In spite of a lack of training, as in one 16-mile run over the last few months, in spite of zero (0) speed work since summer, in spite of a lingering ailment that I continued to nurse, November 12 dawned and I once again toed the line at the Enders Harrisburg Marathon.
This is my hometown marathon where the running community has more heart than anywhere else I have run. The marathon and the running community draw me in whether I am ready for it or not.
Most of the last 20 years or so, I have volunteered along its course, organized the Pre-race Pasta Dinner, and helped at packet pickup. All of those volunteer stints were a painless way to spend time with other runners, see old acquaintances and make new ones and, in a small way, pay back this wonderful running community in Central Pennsylvania that offers friendship, company along the training miles, and the beauty of watching other runners achieve their goals.
I could not stay away from that start, knowing my long term training would see me through 26 miles albeit at a much slower than usual pace. Or I could simply drop if it didn’t seem in my best interest to continue.
And so it was that I walked some miles,
and ran some miles through perfect marathon weather.
I wore my Garmin but avoided looking at the numbers, hugged a few good friends working as course monitors and cheering along the course and finished with a personal worst (PW) (5:23), which I prefer to think of as my Age 70 personal record (PR).
It wouldn’t be November without the Harrisburg Marathon, my favorite marathon during my favorite month. As it comes to a close, I try to avoid the garish lights rushing the holiday season and rushing the end of this beautifully sedate month of November which has its own lovely light. It occurs just before full darkness, the last of leaves hanging on to beautiful nearly-bare branches.
Something about the November air says keep running, breathe deep, and be ready for a beautiful and possibly difficult winter of cold weather distance training and trail runs.
Goodbye, November. You have been lovely, as always.