Boilermaker Part III (the race!)

…And we were off. Donna with a terrible cold, Mary with tired legs, and me just not quite feeling like running and being worried about the sun…

We were now “running” the 2006 Boilermaker 8 minutes after the gun went off. Much of the initial effort was to get around packs of people that were running slower than we were. While running I thought that this could actually be beneficial as I tend to run too fast at the beginning of runs. Even if it was beneficial it was certainly annoying! At many points in the first 2 miles I ran along the grass on the side of the road because the road was too crowded with slower runners.

The first mile marker that I can remember seeing was the two mile mark. I looked at my stopwatch to see what my pace had been. It was very close to a 10 minute pace but might have been just slightly better than that. I didn’t let the time get to me as I was concerned with just having fun. The second mile was pretty good. Part of the second mile included the rich section of Utica. The street was lined with trees that provided ample shade and pleasant scenery. I remember seeing one family sitting out in their yard watching the race. It appeared as though they had hired a catering service. They had tables and chairs set out. They had a bowl that was chilling drinks which may have been orange juice. They had plates of bagels and other goodies as well. Although this obviously wealthy family didn’t offer food to the runners there were numerous people offering water, ice, and icees. An icee is a tube of frozen sugary water.

Roudning a corner the rich section ended the third mile began. My pace had gotten a little better at that point but not by too much. The runners were slowly breaking apart. The third mile began the rather step ascent up the golf course. In this section I noticed many people slowing down and walking. I also remember running along and my legs were telling me that I was running up hill but my eyes were telling me it was downhill. I’m pretty sure that my legs were correct and the downhill effect was just an optical illusion.

The fourth mile was even more steep than the third. I believe I made my first water stop at the stops along the fourth mile. The course was narrow and crowded. Many people slowed drastically (myself included) due to the steepness. Right near the summit of the hill I spotted my brother-in-law’s mother-in-law and her daughter. Initially they didn’t see me but I waived and they spotted me but I was gone before they could fully realize who I was.

I was feeling really good at this point. A runner’s high had kicked in near the end of the 2nd mile and it was only getting stronger. Although the course was steep I was truly enjoying the run. In fact, right near the summit of the hill I started to whistle along to my music. I quickly stopped that as I realized how disappointing it could be to someone if they were struggling and they were passed by someone whistling.

At about that point the steep ascention was done and an equally steep downhill section began. I was able to move extremely quickly through this section as I let gravity do what it does best. I have no idea what my pace for this mile was but I know that it was very good.

After the steep downhill section the course wasn’t as interesting. The course was on urban roads and there wasn’t as much shade. When I came to the 10k mark I was surprised at my pace but I was also starting to feel rundown. I worried that I had run too quickly and was going to run out of steam for the last 5k of the race.

The last 5k was certainly the most challenging for me. I was starting to feel a little bit sick to my stomach. Miles 6, and 7 were the most difficult for me. The remaining miles were a little bit easier because there were more people on the sides of the course. At one point nearing the end of the course I heard a band playing a White Zombie song which really got my adrenaline going. I picked up my pace but as I passed the band I had the feeling that I shouldn’t have picked up my pace! The race wasn’t done yet and I just burned a lot of energy.

I didn’t have to wait long for the finish line. A guy started to really pick up his pace and I knew I was getting close. When I saw the finish line I went into an all-out sprint. The time on the clock was 1:29 but I knew that my chip time was about 1:22. That far exceeded my expections.

My chip time was 1:21:49 which was a pace of 8:47. Mary’s time was 1:39:14 which was a 10:39 pace. Donna, who was very sick for the race, finished at 1:28:23, a 9:29 pace. My brother-in-law Mike finished in 1:50:38, an 11:52 minute pace.

We all met up at the “legendary Price Chopper free lunch” in the party area.  We talked about the race, watched the fireworks (at around 11am) and watched the fighter jets roar overhead.  Then we took Donna back to her hotel so she could shower.  After Donna cleaned up we headed to the Sacco’s house for a little post-run get together.  The Sacco’s allowed us the use of their shower so Mary and I cleaned up there.

…And that was my first “real” race.  I must say that it was an awful lot of fun.  Well, the race was fun.  I still hate that guy that honked at me!

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