Since Molly is on vacation in the ADK's, running and biking hard I assume, I have stolen her blog to do a "guest" post. In case you don't know me I am Stephanie.
Growing up in Syracuse and being pretty close to Utica, I had heard of the Boilermaker Road Race and even had family friends run it. I also have a faint memory of driving around Utica as a kid, most likely visiting Florentine's Pastry Shop for a cannoli, and seeing the famous gate at the finish line. Now that I am a runner, the race took on a whole new meaning. Did I just call myself a runner?! I signed up after some light convincing from a yoga friend and am so glad I did because it sold out a week or so later. I also decided I would take the bus that the GRTC sponsored because with 17,000 runners and 6,000 volunteers I didn't want to have to worry about driving, parking and logistics at an out of town race.
We got to Utica around 6:50am and headed directly to bib pick up. The crowds were crazy. It was awesome to see the variety of runners, everything from elite and wheelchair athletes, to veteran runners and newbies like me. Even though I tried not to drink too much on the bus, I inevitably had to go to the bathroom when we arrived. The lines for the porta potties were LONG but there were a lot of them and the lines seemed to be moving fast. Unfortunately, when I jumped into the line I lost the runners I was planning on starting with.
There were water stops every half mile, I felt like I was always at one! The water stops had to have about 30-40 volunteers at each passing out water and ice. Even though I carried Gatorade, I always stopped for ice and kept a piece in my hands which seemed to keep my core cool. I got to about three and a half miles and realized the "big hill" was up ahead. Oddly, enough there was my dad again, even though originally they were only going to be able to see me once they were able to keep moving around and I wound up seeing them four times. Time to tackle the hill! I just made sure I kept moving, I ran into an old high school friend and even passed a decent amount of people. By the time I got to the peak (at the polka band) I realized I had run up the whole hill and felt great, so I ran down it too!
At the bottom of the hill I noticed my yoga buddy off to the side. He is a much faster runner than me so I was surprised to see him. He was injured and was going to try to walk the rest of it, bummer! I felt so bad about leaving him. The miles ticked away and at every mile marker they had a clock and a person calling out the splits. There were lot of interesting sights along the way, belly dancers, zoo animals, Irish dancers, bagpipers, a man on stilts, and lots of people with noise makers and signs. This helped the race to fly by. I also enjoyed that a lot of the course seemed shady and even though there were lots of water misters and garden hoses, I stayed away because I didn't want to be soaked the whole time. One of my favorite parts were the "flavor icees" along the way. Spectators were handing out popsicles and orange slices and I enjoyed them, although running and eating posed some challenges.
At the finish line I received my pin and was corralled to the post race party. Along the way I enjoyed more oranges and popsicles, bumped into running buddies and called my parents to let them know I finished.
The race included a free lunch but they had run out by the time I went to claim mine. Luckily in the post race party area was a Polish community center and they had opened up the center and were serving traditional fare as a fundraiser. I saw the word peirogi and I knew what my lunch was going to be. The center was air conditioned (slightly cheesy) and offered lots of seating. I was able to skip the crowds, find a comfy seat, stay out of the sun and have a yummy lunch. I think this will be a new tradition.
As for my "mini man up week" according to Daily Mile: