Double PR

As I approached the start line of my very first off-road marathon, I couldn’t help but be a little apprehensive. I knew that I’d trained harder than ever, felt stronger than ever, and was toeing the start line with the best coach ever, but all of those little thoughts that go through a runner’s head at the start line crept up in my brain anyway. What if I couldn’t find my groove? What if I had to use the bathroom? What if it started to rain? What if I fell? What if I just gave up at mile 18 (I have, in fact done this, so it wasn’t entirely ridiculous to think it)?

The starting pistol went off with a jolt. No, literally: people were milling about and then, BANG!, someone announced we were starting. I started my watch and took off, trying to keep a nice, even pace knowing I’d have to pick it up at the half. The first several miles were uneventful, until I had to pay a little visit to the bushes around mile 4. But no sweat, I was back on course in no time. Somewhere around mile 21 or 22, I could see a wall in the distant horizon. I wasn’t quite upon it, but it was there lurking, calling me to it. “This is where the real work begins”, I told myself. So instead of staring at that wall and running straight into it, I called into focus all of the training I had done and the race I had run just two week prior: a ½ marathon at which I set a 3 minute PR!

So after several internal monologues in which I told myself repeatedly, “Just hold whatcha got”, I made it to the finish line. I was in shock as I realized I’d set a 4 minute PR. Also, of five marathons, this was the first of which I ran all 26.2 without at least one 30-60 second walk break at a water stop. So really it was double PR day for me.

Wow. As I reflect back on this racing season, I’m still in awe that I was able to set two back to back PRs. I would not have been able to do either one without the training plans and continuous support Coach Brenda gave me throughout the season. I am so fortunate to have worked with her; she helped me see the potential I have within me and has shaped me as an athlete in numerous ways. Coach Brenda is the best!

~Alison Manning

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