January 7, 2011. That was my first day running after sustaining a stress reaction in my femur the previous fall. Since then I have had very little unplanned interruption in my training. Basically it means it has been three years of a continual, steady progression in my running. Something that I had not been able to do for more than 18 months at a time. During these three years I have had ups and downs, but have always been continually, steadily progressing forward. This is the basic goal of all distance runners. It makes it possible to compare one year to the next, and eventually reach those career goals. But every once in a while, you are able to bypass certain stages of this progression and make a big leap forward.
This past weekend I made my half marathon debut at the US Championships in Houston. My trip to the Space City ended up being a successful one. Well, actually that would be an understatement, I ended up making one of those leaps forward.
I came in to the race with three goals: run under 1:02:15 (4:45 min/mile), place top 5, and qualify to represent Team USA at the World Half Marathon Championships. I accomplished all three of these; I ran 1:01:44, which was fast enough to place 4th, and will be heading to Denmark at he end of March. On top of reaching my goals, I also had my fifth top 10 placing at a US Championship and am now the 16th fastest American over 13.1 miles. Overall, it was a great way to start off my 2014 campaign.
While I am extremely proud of what I accomplished this last weekend and this performance gives me a positive outlook for the rest of the year, I know that it is but another stepping off point. From here I know that I can continue to steadily progress forward from here, and eventually I will have another big leap forward. Until then I am going to keep riding this wave of momentum and focus on the World Half Marathon Championships. After that I will step onto the track to run some fast times and by the end of this year make my debut at the marathon. Maybe by then I will be ready to make a big leap forward.