At the beginning of 2014, I had targeted the Accreon Fall Classic as a goal race, feeling that it would be at a great place in my training cycle and being a flat enough course to help me break 1:45 for the half marathon. The running gods had other plans in mind, but I was fortunate enough to still be able to take in the event, as I’m finally able to start logging some slow but comfortable miles again.

As I’ve already learned, but keep having to remind myself, the running life is one of constant adjustment. Regardless of your level, life can sometimes get in the way and make training a challenge. Essentially, I’m trying to make the fall racing season an extended training session. There are pros and cons to this approach. I don’t like having to pay for my tempo runs, but on the bright side I do like getting a nice t-shirt and a shiny new medal at the end of my workout.

Knowing that I had comfortably done the half marathon at the Maritime Race Weekend in 2:18, I set myself the goal of getting between 2 hours and 2:05 at the fall classic. Being familiar with the course and having a decent handle on my fitness, I also knew that if everything went perfectly, I might even sneak under the 2 hour mark without pushing myself too hard. The last thing I want at this point is to lose even more recovery/training time.

The conditions were absolutely perfect with a cool fall air and clear skies. I followed by 48 hour fuelling and hydration plan perfectly and liked my odds of having a decent run. It’s a difficult mental adjustment to ignore the other people in a race and just stick to your own revised plan, but I feel like it’s something that may benefit me down the road when I’m targeting PB times again. Trusting your training, your plan and ignoring your own doubts AND ego are all key components to a good run and more so when you are in recovery mode.

At the start line I was more nervous than I expected, as I knew this was going to be another significant test on my hip. The possibility of a DNF was definitely looming as I promised myself (and more importantly, my wife) that if I experienced any pain at all in the hip, I would call it a day. It was also important that if I didn’t experience any pain, that I push myself a little. A full effort would be pointless (and more than a little foolish) but I had to push myself for an extended period of time to gain some confidence in myself.

Ultimately, I finished in just over 1:58 and did so comfortably. I had more (not a lot, mind you) to give and was pain free. Compared to what I had initially planned for this race, it was not impressive, but it was honestly one of the more satisfying results I’ve experienced. The relief and joy that washed over me when I finished surprised me as it’s not too often that I’m emotional after a race.

Next up for me is the PEI Marathon weekend in mid-October, where I have dropped from the full marathon to the half. I’m hoping to be a little faster than the Fall Classic, but it will depend on how I’m feeling. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and I’ll get a chance to meet and talk to some more of the amazing runners from our region.

Happy running!

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