I've moved around a lot since high school and my first time away from the nest was in Syracuse, NY while I attended Le Moyne College. I wanted to become someone different and distinctly remember waking up early during orientation to go running. (I wasn't a runner yet). I ran 3-5 miles a few days a week but never really having a clue as to how long it was taking me or how far I was really going. By senior year I had it in my head I wanted to become a marathoner, but I hadn't even run a 5k race before.
Syracuse was the beginning.
I'm not sure what sparked me to register, but I did for the Syracuse Half Marathon. I had big plans for this race since I knew I'd be racing a month before. But this past month has been tough. I held strong for a while, but winter finally broke me. I spent the last few weeks taking spin classes, walking Marcy at the Capital Hills Golf Course, or doing yoga. I wasn't interested in running, so I didn't.
Finally last week the sun came out and I was interested in running again. I knew that I wasn't very prepared for the half marathon, but figured if I could swallow my pride, I could have a good time. Plus, they had sent us what the shirts looked like and I really wanted one. So with 14 miles run in a month, I was off to Syracuse.
I decided to sleep at home and drive in the morning, I have driven to Syracuse so many times that it's a mindless effort. I was glad I had slept in my own bed & Marcy appreciated not being boarded.
I arrived with plenty of time to get my bib and prized shirt and ran into a few friends from college before a quick bathroom trip. The race started a bit late, but since there was plenty of space indoors to wait, I didn't mind. After the poor woman seemed like she was begging us to go run rather than socialize, I went outside and found my spot at the 11+ area.
I started off the race with the mindset that I could walk anytime I wanted and if I felt that I had to drop out, I could. I had left my watch and headphones at home so once I turned my Nike app, I never saw it again. The lack of pressure allowed me to just run. I wasn't entirely sure what time I crossed the mat so I spent a good portion of each mile guessing what my estimated pace.
The first 5k felt quick. I had fallen into a comfortable stride so I knew that my next goal was to run to the 10k mark. Throughout this time, we were running through the neighborhood of my first apartment. I spent a lot of time trying to remember my street name (burns) and reminiscing of the days of being a half adult. My first "real" job had changed locations, so I was surprised when I ran by their new office
By miles 4-6 I had no clue where I was anymore, we had taken so many turn that it would have been tough for me to figure out which direction I needed to go if I were alone. When I was training for my first marathon, every time I hit 6 miles in a run, I would be extremely hungry. It hasn't happened in a while, but sure enough when I hit 6 miles, all I could think about were pancakes. I still felt strong by the 10k mark and hadn't walked yet, other than aid stations. While I like to jog through them on warmer days, it was just too cold to spill water all over myself.
Between miles 7-9 I saw a handful of people I knew, I never really know proper running etiquette. I generally say hello and jog with the for a moment before continuing on, it's what I'd expect someone to do to me, but who knows. So I said my hello and continued on. I don't normally eat while running but decided to grab a gel that was being offered. Maybe it's because I was so hungry but that salted caramel gel was amazing.
I kept waiting for the desire to walk, but it didn't come until mile 11, which at that point I wouldn't allow it. My only lofty goal for the day was to finish under 2:30, I was very excited to see that I finished at 2:21:07.
I love Syracuse races, and this one did not disappoint. Yes it is hilly, yes you'll run more because of not making the tangents, yes it will be windy maybe even snowing, but the volunteers are great, the post race party was great and maybe I'm biased because I love Syracuse more than I love San Diego, but I am looking forward to running this race again next spring.