There are many different ways to run a marathon. Each method has the potential of enriching your life in different ways. Today I used a 90-second run and a 15-second walk ratio. I had calculated that if I could maintain these segments throughout the race, at a manageable pace, I would be able to add about 14 minutes to my marathon PR (personal record). After all, it was a pretty flat course.
Here we are just before the start.
There must have been several thousand runners present on a gorgeous November day in Richmond. Then our wave was off and running.
At first, everything worked according to plan. Here we are crossing over the James on the Huguenot Bridge.
This move takes you to a road where you run alongside the James. I think this must be everybody's favorite part of the course.
Then, at mile 19, I began to tire.
Now, the knucklehead in me would normally push ahead anyway at the same pace and risk exhaustion or injury. Today, however, a wiser mindset prevailed. I slowed down a bit to a pace that was manageable, calculating that at this new pace I could still possibly break my old record, but only by a minute, if that. But God had other plans. He gave me a new marathon PR by 4 minutes.
|The finisher's chute. All downhill 😊|
I was overjoyed, particularly since I had promised the Lord that I would add $1,000 to the funds I was raising for the Lineberger Cancer Center at UNC if I set a new PR today. Hence it looks like I wasn't the only one to reap the benefits from walk breaks. By using my muscles in different ways, from the very beginning, my legs kept their bounce even as they conserved resources.
A few final thoughts. We runners tend to be over-achievers. We want PRs all the time. But there's so much more to racing than numbers. Make your goal to be present. But once in a while you feel the need to go for broke and try for a PR. I never told anybody, but I was secretly hoping I'd PR today because I really wanted to make the fundraiser a success. Good Lord knows how tunnel-visioned I can get, and even I was surprised at my self-control when I changed my pace goal at mile 19. I really I had to dig deep during this race, but I'm so proud of the fact that I didn't over-tax my body in pursuing my goal today. Ever felt this way? Like when you pull on the reins a bit lest you hurt yourself doing something that should increase your health and energy, not ruin them? I could not believe I ran as well as I did. I also could not believe that I finished 29th out of 43 in my age division. That almost NEVER happens at a marathon. Hot dang if that doesn't light your fire.
At any rate, another marathon is in the books. The insides of my thighs are raw and bleeding because I didn't apply enough Vaseline to them pre-race. That's what I get for being in too big of a hurry this morning when I left the hotel. But it's 100% worth it.