Saturday - I broke the cardinal rule of not trying something new on race day and it was awesome!! ;)