I don't plan to just finish the Chicago marathon. I expect to run it and destroy my PR in the process. I still debate the goal time pretty much every time I run and have excess thinking time. I don't want a simple PR but a huge one, like 20-30 minutes. I'm training for a 4:35 finish but I know there will be so many people that it'll be impossible to hit the corners and tangents exactly so I'll be over mileage. Do I add 5 minutes allowance for that? 10?
In the quest for a big fat PR I've changed plans, going from 4 runs a week to 6. I'm trying to lose weight so I have less to carry around, or at least not gain any. Nancy asked if I wanted to do the Akron marathon as a trial run, but after a little thought I had to decline because the marbles have always been solely in Chicago. I read an article in Runners World about a woman training for an Ironman. A lot of what she said is completely apropos for Chicago - the bigger the goal, the more flexible your ideas of what is "normal." Not to mention that the closer it gets, the more willing you are to do just about anything to finish the goal. Cortisone? Bring it on! (just an example, not personal experience) Veterinary liniment gel? Got it! I follow an 18-week training program and as early as week 2 I told Bill I would be DEVASTATED if I failed to PR in Chicago.
When I toe the line, I'll be the best prepared I've ever been and there will be no luck involved, but careful preparation and laser focus so I can hit my PR and promptly retire*. See you at the finish line!