Monday, January 16, 2006

I Did It!

Finally. I ran 3:15.42 at this weekend's Arizona Rock'n'Roll marathon, well under the 3:20 i needed to qualify for Boston in my age group. I finally made it to the end before hitting the wall. It makes the 6 day-a-week training seem worthwhile after all.

I flew to Phoenix on Friday morning, and basically sat around on the couch for two days at my mother-in-law's house. I wanted to have some time in Phoenix to get used to the dry weather, although ironically the forecast for Sunday called for rain, the first rain in 3 months. As it turned out Sunday was clear and relatively cool, though with a bit of wind.

I ran with a 3:15 pace group for most of the race, until the pacer dropped off at about 22 miles. We went out a little fast, covering the first half in about 1:36.30, but i felt relaxed and the pace seemed fairly leisurely. As the race went on through the second half, i kept waiting for the fatigue to hit me or for my quads to cramp, etc. But it never happened. When i hit 24 miles at just over 2:58, i knew i was going to make it so i tried to pick up the pace a bit. I ran the 25th mile a bit under 7:30 and i'd hoped to do the 26th faster, but as i turned the corner for the last mile i found myself running straight into a headwind. I pushed through that mile, and then made the turn for the last .2 where i could finally move a little faster. Crossing the finish line at a good pace, passing people on the way, coming in at your goal time is amazingly satisfying.

I felt strangely happy all day yesterday after the race. Or maybe happily strange. I'm not sure. It wasn't happiness that derives from contentment or from pleasure or from being entertained, but happiness it was. I know that objectively 3:15 is not a great time, but i still felt so good about reaching it. I also know that, while many friends and family members are happy for me, the accomplishment means very little to anyone but myself (for example, my "celebration" upon returning home was getting to take Henry and two of his friends to see Hoodwinked). Nonetheless, i still feel happy. I suppose that since i needed a few tries to make it, and that i had to commit myself further and further to the training to succeed makes it seem more significant to me. I'm an exceptionally fortunate person so i have numerous reasons to be happy, but i've had relatively few experiences in my life of achieving something that wasn't fairly easy for me.

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