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What I Learned: The last 2 miles

…never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.               Winston Churchill

After a week of vacation which included 5 rounds of golf in 4 days and one 4 mile run on the beach, we stumbled home at 2am the day before the North Shore 10 Miler I had signed up for as a pre-half marathon test race.

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Longbay Golf Club, Longs, SC

“This may not go well,” I thought to myself as I struggled to function throughout the day on Saturday. I was exhausted. I had a stomach ache. And the temperature was supposed to be in the 40’s at race time.

FUEL AND GEAR

But I had one of my favorite pre-race meals the night before, got a great night’s sleep, and woke up on race day ready to go! I had a bowl of oatmeal with agave syrup and a spoonful of crushed walnuts for breakfast along with a couple cups of coffee. I decided to go with my CW-X tights, a long sleeve shirt, and brought my Saucony jacket, my Gore vest, and Nike warmups -just in case. I did not bring gloves or a winter hat. I wore my Brooks Pureflow 3.

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It.was.cold. Waiting for the race to start, I added a second long sleeve shirt, my warm up pants and my jacket, and really wished I had brought my gloves. But I felt ready to run. I ate a banana Power Bar, and grabbed a sleeve of Clif Shots for my pocket. Right before the race started, I ditched the warmups and jacket and went with my Gore vest-mostly because of the pockets for my iPod, my keys and my fuel.

AHA MOMENT

The race went well. Other than starting and finishing with a steep  1 mile uphill, the course was relatively flat. Temps were actually perfect for running and there was no wind! After the first warmup mile, I kept a pretty even pace. I grabbed water at the first 2 stations, and had a Clif Shot at miles 5 and 8. After the 8 mile water stop and fuel, I realized I had 2 miles to go and that felt great. I had picked up my pace after mile 7 and decided to crank my favorite finishing song Bad Moon Rising by Creedance. My tempo runs had been 18-20 minutes, so I knew I could run 2 miles at faster than race pace if I had anything left- and I did. Mile  9 was uphill, so that threw me off pace a little, but I could see the entrance to the finish from the top of the hill. The last mile seemed really far and at one point with about a half mile left I wanted to stop and walk, but my song kept playing and I kept running-right through the finish.

I fell off my goal by about 1.5 minutes, but I learned that the wall I hit with 2 miles left is totally in my head. Whether it is mile 4, mile 8 or mile 11, the finish is hard, no matter what. I learned I can keep going, I can run through it, and I do not need to stop.

Finishing is tough, but finishing is also very rewarding when you know you did not give up.

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