...and just like that, the 2016 Army Run is upon us. This will be my sixth Army Run and I will admit, I've had little time to over think this one. I recall last year being really focused on this race. I was ready for a PR (and missed by a minute). In contrast, I am using this years Army Run as a training run and have no idea what's in store for Sunday.
After getting over the worst of my Achilles issues, this past month has been focused on regaining my mileage. Surprisingly, I've been able to pepper my training with a handful of very strong longer runs. I credit my mind for some of this, as I've basically refused to count myself out for the Hamilton Marathon in November.
So back to Sunday, I plan to go out there and nestle into my goal marathon pace. I will see how I feel along the way and adjust as needed. Post-race, I will be pleased with the result "finished without any pain," with the benefit of a "race environment" tempo run. Do I think I will PR (~1:41), who knows. Do I care? Not really. This is not my A Race. I am just thrilled to be running after being sidelined six weeks ago.
I am also reflecting that the first time I ran this race I ran it in a 2:16. I now run half marathons comfortably in the 1:4x-range, and could probably gun for a sub -1:40 on a good day. I don't say that to brag, but simply to highlight that anything is possible.
In other news, I've started to read Matt Fitzgerald's book, How Bad Do You Want It. I am only a couple chapters in, but I am loving it so far. It is reinforcing my belief that the MIND RUNS THE BODY.
"Sure, it was just a race, but sports are really not separate from life, nor is the athlete distinct from the person. In mastering my fear of suffering in races, I acquired a greater level of respect for myself, a sense of inner strength that has helped me tackle other challenges, both inside and outside sports." -Matt Fitzgerald
If you are racing on Sunday, I hope you have a great race. If you are chasing dreams out there, I encourage you to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. When the going gets tough, remember, the MIND TELLS THE BODY WHAT TO DO. Get it.