Today was the Boilermaker, a 15k in Utica, NY. This was my third year running. This is a unique run, because of the distance, and it's hilly course, but also because it ends at a brewery (Saranac anyone?) so the whole city celebrates. I ran it with my sis in law J, and Mike's Uncle B.
The first time I ran it, it was a very hot, sunny, humid day. It was a hard run, but I did it without stopping, and learned a few things for my future training (hills hills hills). Last year was a vast improvement, although the computers failed at the race, so the chip results were inaccurate. At any rate, this year I started hydrating on Thursday, lots of water and grape Powerade Zero, and kept up my stretching to keep my hamstring relaxed.
We headed out around 5:30 a.m., it was actually a bit chilly, I was wearing a $5 Brooks wicking shirt I picked up at the Boilermaker Expo. Major score, the shirt fit great and really kept me cool when I needed it to. Made it on the shuttle bus, and porta potty lines with no problems, and lined up with six minutes to spare. There were 12,000 runners, so it took us almost 12 minutes to get to the start. But then we were off, passing musicians, dancers, and everyone on their lawns cheering us on. The city has a competition among neighborhoods over who has the best cheering section, the winners actually win a block party!
Half a mile in I felt a cramp, WTF?! I realized that since I was the driver today I was a little lax in my water intake, so I grabbed some at the first water station, and immediately felt better. So then, I was cruising along and right at mile two, my left arch started acting up, the last thing I expected. My toes were curling, and I started getting that lovely shooting pain up my arch from my plantar faciitis days. So I slowed down a bit, and tried to flatten/straighten my foot until it went away.
I got into my groove, and decided to keep the same pace the whole way, I wasn't going to worry about time. I didn't want to fall apart before the finish. All of a sudden around mile four, I felt a foot hook around my heel and trip me a bit. It was a total accident and the girl apologized right away, but I was really happy I didn't fall. I am very clumsy and that could have spelled disaster!
The crowds were great, I cruised up the hills and at mile seven they started saying we were almost there. That's when I really focused on having fun and not focusing on getting to the end. After all the build up, I wanted to savor the moment. J started pulling ahead, she had a time that she wanted to beat, B was further back a couple of miles. The next thing I knew we were passing the mile nine sign, and I decided to sprint. I tried taking advantage of my long legs and increasing my stride, but then I started to feel it a bit too much, so I slowed down. Next thing I knew I was over, and J was waiting for me at the side. Another one completed.
We got our free Pomegranite Wheat Beer, and headed home. Looked up my official time - 1:37:05. Not super, it could be due to my little mishaps, but I did shave a minute off last year.
Settled in after a loooong shower, and Mike made a batch of zucchini and corn fritters, with corn fresh from the cob. I've had three already, guilt free. After all, it is race day.