I was nearly done with my long run when I heard the lyrics, “How will you know….if you don’t try?” whispering in my ears. It was the remix of Jetstream by Jacques Lu Cont. “How will you know if you don’t try. How will you know if you don’t try.”
I had promised myself I was going to take this one easy, stay in zone 1-2 like the plan says, not pop it up to zone 4/ threshold. But my legs were rolling underneath me and I never take these long runs easy. Every time I make that promise to myself, stay around 7′s per mile. Don’t push it. Just ease into it and cruise. I hit the halfway point at the absolute lowest point in Blacksburg and took a left turn into some agonizing cramps and uphill. The pace slowed but the effort rose. Before I knew it I was hammering it up the hill, trying to salvage the pace I had kept on the downhill.
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Last year I signed up for the Clermont Draft Legal Challenge with a throbbing swollen sprained ankle. I was a broken man. I needed a way to get out and test myself before Collegiate Nationals though and this was my opportunity. However, this year is different. I am in the best shape of my life, having no injuries since those ripped ligaments over a year ago.
My friends and I left Blacksburg in the first hours of spring break to drive through the night to Clermont, Florida, just outside of Orlando. We arrived at the race site to meet some of my teammates from Endorphin Fitness at 9:30 in the morning. During warm-up I could tell my body was in good shape. However, having ignored the warnings of the dozens of people warning me about my reddening back, I got the wicked sunburn that my ignorance deserved. After warm up checked into our sketchy hotel with abandoned buildings and residents that looked more like beached whales than humans and headed to grab some Chipotle lunch.
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