Just 24 hours left until I will be at the American Airlines Center tweeting up with fellow runners for the Dallas White Rock Marathon. This will be my second half marathon. My first marathon wasn't the best experience, but I learned from it and that's what counts.
I ran the Fort Worth Marathon half marathon on Nov. 8, 2009. It wasn't that it was a terrible race, I did well with a respectable time of 2:11:46. However, made three big mistakes.
First, I set my expectations too high. I missed my goal by just under 2 minutes. It was my first big race and instead of living in the moment and being proud of my accomplishment, I spent the next 2 days sulking.
My next big mistake was going out way too fast. I was running a 9 min/mile out the gate until mile 6, then I got slower, and slower and slower, until I hit mile 10 and hit a wall.
My last mistake was not having any Gu. I should have had some at mile 6.
So, the last month, I have been working my tail off, not just physically, but mentally. I have been making it a goal in long runs to not look at that damn Garmin every 2 minutes.
Growing up in a family full of law enforcement guys, I always heard, "Trust your gut. If you feel something, it's probably true. And if it's not, then what have you lost?" Ok, they were telling me this in terms of safety, i.e. if you have a bad feeling about something, then don't go there. However, the same theory can be applied to anything. Trust your gut and so what if I'm behind a few seconds on my pace.
It's not about being a robot, it's about having fun and taking the time out of my busy day to appreciate the little things God's put in our world. I wasn't having fun looking at my Garmin every second and freaking out about time lost. I was missing the whole point. I was missing the crunching of the leaves, the birds flying by, Great Blue Heron's reflection on the lake as he catches a fish. I lost track of all the things that made running beautiful to me.
I can't close this blog without mentioning one other thing that happened at the Fort Worth Marathon that hit me. A runner on the 20-mile race collapsed at La Grave Field after completing his run. They performed CPR immediately, but sadly, he did not survive. I do not know the details of his situation other than he was to celebrate his 50th birthday in a few weeks.
I have not played a lot of sports in my life, but I do have to say that runners share a special bond. While it's an individual sport, I have never felt more support and encouragement from my running club, my twitter friends and people I end up meeting at races. I think this is why this death impacted me so much. You feel like you lost a close friend, even if you don't know them. Let's face it, only another runner can appreciate the appeal of running for several hours!
Tomorrow is a new day and a new race. Will it be a PR? Don't know. I'll have Gary Garmin with me, but I won't stare at him the entire time. Oh, and I'll have at least 4 packets of GU with me. You never know, another fellow runner at mile 10 may need one, and I want to be there to help.