I couldn’t get to sleep last night….it was almost midnight when I looked at the clock last. Boy did that 4 a.m. wake up call come quick! But it was so worth it.
The race was AWESOME. We had such a great time. This is definitely a race I want to run every year.
OK let me start from the beginning…
At 5 a.m. I met up with the crew. There were 7 of us who ran, 6 women, 1 man. I prepared my lovely breakfast in the car on the way over (well, I toasted my waffles before I left and wrapped them in foil to keep them warm and crisp.)
Let me tell you: I SWEAR by this breakfast. We all have different things that work for them but I will take my Go Lean waffles, PB, Greek yogurt and banana ANY day.
How awesome does this look spread out on my aluminum?
This breakfast rocks. It’s so filling and has the right combo of proteins/carbs/calories for me. It doesn’t make me feel too full but it holds me over for hours. I’m so glad I made the trip all over town yesterday to find my Chobani!
Unfortunately I didn’t run with my camera because there were some interesting looking people dressed up in costumes and funky outfits. One man was wearing just a Speedo, and let’s say we heard he had no shame about any of his body parts.
Ok. So this race was hilly..which I knew…but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I really made sure to practice running hills so I think that was a major reason I didn’t feel too damaged by the hills (well, until the last one…we’ll get to that later.)
I ran with my friend Ann and we decided we were going to pace ourselves at around a 10 minute mile and feel how we feel. We started out slow and steady to get ourselves warmed up. There were over 13,000 people running this race so it was never not crowded, so passing people was a bit of a challenge, but it got to a point where we were able to instinctively know when we wanted to pass someone so we made it work. It took us 11 minutes to cross the starting line, and there were at least another 1,000 people behind us.
I would say about half – if not more – of this race was uphill. But honestly it wasn’t bad! They were mostly long, gradual inclines which lasted for a mile stretch here, a mile and a half stretch there..we kept our pace up the hills and whatever time we might have lost we made up on the downhill stretches.
We hit our 5K and 10K spits and were feeling awesome. We walked through about three (maybe four) water stations just to ensure we actually DRANK our water and didn’t end up just throwing it on ourselves, and I honestly think that was key. Ann would pick a spot that we should walk to, just to give ourselves enough time to drink the water and quickly rejuvenate, and I honestly don’t think it effected our time much.
There was music, people cheering the whole way, and one AMAZING woman carrying an eNORmous American flag. She rocked, and I told her so as I ran by her!
Mile.7.killed.me. I was feeling awesome until that point. At around mile 5 I had a natural vanilla GU packet. It was 100 calories and I actually thought it tasted pretty good. But I think it made me sick because by the middle of mile 6 my stomach was starting to feel funky, so when mile 7 came along, I was so ready to slow down our pace and honestly just wanted to get it done and over with. This was the start of another mile + long hill and I was just struggling. This hill just wouldn’t end, and Ann just kept pushing me to keep the pace up. “Remember Nicole, pain is temporary!” she said to me. “We’re almost there girl, 2 more miles.” I would not have finished in the time I did without her. I pushed her earlier in the race and she definitely pushed me through the last 2 miles. I actually started asking “Is that the finish line?” because I swore we should have been there…and she said, “1/2 mile left, that’s 5 minutes. You can do anything for 5 minutes right??”
That was all I needed to hear. I pushed myself through it and by the 9 mile mark, something came over me and I just bolted. I saw a group of Canadians running in front of me and I said, “I’m passing the Canadians…I’m passing the Canadians..” and I did. My time? 1:33:16. We kept a 10:01 mile pace the whole way and it was awesome. We talked, laughed, poked fun at all the silly (and very uncomfortably dressed) people around us. This was, by far, the best race I’ve ever run and I will not hesitate to run it again.
When the race ended, we were able to meet up and go to the expo, which was sponsored by Saranac Brewery. We each had a beer (on my mom’s camera, pic coming soon) and then we got out of the madness (13,000 people plus their fans and volunteers = insane) so we drove out of town and had a nice after run lunch. With beer, of course (that I came nowhere near finishing)
The Utica Boilermaker is a nationally recognized race so if anyone out there decides they want to give it a try next year, I say go for it! And let me know too! It was such an amazing time and I can’t wait until next year!! GO US!