Buffalo Half Marathon Race Recap

31 May

On May 27th I ran the Buffalo Half Marathon.

I got into Buffalo, New York around noon with my friends Day and Bruno.  We were about to do early check-in to our hotel (score!) so we dropped everything off and walked over to the Expo.

Side note: our hotel was SUPER conveniently located. It was the host hotel: the Hyatt Regency. The convention center for the expo was only about a block away, and the start/finish for the race was there as well. I totally recommend this hotel for the awesome location.  The staff also dressed in “Good Luck Runners” t-shirts, and they provided bottled water in the lobby for us!

Anyhow, we walked the couple minutes to the convention center for the expo.

Buffalo Half (1)

^^ Obligatory Buffalo photo 😉

The expo was about medium sized in the realm of expos I’ve attended. It wasn’t too crowded and we were able to easily get our bibs and jackets, and check out all of the booths.

Buffalo Half (2)

Buffalo gives runners of the full and half marathon jackets instead of a tech shirt. This year they were a really nice lighter-weight material. I think it’ll be perfect for runs in the fall!

Buffalo Half (4)

After we picked up our jackets, I purchased some race dots, SaltStick caps and a 26.2 magnet (my current one is falling apart). We left the convention center and the finish line was right there, so obviously photos were necessary.

Buffalo Half (3)

We spent the rest of the afternoon grabbing lunch, running to a grocery store for a few things for the next morning, and eating an early dinner.

Of course I had to make a flat runner before heading to bed.

Buffalo Half (5)

The next morning I woke up at 5am, ate my cereal, got ready and we were out the door around 6am. We had a comfortable amount of time to walk to the corral (there’s just 1 corral with markers and pacers so that runners know where to line up) and get lined up in the right places.  Day and I said bye to Bruno (he’s crazy fast!!) and hung out for probably 10 minutes until the race started at 6:30.  The weather was in the mid-50s and partly cloudy so I wore capris, a tank top, and sunglasses.

Buffalo Half (6)

I had three goals going into this race. 1. Sub-2:30 (hopefully achievable), 2. PR – come below 2:24:36 which I ran last November (also hopefully achievable based on the paces I have been running). 3. Come in under 2:20 (this was my stretch goal if everything aligned and went perfect).

I knew that I had to run a 10:59 average to come in around 2:24, and if I ran a 10:40 average I would come in at 2:20, so I decided to aim to keep each mile under an 11 minute pace. This would hopefully also give me an average pace in the 10s as well, which would be my first time running below an 11 minute/mile for a half marathon.

Buffalo is touted as a flat and fast course, (the marathon course is a good BQ course too) so I knew that I could handle the course elevation no issues. I was ready to race.

The race started promptly at 6:30 and we quickly got to the start within a minute or two and were off. Day raced ahead to try to hit her PR goal, and I focused on staying on pace for the first half of the race and trying not to rush the first mile.

Miles 1-5 -10:41, 10:40, 10:33, 10:45, 11:04 – I felt really good for the first 5 miles. I hit the 5k mat in 33:24, which was great. There as some slight inclines, but nothing major. I just focused on staying on pace. I took my first gu in mile 5 so I came in a little slower but was not concerned.

Miles 6-10: 10:24, 10:28, 10:30, 10:57, 11:18 – I hit the 10k split in 1:06:56 and knew that if I kept it up I would PR no problem. But then mile 9 hit me. I started to feel sick to my stomach and dizzy. Around this point in the course we came out along the Lake Erie waterfront, and it was gorgeous, but the tree cover also disappeared so we were in the direct sun. I’m not sure what caused me to feel sick, but pushing my pace and being in the sun after a winter and spring of running under cloud cover and rain was really really tough. I kept trying to push as much as I could.  I forced myself to take another gu at mile 10 hoping that maybe it would help.  Around mile 9 my Garmin also started measuring a bit long, so my watch would buzz before I would see the mile markers on the course. So, I’m not totally sure of my splits from then on, and it was tough to not be as far along as I thought I was.

Miles 11-13: 11:24, 11:25, 11:59 – Around mile 10.5 we started on a tough out and back portion of the course. It was really hard mentally to get through that part of the race and I could not will my legs to run any faster, even though I knew my pace was suffering. It was pancake flat, but the sun was rough and I just really wanted to be done.  I started to doubt I could PR but saw the 2:25 pace group once I was on the “back” portion and knew I was still way ahead of them.

Mile 13.1 – (.2 on the Garmin) – 2:02 – 9:42 pace.

I ran the last .1/.2 of the race as quickly as I could, because I knew it was going to be close.

I crossed the finish in 2:24:11 Garmin time, 2:24:13 Official Time. A 23-second PR that I WILL TAKE. 🙂

Buffalo Half (7)

I was thrilled with the PR since the last 4 miles were such a struggle for me. I was more than thrilled to have an average pace of 10:55 too! 🙂

I met up with Day and Bruno who also kicked butt – they both PRed and Bruno won his age group!!

Buffalo Half (8)

PR smiles!!!

We had the shortest walk ever back to the hotel which was amazing.

I know that I have a faster half marathon in me, and I know I have a 2:20 half somewhere in there too. Buffalo made me work hard for what I did get, and I feel hopeful going into summer training that if I continue to work hard I will continue to bring down my half marathon time.

4 Responses to “Buffalo Half Marathon Race Recap”

  1. Patrice June 1, 2017 at 1:17 am #

    I love reading all about your races! You write really well, and I admire your dedication to running and your positive attitude! Congratulations on yet another half in the books👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👟👟

    • Becca June 1, 2017 at 10:17 am #

      Thanks Patrice!!! 🙂


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