Let's get this out of the way first of all: I ran the Lincoln Memorial Half Marathon (Pikermi/Trisko/13.1) in 2:10:31, scoring a new official Personal Worst at the distance... and am very happy with how I ran.
From the beginning, I knew this race wasn't going to be a PR. My stress fracture last fall scared me, and I've been very cautious about easing my way back into training. Not only have I been devoted to the 10% rule, but I have also been careful about not upping the intensity too much. I want to run faster, but more than anything, I want to run. If it takes a while to get back into the shape that let me PR last spring, so be it.
The week prior to the race, I hit another stumbling block: the first beautiful days of spring. You'd think this would be good news, but not for me. Those first beautiful days of spring mean my allergies are at their absolute worst. Despite drugging myself within an inch of my life, I couldn't breathe, couldn't sleep, and felt dry headed and miserable for the four days before the race. It was to the point that I was blowing my nose so often, it started to chafe. (FYI: Body Glide helps with this, too.)
So, let's just say that when I toed the line, I wasn't feeling like a million bucks. I felt like about a buck fifty. Instead of having a time goal, I decided to have an effort goal. And that goal was based on my new hat. Check it out:
It's from Endorphin Warrior (not compensating me in any way for promoting them, not that I'd mind if they did!) and I love it. The message is RELENTLESS but because of the colors of the letters, it also tells you to RELENT LESS. I was determined in this race to give it everything I had and to relent less.
So, the race is in Springfield, Illinois, and pretty much everything is all about Abraham Lincoln. The race course goes past a number of Lincoln sites - the Lincoln home, the new library and museum, the old and new State Capitol buildings, and Lincoln's tomb. An actor portraying Lincoln started us off with an in-character speech, then a group dressed as Union soldiers fired their rifles to start. The course was very pretty and well marked. It got challenging at the end as the formerly flat course turned hilly. I started to get worn out, but I kept remembering my goal: RELENT LESS.
When I crossed the finish line, I knew I'd left everything I had on the course. 2:10:31 was my slowest ever time, but it was also the absolute best I could have done on that day, and that is an accomplishment I can be proud of.
To mark my accomplishment? A finisher's medal shaped like a giant penny. What better momento could you ask for?