I woke up early Saturday morning saying to myself, “really?”   It has been a long racing season and I had been struggling with motivation since my last marathon, something that had never happened to me before.  As I stated in my last post, it can take 4 weeks to recover from a marathon and it was about 4 weeks before I felt the satisfaction of a good workout and by then it was taper week.  So I spent the night before the marathon focusing on this years’ worth of work. Convincing myself that that was enough to prepare me for this race.  After all, this was a no pressure race (people tried to remind me).   However, to me every race is an important race.  Each race is a race against myself to find out what I am capable of…to re-define my’ best.’    Thoughts like “Was the Freedoms Run success a fluke?  I am not a ‘marathoner’” tried to creep into my head.  After some yoga and an Epsom salts bath I reminded myself that the Endurance Film Team was rooting for me and counting on me to do well.   I woke up excited to find out what I could do, to break through the limits that had been put on me, and to discover a bit of greatness hidden within me. Bundled up, I headed to the starting line ambitiously lining up with the 3:30 pace leader.  I had no idea if I could do that but I was determined to try.  I kept it up the whole race!!  There was music and people everywhere and the course was beautiful so that helped.  The leaves were a vibrant red and orange which was a beautiful contrast to the river.  The energy from the crowd and volunteers was contagious and there applause and cheers greatly appreciated.  Since I was there by myself it meant a lot when people cheered for me.  I heard things like,” good form!”, “how do you look so fresh”, and “looking strong, keep it up!”  That meant a lot to me because I had been working hard on my technique for the past 3 years.  It’s taken that long for me to be able to run without pain and I never take a single mile for granted.  Each mile marker I breathed a sigh of relief and smiled in amazement that I was still going and without pain. About mile 24 or so a head wind decided to try and slow me down, pushing me backwards as I got closer to the finish line.  I kept fighting and managed to turn the corner to the finish line. I crossed the finish line with surprise and amazement.  I did it!!!  My first thought, “I don’t have to run again for a month,” my second thought, “I want a full calorie Hot Chocolate!”  ( I had parked near a Starbucks)   I definitely would agree that Richmond is the friendliest marathon and would recommend it to first time and seasoned marathoners.  Let the off season begin!!!

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