Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Race Report: Buffalo Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Buffalo Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I just returned from my first race representing BibRave and I’m having a hard time putting into words the emotions I felt running 13.1 miles though a place I still call home.

Training for Buffalo was going exceptionally well until I faced a minor setback a few weeks before the race.  Despite the on and off pain in my shin, I was extremely confident going into race week.  I was ready to run fast.

Goal #1 was to run a PR.   
I ran a 1:34:16 at the Cape Cod Half, which is 7:11 pace.

Goal #2 was to run 7:00 per mile, which is just under 1:32.

Early in the week the race director Greg Weber sent out a few emails about the predicted weather forecast being warmer than usual. 

“We need to ask you to listen to your body and prepare physically by hydrating, wearing proper clothes and prepare mentally by understanding that this may not be a PR day.”

May not be a PR day?  Are you kidding me?  #PRorBust!

It wasn’t until we arrived in Western New York on Thursday afternoon that my mind went from “It can’t be THAT hot!” to “Holy shit! I don’t think I can do this!”   Sitting on the back deck at my grandma’s house, I felt like I was ROASTING.  I went for an easy shakeout run on Friday morning and it was BRUTAL, even at 8am when I started running.

Friday afternoon we received another email from the Buffalo Marathon with the heat plan.  They are doing their part and they ask that we do our part as well.

·      6,000 pounds of ice distributed throughout the course
·      Additional fluids distributed on the course, increased water stations to one every mile in the second half of the marathon course
·      Mobile trucks with bottled water available patrolling the course
·      Water supply trucks on standby to insure aid stations do not run out of water
·      Additional gels and bananas distributed on the course
·      Nurses at 7 aid stations
·      Air conditioned vans at aid stations to provide cooling zones
·      Buffalo Fire Department opening fire hydrants along the course with a fog stream, additional EMS around the course, and misters at the finish line

Side note #1: I can’t tell you how prepared the Buffalo Marathon was. Greg told the Buffalo News that he reached out to the race directors of Chicago and Miami, who have dealt with 80-degree temperatures on race day.  They went above and beyond to keep participants safe.  They also reported that they experienced similar numbers in the medical tent as past years meaning all their extra efforts were well worth it.

As for our part, they sent 10 tips including hydration strategies, the signs of heat exhaustion and “In the 24-hour pre-race window, stay horizontal as much as possible and soak up that A/C.”  We may have taken that last line a little too seriously!

Side note #2: I was pumped to have so many friends and family running the race with me.  My cousin Melissa was first to sign up and actually part of the reason I decided to run.  She was running her first half marathon.  Her sister Michele also signed up, making this half marathon #2.  Other first time half marathoners include my childhood best friend Jamie, Melissa’s friend Ali, and Michele’s friend Katie.

With the exception of the 2 mimosas I had at Jessica’s bridal shower—champagne is my weakness!—I spent the weekend hydrating.  I kept refilling my water bottles but I couldn’t stay hydrated.  Saturday reached record high temperatures in Western New York so Aunt Barb and Uncle John decided to open up their pool.  It was like an ice bath but I didn’t even care.

Ok so on to the race!

I spent the night on Melissa’s couch.  We got up, got ready and waited for the gang to pick us up and bring us to the start.  My mom, Barb and John were going to ride bikes around the city to numerous spots along the course.  After a few pictures and hugs, I rounded up the gang to head to the start line.  We hit up the porta potties then found a curb to hang out.  This is where we ran into Jamie.  So fun to see her!

With about 10 minutes to go, I left the group and made my way through the corral closer to the start line.  Compared to the rest of the weekend the weather was on the cool side but it was still about 70 degrees at 6:30am and you could tell the humidity was super high.  Going into the race I had 2 race strategies in mind.  I would either A) go out conservative, see how I felt in the heat and try to build on my speed as the race unfolded or B) start out at goal pace and see how long I can hang on.  I decided on Plan B because I knew it would only get warmer as the sun started beating down on us and the chance of negative splitting was real low.

After the national anthem fireworks went off (so cool!) and we were off…

Mile 1- 7:11
Mile 2- 7:07
Mile 3- 6:59
The race started near City Hall in front of the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.  We headed north on Delaware Ave for 3 miles until we reached Delaware Park.  I knew within the first mile that it was not going to be my day.  From about 0.5 to 1.5 I could feel my right shin but that went away.  I first saw my mom, Barb and John just past the 2-mile mark at Gates Circle.  I saw them from what felt like a mile away but they weren’t even looking my direction!  I’m yelling, waving my arms, and they finally looked up!  Apparently the Buffalo Marathon tracking app wasn’t working so they didn’t even know we started.

Mile 4- 7:11
Mile 5- 7:25
Mile 6- 7:09
Once we reached the park, we headed back towards the start.  We could see runners behind us running on the other side of the parkway and I was focused on looking for Melissa and Michele but I never saw them.  The biking cheerleaders waited at Gates Circle for the girls then reappeared on the course to see me around Mile 4.  I got a little excited and at Mile 4 realized I forgot to take my first GU Chews at Mile 3.  That mile I also started talking to a girl from Pittsburgh that was running alongside me.  Her goal was 1:30 but she also knew right away that she needed to modify her goal.  She seemed to be a little better shape than me but she stayed with me from about Mile 4-9.  At Mile 5 my forearms started cramping.  My forearms!  I was shaking out my arms and trying to stay relaxed.  I had taken water and Gatorade at every aid station.  I drank the full cup of Gatorade then a sip of the water and poured the rest over my head.   The 6-mile marker was right around where we started and was PACKED with spectators.  It was a real motivational boost.  The Pittsburgh girl seemed to be picking up the pace and I tried to stay with her.

Mile 7- 7:09
Mile 8- 7:17
Mile 7 and 8 were through neighborhoods heading around towards LaSalle Park.  As we approached the park and the 8-mile marker, I started to notice some signs of heat exhaustion.  I had goose bumps on my skin and at times feeling a little lightheaded.

Mile 9- 9:21
There was an aid station right before we turned onto Amvets Drive to run along the water through the park.  I walked through the aid station and continued to walk for a good portion of Amvets Drive.  This is also where I took my second and final GU Chew packet.  A couple times I ran a few steps, got a little dizzy then walked some more.  There was some shade (I think?) and a nice breeze coming off the water.

Mile 10- 7:20
I got a little energy boost for the 10th mile and ran the whole mile!

Mile 11- 7:59
It was back to walk/running for Mile 11.  If I wasn’t feeling right, I walked a little but then I got right back to sub-7:30 running pace.  This mile was a fun little out and back by the Waterfront with more breeze.

Mile 12- 7:56
Mile 12  was a mix of walk/run/just want to be done.  My Aunt Judy and Uncle Kim were at the 12-mile marker!  It was the first time they’ve ever seen me run so that was nice.

Mile 13- 8:06
One more mile to the finish!  I tried to run the rest of the way but that didn’t happen!  My legs had it in me but I was struggling a bit with my breathing and I was still experiencing chills and dizziness on and off.  My mom was waiting a few blocks from the finish and I was able to push myself past a few people in the final straightaway.  Way to be an asshole Jen!  But I saw the clock and if I couldn’t break 1:34, I at least needed to stay under 1:40—Let’s note that my watch recorded the last 0.22 miles at 6:44 pace!

13.1 miles – 1:39:54
Average pace – 7:38

So I didn’t get to ring the PR bell at the finish line.  (Seriously, how cool is that?!)

In Houston, every walking step I was more and more pissed.  In Buffalo, I realized early on that the heat was out of my control and it wasn’t going to be my day.  Yeah it sucked but you have to race the race that’s presented to you on that given day.  I knew I had to race smart.  I did not fare well in the heat at the 2015 Falmouth Road Race and I didn’t know how my body would respond in even warmer temperatures in Buffalo.  When I had to start walking, sure I was pretty disappointed, but I had to play it safe.  Instead I embraced the city and vowed to take in all the sights and sounds of my favorite city.  Run if I could, walk if I had to and keep smiling!

Best Decision(s) of the Day: Taking an icy towel at Mile 10 and wrapping it around my neck.  Even better, taking the ice cup at Mile 11 and pouring some in the neck towel, some down my sports bra.  It was wonderful.

Favorite Part of the Course: The energy of the spectators at Mile 6 was incredible.  I also enjoyed the out and back from Mile 10 to 11 at the waterfront and the distraction of watching runners running in the opposite direction.  The turnaround featured about a dozen sprinklers!  I felt like a little kid running through them!

Favorite Sign of the Day: While I loved the old lady with her sign yelling “When your legs get tired, run with your heart!” and the “Bad Bitch Alert” girls, my favorite sign of the day had to be in the final 0.1 mile where it said 13.1 straight, 26.2 turn right.

Best Moment of the Day: Receiving my medal from Randell Johnson of the Buffalo Bills.  He put the medal over my neck and gave me a little shoulder massage as he congratulated me and we talked about it being a tough run.  As I watched more runners finish, I saw the players calling out the runners by the names on their bib numbers.  It was a nice, personal touch.

Thank you #58, you made my day!

The girls did great.  Jamie (2:07:41) was first to finish and checked a big thing off her bucket list.  Melissa (2:34:50), Michele (2:38:39) and Katie (2:38:40) ran together most of the way until Michele and Katie had to stop and Melissa left them behind.  Melissa looked good and very comfortable running.  I went back on the course to find Michele and Katie and they were WALKING!  I yelled at them because they were less than a quarter mile to the finish but I shouldn’t talk… :) Michele’s time was slower than Houston but she said she complained way less.  That’s a win for Michele’s running partners!  Ali (2:53:07) experienced some knee pain but made it to the finish line!  Way to go!

The volunteers were amazing.  Our personal cheerleaders were amazing.  The course was beautiful, flat and provided the perfect opportunity to PR on the right day.

Buffalo, I love you.  Buffalo Marathon, you did not disappoint.  I WILL be back!

As Jay-X would say, “On to the next one!”

Runner’s World Classic
North Andover, MA
July 16-17, 2016
Use code RAVE for 10% off all races!

Did you run the Buffalo Marathon?  Head on over to BibRave.com and post your race review!

ICYMI Buffalo Half Marathon Training:
Week 1 of 12             Week 5 of 12             Week 9 of 12
Week 2 of 12             Week 6 of 12             Week 10 of 12
Week 3 of 12             Week 7 of 12             Week 11 of 12
Week 4 of 12             Week 8 of 12

Monday, May 23, 2016

Weekly Roundup 5.16-5.22

Week 11 of 12

One week!  I made it to Race Week!  You know it’s almost Buffalo Half Marathon race day because I visited Falmouth Fashion Nails for my traditional pre-race pedicure on Friday!

I had a busy week with not a whole lot of running.  We were one man down at work and I had a big golf event that I’d been planning and stressing about for weeks.

On Monday I got in the pool for some deep water running.  My leg still hurt and I knew I had to do some form of cardio to keep me sane.  I broke out the Heartbreaker Spin Playlist for Tuesday—my angry breakup music to punish my spinners for my injury.  Hehe.

It was back to the pool on Wednesday but this time Joe suggested the water walkers.  Oh em gee, what a workout!  I felt like I was putting a ton of effort with very little forward progress.  I don’t think I made it 5 minutes before I was sweating, breathing heavy and my face bright red.  I was able to get in 26 minutes before the deep end pool class started so I finished up with 4 minutes in the shallow end.

I decided to try running outside on Friday and got in 2 pain-free miles!  I wanted to keep going but I also didn’t want to overdo it.  It was a good idea because the minute I started walking—OUCH!  The pain was back full strength.  I iced and took ibuprofen and spend the rest of the day laying low.  THEN that night, Georgie also injured her right (front) leg!  She started limping after a rock session with grandpaw.  Seriously G?!  We are a mess.

Sunday was the 7th Annual Piggy Trot and my 6th year running.  I ran with Eric and ended up placing 3rd to win a pig & $50 cash!  You can read my full race report here: http://www.jenrunsfastblog.com/2016/05/race-report-piggy-trot-2016.html

Upcoming events:

·      1 week until the Buffalo Half Marathon!
·      8 weeks until the Runner’s World Classic!

New Nike Lunarglides for work HEY-O!
Monday 5.16.16
30’ deep water running!
11,779 steps

Tuesday 5.17.16
Taught spin class. The playlist: Heartbreaker Spin Playlist
10 push ups
10,877 steps

Wednesday 5.18.16
26’ deep water running with water walkers!
4’ shallow water running!
11,285 steps

Thursday 5.19.16
Burdenko H20 x2
Taught spin class. The playlist: When Love Takes Over Spin Playlist
14,944 steps

Friday 5.20.16
2 miles (16:05)
15,071 steps

Saturday 5.21.16
7,175 steps

Sunday 5.22.16
Happy Birthday Dad!
Piggy Trot 3.7 miles with Eric (24:55)
13,361 steps

These two :) #ProudCousin #HappyCoach

This week’s mileage: 5.75 miles
This week’s G mileage: 0 miles
May Totals: 51.75 miles
2016 Totals: 374.75 miles

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Race Report: Piggy Trot 2016

Surprise! I won another pig & $50 cash!

After dealing with an injury for the past 2 weeks, I was unsure if I would even make it to this year’s Piggy Trot.  I didn’t want to do anything stupid this close to the Buffalo Half Marathon and I went back and forth all morning about what to do.

My mom picked me up and dropped my dad off to hang out with Georgie.  (Side note: It’s his birthday!!)  My mom and I figured we would at least go down to Dowses Beach to get our numbers.  The forecast was calling for race day rain and wind all week but a shift in the weather patterns just showed overcast.

Just before the race, a misty rain started and it was pretty chilly by the water.  Linda Lou and I had no desire to get out of the car at this point!  I was thinking about walking with her but neither of us really wanted to walk.  “Let’s just run and get it over with,” we said.

The race was the 7th annual Piggy Trot at Dowses Beach in Osterille, MA and my 6th time running.  It’s a 3.7 mile road race raising money and melanoma awareness through The Glenna Kohl Fund for Hope.  Although I never knew Glenna (nicknamed Piggy), she had ties to Cape Cod Rehab and we continue to sponsor and support her cause.

I caught up with my Cape Cod Rehab team at the start.  It was a small group this year—just me, Brian, and Eric along with Payton in the kids race!   

Brian began running the race with my mom and I decided I would run with Eric.  I’ve been coaching Eric and his goal was to run under 27:00 (7:17 pace).  He would keep me out of race mode but he was fast enough that I would still feel good running.  (Running “slow” changes my stride and caused more pain on my leg.)  If I was going to run, I wanted to run.  Not race.  Not jog.

Eric and I went through the first two miles in 7:11 and 6:55 and overall I was feeling pretty good and relaxed.  I had no idea where we were in terms of place but there was a girl in white just ahead of us that I told Eric we needed to catch by the end of the race.  She was potentially in 3rd, which would me in 4th and totally within reach.  Those pigs and cash prizes can really motivate you!  Eric responded and we definitely picked up the pace.  Mile 3 was in 6:46 but Eric was starting to breath pretty heavy.  He fell back a little and I remember saying now is the time where we wish it was a 5k race and not 3.7 miles!

Rounding the corner to the finish line, I looked behind me and tried to pull Eric back to finish strong in 24:55 (6:44 pace)!  We crossed the finish line at the same time, well under his goal time and tied for 10th overall.  I was 3rd female and Eric was 1st in his age group!

My mom ended up running the first mile with Brian.  They took a little walk break after the first mile then she cruised her way to the finish.  She average just over 10 min/mile pace!  She did awesome!

How was my leg?  The good news is that I didn’t notice it at all during the race.  The bad news is that the more I stood around after the race, the more I felt it.  I went home to take a hot shower and immediately iced and took ibuprofen.  If I run one or two taper runs this week, I’m pretty sure I will be ok for next weekend…

Run Club friends! Photo cred @capecodrunner
Up next: Buffalo Half Marathon in Buffalo, NY on May 29th!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Weekly Roundup 5.9-5.15

Week 10 of 12

It’s deja vu all over again.

Do you remember what happened in my final week of Houston Marathon training before taper?   

I ran my last long run of 20 miles.  I was feeling the normal post-20 mile soreness but when the DOMS wore off, a pain in my butt remained—literally.  I rested.  I rock taped.  I got in the pool.  I did everything I could to get to the Houston Marathon start line pain free.

Fast forward to the peak week of my Buffalo Half Marathon training… 

I dominated Monday’s speed workout.  Last week I ran 10 quarter mile repeats on the treadmill.  While I was satisfied with the results, running on a treadmill in a controlled environment just isn’t the same as running outside.  It’s much easier to maintain pace and stay consistent on a treadmill so I was actually pretty nervous repeating this workout outside.

Week 9 – 1:39, 1:38, 1:40, 1:35, 1:36, 1:34, 1:32, 1:30, 1:32, 1:29

Week 10 – 1:40, 1:37, 1:34, 1:38, 1:38, 1:34, 1:32, 1:29, 1:30, 1:30

Overall I was very happy and when I woke up Tuesday, my body was telling me I worked hard.  Tuesday’s Run Club run was tough.  My legs were tired and creaky.  I remember telling the group that it wasn’t the usual muscle soreness but discomfort and even pain in my bones.

Wednesday was a planned rest day and I took advantage of the NormaTec.  My right shin was bothering me so Chuck offered some advice on how to stretch and strengthen my posterior tib because in his words, "I don't want to be reading about this on your blog!"

Thursday morning I ran 2 painful miles with Georgie and ended up at Cape Cod Rehab on Friday morning.  Sorry Chuck!  I went in hoping Kathy would show me how to Rock Tape my leg but she ended up hooking me up with all sorts of treatment.  I am so lucky to have such awesome resources at work and thankful for everything Joe & Kathy do to take care of their staff.

So what’s going on with my leg?  It could be my posterior tib or it could be a stress fracture.  Both would require rest.  What does this mean for Buffalo?  Right now I’m not sure but I have 2 weeks to rest and rehab.  I am pretty confident that whatever pain I am in, I will load up on the ibuprofen and still run.

I also have the Piggy Trot next Sunday and I will go because I love that race but I will take it easy and maybe even do a little walk/run with my mom.  My goal race is Buffalo so I don’t want to make any bad decisions at the Piggy Trot!

Other highlights:

·      I met a fellow BibRave Pro!  Eric (@eblaz37) was running Ragnar Cape Cod right through my town so I met up with him at one of the transitions.  So fun!

·      Are you traveling to Buffalo for the Buffalo Marathon?  This week I blogged about some of my favorite things to do and places to see in Western New York, the place I still call home. Find out what made the list: http://www.jenrunsfastblog.com/2016/05/buffalo-marathon-things-to-do-places-to.html
·      I posted my 4th product review for BibRave in 4 weeks.  You can read all about the UV Full Buff here: http://www.jenrunsfastblog.com/2016/05/buffalo-marathon-things-to-do-places-to.html

Upcoming events:

·      1 week until the 7th Annual Piggy Trot!
·      2 weeks until the Buffalo Half Marathon!
·      9 weeks until the Runner’s World Classic!

Monday 5.9.16
6.5 miles (48:16) with 10x1/4mi, 90” recovery <--1:40, 1:37, 1:34, 1:38, 1:38, 1:34, 1:32, 1:29, 1:30, 1:30
18,767 steps

Tuesday 5.10.16
Taught spin class
10 push ups
Marathon Sports Run Club! 5 miles (43:04)
19,573 steps

Wednesday 5.11.16
0.65 miles treadmill (5:00)
8,410 steps
Resting with Georgie

Thursday 5.12.16
2 miles with G (18:04)
Taught spin class
Power Water
18,443 steps

Friday 5.13.16
8,376 steps

Saturday 5.14.16
7,970 steps

Sunday 5.15.16
Taught spin class
Burdenko H2O
11,245 steps

This week’s mileage: 14 miles
This week’s G mileage: 2 miles
May Totals: 46 miles
2016 Totals: 369 miles