A year ago, I ran my first half marathon. It was while I was training for Los Angeles and I finished around 2:45:00. A few months later, I ran my firs Marathon, which was not very good time-wise, but it was more of a personal goal to finish, and in that aspect, I was successful.
In November, I did the Soldier Half Marathon and my goal was to beat my last recorded half marathon time. I succeeded and came in around 2:40:00, although my chip time was closer to 2:38:00.
I was reluctant to wake up this morning. I thought, "Maybe I should just sleep in and rest today." After all, I was convinced the fact I didn't show up as being registered was a bad omen and fate's way of telling me I was not supposed to run today. Of course, I woke up anyway and thought I would just do the run at a comfortable pace and finish when I finish.
The only people I saw at the race were the faster runners. I figured I would run with them at first and taper to where I belong later. But something interesting happened. I stayed with them most of the race. It wasn't until the last few miles they picked up their pace on their way to the finish and I did my usual slowing down the last three miles. I had to change my intervals the last half mile due to a pain I get in my left foot on long runs.
Somewhere around half way through, I determined I wanted to come in at 2:30:00. If I did, this would be a huge PR for me and even at that last half mile, I knew I would be nailing that record time for myself. I really cannot express the level of gratitude I have for the Galloway program director, Shelly Dinkin, for making sure I hit my goal. If it weren't for her, I would have succumbed to the pain in my foot and walked more, happily accepting a time over 2:35:00. But Shelly came back and ran with me to the finish and I credit her with my achievement. She truly shined as my coach today.
By God, a 15 minute improvement in a race time is the most wonderful feeling in the world. Maybe it's the endorphines from the so-called runner's high, or that sense of accomplishment, but the feelings of joy and victory I feel outweigh the pain in my left foot.
I have spent a lot of time training and have seen the benefits of my work in action. From weight loss, increased energy, better moods, and of course faster finish times, I can say running is one of the most beneficial things a person can do to improve their life. All the runs before the sun comes up, training in the hot and cold, sprinting at inclines on treadmills, have paid off. As with all things in life, rewards do not come without hard work and dedication. I look forward to running again next year and hopefully coming in below 2:30:00. I know I have it in me to be a faster runner.