This is my fourth time running this 15k race. In 2011, my first time, I finished in 1:36:08. I was injured in 2012 and then I ran it in 2013 and finished with a disappointing 142:22.
With over 2000 runners in this race, they were forced to make some changes to the course last year.
It no longer starts and ends in Central Park. It also starts earlier – 8:30 am
This is a description of the new course:
It starts near Veterans Park in downtown Schenectady. The course travels west on State Street for 1K before entering the historic Stockade District and proceeding on a scenic bike path in Riverside Park along the Mohawk River. The course exits the Stockade District via Front Street after crossing Erie Blvd. The course then proceeds east on Nott Street past Union College before entering the historic GE Plot residential neighborhood via Lenox Ave, Douglas Rd and Rugby Rd. The course exits Rugby Road and proceeds north on Waverly Place near the 5K mark. The course turns east off Waverly and follows Grand Blvd to the city boundary with Niskayuna, then proceeds south on Dean Street to Central Parkway past 8k. After a 1K residential loop on Central Parkway, the course enters beautiful Central Park and follows a bike path around Iroquois Lake and Duck Pond before reaching its highest elevation near 12K. The final 3k is mostly downhill or flat as the course exits Central Park and proceeds west through historic Vale Cemetery and Vale Park before a final downhill section on Franklin Street to the finish at City Hall.
Well, I loved the new course and finished the race with a new PR – 1:33:23
This year, they decided to stay with the same course. YAY!
However, there has been a big difference in the my training – slower (long) runs due to a half marathon in October and an upcoming one in December.
So I didn’t expect to PR but just wanted a decent long run (and not get INJURED!!)
To save time, I picked up my race packet on Saturday at Fleet Feet in Albany.
I met Frank Shorter there and he was soooo nice!
As usual, I didn’t sleep much the night before the race. I had decided what to wear but still wasn’t sure about how cold it would be. It was in the 30s when I got up and it was forecast to warm up to the high 40s. I hate this time of year. But at least there was a bag check and I could bring extra clothes for after.
Even though, I went last year, I still left extra early not knowing where exactly to park. I got there around 7:15 am and found a spot on the street a few blocks from the start of the race.
I walked to the YMCA to use the restroom and check my extra clothes. There I bumped into a few familiar faces. I also met someone new (Linda, a 70 yr old) and we spent a lot of time chatting.
I used the restroom right away and was glad that I did since the line got very very long later on. It was so nice to have some place to stay warm before the race. They even had water, coffee, donuts, fruit, etc. I didn’t eat anything since I ate breakfast before I left but did take a GU.
Soon, it was time for Linda & I to walk a few blocks and head to the starting line.
The course map:
As with any big race, it was very slow going at first.
As the map above shows, we headed west along the Mohawk River into the Stockade section of town.
After the bike path and the Stockade area, we ran past Union College and around various residential neighborhoods.
I knew a lot a runners in this race. They kept catching up to me, we’d chat and then they would go on ahead. That was ok with me. I was determined to run at my own pace and have a pain-free race.
I was trying to keep my pace under 10 but at this point I was starting to slow down. The hills were relentless. I remember last year being able to run up them. Not this year but I gave myself permission to walk if I needed to.
And I was HOT!! Yes, with the sun out, I was dying but there was nothing I could do. There were times, I felt nauseated due to being overdressed.
Around mile 6, we entered Central Park with its rolling hills, lake, and pretty foliage.
I had at this point walked through both water stops and a few other times (including one long bout to take a GU).
I wasn’t concerned about my time but when I crossed the 10k mark at 1:00:xx, those PR thoughts came into my head. I tried to think about something else because I knew what was coming.
Between mile 7 and 8 is where the BIG hills were. I walked up the first one. Then I decided to run up the second because it was the last one. It was so steep that when I got to the top, my legs were jelly and I could hardly run.
At least the hills were over and I got a second wind. We proceeded to run through the cemetery and then through a park before heading DOWNHILL to the finish line at city hall.
Of course, the wind picked up and we were running INTO the run!!
But when I saw the clock in the distance, I ran as fast as I could.
I finished at 1:31:35!!
Yes, a PR by almost 2 minutes …without even trying!
I was happy with the results. There was no chance of an age group award. All the speedy old ladies run this race.
I really liked this course. It was so varied that it also took your mind off the hills. With the large number of runners, I felt like I was always running with others and it kept me going.
Yes, it was hilly. The first half had a lot more hills but they were manageable. The second half had fewer hills but they were steeper.
The best part of the race was that NOTHING HURT!! Not my feet, not my back…nada. I didn’t put it all out there and I just enjoyed myself.
This was a confidence booster for me. When I was done, I felt like I could still run more…
I waited around to see Judy finish.
As I was waiting, someone came over and said “I like your skirt.”
She was a SkirtSports ambassador too! She has since emailed me and maybe we will see each other again.
Then Judy & I walked to the YMCA. I changed into warmer clothes and then went to Proctors to get something to eat. There was vegetable soup, pizza, bagels, cider donuts, fruit, chocolate milk, yogurt, and lots more.
Then I wandered over to the indoors Farmers Market — 2 floors of local baked goods, fruits, vegetables. I just sampled the food and walked around.
I stayed around for the awards since Linda was probably getting one (there were 20 in my AG and only 1 in hers).
I will definitely add this race to my must-do list. It was very well organized and I was thrilled with my time. The hills slowed me down but next year, I’ll be ready for them…maybe gun for a sub 1:30.
Splits: (2014 – 2015)
mile 1 – 8:49 – 8:57
mile 2 – 9:29 – 9:36
mile 3 – 10:03 – 10:02
mile 4 – 10:04 – 9:59
mile 5 – 9:49 – 9:33
mile 6 – 10:30 – 10:16
mile 7 – 10:35 – 10:04
mile 8 – 10:58 – 10:21
mile 9 – 10:02 – 9:38
.4 – 8:26 – 8:14
The difference was starting slower which gave me more energy for the 2nd half.
and Frank signing my bib LOL.
A: Finish under 1:35 – YES!! And a PR!!
B: All miles between 9 and 11 minutes. YES!
C: Finish happy and healthy. YES YES!
The day ended with a Chinese dinner with my Mah Jongg group to celebrate 7 years of playing together.
Happy Running! Did you run or race this past weekend? If so, how did it go?