Funny thing about races, no matter how big or how small, the nerves arrive a day before and they stay with me right up until the first stride across the timing mat. Once I cross the starting line, tick the legs over a couple of strides all systems automatically lock in and my focus becomes sharp. I start to think about making a tight tangent on the first turn, keep my feet clear of other runners, find the flat spots on the street, lock into pace and everything goes away.
I’m back to being a runner. Nothing that happened before that moment matters any more.
If you ask me what I love most about racing it is exactly that. That for 18 minutes, 37 minutes, 83 minutes or 185 minutes I’m just a runner.
Missing out on the Houston Marathon this year was kind of a biter pill to swallow. I’m not going to lie.
I had trained consistently all the way through the Kerrville Half-Ironman, into Fall and peaked in December running PR’s in both the 5K and Half-Marathon 8 days apart. It’s one thing to run the short fast stuff well during training, but to pull off the 1:23:31 at the Shiner Half 4 weeks before Houston I felt like our time had finally arrived in the Marathon.
Achilles Strain. No running for 5 weeks. You know the rest.
So in the last month we have gradually gotten things back to basically normal. Running 4-5 times a week pain-free. No more hesitation in my stride. I’m back on my toes, my footfall is virtually silent again and once more – I am a runner.
For the first time in a long time I arrive at race day without a plan. I do not know how fast my opening 1/2 mile will be, or my second 1/2. The only thing less certain is how much I am going to have left over the final mile and what kind of pace I am going to be able to hang on to.
A goal time for the race? Honestly, I have not a clue. I would not be surprised to see a sub 19:00 minute race tomorrow from me, but I also would not be surprised to see me closer to 19:30. What I do know is that my shiny new PR of 18:02 is beyond safe. I may not run a single mile down below 6:00 minutes tomorrow, let alone 3.1 at 5:46 pace.
I just simply have not been able to put in that kind of work lately, and that’s o.k.
Texas Independence Day is the celebration of the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. With this document, settlers in Mexican Texas officially broke from Mexico creating the Republic of Texas. It is an official holiday in the State of Texas and one where the Texas State Flag will fly proudly atop the Capital building on Congress Avenue as runners speed toward it at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday.
It is also going to mark the return to racing for this Texan, where we put our Achilles strain firmly in our rear-view mirror and move forward as we were before.
Back to being a runner.