On September 27, 2015, the streets of San Jose were packed with over 8,000 excited runners. I took my place in Coral 1 just behind the rope that segregated us from the elites. My goal was to break my current best of 1:24:08. The increased heat in the San Francisco area made race pace runs difficult the months leading up to the marathon. I was averaging splits 8 seconds over my targeted pace and couldn't seem to break through. With two weeks to go, I slipped on my Luna Sandals and did one last race pace run. I was able to hit 6:14 splits which would put me under the 2 minute goal. It was time to taper and see how it would go down on Sunday.
The gun went off and I hit the road fast to surge through a pack of runners then settled into a pace. Runners would pass me with a competitive eagerness that proved to be costly. I found myself passing runners who surged ahead and had a pack of runners riding in my drift. I wasn't worried. I was focused on my goal and stayed to it. I checked my pace every few miles and saw I was within my goal. With runners nipping at my heels and runners in site to pick off, I made the decision at mile 11 to start my kick. I dug deep and just ran, not bothering with my watch. I wanted to run the last few miles by heart, not by head.
I made a sweeping right turn and could see 2 runners ahead. I reeled them in, making my pass and made a final left turn and saw the finish with one more runner within my reach. I ran as hard as I could, squeezing out whatever juice I had left in my legs, and beat the runner by 3 seconds along with breaking my record by 2:49 (total time 1:21:21).
It's a great feeling when the stars align. Running breaks you, and afterwards you are stronger in the broken places.
Be well and keep run on!