The second leg of my November race tri-fecta happened today.
2,000 people and a bridge.
I've been feeling good lately. And today I thought, well, it is only a half marathon. I started off running with the crowd, passing those walkers and other slow pokes who should have started further back in the crowd. While we had a big wide road to run on, it was still crowded most of the race.
During the first 5 miles, I was near 11 min miles. Then we head up and over the bridge, around a marina and back over the bridge. When we get down the steepest par of the bridge, there is about 3 miles to go. I was around 10:30 minutes per mile pace (average for the race) at that point.
It being "only" a half marathon, I decided to burn it in. I had about one more mile of gradual down hill and then 2 miles of flat. It was the first time in ages I have allowed myself to run full out for any distance at all. I had a mantra in my mind and I didn't think of anything else. My mantra was, "Father all power comes from you all-one."
In a race this big, I knew full well that there would be no age group award. But it the last 3 miles I thought: run your own race. I kept my form straight and put the pedal to the medal, all fears of injury aside.
I finished in 2h16min. That is the fastest half marathon I've run in years. It felt good. Now, several hours later, I'm also sure I didn't hurt anything. And this despite that I ran 12 miles yesterday.
It is strange to me now to compare my body for different type of races. In the past month I've done a real slow ultra marathon, a very decent full marathon and today this very speedy half marathon. Today, running fast with only a mantra in my consciousness was more spiritually mesmerizing than the hours going at slow pace in the ultra.
Physically, I'm more successful at faster shorter races, like a full marathon, than I am trudging through an ultra. What I wanted in ultras, meditation, seems best obtained on slow training runs in the Seabrook trails. I also meditate by sitting. But I am never successful at the ultra marathon. I get into pain and decide to quit; perhaps wisely so as I've never irreparably injured myself. As a means of spiritual enlightenment, it is not working.
I am closer to admitting who and what I really am.
I have been trying to decide whether to enter a double marathon (2 marathons in 2 days) in February, or go in a bigger race which would be either one full marathon or one half marathon. It is very difficult for me to let go of the multi-day race, but I would have more fun and be happier going in the bigger race. The double marathon would be very small and on a very boring lap type course. Blisters would occur. It is such a small race that it has low quality swag and pretty expensive. But it IS a double. I want to do a double close to home so I can decide if I want to go in any more ultras. But I fail at ultras.
I really am a marathoner. I should just do it.
Next weekend, I'm going in another full marathon.