You have to hand it to upstate New Yorkers. We are one hardy bunch. Where else can you find hundreds of people gathered for a day of fun in the outdoors when the temperatures are in the low to mid 20s? Welcome to Buffalo! I learned about the Flurrious Festival on the Buffalo Runners web page. This one day winter festival features a Quidditch tournament (you know, from Harry Potter – the sport with the brooms), kickball, hockey, golf (yes, golf), sledding, music, food & beer (“brews & stews”), cookie decorating for the kids and more. Admission was free.
I decided to attend this festival to participate in the second annual “Flurrious Forecast 2 Mile Race.” This was an unusual race in that you were not competing to be the fastest. You were competing to see if you could run the race in the time you predicted. No watches, ipods, etc. allowed!! The person who ran closest to their pace wins! This is a cool concept because even the slowest runner could prevail.
I was worried the weather would be too bad to head to Buffalo, but the thruway was fine. The roads on my street were a mess that early, but beyond that – smooth sailing. I left at 6:30 a.m., just in case. Race was at 9. Not a fan of driving in the dark, but when I set my mind to do something, I usually follow thru. The festival was held at Delaware Park and was a benefit for the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservatory. $1 of the $15 race admission fee went to that cause. It’s a nice park with a large circular path to run on. They had a heated tent set up and the lodge (with fireplace) was open.
I got to the lodge, signed up and then waited around inside for the race to start. I did venture out to see the course. It was just too cold for me to do a warm up. I was not planning to go all out for this race anyway. At ten of nine, everyone headed to the start. It was a small group – about 70 I would guess. The route was a loop and a quarter around the park. It was cold! I will admit it right now – I am not a winter fan. I do not like the snow, I do not like being cold, etc. But, I wanted to challenge myself. I was afraid of falling, but it was less slippery than other winter 5ks I have run in the past in Buffalo, so that was one good thing. I did have a mini Raynauds attack in my thumbs during this race, which was very painful. It makes sense though, because my hand warmers did not reach my thumbs. I just kept going. Most people passed me, but that was ok, I kept on trucking. Even though in your mind you know that you are not even running half an hour, it still seems like a long time. Let’s face it, it’s not the same as sitting on your couch watching a half hour sitcom. 🙂 But I digress.. Anyway, I kept running and finally it was over. I had no idea of my time, that would have to wait.
I then headed back into the lodge to change out of my sweaty clothes. On the way back, you could see the Quidditch players and other people participating in sporting events. It was pretty cool. A reporter from a TV station was there filming too. In the tent, there was a raffle for prizes and you could also buy tickets for food and drink. I think I could have turned in a ticket I was given at race signup for a beverage, but I am not sure. I still have it. The music had also started. Nice to see such a buzz of activity at 9:30 in the morning. That is why I like to go to these races. My tendency is to hibernate and curl up in a ball in winter. This forces me to go out – even if I am there alone (as I was). I did enjoy talking to a few other runners. One lady had run 200 races last year – wow! She sometimes even ran 2 races in one day. And she is over 50 (and of course much thinner, faster and in far better shape than me). I was one of the slowest and largest, but I no longer let that intimidate me. I have just as much a right to be out there as anyone else. 🙂
By this time, results had been posted and awards given out. I missed the actual ceremony. I must have been in the lodge. They had two signs with the times – one in order of how close predicted times were to actual times and one with regular results. The woman who won the race pacewise was only 3.4 seconds off her predicted time – very impressive! AND – she finished LAST when it came to overall race results. Her time was over 30 minutes (15 min mile pace). That is pretty cool – either she is very good at intuitive pacing or just lucked out. Either way, congrats! I think she won a nice running watch. Good for her! For comparison, the person who came in second by predicted pace time came in at 15 minutes, 46 seconds timewise – they were off by 3.6 seconds from their predicted time. The winner (by speed) of the race ran it in 12 minutes, 47 seconds but was 32.4 seconds off in their prediction, putting them at 38th place pacewise. Crazy!
Predicted: 22:27, Actual: 20:44
As for me, I was off by my predicted time by almost 2 minutes- ugh! Me bad! I guess the good thing is that I was faster than I had thought (20:44 – a 10 min 22 second pace, still a poor, slow showing) but not good as far as predicting my time. The funny thing is – I actually consider myself pretty good at pacing. I’m consistent in most races and, when I run intervals or hit mile markers, I am usually on the pace I envision. But, in slippery conditions, I wasn’t so sure. Also, with my weight gain, this has made it more difficult. So, with those two considerations, and a bad food/exercise week, I calculated I would finish in 22:27 (an eleven minute, 13 second pace). That would be a very, very slow time for me, but at the training level/weight/shape I am in now, not unrealistic. Shameful, but not unrealistic. So, I wrote that as my time. The funny thing is – I placed 60th for my predicted time and 61st for my actual time so that was pretty consistent (and weird).
All and all, I was glad I went. It was really cold, but the sun was out, people were friendly and it forced me out of my comfort zone. And, I won the blue Labbatt’s football above (not sure how I am going to get that – it’s still in Buffalo). This was the second year of the race and festival. Hopefully, it will continue to grow. As I was leaving, a lot of families were arriving. There were all ages there, with a lot of young people (20s) participating in the sporting events. I know a lot of times you only get the hardcore runners and not recreational types in this weather and that’s ok too. I have the utmost respect for all the runners, slow or fast. Not sure what my next race will be. Not really in running shape and the weather is not cooperating, so we shall see. Hope all your running pursuits and fitness ventures are going well. I have faltered with my food and exercise, so I am gearing up to get back on track (famous last words…)
- See the Quidditch brooms?
Pros of Race
Very unique concept – good way to test your internal sense of pacing- nice distance. Fun festival atmosphere. Seemed well organized. Pretty park. Good cause.
No t shirt or memento of race. Too cold! Hated leaving for the race in the frigid cold (granted, that is not their fault I am so far away – there should be a prize for the runner who traveled farthest to get to the race). In winter, I like races later on in the morning. It’s too dark and cold for these early races.
I tried to include links to more info on this festival, including FB, and some nice media coverage from the news, but the link feature would not work – just google Flurrious Forecast or search Olmsted’s Flurrious on Facebook.