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.