Half a Dilemma

My next half marathon is creeping up on me with the stealthy determination of a lynx stalking its prey. The race is next week, and it’s ready to pounce.

The thing is, I’m ready too. I’m so ready. My training has been going amazing well, I am (as per usual) injury free and I’m probably fitter than I have ever been in my life. If the stars align for me come race day, I could even challenge my previous half marathon personal best of 1:39:56 to a duel at dawn.

So what’s the dilemma?

This is one race I must not, well, how can I put this, race at all. I can certainly run it, but I must not expend more energy than I would do on a normal long run. My first marathon is a mere five weeks away, you see, and it’s also prowling around in the shadows that surround me.

The day after the half marathon will mark the beginning of two of the toughest training weeks I have ever subjected myself to, and I don’t intend to run them while physically recovering from an act of inanity caused by a runaway ego.

So as it is, my head and heart are trapped out on the battlefield where the armies commandeered by the devil and angel from my shoulders are flashing their respecitve “Run Girl, Run!” and “Slow and Steady” t-shirts in front of each other’s faces. And I fear that this is a mere skirmish, as the real war will not begin until 11am next Sunday.

Right now, I’m still planning on running the half marathon in under two hours. Should I have a really bad day and have to rough it out, anything longer than that is not a disaster, as it’s still a long run that’ll just slot in with my marathon training.

For the first time in my life I will run a race where crossing that finish line too fast would be the real calamity. I have one final weapon up my sleeve, or rather, waiting for me at the finish line. If my ego and I cross the said finish line in under 1:45 (or, heaven forbid, storm into my own history books with a new PB), I have a loyal friend awaiting me with a cold fish, ready to slap some retrospective sense into me.

It seems to me that the duel at dawn will be fought primarily between my head and heart next Sunday. Wish me luck!

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