On Sunday August 16, 2015 I competed in the Catharine Valley Half Marathon in Watkins Glen N.Y. To say the day was a whirlwind of craziness would not do it justice, but I’ll save more details for a later post and keep this to the race.
I woke up at 5:45AM and proceeded to do my usual pre-race shakeout jog. Everything felt good and I was all set to go.
My pre-race meal was two granola bars, an apple and water which I consumed on the way there. I got to the Watkins Glen High School with a guy named Steve who was also running the race. I actually hitchhiked there with him, which made the morning really exciting! [I’ll go into this tomorrow along with other race reflections]
I caught up with a few of my fellow FLTRCers and finally met a few RNR/MPF teammates. It was great to put names, pictures and voices to actual living people. There were four of us representing RNR that morning: Jim, Zussanna, Cole and myself.
The race began at 8:30AM. It had been foggy and overcast all morning which was really nice because the forecast showed hot sun. Well, right as Ian (the race director) was lining us up, the sun broke. End of shade until we hit the trail.
The horn went off and I went out fast. This is something I have been working on. I refuse to get bottlenecked behind slower runners this season. There were a few women in front of me who also went out with a spark. It was really motivating!
The first mile or so of the course was on a short cinder path, then through the town of Watkins. I spent that time reeling in the women who went out faster than me. Once we hit the shaded (thank Jesus!) cinder trail the majority of the race was on, I had solidified my place in second. The first women was about a quarter mile ahead and cruising. I did the same.
The trail goes on a steady uphill until the halfway point at which it turns around and you run the same route back, a stead decline. I was told the second half is all downhill so I had the mindset of going out strong and powering up the first half and then using the downhill to propel me to finish.
It didn’t quite go over that well.
I did go out strong and made it to the halfway point feeling good. Part of that was knowing I was going downhill for the second half. After the turn around, I tried to speed up a bit because it was a decline for the next half mile. After that half mile, the decline felt flat. I tried to maintain my pace, but it was a struggle. I ran next to a man who breathed really loud which was kind of off putting, so I let him go ahead and passed him in the last mile.
The second half was a STRUGGLE! I was really feeling it and wished the decline was a bit more pronounced. The last two miles were a slog in the heat. I questioned my longing to run a marathon. Quite honestly I have no idea how people do that. There was NO WAY I could do another 13 miles.
I finished in 1:25:15 and second female overall.
My fellow RNR/MPF teammate Cole also finished 2nd male (about a mile ahead of me). He is basically elite and a really fast runner.
My fellow Ithaca ladies were right behind me representing our city very well.
The volunteers were really great and Ian always puts on a great spread! The post race party featured a live band, fresh fruit (like blueberries and peaches) in addition to watermelon and bananas, tortilla chips and baked goods. He announced every person’s name coming through as they finished which was a nice local touch.
Overall, I am happy with how I finished. It was not a PR day, but could be next year. Now that I know what to expect, I think I will race smarter.
This week is all about recovery as I plan to run Lucifer’s Crossing this Sunday which is a more technical trail style of race.
I am an ambassador for the Finger Lakes Running and Triathlon Company.