Greenfield Highbush Half Marathon
I knew it was not a great sign when “shut up legs,” the phrase the famous German cyclist Jens Voight uses to drive away the pain in his legs when leading the pro peleton, started echoing inside my head at the eight mile mark. My legs had begun to take on a jello-ish feeling thanks in part to running the first four miles faster than planned trying to keep up with Andrew (Ashley’s best friend’s fiancé and a surprisingly fast runner on the flats). If the fast pace through the first quarter of the race didn’t do sufficient damage, the climbing over the next four miles brought the pain. Now running down hill at speed made me wish that I had saved a little something because I was feeling less than surefooted.
I suppose I should not have been surprised I found myself in such a predicament. The months passed pretty quickly between the day I signed up for the race and the day of the race. Looking back I missed a lot of opportunities to train leading up to the race and really wished that I had made more of an effort to turn some of my shorter runs into longer runs. In fact, my longest run to date had been eight miles and now I was expecting my legs to be fine with running a half marathon (actually 13.5 miles, a fact I did not find out about until the morning of the race). Furthermore, my previous eight mile run had destroyed me; the only thing keeping me optimistic was the hope that the adrenaline and competition of a race atmosphere would drive me to finish.
Happily somewhere shortly after the eight mile aid station I found the flats and the soft surface of running singletrack through a pine forest. Finding my rhythm (albeit slow a slow one) and a group in front of me that I desperately tried to keep in sight, I knew that I would survive the race and hopefully hold off Ashley. Little did I know that she had made a wrong turn early in the race, adding another mile and half or so, basically ensuring that I would beat her to the finish line. Completing the race felt great and I had a surprisingly good time considering the amount of suffering inflicted on me during the race. Who knows, perhaps I will sign up for another run someday.