Every year, the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club puts on the Winter Series, a series of free races for its members ($5 for non-members). On New Year’s Day, starting at noon, they offer the Hangover Half or 3.5 mile Bill Hogan Run as Winter Series #2.
In 2015, I ran the Hangover Half (as a training run.)
In 2016 and 2017, I wasn’t that crazy and I only ran the 3.5 Miler.
It was definitely more enjoyable so I decided to run the 3.5 miler again.
This year, I was able to enjoy my New Year’s Eve out because due to the cold temps, this race was re-scheduled to Sunday, January 14 instead of on New Year’s Day.
So this past Sunday, I arrived at UAlbany early figuring that more runners would run on this date than on New Year’s. Instead of at noon though, the race was to begin at 10 am.
The weather was cold!! Not as cold as on January 1st but cold. And windy! The saving grace was that at least it was sunny.
This race brings out everyone I know who runs – from running groups, races, friends, etc. The cold weather did not hold back the “die hard” runners. There were even some guys who were wearing shorts!!
So it was great seeing everyone and catching up. I immediately bumped into Sue (my roommate from the Shape half), then Carolyn (my age group competition), Elisa, a SRM and Alyssa’s friend, Karen. We hung out inside and chatted until the very last moment when we had to go outside.
Eventually we did and had to climb down a bunch of icy, snow covered stairs. The freezing windy temp wasn’t bothering me. It was the worry that the course would be icy and I would fall. (I have a history of falling LoL)
I told myself to have a “relaxing” race and not try anything stupid if it were icy.
This course is not flat. There are annoying hills throughout. Nothing awful until you are tired (at mile 3).
There was a little ice and snow at the beginning and the end when you ran on the UAlbany campus. But once you entered the State Office campus, you ran on the road and it was completely clear.
I won’t lie. It was cold. I wore what I had been wearing during those short sub-zero runs – two shirts under my jacket, gloves and hand warmers under my mittens, fleeced lined tights and wool socks. The only thing that was cold were my toes and I was warm enough to unzip coat (only one shirt was necessary not 2) at times.
There were about 120 runners running the 3.5 miler (and 100 in the half). I was never running alone. I ran with someone I knew several times when they caught up to me but soon they left me behind.
I wasn’t bothered at all by my apparent lack of speed. I was just trying to get a run in. I wanted to run the race without walking too since I rarely do that during my weekday training runs.
My neck gaiter kept annoying me because it made my sunglasses fog up. So I took off the glasses and then the wind bothered my contacts so I put the glasses back on and pulled down the gaiter. I can’t wait for warm weather so not to have to deal with these first world running problems.
There were no mile markers on the course but I could hear my Garmin beep. I couldn’t pay attention to my pace or time because my Garmin was buried under several layers. (Probably a good thing.)
Finally, it was over and I was surprised to see that the clock read almost 35:XX minutes. I knew that it would be one of my slowest times but I actually thought that I was even slower than that.
I wanted to sprint but I saw some ice and snow and didn’t want a repeat of my last race.
These free races are not chip-timed. They handed you a piece of paper and then you recorded your time. I wrote down 35:45 (since I thought that was about the time I crossed.)
mile 1: 9:38
mile 2: 9:21
mile 3: 9:37
.75 – 9:42
Again this year, the course was long!! Not a surprise that I was slower than last year and the year before (a course PW). Nevertheless, I was happy with how I ran the race. I usually walk during this race (which makes me have a faster finish time) but I ran the whole thing. I never felt tired. (Still not disappointed to not have chosen to run 13.1 miles in this weather.)
For a free race, they have decent refreshments – vegetable soup, bread, fruit, cookies, hot cocoa.
And I had all of the above and many pieces of cranberry bread.
I waited around for awhile to chat and for some other runners to finish.
They give 10 year AG awards to the top 2 in each group. Last year, I won 2nd place and a free loaf of bread. The runner who won 2nd just turned 60 (darn!)
Since I was dressed to run and not tired, I decided to do my usual campus loop.
I usually run it in the dark. It is much nicer during a sunny day. And the temps had warmed to the teens.
My legs weren’t as fresh as during the race plus the path was often snow-covered so I either walked or I ran in the road.
Finally I finished up a little over 3 miles to make it 7 miles for the day!
So a race and a run – what a perfect way to start off my 2018 racing season!
Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these wonderful ladies:
Happy Running! Have you raced yet this year? If not, when is your first race of 2018?