Not even trying to hide my huge smile, I stood at the start line of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon hungry for two things: redemption and an Olympic Trials qualifying time. It had only been six months since I ran my first marathon, but this race would be different. This time around, I was prepared for the mental challenge and ready to see what my body could really do. I knew the race was mine and I was determined to make my goal of a sub-2:43 time.
I started off running in a huge pack of guys, which helped keep me motivated. Having a sense that we were sharing the workload, my mind settled in as my legs found a strong pace. I felt comfortable, enjoying the first 16 miles of the relatively flat course.
At mile 16, the group began to break apart as we headed up one of the only hills, which lasted about a mile. By this time, the guys knew my goal and continued to cheer me along the way.
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Still feeling strong, I made it to mile 20, where I knew it was go-time. I steeled myself to fend off the dreaded wall, as my pack continued to dwindle.
By mile 23, I was down to running with only two of the original guys when one moved ahead of me slightly. Determined
to maintain my pace, I focused on him and tried to keep his back within a sprint’s distance.
Like many marathon runners, I got to mile 25 and my head started playing tricks on me. As I looked at my watch to calculate how much time I had to make it to the finish by my goal, my tired mind jumbled up the math, making me think I had less time than I really did.
I willed my legs to move faster and picked up the pace on the final mile stretch. I wasn’t going to let anything stand in the way of my goal. When I turned the corner with the finish line in sight and saw the clock, I realized that I had a nice cushion. Crossing the line in 2:41:54, I immediately hugged my dad tightly and cried tears of joy. I had done it—I had gotten the qualifying time.
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