The Buffalo Creek Half Marathon is one of my favorite races. Yes, I have only done it one other time but the scenery is beautiful, the course is easy and the race organizers are wonderful.
The race was on Saturday, October 18th and started at 9am. The temp was around 50 with dark, rain clouds looming above. There was a cold breeze and everyone was just ready to get moving. I met up with a few other ladies and we huddled together to stay warm until the start.
I had to keep reminding myself that I could not start off too fast because that is what everyone does and it will only hurt me in the end if I start too quickly. This is a long run and I needed to conserve energy.
As I was running, I was keeping up with the girls I was huddled up with but I very quickly realized that they were running faster than what I had planned for so I slowed my pace. I ended up right next to a friend and so I started to run with her pack. They had the same exact pace plan as I did and so we ran.
I was feeling good and keeping up. I was listening to music in one ear and holding up conversation with them. It's funny some of the things we talked about while running. The same sorts of things you talk about while you are sitting around at a friend's house.......the best bras, boob sizes, clothing, drinking, etc. It was like an active gathering to chat.
The course is on a trail through the woods. The trail was previously a railway that was converted to a bike/walk/run trail. There are trailheads that intersect with roads and at those points, spectators are welcome to park and watch the runners. As we were coming up to a trailhead, I saw my parents. My dad was there, ready with his camera and my mom (she's a high energy nut) was jumping up and down, waving her arms, yelling "I love you! Great job! My baby!" My dad captured this picture of us at that time......
That was, I believe around mile 8-9. We continued on and I was starting to get tired and my legs were feeling heavy. My breathing wasn't where it needed to be. My body was starting to hate me. I trained for this but maybe, it just still wasn't enough. I started to lag behind a bit from the girls. As the mile went on, I fell farther behind. I didn't expect them to wait for me or slow down for me, this was just as much their race as it was mine so they continued on as I slowed.
I was feeling terrible about what was happening and I questioned myself a few times about whether I could catch up and push myself to stay with them. The distance was too far and I knew that even if I could catch up, I wouldn't be able to keep up. So, I began running alone. It is so lonely to run alone when you are 10 miles into a half marathon. Mile 10-11 was tough....the toughest. I had the same experience last year at this point. My legs were heavy and wanting to give up. That was not an option.
I pushed ahead and was even able to smile for a picture as I passed a photographer:
This is a major improvement from last year's picture at this point, last year, I was looking like I may just die so I made sure to smile and give a thumb's up! When you get to this point, you start to do a countdown. You know that you have less than 3 miles to go and you can do it. The end is closer than the beginning and you feel a bit better.
The last few miles were still tough but I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was nearing the end and as I came across the bridge to snake to the finish line, my dad caught this picture of me:
Next up on the running schedule:
Pittsburgh area MRTT Donut Run
EQT 10 Miler