It was so funny reading the start of last year’s recap (read it here), about Mr. Judy and Bandit having no problems that first day. If only we knew what we were in for! Again, what a difference a year makes . . . in life and running.
Getting There & Hanging Out
For the past couple of years I’ve been going up with my neighbor, which has worked really well for us, but sadly she has had to take a break from running. Luckily, I was able to bum a ride with my USAFit Albany buddies. In fact, one of them (thank you, Jeri!) had picked up my packet over the weekend. I could get used to that!
Our power went out for several hours the night before the race. No idea why. Our generator didn’t kick in (turns out it needed a new battery). So that made life — and dinner — interesting. Not quite the restful evening I’d envisioned.
We left a bit after 7 am (the race starts at 9 and it’s roughly a half hour drive), and while we were unable to park where our driver had planned to, we found parking on the street close by.
We used the bathrooms, wandered around a while bumping into runners we knew, and then about 8:20 I went off to do my warm up mile & dynamic warmup. I didn’t find my buddies again before the race.
This was the first year the race used corrals, and I started walking the wrong way and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t find my corral . . . eventually I realized my mistake but it wasn’t so easy to squeeze in near the front by that point.
I really tried to chick shirtless old dude — couldn’t do it!
My Race Plan
I didn’t have a plan. Seriously. I kind of hoped I could get below an 11 mm for most of the miles, but I knew it was hot and I should also take it somewhat easy. In fact, Coach Rachel @ Runningonhappy had emailed me gently suggesting I should run easy . . . bwahaha. Not so much.
I didn’t look up past times. I just did ran the mile I was in.
So how’d that work for me?
- Mile 1: 11:28. I think the corrals really worked against me here. I know that I was in the right one (10 mm and above) — obviously. But it’s so congested with walkers and people who don’t race a lot. It’s a holiday race, I get that. Still, I’m pretty sure with more room to run I could have had a faster first mile. But who knows? Maybe I would have slowed down at the end if I had.
- Mile 2: 11:07. So glad I chose to use my small hand held water bottle. No water stops until mile 2 is just not for me on a hot day. I never had to stop at a water stop.
- Mile 3: 10:51. When I look at the elevation chart, the hills aren’t that high. Which is exactly what I wrote in last year’s recap. Only I purposely didn’t reread it. They sure feel like mountains!
- Mile 4: 10:39. Much of the route actually is blessedly shady, which is good, because it seems like we never get clouds. But we lose the shade in the last mile. And there’s still one last hill to tackle. I thought for sure I’d blown my negative splits here. And there was the guy I was really trying to chick at the end . . . I just couldn’t do it. Darn it. But maybe that was the reason behind my speedy last mile.
44:17 — Official Time
11:04 Average Pace
Every single mile was faster than last year. While obviously not a course PR, it was so close. And almost 3 minutes faster than last year! And negative splits. When I looked back at last year, it was the same starting temperature (70) – and also negative splits.
And that course PR a couple of years ago? It was set on a rainy, cool day. Sadly my Garminconnect doesn’t have the data for it. I was very pleased with this race!
Was the race well run?
This race is so much fun — if you’re ever in Saratoga, NY on the fourth you should check it out. There’s a ton of spectator support and the locals are out in force with hoses — much appreciated!
The late start is a pain, as is parking. Unless you know Saratoga well, the parking situation is nerve wracking.
I understand why they’ve gone to a corral system for the start, but I definitely feel it held me back, and of course part of the purpose is to make the race less congested.