In the days since my last marathon I have had three thoughts continually running through my mind:
1. It is awesome to have friends who will run with you when you need them to.
Similar to my last race, I had a friend step up in a massive way and show great support and encouragement during the race. This past race I had a friend hop on and run the first twelve miles with me. Those were hands down the most enjoyable and relaxing miles of the entire race. And, not just because they were at the opening part of the race – they were enjoyable and care-free because I was running with one of my closest friends, and we were going through the race together. He was out there to support me; the pace we were running was mine, whether or not we talked was dictated by me, whether we stopped for water along the way was my call, he was there for me. We ended up talking the majority of the time we had together and a few times I commented to him, “I feel like I’m in that running trance – where you’re going and feel great. You barely even recognize you’re running. You just feel so relaxed and comfortable.” As soon as he left, I noticed myself fall out of that trance. Perhaps it was a result of the massive hill I had to climb, but I tend to think it was more because I knew I was going to be running alone. I have logged countless miles with him over the years, and these miles helped me feel so relaxed and comfortable.
2. Accountability is a good thing.
A few days prior to the race I sent out an email to friends giving details on how to follow and track my progress throughout the race. Additionally, I told a few of the runners I am currently coaching how they could track me. I know every person I told about the tracking, and I thought about each and every one of you while running. At times where I had a moment’s thought to slow my pace, I reminded myself of those who were tracking me. I knew if I didn’t work as hard as I could, I would not be in a place to ask my runners to work as hard as they can. In those moments where the miles were piling up, I knew others were looking at my time. That accountability kept me moving. Even though most of those people were hundreds of miles away, I could sense the accountability, and it propelled me forward.
3. I’m close, but not there yet.
I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I. Really. Want. To. To date, my PR is a 3:15:47. I need to run 3:04:59 or better to qualify. This past weekend I came across in 3:22:00 – not a tremendous race, but not terrible seeing as how I PR’d just three weeks earlier. Throughout the race I could sense a greater strength in my stride and in my determination. This time it wasn’t until a nasty decline at mile 23 where I fell off pace with the 3:15 group. I can sense that I am getting close, but I am not there yet. Today was the first run I went on since the race, and my body felt good. Still a bit sore and weak, but good enough to get a light run in. I have begun to let my mind think about the next race (most likely not until September). I’m not at a BQ yet, but I can tell I am getting close.