There’s More In The Tank Than You Think.

Even though it was my second half-marathon in two weeks I thought I would do well last week in the Detroit Free Press race.  It’s my “hometown course” so I’ve run it before, the weather was great and I was confident coming off a PR in Frankenmuth two weeks earlier.  However, this optimism was a little tempered by the fact that I had been fighting a cold for about a week plus my sleep pattern had been disrupted the last week because of several late nights attending the Tigers ALCS games against the Yankees, a black tie event one night at the beautiful Roostertail restaurant, and standing up cheering MSU most of the game Saturday at the Big House in Ann Arbor.  So, although I was confident I also knew I may not be totally race ready.  I usually set three goals for my races, one is a stretch goal that would be a big accomplishment but unlikely, one is a realistic goal but still a push and one is a crazy unrealistic goal. For this race my real goal was to break 1:55:00 and my stretch was a PR of better than 1:52:40 and my crazy goal was to break 1:50:00.  After climbing the seemingly never-ending incline of the Ambassador Bridge to Canada I knew the crazy goal was crazy.  I hadn’t seen my pace group since we hit the bridge so I knew I wouldn’t catch them.  Then after coming out of the hot, stuffy, stale air of the tunnel from Canada I felt the stretch goal was also gone.  At that point I wasn’t sure I’d even hit my real goal but then the 3:45 pace group came up from behind me. They were doing 8:35 miles which I knew was much faster than I was currently running. My first thought was that they would just pass me by. But then I thought “Maybe I do have more left in the tank than I think”.  So I decided to step it up and try to hang with that group for the nearly four miles that were left.  It was definitely a quicker pace than I had been at for the last several miles but it actually felt comfortable.  At that point I thought it may be possible to break the PR. Maybe the slower miles earlier had allowed me to rest a little so I settled into the faster pace and felt strong as we neared the turnoff where the half-marathoners split from the full. As I looked up and saw the finish-line several blocks down I decided to give it all I had.  Passing the 13 mile mark I looked at my watch to see if the PR was possible – it would be close.  I pushed as much as you can at the end of a half-marathon and passed several runners in that last .1 mile.  Crossing the finish-line I hit my watch and saw 1:53:35.  My first thought was a flash of disappointment for missing my PR, but that was instantly followed by relief that I missed it by less than a minute which was much better than my “real” goal.    So, I had a good run and was pleased, I also learned (again) that I always seem to have more in the tank than I think so I really can push myself harder earlier.  That’s the beauty of racing, I only have to beat myself.             

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One Response to There’s More In The Tank Than You Think.

  1. rick thomas says:

    Congrats on beating your original goal of 1:55:00! I ran the marathon and was with 3:40/1:50 pace group for 11 miles before I let them go. Do not feel bad, they were running faster than pace so had you stayed with them you likely would have blown up. All in all you did great running your own race!

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