I Made It — November 7, 2021

Every so often I have to check out the tolerance levels for the old body and today’s run was just that.

A tolerance check and also it was time to see what kind of shape I am in.

What on earth are you talking about this time, Harold?

I haven’t run 13.1 miles (ca. 21 km), yeah a half-marathon, for over two years — since August 24, 2019. I got to thinking that if I am really serious about running Millinocket next month, I need to KNOW that I can finish the distance on a good day and easier course.

This morning, I showed myself that I could run a half-marathon on the Augusta to Gardiner Rail Trail out and back course. It was the perfect day to attempt to run the 13.1 miles, and I somehow managed to do it sub 1:55:00. A time that really surprised me and boosted my confidence quite a bit. Although, I doubt that I could have run more than a couple of minutes faster at my current fitness level — if it had been a race.

I am pretty well acquainted with reality at this point in my life.

However, the best part of the run was that I didn’t think about the Achilles Tendon that has plagued me since mid-March.

Now, don’t get me wrong, while this is a massive jump forward for me, I hold no grand illusions about how difficult the Millinocket Half Marathon course is and would be for me. Running anything under two hours up there would be a big accomplishment and something I would smile about. Even if I ran over two hours, it wouldn’t be a big surprise or disappointment.

I have less than four weeks to improve my conditioning, and I don’t see a lot of improvement happening in that short amount of time. Okay, which means that there is no stardust will get sprinkled on my head or any of that other crap, that leads to fantastical thinking.

Now to get to work and see where it leads.

Oh yeah, I did wear the Saucony Speed 2’s and learned first hand that they are the real deal. I warmed up slowly and thought I was going to end up in the 9:40 range for the first mile. Instead, it was sub 9:00, and I kept cruising along at between 8:30 to 8:45 range until mile 11 to 12, when I started to slow down and went up to a 9:20 pace. I picked it back up for the final mile back to my previous range and finished stronger than I expected.

To say that, the Speed 2s worked well is an understatement. While the bottoms of my feet started to bother around 10 miles, it is something that I have battled for a couple of years and to go 10 miles before it started to bother was a huge win.

Overall, it was one of those run that I needed and got. I worked hard this morning and was pleased with the effort and the times that resulted. A 1:54:54 half-marathon training run, after all the injuries and other distractions, that I worked through this year is something that I am thrilled about.

Oh yeah, during my cool-down there was a family down along the river who were taking selfies and I offered to take their picture. As I walked up to get their phone, one of the ladies asked if I was a runner?

I chuckled, smiled, and said, “I try to be one.”

One of the younger ones said. “Look at how he is dressed — of course he is a runner.”

I took their photos and then walked back up to the truck.

I did think about the comment, and you know something — I will continue trying to be a runner for a while longer, I think.

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