Running hasn’t been all that easy or enjoyable lately. Since my slow and barefoot jaunt through Boston, a humid summer of training, a DNS in Berlin, and my first nagging overuse injury that kept me sidelined for a good six weeks around the holidays, logging miles has been a chore, and a painful one at times. I’ve been struggling with my fitness lately, and it is very frustrating.
Before my six week hiatus from running (and a celebration through food and drink of the holidays and two beautiful weddings), I signed up for a few half marathons this spring that will lead into a full marathon come August. Excited for a training season that takes me around Scotland, I also had some ambitious time goals. These ambitious time goals, however, felt like they were being crushed with every painful step that I took in the month of December. That being said, I re-evaluated my goals while safely building the mileage back up.
I’m not very competitive when it comes to racing others, but I tend to get competitive with myself. Coming back from injury, all of my training runs felt sluggish and I wasn’t seeing any improvement in my times. So, while the competitive side of me had a generous number to beat going into the Inverness Half Marathon, I was also just happy to be standing at another start line and in a new city.
After a very Scottish bagpipe sendoff, my “In It To Finish” mindset and I began the 13.1 mile quest through the quaint city of Inverness. The roads were narrow and the runners plentiful, which made the first few miles slow and tricky to navigate. As the race progressed, I couldn’t believe how great I felt- legs strong, breathing easy, mental game on point. The course was undulating, but not overly challenging, had excellent support along the way, a surplus of friendly runners, and my ideal running conditions of 50 degrees and cloudy. About half way through the race the weather did a very Scottish thing- it started to pour. This felt great and somehow helped me run faster and stronger.
The miles flew by and with about 5km left, I looked at my watch and accidentally did the math. If I continued at this pace, I would finish under two hours and beat my longtime PR of 1:59:43. I tried not to speed up so as not to burn out before the end, but, one foot in front of the other, I kept strong and chased the PR I’ve been trying to beat for over two years.
Much to my surprise, I finished the Inverness Half Marathon with a new personal record! I started this race just happy to be there and healthy after six weeks off, and ended with a brand new PR! This was exactly the race I needed to restore my confidence and jump start the upcoming marathon training season.
Thank You Notes
- Thank you to five of my very best friends for coming to visit over the past couple of months. I am so grateful that I got to share Scotland with you.
- Thank you to “coaches” Rory and Craig for their hard work coaching Monday night track sessions. It seems as though I’ve gotten a wee bit faster and caught that train!
- Thank you to the Danish concept of Hygge for helping me maintain a proper work-life balance this semester. I hope to continue practicing Hygge as I head into my professional career.
- Thank you to Inverness for a wonderful weekend and break from schoolwork. It was much needed!