Are you running the Chicago Marathon? Here's how to set reasonable expectations

A lot of people, first time marathoners especially, say that all they want is to just finish the race.  And while that is an accomplishment to be proud of, it's sort of a lie.  Almost everyone who signs up for the marathon has a time goal in mind, even if they keep it to themselves.  You cannot help it. You want something to show for your months of blood, sweat and carbo loading.

Unfortunately, there are some things you cannot control, like the weather or how you feel on Race Day.  As of today, the advanced forecast for Sunday calls for Thunderstorms. And guess what?  This is Chicago where the weather changes more frequently than an understudy in Cabaret -- by Sunday the forecast might be hot instead of cold.

I've seen this movie before.  The Chicago Marathon of 2007 was ridiculously hot even before the gun even went off.  In 2008 the start was comfortable enough but the temperature climbed quickly. In 2010, the weather betrayed us again.

If you have a bad 5K, you can go out the next week and run another one to make up for it.  But with marathons, you pretty much get one shot, unless you are one of those freaks of nature that can run a marathon every weekend or even every day. All that training and sacrifice and if it isn't your day, there's not much you can do about it...except adjust your perspective and expectations.

According to my Athlinks account, I've run the Chicago Marathon 11 times.  I also ran a makeup marathon along the Lakefront after that devastating 2007 heat wave.   I've run marathons in other cities and countries too and the one thing they all have in common -- besides 26.2 miles -- is that you run the race you are given, not the one you want.

It's perfectly normal to expect a certain outcome.  Believe me, I've been the victim of my own unchecked ego many times.  I've learned the hard way that if you don't keep your expectations in check, you are likely to have an emotionally disappointing day. Here's how you do it:  Set at least 4 goals.

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Filed under: Marathon Monday

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