My “running life” has taken a big turn lately, and it’s been amazing. I set an unexpected PR at the Buffalo Marathon 5k over Memorial Day weekend and it was exactly what I needed.
I hadn’t trained as well as I should, but I had some really great training runs right before the race. The weather was chilly (shivering in capris and a long-sleeved shirt at the end of May is so very wrong), but it ended up being a blessing. My husband and kids came to cheer me on, which always makes race day better.
We got to the convention center (finding close parking was a lot easier than I had anticipated) and quickly got my bib and shirt. We had quite a while to wait for the start, so we hung out inside and I stretched and paced around, annoyed at myself for not bringing a snack. My stomach was starting to growl. Next year, I’ll arrive a bit closer to the start time and remember to bring a snack. Finally, we headed out to the start area and said our goodbyes. I found a spot towards the rear of the starting area and waited for the gun. And then we were off.
My plan was to stick with the new intervals I tried out the week prior. I’d run for a minute and walk for 30 seconds. I had been doing my intervals “by feel”, and my pace was suffering because of it. I was burning out at the start and struggling at the end. I get frustrated with the constant watch beeping when doing set intervals, but I need to control my pace as much as possible right now. I wanted to keep under an 11:30 pace for the entire race.
I always mess up my intervals for the first few minutes of a race. It’s too clogged at the start to safely stop and walk, so I kept running through 2 or 3 walk intervals. Finally, the sea of people parted and I was able to settle into my intervals. I decided I would absolutely not skip any walks or walk through any runs. We were interval-ing the whole way, dammit.
And I did. I zoned out on my music (SiriusXM Lithium) and trucked through. The Buffalo Marathon 5k course covers a lot of the se route as the YMCA Turkey Trot, but I don’t mind. I enjoy the downtown routes, especially when it’s not 19 degrees outside.
I didn’t know was my predicted finish time would be based on my current pace (race math is hard, y’all), but I felt great and I was working hard. I didn’t expect to PR and I kept reminding myself this race was more about having fun running than time. That was my new motto, after all. Do it for the run of it.
Before I knew it, we were approaching Niagara Square and there was my family, cheering me on. I could hear the finish line announcer and I knew the finish was right around the corner. I turned on the jets and ran as hard and as fast as I could. I always find one person to pick off at the end and set my sights on a girl just ahead of me. I passed her and pushed harder and faster (that’s what she said!) I’m fairly confident the people watching the finish were laughing at how hard I was running, and I don’t blame them. Look at my face, you guys.
I crossed the finish and looked at my watch. 35:00.3. A PR. By minutes, not seconds. Holy crap! It’s been a really long time since I’ve set a PR and I was elated.
I noticed Bart Yasso standing near the finish and popped over for a quick photo. He’s such a nice guy and always willing to take a second for a photo or a chat. We were both commenting how awesome the medals were. Because they are. Not many 5k’s do medals, especially local ones, and this one was pretty impressive.
I finally found the family again and we headed into the convention center to check out the after party. It was a little bit of a let down. Buffalo races are known for their parties. Every local race has beer and food and entertainment. It’s just what we do here. For this party, we got cold pizza, soda, and obnoxiously loud music. I grabbed a slice of pizza (because: hungry) and we left to check out the expo happening on the other side of the convention center. It was a pretty decent expo with lots of races advertising. I picked up a few samples and race pamphlets and we headed home. The kids were done paying attention and we had a t-ball game to get to.
Mile 1: 11:16
Mile 2: 11:25
Mile 3: 11:07
Final: 35:00.3 (chip time was 35:30, which I’m not so sure where that extra :30 came from, unless there was no timing mat at the start and only at the finish?)
I definitely enjoyed the race and I’ll be running it again next year, especially now that the 5k is the day before the larger races. I was registered for the half marathon as well, but I deferred it to 2016. I’m hoping I’ll be back in love with 5+ mile runs by then.
I’m really happy with my running life right now. It’s strange because I feel like many of my running friends have taken off, while I’ve taken a few steps back. I don’t feel the same sense of community as I once did with running, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. They’ve moved on to more races in more places, amazing sponsorships and partnerships, and new friendships. And that’s ok. Because they’re awesome and I’m extremely proud of them for how hard they’ve worked and how much they’ve grown. I just need to find my own place in the community again. Which I’ll do.
Because there is room for everyone who runs. We just need to find our own stride, and I’m finally feeling mine again.