Boilermaker 15K – A Race Report
What’s that? A post? A race report?
Yep on both counts.
A certain Goddess mentioned to me that I’ve been remiss in keeping this current. Something that I’ve been aware of, but finding the time has been interesting. All of the time that I could have spent writing a blog and passing on not much news I chose to spend reading everyone else’s blogs and race reports. Some mighty fine efforts going on out there.
The upshot is that I’m experiencing Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day, minus Sonny & cher waking me up on the clock radio. And that’s likely because I don’t have a clock radio.
The routine’s the same. Wake up, shave, eat breakfast, head to work. Work, lunch, work, dinner, work, walk back to the room. Run, shower, sleep. Rinse, repeat. Not much to tell there.
But one nice thing about being here is that there are regularly scheduled events. Last weekend was the monthly 10K, which was a mirror of Atlanta’s Peachtree 10K, which they held on July 4th and we held it on the 6th. I ran a respectable 51:01 on that run, which I was pleased with considering that I had just finished a 15-mile run not 6.5 hours before the start gun went off.
It’s getting warm here. Some say downright hot. Every afternoon is in the one-teen’s. At night, we dip down into the mid-80′s. So I run at night.
Before midnight it’s typically hanging right around 100 degrees. But there’s no sun and usually a light breeze, so it’s pretty comfortable. Funny enough, depending on which depression I run through, it can get downright cool. The only downside to running at night is that the narrow roads are pretty rough, so footing can be tricky. The shoulders are either non-existent or even rougher, so they’re just begging for a turned ankle. Dust abounds, which burns the eyes and nose. And the bats are fearless. I even had one fly into the side of my face during one interval session.
The dust storms have been sporadic. Much better than the first half of June, where it was continuous. During the dust storms, I head to the gym and jump on the dreadmill. So far my record has been two hours for 13.5 miles. Don’t know if I could do much more than that.
Anyway, back to the race.
The Boilermaker 15K is held in Utica, NY. We held the eastern version of it here this morning, on the same day as the event back home. Here there were several hundred runners while there they probably had 25,000 or more.
Race time there was a respectable 8 am. Here it was 5 am, thanks to some folks inability to deal with the heat. Actually, it was a smart move, considering it was already 87 at 5 am. Had they started it at 8am, it was 91 and an hour later it was 97. Definitely too hot to safely run a race.
Although we won’t talk about my noon-time run yesterday when it was 108.
The course here was a 4.65 mile loop that we had to run twice. They have hills in Utica; here we have a flat road with less than 20 feet of climbinb in the 15K. But to make up for the lack of hills we had a widely varying surface, from smooth asphalt to dirt to deep gravel to broken asphalt with foot-sized holes that were perfect for rolling an ankle.
I seeded myself towards the front since I was planning on giving this one all I had while pacing smartly. The horn went off and we were gone. I quickly settled in to a nice steady 7:40/mile pace, which I hoped to maintain all the way through and finish with a less-than-8:00/mile pace. As usual the rabbits were gone and they started falling back just over a mile into the race.
We spread out pretty quick and it was easy to find a rhythm. I had to laugh when we got to the far end turn and the guy was there yelling times (17:15, 17:20,…) although he didn’t know how far into the run we were. You know, useful information. BTW, my Garmin tells me we were at 2.29 miles.
Heading back in was uneventful, other than the quick dive into the Porta-John at mile 3.
At the mid-point turnaround it was pretty easy to gauge where folks were. Several dozen were ahead of me and there weren’t too many close behind. It wasn’t until about half a mile past the turnaround that we ran into a mass gaggle of folks headed in to the midway point.
I was feeling good, holding steady in Zone 4. That was one thing I was proud of during this effort. I had my Garmin on, but I didn’t pay attention to it. I just went by feel. I managed to hold solid in Zone 4 for most of the run. At just after 7.3 miles, I gave a little surge to pass a few people, which apparently put me into Zone 5, where I held it for the next 1.1 miles. That was a bit of a downfall there, since I felt like I had lead legs at mile 8.5-9.
During that stretch I was pushing to pass a few people. Why? A t-shirt.
When they announced the race, they said that the first 50 finishers would get a t-shirt. I didn’t know how far back I was, but everyone in front of me was the potential 50th finisher. So I was hunting them down. But during that half mile stretch between 8.5 and 9, I gave a few positions back thanks to my too early surge.
But by mile 9, I had it back and was able to steadily accelerate to the finish. I didn’t have a sprint left in the legs, which didn’t matter since the guy in front of me was about 100 meters ahead and the guy behind was about 50 meters back.
I can honestly say that I left it all on the course. And I was pleased with that.
Finish time was 1:16:29 for the 15K, which worked out to an 8:11/mile average. While off my goal, I was still pleased with my overall effort and pacing. Looking back at the data now that I’ve downloaded it has been enlightening, especially showing me why I had such heavy legs for that half-mile stretch.
All-in-all, a good time. Would I recommend this race? Yep. I think they did a good job of putting it on. Will I run it again? I sure as hell hope not. Would I want any of you to? No way.
But I’m glad I did it.
Did I get a shirt? Yep. But it turns out that they gave them out to the first 200 people that registered. And they weren’t Boilermaker shirts, just shirts of the base that we were running on.
At least Peachtree sent out “Official Iraqi Finisher” t-shirts. But I’m not complaining. I’m just glad to be able to get out and test myself once in a while against other folks instead of my normal plodding along for 2-3 hours in the dark by myself.