Lake Effect Half Marathon Race Recap

Better late than never, right?

I won’t lie – I was way more excited about getting to see Hollie and Laura again, to meet Britt, and to hang out with the rest of my local running buds than I was to actually run this thing.  Back when I registered, I thought I’d be mid-marathon training and possibly in shape to go for a PR, assuming weather played along.  The thought of running a slow (for me) half as my first race of the season didn’t exactly have my panties in a twist with pre-race nerves and enthusiasm.

However, once it was actually Sunday morning, all of those being-way-too-hard-on-myself thoughts disappeared and I was ready to just have fun.

lake-effect-half-marathon-bib-medal

The weather was perfect: about 35 degrees and sunny, with only a slight breeze coming off of the lake. I should’ve adjusted my wardrobe accordingly as I started to overheat in the second half of the race, but live and learn, I suppose.

The course is a double out and back which would typically drive me nuts (especially since I do about 50% of my long runs in the park where the race is held, so it’s even less of an exciting scene for me).  What saves this race is the fact that I knew probably 30% or so of the people running it, and I had a blast awkwardly cheering for people as they passed by.

A couple of friends from my running group wanted to run 8:24s and since that perfectly aligned with my hoped-for pace, I joined in with them from the get-go.  It was nice to run and chat; between the cheering, we told a bunch of embarrassing stories, I bragged on my friends a bit, all the good stuff.  The first 5 miles flew by almost perfectly on pace, albeit with a bit of weaving and dodging during the first crowded mile.

It was a lot of surging and pulling back from miles 6-10.  My friend and I were feeling good, but we were being cautious about not blowing it too soon.

Around mile 11, I started feeling somewhat fatigued.  Not awful, just tired.  I let my friend go – he was ready to push, and I know he wanted to get as much under 1:50 as he could.  At some point I caught up to and kept pace with a very friendly woman for a bit.  It’s always kind of nice when you sync up with someone when you’re not feeling great – it keeps you both in it and for me at least, keeps my head from going totally negative.  Eventually she fell off the pace again, and I just kept pushing forward.

I kicked it in for the last .1, feeling ready to be done.  As soon as I crossed the finish, I realized how much I had left in the tank and was happy that I had run a truly honest effort – not easy, but not an all-out race – and had accomplished my hopeful time goal to match that type of effort.

lake-effect-half-marathon-garmin-splits

Obviously, this is where the fun really began.  I was 99% sure Hollie had pulled out the win since the last time I saw her, she had a decent lead on the second place female.  What I didn’t realize is that she killed it with an almost PR, and that Laura actually did pull out a PR even though she raced a 10k the day before.  After we caught up with each other, we changed quickly and waited for Britt who wasn’t too far behind me.  I was happy to see how well she did, especially given the bumpy road she’s been through over the past several months!

Super creeper pic of Hollie getting her 1st place award.  Laura and I creeped along like paparazzi weirdos.
Super creeper pic of Hollie getting her 1st place award. Laura and I creeped along like paparazzi weirdos.

We drank coffee and chatted while waiting for the awards, then headed downtown for Blues Brunch at Empire Brewing Co.  The lesson we learned there is: don’t be a shitty waitress when your table is full of starving runners because low blood sugar makes people crazy.  Service aside, the food was great, the Bloody Mary I had was even better, and hanging out with friends after a race is probably the most fun ever.  So.  Good day!

So happy I can't even open my eyes.
So happy I can’t even open my eyes.

I’m sure there are highlights I am forgetting (worst blogger ever award) but I have to say that this race was exactly what I needed to give my motivation a little oomph, but also to break up a long, cold, somewhat boring winter.  I can’t wait until the next time I get to see these guys again (Syracuse Half -> NJ Half -> Buffalo Half !!!) and I know my chance to race hard and shoot for PRs will be coming soon as well.