Wow. That should be the only word needed to describe the RunTheBluegrass Half-Marathon today. The reason I use the word “wow” is because it can be used in combination of many phrases, all of which fully describe the day. For example, “wow, what an amazing event”, or “wow, what a gorgeous course”, or perhaps “wow, there were a TON of people there.” All of these are true, along with “wow, that was challenging” and “wow, that is the hilliest place in town.”. But the bigger wow is “Wow, I just set a Personal Record on a gorgeous, hilly, challenging course and tons of people were there to witness it.” Now granted, they weren’t there to see ME (well, 3 of them were), but it still is an awesome feeling to finish with so many people there.
This event had a different feel to me than my first half, the Iron Horse Half-Marathon (see recap here). I believe it has to do with the fact this time around, my goal isn’t today’s half-marathon, but the full marathon I’m doing in 36 days. This time I wasn’t out to prove to myself that I could do 13.1 miles, because I already had. This time I was out for fun (and a PR if possible), and it made it special in its own way.
Heading out I was still torn on my approach. My logical side told me not to risk injury or fatigue by pushing myself too hard; after all I do have a full marathon in 5 weeks. My competitive side told me “You ran a 2:11:28 your last half…beat that on a harder course and you are marathon ready.” Once I set out I decided to see what I could do. If I beat it, I beat it… if I didn’t, I didn’t. Would I have been disappointed to have had a worse time? Of course. But I also understood this course is much harder, much hillier than the other, so if it didn’t happen then it wouldn’t be for lack of trying.