Sunday, July 10, 2011

Boiler Up!

15K race recap

We left for Utica on Saturday afternoon. Prior to our departure I was a huge bitch to everyone in my path. My family knows when I am stressed out to just stay out of my way. Well, everyone but my father knows this. He just decides to ask questions I’ve already given answers to right when I am desperately searching for something I need to pack.

We got en route and drove right to the packet pick up at the race expo. Our clan we were staying with at the hotel was running late so a plan of photo id pictures sent via text message to us allowed us to pick up everyone elses bib’s & goodie bags.

D. had called when we were there and while we were picking up other bibs she managed to find me. We figured out the actual math and it was 3 years since we had seen each other. While picking up bib’s Paul asked if there was any spots that opened up so he could run the race. While he went off to do that D, her dad, & I went through the goodie bag line. I was picking up goodie bags for five people, when I hear “Ms. Miller!” Pam from Oswego jumped out and gave me a huge hug. She and I haven’t seen each other in 10 years. We talked quickly and then I exited the line and asked D. if she saw what just happened. I told her it was Pam. She said, “Pam from Oswego?” and I said “yep, I think I'm a little more nauseous now, then being worried about the race.” Pam was my first girlfriend and truly I haven’t seen her in over 10 years. She looked exactly the same, she looked good, and the hug was solid & true - reflecting on it now, I’m glad I ran into her.

D. & her dad left and I caught up with my brother. We made our way to the hotel and passed out everyone’s bibs & stuff. Then we headed to Lombardo’s and the pre race feast began. I got to eat everything that I had avoided for the week. Pizza, french fries, some antipasti and a huge Arnold Palmer.

Dinner was spent asking questions like what if I have to go to the bathroom while running? How do I take the water cups & drinks and run (pinch the cup) and pointers like take the ice and stick it down your bra.

After dinner we all just relaxed. The other gang played some frisbee outside. I got to have a nice conversation with Champ. Then we went to bed.

I had paul set his alarm in case mine didn’t work. Good thing too, because mine didn’t work. We woke up at 5:40 got dressed and were out of the hotel by 6am to drop off Steve at the 5K start line. Then we went and parked at the finish line and took the shuttles to the start. This was the first race where I had to do that. It was just pure insanity. Highly organized but still pure insanity. I was intimidated by runners who were more fit than I was. One kid was running it barefoot. I saw D. in the start corral, we hugged, I told her I loved her and hoped to see her at the end. We got to the start line corral and Ed suggested we just wait. It was good too because from the race start gun to when I crossed the start line was a good ten minutes. During this time my Champ texted and said she was at the start. It filled me with so much love to see her there.

I started the race at the back of the pack. Ed, Paul & Kate all are faster runners than I am, so they put some distance between us in the first mile. I’m not going to lie. The first mile was the hardest. I saw the pack her further away from me, I felt i was running too fast, my side was cramping. I felt lame for having to walk within the first mile. A race official saw me and told me to drink a lot of water, smile and just have fun.

The one thing I must say is the city of Utica fucking rocks. All along the race route the people were so great. So many smiles, high fives, Popsicle stops, ice stations all that were just spectator provided. The race was so well organized and there was music and entertainment the entire route.

My nike+ app was going and I had it give me time updates instead of mileage updates so I never knew where I was in mileage until I saw race signs and clocks. After I past the 5K distance I knew the mile 4 hill was coming up. I walked that bitch. I was perfectly fine with walking it. It was also at that time that we heard the winner ran the race in 43 minutes. I was just on mile 4 at that time. Downhill, I ran the whole way. I turned the corner and then was onto mile 5.  I’ve never run past 4.5 miles in all of my training. I just ran 5 miles. I was half way through with the race.

I approached the 6th mile & 10K distance at a rate that I never imagined. 1 hour 38 minutes. When I passed the 10K marker I thought OK Hollie, this is where you said you’d at least be happy with yourself but seriously it’s just one more 5K. Mile 7 is another incline I needed to walk it. I was still walk/running but I needed to walk the hill. All along the route little kids were clamoring to hand me my waters, EMS were checking in with me to see if I was doing OK. I was in a race with two men in their 70’s and one power walker in her early 40’s.

Mile 8 I rounded the corner to the factory and was like WHAT THE FUCK, there’s no shade like you said there would be son. My battery on my phone crapped out and I had to run the rest of the race with no music. No music, dead legs, and swelling hands were all piling up on me. Then like a vision from and oasis there was Joel coming towards me. He handed me his water bottle and showed me how to power walk to make my arms pull me forward and do the work for me. I kept walking and he jumped out and got me a cherry snow cone from the people on the side of the race. It felt good & cold and I was so hot that it was awesome. The whole way getting to mile 9 people kept saying it’s all downhill, or it’s almost finished. We got past mile 9 and Joel said OK, it’s .3 of a mile, that’s like 6 city blocks. I picked up my feet and trotted down the hill. Joel left me and told me it was all me across the finish line. As I approached there was Champ on the right cheering out my name.

I crossed the finish line and Ed congratulated me on finishing my first Boilermaker. A race official came up to me and said this was your first time? I replied yes. She said thank you for running and congratulations and I’d like to shake your hand. So she did.

I finished the race with a net time of 2:34:46

From there was was getting to the post race party. I needed salt very badly. I had stopped at all 20 water stations, so I was hydrated but I lost so much salt through my sweat that my fingers were swollen and I couldn’t make fists without my hands shaking. We found Paul, I drank a beer, and then we ate our lunches in the sun. Champ suggested I get a massage before we left and she went and signed me up for one. It was one of the greatest things. While walking back to the cars we stopped in the Saranac gift shop for some discounted brews but we lost Steve in the crowd.

My legs were OK but my feet had blisters so it was hard to walk. We got back to the truck and I got my bag and Paul drove Champ & I to her car. We stopped at the first rest area and ran into my brother there. I got the best chocolate milkshake and pretzels i’ve ever eaten. Champ had to run back in after and she ran into Joel.

The car ride home with her was so nice. We knew it would be the last moments we’d have together before she left. Our goodbye at my house was hard. I honestly miss her already. She kept smiling at me and told me how proud of me she was. I still love the fact she woke up ass early and drove an hour and a half and had her own crazy misadventures to see me in this race.

I got inside and my mom started to help me with my blisters. My left foot is OK but my right foot had a blister the side of a silver dollar. I took a three hour nap. Our parents went and got food for Paul & I and then my mom and I watched Life as We Know It. It was good and I didn’t have to think (like in all Katherine Heigl) movies. However, there was a scene where her character drives as fast as she can to the airport. That’s when I cried. There is a huge part of me that wants to do that tomorrow but I'm in training from 10am-2pm and her flight is at 3pm. So I’m just going to take tomorrow easy. I’m going to let myself feel everything that I feel tomorrow.

So what’s the next race? Silks & Satins 5K in Saratoga State Park in about two weeks. I have the rest of July before I make my decision but the next big race may be The Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January. I’d start training for it in August. I’m pretty settled on doing it but I just want to let myself come down from my runner’s high.


  1. congrats once again, hollie. and there's an 88% chance i'll be in Disney coaching that Half. =)

  2. great story!!!!!!!!!!!

    ya dun good, kid :D