Top 3 Best Runs (R2B preview)

I’m getting ready to head to the mountains to run the Ridge to Bridge marathon tomorrow, and I’m still just not feeling it.  Right now I’d rather sit on the couch and watch a movie tonight, but I signed up for this race a few months ago thinking how fast I could run a down hill marathon, so I’m committed and I’ll do it.  Here’s the profile:

At the time I thought that section from mile 5-14 looked really fast.  And then I ran 6.2 miles of it fast in July.  And it hurt.  A lot.  For days.  Quads were just toast.  I’m not really looking forward to that at all now.  :-/

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll love it once I’m there — it is peak color season and I love the mountains.  But this has been a crazy week with a lack of sleep — Mom’s surgery, big blow up at work, car battery dying, and on and on.  (One bright spot — Kelly and I celebrated 25 years of dating with an excellent Dinner at Oakleaf in Pittsboro.)

As my running has not been great the past 4-6 weeks, it should be interesting.  I no longer have aspirations of a 3:15, or even a 3:20.  I will start with a decent pace, just in case I feel good, but I’m not worried if I need to back off to just enjoy it.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

So, I just started thinking back about my “top 3 runs” ever, at least in terms of performance, and not so much in terms of beauty.  I love mountain “runs” and the inherent beauty of them, even if it is a 15:00/mile pace, but that’s not what I’m thinking about here…

So, in order, here are my top 3 performing runs.

1)  Boston 2011:  This was actually a tough choice between this and number 2… But Boston is special, so I put it first.  I’m not even a road runner, and it is first — that’s how special Boston is!  I really went into that race without a lot of training, and went out way too fast, but it felt good and I held it an awfully long time.  I ended up running a marathon 17 minutes faster than I predicted!  And my sister beat me — as strange as it sounds, I was really happy for her because she had trained so hard.

2)  New Hope:  This one wasn’t even a race, but I ran so amazingly well — about 1 minute per mile faster than I’ve ever run at New Hope before or since.  Where does something like that come from?  It was not an easy run — I worked my butt off — but at the same time it was not a difficult run.  I was in some kind of zone… It was great!  Wish I could find that zone again in a race someday…  This was about two weeks after I had run the North Face 50 miler in GA, and for about a month after that race, I was flat out flying…

3) Uhwarrie 2012:  Uhwarrie 2011 was a struggle…  From the first climb, my legs felt tired, and I never could find a rhythm with my breathing.  But 2012 was different — I took nearly an hour off my time on this 40 miler.   I went out hard to get in front of the crowd on that first climb, and didn’t let up for a long time.  I felt like I was going too fast — nearly 1 minute per mile faster than planned, but it felt good, so I went with it… I did have a stretch from around mile 19 – 25 that was difficult, but I came out of mile 25 like a new runner.  Was it the Endorlytes?  Not sure, but I had never managed to “run” the Uhwarrie Walk of Shame, my nickname for mile 32-40.  But this time I did, nearly all of it.  And I came in under 8:00 hours.  I had always thought if I had a perfect run, I might break 8, yet even with the middle stretch where I struggled, I still managed it.  And I was barely sore and recovered quickly!  Quicker than any other ultra I’ve ever run.

So where will tomorrow fall?  I’ve not given up that by some miracle my running legs might show up tomorrow, but I’m not really expecting it either.  I’m sure I’ll have fun and it will be beautiful, and fun is what it’s all about.

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