A little victory goes a long way

A bonk out of my 18 miler last week and a week of pain left me feeling deflated about marathon training. Everything hurt and I was exhausted to my core. However, today’s run at the Parks Half Marathon has completely renewed my spirit! I went into the race telling myself it would be better than Riley’s but not to make any expectations. Just run comfortably and hold back if necessary.

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Always fun to start a race with this guy.

We have trained this course all summer. Up and down the “Silencer” in the humid swelter of July will kill your spirit but make you stronger. The long stretches between Ken-gar and anywhere will make you curse the Rock Creek Trail but will allow you to kick total a$& come September. I know this for a fact because I felt completely awesome today.

I did start out conservatively with a 10:32 first mile-this was mostly downhill. I saw many of my long run friends whip ahead of me but I just stayed the course. Once we hit the trail around mile 3, it felt like any other Sunday. Except I felt really good. So I ran a little faster. Up and over the Silencer, I passed a bunch of people. I took advantage of my yard being at mile 6 and ditched my water bottle. I felt free. As we crossed Connecticut and heard towards Mormon Temple, I found myself picking up the pace. And then a little more. I took a mile at sub 10. Well, that was neat, said my inner monologue. As we switched off the RCT and into the Georgetown Branch-with two miles to go I finally checked my overall time. I was still under 2 hours so I did some quick math-yes, I did math. If I pushed, I had the chance to break 2:10. So off I pushed and then some more. When I passed my pace coach, I knew I must be cooking. It would be very close. As my watched clicked over 2:09, I knew breaking 2:10 wasn’t happening but I still wanted to go hard. So I did. And came flying through the finish chute at exactly 2:11 (Garmin said 2:10:59….)

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Whoa. Well, that was totally unexpected. I haven’t raced this well in a while. Sure, I didn’t break land speed records, but I felt great. Even when my quad and hip were screaming for the last five miles, I pushed through it. It was a great practice of mind over body. A few hours later, I’m still combating a headache from the lack of proper hydration, but this was just a lesson learned. Water in the early miles is so important-I really neglected it and now, at 8pm, my head has still not recovered. Also, looking in on my splits (see below) I’m still really inconsistent. Some of it is course related but some of it is working out my slower internal pace calculator. I need more time on the track to work out this issue.

For now, I bask in the bliss that is feeling good about a run/race. My mind and my body are exhausted, but immensely happy. 7 weeks to go until Marine Corps. I now feel with a few more weeks of hard work-I will be ready.

Splits:

1: 10:32, 2: 10:00, 3: 10:21, 4: 10:13, 5: 10:17, 6: 10: 08, 7: 10:03, 8: 10: 15, 9: 9:50, 10: 9:57, 11: 9:32, 12: 9:05, 13: 8:48 (holy flat pushing Batman…), .1: 1:58

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Happy to be finished and re-united.

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