Sunday, April 26, 2015

Flower City Challenge... Accepted!

Sporting a look not many can pull off, it was all fun-and-games in the
early going at mile 5. (4/26/15)
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 38°F, 78% Humidity, Wind: From NNW @ 4 mph; feels like 38°F.
Route: Flower City Half Marathon
Time (Pace): 1:50.31 (8:26 min/mile)
Effort: 5 of 5

Pre-Race Observations: Roughly ten weeks ago, the day following Valentine's Day, I out together a plan to get myself in shape to run the Flower City Challenge Half Marathon. I had previously run a race of that distance (albeit many moons ago), but I had yet to have run this particular course (come to think of it, this race wasn't even around when I was running road races more regularly).

In preparation, I have run most sections of the course and just this past Friday evening, drove with my wife the part with which I was least familiar. The weather forecast for this morning's race is ideal and the aching I feel in my legs s nothing unusual and therefore something I can handle. In fact, the only thing that really makes me nervous is the fact that I am typing this for fear I'll jinx any good mojo I do have working this morning; "athletes," even recreational weekend-warriors are after all a superstitious lot.

Repping the indoor track team
I used to coach with a classic tee.
Post-race Reflections: The weather perfect and my effort was solid but I fell into a couple of pitfalls common to beginning runners. In the early going, during the first 5k (25:47/8:19), I was filled with confidence and the pace crept beyond what was wise. This meant that toward the end of the race (the last 5k was at 8:48) it caught up with me and as a result my focus was challenged. Despite this I did not stop, but rather took the pace down slightly, saving a little for an attempt at a kick. In the end, I was happy with my run which was almost 10 minutes faster than I had intended, and following which I felt pretty darn good.

I was extremely happy with the support I received from my wife (who met me at mile 5), the local track and field teams who manned the aid stations (each of which I took advantage of) and the volunteers who cheered for everyone participating and kept church traffic at bay. An unexpected added bonus was seeing a number of colleagues, students and former students out cheering and running. As with any endeavor, the value was in the experience and the lessons gleaned from having followed through. I learned (or rather was reminded of what I had forgotten in the four years since my last race of this distance) that will be of value when I sign up for another road race.

Full results for all participants in the Flower City Challenge Half marathon are available the good folks at Yellowjacket Racing here.

Only two blocks from home but... 8 more miles to go! (4/27/15)

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