On Sunday morning, I drove to a bigger Upstate NY city to run a race. The Syracuse Half Marathon is my first half since last September (wow it’s been a while) and my first actual race since the It’s a Wonderful Life 5K back in the beginning of December. I did not have high expectations for this race because the motivation to do it was solely to get back into the racing spirit after a long span of time with no races. I have also been battling some foot pain, which made running the last two weeks spotty at best. No matter, I wanted to race and have fun. I told myself that if my foot began to hurt I would walk off the course with no shame.
I started my drive to Syracuse at 5:30AM with an 8:00AM race start. I did not know it, but starting two and a half hours early would be a blessing because the whiteout conditions and unplowed roads meant I drove 30mph the entire way. Oh well, better safe than sorry (and there were a few close calls!)
This race was also my first as an FLRTC ambassador. I wore my racing singlet over two long sleeved layers, two layers of spandex pants and long compression socks. I also wore gloves and a hat. I meant to hold “Hot Hands” hand warmers but I left them in my car as I made it to the On Center at 7:55. I had to get in really fast. Thankfully, the race directors and volunteers were great and pushed the race to a 8:15 start.
The volunteers were AMAZING! They knew I felt flustered and were efficient in getting my bag checked (I didn’t know you could do that as I come to races with minimal extras), gave me my number and I was ready to go by 8.
The gun went off and again I found myself starting in the 11+ minute mile pace group. I really need to learn to start where my pace is and plan to get better at this the next race. I sometimes feel bad pushing through people, but also they would probably rather I start ahead of them than pass them later in the race… Oh well. I didn’t stress out about it too much because of said race expectations. I was feeling good, so I went with what pace I wanted and would adjust accordingly based on how the race went.
The first few miles were COLD! Oh my Jesus I felt so bad for my fingers and was shooting myself for not bringing my Hot Hands. The sun was shining beautifully though and I began to pass people as I got up to my race pace. Honestly, the whole race went by really fast. There weren’t really any hills, the course was all roads and really well maintained (Another shout out to the race volunteers!!) There were aid stations at regular intervals, none of which I used but they were stocked well with Gatorade, water and gels. The last three miles I began to push it because I was feeling good. I made it my mission to rein in women I saw ahead of me. All the ladies were so fast and so they helped push my pace. I repeated a mantra “Kick it in the ass” from the movie Miracle. I don’t have any idea why I chose that, but it was pretty inspiring.
I crossed the finish like in 1:30:46, a new PR! I couldn’t believe it! I felt good, but not a PR good. I am very happy with how I did and the race in general. I got 98th overall and 2nd in my age group!
Everyone was so nice and I felt taken care of. A women waiting for her husband at the finish line even offered to take my picture after the race.
The weather made for a nicely wet and muddy course. My spandex and socks were broken in nicely. The only wardrobe malfunction I suffered was that my underwear kept falling down under the two layers of spandex. I hed to keep pulling them up…until about mile 9 when I just said screw it and allowed them to fall. They stayed in place a few inches lower than I wanted. Other then that, I felt like I dressed well. I still cannot believe I actually started sweating. It was that cold.
The after party featured a band (a very loud band right Lisa?) and a bunch of food. They served a hot breakfast as well as continental. I enjoyed some bananas with peanut butter as I cannot really digest too much so soon after a race. The award ceremony was cute and I wanted to adopt all the dogs the announcer encouraged us to support. I think they were an event sponsor. I tried to find some of my FLTRC teammates but most had left and I did eventually as well. The drive home was beautiful.
And my post race two hour nap was even better!