Sunday, July 12, 2015

2015 Boilermaker 15k

Weather: Mostly Sunny, 68°F, 85% Humidity, Wind: W @ 3 mph.
Route: Utica Boilermaker 15k
Time (Pace): 1:19.40 (8:33 min/mile)

The 15k course.
Pre-Race Observations: As with most road races I am planning to run this year, this is my first Boilermaker in  few moons. I've run this race twice previously, once in 2007 and a second time the following year. The second time I improved upon the first by exactly a minute (from 1:08 to 1:07), but this time, seven years later, I do not envision another drop. My goal in entering this year was to use the race as an opportunity to challenge myself in tough conditions (the weather is usually humid) and to simply get out of the neighborhood for a faster paced run. This is by no means a "PR course," and my target time is the same as the time I gave for purposes of being placed with like runners: 1:20. Seven years ago I'd have thought this time slow, but now, I'd gladly write that down as the finish.

Another Boilermaker beer glass added
to the collection: I much prefer this to a
finisher's medal!
I had also envisioned having my wife or son come to help with the driving (it's a little over two hours each way), but that never materialized, so I'll be waking up at 3:30 a.m. to get to the finish area to find a parking spot that will allow me to skedaddle after finishing the race. Much of what the Boilermaker is about is the tradition of hanging out afterwards and "partying," something I am not inclined to do without my family. (I did hangout with friends following the 2008 race, when I took a charter bus from the area--while much fun was had, I'd rather head home this year). The race will also be my last "serious" key run prior to a taper week in advance of next Saturdays half-marathon.

Post-race Reflections: Upon arriving at the finish line at 6:00 a.m., I was fortunate enough to find what would ultimately be the best possible parking spot. Because I arrived in town early, and needed to shuttle to the start and pick up my bib number, I had plenty of time prior to the race to continue hydrating and use the pot-a-johns. As has been my previous experiences, the Utica Boilermaker was tremendously well-organized and run by the army of volunteers  from the community. The weather at the start was very near perfect, with the only real mis-step in my pre-race planning was my choice of attire.

The nmaster of teh crappy selfie
with his deadly cotton tee.
Never forget that cotton kills. I have heard and used this aphorism many times as a coach, but failed to take my own advice by wearing a cotton tee over a running shirt. Normally this would not be such a big deal, but the high humidity did make for a war run. I was very lucky that there were many water stations and sprinklers set-up throughout the 9.3 miles that in the end the biggest issue was the weight of the wet cotton.

I felt strong during my run, engaging the three primary inclines head-on and "coasting" on the downhills. I met my goal of 1:20, crossing the finish line with a net time (I didn't cross the start line until almost 7 minutes into the race!) in 1:19.40. The time much slower than my previous Boilermakers, but I was proud to have finished without stopping and to have maintained my composure fairly well given the humidity. The only consultation as that my result looks good in the context of the larger race (though many of the runners should have been in a corral at the start for "walkers." Overall I placed 2,635th of 11,575 total competitors, good for 2,403rd place among all 6,201 male finishers. In my gender/age group (Male 45-49), I placed 176 of 594 finishers. My average mile pace of 8:33 is consistent with the pace I have been training at, but I feel as though on a latter curse I could improve upon that significantly.

Next Saturday, I am registered for the Shoreline Half Marathon, so with any luck, I will be able to prove the accuracy of that hypothesis!

Full results for the 2015 Utica Boilermaker 15k are available by clicking here.

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