As a teacher, June is always a hectic month as we approach the end of the school year. I added to the chaos by doing a fair number of races, more than I would normally do. I also faced mileage cutbacks, running about half of what I normally would, which were imposed by my PT to see if we can get my fibular/knee to calm down a bit, so that was a little bit of an adjustment for me as well.
First up was a race in Alden. I was running a half marathon two days later and it was only five days after my Buffalo Half PR race, so I took it easy. It took some mental restraint because during the race I really thought I could go for it, but I made myself hold back. I ended up first in age group, which was still nice.
Niagara Falls Women’s Half
The next morning I coached my school’s track team and then booked it to Niagara Falls with one of my running besties. We arrived at the expo for the Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon, which gives a ton of swag. It is an extremely small expo, with only one vendor, but it was cool because Katherine Switzer was there signing autographs and taking pictures. She’s truly a very nice woman and showed genuine interest in each person she spoke to. It was neat. After the expo we headed to our little no name motel that we stayed overnight in, got some pasta dinner, and then walked down to Niagara Falls. Then we came back and crashed early.
The race itself had its ups and downs. You had to pay for parking, but there was plenty and it was pretty stress free. There were a decent amount of portapotties at the start, which were super clean and had flowers in them. There were women walking around with various products that women might need prior to the race. The start line was pretty cool as a drum/dance group performed. There was some talking and then off we went.
The first four miles were pretty good. You run to the Falls, turn around, and pass them again. There was an awesomely refreshing mist coming off the water that felt amazing and there was some downhill time, so I got moving pretty fast. It was getting warm already, though, and the humidity was creeping up as you approached where the 5k went to the finish line and the half marathon continued.
The next out and back was more boring. You run along the river, however you can’t always see it and the crowd support in this area was sparse. There was also very few water stops, I believe you went from mile 7-10 without any water. In an out and back, it wouldn’t have been hard to add one more stop, which would essentially be two chances. As it was becoming warm, it would have been much appreciated. This was the area that really started to get to me. Without any distractions, I started getting in my head too much.
The finish was pretty nice, with the announcer calling people in, and I was pretty happy to be pretty close to my half PR from a week before. I crossed the finish line and Katherine Switzer was the one to give me my medal, which was also a pretty neat experience. I was mildly disappointed with the lack of after party. I sat and recovered for a few minutes before heading back out to run in with my friend, but it was kind of boring and lacked the excitement I was expecting. After my friend finished in epic style, sprinting triumphantly to the end, we grabbed some food, took some post race photos, and just kind of left. It was missing the fanfare and celebration aspect that a lot of half marathons have.
The rest of June consisted of a lot of 5k races crammed in, with decreased training mileage. I only waited five days after Niagara Falls to race again. I did the Mount Mercy Academy 5k, being thrilled to run a 21:48 on a warm evening. I ended up winning my age group at that race, and it was a good confidence builder with a great after party. I highly recommend this race. Then, a few days later, I ran the Corporate Challenge, struggling in the race, but coming in as the top finisher for my school. Three days after that I ran an extremely hot race, Father Baker Father’s Day 5k, and ended up winning first overall female. This was a nice little race in Lackawanna, my first time ever doing it, but I would definitely do it again. It was a multi-loop course around the Botanical Gardens and had a great downhill finish.
Four days later I ran the Black and Gold 5k, coming in as second overall female and first age group. What made me the most excited is that I won two Bath and Body Works raffle baskets! I never win things, so to me this was super exciting.
I took a two day break and then ran the Bills 50 Yard Finish 5k. My PT wasn’t overly thrilled that I wanted to do this race, but I was super excited. Who doesn’t want to finish a race on the 50 yard line of their favorite football team? It’s a tough course, very hilly, and I was really hoping to pull off an age group placing. There was a finishers medal, which was cool, but I would totally geek out if I actually placed. I ran hard, pleased with a 22:06 on those hills, and was ninth overall female and pulled off third in my age group! I got a super cool football, which I was able to get some former Bills players to sign. I was so happy that day.
The very next day I ran another 5k, Run Jimmy Run, and my legs were dead. I don’t know how people to do 100+ races in a year. It was rainy and gross out, though it cleared up for the start of the race. Usually this race is great because you run around Buffalo, finishing at the Bison’s stadium. You get a nice little buffet style lunch, and then tickets to the game. This year was messed up a bit due to the weather. Even though it dried up for the race, the rain didn’t go far, and they waited about an hour after the posted start time for the game to finally call the game. As far as the race, I just didn’t have it in me. I started off ok, but slowly fell apart. I backed off and still came in third overall female and first age group, but I wasn’t thrilled with my performance, particularly how I fell apart mentally. Three days later I ran the Loughran’s Alumni Run, snagging another sub 22 5k, but
Next up was the Seneca Hickory Stick 5k. This was on my last day of school, so it was a nice way to kick off summer vacation. I decided to race last minute, so the hubs and I rode out with two of our friends. One did the race with me, while her husband hit some golf balls with my husband. It was hot, near 90 at the start. I went in with the plan that I wasn’t going to go all out. I wanted to start strong, and then pace from there. At about 1.5 miles there was a turn in the course, where I could see who was behind me, and I realized there wasn’t another girl near me. I slowed a little bit at that point as the temps were getting to me a bit, and slowed even more after another turn closer to the finish indicated that I was still holding on to my lead. I ran a 22:27, winning first overall female, and earning a cool hand crafted beer caddy. My husband was pretty happy with that because it was stocked with some craft beer, and as I am not really a huge beer drinker, he would get them.