The Albany Last Run is a very popular local race. In fact, it always sells out (at 1500). The race starts with fireworks and then you run uphill, around the lights in the park and it ends with a downhill. I have run it every year since 2010 and it is one of my favorite races.
Here are some pics from a previous year:
One year, I ran this race in the rain. Another year, in a blizzard. Last year, this was how I finished the race.
I was hoping for better weather this year. Could it be any worse??
As usual I picked up my bib & shirt beforehand to save time on race night. (I also picked up shirts and bibs for NINE of my running friends.)
Of course, I debated about what to wear… I like to look festive. But it was COLD. I hate to overdress but how to stay warm, dry and also be comfortable???
I wore several layers but ended up being a little warm because although it was in the 20s, there was no wind.
I carpooled with Barbara and decided to leave my car where I use to take yoga classes. (I hate that crowded parking garage) and walk the mile or so to the race start. I wore an extra coat (that I would ditch before the race) and I was still a little cold. At least we got to wait inside.
As I mentioned, it is a popular race and I bumped into all sorts of people that I knew– runners from my turkey trot training group, runners from work, runners from tennis and FB friends, etc.
We chatted until it was time to head out. It was fun to see all costumes and how everyone creatively got into the holiday spirit.
Finally we left our warm home to go watch the pre-race fireworks.
The fireworks were awesome but we were COLD and anxious for the race to begin.
About 20 minutes later, the race finally did.
Not worried about our times for this race, we waited until the fireworks were over before we headed the start line. Then we just pushed our way into the crowd and waited to cross the start line. The race was only gun-timed so if you were serious, you had to watch the fireworks from the front of the crowd in line to start the race.
This may have been the best weather we’ve ever had for this race and it was insanely crowded, especially when you were starting toward the back with the slower runners and walkers.
Mile 1: 10:26
The race started with an uphill, went through the city before we entered the park. It was very very crowded at first and usually the crowd thinned out but it never did. I unsuccessfully tried to run but just was weaving in and out, say “Excuse me, excuse me.”
I think this mile was much slower than my Garmin says because when I crossed the Mile 1 clock, it read over 12 minutes.
Once in the park, we were running under the festive holiday lights. Though the road was filled with ruts and cracks, it was much lighter than on the streets. We hit our second hill and I would have normally been tempted to walk up the steep hill but I didn’t need to and actually picked up the pace. (After Pelham, these hills seemed flat.)
Mile 2: 9:40
It was still very crowded and I was passing everyone but since I felt like I was running slow due to the crowds. I was able to enjoy the lights and the crazy costumes worn by the runners. I got positive remarks from spectators about my outfit, as well.
During this mile, I was really having fun!!
The whole time I was running, I kept looking at the ground trying to avoid cracks and uneven pavement and keeping an eye out for potholes and NOT FALL!! So far so good. It was so nice that the roads were dry.
Mile 3: 8:53
Finally around mile 3, my hands had warmed up so I took off my gloves and there was enough space to actually RUN.
Eventually we left the park, the road was dark but it was DOWNHILL so I carefully sprinted to the finish.
Officially I crossed at 30:44 I guess.
Yes, my slowest 5k this year but one of my most enjoyable. Afterwards, I chatted with some of my friends but it got cold so I went inside to wait for my Sole Sisters, check the results and get some refreshments.
They gave awards to 10 age year groups so I was 6th. but would have won if it were 5 year increments. No big deal. Some races are just run for fun. And this was one!!!
The food was nothing to speak of – apples and bananas and some bars. Once everyone had finished, we all headed to one of the Sole Sister’s house for a pot luck dinner (and knitting lesson). It was a blast. I am so lucky to call those women my friends.
The Last Run is a standard on my racing list each year. It did not disappoint this year.
My time this year was the slowest of all my Last Run races (except for those years with snow, ice and injury). But there’s no way that this race could be a PR. I know in order to have those faster times again, I would have to ditch my friends and stand close to the start line at the beginning.
But this is more important:
Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with these wonderful ladies:
Happy Running? How was your weekend? Did you run in a holiday race this year?