Thursday, May 28, 2015

2015 Buffalo Half Marathon Recap

This past weekend I ran the Buffalo Half. I am from Buffalo and all of my family still lives there. This race has been on my list to do for a couple years but it seems I always had Memorial Day weekend plans and couldn't fit it in. Until this year!
City Hall was right near the start line.
Packet pickup on Saturday was easy. My husband dropped me off at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center and I went upstairs and got my bib and shirt with no issues.

The next day I arrived early for the race. I didn't want a repeat of the Syracuse Half where I got stuck in traffic and couldn't find a parking spot. So my husband dropped me off at 6 for a 7 am start. I am happy to report we had zero issues with traffic. 

It was nice to have the Convention Center near the start line. I was able to use a real bathroom and sit in a comfy chair while I waited. I went over to the start line about 30 minutes before race start. Thankfully, I turned my Garmin on early. It took 10 minutes to acquire satellites due to tall buildings and such.
Ready to run! The person taking my pic asked if it was my first half - um no! 16th!
My strategy for this race was to push myself and try to PR. Ever since I read Run Like a Mother, I have been following Sarah's strategy of leaving it all on the course. She pushes herself so she has nothing left at the finish. My past two races I have tried to do this and have gotten a personal best both times. 

My strategy also had to do with a little girl I knew who was battling cancer. I was thinking of her on race day because I knew she was nearing the end of her time on earth. I thought of how hard she fought and how much she went through and how strong she was. I figured that pushing myself as I ran was only going to result in temporary pain and I could handle it. Sadly, that little girl ended up dying later that day. 

Rather than do intervals, which is how I train, I decided to run straight through and see how it went. I did take a few walk breaks at water stops. But for the most part, I ran. As I ran, I kept looking at my watch for my pace. If I saw my pace slowing down, I ran faster - simple as that.

I actually felt really good the whole race. I attribute this to my cross training. I have been doing the 30 day shred pretty consistently for a few weeks. I felt stronger than I have felt in recent races. I should also point out that the weather was perfect. It wasn't too hot or cold and not terribly sunny. Or maybe we just were not running straight into the sun for very long. 

The course itself was not very hilly either. There was a gradual incline in the beginning. There were a couple small hills here and there but nothing major. I will say that there were a couple of out and backs that were kind of boring so I could have done without those.

Overall though, I enjoyed the course. I haven't lived in Buffalo since I graduated from high school. The course took us near my old elementary school, down by the marina where I used to walk on the rocks by the water as a kid, and past the First Niagara Center where the Sabres play. It was neat to run a race in my hometown.

So I know you are wondering, did I get that PR? I sure did. 4 minutes and 49 seconds to be exact! I crossed the finish line and didn't look at the clock, but from checking my watch during the race, I thought I was three minutes behind the race clock due to how long it took for me to cross the start line. Imagine my disappointment when I checked the race results on the way home and found my result to be 3 minutes slower than what I thought. They were reporting gun time as chip time. It still would have been a PR, but it wasn't the point. I questioned it with the race's Facebook site and saw that many others were as well. The race was quick to respond and updated my chip time to be 2:19:42!
So happy to be done and with a PR!
I was so proud of myself for working so hard and having such a big payoff. Almost 5 minutes!!! My husband and kids didn't even make it to the finish line in time. I told him if I was doing awesome, I would finish at 9:20, if it was going ok at 9:30, and if it wasn't going so well at 9:45. He figured on ok, and was still driving when I texted him with 1 mile left. I ended up finishing at my awesome time of 9:20.

The finish line was quite crowded with lots of spectators so it took me a while to get back to the convention center. Once I got there, I met my family at the post race party. There was beer for runners, which I got, but had no interest in drinking so I gave it to the husband. Both my kids were hungry at this point. They were giving out one slice of pizza to runners, so I grabbed one for my less picky eater (pepperoni had to be taken off) and I was left with nothing but the half of banana and orange from the finish line. I was rungry!!

I thought I would take a picture when I was all cleaned up.
I would highly recommend the Buffalo half marathon, it was a well-run event, the course was nice, and you can't go wrong with a buffalo medal. I will say though that I would think twice about the marathon here. I don't know if it's normally like this, but the marathon course turned to the right at mile 13. So I was looking straight at the finish with .1 mile left and the marathoners were also looking at the finish line, but they had to turn right and go for 13 more miles. I just don't think I could do that mentally.

Medal and race shirt

1 comment:

  1. Way to go, Bonnie! That's an awesome PR! I love the Run Like a Mother books. They've helped me a lot as well. So excited for you - it sounds like a great race.