Have I mentioned that I am not a fast runner? I will never set records. I will never win races. I will never even place my age group (unless I happen to be the only runner in my age group). I will never run farther than everyone else or do anything else extraordinary when it comes to athletic endeavors (or likely any other endeavors either, for that matter). I'm okay with this fact. Yes, I'm mediocre and I don't have a problem with it.
That said, I have been trying to beat my person best in the half marathon since May 2008 when that personal best was established. I came close a couple of years ago, when I came within 25 seconds of that time. But, with 2-3 half marathon races under my belt most years since 2008 I have not been able to improve upon my time. That is . . . until two weeks ago in Madison, WI. I had tried a new training program and was running faster overall and feeling pretty good. I was ready, although that's usually the case as I'm pretty obsessive about training "according to the plan". Race day arrived and the weather was about perfect, low 50s, cloudy and little wind. I had eaten my post-race meal of pizza the night before with exactly 2 beers spread out over a few hours. And somehow, after 5 years of trying to better my best by doing all of the same things each time I signed up for a race, this time I was able to cross the finish line with a new best to beat! Almost 30 seconds better, and feeling good (despite the unexpected "OH CRAP!" short, very steep hill at mile 10.5 and the non-stop gradual uphill over the last mile).
I still have 3:40 to knock off my time to hit my ultimate goal. Whether I can do that in Madison is yet to be determined, but this is a race I want to return to, and Madison is a city I will visit again!