Yesterday I ran the Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon. The race was in Santa Fe, New Mexico, about an hour from where I live in Albuquerque. Fortunately my friend, Cathy, that was also running the race, told me the day before that our hubbies could drop us off at the start line which would allow for an extra hour of sleep on race morning, yes please! That allowed me to “sleep in” until 4:45 Sunday morning. I got up and got ready and then had a little panic attack when my Garmin that I charged all night, froze up. I have been having some problems with it, but I have been hoping it can hang on a little longer before I have to buy a new one. I took a deep breath and thought I may just have to run this race by feel (which I do not do ever). I know some people are really good at sensing their own pace, I am not one of them. Sometimes I feel like I am running really hard thinking I must be under 7:30 pace and look down and see a 9 something. Definitely not my forte. My husband came to the rescue and reset my watch and it seemed to start working again, and luckily it made it through the race fine. After I got myself ready, I roused the kids from their slumber, we got loaded in the car and we were off for Santa Fe. We had a little mishap finding the place, my iPhone directed us to the wrong starting area, but Cathy came to the rescue again after I called her and she told us where to go. We got to the start area about 45 minutes prior to the 8am start. After a bathroom stop and a little warm up jog, we were ready to go.
Prior to the start, a nice crisp 46 degrees out.
The race started off uphill which is never any fun right out the gate, but I knew it was going to be a 2 mile stretch until we hit some downhill, so my goal was to just grind it out and attack the hill the best I could. I was thinking 9 minute miles would be good for the first 2 uphill miles and that I could possibly still hit a time of 1:45 for the race. Well, I surprised myself with an 8:41 and 8:37! Then I was happily greeted with a nice downhill and clocked 7:28, 7:29, 7:36, 7:35 the next few miles. The course leveled out a bit after this and I slowed down a little. Have I told you that I love downhill races?! Some people say they wreck their legs from the downhill impact and tear up the quads. For some reason my legs (and lungs) love the downhill! Bring it on! If you have a downhill race you want me to run, the answer is yes!
After the course leveled out we had more uphill and some rolling hills. I forced myself to take a Vega Gu at mile 7. I say forced because I hate fueling on runs. My stomach wants nothing but water, but I know my body needs something more than that. So I play games with myself and say things like “after you take the Gu I’ll let you turn on your music”. I know, really mature, right? But it worked. Gu down and music on!
Happy because I finished the Gu and am throwing the wrapper to my hubs.
Miles 7-12 were 7:54, 7:53, 7:57, 7:56, 7:55, 8:08. Some of these miles got a little challenging and I started questioning why and how I was going to run another marathon in 7 weeks. 13.1 miles is plenty long and tough enough. Why do I torture self with full marathons? Having run enough races now, I know these are normal thoughts and feelings to have during a race when you are pushing hard, but I always find it funny (afterwards at least), because I LOVE the full marathon distance. I just may not “feel” like I love it during a half or full race.
With 1.1 miles to go I was feeling good and pounded out a 7:40 for mile 13 and 7:27 pace for the last tenth of a mile. Race finished! Time of 1:43.27.
I met my family at the finish, grabbed a coconut water, threw some ice on my head and then went back to cheer Cathy in. We had separated near the start when her shoe came untied, but she had an amazing race, beating her time from last year by 5 minutes!
One of the great things about this race is that there were some special guests involved. Billy Mills, the 1964 Olympic Gold Medal winner in the 10,000 meters was at the race and signed posters afterward. Mr. Mills founded Running Strong for American Indian Youth, a group that has raised over $100 million dollars to help support families and encourage and inspire youth.
Billy Mills, 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist
There were also representatives of the Tarahumara participating in the race. If any of you have read Christopher McDougall’s “Born to Run”, you know about the impact that this tribe from the Copper Canyon of Mexico has had on running. I was privileged to run along side one of the tribe members for a bit during the race, it was truly inspiring.
Before the race, 2 of the Tarahumara with their tire soled running huaraches.
Overall I really enjoyed this race. The organization was amazing, the course was prettier than I expected, and the weather was gorgeous. If I had to criticize anything it would be that there wasn’t any food (that I saw) at the finish line other than some bananas. I had heard that Whole Foods was one of the sponsors, so I thought there would be some yummy after race treats, but I didn’t see anything at all. The coconut water was great at the finish, and they had another energy type drink too, but a little food would have been nice. The only other minor critique I have would be that the race shirts are an ugly forest green color. I just can’t really picture ever wearing this shirt, not a great color in my opinion. But these are minor issues to me when running a race. I think they hit a home run in regards to the organization, communication leading up to the race via email, the volunteers, and the course. It was one of the best races I’ve ever run in New Mexico and I look forward to running it again in the future. I want to thank Joseph Karnes and Global Running Culture for sponsoring me to run this race.
Did you run this weekend? Have you read “Born to Run”? Ever heard of the Tarahumara?
*Global Running Culture sponsored me to run the Buffalo Thunder Half Marathon. All opinions are my own.