Lockport 10: first “race” since the marathon

It’s been about a month now since the marathon and I’ve been itching to toe the start line again. My hip, knee, and Achilles have been somewhat sore since the full, so my PT was hesitant about letting me get back out there, especially with the way weather has been lately. I finally got the green light and signed up for the Lockport 10, known as WNY’s toughest road race.

Photo Credit: Sarah Anderson

I really didn’t know what to expect. People kept talking about how hilly it was, especially at the end. It ended up being about 17 degrees, 17-20 mph winds, and a real feel of about 3 around start time, not overly ideal conditions, but I guess it was actually good weather compared to previous years. I decided I wasn’t going to race this one full out since I haven’t done hills in a long time and they tend to annoy my hip and knee, which made me a little more relaxed before the race than I normally am. It was nice to go in with no internal pressure to achieve a certain goal.

Photo Credit: Diane Sardes

Anyways, I convinced a friend to sign up for the 5 mile race, and we were on the road to Lockport around 8:30 am. It was nice that it was a 10:00 am start. It gave us time in the morning instead of rushing around. We arrived in Lockport a little after 9, found ample of parking, and headed into the Historic Palace Theater for packet pick up.  This was a gorgeous old fashioned theater, and it provided a great place to pick up your stuff, and people were keeping their stuff in the auditorium part of the theater, so it was nice to not have to keep running back and forth to the car.  There were some bathrooms inside the theater, as well as some portapotties outside, so there never seemed to be too much of a line prerace, which is good for my jittery nerves and inclination to run to the restroom several times before the start of the race.  The five milers took a bus to their starting line, leaving at 9:45, and I made my way to the start line shortly after.

Photo Credit: Sarah Anderson

During registration you had the option of buying a race shirt or not, which was nice.  It was $20 for the five mile race and $25 for the ten without shirts.  I registered only a few days before the race, so I didn’t have the option for a shirt, which disappointed me a bit.  I know I have a million race shirts, but I like to have one for the longer races or bigger ones that I do.  Luckily, I commented on a volunteer’s shirt and she told me that they had some left, so I was able to buy a hoodie there!  They are now selling them online, but I was very happy to get a nice and soft hoodie and I loved the design of them.

The race itself was great.  I love downhill aspects of races and I had plenty of descents to fly through in the first half of the race.  I threw a 6:48 and 7:11 first two miles.  I laughed at myself and was able to rein in the pace for mile three, but there was another decline in mile four and I hit another sub 7:00 mile with a 6:55.  I knew I needed to slow down since I wasn’t supposed to be racing and I know the second half of the course had some up hills and would be into the wind, so I made a conscious effort on the next two miles with a 7:29 and 7:36.  I was glad I got through the five mile starting area before they started, and shortly after that you made a turn that took you into the wind for the first time.  During the first half of the race I had felt like I had overdressed, but now I zipped my windbreaker up a bit more.  I slowed more, hitting a 7:52 on the next mile, and decided to take it easy, unsure of just how bad the end of the race would be.  I did an 8:03 and 8:05, feeling like I was taking it super easy and being on the look out for the end.  It started lightly snowing sometime at this point, which was really pretty, but I was thankful it wasn’t too hard because with the wind, it would have been whipping around like crazy.

The big hill ended up being later in the race than I had anticipated.  There was an overpass in the last mile or so, but it wasn’t until after you passed mile 9 that you began the steep climb that would take you all of the way to the finish.  It was definitely a make your thighs burn incline that seemed to go on forever.  I had been warned that I would think it was done, but there was more beyond a slight curve in the road, so I was glad I was mentally prepared for that.  Once I hit this point I was also happy I wasn’t racing hard, so I took the hill at a solid, but not excruciating, pace and just kept waiting for it to be done.  I knew we were close to the finish so I kept hoping to hit a flat before we were done, which pretty much didn’t happen.  I crossed the finish line in 1:16:32, a pace that I was pretty happy with considering I definitely held back in the later miles.  I was informed by a friend shortly after I crossed that I was the fourth overall female, which was pretty cool since I really had no idea how I had been doing against the field since I didn’t really have a goal.  I later checked the results and found out I was second in my age group and the girl who was first was far enough out in front of me that I don’t think I could have passed her even if I was racing, so I happily accepted my award, a cute little usher flashlight that went along with the theater aspect of the race.  My friend ended up being third overall female in the five mile race and won her age group, so we were very excited to celebrate together.

Photo Credit: Darell McKenrick

The after party was fun.  I didn’t drink because I can’t usually stomach a lot after a longer run or race, but they had beer from New York Beer Project, a great local brewery.  It ran out after awhile, but they had back up Labatt to serve to people.  There was also pizza, a chili contest, bananas, and little containers of Lake Effect ice cream.  I snagged a Loganberry one which was perfect for my stomach at the time.  They had a band playing before they started awards and everyone seemed to have a great time.  This is definitely a race I would consider doing again in the future!

It was a really good confidence builder for me.  I haven’t been running outside a ton lately due to the weather.  I don’t like cold and it has spent a lot of time in the 20’s lately, but I REALLY don’t like ice, so on snowy or icy days I’ve been hitting up the dreadmill.  Next weekend I get to go down to Tampa for Gaspirilla.  I’m doing the 15k and half, and it’s going to be at least 40 degrees warmer than the run I did today, but I’m definitely looking forward to not having to wear a million pieces of clothing in hopes to stay even a little bit warm.