Lake Effect Half Marathon (1:31)

You know this seemed like a great idea to do about 2 weeks ago when I got the notification that I had gotten into the actual race…but when it was snowing and windy all I wanted to do is bond with my personal heater and coffee.

Yes this is makeup from the night I didn't go out and drink so I can't type a post of how I raced hungover.
Yes this is makeup from the night before…no I didn’t go out and drink so I can’t type a post of how I raced hungover.

From when I left my house and during the 45 minute driving, during my warmup and to the front of the race…I wore my Russian headwarmer.  I think I’ll be notorious up here for it. The race itself was freezing (it’s on a lake and who knew Upstate NY is always cold…) but they gave out hand warmers at the start (let’s not even pretend I didn’t take about 10 of those!). I immediately started off in 3rd place for females…where I stayed…the whole time.  I thought maybe I had a chance to catch the second place girl but she kept creeping away since that is what faster runners do.

The course was out and back twice and being on the lake, it made for really windy one direction and not so much the other. It started to snow right at the start (not white out snow but coming down enough) but that is better than sleet, hail or rain at that temperature. My splits ranged from 6:19 to 7:14 depending on the way the wind was blowing.

Oh you know running...the wind is blowing my headwarmer off...
Oh you know running…the wind is blowing my headwarmer off…

During the race I mostly kept to myself, I was with a pack of different people but once we got to around mile 2, I basically stayed in the same position.  Thanking the poor volunteers that were working the race.  One said “You are at the front of the race, you aren’t supposed to talk to me”.  Yeah, they better get used to that.

My watch kept measuring every single mile short. The mile markers were at .9, so I though oh finally a short race…ain’t no one got time to run a full distance half marathon…then they added some weird loop at the very end. So 12 miles I read at 11.81 and I finished at 13.29…that was the worst experience of my life. I would not have minded a short race. (maybe I would have been under 1:30).


Other thoughts:

This was a good race for me.  It wasn’t great or amazing (and four minutes from my PR), but I’m sure I’ll get those comments that it was amazing.  It was still a good race for me.  I didn’t take any gels and that is something that I really would like to work more on.  I’ve been running 90 minutes almost every morning on nothing but water, but I’ve been running 10 miles not 13.

About a month and a half ago I ran the distance series 20k (12.4) at around a 7 minute pace on completely flat ground and no wind. (I also can count it as a top 5 worst race of mine) so this was a bit of confidence booster that I am inching towards PRing. Finally for your comical amusement I had to drive through a white out to get home.

I am getting the award for best Russian hat (Can you tell I'm obsessed with that thing?)
I am getting the award for best Russian hat (Can you tell I’m obsessed with that thing?)

So in short…I ran 10 miles the day beforehand, I have done no speed work and it was cold and windy.  I’m also still using one of the thousand hand warmers that apparently never go bad.  😉

Question for you:

Ever done a race in the snow? 

How about in long pants?  (This is only my second race ever in tights)

Have you ever been to upstate NY? 

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  1. Out and back courses are my favorite but the wind kills that a bit since its so hard to get an accurate pace setting. I think you are setting yourself up for a good Shamrock! Keeping my fingers crossed we won’t get “too” much wind. Inevitable though, right?

  2. I race non-important races in compression tights quite a bit if the weather is poor. We have free 5km “timed runs” all around the country here on Saturday mornings, and if I roll out of bed for one of those it’ll usually be in tights. I even raced a 10k in tights in May last year (though to be fair, it was freezing cold and pouring with rain, and I didn’t regret it one bit!). I think I am becoming more of a wimp the older i get though: until last year I think I’d only raced in tights once or twice, when it was snowing. I’ve raced in the snow a couple of times. The worst was an “unofficial” race when the British Universities got cancelled because of the snow, but about half the field decided to race anyway in protest because we’d travelled hundreds of miles before they cancelled it. That was pretty deep snow! Never really been to upstate,NY, just driven through.

  3. You are a beast. I love the headwarmer, I have something similar to that! You’re times still bust my butt no matter what!

  4. Oh upstate NY…cold and snow and everything that goes along with it. I know you were a few minutes from a PR, but you still ran a solid race. You set yourself up for a great year and the conditions you ran in were less than ideal. I did a 5k a few years ago where it was a white out the entire time, you were basically ice skating on the roads because they were so slick. Definitely not one of my finer races. Congrats on the placing, and on the amazing Russian Hat ( I can totally appreciate it!)

    1. I think without the wind I might have been able to go under 1:30 but it’s all good. That 5k just sounds miserable. Now that I’ve found the glory of handwarmers I think I can run outdoors more often. 😉

  5. I love how HAPPY and cute you look running! My race photos are always a hot hot mess.
    Last year I did a 10k sandwiched between two 4mile warmup/cooldowns in the snow. It was a long and COLD morning.

    You’ll get that PR. I’m itching for a sub 2 hour half this May.. slow, I know but it’s a goal and we all have to have them 🙂

  6. way to go, I also think it is pretty bomb that they gave out warmers at the start. I would have hoarded those like nobody’s business. I still wish I could run as speedy as you!

  7. You did awesome! (yep. I’m one of those people haha)
    I have never raced when it was snowing, but I have with rain. A light rain doesn’t bother me, but a downpour is a little rough.

  8. I want to run as fast as u! I spy ellie running tights, I got the same pair and wore them at the gym this morning and was pleasantly surprised at my lack of sweat marks that I thought I would have being that they are gray!

  9. Wow, those are crazy conditions :). I’ve done a few races in long pants- when I started running I wore those Adidas track pants for races because they were my only running pants (I live in the South) and I didn’t know any better. I have a pair of running pants now that I wear sometimes, but they’re technically capris on any normal sized person, hehe. You only need one pair down here because after you wear them, by the time you run again it’s already warm enough for shorts (unless you run outside, every day, and we have a cold front).

    May not be a PR but for the race itself, untapered, weather, etc it is great. At least it gives you a base if you want to train for a half this year.

  10. Total creeper comment but I ran this race too and I had the weirdest sense of “I know that girl but can’t figure out from where” for like, the first two times you ran by … then by the third, I was like, “oh man I think I know her from the Internet how embarassing” haha …. The wind was annoying, but it was a lot better than the conditions last year. Gotta love upstate winters 🙂

    1. AWE thanks Heather! Are you running any races? I wish I would have known (I literally hibrinated after the race and then left back for Oswego!). Are you doing anymore races anytime soon?

      1. I would’ve said hi post-race but I hibernated too, my hands were freezing once I stopped running! My next big-ish race is the shamrock marathon down in virginia beach. But locally, I’ll definitely be at the mountain goat, the skunk cabbage half down in Ithaca, and the boilermaker. I do a bunch of smaller races too once the weather gets better but I’m not sure which ones for this year yet. Maybe I’ll see you around at some point? I’m usually more social at races but when it’s windy and cold I just want to curl up in a ball in front of a space heater ASAP!

  11. Great job for those conditions and not doing any speed work! Too bad my race twin wasn’t me, I’m sure we will meet someday though! 🙂

    I have raced in snow, it’s not too bad except when the roads are covered and I have raced in my tights (I did this weekend but it was raining, not snowing).

  12. Sounds like quite a race! You did really well considering the conditions and that you’re untapered. I know it wasn’t your best race but great job getting out there and being your speedy self!

    I’ve run a few races in tights including my first marathon. It was like 20 degrees and I was not about to wear shorts outside for 3-some hours!

  13. Congrats on the 3rd place finish! I haven’t been using fuel for my long runs (yet) during this training cycle. I’ve done up to 14 and felt fine. Any more than that though and I’ll definitely need to start every 4-5 miles.

  14. Ohh hell I would have been crying from coldness. I have never raced in snow, but when I played soccer I had tournaments in snow. That was painful to fall on. Great job, especially with all the factors leading into this disgustingly cold race! Next time wear the Russian hat!

  15. Congrats on the 3rd place finish! I haven’t used fuel yet for any of my long runs during this training cycle (I’ve done up to 14mi and felt fine). Once I go over that, I will definitely fuel every 4-5 miles.

  16. I actually don’t like out and back at all. I get so frustrated when all the elite runners are flying by me on the way back and I’m like “are you kidding me, I have another 4 miles to go still!” then I get frustrated. But I think the cold air would do me in even more, so this entire race is really impressive to me. That’s a pretty great race based on the type of training you did for it and the conditions you were running in! Third place is no joke.

  17. Given the conditions and the time you put up, I bet you are going to be awesome at Shamrock. Excited to see how fast you go!

  18. Way to rock the half in the COLD! You’re amazing, Hollie! I have family that lives upstate and I visit them every few years… I always hope it’s a summer visit because its so cold there!

  19. Your sarcasm gives me so many laughs 😉 I don’t understand when people comment that something is overly amazing when it’s not a PR or even close either. I mean, yes it’s a cracking time but saying we should be elated with a particular time just because it’s ‘amazing’ for someone else when we know we can do better is just patronising. Not that I would be too pissed off with a 1:32 in those conditions 😛

    I’ve run in snowy conditions but it was only a 10K. There’s a half I’ve done twice where it’s been icy but not a lot of actual snow. I did wear running tights (well, leggings) though – I’ve run quite a few races wearing them (and usually regretting it!) but I used to do quite a few races in the November-Feb period so I guess it makes sense given the shitty weather we get here all winter.


  20. Beyond jealous that they gave out hand warmers at the start.
    Also, I love your Russian hat — I ran my marathon in my rastafarian hat (which I love). Have to say that I’m uber jealous of how cute you look in running pics. Honest to goodness, I kind of look like Forrest Gump while running. Oh well.
    It’s all about the mixed tears and smiles at the finish line after all, right?
    Can’t wait to see what you can do with some warm weather and a taper!

  21. You are so cute in your Russian hat! It makes me really want one! My ears are always fr-fr-freeeeeezing (imagine my teeth chattering while you read that), and I think that hat might be the one thing that would save me.

  22. How are you so flipping cute in your race pictures? I seriously look like I’m dying… Congrats on your awesome time – especially with wind and snow….Yuck!! The only time I’ve ever ran in snow was when I lived in Colorado but never a race. I’m clutzy, pretty sure I’d die…

  23. Love the hat!! You did great! I tend to wear ear bags in the cold. These clip right over my ears and – if allowed – over my earbuds for my music also.

    Start working on the gels. I was just talking to someone else about gels and halfs. I take one ever 4.5 miles in races. I do not always take them on that distance runs but in races.

  24. Wow! So much mad respect for the volunteers who manned a race like that the whole time!!!

  25. Woohoo, Hollie! Love the Russian hat–I’ve seen so many of them here, and it’s not even cold. I wonder how many readers have been to Upstate, lol.

  26. The most amazing things about this whole post: your huge smile in like 4 degree weather, that freaking Russian headwarmer, and the fact that you’re running painfree halves again. I see goodddd things for your future 🙂

  27. I had a feeling those distance markings were off, haha! I had an almost even split of 8:00mins/mile until the last 1.1miles and it came in at 11:50. Quite the surprise.

    1. I thought we were just going to go straight through to the finish line, not go back towards the playground again. When I saw someone in front of me go that way it was like someone took the wind from my sails LOL.

      1. Side note: Have you ever used compression leg sleeves? I saw a couple people running with them on Sunday; after experimenting with KT Tape to some degree of success, I’m wondering if they would have the same benefits.

  28. I can only answer one of your questions as I have never run a race before haha. But my family lives in upstate NY and it is cold and windy and awful. I am super impressed by you girl because I would not have done this race EVER. I likely would have talked myself out of it the morning of too. You know my love of hand warmers and feet warmers I wore mine yesterday. My feet were much happier in the freezing rain we had

  29. Congrats on yor race! I want to be as speedy as you. Looong way to go. That’s all.

  30. hmm….you know now that I think about it, I have never raced in tights…there were a few outdoor meets at Bates where I was like “FUCK WHY AM I NOT WEARING TIGHTS” but oh well live and learn. As you know Virginia racing does not require them. ANYWAY moving on, enough about me – this was indeed a good race for you! A good “checkpoint” if you will – I think Shamrock will be pretty baller for you if you keep up the training. I’d actually try taking a gel during your race – training without them means they will be that much more of a stimulus during the race. I have never taken in anything but water during a race but I always wonder “maybe if I did, I’d go faster…”. Who knows. Also I love that race pic of you, you look so chill “oh ya know….just going for a jog….” lol

    1. If I lived in VA I probably wouldn’t wear tights…the day I did (the distance series 20k) it was the same temperature as here and pouring rain. I was chilled to the bone starting the race.

      I was seriously about to die in that photo. I think it just shows I’m always creepily lolzen to myself.

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