New York: Buffalo Half Marathon 2015

New York βˆš  (7 States Complete)

Running is more of a mental challenge than anything else – as I learned training is important, but if you can get your mind in a positive place, you can accomplish anything.  Control your mind, control your life (in this case race).

The Expo:

After having breakfast at the hotel Saturday morning we headed over to the expo in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center – our hotel had a connecting walkway so it was perfect.  After getting a little lost due to the lack of signs to the expo room with a few other fellow runners .. we made it!

Buffalo Half Marathon Expo
Buffalo Half Marathon Expo
In terms of vendors – the expo was smaller than I would have expected for the size of the race (over 7,000 runners).  When you initially got off the escalator there was an awkward entry way with a few vendors that led to the wide open room where the other vendors were spread out along the wall.

There was an AdvoCare table there (bottom right photo)! I was so excited, I loved it – I chatted with a couple of the amazing women there and decided I was going to do something like that in the near future!

Packet pickup was super easy – my number was emailed to me a few days before. I walked right up, got my number and t-shirt and I was off.  The shirts were moisture wicking material,  some people get flustered over the unisex sizing, personally I do not, but I figured I would make note that they were just in case that is a make or break decision if you are deciding to run.

I loved the design of the t-shirt with the little buffalo and 13.1 making up the flag!
I loved the design of the t-shirt with the little buffalo and 13.1 making up the flag!
Besides the shirt, the only freebies were a tiny packet of biofreeze and some all natural almond butter.

Night Before:

No matter how many half marathons, 5ks, or other races I run I still get the pre race jitters every single time.  To be honest, I didn’t really train for this race, so going into it I had zero time expectations – I really just wanted to enjoy the experience of running in a new place.

For the first time EVER I decided I was going to run listening to music. Normally I don’t run with headphones, but I am so glad that I made this choice (you’ll see why) – everything happens for a reason!

I laid out my clothes and went to bed a little before 10.

Here is what I wore.
Here is what I wore – obsessed with these pants!

Race Morning:

  • 5:15 wake up
  • Meal replacement shake
  • Bathroom
  • Sipped on a bottle of water
  • Got dressed
  • Checked my GPS watch and Water bottle/energy gels
  • 6:00 O2 Gold and 1/2 of a VO2 Prime bar
  • Re-checked watch and energy gels
  • 6:30 1/2 scoop spark, 1 scoop Arginine extreme

The starting line was 100 feet from the front of the hotel – it was so perfect – after mulling around a little and multiple portapotty trips per usual, I said bye to this precious gem and off I went to find my place in the corrals.

My Gem <3
My Gem – up bright and early
Miles 0-4

The race pacers were set up a little close to each other for the size of the race and the self placement setup of the corrals. I found a spot in the crowd and did my solo runner duties of taking pictures of friends and groups running together.

Off we go!
Off we go!
Promptly at 7am the race began – excitement, nerves, positive vibes flowing through me.  I reach down to start my GPS watch and … nothing .. blank screen – que internal panic! How could this happen it was fully charged an hour ago. Luckily, I saw Chris and handed it off to him or else I would have this little reminder of uselessness on my wrist for the remaining 13 miles. 

Okay no problem – Theres an app for that! Annnnd the struggle continues – I had just gotten a new phone a few days ago and had not downloaded the app yet – mile 1 time spilt is MIA as this is exactly what I was doing downloading & signing in.

This first mile made me realize how much I depended on this watch to ‘control’ my pace – after downloading the app I decided that I was going to run this race and go off of how I was feeling not about what the watch was telling me.  I am going to make this race about me, this is my race to run and my race to experience for ME. 

Thank goodness I decided I would listen to music today – One thing I really did like was the feedback from the app at the end of each mile where it told you the distance and average pace.  I did do the whole one headphone in one out ordeal so I could still hear the encouragement of the volunteers and spectators their energy is a huge motivation for me.

Mile 1 – ?  Mile 2 – 11:19   Mile 3 – 11:19  Mile 4 – 12:05

Miles 5 – 8

When I hit this mile marker I was in shock. Mile 5 ALREADY!? I felt super confident and felt stronger than I have in any other races. Wow, I’ve got this for sure.

GU time - Mandarin Orange for the winnn!
GU time – Mandarin Orange for the winnn!

Mile 5 – 11:49   Mile 6 – 11:32  Mile 7 – 11:41  Mile 8 – 12:04

Miles 9 -12

The majority of the views were beautiful – I absolutely love running along water so I really enjoyed the views around these miles.  I am assuming the lack of training kicked in around here and that shows in the mile splits for sure.

I didn’t walk at all during this race and I am super proud of that – this is one of my first times not walking! I slowed down to take a second GU (Strawberry banana favor this time).

Side note: these pants I was wearing were the BEST I have ever run in – I am not sure which exact ones they were, but they are from Lucy – they have a drawstring, are the perfect waist height, wicked sweat away like a charm, and had these awesome pockets on the side!

Negative thoughts started creeping in around here, but I had come to far having an amazing mental race to stop now – I filled a few moments finding some landmarks to take pictures of.

It was such a beautiful day!
It was such a beautiful day!
IMG_0114

I LOVE the running community from the spectators to the volunteers, to fellow runners.  Sometimes these people truly get you through certain parts of the race.

I don't know these people, but they were at the perfect location with amazing energy!
I don’t know these people, but they were at the perfect location with amazing energy!
I actually noticed around here that my legs felt awesome, usually towards the end of the race my legs will start to feel weak – NOT TODAY – thank you Crossfit!

Happy Memorial Day!!
Happy Memorial Day!!

IMG_0116Mile 9 – 12:29  Mile 10 – 12:38  Mile 11 – 13:03  Mile 12 – 13:08

Miles 13 – 13.1

I felt so good throughout this entire race in hindsight I definitely could have picked up the pace in the last few miles, but oh well.

Wow, I am really proud of myself.  I did it! This is why I continue to sign up for these things. In the last mile I had overwhelming feelings of confidence, pride, and excitement.

Not too sure who this is or why I look like a doofus - but YAY! I did it!
Not too sure who this is or why I look like a doofus – but YAY! I did it!

Mile 13 – 12:27

The Finish:

There was a pretty decent amount of space between me and the personal in front of me and me and the person behind me so as I crossed the finish line I had my name announced by the Buffalo Sabers announcer, very nice local touch by the race.

Medals were handed out by Buffalo Bills and Buffalo bandits(?) players, as well as members of the military.

After getting my medal and taking the awkward selfie above the funneling out prices was smooth and well organized – tables in the middle had fruit, snacks, and of course plenty of water and gatorade.  The massage tent was awkwardly placed towards the end of the chute – kind of awkwardly placed in the middle of everything.

I love medals that represent the area and have local flare  - naturally this one is perfect for Buffalo, NY. :)
I love medals that represent the area and have local flare – naturally this one is perfect for Buffalo, NY. πŸ™‚

Buffalo Half Marathon – Buffalo, NY

Official Time – 2:44:16

Post Race:

I didn’t see Chris in the large crowd around the finish – I called him and we met up in front of the hotel.  Rehydrate in his hand ready for me.

There was a post-race party, but we didn’t go – our flight was that night and checkout was only a couple hours away.  We walked the few feet back to our hotel where I walked in and had this waiting for me..

a hotel ice bath prepared by  the gem
hotel ice bath prepared by the gem
it is the little things that mean the most.  I am truly appreciative for Chris being there at the end of every race and thinking of these small things.

Overall, I am so glad I was able to pull myself out of the negativity in the beginning of the race and get the results I did with minimal training.  I love running in new places, the best way to see a new city is to run through it.

Next Up: Maine – Shipyard Old Port Half – July 11th

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