With the 2019 Chicago Marathon the second Sunday of October finally in sight, I planned to race once or twice in September as part of training and registered for a half marathon with the inaugural Pony Express Half Marathon & 5K in Marysville, Kansas, taking place on September 7, 2019. What I believed to be a potential stress fracture in my right foot for months now seems to be a strain closer to my ankle, which I feel more intensely, strange considering I have been running less due to my recent overseas business trip. I could not help but worry running this race could worsen the injury and jeopardize my first World Marathon Major I had been eyeing for nearly a year at this point.

PC: Pony Express Half Marathon & 5K

I try not to be greedy with my finish time in the summer, so I never intended to push for a personal record. I simply used this 13.1-mile run, which ended up being 13.21 miles, to sustain endurance and build confidence from this minor foot pain. On pace for a near 1:50:00 finish and feeling as strong as the beginning for more than half the race, I did not see my drastically slowing down the final two miles coming. In addition to the heat, direct sunlight, and headwind, my constantly shouting for directions while turning on and off my earphones and pausing and restarting my music unnecessarily drained my stamina by throwing off my rhythm, and I had to settle for an official time of 1:57:33. Nevertheless, I felt relieved my right foot did not bother me at any point on the course and I was able to comfortably achieve another sub-2:00:00 half marathon, both of which boosted my confidence for the upcoming marathon in just over a month, especially knowing the temperature will give me a mammoth advantage by that time. Bring back the cold already; I do not enjoy running in the summer heat! Thank You, Jesus!