Crash and Burn

Davidson's 'Run for the Green' half marathon logo

Davidson's 'Run for the Green' half marathon logo

Today, I finally came down from my Blue Ridge Relay high, and when I say I came down, I mean I came down like the Hindenburg came down.  It was a crash and burn of the highest order.  Things at the half marathon did not go as planned.

The race started out well enough.  My friend Dean and I planned to try and run Boston qualifying, or 7:39 per mile, pace.  We went out a little fast, reaching the first mile in 7:20.  It felt comfortable so I didn’t panic.  We cruised through the next 3 miles with splits of 7:34, 7:24, and 7:42.

But around mile 5 I had my first ‘uh-oh’ moment.  This was a tough, hilly course on a warm, humid day.  I started to feel like I was laboring.  I dropped off pace a bit while Dean pulled ahead.   I ran the fifth mile in 7:55.

From that point forward, my mile splits started to read like an auction.  I’ve got 7:55, 7:55, 7:55, can I get 8:20?  Somebody give me 8:20, 8:20.  I’ve got 8:20, how ’bout 8:28?  8:28, 8:28, got an 8:28.  All the way up to a 9:45 in mile 12.  I finished in 1:47:48, or 8:14 pace – my slowest half marathon ever (and one I even ran with a torn meniscus in my right knee).  Dean fared much better, finishing in 1:42:07, or 7:48 pace.

The day before the race, I wrote on my blog:

My friend Dean, on his own quest to qualify, and I plan to run 7:39 per mile pace.  If we’re on schedule –  and we should be based on both of our performances in the BRR – this should not be an exceedingly difficult task.

Fast forward to the race, stop me at mile 12, and ask me if this was an exceedingly difficult task.  I would have answered, ‘(insert expletive here) yes!  Today, it’s an impossible task!’  I mean I would have answered that had I been able to catch enough breath to speak. 

This quest of mine, to qualify for the Boston marathon, is a metaphorical, as well as physical, rollercoaster ride.  I continue to literally experience all manner of ups and downs.  One day, I think  ‘I’ve got this!’  The next, it’s ‘There’s just no way.  This is impossible.’   Today was definitely a ‘this is impossible’ day.  But that’s exactly what makes this such a worthy quest.  If it was easy, what would be the point? 

I have 8 weeks until the marathon.  Tonight, I’ll break out the foam roller and try to work out some of this soreness.  Tomorrow, I start over.

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