Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Boilermaker 15K - 1:27:28

Incredible Day!

The Boilermaker 15K is billed as one of the top races in the country... and it is! I can't imagine many others being able to compete with the course,community participation,organization, level of competition or the excitement.

I didn't beat my goal of 1:25:00. However, I couldn't be happier with how it went. I ran the 15K or 9.3 miles in 1:27:28. The part I'm happiest about is that I got increasingly stronger as the race went on. This race had splits at the 5K and 10K points. With 11,000 runners completing the race and hundreds more than that starting it, the start was crazy.

I started way back. As a matter of fact, it took me about five and a half minutes to get to the starting line after the gun. With the horde of people basically on top of you at the beginning, it is very difficult to get into any sort of comfortable pace. Not that I cared. Thousands of people line the streets, bands are playing every quarter mile, and runners are literally running with their hands in the air waving to family, friends, and t.v. cameras for most of the first 5K of the race. With this in mind, I ran my first 5K in 31.16. This was almost as slow as my first 5K in April but, as I've indicated,enjoying the surroundings and taking in everything going on around me was the priority.

Almost immediately after the 5K split, the course begins a not so gradual up hill run for the next two miles. It takes you through Utica Country Club and seemed to keep getting steeper and steeper with each step. This also is where runners began getting little more elbow room- although not much. It's also where I started to find my groove. Mile 4 was the only stretch that wasn't five deep with spectators. Approaching the six mile point, I stopped(for the first time) in order to take some electrolyte pills, energy gel and water. I didn't as much stop as I got off to the side of the road just sort of inhaled all three at the same time. It couldn't have cost me more than ten seconds and the re-fueling definitely helped as I finished the race. I ran the second 5K in a great pace and completed it in 28:21 for a total time of 59:37. I knew at this point I could come close to beating my goal of 1:25:00. However, I would need to run my fastest 5K ever to do it.

The final two miles are absolutely incredible. The spectators are ringing cowbells, water stations were at every half mile and runners are cheering each other on like I've never come close to seeing before. As I approached the 9-mile marker, I was at a clock time of 1:29:00. Knowing I had started over five minutes past the gun/clock time, I realized I wouldn't beat the 1:25:00 but that I could come pretty close to running my best 5K. As I got to the finish line, the clock read 1:32:46. The final 5K was 27:52. Not my best 5K, but certainly better than I could have ever imagined running miles 6.3 - 9.5. Looking at the splits, If I could have run the first 5K in the time I ran my second or even my third, than I would have beat my goal by close to a minute. I'm not gonna second guess though. I mean, if my aunt had a mustache she'd be my uncle, right?

I ran this at a 9:24/mile pace. The best part about it was that I could have gone longer. If I can ever run the marathon in anything close to this pace than I will come close to breaking 4 hours. The 4-hour mark seems almost unthinkable to me. This was close to a minute and a half better than my average for the Fairfield Half Marathon.

Following the race, close to 40,000 people packed into the Saranac Brewery park. Free sandwiches, beer, powerdrinks, and fruit for everybody. Bands played, a pretty bad ass military flyover and the awards ceremony entertained everyone. The Boilermaker was really a great experience and one that I look forward to enjoying for years to come.

The winner, Ridouane Harroufi of Morocco, won with a time of 43.56 in what was a very exciting finish.

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