Albuquerque Half Marathon: Sent & Spent

There’s a pocket in every race, maybe half a mile in shorter races and two or three miles in longer ones, when the race is simply work. The adrenaline of the start has subsided, the tension of weaving and staking a place in the pack has eased, but the infamous Wall has not yet become a factor.

It’s an in-between place. It doesn’t feel exciting or “hard core” or even, as everyone loves to say these days, gritty. The imagery from the Gatorade and Michelob Ultra commercials has eroded like sand castles succumbing to waves. Or in this case, miles. And effort. And ideally, focus.

It’s a pocket of brutal honesty in a race. It’s a time when mental tricks, like visualizing a desired time, picking out a runner ahead and trying to reel them in, or pretending that this is a casual training run on an oft-traveled course, lose any semblance of goofiness or cliche and emerge hard, shiny, and vital.

I had a good race today. My goal was sub-1:50, and although there were significant stretches of pavement where doubt crept in, hope clung like a goat-head and wouldn’t be shaken. Or was it faith, or trust?

I don’t know. I used those mental tricks. I knew I had God with me, and my training, and my trusty mid-race fruit snacks, and the support of a lot of good people. I hoped it would do, and it did.

I hit my goal!

Here’s to the work, everybody. Here’s to whatever gets you through it. And whether your current work comes with a race bib or not, I wish you the best of luck.

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