13.1 Qualifying Miles at The Staten Island Half Marathon

A couple of Sundays ago I surprised myself by achieving a goal that till then had seemed unattainable, in a race that made it seem unlikely to happen in this lifetime. While I’m a fan of the persistence school of thought, I was almost prepared to let it go in this instance as I was getting pretty convinced that qualifying for the New York City Marathon was something I could have done four or five years ago.

Persistence, they say, pays off. Well, I’m happy to say, I remain a fan and I qualified. Goal check anyone! If you’ve been following, then you know that was one of my goals in addition to a hundred others. For the past two years, I’ve been trying assiduously to increase my half marathon time. I ran many races using different strategies in an attempt to meet the qualifying time of one hour and thirty-seven minutes; up till now it seemed to get further and further out of reach each passing year. Turns out, it was when I wasn’t too preoccupied with achieving this goal that it happened. Not that I wasn’t wanting to run the time I needed, only that I’d run this race last year with high expectations and ended up with blah results. Therefore, I decided this time around to temper my enthusiasm and be a bit more practical, and so opted to focus on having an open strategy to compensate for a tougher course – a mountain of a hill – and uncertain weather conditions – surprisingly no rain.

To be fair, the Staten Island Half Marathon has been my favorite half marathon since running in New York, which is well reflected in my previous races there. In fact, my best half marathon time happened in Staten Island five years ago. It is precisely for this reason I was ecstatic with this year’s result as I was within twenty-eight seconds of my half marathon PR. Broken down, that means I’m currently running at a pace comparable to five years back. At my age that makes me feel pretty good. Makes me think there maybe something to that “your best years are ahead of you” at forty saying.

One may be tempted to ask, what’s my secret? And in actuality someone did. The thing is if there is a secret it escapes me. I’m really a believer in believing in yourself, putting in the work for what you want to achieve, and trusting the process to deliver. For sure the stars won’t always align and things won’t always go the way you hope or plan but if each time you give one hundred percent and remain prepared for the eventuality, then when it does come around, and it will, you’ll be ready. As for me, I’ll try to keep that in mind as I head into the final week of prepping for Marathon Sunday. ✌

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A Runner’s Nightmare

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It’s been nine days since the Staten Island Half  and my ankle injury.  I am trying to have patience, be faith-filled, faithful and calm and not freak out but I  don’t know how good of a job I’m doing.  Twelve days before the biggest race of my life and I can’t run! How do I deal with that? The crap that’s doing laps in my mind when I can’t – do laps that is.  What will I do? What should I do? These are just some of the questions I’m living with these days.

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Fear, uncertainty, disappointment, anxiety, pain and a host of other little monsters are vying for first place in my mind.

Yet, I’m unshakeable in my conviction that I’ll be better and running in the company of some 40,000 plus runners come Nov 3.  That being said, I’m reminded of how we sometimes and unintentionally take things for granted: ourselves and our abilities, other people, things and situations – not really considering how fragile, transient and fickle it can all be.  I mean who really thinks about all of that when things are going well? As is often said, why borrow trouble? But the truth is, everyday, each moment, every gift and ability we have and each person in our lives should be  treasured, as it’s all part and parcel of who we are and what we’re about.  Imagine having to do without a piece of yourself, eventually you adapt sure but you’re never the same.  So for now, I hold on to my faith and pray that when it’s all I have left that’ll be enough; staying preoccupied in a whirlwind of doctor’s offices  and medication – doing my part as I not-so-patiently wait on God to do His.

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