Monday, April 4, 2016

Syracuse Half Marathon

This weekend I did something really stupid.

I voluntarily drove 2 hours into a blizzard and then ran a half marathon in said blizzard before driving back home to my warm comfortable house.

I signed up for the Syracuse Half Marathon way back in October. Initially I had planned to spend the whole weekend in Syracuse doing my rounds. My plans didn't work out quite that way, so I drove out in the morning like I had last year. The weather was clear in Albany but I hit whiteout conditions somewhere around exit 33. It made for a long haul. I was pretty confident that I'd miss the race start. I was too far in to turn around and wanted to get out of the storm. I knew I'd drive to Syracuse and pick up my shirt (and fully own it after the hellish drive) after I planned to watch some of the race.

Amazingly enough, I parked 2 blocks away and made my way into the maze of people huddled inside the Oncenter. I grabbed my bib & shirt and began the great debate. The race hadn't started yet but I was already snow'ed out after my drive. But I still began to put on my shoes and layers. I ultimately decided that if I could get my gear set and checked & use the bathroom before the race started that I too would start in on the running parade.

this was the best it was all morning

the driest my shoes were for the rest of the day

Since DC I've been fighting allergies & asthma issues. I've also been struggling with motivation. I haven't run much. I wasn't expecting an impressive run. I honestly don't even know why I was running, other than liking the shirt. Which is a really really really poor reason to drive in a blizzard to run in a blizzard.

The conditions were awful. It was snowing with wind (always in your face somehow) I kept my pace slow and safe. I was in the back of the pack where the road conditions continued to get worse as the 2000 people in front of me packed down the slush to make it nice and icy for me and my 1000 friends to finish on.

For most of the run, my eyes were on the shoes around me, looking up would mean I would have snow directly in my eyes. I considered what it would feel like to run wearing goggles for a solid mile. I know I ran up hills, but honestly, since I couldn't look up, I didn't really notice them.

Around mile 4 it started hailing. Just about 30 seconds after I noticed the sky was throwing ice rocks at us, some kind Syracuse folks were offering beer. And count me in, I was all about it. I stopped and enjoyed.  

first mid race selfie in a long time
It lifted my spirits for a while before running into a woman I had chatted with earlier in the race and then noticing a fellow ARE runner. I tagged along with them for a few miles before I needed a minute walk where they didn't and I sent them on their way. I wasn't entirely sure how the rest of my run would go.

Weird muscles were starting to get tight by mile 11 and I know I'm not the only one, I kept seeing people on the side stretching (something I've never seen groups of people doing before, normally its one lone runner) I struggled on the out & back desperate for the right turn that would lead us to the finish.

Not that I could look up ahead much. As I made my way towards the on center, I knew where the finish banner was when we started, but could only see if if the wind blew the snow away just the right way. Finally after 2 & 1/2 hours I was done.

Luckily I found my friends easily. The inside would be a great post race party, (which was advertised) if we weren't limited to 1 pancake, 1 slice of bacon, 1 piece of sausage & 1 small square of pizza. (( seriously don't advertise the food then - it'll seem awesome if it wasn't hyped up)) 

I still like the course, even if I didn't see any of it this year. I do believe it is a well organized event. They did everything they could to make sure everyone was safe. That said, next year, I'll cut my losses. It was really really silly for me to drive into a storm and then run around in it. As Murtaugh would say, "I'm too old for this shit." 

Add caption