I ran the half marathon at the Buffalo Marathon on the 25th of May.
This was my longest run in over 11 months. Graduate school had kept me quite busy to spend time on long runs. However, I resumed my training soon after the semester got over and was ready for the half marathon at Buffalo.
I went to the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center on the previous day to get the race packet which had my Race BIB and my T-shirt. This place was just beside the finishing line of the next day’s race.I also bought a headband from Bondi band which read ‘Not Fast, Meant to Last’. 😀
I registered for the Niagara Falls International Marathon (happening on the 25th of October) at their stall and also received a 10$ discount that was given to all Buffalo Marathon participants. This was for the full marathon distance, which would be my first ever 20+ mile race. Looking forward to it.
Once done with the packet pick up , I spent some time at the Erie Harbor Canal before going for the pre-race pasta dinner! Headed back home after a sufficiently satisfying dinner, planned and selected the best public transport options for the next day morning and had a nice and sound sleep.
On the race day, surprisingly I woke up before my alarm rang! Did some quick warm up, drank a banana smoothie and headed to the University Station to catch my bus to Downtown Buffalo. The whole area was heavily crowded unlike any of the other races I’ve participated or seen back in India. Hundreds of family members had come to cheer for the one participating in the race. All through the race, there were enthusiastic kids and family members showing amazing support for the runners. They also had about a 100 portable restrooms (also called Port-A-Potties) at the starting line and a couple of them every 2 miles.
Back in Chennai and Pondicherry where I had run my previous half marathons, the marathons started quite early in the day (around 5am/5:30am) probably due to the scorching sun that comes up quite early. Unlike those runs, this run started at 7am.
I wore my Chennai Marathon T-Shirt for the run. The Chennai Runners group was the one which prompted me to start running and their tagline, “Do More, Start Running” inspires me a lot.
I started off the run at a pretty steady pace and did not take a walking break for close to 4 miles, then occasionally started slowing down to a brisk walking/jogging pace every one mile. I maintained my pace much below 10 min/mile for the first 10 miles. I had considerably slowed down in the last 3 miles of the race occasionally going much slower than 10min/mile. These miles were the ones I hated. I had the “So close, yet so far” feeling. Few of the other participants who were running beside me, kept pushing me.
Even though just by a couple of minutes, I did get my personal best timing for a half marathon this time with 2:09:23, the previous one being my first half marathon at The Wipro Chennai Marathon in 2012 with a time of 2:12:29.
The weather was pleasant throughout and the race course passed through a number of Buffalo highlights such as the Erie Harbor Canal, Canalside Buffalo, First Niagara Center and many more.
After completing the run, I collected my finisher medal, posed for the finisher photo and then spent a few minutes wrapped up in the heat sheet that was being given to the runners at the finishing line. Then I quickly did some cool down by stretching my muscles before heading for the post-race party and devouring on the food given there.
I am looking forward to the full marathon at Niagara Falls International Marathon, which starts in the USA, passes through the wonderful Niagara Falls and ends in Canada. I have started training for the same and have completed close to 75 miles of running in the month of July.