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<div style="text-align:center;"><span style="color:#000080;"><span style="font-size:large;">A Distance Runner Once Again</span></span></div>
Posted 09-02-2008 at 12:05 PM by CMJHawk86<br><br>
After being injured this past spring, missing Boston, recovering and then restarting a training program in July, it was finally time this Labor Day weekend to see if I was ready for the final push to my new target marathon in November. I picked a local race in Alexandria, VA, one which I've run before called the International Peace Half Marathon. It's a fairly challenging course, along the Mt. Vernon bike trail, which has some pretty tough hills in places.<br><br>
I should also mention that I "trained through" this race, doing my regularly planned 18-miler on Saturday, only 2 days before the race.<br><br>
After a light breakfast at home and a short drive, I got to the site with about 45 minutes to spare, plenty of time, almost too much -- except for the fact I'm having some serious GI discomfort. Headed straight for the bathroom (this after a trip at home), and hoped I had finally gotten rid of it all. Then I got my chip, headed back to the car to put in on my shoes and then it was time for quick warmup. I decided to just do 2.5 minutes out & back on the trail, jogging lightly on the way out but doing 2 30-second pickups on the way back, then some stretching. Overall I was surprised how loose my legs felt after going more than 18 miles just 2 days ago. I was also relieved to notice that my stomach for now, was settling. Nevertheless I made one more potty stop on my way to the start...not taking any chances.<br><br>
A few minutes later we were off. We started on the grass near the waterfront and then had to make a quick, somewhat sharp turn onto the Mt. Vernon bike trail. I could hear some people stumbling a bit behind me but I took it slow until we got on the pavement and had no problem. OK, now time to get to work. I didn't think a whole lot about strategy beforehand, other than to try and stay loose and relaxed for the first 5 miles then see what happened. First mile in 6:27...whoa, that's a little fast but I felt good.<br><br>
Next 2 miles were a little more to form, 6:50 & 6:55. Still felt OK. But Mile 4 is where the fun begins with rolling hills. 4 & 5 went down in 7:04 & 7:09 as there were some big climbs. OK, so I'm through 5 miles, but loose and relaxed? Not so much.<br><br>
In Mile 6 I fought back for a 7:01 but then in Mile 7 the hills had their say. First you climb to the turnaround, then those downhills I had in Mile 6 are waiting, snickering. I struggle through a 7:12 and now my legs feel like mush. Worse, my body starts telling me I didn't hydrate enough yesterday. Somewhere during Mile 8 I fight back the urge to puke. At the next water station I take in as much as I can, try to stabilize my breathing, but I miss the split. Two mile split at Mile 9 is 14:21. My legs are trashed but again my insides seem to be stabilizing.<br><br>
Mile 10 means more hills. Ugh. At this point I know I'm hanging on to 20th place, gaining on the guy ahead of me. I take him but a few minutes later 2 other guys mow me down. I want to go with them but legs just won't. This turns out to be my worst mile of the day at 7:18.<br><br>
But I know it's just a 5k to home. I can do that...c'mon! Split in 7:17. Then in Mile 12 I catch someone who tore out early and must have bonked. I approach and take him down easily. I'm back in the top 20, but can I hold on? 7:15 split. With 1.1 left I know there's no one close behind and the guy ahead is probably out of reach, plus he seems to getting a second wind. I tell myself again, just hold on, a PR (totally unexpected today) is in reach! Mile 13 in 7:13.<br><br>
Now it's time for that finish, I step it as best I can and bring it home in 1:32:53. And yes, that is a PR by 0:26. The best part about that is I know that if I had properly tapered for this race, instead of doing my long run 2 days before it, I could probably have done no worse than 3 minutes faster, maybe 4.<br><br>
All in all I couldn't be more pleased with this result. I would have been totally fine with a 1:34 or 1:35 today. To go 1:32 under these conditions has me stunned. I really didn't think I had it in me given how I felt early this morning.<br><br>
And now, I'm totally energized for September when it's time to really start locking in!
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