So about 2.5 weeks ago I ran the Lake Effect Half Marathon (at Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, N.Y., U.S.A) on February 26th, 2017. I’m finally getting around to writing this (now that I can officially feel my face and my legs). It went something like this.

The race started at 9:30am, and I woke up around 7:00am pulled on my gear ate my breakfast (peanut butter bagel and coffee). As soon as I stepped outside of the house I could feel the bitter wind and the regret was more than instantaneous. By the time that I pulled away with my car at 8:20am it began to flurry. Cursing alone in my still partially frozen car, not for the first time did I realize I may have made a mistake. I arrived around 8:40 defrosted, but to lake effect snow picking up the closer I got to the lake. The lake itself was ready for the run and I, one of the unfortunate souls who decided to run it, was not.

So here are 13.1 things I thought during this run.

  1. Layer correctly. Trust me, I know I don’t follow this advice all the time but it will be great for your body. So, listen and layer properly.
  2. Eat correctly and what you normally do. A coffee in the morning is so important for me and so is a bagel with peanut butter. Do what you need to do and what will make you happy.
  3. Hydrate or die darlings.
  4. Make friends. I made a few friends DURING this race, which seems almost impossible. But I did it, and they helped me power through to the end.
  5. Get the race gear. I will never not get more race gear, especially racing shirts. I wear mine all the time now, and I can’t wait to get more at my next race.
  6. Don’t stop moving. I learned this trick when I was much younger and playing soccer. I have concluded that once you stop you tend to give up. So, my best advice, don’t stop moving, you don’t need to run but you can’t stop.
  7. Create a playlist. I always create an amazing playlist before I run a big race. Adding new music helps me out with my next piece of advice.
  8. Zone out. Try not to think too hard about what you’re doing, and really try to lose yourself in the music or the crowd and people. But zone out as long as you can.
  9. Remember how sweet the finish line will be. Remember there is a reason that you’re doing this, for the personal achievement and for the medal.
  10. Set three goals for yourself. Set one goal you know you can make, one you think you can make, and one you would ideally like to make. So, for this race my first goal was to beat my last race time (Empire State Half Marathon with my final time being 2:14:55), the next goal was to hit 2:00, and the final was to finish under 2:00. I did successfully hit the first goal, and came much closer to my second goal. Either way, set goals.
  11. Take the time to enjoy your location. I always try and get a few pictures of what my route looks like. This is especially important because race photographers do not usually get pictures of what the route looks like. So, take those photos for yourself.
  12. Refuel after the race. Make sure you eat, drink, enjoy your post-race shower.
  13. Don’t hesitate to sign up for another half… or maybe even more than that.

13.1. Sometimes when you sign up for a race in the middle of February in the snowiest city in the United States, sometimes you’ll get lake effect snow. This tends to happen especially when the race is called the Lake Effect Half Marathon.

In conclusion, it took me 2:07:44 to complete the race. The official weather report put us at 16 degrees with wind-chill, and 30 without. We had 20mph wind with occasional gusts and the first 30-40 minute was an experience with seemingly never-ending lake effect snow.

Overall 8/10 would run again.