I’m sure I’m a little biased as I am apart of the committee that helps to put this race on, but I always enjoy doing the Strider Glider in Lancaster, NY. First of all, it’s a unique distance. How many QUARTER marathons do you see out there? Not many. Second of all, our race supports a number of local groups, including donating a major part of proceeds to the Trinity Food Pantry and supplying scholarships to two cross country athletes. I love that not only do we work to put on a good race, but we also give back to the community, donating everything that we make. Plus we are a Buffalo Runner of the Year Race, or ROY race, which is a nice honor.
It seems like we’ve always had interesting weather for this race. However, this year the weather was spectacular. There was some sun and temperatures started off in the fifties, ideal weather for a race! I think this helped us bring out a decent crowd, with 200 finishers. We had a decent amount of preregistrations, with a fair amount of walk ups on race morning, which was my job race morning. We had a nice giveaway this year, as well. We always try to come up with something just a little different, and this year we did glasses with our three race mascots printed on separate ones. They were wrapped, so it was a surprise which monster you received. We also had some left to purchase, in case anyone wanted to complete their set, which a fair amount of people did.
The race starts at nine in Westwood Park in Lancaster. You then turn right out of the park and snake your way to the Heritage Bike Trail, where about a third of the race takes place, before returning to the park. We had a lot of volunteers manning the turns and there were a few fire departments helping us to close down the major roads, ensuring the safety of the runners and making sure everyone knew where to go. We then have a nice little after party, which had sliders, mac and cheese, and a variety of other snacks, as well as various beverages, including some home-brewed beer made specifically for the race. Race medals are given out for the top three in five year age groups, as well as trophies for overall female and male, as well as masters. We also do raffle tickets for a variety of prizes. Everyone always seems to have fun!
My Race Report
So I decided to run the race, even if it wasn’t necessarily the best idea. I asked my PT, and he said it wouldn’t be the worse thing. As the race got closer, I wasn’t quite sure how to pace. My Chicago Marathon training plan didn’t include a lot of speedwork, and my most recent short distant race was a 5k back in mid-August. Thus, I really debated what pace to shoot for. Not only was I unsure of what pace I could maintain for 6.55 miles, but I wasn’t quite sure of how my knee would respond to more aggressive running.
Of course I got caught up in the excitement of the gun going off and threw down a 7:28 first mile. I realized that probably wasn’t smart, nor was it the easy running that my PT was recommending. So I held back, albeit not totally successfully and clocked a 7:59 second mile. This had me a bit anxious as my pace in my last 5k, an admittedly poor race, was 8:10. With 4.55 miles to go, it was probably smarter for me to hit a more conservative pace. Plus, I was still nervous about my knee, which hurt a bit in the first quarter mile or so, but had eased up as I got moving.
I decided to shoot for 8:20 pace for the next two miles, and achieved an 8:18 and an 8:19. I knew I was probably still going too fast for my knee and was a little torn. I told myself I would do 9:00 for the last two miles, but that vow didn’t last long. I soon noticed that I was going back and forth with a runner in my age group. At times she was leading, then I’d lead for a bit. I slowly began to pick up the pace, thinking about how I really would like to earn a medal. I’m a tad bit competitive, okay very competitive, and I really love the medals from this race, so I started to creep up a bit. I realized that this girl is someone I’ve raced during the summer, just beating her in one race by less than a second, and her beating me in another race by only a few seconds. It might make me sound like an awful person, but this thought fueled my surge at mile 5.5. I was afraid if I let her stay in front of me, that I would place fourth, just out of the medals. So I began to kick way too early, really paying for it in the last quarter of a mile. On my last turn I looked back and saw that she had fallen pretty far back, but that there was another girl coming and I really took off. My last two full miles were 8:33 and 8:16, with my final .6 clocking in at 7:36 pace.
This race was really exciting for me for a couple of reasons. I was really happy when I found I actually placed first in the race for my age group. I was just hoping to place! But this race also was kind of a mental break through for me. I’d say for over a year I have had issues with keeping positive during races. I’ll begin to doubt my ability to hold paces or be able to push at the end, leading me to slow down and get angry with myself after the races. I was really excited that I held the paces that I was shooting for, even with little speed training, and I was especially happy that I was able to pick up the pace and work on trying to pass people, rather than doubting and giving up a bit mentally at the end of the race. This was a great confidence boost after a string of rough races this summer, and I’m hoping that it continues on.
My knee has been kind of cranky since the race. I iced it as soon as I was done, but it was a little sore that night. The next day it wasn’t too bad, until I got kicked right in the knee while sitting at the Buffalo Bills game. That didn’t really help. I’ll stick to some treadmill runs and keep doing my PT so it will hopefully improve. I’m looking forward to some more successful races in my training, leading up to the Disney Marathon in January.