Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Ran the Boilermaker?!?!?!

(Most pictures courtesy of


I still can't believe it when I say it. Last year at this time, I was training for my first Iron Girl triathlon. One day, coach Kelly assigned us a 60 minute run. I had never run that long before and, at the end, I thought I was going to throw up. A neighbor of my in-laws up in Alex Bay would occasionally go out for 7 mile runs and I thought he was completely insane. He did it to get ready for the Boilermaker. At that time, 3 miles or so was a typical run for me, so anyone who could run 7 miles was a super-athlete in my eyes.

Once Iron Girl was complete, I was determined to get my running improved because that was the worst of the three disciplines. I signed up for the running group at the Y headed by Kevin Collins and I started my journey of running. By January, I was running up to 105 minutes and over 8 miles. I was now one of the crazy ones. Problem is, my foot didn't like how quickly I was increasing the duration and distance, and it told me so in the form of a stress fracture.

Once I healed, I was determined to get back up to the distance and duration I left off at and signed up for the 10 mile Mountain Goat run on May 1. Because I didn't have a lot of time to get back into training, I had to walk part of the race. I was happy that I finished, but I wanted to run the whole thing. The Boilermaker would be the next race that I could prove myself. So, less than two days before the registration got closed out...13,000 runners registered for the 15K...I got out my trusty credit card and registered. I was going to be a super-athlete!!!

The Day Before
Since the race was in Utica, I had no desire to drive there to pick up my packet, drive home, then drive back race morning. So, I had a couple friends from the Y pick up my packet. After riding the Iron Girl bike course, I stopped at the Y to pick up my packet. For the first time, my bib number had 5 digits on it which made the race a little more overwhelming thinking there would be 13,000 people in the race.

The Morning Of
Since the race started at 8:00 AM and the shuttle busses stopped running at 7:00 AM, we had to get on the road early. About 9 of us met at the Y and made a convoy of cars heading to Utica. Erika decorated her vehicle to show we were Boilermaker bound:

As we were driving down the main street in Utica, we passed a Boilermaker countdown. I couldn't believe the time was near:

We parked the cars, got our sunscreen on, got our hydration set, then off to the shuttle bus we went. The Boilermaker is a point to point race, so you parked at either the start or finish line then shuttled to the other end. The runners on our bus almost had their day cut short because we almost rear ended another shuttle bus in front of us. It was way too close for comfort!

We got to the start line a little before 7:00, so we wandered around, visited the porta potties a couple times, found other Y friends while waiting for the 8:00 start. Next thing I know, they're telling us to start lining up. All the runners were supposed to start on Culver, but there were so many, that we had to bend around the corner.

The Start
I jokingly said that there would be so many people that the winners would probably finish before I even reached the Start line. I overexaggerated...but not by much! The winner finished around 43 minutes and it took me almost 10 minutes from when the gun sounded to when I actually crossed the Start line. Right after the start, they had one of the Brightroom photographers stationed on a fire truck ladder above the crowd. I really hoped that I could get a good picture of me from that view, but I couldn't be ID'd, so here is another shot of a bunch of strangers:

The Fun
I have to say, there were plenty of things to distract you during the race. Lots of people were dressed in interesting ways. There were the two girls with tutu's and ribbons wrapped around their legs. There was the guy with the huge beard dressed like Forrest Gump. There were a couple people who carried an American flag on a pole the whole race. Then there were the two women with neon green tops and neon green plaid VERY short shorts on...these ladies were up in age and had NO BUSINESS wearing those shorts!!!

Then there was the music. Plenty of bands and DJs along the route. The best was right within the first mile when a DJ was playing "Sweet Caroline" from Neil Diamond. It got to the point where the song went "Sweet Caroline" then EVERYONE chimed in with "BA BA BA"..."SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO GOOD!" That was pretty cool!

The volunteers rocked! Water, ice, popsicles, you name it. Awesome job by the folks of Utica.

Down to Business
Coach Kelly and I devised a plan to run zone 2 for the first 10K, then hard as I could the last 5K. I kind of did it.

The first 5K went pretty well, but just as I reached that distance and we were just about to head into the golf course with a long gradual hill, my legs started to feel heavy. NOOOOO!!! I can't feel like crap yet! Our other plan was to have a Shot Blok every 1-2 miles. About halfway up the hill around the 4 mile mark, a Shot Blok must have kicked in because I started to feel a lot better again. The hill in the golf course was very long, but nowhere near the steepness of those on the Mountain Goat. When I got to the top and started down, I made sure I took advantage and cruised.

When I got to the halfway point, I still felt good. My breathing and heart rate were always under control. My legs came and went constantly. Not sure if that's a fueling thing, but I'll have to figure it out and work on it.

Not sure at what point this picture was taken.

When I got to the 10K point, I tried to kick it into another gear. Sometimes I could and sometimes I was just thinking all I wanted to do was finish. When I reached the 9 mile mark with 0.3 miles to go, I once again tried to dig deep, but it really wasn't happening. I finally saw the finish line and did what I could.

Here are some scenes from the finish:

So here is how I faired:
5K Split 34:35
10K Split 1:09:19 (34:44 for 2nd 5K)
Finish 1:42:13 (32:54 for 3rd 5K...fastest, yet not by a lot)

Overall 8808 out of 11074
Women 3736 out of 5079
Age Group 430 out of 591

Definitely happy that I have my first under my belt and definitely want to work hard in the next year to better that time. I would LOVE to get under 1:30:00. My goal this year was under 1:45:00, so I'm proud of that.

After Party
Not that I felt much like partying, but we stuck around for some food, a little beer, and some good company from good friends from the Y

I'm super glad I did this race and I discovered the super-athlete in me. Have lots of room for improvement, but I definitely proved a lot to myself and others.


1 comment:

  1. Awesome! You paced this almost perfectly! It is super hard to get a negative split in a longer race like this. NIce job!!