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.)
Then in 2016, 2017 and 2018, 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. They call it a 3.5 miler but I realize each year after the race that it is actually 3.75 miles.
Starting at noon meant that I was able to enjoy my New Year’s Eve.
I arrived at UAlbany early figuring that there are a lot of local runners who do these races and I wanted to get a close parking space.
The weather was so much better than last year (even the re-scheduled race date was freezing). Today it was forecast to be in the high 40s but I worried about the wind on this course. It is always windy!
I took a big risk and wore a skirt. The good thing was that there is an indoor place to hang out before and after the race.
This race brings out everyone I know who runs – from running groups, races, friends, etc.
So it was great seeing everyone and catching up. I immediately bumped into runners that I know from races and lots of Sole Sisters. We hung out inside and chatted until the very last moment when we had to go outside.
I was hesitant about what to wear. I was afraid that my cap would blow off with the 40 mph wind gusts or that I would be cold without a jacket (which I brought). In the end, I went with my gut and I was perfectly dressed.
Eventually we did have to leave the nice warm building and climb down the stairs and head to the start.
I just squeezed in near the front in order to keep warm and be shielded from the wind.
I told myself to have a “relaxing” race and not try anything stupid and get hurt.
This course is not flat. There are annoying hills throughout. Nothing awful until you are tired (at mile 3).
This was the first year that I can remember that there was NO ice or snow.
I won’t lie. I was a little cold especially with the wind but at times, I was warm and unzipped my vest. I even eventually took off my gloves. I was happy with my clothing choice.
There were about 230 runners running the 3.5 miler (and 225 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. And I did for the first two miles. In fact, I was feeling pretty good.
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 under my long sleeves. (Probably a good thing.)
As I mentioned, I was feeling pretty good until mile 3. This was the most boring part of the course as well as uphill. To make matters worse, the wind was incredible here. There were times that I felt like I was not even moving forward. I struggled and the wind seem to suck the life out of my legs. Runners were passing me by, even a runner pushing a child in a stroller. I finally gave it and walked. But it was just as hard to walk into the wind and so I started running again. At this point, I just wanted to finish.
Finally, it was over and I was surprised to see that the clock read 33:XX minutes. I knew that it would not be a course PR but I actually thought that I was even slower than that.
So I sprinted and crossed at 34:14 (according to my Garmin) and 34:15 on their clock.
I was content!!
Soon after, Karen and Alyssa finished. We chatted and then Barbara and Judy came in.
We waited for Judy and then went inside. Somehow we missed Sherry.
These free races are not chip-timed. They handed you a piece of paper and then you recorded your time.
mile 1: 8:50
mile 2: 9:01
mile 3: 9:27
.75 – 9:23
Good old positive splits. Nothing has changed for 2019. LOL
Again this year, the course was long!! I was surprised that in these windy conditions I was faster than last year (35:45) and not far behind my course PR from the year before (34:04). Nevertheless, I was happy with how I ran the race. I never felt really tired or that I was pushing hard. I think if it weren’t for the wind, I could have run the whole thing and had an even better finish time.
Definitely 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 and chatted with other runners and for Barbara’s niece to finish the half marathon.
They give 10 year AG awards to the top 2 in each group. Two years ago, I won 2nd place and a free loaf of bread. Not so this year. I was 5th.
So a race and a perfect way to start off 2019!
Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these ladies.
Happy Running! Did you race on New Year’s Eve or Day? If not, when is your first race of 2019?