In case you want more details than the fact that I put one foot in front of the other....
This was my third time doing this race (2010 and 2011 I ran the half) but the course was new this year. I volunteered/cheered last year, but was happy to be back this year running AND cheering(Best of both worlds)!
Night before the race: There was a snaffoo with my bib (long story) so I left work early Saturday to head to Buffalo with Heather. Things got straightened out and then we spent the evening with Britt. She was the hostess with the mostess, took us to a fabulous carb-a-licious place for dinner. We then we spent the evening chatting about life, running and everything while drinking a corona, eating wine ice cream (yes, its a thing...yes its as good as it sounds) and futzing around with sticks and foam rollers. Finally crawled in and shared a futon with Heather and a Buffalo Sabres stuffed animal pillow (yes, I find this to be important).
|Pre-race shenanagins, Wild ladies I tell you.|
|Heather & I----My Sister Megan & I|
Let's play I spy!
Mile 0.5-6.2:The first 3 miles my shins were screaming, they are so used to having my Superfeet inserts that without them in my flats- it was more impact. I spent these miles still tucked in with the 3:00/1:30 pace group. I was slightly nervous because the roads are really beat up and I was afraid of tripping because I couldn't see with the group around me. I questioned my ability to hold this pace, and definitely was doubting myself. While I didn't feel great I refused to back off, I was not going to put myself into a 'comfort zone'. Finally my legs started to loosen up, and I started to extend my stride.
|Rounding the curve near 10k, starting to pick it up|
7-8.5: The pace group pulled in front of me after a water stop(I slowed a bit to grab water, but first cup I was handed was Gatorade- I was NOT going to do that with a gel...been there done that) and I told myself to hold steady with them for a few more miles. Then at mile 8.5 the pacer needed to go the bathroom and pulled off. Me and the guys all looked at each other and some said they were going to slow down a little and hold back, this is when myself and a few others decided to push.
|I am actually in this shot, me and the 3:00 guys. (Source)|
|Me and the 3:00 boys.... Pardon Blurry photo.|
11-13: This is where I struggled, definitely rode the pain train first class. It wasn't even my legs, it was my breathing. I assumed it was the bra part of my tank top being too tight and I kept pulling it away from me trying to take a deep breath(in reality it was the humidity). I even started kind of hitting my chest (like Tarzan) trying to knock something loose so I could actually catch my breath. I remember making weird breathing noises and that's when a man heard me and started helping me. It was an older guy running the marathon(I later found out his name was Mike). At first I didn't realize he was talking to me then he got right in front of me and told me to tuck behind and that he would block the wind. He and the guys around me realized they were all running the full meanwhile I was pushing the half. I had a mini wall full of guys blocking the wind for me, being the only girl around and being 5'3 can have advantages. They knew I was struggling and kept encouraging me and pushing me along. When the split was nearing (the marathoners take a right and half runners go straight to the finish) the guys just started yelling at me to 'go girl' and I gave it what I had.
|This is the....holy shit face. Do I smile, laugh, cry or PUKE.|
|Not my strongest looking finish photo.|
The Finish: When I could finally read the clock I saw it turn to 1:29 and I knew that I was going to A)PR and B) be sub 1:30 and C) probably puke. I crossed in 1:29:17, earning me a 65 second PR. I crossed and immediately put my hand over my mouth afraid I was going to lose it. Luckily I didn't. *whew*. (I actually felt this way a few times after races lately, either I REALLY push myself or I need to look into new fuel). I got my medal and picture taken then found Britt and then Heather shortly after.
|This is the cheesy I JUST PR'd FACE!|
10k split 42:29 (6:51 pace)
10k-20k 42:15 (6:48 pace)
20k-Finish 4:33 (6:30 pace)
12th/2000+ Females, 64th/3400+ Overall, 2nd place in Age group
After the race we meandered around for a while, sat on the ground, ate food, got coffee and then made our way back to Britt's. It worked out well that I could go change quick as it was on the way back to the marathon course. I then ran and started looking for my sister. I wasn't quite sure where she would be, and I guessed the wrong way. It worked out and I was able to run with Carrie for a while and cheer her on to her huge PR and BQ. After I left her I went back around the course and found my sister. I was so incredibly happy for her and proud of her, she ran her second fastest marathon and it was her first post-baby marathon. I was glad I was able to be able to run the last bit with her. I then went back out on the course again to find my cousin, and managed to find her and run the last half mile with her. Again, another very inspiring runner who never stops, it was also her second fastest marathon. Supporting my friends and family was very important to me, and I was lucky to be able to be there for them the way they are for me.
After LOTS of post race hugs with friends and family members after they finished, I started back towards Britt's again to get my car. I ended the day with almost 20 miles and was SO happy I was able to PR and then go back out and support people who do nothing but support and inspire me in return.
POST RACE REAL TALK:
I went into this race with thoughts of 1:28-1:31. I REALLY wanted sub 90, but I also knew that it might not be the day. Boston was only a month prior, but I also believed that the solid and consistent training I'd done since then could help me.
I wouldn't say this was 'my day', I would say that I made it my day. When I PR'd in the half at Lake Effect this winter, I felt good and everything just clicked that day. Buffalo wasn't like that. It wasn't perfect, everything didn't fall into place and I never felt fabulous. But I pushed, I stayed out of my comfort zone and did the best that I could. This is the PR I think everyone expected to happen last month at Boston after everything else going on prior to that. But It wasn't about that, not at all. This was the first time in a long time I really truly let loose, honestly I think the last time was California. I ran this race for me, and pushed and proved that I have a heck of a lot more in me. I can say with 100% certainty that I am proud of this time, this race, and how hard I worked to get to this point. Do I see faster times coming, absolutely. More work, more training and more drive- I don't see this PR lasting through the end of the year if not sooner.
While debriefing after the race later that day, I remember saying that I wasn't sure what excited me more...the big new half marathon PR, or the fact that I would be starting training for Rochester a week later. I've been motivated before, driven to no end, and felt a fire to push....but not like I have the last few months and I know it's only going to get stronger from here on out. It helps having people in my life who support me but also will push me when I need it.
Ever have other runners really support you mid-race?
I really don't know if I would have held pace if not for those guys supporting me at the end.
Buffalo Marathon Facebook page had posted photos after the race, and the guy Mike who supported me actually found and commented on the photo congratulating me and saying I really worked hard those last few miles. Runners really are an amazing group of people (I promptly sent him a message thanking him x a million!)
Anyone else find that sometimes PR's come right when you need it the most?