Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Flower City Challenge Half Marathon Race Recap

Sorry for the delay with my recap, I'm sure you were all waiting on the edge of your seats for it!

 I like this photo of Mike, it's from the last run leg on Saturday

Saturday we raced the duathlon, then we went over to Amber and Greg's to celebrate Amber's daughter's birthday. She is such a little ham!  We went home early and just relaxed the rest of the night, I honestly had no idea how I was going to feel in the morning.

Sunday morning we woke up, a little later than on Saturday, and I felt pretty decent.  I could tell my quads were slightly sore from the day before but I hoped that they would work themselves out.  We got ready and made our way downtown.

After getting a little lost, we found the parking garage that Amber and Greg told us to park in and the streets were already bustling with runners.  We went inside Blue Cross Arena, went to the bathroom one final time and put my long sleeve shirt and Mike's water bottle somewhere for safe keeping during the race.

We hadn't found Amber and Greg yet, the plan was for me and Amber to run together, but when we went outside we saw Ron and his wife.

 Photo courtesy of Ron

He told us that he saw Amber and Greg and pointed us in their direction, almost immediately after we went to the other side we found them!  They came bearing "gifts" for me, some masking tape.

When Amber and I had been talking about running together she asked me if I would consider not wearing my watch, then at the duathlon Greg asked if I would tape my watch so that I could have my splits for after the race but not see them while running.  I agreed and after I found satellites I covered my watch's screen.

Greg and Mike went to go line up together, they didn't stay together very long - according to Mike he let Greg leave him after 20 yards, and Amber and I made our way into the masses.


After the National Anthem, the announcer came on and said a few words about Boston and then started playing "Sweet Caroline". 

Then it was time to start the race! About a minute after the start Amber and I made our way across the start line.  The first mile we struggled to find some space and had to dodge some runners, and people already walking.  

 Photo courtesy of Ron

Photo courtesy of Ron

Right before we hit the first mile, this woman was standing on the sidelines yelling, "many, many healthy people! Running through the Susan B. Anthony district!" This made me and Amber laugh.

Miles 2 and 3 were a little fast, at Mile 2 Amber said, "that was 8:22".  I tried to reign it in during the 3rd mile but it was almost just as fast.  After that Amber told me that we were going to run three easy miles and then we were going to do work.

Right before we got to Park Ave, Mile 4, we turned down this short road and it smelled like mulch.  Amber said, "I hate the smell of mulch"! I guess it was a good thing that the road was short!

I took my first energy gel at Mile 4.  I was having some issues at the water stops, as per usual, and people kept stopping right in front of me!  It was a little frustrating but I just got away from them as quickly as possible and caught back up to Amber.

As we were running I just kept thinking about how we had already run this route before, and how I felt much better than I did that day.  As we passed Jine's, such a good restaurant, I could smell bacon and I said out loud, "disgusting!"  I think some girls that were near us laughed, but I didn't care. I don't want to smell bacon while I'm running.

I knew that the hills were coming up soon, from running the route before and because other runners kept saying stuff about them.  Mile 6 you turn onto Goodman and this is where the fun really begins.  I knew that one of my co-workers was going to be out cheering and I made sure to wave as I went by her.  Another girl, who I took classes with, cheered me on as I ran by. 

As we got to the hill, Amber told me to surge from one blue sign to the next.  This was when I started to feel the effects of the duathlon the day before but I did what I was told.  Amber was great and kept encouraging me and telling me that I had less than a minute to the top.

When we turned into Highland Park, I got another welcome sight: our friends Sarah and Mark (and their dog Kiva) were out cheering for runners.  I waved and Sarah said that we were looking good!

Around Mile 7 I felt a little better because there was a nice downhill.  We just coasted down it and then made our way to Mount Hope Cemetery.  When we ran the route with Amber and Greg before we didn't include this part, so even though Mike and I have run in the cemetery before this was all new to me!

The worst part of the race, for me, was running up the cobblestone hill.  I slowed way down and had to take a few walking steps to get up it.  Amber was great and waited for me, and she told me that the worst of it was behind us.  There were a few more hills in the cemetery but nothing that bad.

I took my second energy gel at Mile 8, there wasn't a water stop there, and I felt better after that.  I was worried that I wouldn't have enough left in me to get to the end, but I knew I had to give it my all.  At one point in the cemetery Amber said, "it's a good thing we didn't run in here, we would have gotten lost!" She made a joke about how we would have had to "take a right at the Joseph and Mildred family crypt" and that made me laugh.

I started to struggle again right before we left the cemetery, I had been saying for a little while that I wanted out of there, but then I got another pick-me-up: our friends Eric and Sheila!  I heard someone say, "Jamie" and when I turned around they were behind us. 

 Sheila, me and Amber

I asked Sheila how she was doing and she said, "not good".  I said something about feeling the same and that maybe doing the duathlon the day before wasn't a good idea.  Almost in unison, Eric and Amber said, "yes it was!" and Amber added that it would make what I was going to do that much sweeter.

Eric was great and he circled back at one point and told me that I could do it and that made me feel good.  They are great friends!

Amber had told me at one point in the cemetery that I was still running sub-9 (average pace).  I was in shock when she told me that, and I knew it was going to be tough to keep it up.

We left the cemetery and I was able to get some water.  This was the worst water stop and I literally collided with someone's arm. I also dumped some water on myself for the first time and then we made our way toward the Riverway Trail.

Amber asked me if I had run on this part of the course the day before and I said yes. At some point on the trail the 2:00 pacers passed us and I felt a little discouraged.  The trail is also really crowded and we had to dodge people.  Amber made me do a few surges and at this point I started to complain a little.  It was also at this point that some guy had his runkeeper or some similar app running and I could hear what it was saying.  I was so frustrated when I heard what it said his current pace was, but I just kept trying to get away from him!

Amber got me water at the last water stop, I think she knew I was having some issues colliding with people, and I took a sip and dumped the rest over my head.

We got to the Ford Street bridge and then turned onto Exchange Street.  Right at 11 miles I saw Sarah and Mark again!  They cheered me on, said I was going to sub-2 and Amber agreed. 

Just thinking, get there, get there

When Mike had gone by them

I really started to feel it in the last mile, but Amber wouldn't let me slow down too much.  We did some surges, tried to catch people and just pushed it to the end.  I was struggling and felt frustrated because I couldn't see the finish line, but then eventually there it was!

As we got to the end, I saw Mike on the sidelines cheering me on and I tried to give it everything that I could. 

Mike looking strong at the finish

I think my face accurately describes how I felt

We crossed the finish line and I immediately ripped the tape off of my watch.  Amber hugged me and then we made our way out of the finish chute.  We got some water and met up with the guys.  

After some issues with the results, originally I didn't have a chip time so I had to use Amber's and then they updated the results with slower chip times (but now I have one), I found out that I finished in 2:00:44.

Mike did great and ran a 1:45:38. 

While I didn't run sub-2, I am really proud of this race.  I could have completely given up and just been satisfied with finishing but I pushed myself.  I have Amber to thank for this because without her, I'm not sure I could have done it on my own.  I know that if we hadn't done the duathlon the day before that both Mike and I would have accomplished our goals (Mike wanted to run sub-1:45). 

Now this makes me really excited for the Presque Isle half marathon because I AM going to sub-2 there, hopefully by a lot.


  1. Great job! So close to a sub 2, you will get there!

  2. I think this was awesome that you had that GREAT of a race a day after the Du. You two continually amaze me, keep working hard and you will hit every goal you want.

  3. Nice job, Jamie! That sub-2 will happen--it's a matter of "when," not "if"," so keep up the hard work!

  4. Congrats to both of you! That was quite a race weekend!

  5. Great job and hopefully sub 2 is the next half you race. After the du the day before, it is easily feasible you will break the 2 hour barrier. Reading this makes me miss that race course (somewhat) glad the weather was nice...I remember being freezing at the start last year.

  6. I am so proud of you for this (and many other things), you are going to go sub-2 easily this year (so close, and a day after the Du!!).

  7. Great work! I do not think 44 seconds off of a sub-2 is too big of a deal :)

  8. Fantastic work running almost blind the day after such a hard race. Do a small, one week taper and you've got sub 2 all over you.

  9. Awesome race girl! So close to that sub-2 - man, wasn't that the theme of the weekend? (My post coming tomorrow) Way to push through two days in a row and make it AWESOME! You rock!

  10. Congrats on another great finish! Sub-2 is soooo close! AND you ran on tired legs :)

  11. You seriously look great!! I am impressed with your back to back races! :)

  12. Well you know you can go for a sub-2 next time! It looks like you had a great time. I generally avoid any race that has "challenge" in the title :)

  13. Woohoo! That's amazing! I am so excited for you. You will most definitely CRUSH the sub-2!

  14. CONGRATS on an awesome finish time! You and I are both going for sub-2.. we'll get it!

  15. Such a great job! Sub2 is right there! :-)

  16. Wow! Awesome time, Jamie! I can't believe you raced the day before, too... my legs would not have been moving too well. I'm glad you're happy with it- you should be!

  17. Wow to get so close to breaking 2 after your huge day before - i know you were busting your butt! Great work!

  18. Sub 2 is coming soon girl! You did great! I love all the fun pics:)

  19. Oh girl--you are so freaking close!!! I can't freaking wait to read your next recap because I KNOW it is coming! Still, you did amazing my friend!!

  20. Wonderful job Jamie (and Mike too)!