Overcoming the Wall

A warning: this is not a really cool marathon story. It’s more of a ramble where I occasionally throw in stuff about how it feels to hit a wall in your running career. I’ll start with how I picked up this odd hobby of traveling by foot, only to return to the exact spot I started.

About six years ago, sometime after graduating from high school, I decided to run my first 5K. My younger brother always ran. So, I thought, “hey maybe I’ll try it!” Before this race I just jogged the occasional two or three miles to be “in shape.” So, race day is a sunny, warm summer day in Michigan, and the race course is basically the perimeter of a mall parking lot. From the start, I take off with the leaders. I run an opening 5:12 mile! The bad news: I’m completely wiped out. NOTHING left in the tank. I struggle to finish the remaining two miles and finished with an 18:33 for my first 5k. I almost threw up (the guy in front of me did). I raced like an idiot, but somehow this race reeled me into running, and I never looked back. Since that day, I’ve had this label of a “runner.” The future was unseeable but imagined it to be great. There was so much room for improvement! From then on, every race I had a goal of cutting down my time, and I did for a while.

It wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that I realized it gets much harder to shave off seconds of the ol’ PRs. I ran the 3M Half Marathon in January 2012 and ran the race of my life (1:10:54). Feeling on top of the world, naturally I said sub 1:10 is the next goal. But I would soon find out progress is not inevitable. Since that day I really haven’t had a solid block of training to even attempt a faster half marathon.

I think all athletes, hell, anyone trying to be better at something in life, will arrive at a turning point where they must decide do I want to be mediocre or do I desire to reach my potential? Because after all, achieving greatness is not based on other’s accomplishments but reaching our own true individual potential.

Whatever you are, be a good one. -Lincoln

The point of this backstory is to say that I don’t think I have reached my potential by any means. I doubt most of us have. But I do intend to! It’s been a choppy year, but I haven’t lost sight of what I felt in those first few races. It’s a feeling of pure accomplishment when you do something better than you ever have before. First, I need to make some changes in my training habits and add things to my week that will make me a stronger runner overall. My last year in PT school has given me some great ideas about additions to training and I’ll be happy to share them in my next post. Updates and details to follow!

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