A couple weekends ago Scott and I ran our second half marathon of the year. I’ve always wanted to take the ferry across Lake Champlain and do this early spring half marathon over in Plattsburgh, New York. And I’m so glad we finally gave this a shot. The Plattsburgh Half Marathon is a great event that we highly recommend! It’s a nice, friendly, local race with just under 500 runners. This half marathon is very well organized and the course is a lot of fun. It’s a fast course with just a few small inclines. The only challenge some might consider is that there are about 40 different turns to make during the 13.1 miles. While this makes it more interesting, it can add a bit of overall time (and mileage if you don’t cut the tangents perfectly). Another great aspect of the day was the perfect, slightly breezy, cool, crisp, sunny weather in the morning. My garmin reported a starting temp of 44F which to me is perfect for racing.
Scott and I are still training hard for Ironman Mont Tremblant 140.6 this coming August. While it can sometimes feel like a second job with the long hours of training, it’s been going well for both of us. It’s quite a journey! And the training is very different than the marathon training I have been doing the last four years. So with only running a little over 30 miles per week without speed work or big tempo runs, I wasn’t sure how we would fare on the 26th of April. However we both surprised ourselves with some great results! Scott had a new personal record with a smoking time of 1:33:05! I won the women’s race with a time of 1:30:28. But I was almost a minute and a half off of my own personal record. This was the first time I have won a half marathon so it was a really nice feeling. Not bad for an “old lady” .
The race start was situated on the New York Base Oval – City of Plattsburgh Recreational Department. The first mile was run around the Oval. Scott and I started out together for the first mile and a half. I decided to be very conservative on the first mile and kept it at a comfortable 7:05 minutes/mile pace. Scott started to run ahead of me but I knew I’d catch him soon enough. As we made a U-turn onto the bike path I caught back up and slowly passed him just after 2 miles. I didn’t want him to go out too hard. It was really nice running on this paved bike path with some views of Lake Champlain. It went uphill very slightly and then back downhill. I was warming up after 3 miles, but started to get my first ever stitch on the right side of my stomach which really hurt. I was worried this might wreck my morning. Luckily by mile 4 it went away and we turned left to head into downtown Plattsburgh.
Mile 4 was fun as we ran through some downtown sections with shops, cafes and restaurants. I was enjoying myself and pacing myself well. Miles 2-4 ranged from 6:55 to 7:00 which was the plan. Miles 4 and 5 had a small gradual climb (mostly on Dennis Ave.) of about 200 feet. This wasn’t terrible but I kept it conservative as I knew the next half of the race had more declines where I could make up the time. This is where we started to run though many neighborhoods with lots of turning. Miles 7-8 were back down a gradual hill and I was able to kick it in a bit with paces ranging from 6:39 to 6:47. At one point I looked down at my garmin and mile 7 was looking like a 6:25 without a lot of effort. I knew that might be dangerous, so I slowed it down to have some juice at the end. I was still having a good morning, but working hard.
After 9 miles I passed the second place woman who I had been following for a while. I was slowly closing the gap on her. I am patient and knew it would happen towards the second half of the race. I asked her if she wanted to work with me for a better time, but she didn’t have the energy. We chatted very briefly. It turns out she is also training for the Mont Tremblant Ironman and had done it in the past. It was nice to meet Erin and I was happy she maintained her second place. I was still feeling good and picked up the pace a bit after leaving Erin. Miles 10 and 11 were fast and fun. It was the final loop before heading back to the Oval. I was cruising at a good pace ranging from 6:35 to 6:43. It was a really beautiful day and I was happy to have views once again of Lake Champlain on Cumberland Avenue.
Mile 12 brought us back through a portion of downtown and then back towards the Oval. We ran over a short steep bridge which had many spectators. It was fun to see the crowd and that helped push me over the bridge. I was getting tired but my pace for mile 12 was a surprising 6:40. It was the last mile around the Oval with a slight incline that slowed me down. I really couldn’t get myself to move faster than a consistent 6:57 pace. I knew I had the first place locked up, but didn’t really have it in me that morning to dig deep for a faster finish. I was also feeling a soreness in my left hip on that last mile which concerned me since I had hip issues in the fall. Luckily I was fine and just had some tight muscles afterward. I did kick it in for the final quarter of a mile with a fast finish. The race crew didn’t realize I was the first woman, so I didn’t get to break the tape. But they did have me hold up the tape for a nice race finish photo which I happily purchased .
Overall I was satisfied with my performance that morning! I honestly didn’t know how I would do with such little running mileage and more hours spent in the pool and on the bike. I can only say that Ironman training does build you up as an overall strong athlete. If I had been purely marathon training I am hoping I would have been a couple minutes faster, but this was a nice result. And it was a great morning of training. Scott was very happy with his speedy run that morning. I am so happy for him. He keeps getting faster!
We hung around for the awards ceremony and listened to the band that was playing in the recreational center which was spacious and had many tables set up for everyone. There were massages available and a lot of food. Unfortunately there was nothing vegan for us accept for some fruit. But we always travel prepared. We then took the ferry back to Vermont and did our 2 hour bike ride which was part of our training for that day! Ironman training is no joke!
We have the Corporate Cup 5K coming up this Thursday, May 14th. But our next big race is the Mont Tremblant 70.3 (half Ironman) on June 21, 2015. And then it’s the full Ironman in August on the same course (but we do it twice). There will be many more long hours of swimming, biking and running. It’s what we love to do! Stay tuned! And thanks for stopping by!