I haven’t written in awhile and while that’s been unintentional, it still feels a bit remiss.
After Erie, I felt sort of bittersweet. Actually, bittersweet is a good way for me to describe this entire year in terms of running. I’ve had more downs than ever when it comes to racing. But I also hit 2 PR’s in the half and full marathon distance.
I hit a half PR after Erie about a month later, at Grand Rapids. The last half that I raced was in 2013, and I ran around 1:51. I signed up for the GR half 3 days before, since I had friends running the race. It was kind of cool to run the half this year, since GR was my first sub 4 marathon last year. However, I was still a little nervous. My longest run prior was 10 miles (after Erie, I got sick and took some extended rest). I truly had no clue how I was going to feel (especially in that last 10k) or what I would run. When I registered, the website asked me to guess what my finish time would be, so I put 1:47.
On race day, I felt a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to hit the splits my coach gave me, but decided I would just try my best. I started out conservatively, then settled into a groove and hung on exactly to the pace she wanted (7:55). I focused on those splits the entire time while racing, not paying attention to my actual overall time. Around mile 6, a friend running the course ran with me a couple miles and we chatted. I was surprised at how easily I was able to talk at that pace! I felt pretty good, but continued to focus, because I knew that last 5k was going to be a wild card. When I turned off around 9 miles, I said goodbye to my distracting friend and pressed on to the finished. Once I got to 11 miles, I kicked it up a little more because I knew the end was near. When I hit the finish line and saw 1:44:xx, I was very shocked.
What happened after I crossed was even more shocking — I was about a minute faster than that — 1:43:52 overall! 7:55 pace exactly.
To be honest, this year has not been my favorite year for running. I haven’t felt “fast” and I’ve watched other friends gain amazing progress, and I just felt kind of… blah. On this day, for the first time in a LONG time… I felt fast. I felt like an actual contender in terms of what I believe I’m capable of. It was one of the few races I have ever finished and didn’t think “I could’ve done this this better”. I was just pleased with my results.
And now… I’m going through a bit of some other issues, that I won’t dwell on here about for now. Not because I enjoy vague blogging, but because I have spent enough damn time feeling sorry for myself and alone, and I’m sick of it. It’s my own figurative punch in the face. It’s off season. I’m grateful for being able to complete my third marathon and get a PR in the full and half distance. I’m trying to look forward to the future, instead of focusing on current setbacks.
I can be very hard on myself, as many of us are. It’s hard to focus on the here and now when you are the type that is always looking ahead. Truly, I believe that what is happening to me now is forcing me to realize the value in both. And to remember that even if things lapse, I can get back to where I was and be even stronger. I’ve watched friends endure terrible hardships and injuries and come back gracefully and triumphantly. It’s off season, guys! No need to take it so seriously for now.