“Conquering any difficulty always gives one a secret joy, for it means pushing back a boundary line and adding to one’s liberty.”
As Fall approaches and the Summer heat starts to fade Half and Full Marathon’s get into full swing. This year I pushed myself like no other with a full race circuit throughout the year. Starting in February with the Tampa Half Marathon followed by the Virginia Beach Full Marathon in March and then the Outer Banks Half Marathon in May. Now that the Summer is over it’s time to finish the year strong with the Navy Air Force Half Marathon in September followed by both the Chicago Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon in October.
Today I kicked off my Fall circuit with the Navy Air Force Half Marathon in Washington, DC. Knowing this race would determine how my previous months training had been going I went in full force, leaving everything on the road and giving it my all. Also knowing I needed to test my limits and push it like I’ve never done before I started near the front with the determination to set my pace early and hold the fast pace throughout until the end when I would push even harder.
The first 6 miles were a breeze with my pace at a sub 6 minute and hitting sub 5:50 on the flatter aspects of the course. Staying determined and focused I continued to pace with the leading group while stretching my limits. Due to this type of course there was a turnaround point, which in my eyes is a make or break point of a race for many runners. Knowing this I stayed focused and continued at my sub 6 minute pace following the turnaround point heading back to the National Mall.
As I was working my way back from the out and back I was doing great until mile 7-8 when I started to have stomach issues. Any runner knows that stomach issues are never good during a race. You start to think about the issue, looking for the nearest bathroom while loosing focus on the race. During this time I tried to stay focused by talking and motivating myself to keep going, to not think about the stomach issue and to remember the ultimate goal, Personal Record (PR). Finally at mile 9 I lost all motivation, found a bathroom and had to make a pit-stop even knowing this would slow my time and momentum.
Following my short bathroom break and loosing some ground I was back at it trying to make up the time I lost with the final 3 miles. These 3 miles were the worst 3 miles due to the route, Haines Point, an area I’ve trained and ran multiple times however, hate with a passion. Powering through the struggle and trying to stay focused I completed the race in 1:21, 32nd out of 3,709 runners and 8th in my Division, another Personal Record (PR) for myself.
Overall I would say the Navy Air Force Half Marathon was a great race. Even though I didn’t break my personal goal I am very happy with my Personal Record of 1:21 and look forward to moving forward with the Chicago Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon in October.