I will first of all admit that I was not highly enthused for this race. Coming off a week of being sick (strep throat, a lot of fun) and then leaving for a week of work travel (which was actually about as fun as a work trip can get), my head was not really in “let’s go run hard” mode. Waking up to discover single-degree temps and fairly heavy snow killed whatever inkling of excitement I had left.
Thankfully, I knew Laura was coming out to race and I figured it’d look real bad if she came all the way from Rochester to run and I bailed. I’m pretty sure that’s an unforgivable offense, actually. So I adjusted my planned wardrobe, brewed a cup of coffee, and headed out the door.
The snow stopped by race start, but it snowed enough to cover the streets and there wasn’t enough time for the sun or DPW trucks to do anything about it. Spoiler alert: running on snowy, icy streets sucks.
Going into this race, I was hoping to pull off a 1:45 with a moderate effort. I met up with some friends from my running group at the start; they planned to run 8:15s and see how it felt after a few miles so I decided to tag along. The only real hill in this race is in mile 2, so I knew I wanted to back off that pace if necessary to avoid killing myself at you know … mile freaking 2 of a half marathon.
Miles 1-6: 8:09, 8:31, 8:02, 8:01, 7:56, 8:04
The pace felt real easy during these miles; the most frustrating part was running in the snow and slush. Not a single step I took felt stable and I was entirely convinced I was going to bite it. Part of the problem here was that the road conditions made it tough to follow the actual course – the lead runners were largely running in any tire tracks in the road (I presume that was their intent, at least), and so, the mid-packers followed. It was the best shot at not slipping, but it also was setting everyone up for terrible tangents as we were all running outside of the cones.
Miles 7-10: 7:41, 7:53, 7:41, 7:51
My tangents were bad enough by this point that I tried to start manually lapping my watch. This makes interpreting my splits kind of goofy so stay with me here. Just after mile 6 we made the turn on to Court St and I got really annoyed at the wind, and annoyed with the snow, and decided I wanted to be done sooner rather than later. I didn’t want to kill it because it was still early, but I needed to feel more like I was moving. I held pace with a couple of girls who might have been on a college team? Or a running club, possibly. They were wearing matching jackets with a logo and had a coach on the course who ran with them a few steps, but I can’t for the life of me remember what the logo said. ANYWAY, they were running a fairly steady pace for a bit until they started taking selfies and then would lag and surge. I don’t really need to inject my commentary here. It suffices to say that I was frustrated by this.
Miles 11-13.1: 8:06, 7:46, 7:45, 7:00
Mile 11. Good ol’ mile 11. This section of the course covers part of the Creekwalk in downtown Syracuse. On a nice day, it’s a gorgeous place to run. On a day where it is ~15 degrees and has been snowing? It’s essentially a death trap.
I made the incredibly stupid mistake of trying to pass a girl, stepped on a 3″ sheet of ice, and did a wildly elegant one-footed slide/hop type move while yelling “shit. oh shit! SHIT! I am sorry, I am so sorry!!” I thought I was going down, and even worse, I thought I was going to take that poor girl with me. Somehow, I recovered my balance but I slowwwwwwed down like crazy after that. It didn’t get any better – the entire Creekwalk was sheer ice. I yelled “shit!” a few more times and chatted with the runners around me about how we were all probably going to break our legs. I’m sure they appreciated it.
This section kind of took the spring out of my step and I started to let myself get negative. Somewhere around the mile 12 marker, I saw one of the coaches of our running group who shouted some encouraging words which was honestly the boost I needed to not limp it on in to the finish.
I had 1:45:22 for 13.24 miles, 7:57 pace. I’m pulling the annoying blogger move and giving you Garmin stats because I knowingly ran the tangents terribly. (Although, to be fair, I thought I’d see more along the lines of 13.4 on my watch by the end. But it makes me feel better, so deal with it.)
Afterwards, I met up with Laura and some of my other friends and we ate, chatted, and complained about the race. Ha. I think everyone was a lot slower this year than last year (I didn’t run last year, so I don’t have a personal data point) and the general consensus is that your time was probably good for at least 2-4 minutes faster, if not more, on a day with better conditions.
Now, I know that everyone out there is running the same race – I am again pulling another annoying blogger move to make myself feel better because I was S.O.R.E. the next few days. So I’ll give myself an A for meeting my goal time-ish, and a B for the effort – it was more than a moderate effort to achieve that time, but I like to think it was equivalent to a 1:42ish on a better day.
All that complaining aside, it was a fun day and anytime I get to see one of my good friends at a race is A+ in my book! And I had no regrets about not rolling back over and going to bed that morning … isn’t that how it always goes?