It seems like I’ve been planning this race forever. As with all my big races, I impulsively sign up way in advance (and then often regret it LOL).
So I signed up for Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon as my 36th Half Marathon for several reasons:
- FOMO. Many of my running friends were doing it.
- It’s local. I can sleep in my own bed.
- I am familiar with the course. I run on it often.
- It’s a downhill course. (470 ft elevation loss)
- It is close after my previous half (20 days) so I would be sorta already trained for it.
Half Marathon Training:
If you follow my posts, you also know that I am not strict about following a training plan. I ran my last half marathon on March 17 in NYC.
But after my February Half in Florida, due to possibly walking on the beach, I experienced leg discomfort.
So, I skipped many runs and sought the help of a chiro who did ART on my leg. I completed about 8 ART sessions (with minimal relief.)
However, on race day, the pain disappeared and I was able to run 13.1 miles!!
Whether or not, my calf injury was cured or it was just adrenaline, we’ll never know.
I still felt discomfort from time to time after that race and cautiously trained for this half marathon. None of the usual 10, 11, 12 mile runs 😦
So unfortunately, again my goal for this race was just finishing and not re-injuring my leg!!
Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:
Well, since this was a local race and work days, not much movement the days before. I picked up my bib after work on Thursday and then had pizza for dinner on Friday.
There was no real expo but there were some race-related items to purchase. I actually bought a pint glass.
I checked the weather and it looked to be perfect – a rarity for me.
Rain was predicted for the evening before so you never know. Nevertheless, I decided that I would make it spring and wear a tank and a skirt – of course then add my DIY sleeves and compression socks for added warmth.
For an annual race, the logistics were tricky. There was a bus from the start but who knew when to get there so that you could find parking. 2500 were signed up.
I arrived around 5:45 am, found parking in the lot near the finish and had my oatmeal & coffee in my car. I texted Heidi and Sherry and they met me there (no one had parked in this lot and it seemed a little unsafe to venture out alone).Then we walked to the bus.
I wore some throwaways and planned to throw them or leave them at bag check and pick them up later at the finish. We arrived at the bus location and there were many buses. No need to get there this early. We’ll know this for next time.
So we arrived in Voorheesvile at a park where the race was to start…lots of time to spare. I checked my bag but left on my throw away shirt and DIY arm warmers since it was cloudy and pretty chilly at this early hour.
Not everyone followed instructions and the buses were delayed arriving on time. We waited and chatted with many other runners. There were so many familiar faces..from former running groups, training groups, other races, etc..
I was getting cold and wondered if I made the right decision about what to wear. (I did!!)
Eventually, it was time to go to our corrals. There were 4 and I was Corral 3. As soon as I entered the corral, I saw a face I hadn’t seen in years – a former co-worker’s son…
It appeared to be warming up a bit so I tossed my throw away shirt but kept on my arm sleeves.
Anyway, here’s how the race went:
I have an old Garmin (actually it’s the 3rd 205 that I’ve bought). I don’t usually have a problem but today it would NOT find the satellite. So annoying.
I spent the first mile playing with it and then finally gave up. Of course, it did eventually find the satellite around mile 1.25
As I mentioned, the course started in the park and then we ran just over 2 miles on the roads of Voorheesville so runners could spread out before they got on the rail trail. There were some steep downhill sections and I am sure that I ran them too fast.
From there, the course headed east for about 9 miles into Albany on the rail trail. If you read my blog, you may remember that this is a trail near my home and that I run on often. It was nice to only have to run on it one way…going downhill. It was not steep and I was able to run at a comfortable pace.
The problem was that it was HUMID and the temps were rising. The sun even peeped out. I rolled down my arm sleeves, then took them off and eventually just tossed them.
But I was THIRSTY…the first water stop was not until around 3 miles. Dying… I also walked for the first time (I always walk at the water stops).
Since my watch miles were off, I rarely checked it but there were clocks at each 5k. I saw when I passed the 5k mark that I was running too fast. I slowed down a little but obviously not enough.
Here are a few pictures from previous runs on this same trail:
So the race continued on this same trail. The elevation felt a little steeper on this portion but my legs felt more and more tired. Or should I say my quads were complaining from running downhill. The sun was getting stronger. Finally around mile 6, there was the 2nd water stop. I walked even longer than before and took a GU.
At the 10k clock, it was obvious that I slowed but probably not enough. The same showed on the 15K clock.
I walked (too long) at a third water stop around mile 8 and took my second GU.
Still looking happy for the cameras at the 15k mark.
What was nice about this race was that I knew so many of the runners. They kept passing me by. Some just waved, others slowed and ran with me for a while. I also had some friends along the course that cheered me on.
More pictures from previous runs:
The rail trail finally ended and we were heading into Albany. This was my least favorite apart of the course – not scenic at all – running through the city (and not the nice part) and then along a busy road.
My quads were toast at this point. My lower back ached and I just wanted to be done.
A few more water stops and longer walks. The clock at the 20K mark indicated that a PR was out of the question but surprisingly I was still having a decent race.
The last few miles seemed endless. It was no longer downhill. In fact going to the finish line was slightly uphill.
I walked a few more times and tried as best as I could to sprint through the finish. I saw the clock ahead and I hoped to finish under 2:12:00…and I did!!
Thumbs up! I crossed at 2:11:57 but my chip time was 2:11:15!!
I got my medal, some water and of course, took some pics.
I chatted with some other runners who had already finished and took some more pics.
I then got my bag and checked the results. Nope, no age group award. I was 4th. I wasn’t even expecting to do that well.
There was awesome food for this race – sandwiches, wraps, salads, chips, fruit, cake, etc. But I had plans to go out for brunch with friends so I didn’t partake. There was also beer.
I texted Sherry and met up with her so we could watch Heidi finish. We waited for quite awhile and I started feeling dizzy…the heat and humidity were getting to me. I had another Gu and water and felt much better.
Finally Heidi appeared.
After she was done, we headed (limped) to our cars. We were meeting the other Sole Sisters for brunch at our favorite post-running restaurant. The Coconut crusted French toast was well earned.
I topped it off at home with some chocolate milk in my new pint glass.
Additional Race Reflections:
mile 1 – ?
mile 1.25 – ?
mile 2.25- 9:29
mile 3.25- 9:07
mile 4.25 – 9:16
mile 5.25 – 9:21
mile 6.25 – 10:39
mile 7.25 – 10:22
mile 8.25 – 10:46
mile 9.25 – 9:45
mile 10.25 – 9:52
mile 11.25 – 10:33
mile 12.25 – 11:19
mile 13.25 – 9:15
I have yet to figure out how to negative split a long race. Maybe I need to train better (You think??)
My finish time was faster than my previous two half marathons. (2:20:09 and 2:16:01). I am thrilled about that.
I secretly wanted a sub 2:12 finish so I would qualify for the 2020 NYC Half Marathon. And I did!!
As you can see from the stats above, I went out too fast. And my lack of training caught up to me after 10 miles. I was probably on track to PR, the first half of the race.
The best news is that my calf felt great. Never even thought about it.
I also realized that downhill races aren’t as easy as you may think.
- Lots of race info emailed and on website including runner guide and spectator guide.
- Easy packet pick-up. Neat race-related items
- 3 Registration options – cheaper without a jacket or name on your bib.
- Free bus from the finish to the start.
- Many porta potties at the start. Long lines but they moved quickly (I was told – did not use).
- Bag Check. Well organized before and easy pick up at the end
- Downhill course (except for last 2 miles)
- Water and Nuun stops.
- GU available at several water stops
- Decent crowd support
- Well marked course for each mile
- Clocks at 5k, 10k, 15k, 20k
- Very cool medal.
- Gender specific short sleeve tech shirts.
- Great post race refreshments
- Immediate electronic race results
- PR bell
- Free photos
- Nearby – no transportation or hotel costs.
- Support from friends
- Not enough water stops. I think they should be at least every 2 miles esp with humid temps & close to 70 degrees predicted.
- The boring, unscenic last 2 miles.
- Those who didn’t arrive early for bus had to wait in a long line. Race start had to be delayed.
- Long line for food and beer.
- Nothing 🙂
Would I recommend this race?
Yes. Yes. Yes. For an inaugural race, they did a fantastic job attending to every detail. I may even do it again next year.
Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these ladies.
Happy Running! Have you had success with inaugural races? Did you race this weekend? Do you have a big race coming up? Please share.