This month I was slated to run two races. When I signed up for these, Winter still had hold of Spring and I was soooo over the cold that it did not register that July is THE hottest month of the year in my area, I just thought ahhh- Summer. Well, the first race was a 4-miler held on July 4th and I just about melted on the road. It was so incredibly hot that folks in the community came out to the curb armed with garden hoses to offer runners a bit of relief. It was horrible. The Second race was a 15k (9.3 miles) last weekend and again, the mercury was almost unbearable. But….the second race had a few things going for it that the first did not. A (party) bus ride, lunch and best of all: FREE BEER.
Yes, I ran the famous Utica Boilermaker 15k!!
It was my first time running this race and I went in not really knowing what to expect.
A few weeks earlier, friends had invited us to ride out on their chartered bus- they said that it would be a lot of fun.
They weren’t kidding! The bus loaded up with cooler after cooler, runner after runner and departed at 5AM sharp. At 5:01 am, we heard the pop of the first beer can and thought…”oh, this is going to be a fun crowd.”
I was not ready for said beer…not just yet- so I caught a few zzzz’s on the hour or so ride to the small city of Utica, NY. Pulling into town, the bus stopped at a light and the whole crew bellowed “OH, MAANNN!” Out my window was a runner already hunched over spewing all over the sidewalk. Poor guy should have taken notes to not drink before the race!
The driver dropped us off near the start and I was ready to join 40,000 other fools for a Sunday run through the streets of Utica.
I made a new friend who was a doll- and we ran together for the first mile or so and then we parted ways until the finish.
By 7am it was already in the upper 70’s so the name of the game was to stay hydrated and enjoy myself as much as I could. For me, it was just too hot to try to keep my normal pace or expect any sort of decent time.
To my surprise, not only were the streets filled with every color running shirt imaginable, they were also FULL of some of the best cheering crowds I’ve ever encountered. I think the whole entire population of Utica was camped out parade-style cheering loved ones as well as strangers to keep going- signs, cowbells, ice cubes, freeze pops, hand clappers, and music, all out in the heat to get runners to the finish. It was pretty awesome.
I wish I had a better sense to have my camera out for more pictures along the course-one thing I just loved was the permanent mile-marker signs along the course- that was pretty awesome. Just past sign 9, my calves cramped, making me look like a spaz trying to get my feet to turn over. I was determined to RUN across that finish line, so I took it extra slow- and it was awesome to cross that finish line!
I thanked the girl for handing me my finishers pin and made my way to the bus to change out of my running clothes and get my party clothes on! You see, the main sponsor of this race is Saranac Brewery and they throw a HUGE after party for all the runners, family and volunteers. It was so much fun!! The beer was cold, the band was great and all were ready to cheer one another on a run well done!
After the party, we headed to Tiny’s, a small little pub for a great lunch before heading back home- the heat, beer and food took a lot out of us and by 3pm we were all ready to crash and burn.
Would I do this again? My answer at first was “yes, but only the 5k!”….
But I’m sure if you ask me in the middle of March if I would do this again, I’m sure my answer will be :