I was back in Central Indiana this past weekend for the Eagle Creek Trail Half Marathon. As you might remember, this event really humbled me last year, forcing me to little more than a crawl for the last several miles and a 3 hour and 6 minute finishing time.
Sonny and I arrived at the park early to find preparations for the event under way and many runners milling about and preparing for the run.
We were both hoping for a better finish than last year and wished each other well just before the start. I lost sight of Sonny shortly after entering the woods and then caught a glimpse of him leaving the first water station station just as I was arriving.
It was during the first mile that I seemed to feel the fatigue in my legs that plagued me during last years run. I briefly thought of turning back and then pushed forward remembering a mantra that I borrowed from training partner Ashley. This mantra, There will be a day when I cannot do this, but Today is not that day helped me refocus my determination several times during this run. This is a very challenging course and I had to work to get it done. I guess the challenge is part of the appeal of the event.
This year I had a little patience and didn't go out way to fast as I had done last year. The Galloway style walk breaks were saved for most of the uphill sections and the light rain was a blessing that helped keep things somewhat cool.
Also, I was prepared and when I got to the old bear statue in the woods and I veered off course just enough to snap a picture. I guess I should have veered a little farther since the bear is pretty unrecognizable from this angle. Maybe next year I can veer a little farther.
When I got to about mile 10 I could tell that I was doing well enough that if I could hold it together I could beat last years time by several minutes. It seemed like the last mile would never end. The total distance of 13.80 miles as measured by my Garmin GPS kind of explains why the last mile seemed so long.
We both had a pretty good day with Sonny beating last year's time by 28 minutes and my time being about 20 minutes ahead of last years time. I was able to convince a representative from North Face, the event sponsor, to take a photo of us with my camera.
I asked Sonny which one of us he thought looked the goofiest in the picture and he said it might be a tie. Maybe next year we will find someone with better camera skills.