What: The Flower City Challenge – 1/2 Marathon - I decided to run this race with Sheila as her “pacer”.
I have never run a race with these intentions before – It was kind of fun. I was able to take some great pictures, really enjoy this course , and run with some friends along the way.
From The website: ”The course takes you through city streets, historic areas and scenic neighborhoods”
That quote however does not do it justice – It really does take in the best parts of our city – We start downtown at the arena – wind our way through some city streets and some historic places including the Susan B Anthony House-
We go through our “hip” area Park ave. With shops and vibrant city life this is a wonderful section of the city – From there we head up to Highland park where lilacs are just starting to bloom – We work our way over to the Mt. Hope Cemetery which holds the famous remains of Susan B and Frederick Douglas – After winding and rolling through the cemetery we kick out by the University of Rochester and hit the river trail all the way back downtown to the finish line at the arena.
The course is beautiful – It is hilly – It is steeped in history – It’s Rochester all the way.
The Weather: Sunny – Warm – a slight breeze -perfect running weather (it got hotter later – but the start was ideal)
Overall time: We ran the course in almost exactly 2 hours. Sheilas goal was sub 2 – we did everything we could to get her there – She is in the middle of some really heavy miles (the most she has ever run) getting ready for her marathon, so this was a good sign she is in great shape. Tired legs and a huge PR (2:37:32 was her time just 4 years ago )- Thats almost 40 minutes off her first 1/2 time! Wowza!
Placing: I didn’t even look where I placed because I was not racing this event – but this was a USATF Championship event so the front runners were highly competitive!
Mile Splits – I wanted to keep these a bit more steady, yet there were moments when Sheila felt good and this was a race – so when that happens you just let it go – We could have stayed back a little before the big hills and especially in those first 3 miles, but I believe with her the end result would have been the same. ( I am going to post her report for this section)
Mile 1–9:24 I couldn’t get around people who were too slow and it was frustrating me. And then people stopped to walk and I was like seriously why did you line up so far in front????
Mile 2–8:40 I thought maybe I was too fast, but I felt good (well duh. it’s mile 2) and I knew I’d settle in.
Mile 3–8:44 Perhaps mile 2 wasn’t too fast?
Mile 4–8:49 Slowing down a bit, but well on track to go sub-2.
Mile 5–9:02 Saw Oliver here I think. And started to kind of struggle, which made me struggle more because it was so early to be struggling.
Mile 6–9:05 Coming into the mega-hills of Goodman/Pinetum, I decided to drop the pace a little bit. I knew the hill was going to crush me, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t go into it balls-to-the-wall.
Mile 7–9:34 The hill killed me. At one point, I high fived some kids to try to take my mind off of it, and then I got all choked up. Funny, this is where I almost had a melt down last year, too, when I passed a mom with a newborn in the stroller. Apparently that hill is kid/baby central. In any event, I ignored the kids/babies from there on out, knowing that it was a bad idea to get emotional during this race.
Mile 8–9:25 Coming through a bit more hill in the cemetary. As you get into the cemetary, you come up this cobblestone hill. I got to the top and said, “oh shit I’m gonna puke” (and if you know me, you know that I thought this in my first half there, 4 years ago, and my problem is puking in a cemetary–where do you puke? I don’t want to puke on a dead person!) Eric said, “no you’re not, it’s in your head.” And then I stopped and dry heaved. At this point, the 2 hour pace group had caught up to us, and Chris was screaming for me. I pulled myself together.
Mile 9–8:46 Nailed it. Seriously. But by this point, I was REALLY struggling. “Don’t let your mind give out before your legs do,” I kept silently telling myself, when I wasn’t counting my footstrikes (which is a trick I learned from a pro in a Runnersworld Magazine–when you’re tired, count your footsteps, that way you forget about being tired/hurting).
Mile 10–8:46 And then my legs wanted to give out, not just my head. Count your steps, count your steps. The faster you go, the faster it’s over.
Mile 11– 9:06 Somewhere in this mile, I think the 2 hour group caught me again. I was pretty devastated, which Eric knew without me saying it. “They have a cushion built in, Shme. Just go with them. You’ve got this.”
Mile 12–9:14 Just go. I can do this. Just go. I get up over the Ford Street Bridge. As Eric is congratulating me, I say, “Fuck. I’m gonna puke.” “Yeah like you did in the cemetary? Stop.” And then I puked a little bit. And Eric’s words of wisdom were, “Puke and run! You can’t stop now or you won’t do it. Just go!” So I did. I puked and ran. It was glorious. Into my hand (as per tradition) and then squirted it off and asked if there was any puke on my face so that pictures of me would not be compromised, but that didn’t matter, because…
Mile 13–9:09 I was dead. Eric kept telling me to go. I was pretty unaware of people around me, all I could think about was getting to the finish line so I could lay down on the road. Yeah. That was my thought.
N0 photos here – I was in full Sherpa mode!
the last .1–(which by my watch was actually .28) 2:11 or a 7:45 pace. We got close enough to see the clock and Eric was screaming at me (and Chris in the distance ahead) that I had to sprint or I’d never make it there. So I sprinted. And in my head, I was thinking “Oh God there are going to be some really awful pictures of me at this point).
Talkin her in!!!
So by my watch, I ran 13.28 in 2:00:20 (I started it a little early because I forgot at the start line that you don’t actually CROSS the start for a while bc there are so many people there). That works out to a 9:04 overall pace.
High Points: – Being a pacer is fun. I might do this more often in the future, it gave me a lot of energy to see someone else hitting a goal that they wanted. The course was great as usual – The crowd was larger this year (better weather?) The fire department was stationed throughout the course which was fun – Many cheerful volunteers.
Low Points -
Water station debacles – Like I have never – ever – in ANY race in my life experienced the number of people stopping dead in their tracks at water stations – They got crowded and hectic because of this – It was odd – No idea what was behind this.
The volunteers at the stations were amazing – For some reason it seemed almost every runner around us forgot running etiquette at the aid stations.
The post race water and food is difficult to get to – There is no “runners zone” so families – fans – etc are all mingling in and around the water and post race food areas. The race uses the Blue Cross Arena which is designed for thousands of people – yet it quickly becomes a crowded mess. I wonder if they could set up a “family reunion section” and a “runners section” The arena is big enough it might offer some relief to tired sweaty runners to get food and drink.
The offerings for post race are top notch – fruit – pizza – yogurt – etc. I saw more non runners walking around with water bottles than I did runners though – and they ran out of those so I had to walk back outside to get a cup of water from the water station – That sort of stinks- That is not on the race organizers as much as it is on those non-runners though.
Thanks for this photo, Ron!
So low points? That’s it – As usual a solid event.
Thoughts moving forward: I signed Sheila up for the Buffalo Marathon months ago with the promise that I would run and pace her through many runs. My #SherpaDuty2013 is almost complete -
After this I am going to focus on a few hard trail races – and getting faster. I am going to hit up some more FIT1 classes – and work on running for me. I am looking forward to running speedy trails again! Some hard hill repeats – and shocking some people in the very near future!
Great job to Shme, now on to Buffalo!!!