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Tales from the Grateful Runner...

Goes To Show You Don’t Ever Know….

After running 2 half-marathons in three weekends back in late May/early June, it was time to take some time off and let my mind and body recover. In mid-July, I received entry into the BAA Half-Marathon, to be held in October. As part of my “comeback tour”, I was eager to run this race. It had been 9 years since my last BAA half (which also happened to be my PR for a half-marathon). The heat and humidity of the summer provided some challenges, but in the end, it was great to enjoy a relaxing summer running season. Training was going relatively well through the end of August but once September came, so did the dreaded injuries. For a 2-week span in mid-September, I was unable to run due to an undiagnosed knee injury. I was pretty much convinced that it would now be 10 years between BAA Half’s. I engaged in 2 weeks of physical therapy and cycling to strengthen my legs and maintain some conditioning. About 3 weeks before the race, I was able to run about 5.5 miles. A few days later I was able to run 7.5 miles. A few days later I was able to make it through 8.5 miles with no pain. Confidence was beginning to rise and it seemed like the race would actually happen. The week before the race, I attempted my longest run of the entire training program, a shade over 10 miles. I finished the training run, but started to feel the pain resurface in my knee.

Although the long-term goal is Boston 2015, I felt that I needed this race to finish off the year. Two 6 mile runs during the week would finish my training. The night before the race, I paid a visit to my chiropractic savior and practitioner of Active Release Therapy. A little work on my knee, IT Band, and Achilles, as well as a superb Kiniseo Tape job, and I was ready to go.

With no idea how I’d hold up over the course of 13.1 miles, I had little expectations for the race. The goal was to finish is relative good health! One thing working in my favor was the exceptionally cool temperatures (mid 40’s) and this gave me a real sense of optimism. The gun went off, the race began, and I immersed myself into the half-marathon. After cruising through the first 3 miles at a 7:30 pace, I maintained a realistically positive mindset that today could be ‘one of those days’. Although I never quite felt like I was ‘in the zone’, I achieved the ultimate peak performance – a new PR of 1:39:52! With minimal training the last month of the race and the uncertainty of an injury, I had to rely on my mental state to get me ready for the race and to get me through the race.

With every run, and especially every race, I try to learn something and improve. Today’s BAA Half-Marathon is another great illustration of mind over matter. I was not remotely trained to maintain a sub 7:40/mile pace for 13.1 miles (and had never run that fast over that distance), but once it started happening, I gave my mind full control over my body – always believing I could make it happen. There is something empowering with having a premonition early in a race and then seeing it through (the positive self-fulfilling prophecy). Challenges are bound to come your way during training - the key is to appropriately handle them and modify your workouts accordingly.

Another perfect mix of the Grateful Dead on my Ipod provided the soundtrack for one of my most grateful runs - it goes to show you don’t ever know what special moment may happen when you put your mind to it…

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