Every December I sign up for the Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon. This year was no exception. Starting in January of 2018 I began a journey through running with results I couldn’t have predicted. I set a few small goals, medium ones, and big ones. None were set in stone. They were something to strive for and adjust if necessary, but one remained in my mind with relentless intent. It was to not only beat my half marathon PR (personal record), but to do it at the race that so many years had crushed me, including 2017 where I let my brain and bronchitis get in the way of my success.
In fairness I beat my PR over the summer on a training run, but only by 30 seconds and in the middle of July. I was working towards another goal at the time – hitting 20 miles on a solo run – which I completed at the beginning of September. After that benchmark I turned the next 5 weeks focus on my half. I added extra cardio with resistance and interval training into my workouts. I picked up yoga again and started lifting weights. Each run I had more strength, more endurance, and more speed. I was terrified it was a fluke and I would fall flat on my face on race day. I didn’t want the results to own me.
The night before I was calm and ready. The thought of failing wasn’t an option. I did the work and I believed in myself so I knew I had to go for it. My goal was a 2:05 half, with 2:15 being my previous fastest. I snuck into a faster corral at the start and forced myself to keep up with the runners there.
On the one mile climb up the Ambassador bridge I was passing people and I kept a solid pace all through Canada. Charging down the tunnel I picked up the pace in the underwater mile. Climbing up and out took a lot of gas out of the tank, but the mile after was my fastest of the course (I think I had something to prove) and the next two miles I felt that all too familiar fatigue hit. Thoughts of inadequacy were on the cusp, but I pushed those thoughts away.
My last two miles I turned it back on and pushed through any aches, fatigue, or coldness and remembered I could do it and I did. I smiled, I laughed, but I stayed completely focused at the same time. It was an incredible experience. I look at the results and finished with a 2:04.
I haven’t felt this accomplished and empowered in a very long time. This was a conclusion to everything I set myself up for in 2018. I plan to set new goals for 2019 and share my journey. Till then I’m going to focus on shorter distances, different cardio, yoga, and weight lifting. I’ll need to adjust to the cold weather for winter running and that takes awhile. When I make my list for the new year I will share it with you all, and hopefully you’ll make your own and share them with me too. Cheers and happy running!