Buffalo 1/2 Marathon Recap

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This was, without a doubt, my toughest race to date.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you already know of my extreme sadness and disappointment with myself (a few of you even verbally kicked my ass & told me to shut the hell up, lol…thank you for that though.  I needed it.).  I let the tears flow a little and I may have punched a pillow or two, but I’m far wiser than to sit here and beat myself up about this race. 

Because I did cross that finish line.  And I did set a new PR.

Instead of listing paragraphs as to why this race sucked ass for me, I will list them for you. 

So here were my issues with the course/environment:

  • The weather was pretty hot (hotter than I am used to right now) but it was HUMID!!  Sure, we ran along Lake Erie and that felt wonderful, but that towards the beginning of the race, when it was still early and the sun wasn’t right on us.  Come towards the middle and the end of the race when the humidity has risen extremely high and the sun is blasting down on us and we have like, oh I don’t know, 4 or 5 bridges to climb up…yeah.  My post-asthmatic lungs don’t appreciate that at all.
  • Water stations…what water stations??  I think there were maybe 4 or 5…I don’t know.  But it *really* wasn’t enough, especially on a day like that.  Myself, along with other runners along the course kept yelling “can we get some fucking water?!” LOL. Thank god some of the locals brought their hoses out to spray us down with water.  Many of us said that their simple act of kindness there was a lifesaver.
  • I brought my Ipod but left my headphones with Frankie…I try not to run any of my races with music anymore, especially bigger races like these because the crowds are what motivate me.  That wasn’t the case this time.  There were a few parts along the course where there was a big spectator crowd and their support was *amazing* but there were also a lot of dead-spots and I really could have used the music.  I got lucky in Philly by finding a lady with whom to pace with and we would occasionally chat and cheer each other on during the “quiet” moments…I didn’t get that here.

So, now onto my personal issues.  These are the ones (other than the weather) that really played into why I was so disappointed

  • Around mile 6 I hit “the wall”…and this was by far the biggest wall I have ever faced.  I.wanted.to.quit!  I kept thinking about how I would turn off the course so no one would see.  I kept looking for a road where I could go and possibly know my way back.  I kept telling myself “there’s no way you are finishing this one. Just give up now”…This wall lasted for about 2 miles, but I finally knocked it down.  I just kept going…I kept thinking about all the people I would disappoint and about how disappointed I would be with myself.
  • Believe it or not, even with all the beer I drank, I was WAY over hydrated.  I knew it the night before.  My stomach looked like I was carrying a baby (and you can see it in some pictures…ewww).  I was trying to be so cautious about not DEhydrating myself that I went overboard. 
  • Of course I would start to feel sick!! And no, I’m not just talking about pre-race “oh no Im getting sick” feelings…Frankie has been sick with an awful cold for the past 2 weeks, and I woke up Saturday morning the same way he did when it first hit.  My throat was sore, my nose was running, my energy was depleted.  I ran right to the drug store next to the hotel and picked up some EMERGEN-C & starting downing that like a champ (another big factor in my over-hydration).  I tooks naps on Saturday and didn’t do a whole lot of walking, but I could still feel the sluggishness.  I’m still downing some EMEGEN-C packets today, trying to make it go away.  It hasn’t gotten worse, yet.  Hopefully I sweated most of it out!

And here is the single most thing that upset me the most:

  • I walked during the race…quite a few times…not for long, but there were quite a few “walking” moments. Now, I am not saying that there is anything wrong with walking during a race, but for me personally, I have *NEVER* walked in a race, big or small.  When I hit my wall around mile 6, that was when I started to stop and walk for a bit.  Yes, a lot of it was due to heat and the constant feeling like I was going to pass out (I kept throwing up in my mouth and had goose bumps the entire race…I was looking gorgeous!), but it was also because mentally I kept stopping myself.  When it got to the last 2 miles in the race I would tell myself “OK Suzi, knock this shit off…no more walking!” aaaaaand then I would have to stop and walk a little more.  I keep looking at my time and thinking “Jesus…what would it have been if I DIDN’T walk any of it”, but I know there’s absolutely no point in thinking about that nonsense.  Maybe I walked for a reason.  Maybe walking is what got me to cross that finish line.  Maybe walking is what got me to not pass out & end up in the hospital.  I don’t know. 

I knew that I hadn't trained properly for this race, and I knew that it would be difficult, but I just didn’t foresee some of these events going down like they did.  I knew I would have to kick my own ass many times throughout the course, and I guess when I push aside the nonsense I keep thinking about, I did do that. 

My official chip time was 2:19:31 with an overall pace of 10:39.  That’s a new PR for me by 12:15.

I ran the first 10K in 1:01:22 with a pace of 09:54…I started out the race by running around a 9:30ish pace, which is my normal pace as of lately.  Of course though, I wasn’t able to keep that pace up for long.  For the 20K I was at a disappointing 11:24 pace.  But I finished with a pace of 10:37 so I guess I should stop complaining huh??  Oh yeah, and I stopped once to use the bathroom. 

There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this race.  The first one being that I never did give up, no matter how badly I wanted to.  And another one being, is to focus on the positive.  Life seems much easier sometimes if we just beat ourselves up and focus on the negative.  I PR’d for christ sakes!  Not *every* race will be an absolute great one, but they all contain some form of greatness.  I’ll be stewing over all lessons for the next few weeks I am sure.

Maybe I got from this race exactly what I wanted….my passion back for running.   

I want to take a moment to thank all of you for all your support and encouragement leading up to, during and after the race. It really means so much to me.  A big shout out to the organizers of the Buffalo Marathon for putting on a smooth race (please though, more water stations next year!! And maybe add some gels/salt packets) and all of the wonderful volunteers and spectators.

An enormous thank you goes out to my sponsor, Generation UCAN, for all of their support and help with this race.  I hope I was able to make you guys somewhat proud.  Wearing your name on my back was an honor and knowing that I was representing you guys helped to get me across that finish line!

Now how about some pictures from race day….

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These next 3 pictures are funny.  They sum up a lot of the race, LOL…

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I don’t have a finish-line picture thanks to some asshole who decided to take his shirt off just as Frankie as taking the picture of me.  The official race photos should up soon though.  I’ll have a full Buffalo-weekend recap with lots of pictures coming up soon :)

12 comments:

  1. Awesome job! you fought through adversity and FINISHED! That's all that matters! And on the way you earned yourself a shiny new PR! That is a good day. Plus, you looked H-A-W-T in those calf sleeves!

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  2. Awesome race! Great way to pull through and plow right through that WALL of negativity. Awesome, Awesome!!

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  3. You did it! I know what's it like to feel crappy and wish you had done better, but you did it baby! And you PR'ed! Can't be mad at that at all. All that matters is that you crossed that finish line. So proud of you!!!

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  4. Congrats on finishing given you were having such a rough day. You. are. awesome! #thatisall

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  5. You finished. You knocked through that wall that was holding you back, that in it self tell you that you won!

    Congrats Suzi!!

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  6. Suzi, honey, research heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Not fun things. The goose bumps and nausea are indictative that those are issues for you. You need to find ways to cool your body when you are running in that kind of heat or it can kill you!! I don't think thats on your goal list, just saying!

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  7. Oh Suzi you did awesome considering the circumstances. When the heat is a major factor you are battling more than you know. :( It's so hard to console someone when the one element they can't control is mother nature. I know from experience heat is the suck. Be proud of what you accomplished please.

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  8. Suzi, as usual thanks for being so honest. This is why I love your blog. If you had said the run was a breeeeze, and posted pics of you with a winning smile leaping across the finish line I would have felt a bit...meh. You are so hard on yourself! You FINISHED. This is a BIG deal. You inspire ME.

    Christina x

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  9. What amazes me is that you were able to finish the race especially with the way you were feeling and the heat! You are an amazing woman and runner.

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  10. You should feel so proud of yourself --if this was your best friend who finished what would you tell her? Would you beat yourself up or encourage her...Just make sure you figure out how to hydrate yourself etc

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  11. It's integral that you consider the heat as a factor. You have to slow down in the heat. And if you don't your body will do it for you. It takes two weeks to acclimate to running in the heat, which is why a lot of these early-season races are shit for many of us.
    If you're seriously concerned about over-hydration leading to hyponatremia you have to do lots of work on your hydration. (Although a lot of the symptoms you're describing, and hyponatremia symptoms in general, can also be dehydration.)
    There's no failure, only feedback, and I seriously would never sneeze at a 12 minute PR. That's more progress in like a year than I've made in 7 years of running. This was only your second half, right? Just chill. You have your whole lifetime to make your goals.

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  12. You did amazingly well. I remember my first half marathon, around mile 8 I was considering faking a sprained ankle to get out of finishing...! Oh, and in the races I've done over here, there have usually only been about 3 water stations!! I always carry one litre with me and get a family member to meet me half way with another litre!

    Not that I've done a half marathon in about 3 years, and am in no state to do one now!

    You did good, girl! Real good.

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