Buffalo Half Marathon Race Recap

31 May

Sunday morning started with an unreasonably early alarm: the bzz-bzz-bzz on my Fitbit woke me up at 3am.  I pulled off the miraculous feat of throwing on the clothes I had laid out the night before, brushing my hair/teeth, putting in contacts, and heading out the door in exactly 15 minutes.  Bleary eyed, I went straight to the gas station for a giant coffee and a water bottle and headed down the thruway.

I'm doing this for fun?!

I’m doing this for fun?!

I had spent some time putting together an epic playlist for the drive out there which honestly ended up being a lifesaver.  It kept me awake and pumped me up for the race, which is no small task when there is nothing but moonlight, an occasional tractor trailer, and multiple deer sprinting across the highway during your drive.

I got to Buffalo by 6am which was perfect timing to go and grab my bib and figure out race day logistics (read: warm up and poop, not necessarily in that order).  A somewhat sad sight was the amount of security guards around the convention center – they had that place on lockdown, not even allowing non-runners in the building, or allowing anyone to use the restrooms.  This is not meant to be a complaint or criticism of the security folks or the race directors by any means – they all did a wonderful job to ensure the safety and security of everyone involved.  Rather, it was just kind of sad to see that this is what it has to be like thanks to the actions of two deranged and evil individuals …

boston

Moving on.  Since training for Wineglass starts next week, I didn’t want to be completely dead at the end of this race.  My only goal was to run hard but not max it out.  I hoped that type of effort would put me under 1:40, but I didn’t want to push so hard for <1:40 that I ended up injured or unable to recover quickly.

Buffalo is a fairly large race (I think around 6,000 for the full and the half combined) and the full follows the half marathon course for the first 13 miles so the pacers had dual signs (i.e. 1:30 half/3:00 full, 1:40 half/3:20 full).  There was a sizable bubble of runners around the 1:30/3:00 pacer, but then got very sparse until back around the 2:00/4:00 pacer.  I lined up to the side of the 1:40 pacer, making a plan to stick with him until mile 6-7ish and then take off depending on how I felt.

The gun went off right on time and I hung off the back of the 1:40/3:20 pack for the first mile.  Nothing really remarkable, just trying to get a read on how I was feeling.  The first mile clicked off in exactly 7:38 – perfect.

I was trying very hard to run by feel and noticed I was pulling away from the pacer already.  I decided to just go with it, but sanity check myself once in a while to make sure I wasn’t pulling 7:1x’s.  I knew Laura was waiting for me at mile 3, and I didn’t want to accidentally throw down a crazy split or two out of excitement.  (P.S. Laura did an amazing job both volunteering and cheering on a handful of people!  She even had an amazingly number-nerd index card with estimated times, paces and mile markers of where to spot everyone.  It was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen.)

7:26, 7:25, 7:24, 7:27, 7:26, 7:27  (WTF consistency?  I have no idea how I did that.)

I was all smiles through these miles – feeling great and having a wonderful time.  Also I don’t want to alarm anyone, but the world is ending, because I actually took one decent race pic.

WEEEEE! 7:25s are easy-peasy! I am having the best time ever! This Oiselle lux layer is so cozy on a chilly day!

WEEEEE! 7:25s are easy-peasy! I am having the best time ever! This Oiselle lux layer is so cozy on a chilly day!

Mile 8 had a couple of bridges that weren’t really a big deal, but my legs definitely noticed them.  Mile 8.5 – 9.5 had us turning directly into the wind at the waterfront.  My everything did notice that.  I tried to reserve energy so I could hammer it at the turnaround.

7:30, 7:37

2012131course

Mile 10 – did not reserve enough.  Also I am running by all these runners which means — oh fuck.  This course entirely doubles back on itself.  How did I not notice this.  YES I SO TOTALLY WANT TO RUN THE NEXT FEW MILES INTO THE WIND BRING IT ON jk jk someone kill me.

7:35, 7:47, 7:38

Ehhhhh heyyy I guess this is still kinda fun sorta kinda maybe

Ehhhhh heyyy I guess this is still kinda fun sorta kinda maybe

At this point I was entirely zoned out and I knew my form had gone to hell and I was definitely ready for the race to be done.  I remember running through some sort of highway underpass and seeing someone jumping around like crazy next to a bike.  Then I realized it was Laura again!  This was seriously a lifesaver at this point – I wasn’t expecting to see her out on the course again, and I was at mile 12.5 and mentally shot.  Seeing her gave me a burst of energy and kind of pulled me back together again.

When I had the finish line in sight, I saw a 1:39:xx on the clock.  SHIT!  Must. get. under. 1:40.  I became quite determined very quickly.  And ok, I know I said I wasn’t going to bust ass for a sub-1:40, but I also wasn’t going to stroll the last tenth of a mile to come in at 1:40:10 or something silly like that either.

7:43, 1:33 for the last .24 by my Garmin, 6:34 pace

I never look as intense as I feel in a finish line photo.  Mostly like I'm going to keel over while pooping myself.

I never look as intense as I feel in a finish line photo. Mostly just look like I’m going to keel over while pooping myself.

I ran the tangents horribly and I knew it.  Regardless:

Official time: 1:39:35
40/1786 Females
6/1784 AG

Best part?  Hardly sore at all!  I felt great after the race, ran a very short cooldown and walked around for a bit.  Met up with Laura again and chatted, then walked around some more until I decided to take off.  The next day my calves and shins were a bit sore, but I chalk that up to wearing my flats for the longest run since umm … last September.  Even still, that soreness dissipated after a day or so (compression socks are like comfy squeezy bandaids for sore calves, seriously the greatest invention).

Worst part?  They wouldn’t give me a medal at the finish.  I had read on their Facebook page that you could switch from the full to the half at packet pickup.  That turned out to not be the case.  Because it was the same exact course, the volunteer at pickup confirmed what I assumed – just veer left instead of right at mile 13.  At the finish though, the medal-hander-outer lady shook her head as I reached for a medal, pointed to my bib, and just said “your bib.”  I didn’t try to argue because it’s really not that big of a deal … but then I felt bad after – did I break some sort of race etiquette that I’m unaware of?  Did they think I was a bandit?  That’s mostly what I’m worried about.  People of the Buffalo Marathon!  I paid 90 american dollars to run your race.  I would not take advantage.

All in all?  Wonderful race, would run again.

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2 Responses to “Buffalo Half Marathon Race Recap”

  1. HollieisFueledByLOLZ June 1, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    Honestly, I may email them and ask about the medal situation. That stinks either way.

    I was so excited when I saw how well the race went for you and even better to read about it! The wind really follows you around at every race but lucky that it was only the last few miles I suppose. I can’t wait to see how wineglass goes for you. Also I really hope that I’m able to see you in November!

  2. Laura June 1, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    How did I not know they didn’t give you a medal! Ergh! You better damn well email them about that!

    2nd of all you ran an amazing race and was so happy I got to see you a few times out there, I’m totally cool jumping around and cheering like an idiot if it makes you reach your goals! :):)::):):):

    Can’t wait to run some wineglass training runs together!

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