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Shifting Back to the Run.

18 February 2016

Well, BB and I have finally decided to do an obstacle course run. We’re joining another friend of ours and doing a 5K “Mud Run” in Maryland in the Spring. This doesn’t really count as race miles, because it’s not individually timed, but since time is never really my end-goal anyway, I’m not worried about that. It’s going to be exciting to see how it goes. I’m hoping all the gym work will pay off. They don’t give details about the obstacles, but I hope they’re fun and challenging without being impossible.

I’ve dropped back from going to the gym three days a week to two, starting this week. I need to be running fit again. I did a hard 6.1 miles yesterday, at a 9:16 pace. It was too hard. My legs felt dead, and I didn’t handle the hills well. Don’t get me wrong! It’s thrilling just to be able to run for an hour without stopping. To go six miles and never break stride is incredible to me, even though it’s not anywhere near my peak. I’m grateful and excited.

But the physical fact is, I’m not in as good running-shape as I was in the late fall, when I ran an entire half marathon at a 9:17 pace. I’ve got a month to get into shape for Virginia Beach. Which means I’ve got to run harder and get in enough of my short runs that my long runs can build fitness without risking injury. I have been able to run 10Ks at a sub-9 minute pace before. I’d like to again.

My goal of the 2 hour half marathon is definitely ambitious for me. I like setting ambitious goals. But as I’ve written many times, if I never reach this one, I never do. I’ll still love where running has taken me. But boy would I be happy to see it fall. I think it’s partly mental: 2 hours is a long time. Running faster than that big round number feels very difficult. But if I just put down the timers and don’t look at the clocks and run like I can, I think there’s a chance I’ll make it. Ten seconds a mile doesn’t sound like much. Two minutes and 16 seconds doesn’t sound like much. But it’s a log time when you’re running hard.

I’m never going to be fast. But I’m damned proud of being mediocre. Slightly better than average. I’ll feel fabulous if I can break this barrier. But you know what? I’ll feel fabulous if I can’t too. Because I can run a long time. I’m healthy and I’m happy and I’m fulfilled in my relationship by running. That’s what matters to me.

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