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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Utica Boilermaker 15K Road Race 2011

The Utica Boilermaker 15K Road Race is a fun, longer distance run with so much crowd support, you lose yourself in the excitement.
Whether a spectator, a runner, or a race worker, you will have a great time in this annual weekend long event.
Beginning on the Friday with the Fitness Expo

Kid's races, distance walks, and other events on Saturday, finally culminating in the Boilermaker 9.3 mile road race on Sunday.  A terrific afer party with Beer, Food, and over 30,000 people.  Fun, fun, fun!

A Personal Experience in Running the 2011 Boilermaker:

As usual in a race, three finish time goals were set in my mind:
1:10 = Highly unlikely but it might be worth the effort if "all stars align"
1:12 = Aggressive, but do-able.
1:14  = Last years time.  Nothing to get upset about but would like to see progress.

After picking up the race packet from the Expo on Friday, my bib color was yellow.  This meant I was in a corral one behind the assignment from last year.  I let this bother me.  In reality, it didn't make a difference and it should never have upset me in the first place.  After all, running is for fun and fitness. The 9.3 miles was going to be run at my best whether I was behind 100 or 10000 people. 
It’s how you run after you cross the starting line.

The starting line:   A mass of people.  For first timers in a large race, the sea of people might be overwhelming, causing nerves to get out of hand.  Relax.  All those people are out there to do the same thing you're going to do:  run a fun race the best they can.
boilermaker start
The start is well organized with officials being very strict regarding bib color and corral placement.  Don't try to sneak up in rank, it won't happen.  You can however, move behind to run with friends or family.

Speak to other runners and relax, take your mind off the job at hand until it's time to go.

The wheel chair gun goes off at 7:45 am.  The rest of the course begin at 8 AM and it's usually a few minutes until average runners cross the starting line.  Be patient.  Walk.  Don't try to start running with a wall of people in front of you. 

The pack won't loosen up for a couple of miles so the best bet is to run within the crowd as opposed to trying to skip to the grass and around.  You'll end up running more than a 15K.  Allow the crowd to control your initial warm up pace.  Take the first 5K (3.1 miles) slow, as a warm up.  Turn it on when you escape the masses.

Immediately, the crowd is on your side. They cheer for you beginning at the .1 mile mark. That's .1 not 1!  AND.. they will be with you all the way, the rest of the 9.2 miles.  Enjoy it.  Let the crowd fuel your run.

Because the Boilermaker begins with a slight incline, it may be a hard start.  Don't stress. Your legs will warm up and you will find a rhythm.  Take in the bands, the music, the dancers.  Run for fun.

Running Fuel:  Three to four hours before race start:   I had half an Ezekiel bagel with half a banana.  A bowl of oatmeal with a small piece of fruit works for a lot of people.  I don't recommend cereal with milk because dairy products (milk) can cause stomach upset. 
Before the gun,  an energy drink or gel is a good choice.
Between miles 3 to 5 and when a water stop is available, take another gel. Gels must be washed down with water or Gaterade.

Because the Boilermaker is run in July and typically warmer weather, it's important to take water or ice at each of the stations.  I hit all but 3.  It seemed like water was available every mile.

There are a few inclines.  Take them slow and enjoy the desents.  Don't push hard on the down hills. Allow gravity to take you.  You will only gain about 5% on the down hill and you'll lose 10% on the up hills. It's best to train for up hill running so you can take those hills strong.

The flats allow a runner to get in rhythm.  Set a pace.  Focus on the run.  It's during those "focus" times when I'm pushing hard that I begin to remember my pace goal.  I promise myself if I achieve it, I'll never run again.  But we all know that will never happen.  If I get my goal pace, I'll run harder the next time.  Set my goals even higher.

Turning up towards Utica College, at about the 6 to 7 mile point, is the third challenging incline.  It's gradual but it's long.  Dive into the sprinklers when they are offered.  Take water, focus on pace but run strong. 
So Close!

Some say the last 1 1/2 mile to 2 miles seems the longest.  That's most likely because of the heat, because you've been working hard.  The finish line is within reach.  Go for it!

My official NET time:  1:13:01.  This was my 2nd Boilermaker and it was a Personal Best. 
Splits – per Garmin:
1.  8:01 – Jell-O legs
2.  7:40 – Saw my parents.  WAVE! *The first time my parents have seen me run a race.
3.  7:50 – on towards Valley View.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run this road.
4.  8:03 – Into the golf course and up the hill.
5. 7:02  *Whoo- Whoo! (it was a down hill…I must confess)
6. 7:33 – Genesee Street and Sunset Ave.
7.  8:20 – To Utica College…chug, chug, chug
8. 7:33 – Doooowwwwnnnn, we go again.
9. 8:05 –That last mile. Just….Keep…Going.  Don’t stop for anything.
.3.  7:10 – The finish line is within reach.

Finished 1723 out of 11043(from the Utica OD). 31 out of 474 in my age group (from the Boilermaker site), 292 female.


If you ran, hope you had a GREAT race. See you next year!