This is my sixth time running this popular local 15k race.
In 2011, my first time (and 1st 15K), I finished in 1:36:08. I was injured in 2012 and then I ran it again 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 three years ago.
It no longer starts and ends in Central Park. It also starts earlier – 8:30 am
This is a description of the new course:
The course 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 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 in 2014 with a new PR of 1:33:23.
Since then, the race organizers have decided to stay with the same course. In 2015, I was shocked that I finished at 1:31:35. Yes, a PR by almost 2 minutes.
I was not as lucky in 2016 or should I say “not as fast” (due to stomach issues) and finished it in 132:49.
Last year, I was not able to run this race since I was in Las Vegas running the Rock n Roll 5k and half marathon.
Apparently, they modified the course slightly for this year. And it seems that they eliminated the bike path at the beginning of the race (which I did like because you ran along the Mohawk River and it was dirt so easy on the feet).).
This year whose knows?
Life and work have gotten in the way of my running. I did not run Monday, Thursday and Friday and minimally on Tuesday and Wednesday. That meant that anything could happen!!
I didn’t expect to PR but just wanted a decent long run (and not get INJURED!!) since I was scheduled to run a half marathon in TWO WEEKS!!!
Usually to save time, I pick my race packet the day before the race. But I decided it was just as easy to pick it up on race morning.
Instead I spent a long overdue visit with the girl I mentor and her two sons.
I kinda forgot about my race the next day and had a late lunch of chili. Oops not my usual pizza dinner.
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 windy but it was forecast to warm up a little and the sun to possibly come out. I hate this time of year. It’s so difficult to dress correctly. At least there was a bag check and I could bring extra clothes for after and in case I changed my mind.
Even though, I’ve been to this race before, I still left extra early. Barbara and I carpooled. We got there around 7:10 am and found a spot on the street a few blocks from the start of the race.
We walked to the YMCA to use the restroom and check extra clothes. There I bumped into a lot of familiar faces and met up with my fellow Sole Sisters.
I used the restroom right away and was glad that I did since the line got longer later on. It was so nice to have some place to stay warm before the race.
We waited indoors as long as possible. But eventually it was time to head to the start.
We arrived as they were playing the National Anthem and then quickly ran across the street (to the women’s side) to get ready to start.
I started with my Freihofer/Turkey Trot training group buddy, Nancy. But I knew that I would lose her immediately (She is quite fast.)
The course map:
As with any big race, it was very slow going at first.
As the map above shows, we headed west into the Stockade section of town. Although it was chilly, when the sun peaked out, it was quite nice. I even took off my gloves and unzipped my outer layer. There were mile markers at each mile and most of them had someone calling out times.
I ignored my watch. I just tried to run at a steady pace even up the hills but I had no idea if I was actually doing that until after the race when I check my split times. But as I mentioned earlier, this was not a PR attempt…just a training run.
After the Stockade area, we ran past Union College and around various residential neighborhoods. I skipped the first water stop since I was not thirsty at all. The cold weather does that to me.
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.
The hills were relentless. But I was able to run up all of them. The wind was relentless as well. Why was it never at my back???
I figured that there would be no PR today so I just enjoyed the scenery and chatted with many runners as they went by.
Eventually I was getting hungry. My breakfast was at 5:30 am!! So I walked at the 2nd water stop and had a Gu. I lost some time here since my tights & toasty checks skirt did not have a pocket so I had to squeeze my Gus into my race belt along with my phone. It was tough to get them out. Lesson learned. Go back to my Skirt Sports tights, skirts and capris with TWO attached pockets.
Around mile 6, we entered Central Park with its rolling hills, lake, and pretty foliage.
I think I skipped the third water stop. I actually don’t remember but I made sure to smile for all the photographers.
Between mile 7 and 8 is where the BIG hills were. I ran up the first one. Then I decided to run up the second. That was a first for me. Usually in this race, I have to walk up the hills. The second hill was steep but not as steep as I remember. But that wind!!!!
Things were feeling good except for my foot (a lot of pain on the ball of my foot due to the bunion forcing my toes together) and a side stitch ever since I ate my GU.
At least the hills were over.. 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 persisted and we were running INTO the wind!! But I was passing runners, even men. Pysched!
And when I saw the clock in the distance, I ran as fast as I could. I was shocked that I could possibly finish under 1:30.
But I did not!!!I finished at 1:30:XX.
I was happy anyway.
I bumped to another Skirt Sports ambassador and lots of running friends. I waited outside as long as I could but I was getting pretty chilled.
So we went back inside. This year, the food was in the same area as bag check and we we waited before the race.
I got some chocolate milk, bread, potato chips, soup (carrot ginger) and pizza. What a nice spread for a local race.
I also checked the results. All the speedy old ladies run this race. But this year, I was pretty close to an award for the first time.
We hung out waiting for everyone to finish the race and plan where we were going for brunch (and yes, I ate some more).
We ended up going to a nearby diner where we continued to chat about the race. We all had a good time running it.
mile 1 – 9:05
mile 2 – 9:30
mile 3 – 9:27
mile 4 – 9:42
mile 5 – 9:41
mile 6 – 9:54
mile 7 – 9:52
mile 8 – 10:07
mile 9 – 9:34
.4 – 8:24
I am very happy with how the race turned out. My miles were pretty consistent (at least for me.) The slowest ones were when I ate my Gu (mile 6) and ran up the big hills (miles 7-8).
I really enjoyed this race. The course was so varied that it also took your mind off the hills. With the large number of runners (1500), 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 I didn’t put it all out there and I just enjoyed myself treating it like a training run. When I was done, nothing hurt (not even that stupid foot.)
And guess what? It was a PR!!!!!! Over a minute faster than on this course in 2015.
This race is definitely on my must-do list. It was very well organized. Maybe all the stars will be aligned next year and I’ll gun for that sub 1:30 finish.
It’s Tuesday so don’t forget to link up with these wonderful ladies:
Happy Running! Did you race this past weekend or do any other running? Do you ever run 15ks? Do you like them? Have you ever PRed when you weren’t trying to?