Isn't there some kind of Murphy's Law where you get wicked sick right before a race?
Yeah, I thought so.
Yesterday was the first time I ran the Empire Half Marathon, a flat out and back course that goes along Onondaga Lake in Syracuse. I'm familiar with the loop, it's a popular place to run, has a couple of playgrounds, and a dog park. Because of this, I felt pretty confident about the course, because I knew there wouldn't be any surprises. This round of training was pretty low key, no big issues, didn't miss any long runs, and for once I made it through a fall season without injury (see: pulled hamstring fall of 2010, Pes anserinus bursitis fall of 2011)
Last week Eliza brought home the first lovely cold of the season, complete with a stuffy nose and head, and a nasty cough, that brought up all sorts of great things from her lungs. Mike was the next to be hit with it, and then me. It's been a week and I'm still hacking away, but I actually had a pretty good race!
Sunday morning I was up by six, after spending the night in the guest room. Mike was coughing and snoring, so I bailed on our bed, and fell asleep around one. There had been a chance of rain, but the morning was dry, chilly, around 43 degrees, and windy. I made breakfast, which consisted of a slice of peanut butter toast with banana, coffee, some nuun and water. Frank had a moment of excitement when he saw me put on my running shoes, but I told him he could enjoy the couch for a couple more hours.
I picked up my sis-in-law/running friend/close friend Jeannine, and we were off. The Start/Finish was at the baseball stadium, parking was fairly simple, and from what we could see, everyone was pretty bundled up. I was wearing sweats over my shorts and tee, the forecast was for sun and temps in the low 50's, so I figured that was a good choice. However by the time we waited a short time on the port 'o potty line, we decided to book back to the car for more clothes. I should have brought a long sleeved shirt, but I had to make due with my North Face fleece. I was much happier wearing it, and figured if I got too hot I would just take it off and tie it around my waist.
Then J and I met up with our friends, and we had a minute to take a group photo:
Then we were on our way!
I settled into about a 10:00/10:30 pace, aside from not being able to suck in a full breath, I felt pretty good. My friends went off into their own paces and about a mile in I decided to put on my iPod. I coughed some, and thought of my time goal of 2:05. I decided to just enjoy my run and see what happened with my time. It was a beautiful morning, the sky was clear, and the sun was doing a little dance on the lake. As I turned into the park, I noticed that the lights for the annual Christmas display had already started to be put up, we've had such a warm fall that it's hard to believe the Holiday Season is approaching.
The wind was in full force here, during one big gust I couldn't hear the band that was playing on the side, much less my music. There were some people here and there cheering us on, I passed a Dad and his young children, I ran over and slapped their little hands as they held them out. Then I noticed a runner on my left, he was wearing a NYC Marathon shirt from the year I ran it, so I kept looking over at him and tried to get his attention to give him the old "yeah me too!" thumbs up/smile. He was really focused so I went on my merry way.
About six miles in, I decided to have a strawberry Huma gel, these are made with chia seeds and they don't bother my stomach at all. I grabbed some water which was the first I'd had the whole race, the cold weather will do that to you. A woman in front of me was rummaging around in her fanny pack, when she dropped a really nice pair of sunglasses. I knew I'd be pissed if I had dropped mine, so I ran back, grabbed them, then ran up to give them to her.
We reached the turn around, and I was still feeling good, I was happy to have my music, I was getting a bit bored of the course. Then around mile nine my buddy Julie showed up next to me! We were both happy for the company. I had another coughing fit, and Julie asked me if I had bronchitis! As we came up to maybe mile 10.5 I saw Mike and the kids. I ran over and gave them kisses and high fives, Eliza was hiding the lower half of her face, until she revealed that she was wearing deep red lipstick! She knows the rules of no makeup for seven year olds, but she pulled one over on her Dad, since he didn't have any wipes or napkins in his car.
She gave me a rather large smile.
We were closing in towards the end of the race, when Julie started to have pain in her leg. We slowed down a bit, got going again, then slowed down again through the last water stop. Julie is the type of runner who always goes back for someone who is having issues during a run, so I didn't want to ditch her. We had a mile to go so she said to go ahead. At this point I really just wanted to get to the finish, she could walk okay, so I went.
I crossed the finish in 2:15:28, which was fine, because I felt like I finished relatively strong. I met up with my friends, including Julie, and guzzled a chocolate milk. Jeannine was psyched because she thought she broke 2 hours, which she did!
Then we went to breakfast, I had a burrito with eggs, tomato and cheese, but only ate half, I guess it was a little too soon for food. Once I got home it was Sunday afternoon business as usual, which meant a visit to the pumpkin patch, then football. (So psyched the JETS beat the Patriots!) I couldn't seem to get warm, but as a special post race treat, Mike made lobster pot pie for dinner.
Here is the photographic evidence of my race participation, I was disappointed in the shirt, it's a long sleeve tech which is great, but it ran on the small side. Mine is a medium, and it's more like a small.
All in all I'm happy with the race, I had my sights on the Syracuse Half Marathon in March, but I checked the date, and it's the same day as my sister's wedding. So I'll find something else.
My play list for this race was particularly motivating, if you're looking for ideas, here it is:
Please Don't Leave Me - Pink
Hard Sun - Eddie Vedder
Neutron Star Collision - Muse
Jar of Hearts - Christina Perri
Rebellion - Arcade Fire
Stubborn Love - The Lumineers
Wrecking Ball - Miley Cyrus
Breathe Me - Sia
You Raise Me Up - Josh Groban
Short Skirt.Long Jacket - Cake
Set Fire To The Rain - Adele
Save Me - Aimee Mann
See You Again - Miley Cyrus
The Only Living Boy in NY - Simon & Garfunkel
Knockout - Lil Wayne & Nicki Minaj
I Will Wait - Mumford & Sons
Heartbreaker - Mariah Cary & Jay Z
Roar - Katy Perry
Always - Blink 182
My Life Would Suck Without You - Kelly Clarkson
Yeah, Miley Cyrus is on there twice. So sue me.