A Car Accident and a Marathon

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 On February 17, I was in a car accident. On my return home from a work trip in Wichita Falls, I hit an SUV at nearly 70 mph as he was crossing the highway I was on while trying to turn onto a country road.  Both me and the other driver walked away from the accident with only a few scratches.  Needless to say looking at these pictures, I was very, very lucky.  Since that day, I still struggle with exactly how the accident has affected me.  

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Physically, I felt fine.  In fact, two days later, I ran the Austin Marathon.  This was my first marathon in five years, and the first marathon for Derrick and Rico.   I wasn't planning to set a personal record or anything, I knew I wasn't in great shape going into the race for a few reasons, not to mention the accident.  I should have taken it slow.  Just finishing the race should be an accomplishment to be celebrated.  However, moments before the race, my mindset changed.  I am just not accustomed to taking it easy.  Despite any situation or obstacles in my way, I can overcome.  As a result, this race chewed me up and spit me out..

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In my previous two marathons I started way too fast, a lesson I repeated in Austin. I told myself, "I can do this, I can do well and be just as strong and fast after this accident.  I've done this before, I know what's required and I have it in me.  This is my chance to overcome and persevere through extraordinary circumstances." This of course led to disaster for a couple reasons. First of all, Austin is the toughest marathon I've ran in terms of the course.  It was a great course, but filled with gradual inclines and declines throughout most of the 26.2 miles; something I knew about but didn't practice often in my training.  Second, although it didn't rain that day, it was muggy as hell.  I would much prefer running in a steady rain versus 80-90 percent humidity.  It was like running with a wet towel stuck to your face. Lastly, the accident.  I couldn't tell you that day if I was experiencing any after affects from the crash, but looking back it was definitely playing with my head.

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During my first eight miles, I averaged an 8:10 mile pace.  Then the hills came.  My per mile pace slowed about 30 seconds on average, but was still pretty strong considering the elevation gain between miles 9-13.  Unfortunately, keeping that kind of pace through those hills required way more energy than I anticipated.  Although the course elevation changes were less dramatic on the back end of the race, I was already spent by mile 14.  It was at that point I told myself to just try and enjoy the rest of the course.  One great thing about the Austin Marathon was the spectators, their energy was fantastic.  I couldn't tell you how many people were offering refreshments unofficially.  On the last half of the race, I enjoyed a few beers, a donut, gummie bears, orange slices, Oreos, snickers, the list goes on.  Above all snacks though, the absolute best (Rico and Derrick are in agreement as well) was these crispy thick slices of bacon offered at mile 15.  GOODNESS! That bacon was good.  

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Well, I didn't set any records that day, but I did finish.  And I think given the circumstances, I am proud of myself for that result.  It has reignited this fire inside me however, to really focus on my running in the future.  I imagine after the next month of basketball I intend to really dig deep in to triathlon training, and a lot more endurance work.  I'm really excited because I haven't felt this motivated about running in a long time.  This race taught me a lot about myself, and that being mentally strong is just as important as being physically fit.  There's no question the car crash has an affect on me.  No matter how much I try to ignore it, the accident really made me anxious for several days afterward.  I have to listen to my body, and allow my mind to settle.  That said, I am proud of my friends for overcoming their own obstacles, staying focused, and finishing their first marathon.  Another accomplishment in the books, on to the next one..

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