Flower City Challenge Half Marathon Race Report
Before I get into the nitty gritty, let’s take a look back in time. This was the 3rd Flower City Challenge, which is my favorite race outside of any trails that we run.
In 2010 we ran the flower city challenge half marathon (the inaugural )
I ran a 2:06:17 (240 lbs)
Shme ran her first half marathon in 2:36:31
in 2011 we ran it again
I had more success… but slowed at the end for a 1:56:43 (225 lbs)
Shme ran her second half with a huge 10 minute PR for a 2:25:01
Sunday we ran it for the third time.
I ran it in 1:43:28 coming in at 212 lbs. (this is about a 12 minute pr)
Sheila was 2:05:16 (how does a 20 minute PR sound?)
Fist things first. Losing weight has helped… Second, training my butt off has helped. There is no substitute for running hard. Improvements like this don’t happen on their own, so I am very proud of my accomplishment.
So now lets get down to standard race report.. otherwise known as the nitty gritty.
What: The 3rd annual Flower City Challenge. The premier endurance weekend in this part of the country. A triathalon, a duathalon, a 5k, and a half marathon.. Check it out, and join us next year! Trust me when I say that this event is well run, well attended and super fun.
The Weather: 30 degrees at the start 45 at the finish. The sun was bright and not a cloud in the sky! There was a slight breeze that was cool at the start, and “cooling” at the finish. I was content with the temps but would not have been against 40 at the start 50 at the finish. It was chilly for the first mile. I second guessed what I wanted to wear about 10 times… I ended up with a long sleeve compression shirt and a sleeveless t-shirt over top.
Overall time: 1:43:28
Overall: 348 out of 2,252
Age Group: 41 out of 151
Elevation numbers: The course is a net gain, but there seems to be no point on the gps that would classify as “flat”.
Mile 1: 7:43 Quick and light off the bat. I wanted to hold back a bit, but also had goals to meet so off and running we went. Lots of bobbing and weaving through the crowd. I say this at every race, but I REALLY do not get why people who either A. Cannot run a certain pace or B. Are not trying to run a certain pace line up way up front. This race is organized with giant yellow pace signs. Why do people insist on lining up outside of the pace they intend to or are capable of running? Rant over.
Mile 2: 7:32 – Same thing, we were able to get a little space here as the people who were running 7:30 to 7:40 splits stayed consistent as other dropped off.
Mile 3: 7:30 – Cruising along. No complaints, no issues, enjoying the sunshine. I also was taking fluids early and often as I have realized in the past, not doing so limited me at the end.
Mile 4: 7:33 Check mile 3, because mile 4 was a repeat. I felt great here.
Mile 5: 7:45 Made the turn off east, headed towards park ave.
Mile 6: 7:42 – Made the turn onto goodman here, enjoyed running by all the shops of Park Ave (saw Barb from Fleet Feet taking pictures here.) She should double dip and work with the sports photography people. She takes great photos… See how much fun I am still having!
10k split (a new PR) was a 49:20—- now 47:19 – I am thinking I could drop around a 45:00 right now in a 10k specific race, maybe a bit quicker.
Mile 7: 8:01 This was after the big uphill on goodman and pinetum, you can see it on the course elevation chart. It hits ya pretty hard here.
Mile 8: 7:57 Recovery mile after the hills and into the cemetery we go (which included more climbs) over cobblestone road work. My feet were hurting on this in the Hattori.. not much cushion.
Mile 9: 7:38 Back on track with my 7:40 pace goal, just cruising through the cemetery.
Mile 10: 7:50 I finally started to feel it here. My achilles and calves were getting lit up from all those hills. Mentally this is where I had my first blip. I started to think I couldn’t do it. This is also where I noticed even Jen, who never struggles wasn’t as chatty… so maybe it wasn’t just me?? (Jen? thoughts?)?
Mile 11: 7:42 Out of the cemetery – along the river we go, and into full sunshine. Not enough leaves on the trees yet, and for some reason the breeze was not as strong here as it had been everywhere else. I started to get a little too warm in my compression shirt and wished I had a tshirt on instead.
Mile 12: 7:56 – Pain… Not in my lungs as much as in my hip flexors and lower legs. I felt it a lot here.
BTW…Was the sun messing with my mind and memory here?? Where was the water stop just before the bridge??? I swear they had one just before the Ford street bridge the last two years. I was mentally ready for it… at least there were good cheering peeps here, but I wanted water… alas.
Mile 13: 8:14 - I sort of fell apart here. I wanted so bad to have all my miles under 8 (which I thought I had stupid mile 7), but I just couldn’t. I wanted it, but my legs were shot. I’ll explain why later… but they were SHOT. The good news is “falling apart” is now just above an 8 minute pace. I put it back together on the back half of this mile, which was also a good sign.
.1 (.27 on my GPS dang tangents, bobbing and weaving.) whatever is left, I messed up the GPS here, but I ran it just fine. I knew a huge PR was in store. I took in the crowd, I was giving high fives with the crowd, and I in general enjoyed my finish! I was really able to take it all in.
Lets talk about this PR ok? I planned on a 1:40:00 but never really expected to nail the race like I did. In October I ran the Corning Half Marathon in 1:55:01 in 6 months I was able to take 12 minutes off that time. When I finally started to work hard. Things finally started to click for me. I have put in a lot of work, and now I get to enjoy the benefits. Ahhh it feels good.
Location – There is no better pre race facility anywhere I have been before. The city opens up the Blue Cross Arena which can hold upwards of 12,000 sports fans. The bonus to this of course is tons of facility. bathrooms galore. Seating galore. Stay out of the weather roof over your head heat galore. This is the way to start a race! Love it. (plus post race food is inside out of the weather).
Course. This course is a challenge, there is no way around that. There really aren’t many flat spots. Go ahead and look at the elevation chart. It winds through the best that the city has to offer though, so it’s worth it. Downtown, park ave shops, highland park (which by the way had the best crowd support along the course). A famous cemetery with Susan B Anthony and Frederick Douglas. The River path, and back to the arena for post race celebrations!
This is my favorite non-trail event as I have stated. I love it. Please, really consider joining us next year.
Low Points: I fell in love with the Saucony Hattori the minute I put them on my feet. The problem is, I did not put a lot miles on them before the race. A zero drop shoe will rip up your lower legs until you build up the muscles.
I was not totally ready. I felt great until about mile 9 or 10, and then the fact that my legs were getting used so much… well it started to wear me out. I fought through it, but I didn’t run the last 2 miles the way I wanted to. My heart and lungs were ready, but my lower legs were not. I know what to fix now, and that should save me at least 1 minute just on the fix alone.
The last mile was slow. I can do better. I will next time. Time for me to be the one cruising past people in mile 1.
Thoughts moving forward:
I am thrilled with this race, and at the same time ready for more. I had a goal of 1:40:00, I didn’t reach my goal. So how can I? It’s time for more hard work. It’s time to get in to the 1:30s. I don’t care if it is 1:39:59, but the next time I run a half marathon, it will be in less than 1 hour and 40 minutes. I have a lot of trail running to do, and a lot of hard tempo and intervals to do as well. I am ready to keep on keepin on. Are you?