Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Lake Effect Half Marathon

Yesterday I ran my first 13.1 race for 2016
my 20th 13.1 ever.

I was hoping to get one 13 miler in before Rock N Roll DC, but couldn't initially find any races that lined up with my life/travel plans. A week ago, I put my name on the Lake Effect Half Marathon waitlist, but wasn't overly optimistic, there were 88 people in front of me.

Then on Thursday, I received an email that spots had opened up.  I checked the race start time (9:30) and weather (no snow, 40s) and decided to go for it. I paid quite a bit more than my budget normally allows, but with the proceeds going to Ophelia's Place, I don't feel too guilty about it.

I packed up a bag Saturday night and set my alarm for 5:30.  Poor Marcy dog couldn't understand why I was repacking again after JUST getting home, but we all survived. The thruway was nearly empty so I cruised along to Liverpool.  Along the way I drank 16oz of GU's electrolyte drink, had 2 plain waffles and coffee.

Once I parked at the Salt Museum, I found my way to the tent to pick up my race bib & shirt before deciding what to wear.  I had thought shorts, but there was just enough of a slight wind that I decided to wear my Janji tights ( I think I would have been fine in either).  I ran into one of my college advisers and then meet up with my friend Marguerite.

We did the portajons before she realized she left her gels at home. Lucky for her - she lives just a few blocks from the start, so we jogged to her house to grab them before lining up. We chatted with someone from her running club before wishing each other luck and finding our space in the group. Marguerite is far speedier than me, so she found her way towards the front, while I stayed mid-back.

I was hoping to keep even splits, practice my fueling, and enjoying a non winter series or solo long run. My legs started off feeling sore from paddle boarding adventures a few days before, but once I started moving, they remembered what to do.

Its SO hard to not take off with everyone else when the race started.  More than half of the runners are faster than me. (officially) Half of those behind me, took off ahead of me only for me to catch up later. Despite wanting to fit in with all the fast kids, my first two miles were my slowest and only ones in the 10s (although my GPS was wildly off all day so take the stats with a grain of salt)

Once I felt like I had warmed up a bit, I wanted to bring my average pace down to about 10 minutes. I have a bit of a love/hate with out and back courses.  I like knowing exactly where I am, what I need to do, and enjoy seeing the other runners.  At the same time, once everyone starts turning around,  I always have false hope that the turn around is close.  (usually it's not)

After the second turn around I ended up running with a woman named Heather.  If I had to pick her out of a line up, I would never be able to. We kept the same pace and ended up running the second half of the race together.  Slowly but surely I watched as the average pace on my watch dropped to 10 and then below ( again, it was also not even close to where the milemarkers were placed) The miles went by quickly running with Heather. We discussed races we've done, running goals, and relationships. We were both appreciative for the company and keeping the pace (although she measures distances in kilometers and me miles, so half the time we were trying to do math)

I knew that I would be running a bunch of out and backs for this course, but I failed to realize that I would have to run past the finish to loop back to officially finish.  That said,  I started to pick up my pace a bit after the mile 12 sign.

I could see the finish.

or so I thought.

When I reached that area and was directed to go around the loop I felt a bit defeated. I couldn't maintain the kick that I had, but kept going.  My new BFF Heather was just ahead of me and I felt all Amy & Shalane as I was cheering her on to finish strong.

I crossed the finish at 2:10:15 (net time) good for a new second best 13.1 race time.

As soon as I finished I gave my new friend a big hug.

Marguerite and her family came by and we celebrated.  Marguerite had a HUGE pr.  We snapped a few pictures and said farewell to Heather as she had to head back to Canada for her stepsons hockey game. After some soup & coffee we cleaned up and walked over to Cafe 407 for a tasty lunch before I headed back to Albany.

I couldn't be more pleased with how the run went and felt.  I stuck to my plan for fueling & had fun. I have 3 more weeks before RnR DC and I am excited about where I am right now.


  1. Nice job on your race!! I can't believe you've done 20 half marathons! That's so impressive!