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The bigger picture

Every year I have run the Shamrock Half Marathon, the weather has been perfect at Virginia Beach ... I sure hope it's like this in two weeks.

With two weeks to go to the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, I continue to find myself not obsessed about it. Usually this close to a race I over analyze things, usually because I feel like I haven’t done enough. For the first time in a long time, I truly believe that I’ve done all I can do in the course of two-plus months to get ready for this race. And considering the way this winter has been and how much snow has been on the ground and piled up on sidewalks, I’m really content to just run this race and see what happens.

With this being my fourth Shamrock Half, I can easily say that this has been my second best winter of training so far. The best was in 2007 when I was with a speed and endurance training group once a week. Even then, though, I don’t think I was as consistent as I have been this winter.

My mileage has been great — I’m quickly approaching 200 miles for the year with seven straight weeks of 20-plus miles. That includes seven straight weeks of a long run of 10 miles or more. Previously, I may have run two or three double-digit long runs to get ready for a half marathon. I’ve also gotten consistently faster this winter. I’ve admittedly not done enough speed work as I’d like, but my overall comfortable pace is faster — probably a good 30 seconds a mile faster than at any point last year.

Since I ran the Richmond Marathon in 2007, I have well documented my issues with my feet. Since going to the doctor last year, I’ve gone from managing my problems to just not having any problems anymore. I remember the doctor telling me that the issues may never go away and that I’d have to deal with it in many different ways. I probably should not have run Shamrock in 2008. Last year was fine, but I probably should not have run two races two weekends in a row. Lessons learned.

My No. 1 goal has always been to stay injury free, but I started to become obsessed about it. Now that I haven’t had problems in a while, my focus has shifted to the bigger picture — having a successful year. I want to have a year that I don’t have regrets and that I don’t look back and say I wish I would have done something. Injuries are going to happen, but by starting the year off so great and so focused on getting back to basics, things are just falling into place naturally. I never wanted to force anything with my running, but I did and I became a runner I didn’t want to become.

So with the Shamrock Half, my goal is to do the best I can without holding back. Yes, a PR would be great — that 1:44:23 has been there for a long time now. But staying healthy through the spring months is an even greater feeling. My worst months in recent years have been April and May, which only sets me up to start completely over in the summer. I can’t do that this year.

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