Running is an addiction. I could try and tell you otherwise, but I’d be lying, and it would be pretty clear. After running 40 miles of trails a week ago, my legs needed a few days to recover. I went for a short run the following Tuesday, but only for a few miles. I could definitely still feel the burn in my quads, and I wasn’t walking completely cleanly. In most instances, this should have been a que to rest. In the back of my mind, it was a que to rest. However, when I got home after that short, mildly painful run, what did I do? I signed up for a half marathon (insert eye roll here).
The Drake Relays are a cultural icon in Iowa, attracting running talent from around the world to compete on a national stage as a part of a running festival that takes place over several days. Each year, in addition to competitions for more elite athletes, they also host an 8K and Half Marathon “On the Roads” race. During the first few weeks that I began actually training to run and compete in my first distance race three years ago, I ran the 8K road race. It was one of the first times I had ever pinned on a bib, and despite the rain, it was a great experience. Now that I have upped my mileage a bit, I thought it fitting that I returned to run the half marathon. In addition to it being a very well organized race, the notoriety and location mean there is always a huge local contingent running, and I was lucky enough to carpool down with quite a few friends for the race. Whether its training or racing, running is always more fun with friends, so the camaraderie made it that much more fun.
As luck would have it, the rain actually held off, despite the palpable moisture in the air. In my haste to pack my gear, I forgot my Garmin, so I was technology-free for this race, which turned out to be a rather liberating experience. I started the race comfortably, not wanting to push myself too hard, seeing as how I had finished a 40-mile trail race the week before. However, as the miles flew by, my legs continued to feel really good, and after about mile 8, I made the decision to push a bit harder and see what I had. Not having a Garmin spitting out my mile times made me listen to my body a whole lot more, which proved to be extremely beneficial. I crossed the finish line in 1:53, which shocked me! Not only did I feel great, but I landed a PR by 4 minutes! If I had any questions about the effect of the increased training these past 4 months, I didn’t anymore. I could not have been happier 🙂
So, the adrenaline pumps through your body, the endorphins pop in your head, and you feel the high every time you push yourself. There is no doubt that running is an addiction, and I have no intention of seeking treatment! Bring on the next race!