The Buffalo Marathon
I flew into Buffalo early the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend. It was projected to be an unseasonably warm weekend there – with temps the high 80s. I was bummed about my race…but at least I had a better reason than a marathon for heading to Buffalo. It was my first time meeting my newest niece…and the last time I saw my older niece, she was just starting to crawl and definitely wasnt talking.
What a difference a year makes!!!
Big sisters on the left, little sisters on the right. No one is ever gonna believe that little girl is a quarter Chinese!
My Brother-in-law had been traveling for the 2 weeks leading up to my arrival, so my sister kindly told him he was watching the girls while she and I went wine tasting in Ontario, which actually has a ton of wineries. I ran my first marathon partly on the winery lined Niagara-on-the-Lake greenway…so me and this area are tight 🙂
In case you were wondering….true story
BUT I did see:
No caption necessary
Lake Ontario…and if my phone camera was better you’d see the Toronto Skyline (Hi Toronto Loopsters!!)
And Niagara Falls, which is so much prettier on the Canadian Side
Saturday before the race I did a shake out run. It was hot and humid, even by an NC girl’s standards, and I was doubting my ability to do a marathon the following day. I dont run well in the heat. Luckily my sister’s neighbors are psychic…and had sprinklers set out on the sidewalk for me.
Sister’s hood kinda reminds me of the one in Edward Scissorhands
After 4 miles I was a soggy, exhausted mess. While I knew Madison was already canceled and Med City would likely be way hotter than Buffalo, I was still having a mini pity party on the temps.
My eldest niece was supposed to run the kid’s dash. Unfortunately nap time overlapped with get-downtown-and register time so I picked up my bib solo. Luckily parking was easy and the expo was small enough to ignore. I was back at my sister’s house in time to lay in the shade with my mini.
Babysitting that night wasnt too bad, but I have no idea how you running parents do it. Putting a 2 year old to bed and getting her to sleep when she wants to play is hard work!
Older niece was very helpful as long as I wasn’t trying to get her to go to sleep
Younger niece sleeps like a champ!
The next morning I was up before the kids so I sneaked out (without breaking anything – I’m a much better house guest than Mr Bacon) and easily slid into a parking spot near the start. It was noticeably cooler than the previous morning, which made me happy.
Picutre of the intersetion + Google maps means I didnt lose my sister’s car!
I made it to the designated Loop Lurker meet up spot at exactly the planned meet up time. Unfortunately, as I waited the port-a-potty lines filled up and I got nervous…so I abandoned meet up plans in favor of taking care of business. I know you all would understand. Luckily a lurker (we will call her L) spotted me coming out of the port-a-potty!
How awesome! L was running the half and her dad was there to run the full. I’m so jealous of running families! We chatted a bit before getting into the corrals. My original plan we at stay with the 4:40 pacers, but I had a hard time finding them. Usually pacers have sticks with the pace held high and I saw no signs. I got as close as possible to where I thought they should be…and finally spotted a hand holding a sign about 30ft ahead of me. There were way too many people to cut across so I just hoped I’d catch up to them.
I have to say, the maniacs singlet was a close #2 to the overcast day in saving my race. I made so many friends and I never felt alone, despite Buffalo being a small race. As soon as I started, I hooked up with a man wearing a 50 State jersey and ran the first 2 miles with him. L and her dad caught up and we chatted some more, before they decided to speed up so L could PR her half. A guy overheard our conversation about my pace plans, and asked to run together. I dont remember his name but you know marathon buddies are the best. We ran the together until mile 12.
Crowded first half, but people did a good job in the corrals..it didnt feel as congested as it looks.
The first half was really uneventful except for one “Holy Cow it’s a small world” experience. With multiple out and backs we kept seeing the same runners. It was sort of like Philly expect cheers were exchanged between Maniacs instead of Loopsters…and I kept seeing a guy who looked familiar. Remember the guy from the 50k I did in April who was signing 80s hair band music in the woods? Yep!! I caught up to him around mile 10 and asked if he did that race. He remembered me and we talked about how we both got lost at that race. Then he asked if I had an extra gel because he didnt have any. Now that’s an insane maniac! I had brought 4, but know I can get by on 3 so of course I gave him one, wished him luck and pushed ahead.
You can see my Capitals buddy not too far behind me
Around mile 12 my buddy said he needed to slow so I pushed on alone. After the half split, I saw L again cheering and asked if she made her goal (she did! I think she needs to blog about it!). The second half was MUCH prettier than the first. We ran up tree-lined residential streets. People were out with hoses and offering watermelon. I picked up maniac running buddies and life was perfect.
Smiling at mile 18 through Delaware Park
I still felt good at the 20 mile mark. It warmed up to the high 70s/low 80s…but without direct sun it didnt feel more than slightly uncomfortable. It def started slowing me down in the final 10k but I seemed to be fairing better than the friends I made, considering I was always the one pushing ahead. I had my eye on a guy in a WWF (Panda, not Hulk Hogan) for most of the final miles, which made me think of MK and her huge heart….and I hoped she, Tracer, and Stumanji were having as much luck as me with the weather.
Follow the Panda!
Glorious mile 25 featured a beer stop manned by half finishers. As I ran by them, I declined the beer (I know….who am I?) but they called me out on the maniac status and I gave into the pressure. It was cold, delicious liquid gold. It really hit the spot and comined with a downhill final mile made for a strong finish. I totally chicked the WWF guy in the final stretch. Official time – 4:45:46
Flying Bangle finish pic…better than a PR!
Finish line had ice baths and misting stations with fans
Shortly after crossing the finish, the sun came out. I’m such a lucky duck.
Finishin chute, a few min after I crossed…notice the lack of sun
Walking to the car….we call this a win!
It got into the high 80s later that afternoon. Thank goodness I was done! Post race activities included drinking a beer by the pool with a babe in a bikini.
Overall I’m happy with this race, even though I didnt meet my goal or and didnt PR. I felt decent and happy the whole time. The results were done by a company who seems to do a lot of triathlons, so they ranked the splits…you can see how consistent I was and that even though I slowed in the final 7.6, it seemed a lot of people had death march finishes
10k – 1:07:09 (64th in AG)
20k – 1:07:15 (65)
30k – 1:07:51 (52)
7.6 – 1:23:31 (47)
I’m fairly confident that if it had been 30-40 degrees cooler it would have been a totally different race. I also could have had a better race if I actually trained! So, I’m going back on a training plan starting July 1. I have an ambitious fall and I need to be well trained if I expect to live through RnR Savannah/City of Oaks double and the Rocky Raccoon 50M.
Next up – Afton 50k with Zam and MK!
PS – looks like I rubbed off on the family. They did a family fun run after I left. Everyone got a bib!!