Well, the VA Beach Rock n' Roll Half Marathon has come and gone, and what a great experience it was. Despite going to sleep around 10:30 and waking up at 3:15 (the excitement got to me) I had a tremendous time and wouldn't trade it for anything. Everything from prepping race gear the night before to your pre-race meal to stepping up to the start line (3...2...1) and having the horn sound, makes the experience great.
I was well aware going into VA Beach - this race (not any of the previous 5ks, 8ks, 10k, etc) would make or break me as a runner. Between the start of VA Beach and my last trail run (a few days) I have had my doubts. Can I stay committed to the training? What am I getting myself in to? Is there really a point to all of this? Do I REALLY like running? Is this the goal I should be pursuing? Is it a terrible sign that the Ironman watch I got didn't work out (stupid yes, but everything entered my mind). Through the discomfort, would I be begging for the finish line or be ready to take on the next challenge? Would I be ready for a post half marathon run or run away from running all together?
Well, I have good news...without a doubt, VA Beach fueled my hunger to challenge myself. When your thighs and calves are burning and your mind begins to play games with is when you learn the most about yourself. Smiling through the finish line, I was immediately ready for the next challenge.(Thank goodness the ING Philly Half Marathon is in two weeks or I would be going stir crazy). While running is clearly not an option right now (the knees would be pretty annoyed) I have found ways to consume my time during recovery. Mapping out a half marathon maintenance schedule, picking out new races, etc.
Commitment means, at times, holding back and keeping oneself in check. In other words, despite having a post half marathon running high, I WILL adhere to post-race "reverse tapering" and recovery. This is especially important with Philly in two weeks. This means 4-5 days of no running (except 3 m today to work out the kinks), instead, this week will focus on cross training. Next week will also be a low intensity week. Once I finish my recovery week following Philly, the schedule should pick up once again.
Lastly, what else did the VA Beach Half tell me? Well, my comment previously that I "do not like street races" is not true. I did it, I liked it. It's not about what type of race it is, it is about the best way to challenge oneself. Training for several half marathons over the next two months and some trail races will challenge me, thus I am content. After my last trail race in December, what will I do? Sprint Triathlon? Longer endurance trail race? A whole marathon?
I will end it on this, a quote from Dean Karnazes - Running has taught me that the pursuit of a passion matters more than the passion itself. Immerse yourself in something deeply and with heartfelt intensity – continually improve, never give up – this is fulfillment, this is success.