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Priest Lake Spring Festival Half Marathon





I found myself gazing out over the clear, translucent water of Priest Lake. My feet moved to the rhythm of my breathing, and if it weren’t for the tangible impact I felt of them hitting asphalt, I never would have known I was running. The cool air smelled fresh, as if no one yet had moved through what the trees and flowering bushes had worked all night to revive. A long time had passed where I have found the opportunity to escape and explore my surroundings with something other than my eyes.

Yet I looked ahead. Bryan Rowe didn’t know he ran just 50 yards ahead of me. At the starting line, I had told him to go on ahead, as I had plans to run my slower goal Ironman pace. However, I realized during our 2-mile warm up that my legs had some spunk in them. The only problem was, for the last 3 months, I’ve been walking a fine line between running too much, too soon, too fast and risking further injury to my knee.

An out-and-back course on paved roads with a few
hills to make your lungs scream a bit.
After the starting gun, I kept looking down at my Garmin to find the pace I wanted to run. Even after 4 miles had passed, I still wasn’t running slow enough. I told Bryan later, after the run: There is something about me and a 7:30-min/mile pace. Running anything slower than 8-min/miles feels too slow, while anything faster than 7-min/miles feels nothing short of uncomfortable. By the 5th mile, I’d relinquished the reins to my legs and ran at my 7:30-min/mile pace, which ultimately allowed me to catch Bryan. Just know, Meghan, this won’t work in an Ironman.

Nothing quite compares to running a half marathon course that makes you feel as though you’re on a long, scenic trail run. Unless you have the opportunity to run with that person with whom everything feels so perfect. Just like in the Tri Cities Marathon last year, it suddenly occurred to me by mile 7 that if you’d have only had a recording of our run, you wouldn’t have known two people ran together. Perhaps our staggered breathing might have given it away, but by the cadence and timeliness of our footfalls, you would have only heard Bryan’s feet. That’s because mine weren’t hitting the ground.

I took inventory of my body. Everything felt healthy and appeared to be working normally. The 5.5-hour ride the day before rattled my gut a bit, but nothing felt as though it would escape either end…yet.
Two women had the lead ahead of me, one of which I could see. I knew that while I had already failed to run the pace I had initially set, I could not forget the purpose of this “race.” I did not come up here to win, but to run a steady, constant effort at a pace that slightly pushed my limits. I certainly could not afford to hurt my knee any further. So I maintained my pace and enjoyed the views over the lake, smell from the woods, and cool breeze on my face.

Bryan and me passed the 10k turnaround point, and then we came upon the 5k turnaround. Here, I met up with a number of kids out to push themselves harder than many of them ever had. One little guy ran up to me and stuck with my pace until we’d just ran up the final hill toward the finish line. Another girl stopped running just ahead of me; we only had about 100 yards to the finish. I urged her onward, and she proceeded to catch me, run with me, then pass me after the final corner to the finish line. That a girl!

I by no means set a PR. I had no intention of doing so. What I did accomplish means far more to me at this point in my training. I ran faster than I should have, but didn’t suffer for it. I enjoyed the perfect run with a training partner who continually pushes me to be better, simply by keeping me company. I had the chance to participate in a race set in the most scenic of settings, the most friendly of small lake towns.

Third overall woman and 2nd place age group awards
to round out the day. Not bad for a training run!
 
Bryan enjoying some wood furniture made by one of the
vendors at the Spring Festival after the run.


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