Race Report: The Boilermaker 15K Road Race

I did it!  Another race on my sweat resume! This was my second year doing The Boilermaker 15K, and for those of you who have only recently started reading 'round these parts, this was actually the first "real" race that I registered for last year.  This race was the reason why this whole blog thingy started with my very first post in November of 2008!  Although I had never in my lifetime ran more than 4 miles, and I had only done a few 5K races up until that point, My Sista convinced me that I could run The Boilermaker.

And I did.


This year was much slower than last year, and included a fair amount of walking.  The reason why is because in the midst of training for The Celebration Triathlon, I wasn't training for 9 miles of hills.  I realized over the past few weeks that although I can do my fair share of multitasking in real life, I am still learning how to multitask from a physical perspective.  Had I thought a little more about my schedule, I would have planned a little better.

Have patience.  I'm still learning.

A better plan would have been to look at The Boilermaker as the major event that I was training for (mileage-wise), and planned my running schedule during triathlon training accordingly.  I'm honestly not really sure why I didn't consider that, but I didn't.  We'll chalk this one up to another learning experience.

It was so fun, and I am honestly not really concerned about my time.  Of course I would have liked to do better this year than last, but the memories of my weekend are worth more than taking a few minutes off of my race time.

The Boilermaker 15K is basically the MAJOR event of the year in Utica, NY.  The race begins among the streets of the city, and ends at the F.X. Matt Brewing Company (Saranac Beer), where a huge party is thrown for all of the finishers.  This race is basically the best and biggest 15K race in the entire country, and has so been voted many times.  Last year was the 30th anniversary of the race, and something along the lines of 11,000 people participated.  The race grows each and every year.

This year was no exception.  There were over 13,000 runners in this years' Boilermaker, over 6,000 volunteers, somewhere around 20,000 spectators, and 19 aid stations.  It's an amazingly supported race.  The race packet pickup is smooth, the expo is amazing with tons of vendors and free samples, and the course is packed with spectators.

Picture 1

I have nothing at all negative to say about the race.

Except the hills.  Damn those hills!


One thing that I noticed this year that was not present last year was a lot of crowding at the start.  The race begins on a narrow city street, and there are only 3 bib colors.  Yellow and green bib runners are elite or very fast, and gray bib runners are the rest.  Gray bib runners are the rest.

Did you hear me?

Gray bib runners.  The rest.  13,000.

At the start, it was impossible to get any further to the back of the gray bib group.  Even if there were 3,000 yellow and green bibs, that still means that I needed to weave and elbow my way through 10,000 gray bibs in order to get to the back of the pack where I rightfully belonged.  When I saw that my sister and I had the same bib color, I knew that this was going to be a problem.

She was apparently blessed with all of the fast-twitch muscles that my parents were capable of cultivating.

She just looks fast, right? =)

I tried my best to stay to the right so that everyone else could pass me, but I noticed that runners were passing me on the right, running into the grass.  One girl passed me on the right by running through a hazardous ditch.  I felt bad that she had to do that, but by all 'rules of the road', I was supposed to be out of her way.  When I looked around me, I realized that the problem was that other participants who were slogging, wogging, or just plain walking, were littered throughout the road.  People walking directly down the middle of the street!

Why do people do that?  Just not educated about running etiquette?  In any case, I feel that some of this could have been avoided with more bib colors, or even a wave-type start.  Although I don't really have to worry about passing many people who are actually running (I'm lucky if I can pass walkers), My Sista had a lot of issues with slowbies being completely in the way taking up the whole road.

But guess what?  I didn't really care about any of this when I was running!  I had so much fun.  The course is very hard with all of the hills, but I quickly came to the realization that I was going to walk if I felt like it, and I'd finish when I finished.  I was pretty impressed with myself for having done this race at all, considering that my longest run since March was 6 miles, which I did 5 days before the race.  Prior to that, I had barely ran at all.


I ran pretty much right up until the end (with a few walk breaks here and there), and then I did the Galloway 1:1 method for about the last 1.5-2 miles.  I figured that at least if I was going to need to walk, I should keep track of how long I was walking, and keep it to a system.

Yay, we did it!

After the race, I felt great.  I chugged some water, and we went out to breakfast.  Much like any other day that I sweat profusely and exert myself, I started to get a headache.  In the past, these headaches have left me completely out of commission for an entire day.  I decided that rather than lay down and rest when I got home, I should just keep it movin.  I decided to take some quiet time for myself and enjoy my hometown.

My parents live about 5 minutes away from this:


It's my quiet place.


One of my favorite places to be.


Just me and my camera, watching the boats pass by.  On the way back to my car, I bought the most enormous waffle cone filled with blackberry frozen yogurt and rainbow sprinkles.  I think I may have started a new post-race ritual.

My post-race trip was so relaxing, and I didn't get a headache!  In fact, I felt great all day on Sunday.  When I woke up yesterday morning, my hips were a little sore, but nothing major.  Today, I still feel great.

I'm convinced that it was that 2 hours of relaxation that I made the time for.

Have you relaxed lately?


p.s...stay tuned tomorrow for my post on Hollaback Health!


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