For four years Yellow Jacket Racing has held the Flower City Challenge. They’ve done an incredible job every single year. I’ve participated in the half marathon event every time and plan to do so as long as I can. This year went well…relatively speaking…
As I posted in my race report for Boston 2013 I’m not currently in peak condition. Couple being slightly out of shape with running a marathon two weeks prior and you have a recipe for disappointment. Rather than face disappointment I had realistic expectations. I figured that I was capable of a 1:35. I still wanted to break 1:30 but I wouldn’t let myself be disappointed if I didn’t achieve that.
This race is wonderful is so many ways. It’s easy to get to with a lot of parking. There is indoor plumbing and shelter (though we certainly didn’t need the shelter this year)! I was able to sleep in my own bed and had no stress about getting to the race start on time.
On the morning of my girlfriend and I packed up the car and headed out. Except for a very minor backup of cars getting into a parking garage there were no worries! My girlfriend planned to pace our friend Jamie. The only mistake we made was not setting up a meeting place prior to race start. We were nervous that we might not find them before the race. Luckily we did find them with a few minutes to spare.
I would love to say that I took it easy and didn’t race but that’s not the truth. I raced this from the start. I didn’t warm up, which would have made a positive impact, but I did put forth race effort. The crowd of people in my pace range was very large this year, I suspect because it was a half marathon championship race with decent prize money involved. I’m not saying I would be eligible for that stuff but it does influence the field and I do see more people around me at races when that happens.
I felt good and was able to handle the hills relatively well. I slowed down on the hills, as I always do. I like to keep a constant effort. This means that people usually pass me uphill and I pass them downhill.
Towards the later stages of the race I was able to pass a number of people but I too was passed. Normally not that many people pass me — oh well! As I finished the race I was able to give all of the kids a high five — Cassie, Charlie, and Bella!
When I was waiting for friends and family to finish the race a fellow runner approached me to shake my hand. He told me that it was his first half marathon and, in fact, the longest he’d ever run with 10km being his previous longest race. He said he ran near me for most of the race and that I pulled him along. It made me feel very good that I was able to assist another runner. I could see by the look on his face that he was thrilled with racing the distance. He did better than he expected. He’s young. I expect to see him placing at local races a lot in the future. Thankfully I believe he is in a different age group! 😉
I love running and I especially love racing. 1:30:22 was my official time and my slowest Flower City but I wasn’t even slightly disappointed. In fact I was thrilled. It was a great day. I can’t wait for next year.