In spite of the perfect morning, flat course, and added benefit of having two of my favorite workout buddies racing with me, I struggled a lot throughout the Brooklyn Half Marathon. From mile 1 through 6, I really just didn't want to be there, running, at all. I kept trying to get myself excited, but I just wasn't. I didn't feel tired or sore; I simply wasn't happy to be running.
Then, right around mile 6 or 7, something finally clicked, and my body started running without me. I love that feeling: the "autopilot," where my mind flits from one thought to another, not quite cognizant of what my body is doing until I focus my concentration, only to realize that my legs are moving in a perfect rhythm without my really willing them to move at all.
Everything was going great until I hit mile 10. Just as I saw the mile marker, a twinge of pain hit my leg, just outside my right knee, and continued to do so every time I took at step. If felt almost like my knee needed to crack, so I swung my foot upwards as if to kick my butt every few steps, but the pain did not subside. Therefore, I spent the next two miles arguing inside my head:
"Should I stop?"
"What's that going to accomplish?"
"Maybe I should stop and walk, because this pain is getting worse."
"It'll probably just hurt then, too, and you'll never be able to get yourself started running again."
"But what if it gets worse?"
"Walking will only make this last longer. That, and you'll be miserable that you walked in a race. T___ said he would never walk unless his leg was broken. You can't wimp out now."
"True, the faster I run, the faster I can get to the end and treat this leg. . . ."
"See? Just try to ignore it. I'm sure those endorphins will kick in anytime now."
So I endured the pain through the remainder of the race, even summoning a bit of energy in the last 800m to pass three more women. As a result, I ran my fastest half marathon ever (also known as a PR, or Personal Record)! (Now I just have to contend with this bizarre injury and pray it doesn't turn into anything more serious.)
Results for this race:
Age Group Place (F25-29) 13.1 miles
Splits from the race
20k Split 0:23:00