I want to begin this blog by saying that the Boilermaker Road Race marked two significant events:
- My very first 15k race. I have never ran 9.3 miles at one time until Sunday, July 10, 2011.
- I realized that I am capable of unthinkable things. Unthinkable being defined by myself.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was asked to run the 15k race, as opposed to the 5k. Not that I had been hardcore training or anything for the 3.1 miles, but it was going to be the summer of 5ks. I truly thought that the shortest distance was my running niche. It was comfortable, and possibly one day I would kick it up to run a 10k now and then. So I was shocked when offered the opportunity to run an additional 6.2 miles, something inside me said, “HELLZ YEAH I CAN DO THAT!”
I had no idea what to expect when I was dropped off at the staging area on the outskirts of Utica. The 5k race began at 7:15, and the 15K at 8:00 am. The only downside of staying in Cooperstown was that we had to get up at 5:00 am in order to pick up our race packets during the designated times. Because my race started later, I had a good hour and fifteen minutes to let the magnitude of what I had signed myself up for sink in. I began to psych myself up just a little too much, and the waves of other racers (that I was sure were far more experienced and at ease than myself) that joined me did not calm my nerves at all. I had my iPhone strapped onto my arm, so I hooked up my earbuds and listened to some Lady Gaga and the soundtrack to the musical Grey’s Anatomy episode. Call me lame or whatever you want, but it helped. A little. There was still something in the pit of my stomach that needed to be addressed, but again due to my novice status, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. Then it hit me:
And that really REALLY helped. Twice it helped.
Thank goodness I went early. So many people. So many cups of water.
Oh yea, that was intimidating as hell. Until I saw women who looked like they could be my family doctor dip into the cover of the woods to release their own anxiety. I saw no toilet paper or napkin tables.
It took me and the back of the line over ten minutes to get up to the official starting line after the gunshot that marked the start of the race was fired. I felt like my heart was going to pound out of my chest for those ten minutes. And after my foot crossed the threshold of the Boilermaker 15k Road Race, my fears of not finishing and words of doubt drizzled out of my head and I was off.
I’d love to say that I ran the entire way, but I’m even MORE proud of myself to say that I knew when enough was enough and walked portions of the last mile. I need to give a shout out to my digestive system for holding out until that point as well. I was able to comfortably run the entire first 8.3 miles without feeling rumbles in my tummy or cramps in my legs. Those water stations were heaven-sent and I only slowed down to pick up my cup and gurgle out, “thank you!” My favorite part of the entire race were the popsicles. GENIUS! Oh! And of course the cheers of support that lined the entire race route. Truly. There had to be at least ten different groups of musicians, DJs, dancers, and entertainers who came out to keep the runners’ spirits up. Everything from hip hop to polka to salsa dancing and music.
What kept my eye on the prize when I wanted to stop was thinking about seeing my sisters and Dear Hubby at the finish line. They embraced me with so much love and support, I felt like I had just rescued a baby from a burning building. You know, that would be a great euphemism for going #2. Anyways, I felt great!
And the festivities didn’t stop after the race was over either. After collecting myself at a normal heart rate, I went to pick up my lunch and prize bag. Lunch was turkey sandwiches, chips, bananas, water, and yogurt. And I cleaned out half of our running group’s goodies.
We all had to work in the morning or had flights, so we made our way to our cars and bid the 2011 Boilermaker Road Race a lovely party, and told everyone we’d see them next year.