This race was February 21, 2016
I picked up my friend Dawn that morning on the way out to Syracuse and we had a really easy ride which was a good start to the day. We both had to extend warm-up and cool-downs for the race to hit mileage for the day, so we grabbed our bibs and then started getting going.
Having done the race twice before(2014, 2015), I pretty much knew what to expect. At least this year there wasn't any fresh snow, so we wouldn't be encountering a trashed back half of the course(last year). Warm-up felt decent, followed by some strides. It wasn't too cold out so I was comfortable enough in my Zensah Tech+ socks, Saucony Ignite shorts, with arm warmers and the ultimitt gloves. Since I wasn't racing all out, I didn't run in the Type A6. The fast twitch are my go to for workouts and I also raced Erie in them so it made sense to use those this time around.
The plan was to run the first 10 miles around goal marathon pace (6:40ish), and then pick it up for the last 3.1 miles after that. I knew it was going to be tough to hold back, but I also kept in mind the purpose of the workout which really helped. Shortly after the start I found myself tucked in with a group of guys, something made us chuckle (I think some random guy on the course) and we found ourselves chatting after that.We talked goals non-chalantly and kind of came to an agreement to help each other and try to run together. I told them my plan for the first 10, and we went on our way.
|We ran almost the entire race together!|
We clicked the miles off near perfectly with pace, and chatted about upcoming goals and races as we did so. The pace felt good and I remember feeling like this pace wasn't a complete pipe dream for Boston this year. I kind of figured out mid-race that it was going to be a PR for the guys I was running with, which only motivated me more to hang on and I encouraged them as we ran. I tried not to count women as we started seeing leaders come back at us(double out and back course), because I didn't want to get caught up in racing mentality. I saw Dawn which was a good boost, and then we hit the turnaround and my personal favorite part. Seeing everyone coming at you as you're running back. I love how encouraging everyone is and really lets the running community shine. The guys that I was running with know a LOT of people (they run with a Syracuse group), so we got lots of extra cheers. Then we saw Britt and she joked about me always being with groups of guys, we all chuckled.
|I saw my friend Megan and was making funny faces and arm movements, I'm really glad the photographer caught it. Shows I really was having fun and enjoying the workout/race!|
When we started the second out and back, the wind was far more significant than the first trip out. My quads got a bit cold and I did some random surges occasionally just to change things up. At this point we were talking less, but still running on pace and helping each other. I kept saying "just get to the turnaround and no more headwind". Finally we hit the turnaround and as it happens, we got the reprieve from the wind. I felt a little sluggish for about a mile after we turned, and worried I wouldn't be able to pick up the pace soon. But, I surged forward before 10 and one of the guys went with me. About a mile later I was solo, but running strong and I knew I was picking it up. I could see the next girl in the distance, and wanted to see how much I could reel her in.
The last few miles were good, and certainly reassuring being able to finish a solid workout. I closed the gap a lot on 3rd place female, but couldn't quite catch her in time before we reached the finish. It was a close one though.
I finished in 1:26:41 which is 6:37 pace, and good enough for 4th place for a workout. I am really pleased with that, and technically it's my second fastest half behind my 1:24:51 at Philly in November. Definitely confidence boosting to run strong longer workout with still a good amount of training to be done before Boston. I used this as a good training day but also nutrition practice. I drank Gen UCAN prior to the race, which has worked really well for me the last few years. I actually didn't end up taking anything besides water during the race (stomach wasn't feeling a gel), but still good practice at water stops and holding pace.
Before cooling down I cheered for some other runners coming in, including the guys that I ran most of the race with! They both set huge new PR's and gave me big high fives, that made me really happy. I also got to see Britt soon after her finish which was a great training run for her as she prepares for Pittsburgh Half in May. We hung out and waited around for awards for a while (Dawn took second overall!), and I got a pair of gloves for age group win. (Funny story, 2 years ago Dawn and I took 2nd and 4th just like this year :) That was when we first met. Now she lives in Rochester and we can train together!)
|Dawn, Britt and I after Blues Boozy Brunch!|
Afterwards was the best part, as always. Boozey Blues Brunch at Empire Brewing Company. Good beer while we waited for a table, followed by sitting right behind the jazz band and demolishing huge plates of the best food while chatting. We missed our partner in crime Heather as she was stuck in Hawaii (I don't feel too bad for her on that one, but we did miss her).
All in all it was a successful and fun day with friends, just what running should be!