Train for the race you’re running…

Today, on one of the first mild spring mornings of the year, I ran ~13.5 of the best, most joyful, comfortable, easy-light-smooth (for you Caballo fans) miles I’ve ever run.

Now, before you go thinking this is a completely “happy-go-lucky” post, you also need to know that this got me just past the halfway point of the Tobacco Road Marathon. The ~12.7 remaining miles were some of the most painful, queasy, uncomfortable, and heartbreaking I’ve ever experienced.

And to be honest, I’m not ALL that surprised.

I mean it all makes sense. My heart and mind weren’t fully “into” the training. I missed several runs. I really only planned the weekend long runs and probably should have planned more weekday mileage, meaning I never really got my weekly mileage where it should have been. I knew this all along the way, but came up with plenty of excuses and was filled with hope that race day would come around, the stars would all align for me, and somehow it simply wouldn’t matter.

And like I said, for the first just under 14 miles, I believed it was happening. I went in with no other plan than to run for as long as I could as quickly as I could, eat something every 5-6 miles, drink something at nearly every water/gatorade stop, and hope that got me close enough to the finish for adrenaline to pull me across the finish.

But, there’s also a little ghost that’s been haunting me and I didn’t realize just how much he was haunting me until this afternoon as I reflected on my race during the drive home. This little ghost is .224 seconds, a seemingly insignificant amount of time. So small that it’s likely within the margin of error for a chip timing system. Nonetheless, I finished my last half marathon, the Mistletoe in 2:00:00.223. Less than one-quarter of a second faster and that time would start with a ONE. Ever since, I think I’ve been training with that in the back of my mind, with the marathon as a secondary objective.

Now, I didn’t actually achieve that either today. But I did achieve my 3rd fastest half marathon time during the first half of the marathon with a 2:04…something. And I’m very pleased with that!

I’m just sitting here this evening wishing I’d either slowed myself down by about a minute per mile over those first 13, or that I’d just gone for the sub 2…

Sometimes you have to realize which race you are running and train for that race.

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