Sunday, April 3, 2016

2016 Syracuse Half Marathon Recap

AKA - That time I ran in a blizzard.

Oh Syracuse. April 3rd is considered spring. But it was most definitely not spring in Syracuse for the Syracuse Half Marathon. This is a race that was so cold last year that the race organizers pushed it back two weeks this year for better weather. That better weather ended up being way worse than last year. So. Much. Worse.

I awoke to snow. I knew there was a chance of snow. But the temperature was supposed to be warmer than last year so it wasn't going to be terrible in that regard. However, there were also supposed to be wind gusts of 20-30 mph. And boy were there wind gusts - about 28 mph. And yes there was snow, a lot of it. There was even hail at one point. I drove to the race in a whiteout. And yes, it was cold. It was 24 degrees at the start but felt like 8 with the windchill. So it ended up being colder than last year.

Thankfully the race starts right outside the Oncenter. So we waited inside until 10 minutes before the start.

The start was barely plowed and not salted. My friend and I decided to just take it slow and try not to fall. It was ridiculously slippery. Snow, ice, or slush on the road for the entire race. I almost wiped out a few times. It was also difficult to run in. It felt like running in sand. So it took extra energy to run. By the way, this is a hilly course. The snow on the uphills was hard and so was the snow on the downhills.

This was mile 3.5 when it started to HAIL! I had to document it.

My friend pointed out that my eyebrows were frozen. I found it hysterical.

I was glad I had my friend to run with. We kept each other's spirits up until the last few miles when we were both miserable and just wanted to be done and get our damn medals. The last three or so miles were particularly hard for me because I could not feel either of my feet or toes. I'm not quite sure how I kept running. The sensation was weird. My socks and shoes were soaking wet the entire race. I was actually really worried I had frostbite. I even stopped at medical after the race, but I was fine. Just really frozen feet.

At no point did I ever consider not showing up for the race (for the record 1300 people did not show up). I signed up for the race and wanted to finish it. But during those last few miles, I questioned my sanity. It seemed really dumb. Especially considering I have another race in two weeks. Thankfully it all worked out ok.

We finished and did not fall. Victory. We survived the 2016 Syracuse Half.


Cool medal and shirt.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Rock 'n' Roll DC Half Marathon

I traveled to Washington, DC for my first ever Rock 'n' Roll event. My friend and I have another friend who lives near DC, so we thought what better reason to go visit than for a race. We drove down Friday morning and hit the expo as soon as we checked into the hotel. We took the metro and it let us out right in front of the DC Armory. We arrived around 4:30 and had no problems getting inside. I say this because when we left one hour later, this is what we saw:

The line to get in the expo at 5:30 pm - 90 minutes before close.
I am so glad we timed it perfectly because if I had to wait in this line (it had to be at least 45 minutes long but I am just guessing) I would have been one cranky runner.

So going back to my expo experience - I have done many Disney races, so I found myself comparing the expo to Disney expos. We had to go downstairs in what looked like the basement for our bibs - it was a bit unnerving but was fine. It wasn't crowded, but for some reason our corral had the only line.

When we had our bibs in hand, I was surprised at how large they were. It seemed like a lot to have to wear during the race. I am not sure if part of the reason they were so large was because they had to attach the D-Tag to the bib. Again, being a Disney race girl, I had never run a race where I had to wear the timing device on my shoe. We had to detach it from our bib and then attach to our sneaker, under one of the laces. There was a video that showed you what to do at the expo. I was worried the whole time that I was going to lose it, but it ended up being fine. I would hope that in the future Rock 'n' Roll could invest in B-tag technology.

Round is good! D-Tag for timing.
The expo itself was fine. We walked around a bit. There was the usual race merchandise and then the running accessories you could buy that you might have forgotten. We didn't stay very long.

Ready to run!

The next morning we decided to leave one hour before race start. This is where Rock 'n' Roll edges out Disney. Boy was it nice to leave 60 minutes before the race, walk 15 minutes, drop off our bags at gear check with no line, use the porta potty with no line, and get into our corral with 15 minutes to spare! It was nice how smooth it all was.
Really ready to run!
There were 30something corrals for this race. We were in 23. The corrals went off every few minutes, but it was still a long time to wait. It was 38 minutes before we started. And it was chilly! It was about 45 degrees, which is perfect for running but not for waiting around in.

I have zero pictures during the race because I was trying to PR. Alas, that did not happen. There was the matter of a certain hill between mile 6 and 7 that did me in. It was steep as all get out. It was no joke.
Steep hill!
And I had trouble recovering afterward. There were a series of ups and downs after that as well. My first 6 miles were solid and on track, after that I slowed down considerably. I was taking more walk breaks than I was used to and since my legs aren't used to walking that much, it hurt my legs to walk. I had to keep telling myself to just keep running!

I ended up finishing about 10 minutes slower than I would have liked. But I finished! The race course itself had monuments to look at for the couple miles or so and then after that we were through neighborhoods. It was scenic, crowd support was great. The bands were awesome. I loved the experience and would definitely do another Rock 'n' Roll event. Just not this one. I want no part of that hill ever again!

Happy to be done!
I loved the medal! Cherry Blossoms are my fave!