Monday, July 9, 2012

There goes a fighter

I tracked my split times on my watch during the race. I wanted to see if it was possible for me to come in at 2:28 - like the pace calculator said I could. 

lap 1 - (taken at mile 2) = 29:03:00
Mile 3=46:01:00
Mile 4 =1:17:00
Mile 5=1.33:00
10K 6.2=1:36:56
Mile 7=1:51:21
Mile 8=2:07:50
Mile 9=2:24:50
15K 9.3=2:29:42
Boilermaker Race Elevation Chart

best pace 10.33, average 16.02

Elevation Stats
total decent 857ft, total ascent 838ft
max altitude 822ft, min altitude 447ft

The Boilermaker is an amazing race. It's terribly hard but amazing. We went up on Saturday to pick up bibs & goody bags. We stay in Ilion, NY at a very shady motel that regularly is $25 a night but during the Boilermaker weekend, it's $94 a night. Things I learned from last year was to bring flip flops. Things I will remember for next year are, sleeping bag, ear plugs, and pillow I don't mind throwing away. My "husband" snored a little, much quieter than my family, and so much quieter than others who say they don't snore.

We go to the same restaurant for dinner and try to find ways to entertain ourselves in the evening. Normally, we get pizza and wings but none of us really felt like that. All three of us were drained for various reasons. I was drained because I got up early, met my running group and walked two miles. By the time i got home from breakfast and showered, it was time to head down to Ed's. So no nap, car ride, heat, & hunger made me a hungry tired bear.

We tried searching for a karaoke bar, as Ed's heard my smack talk but never heard me really sing. Our search failed [however, he asked the McDonald's people in the morning and we found out at the bowling alley they do it - so next year we've got somewhere to go if we want]

Steve & I shared a room and we both went back to it after dinner, around 8:45pm. I read a few chapters in Catching Fire and he read about the race I think. By 10pm we both were ready to sleep, Ed stopped by - said that one part of our crew would be in at 10:30, the other part around midnight.

5:30am is the wake up time. This lets us leave by 6, drive to McDonalds, then drive to the finish to get the shuttles to the start. This is when we met "team hardcore" [Brian, Roshan and Rachel]. I'm partially joking. They were all super nice and very supportive. However, they all came out in their Team in Training jersey's with the football player lines under the eyes, and all the stuff to make a hotel room comfortable. a.k.a. they've done things like this before. "Team Hardcore" is lead by Joel and as always it is nice to see his smiling face and I love hearing his laugh when I tell good jokes at 6am.

Kate's parents were running the race for the first time, the nervous but excited energy was there in her dad. We parked the cars, Steve dropped a pin on his phone, and we headed to the shuttles. I hung out in the front of our group and talked to Rachel as the line moved quickly. I told them about the zebra ladies at mile 6, and the stilts guy at mile 7 that I always want to push over.  The buses come up quickly and you get on the ones they tell you. I started to get on the first bus, the same as "team hardcore", Ed and Kate were told to go to the next bus, but her parents saw me go on and said, "we're with that group" and got on the bus with us, while Ed, Kate and Steve got on the next bus.

Kate's mom introduced herself to me and apologized for splitting me and my husband up. I was quick to let her know Steve wasn't my husband [not that he wouldn't be a good one, just more shocked that someone thought I was straight] We got to the port-a-potty area and I snuck in line with Kerry as we gave Kerry, Nathan & Jeff their bibs. People freak out easily when they hear the gun for the wheelchair race go off, and from there they announced the race was to start but we all knew there would be a good 15 minute difference from the start to when we got there.

We start at the back of all the people in the race. It's chip timed so it just makes it easier. I spotted some USAFit marathoner's and got their attention and said hello. It was kind of neat to be in this group of 15 in the back that I knew all of them. We spotted Marey & Joe and they came over and started with us too.

The first mile of the Boilermaker sucks for me. It makes me think "why in the hell did i sign up for this" but I know mile two is my jam. It's shaded, the people are great. I told "team hardcore" about the popsicle's, how I know they are given out but by the time I get to the area, all i see are wrappers. I was running and spotted a lime green popsicle and I ran right to it. I got the last one. In my mind this meant I was much speedier than I imagined. [both Ed & Steve told me later that when they passed the popsicle's, Steve didn't take one and said "I'm leaving that one for Hollie"] 

The end of mile two into mile three just sucks. It's a gradual steady incline. It takes you to the monster mile long hill. When I passed the mile three marker the woman in front of me stopped to take a picture of the long trail of runners on the hill. I had forgotten other people were racing until she took that picture. This caused her to pause, which caused me to pass her! I was counting "kills" during the race, this was my second kill.

I will always walk the long hill in the golf course [until i'm a stronger runner]. I kept moving my little arms faster and knew that i'd make up some time on the downhill. I picked off and old man and the power walker who beat me last year. I kept doing my intervals nice and strong through 5.5 miles but by mile six the heat was finally beating down on me. My long sleeve white shirt helped so much, reflected sun and when it was wet it helped me cool down with the breeze. I hit the 10K mark and was just two minutes over my best 10K time. It is at that point where you just have to tell yourself it's one more 5K.

However, it's probably my least favorite part of the race. From mile six to seven there is no shade and a hill incline. I constantly swear "fucking utica college" while walking it, because it's the only frame of reference I have. Also, all the Uticans that say it's all downhill from here - I know you are lying. Mile seven also houses the man on stilts on the decline. Because I am in pain & struggling with deadened legs at this point, I always want to push over the guy on stilts. However, I always give him a high five and continue to run. This is where I picked up two more kills.

On this decline there are a lot of water sprayers. One's set up on the course and ones set up by Utican's with their hoses. I got sprayed down as many times as I could, without a care of my wet tshirt contest I had going on. [i was wearing an orange sports bra, so i didn't care] I got to mile eight. This is where last year Joel found me and got me a sno-cone. This year, there were no sno-cones and no Joel. It was better that way. I had to do it myself. I had to make it to the finish myself.

Joel's words of pump your arms poured into my head and I did. I tried to get back into my intervals but they mostly came when I found people I wanted to try and pass. I was inching closer and closer to the beef team woman and three of her pink shirt friends. They were walking/running for fun at this point. I stated to myself - a kill is a kill. At mile nine I was right behind them. I walked as fast as I could, knowing I could pull it out in the last .3 of the race. That last .3 is downhill. I ran the first .15 to get past the women. That made 10 kills! I walked the next .10 so I had enough to run the last .5

I finished it. Created a new personal record. No one was at the finish line for me. That was sad and hard for like 30 seconds. I caught my breath and knew I had to meet up with everyone at the post race party. I was excited to tell everyone how I did. I walked through the crowds, gave miniature dirty looks at people without race tags eating the oranges out for the racers [as there were people out there still] and turned on my cell reception to get a text from Joel having us all meet up. I drank my first beer. Ed found us and handed me a second beer & a yogurt. I ate an apple & grapes given to me by "team hardcore" and smiled a lot. Joel placed my finisher's medal around my neck and I went to grab two more beers. I had beaten my second race - to drink more than .5 of a beer at the end.

I tried my damnest to find the sno-cone area and to meet up with USAFit people but I couldn't find them and figured they had already hopped back on the bus to Albany. I was hoping to get a picture with all four of my running mentors [Ed, Joel, Kerry and Jenika] but that's like a big dream to wrangle in a crowd of 20,000 people. Jeff texted Ed saying Kerry finished the race and was in need of my inhaler, so we found them and hung out in the shade for a little while.

We rolled out, making a stop at the brewery to use our half off with race bib discount making sure to keep our eye on Steve as last year we lost him. Last year it was hell for me going to the brewery because I was so sore. I just sat there. This year, a case of Utica Club was purchased and carried back to the car.

I changed into my I RUN UTICA shirt and wore my medal with pride. I asked if we could stop at the first rest stop so I could get milkshakes for everyone. Ed obliged and once again, it was the greatest tasting thing in the world.

Upon my arrival home, I showered and changed and waited for my friend John to come over. It was a night of wine, great food, Game of Thrones, and ice packs. I fell asleep around 9:30. I am off from work today and have a very nice day planed. Oil change, pedicure & manicure, massage, dinner, and a movie. I earned it. I am proud of myself for so many reasons.

I know I have literal & figurative miles to go in my half marathon training. I know that it's OK to not have anyone at the finish line, because there are so many waiting other places to hear the results. I know that I can push myself. I know that comfort is a dirty drug. I know it's OK to remember but so much better to push forward. I know that when I set goals, I work hard to achieve them. I know that I am "selfish" and that I want this, this ability to take the time to prove something to myself. That I can be the version of the person I see on the inside and that pictures do not reflect who I am.


  1. Hollie, you rule. I just read your blog to "team hardcore" in the car on our way back to NYC. They loved it. *proud*

  2. LOVE.
    this made me smile, LOL, tear up a little and be inspired. (not necessarily to run , but to just stay facing forward!)

  3. Hollie, I've said it before and I will say it again. You ROCK! I tried so hard to get back through the finish line to find you and was so bummed when I was turned away. BUT, you didn't need me or anyone to get you through those 9.3 miles, because you did it all by yourself. : ) So proud of how far you've come and SO can't wait to see you finish your half!!! P.S. Love that yours sports bra was ORANGE!

  4. Great blog post and great race, Hollie! It was so good to meet you on Sunday. I had a such a fun day... hoping to do it again next year!

    (I got a kick out of your description of "team hardcore" because although the boys are definitely hardcore runners, I most certainly am not. Ha. Ask Joel. I just do it all for fun.)