This is my seventh time running this popular local 15k race.
I ran it for the first time in 2011 and it was my FIRST 15k race. I was glad to just finish and I did in 1:36:08. I was injured in 2012 and then I ran it again in 2013.
With 1500-2000 runners in this race, they were forced to make some changes to the course.
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 my finish times improved for the most part:
2014 – 1:33:23
2015 – 1:31:23
2016 – 1:32:49
2018 – 1:30:15 PR
Last year, they modified the course slightly. 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 I believe that they kept the course the same.
As you probably know, I ran my first full marathon the week before. I registered for this race before I ran the marathon so I didn’t know how I would feel and if I would be able to run 9.3 miles just a week later. (Many runners said I was crazy and that I would probably need to rest a week or two.)
Well, I recovered very well. In fact, I was barely sore at all after the race. I did rest for 4 days and only ran 3 miles on Thursday so I decided to run this race.
I didn’t expect to race it but I just wanted a some exercise and to hang out with my running friends.
I picked up my bib and race shirt at Fleet Feet the day before (although it really wasn’t necessary.)
The temp was in the 30s when I got up on race morning but it was forecast to only warm up to 40 and be cloudy. 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 several times before, I still left extra early. Barbara and I carpooled. We got there and found a spot on the street a few blocks from the start of the race. We were so early that the YMCA was not even open yet.
We only had to wait a few minutes and had plenty of time to chat, use the restrooms and check a bag with clothes for after.
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.
Usually women start on one side and men on the other but it didn’t seem to be that way this year. I was walking to start further back (since I did not plan to race it) but I saw a running friend and just squeezed in where where she was.
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, I instantly warmed up and even felt overdressed.. I eventually took off my gloves and unzipped my vest.
I ignored my watch until about mile 8. There were mile markers at each mile and most of them had someone calling out times so I had a little idea of my slowish pace. But I really didn’t care. My legs felt less recovered than I had hoped so I just ran and walked up the hills (of which there were many especially in the first half of the race.)
After the Stockade area, we ran past Union College and around various residential neighborhoods. I also stopped at the first water stop even though I was not thirsty at all. (Yay for a walk break).
The hills were relentless. Why do I not remember them from last year?
I knew a lot of 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 stress-free race.
I stopped again at the 2nd water stop. Around this time, Alyssa caught up to me and we ran together for a while and chatted. She is preparing for her 2nd marathon in 2 weeks. So excited for her and to hear how well her training was going.
Around mile 5, I finally decided to fuel since I had eaten breakfast many hours before.
Another running acquaintance, Renee, caught up to me around this time. We wound up running the rest of the race together. I only know her from FB but it was great hearing about her 50 state and 6 world majors goal. We chatted about travel and races and it certainly made the miles more bearable. She even walked when I wanted to 🙂
Around mile 6, we entered Central Park with its rolling hills, lake, and pretty foliage.
We both stopped at the third water stop. I actually don’t remember it but I made sure to smile for all the photographers.
Between mile 7 and 8 is where the BIG hills were. We walked up them both. They were steep but at least short.
We proceeded to run through the cemetery and then through a park before heading DOWNHILL to the finish line at city hall.
I finished at 1:36:37. (over 6 minutes slower than last year and even slower than my FIRST 15k 8 years ago …. but who cares!)
Renee finished right in front of me and Alyssa was also waiting at the finish line.
A minute or two later, Barbara finished and we walked back to the YMCA together.
This year again, the food was in the YMCA, the same area as bag check and where we waited before the race.
I got some chocolate milk, bread, a donut, soup, and pizza. What a nice spread for a local race.
We hung out for a little while waiting for others to finish. We had planned to go out 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/volunteering it.
mile 1 – 9:15
mile 2 – 9:55
mile 3 – 10:46
mile 4 – 9:58
mile 5 – 10:57
mile 6 – 9:57
mile 7 – 11:05
mile 8 – 11:32
mile 9 – 9:57
.4 – 8:19
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 recovery run. And my lower BACK did not hurt!!
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.
Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these ladies and you should too.
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 run another race right after your marathon or your half marathon?