This race isn’t scenic. It isn’t fun. And the weather is usually in some way nasty — this year it was with 30 mph winds gusting up to 40 mph. Yet, I come back year after year — I always feel my year starts out on the right foot with this “race”.
The Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Clubputs on what they call the winter series. They are, at their heart, a supported long run:
- There are water stops
- There are course marshals
- There are different distances to choose from
- There is food afterwards
- There are photographers
- There is no fee for club members; $5 for non-members
What they are not:
- They are not chip timed
- They are not accurately measured
- They are not scenic
There are no packets, since there are no bibs or chips or medals. I like the fact that the race doesn’t start until noon, even though I don’t stay up til midnight on New Year’s, but it does make eating a little funky.
However, despite the lack of shirts or even bibs, you still have to come early (parking can go quickly sometimes) and you do have to sign in — whether you registered online (I never do) or not.
This year I picked up one of our running group who lives near me (she’d driven me to Last Run) — we left around 10:45. We were definitely early, but some of our group were already there. I hit the indoor bathroom before there was a line.
Why yes, there was a plan
I planned to treat the race as a mini tempo run. I planned to warmup & cooldown in the first and last half mile, and push the pace the rest of the race.
So how’d that work for me?
- Mile 1: 10:37. Some moderate inclines and declines. Oops, didn’t quite follow the plan here.
- Mile 2: 10:29. Mostly flat.
- Mile 3: 10:23. Mostly a long, slow decline. In previous years I’d slowed down in mile 3, despite the decline. Here I’m working on some nice negative splits!
- Last .7: 11:13. Well, I did follow the plan and pulled back the pace here. I won’t lie, either — I was tired and quite happy to slow down. Until I saw that I was close to my PR for this race after all. It was probably close to a 5k PR at that point, too.
My times for this race:
- 2011: 38:48
- 2012: 40:40
- 2013: 41:15
- 2014: 40:45
- 2015: 39:22
- 2016: 38:45
- 2017: 40:03
- 2019: 39:41
The weather & dressing
The weather was warmer than most years, around 40, but with those nasty winds, the feels like was in the 30s. I wore my Skirt Sports Triple Pocket Tight in Charmed, Skirt Sports Toasty Cheeks Skirt(because of that wind!), Wonder Wool Long Sleeve (I’m a Skirt Sports Ambassador), and New Balance Jacket. I was happy with how I dressed.
What I Learned
No race is ever all good or all bad, of course, and it helps to look back at both the positives and negatives. Negatives:
- Only one water stop. Unlike most people, I like to drink water every mile — even for a cold almost 4 mile race. So I just carry a small water bottle with me.
- The wind! It was nasty.
- The very unscenic course.
- Chatting with friends pre and post race.
- It’s free if you’re a HMRRC member — including food before and after the race (although they used to serve pizza and no longer do). Bananas, cookies, bread, peanut butter, soup, etc. I just ate the snack I’d brought with me, though.
- Starting the year off with a “race”.
- I won’t lie — I was a little miffed when I realized if I’d just pushed a bit harder that last 3/4 mile, I could have started the year off with a shiny new PR. I realize, though, that I hadn’t planned to really race it, and that I did a very good job considering the winds. I’m very happy with my performance.
Was the race well run?
Yes, the race is very well run. The volunteers (thank you!) do an excellent job of directing you, and there was more signage this year, too — there’s also a half marathon, so there are several places where the half marathoners go a different route.
It’s not chip timed, as I said, but there is a finish clock and you’re handed a numbered index card as you cross the finish line to write down your time. There was also a table at the finish line — outside! — so that you could hand in your card right away — brrrr! It might have been nice running weather, but I’d be really cold having to sit out there.
Will I run it again next year? If I’m here and the weather isn’t too atrocious, no doubt you’ll find me running this race on New Year’s Day 2020.