Flying Pig training is ticking right along! On March 10th, I completed my 6th half marathon – the Tom King Classic. It was a gorgeous day, and I stretched it out into 16 by running 3 miles around LP Field before. The logistics of having a race at a football stadium are genius: plenty of parking, inside bathrooms, lots of space, awards/post-race buffet in the club level, and finishing on the 50-yard line with your picture on the Jumbotron.
My original plan was to run the half at marathon goal pace – 10:20/mile. But I inevitably got caught up in racing, and I felt good on a flat course and started laying down 9:40/mile splits. Mom & Dad ran the 5K, and Joe was post-call, so I was on my own. At mile 8, I picked up a new friend who had been near me most of the time, and we started talking. We got each other through the last 5 miles, and I finished in 2:09:45. It was so refreshing to finish a half feeling pretty good, since the last two hadn’t gone well.
Two weeks later, I met my mom for 18 miles on the Stones River greenway, a new-to-me place to run. Spring in Middle Tennessee is remarkably green, and the greenway was a great way to experience its beauty. We ran 9 miles to the top of the Percy Priest dam and then turned around. The hills started to take their toll around mile 13, and 15-18 were a major struggle. There was walking. There were aching hips and knees and the beginning of a blister on the bottom of my left toe. My mom kept telling me that marathon training feels like this. But we finished with a personal distance record for me!
With a 16 and an 18 under my fuel belt, the next stop is 20, which seems like an unspeakably long way to run. Additionally, I’m doing it the day before my ordination to the priesthood. With friends and family in town who run, we’ll break it up into loops so that I always have company. It’ll be a great way to catch up with people and share another big accomplishment with them.
Only 5 1/2 weeks away from my marathon debut!