There was a certain sense of euphoria on Sunday night as I plugged in my Garmin and crunched the numbers. But it wasn’t so much over the numbers as it was over how I felt. (Confession interlude: It was really good to see my time, my paces and the fact that my last mile in half marathon was my fastest mile. For real. That doesn’t happen to me. Ever.) What was amazing about the Flower City Half Marathon was the experience. And truth be told, I did a lot of smiling before, during and after the race.
Half Marathon Soundtrack
My good friend Hitch has a tendency to get songs stuck in my head. And so it went with his good luck text message Sunday morning. “Have a great race! It’s not an A race so you know it’s all about getting a start and finish with some in there. Enjoy the course and feel the rhythm!” And where did my mind go? Immediately to the chorus of “Rhythm is Gonna Get You” by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine. It was stuck in my head all morning long. But it made me smile and put me in a great mood to start off race day.
The last half marathon I ran was the Women’s Half Marathon in St. Petersburg, Florida in November. While there, I met up with my friend Juli Goldstein, who among her many jobs, projects and passions, is involved with the company Running Skirts. I bought a fabulous patterned skirt there filled with bright shades of pink and orange. I really wanted to wear it Sunday, but starting temperatures were forecast at 30 degrees. So, I auditioned on my outfit with the addition of running capris under my skirt Saturday night. With the approval of my friend’s daughter (the precocious 4-year old Cassie) I was good to go. While on the course, I received no fewer than five compliments on my skirt. It made me smile every time. Not because people liked my clothes, but because my clothes were part of an expression of myself — fun, funky and sparkly.
I had a tremendous personal support crew at the race starting with Tracy who ran with me. Mary (mother of said 4-year old fashion consultant Cassie) let me stay at her house Saturday and Sunday. Her father-in-law, Don, made an “Amy Mo” sign. My parents braved the cold for the entire race and my niece Ellie (along with my brother and sister-in-law) were at the finish. And nothing is quite as fun as when my 18-month old niece gives me a celebratory fist bump.
But as I walked toward the starting line, I heard Ellen, co-owner of Fleet Feet Rochester and emcee for the day, note this was an equal opportunity cheering race. Meaning cheer for everyone, not just the people you know and came to see. And I’ve got to hand it to you Rochester, for the most part you took that advice to heart.
Best sign on the course (other than the “Amy Mo” sign of course) read Worst Parade Ever. Tracy and I laughed for the next 7 miles over that.
While I loved the Susan B. Anthony House neighborhood with its period costumes and signs that talked about voting and running (tangent: Election Day is one of my favorite days of the year) the best neighborhood was Highland Park. The streets were decorated with balloons and signs. There were tons of people out not just clapping but yelling, cheering, singing, using noise makers. They had so much energy and enthusiasm, by the time I started to feel tired I was already nearly at the top of that long hill. Kudos, Highland Park. Kudos.
Sports bra relief
Yes, guys, you may want to skip this one, but my fellow female runners will appreciate this. Consider it a public service to my fellow women as I shake of modesty and talk about securing my “girls.” In recent long runs I’ve suffered some from major sports bra-related chaffing. The kind which an entire stick of Body Glide could not prevent. I knew I needed this fixed. So I did what anyone in my position would do about a sensitive topic. I Googled it. The first suggestion on a runner’s board was that if your sports bra was old, it might be stretched out and hence more probable to cause chaffing. I tried to remember the last time I bought a new sports bra. I couldn’t. So I decided that probably was a good indicator it was time.
Packet pickup for the Flower City Challenge events was at the Fleet Feet Rochester stores. I took one of my current sports bras with me, entered the store and was immediately greeted by a female sales associate. I explained that while I was there for packet pickup, I also needed to talk about a new sports bra, whipping out my Moving Comfort Fiona sports bra for show-and-tell.
She immediately recognized the brand and model, asked my size and recommended I try it on just to be sure. Thank goodness I did. The sale associate took one look at me in my sports bra and concluded I was wearing the wrong size. We tried on a different size and seriously I felt the difference immediately. I bought two styles from Moving Comfort (the new size of the Fiona and a new bra, the Jubralee). Meanwhile, I continued to use Aveeno’s Soothing Diaper Rash Cream on my chaffed skin. (For real. This stuff works.) Race day came and the new sports bra was magnificent. No chaffing. No pain. No bouncing. I actually smiled when I changed out of my race outfit to realize that I didn’t need to liberally apply the Aveeno Diaper Rash Cream packed in my bag. Moral of the story: Buy new sports bras more often and confirm the proper fit.