June 4, 2010

Buffalo Half Marathon race report

So this was to be one of my "A-races" for the year and it definitely did not disappoint!! I had put in some good quality training and I was excited leading up to the start because I had never officially raced an all out half before. (The only other times I've run the distance have been at the ends of half ironmans or back in the early 2000's when I banditted the Ontario Shore Half Marathon) Regardless, I had put in some good miles and was hoping for a solid result.

Race morning came and it's an early one for folks who live in Rochester. The gun goes off at 7am from downtown Buffalo, so that means that it's a 3:xx am wake up and a 4:xx am departure to get to the race site, get your packet, chip, warmup and all that jazz before a 7am start. Driving there I wasn't rushed or anything, I was right on time to arrive at about 5:45am or 6 and about 20 minutes from Buffalo, a deer decided to run out into my lane of I-90 and smack dab into the driver side door of my car. (well actually he struck the front drivers side wheel, which caused much of the fender to rub against the wheel and I had to pull it away once I stopped at the next rest stop) Needless to say it was not the adrenaline spike I needed at 5:30 in the morning!!! No worries though, everyone (minus the deer) was fine, no injuries.
Well, back to the important stuff :o) The race report! We hit up registration, got our packets after parking the car in prime parking spot in the garage and I donned the new TriSpot uniform and trotted around for a short warm up. Unfortunately, becuase the race was in downtown Buffalo, there was no real room to warm up and I was forced to stop at every single intersection and weave thru the loads of people waiting in line to use the porta-potties race morning. I'm thinking I got about a half to a full mile in for warmup, and that was short sprint type work between traffic lights. I ended up running into my old college roommate Jake and his wife Sarah sitting on the curb and also Alphonse too. They were all doing the half (I think) and we chatted for a while to pass the time.
I got to the start line and this is a mighty big marathon and half. They start everyone at once and it's about 4,000 people from the starting line. (editors note: 2500+ finished the half) I'm the one about a few feetback with the white backwards hat on whose stretching out his arms. There was no room to do any striders or anything as we all nervously waited on the start. They did some quick announcements and suddenly we were off. I was running with the lead pack (big mistake) for about the first mile or so and we ran thru the 1 mile mark in 5:22. I was just trying to hit 5:55's or 5:50's for my paces, so I knew I had to back off. When the 2nd mile ticked away in 5:41, I knew this might hurt me later on. Regardless I kept on going.
I was feeling pretty good and clicked off the 5km mark in about 17:34. It was started out strong and I was building up a nice little buffer just in case I blew up later on (I've been known to go out too hard before...) There was a nice little out and back section along the lake that was pretty nice and I got a chance to see the leaders (they had long since left me in their dust) pass by going the opposite direction. The weird thing was that there were equal numbers of half runners as there were full's. I quietly thought to myself, that's either going to make the half really slow, or a REALLY fast full time. I myself counted that I was on the bubble of about 10th place at this time, so I was trying to hang on to that. I continued on and was feeling a little bit "sloshy" at around the 5k point (which is the nice little out and back section by the lake) and I wanted to slow down, but knew I couldn't afford to if I wanted to run faster than my goals! I soldiered on and eventually went thru the 10k mark in about 35:56 or so and made a funny face as I went thru, but no one caught it on film. The pace was pretty quick and even though I was about halfway thru the race at this time, I was hoping I could hang on to this pace thru the finish.
Miles 6-9 were kind of a blur to me, I just tucked my head and things were on pace. After mile 9, things started to slow but I was hanging tough. I got some support from the TriSpot water stop at around mile 9 and Kevin Patterson was yelling on the bull horn, along with Joe Meyers harassing me as I ran by too which was uplifting. It was at this point that Todd Stewart, who had bested me at the Medved Maddness in the beginning of the month came up on me and ran with me for a little.
I streaked thru the 15k mark in about 54:22 and the 10 mile in the fastest time I've ever run for 10 miles - 58:22. I was feeling okay and at this time Todd was with me and I began to pull away a little on the numerous highway overpasses that were coming in the final miles. I thought that I might be able to pick it up for the final 5k, but I was hurting. The average pace went from anywhere between 5:48-5:52 up to about 6:00 at this point and ultimately climbed up to 6:13 for mile 12. Todd flew by me and I tried to go with him, but it was no avail, he was gone.
I hit the line in 1:17:10 and coming into the final stretch I saw the finish clock click over from the 1:16 mark to 1:17 and I tried with all my might to go faster, but it was fruitless, I just couldn't will my legs to speed up. It woulda been nice to hit the 1:16 mark in my half marathon debut, but I'll have to settle for a 1:17 :o) I guess not a bad problem to have! I hit the line, Todd turned around and congratulated me and I looked back and saw my other college housemate, Brent Bartlett stroll thru the line in about a 1:18, not too shabby! He told me he was "racing his way back into shape" and that was an excellent display of his current fitness level. I can only assume he will get stronger as the season goes on.
Brent declined the finishers photo, but I was giddy and in a goofy mood enough to snap the above official photo! I was pleased and went with my good friend and fellow Big Pants racer, Ryan MacPherson to go on a cool down and warm down by running the last mile in with Kim. She wasn't having the best day so I just ran her in and cheered some other folks around on as wel. Unfortunately, I missed the award ceremony and was forced to go up on stage late to get my "wonderful" trophy as the final results had me at 12th overall and 3rd in my age group.
Not a bad way to start out the road racing season. On the way home I realized that every road race that I've run this year I've averaged sub 6minute miles for the duration of the race. Not too shabby. I'm stoked that this result will help me recalculate the goals I have for the Chicago Marathon in the fall. I'm thinking I'd like to race that one pretty quick! :o) But other than that, I'm letting the legs rest a little until the Keuka Triathlon this Sunday, which should be an all-out brawl! :o) Lots of good competition coming there and I'm hoping I can hang with everyone (as my legs still aren't feeling too hot now...) But it's still a few days away, so game on! See you all on the roads and trails friends and see you down by the Finger Lakes this weekend, I'll be the one flying by on the shiny new bike! :o) Cheers.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations and I am glad that all is well with you!

Keep up the hard work and it will pay off.

Mike said...

Nice job man, that's a great time and it sounds like you ran tough! Sorry about the deer, been there, lol.

Tim said...

Excellent work Travis. You always go out too fast, it's your trademark. Big races can happen that way because every now and then you end up being able to hold that pace. Or you blow up big time, but lets not dwell on that. Bummer about the car too. Way too much excitement for race morning.
I can understand why Brent didn't feel inclined to follow you thru the finishers photo line. Nice work cropping out the cowboy and construction worker to your left and the leather clad biker to our right by the way.
Keep up the good work and you'll be blazin' thru Chicago. I expect low 2:40's from you. Especially if you focus on running and give up that wetsuit nonsense. The pool is a silly place, in that respect much like Camleot.