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Archive for March 28th, 2011

When I first made my 25 for 25 list, I thought for sure that the running goals would be the hardest to accomplish.

And then I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could get my sub-10 average pace if I did a race that was short enough that I could essentially sprint the entire thing. So the boyfriend paced me for the Love the Run You’re With 5k, and it was a success! Check one more thing off my list.

What I didn’t expect was that I’d accomplish that sub-10 goal twice.

This past weekend was the National SunTrust Marathon and Half-Marathon. Last year, this race was my first marathon. This year I opted to “just” do half.

Photo stolen from the boyfriend; post half-marathon (as you can see by the medals)

My initial goal was to beat the time I’d gotten at the LA Half-Marathon back in January. I always run a little better in cooler weather, and I knew what to expect from this course. But then, as the race drew closer and my training runs were fewer and farther between, I amended my goal to just enjoying myself. Gotta love lowering the bar.

When I stopped just after the first mile into the race for a bathroom break, I was even happier that I hadn’t established a time goal. Because of course I’d never make it with a stop. So I just ran, enjoyed myself, soaked in the sun, and appreciated the spectators.

Eventually I started to realize that I was actually making up the time that I’d stopped. Guillermo was telling me that I was keeping a steady pace, complete with several sub-10 miles! And I thought, maybe, just maybe, I could still make my original goal of a better time than LA (2:15:55)!

The thought gave me a little extra kick in my step and propelled me through the slight rolling hills. I was also wondering, in the back of my mind, if I’d ever catch up with the boyfriend. He’d gained a lead since I stopped for my potty break, so I hadn’t seen him since just after mile 1.

That is – until mile 9.

I spotted the familiar jacket stopping for a water break, and I said hello with an encouraging slap on the ass, naturally. And then I kept looking, side to side, sure that he would be right next to me to run the remainder of the race. And sure that he would pass me. (I haven’t beaten him in a race since March 2009.)

Honestly, I was expecting him to come out of nowhere and pass me just as we were nearing the finish line. Instead, he caught up around mile 12.5 and we ran the rest of the way together. And it was the perfect way to end the race.

When I stopped Guillermo and saw my time, I could not stop grinning. To call what I was feeling a runner’s high is an understatement. Not only had I killed my 2:15:55 goal, but I’d also managed to do another race with a sub-10 average (even though that fact didn’t sink in until later)!

I ran this half in 2:08:38 – my second best half-marathon time ever, and definitely my Post-Injury Personal Record (PIPR, as I affectionately call it). And, if you subtract the 3 minutes I lost to the bathroom break, it’s my best time overall. Ever.

To be honest, I’m still on a little bit of a runner’s high. And if this high carries over into the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler this weekend? Well, who am I to fight it?

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