from mile to marathon

The journey of a thousand leagues begins from beneath your feet.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

leading ladies marathon

August 15, Spearfish, SD, right next to Sturgis where the annual biker rally (think close to a million bikes) came to an end the day before. It was, objectively at least, the most beautiful course I have run so far - canyon and creek, shade and rock, light and tree.

It was also downhill. I had reached mile six when it first crossed my mind to run for speed - if not here, where would I? So from then onward, relentlessly, I tried for a better pace. I pushed so hard it stopped being fun. Not that it is ever, in the true sense of the word, fun, not until it's over, not physically. But now... it got nasty. When someone passed me, I hated them. This, I have been told, means being competitive. Not sure it applies, since I am competing only with myself. I never cared about other people's pace or race. I think my reaction might have been just a case of old-fashioned pettiness.

I was wondering if something neat would happen, as it did in Oklahoma, some unknown force helping me out. I was on my own this time. I always sprinted at the end, whether fifty yards or one mile, I always finished strong. This time there was nothing left in me. During the last mile I had to fight the temptation to take walking brakes, again and again. Fifty yards before the end I got a cramp in my left foot, and I reached the finish line limping. Right there, just before crossing the mat, I looked up and saw the gun time. I had done it - a personal record. 4h 30min 47sec. My best race had been my first, three years and ten marathons ago.

A couple of hours later we were in the Badlands, taking pictures.