My choice for a spring marathon was the Chambersburg Half. I ran it today with a few hundred other runners. I knew it was going to be challenging and that I would run into a few new "friends" (AKA hills). It was a very nice day and it started somewhat chilly (around 32 degrees). Originally I was going to just wear my blue TNT long sleeve shirt and race shorts, but at the last minute I decided to wear my running tights. I somewhat regretted this, but was very glad I did not have very many layers on in general. Anyway, my wife and daughter came to cheer me on and that was awesome.
Here's some of my experience.
1. Overall, the "friends" weren't all that bad considering some of the hills that I've trained on during the last year. One of the guys was being sarcastic and asked about the hills and I said "I eat them for breakfast." I think he got a kick out of that.
2. This was a great "no frills" race. Actually the water stops were better than they were last year when I ran the Harrisburg Half (since they had about 4 of them).
3. This race was a little bit more "lonely" than the others that I've run because I was either faster than the runners or slower. No one really "settled in" at my pace, but this gave me time to think and make sure that I keep a positive attitude.
4. I kept telling myself "I love hills," "hills are my friends." Brain washing I know, but it works :-).
5. My slowest mile was mile 10, which had the longest of the hills.
6. By far the best part of the race was the finish as I was able to convince myself that I could run faster and I passed two guys (one of which I wasn't sure I could do it, but I talked myself into trying the hardest and if I didn't that would be OK, but I needed to try my best.
7. I got a new PR of 2:18:40 which is more than 12 minutes faster than my previous PR on a MUCH more difficult course.
8. My ice bath was great. I will spare you the details, but it works. I've NEVER taken any anti-inflammatory after a race.
9. Right now I feel really good. It's night and day from how I felt after my first half marathon. I feel amazing :-).
10. I want to continue running until I'm 100. I won't be running fast, but I want to keep this as a part of my life as long as I am physically able. Not only is it a huge stress relief but it's something I really enjoy.
So what's next? For sure, the bird-in-hand half marathon in Lancaster PA. I will probably do a 10 mile race here in Harrisburg and a 10K race in Shippensburg, but none of that is official yet.