2016 was a busy year - in total, I ran eight races. While four of them were all in one weekend for Disney's Dopey Challenge, it was still a lot of early mornings for me. For 2017, I am going to scale things back a bit - which really just means removing the one racing weekend.
F3 Half Marathon
My favorite half marathon in Chicago is the F^3 Lake Half Marathon. My current personal record for a half marathon is 1:36:44, coming from last year's race. I enjoy the race because it is small enough that I feel competative, but it is large enough that the course does not feel empty. My first goal is to clear 1:35:00, with a rocket goal of finishing under 1:30:00 (6:51/mile). Ninty minutes to run 31.1 miles. Just thinking about it makes me think I might be approaching an acceptable pace to be called fast. This race is heavily weather dependent; if winds are calm and the course is dry, then I expect good things.
I have been doing a different spring marathon each year for the past two years - Wisconsin and New Jersey. In the spirit of trying something new, I'll be heading to Michigan for this year's spring marathon, running the Kalamazoo Marathon at the Borgess Run. My goal is to finish under 3:15:00 (7:26/mile); which, conveniently, is also the fastest pace group that the race offers. My goal is to hold tight with them for as long as I can. If I am feeling really good after 18 miles, then I might try to go ahead of them. Otherwise, I will be thoroughly thrilled with crossing with the group. As with all of my races, the minimum goal for me is to beat my PR of 3:21:43.
Some Unnamed 5k
For the past four years, I have run the Burgers & Beer 5k. I am undecided if I want to run that race again, or find some other 5k. Last year, I was doing a #Whole30, so I couldn't eat the burger or the beer. It lost a lot of the luster. I would be willing to do it again, if I knew that I would not be on a restricted diet on race day. Otherwise, I will run one of the many other 5k races the city has during the summer. My options are not slim. My goal would be to beat my PR - 19:21 (6:13/mile).
Chicago Marathon 2017
This will be my fifth Chicago Marathon in a row, and if all goes well, will be the race that I finally qualify for the Boston Marathon - thus running that race in April 2019. Since I would be 37 on race day, my qualifying standard is 3:10:00; but with the way they do actual selection, I am aiming for 3:05:00 (7:03/mile). Five full minutes under the standard should be plenty to clear selection cutoffs.