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). In fact, I signed up for this one before my previous half marathons. If I had known about the last local one, I probably would not have signed up for this one.
However, I signed up for the Great Sacandaga Half Marathon as my 37th Half Marathon for several reasons:
- It’s local. I can sleep in my own bed the night before.
- My friend Alyssa talked me into it (and then I talked my friend Sherry and Deirdre into it.)
- It looked like a really scenic course.
- It was close after my previous half (5 weeks) and 15k (3 weeks) 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.
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 March 17, the pain disappeared and I was able to run 13.1 miles!!
Since that day, I have run two 5 mile races, another half marathon, a 15k race, two 5k races and a 3.5 mile race. All were pain-free!!!
Whether or not, my calf injury was cured or it was just adrenaline, we’ll never know.
But being a Nervous Nellie, my goal for this race was finishing, having fun and not re-injuring my leg!!
So what about training??
Since my last half marathon on April 13, there was a 8 mile run, a 15k race, a 5k race on May 5, and another 5k race on May 11.
Yup, that’s it!!
NO DOUBLE DIGIT RUNS!! And only 3 miles the two weekend prior!
Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:
I checked the weather and it looked to be perfect – a rarity for me. Not that it matters. I always wear the same half marathon combination with added throw aways.
The race was advertised as “mainly flat, with a few rolling hills and gentle inclines, offering spectacular views of the Great Sacandaga Lake and the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.”
Well, we all know that all race directors say that their course is “FLAT.” I didn’t believe it for a moment.
I asked on FB and they said it was flat and the course was on the easy side. Yeah, right?
Anyway, below is a map of the course.
I got up around 6:00 am and ate my usual oatmeal coffee breakfast. Then I drove to our meeting place about 30 minutes away.
There were six of us going and four of us met to drive together. Alyssa offered to drive and we met her around 7:15 am.
Believe it or not, it RAINED the whole drive!!
I was nervous since I did not catch the rain memo and was not prepared (no jacket or poncho or umbrella).
The rain Gods listened and it stopped raining as soon as we arrived. We parked at the school which was the first parking lot we saw.
There was abundant parking and we could have parked so much closer (Next year.)
So we walked to firehouse to check our after race attire and to pick up our bibs and race shirts.
Then we used the porta-potties and just waited for the race to begin. I also bumped into our other friends Deirdre and Kevin.
Only 350 runners. So small compared to my last two half marathons (2,500 and 25,000).
Anyway, here’s how the race went:
The race began promptly at 9:00 AM on South Main St. in front of the firehouse (as pictured above.) I lined up with Alyssa and Karen somewhere in the middle and Deirdre and Sherry headed toward the back of the pack. Kevin went up front. I wasn’t sure if it were chip timed but I was planning a most likely slow pace so I didn’t care.
We proceeded to run around this small town (passed our car where I threw my DIY arm sleeves)
and then headed west out of the Village and over the bridge. I quickly lost Alyssa and Karen and spent most of race running along side the same runners.
We eventually ran south through the historic Sacandaga Park on Rte 152. This part of the course was very pretty and with its towering pine trees and views of the lake.
There were water stops every two miles. As per my normal, I planned to drink and walk at each one but not take my first GU until mile 4. Well, with a 6:00 am wake up, I was starved so I ate one GU at miles 2, 6 and 10. Three in a race was more than usual but it worked out well. (I didn’t feel faint at the end like the last half.)
The course was by no means flat. It was rolling hills. Nothing really steep and I was able to continue running slowing up the hills and then tried to make up time on the downhills.
My legs felt tired at around mile 4 but then for some reason, I got into a rhythm.
It was getting warmer but this part of the course was shaded by the trees and there was a slight breeze.
The route continued south on Rte 152 until reaching the Bunker Hill Rd. We traveled that entire road until reaching Rte 30, at which point we turned north onto Rte 30.
I was really enjoying the race until that fated turn. I was prepared because on the way to the race, we saw the mile 8, 9, 10 signs and remarked about the lack of scenery.
It was boring, grueling and the sun was beating down (with ZERO shade). I just continued my usual pace and focused on finishing strong.
Fortunately, we eventually looped back through Sacandaga Park on Rte 152. At this point, I felt stronger than the early miles. I passed Karen who was now struggling with IT band pain.
Then on the bridge into town, I passed Alyssa who had also slowed down.
We finally returned to the little town of Northville, finishing near the fire station on South Main St. where the race started.
I knew I hadn’t run a PR race but I did have enough at the end to sprint through the finish line.
I got my medal, water and waited for Alyssa who finished about a minute later and Karen, about 3 minutes later.
We headed to bag check and then to check finish times.
I was shocked to see that I won my age group but then again, it was a small race.
Behind the firehouse were the refreshments and tents to sit in the shade or by the water.
I had some cookies and waited for the awards ceremony. Everyone in our group had now finished. They all ran well and Deirdre even had a PR.
And I won my FIRST trophy ever!!
And to celebrate ALL our achievements, we went out to lunch …on the lake.
Additional Race Reflections:
Surprisingly, this half marathons went much better than I had thought. Not exactly sure if it was because I did not over train (or train) but fresh legs seemed to work for me (this time).
I did not care about my finish time but what I cared about was feeling good during those last few miles.
It rarely happens that my last miles are as fast as my first. I notoriously get slower and slower with each mile.
I had no calf pain or the usual foot and back pain.
As a result, I enjoyed the whole race.
This was the FIRST year for this race. They obviously planned it carefully.
- Small numbers for an inaugural race – 350 runners registered, 269 finished
- Easy packet pick-up.
- Lots of accessible parking in town.
- Many porta potties at the start.
- Bag Check.
- Chip timing with net times
- Water and Gatorade stops every two miles
- Decent crowd support
- Well marked course for each mile
- Scenic views and lakes views for at least half the race
- Shaded seated areas to relax after the race
- Trophies for age group winners
- Free photos
- Nearby – no transportation or hotel costs.
- Racing with friends
- No rain
- Cotton shirts
- The boring, unshaded course during miles 8-10
- I dropped my arm sleeves by the car so I wouldn’t forget them…I forgot them!
- Nothing 🙂
Would I recommend this race?
Yes. For an inaugural race, they did a fantastic job attending to most details. Too bad it is the same weekend as some other great races.
It will be tough to decide next May whether to run the Steel Rail Half or the Brooklyn Half or this race.
No more Half Marathons until Sept. 8. But I do have a 15K on June 22.
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.