With most of the local races either cancelled or virtual, Albany Running Exchange (ARE) began scheduling COVID Safety Plan approved races in 2021. This was one of them and unfortunately, it POURED the whole race.
In March, I ran their five mile race (Electric City). For today’s event, ARE used the same course as the Electric City five miler but added a full marathon and also a point-to-point 10 miler again.
This year, it SNOWED the entire Electric City Five Miler.
I was a little nervous in signing up for the 10 mile option. Maybe this course was weather jinxed.
It was advertised as “a very fast, point-to-point course.”
As you can from the elevation chart below, it is not exactly what I would call fast (I see hills!!)
The logistics were also complicated for the 10 mile race. Either you parked at the start and got a ride back to your car after the race or you parked at the finish and got a ride to the start (or pay for the shuttle).
My preference was to park at the finish (even though that meant getting up earlier.)
Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:
I have run several 10 mile races. My slowest was in 2014: (1:49:55), my first one, and my PR was my third in the same year (1:38:45). All the others were somewhere in between as well as last year (in the rain), where my time was 1:40:30. My expectation for this race would be around 1:40 again (but who can tell these days?)
Usually on the weekends, I do run 8-10 miles. But this month I skipped them in favor of a few short races. It’s amazing how quickly the endurance that you built up leaves.
But I picked things back up with a half marathon the weekend before.
But being very lax about training, my only goal these days is to finish uninjured and have fun. And when you run a race this time of year, it could be 85 degrees or 55 degrees. We all know that the weather greatly impacts the racing experience. (2:12 vs 2:32 finish times. lol)
I picked up my race packet on Friday evening.
and carb loaded on Saturday evening (pasta instead of pizza) and debated about what to wear the next day. I was hoping that it would be warmer than last year but NOT as warm as last weekend.
Forecast was for WARM but I thought not that humid (WRONG) and so I added my compression calf sleeves and a baseball cap.
I got up around 6:00 am on Sunday morning, had my coffee and oatmeal, and was on the road by 7:00 for my 30 minute hour drive to race parking.
I parked my car in the Golub Parking lot near Mohawk Harbor, the finish for all races (but the start for the 5m & 26.2 mile races.) I did not sign up for the shuttle because I knew that I could carpool with another runner. My friend Sherry offered to drive again to the start if I would drive her back to her car after. I happily agreed
I met Sherry at 7:45 and we drove to the start which was about 15 minutes away.
There was plenty of parking in the grassy lot. We were plenty early so we had time to walk around, visit with the animals and use the (real) restrooms.
It had been a while since my breakfast so I ate a Honey Stinger waffle. There was water ad cups which was nice.
As you can see from the photos, there was not a cloud in the sky!! A beautiful day. And the conditions seemed perfect early that morning..
The 10 mile race started at 9 am. Soon it was time to head to the start area.
There were no corrals so I just entered into the crowd somewhere in middle or perhaps closer to the front. I chatted with friends until it was time to move.
Sorry to be a broken record but it was summer and my goal for races these days is FINISH happy (that is not injured and ready to do another.) Throw those time goals out the window!!
The race began near Mabee Farm Historical site. The first mile headed west, mostly on Route 5S. We ran along the road and fairly soon connected with the Erie Canal Bike Path.
In other words, the canal was on our right and most of the race was run on the path with water views. I ran the first mile wondering my knee (which had bothered me the day before) would hurt. It never did.
Everyone appeared to be passing me by. I didn’t look at my watch, just kept going with the flow.
The scenery was pretty. Unfortunately there was little if any shade! Of course, my pace was decent at first. I was feeling good… until I wasn’t.
The Mohawk river changed to being on the left. And the temps started warming up quickly. Those poor marathoners (and I had a few friends running the 26.2) I kept thinking.
The first water stop was at mile 3.3 (Kiwanis Park) Dying at this point. I actually drank Nuun (which I don’t even like) and poured a cup of water down the back of my shirt.
Most of the race is a blur. I walked and ran. Those runners around me were doing the same. I tried to run more than walk. Not sure at times if I did or not. Some runners did continue to just run. But we played leap frog as I passed them when I ran and they passed me when I walked.
Around mile 4, I finally got hungry so I stopped to eat my Gu (trying to eat and run slowly). There was finally second water stop at mile 5.6 (Lock 8 Park). More Nuun and also water poured down my back.
The temps were rising. I wished I hadn’t worn my calf sleeves. The third water stop was around mile 8.1 (SCCC Bike Path Parking Area). They gave out GU gel so I grabbed a packet and ate it with some Nuun. And gave myself one last shower of water.
Around mile 9, some annoying hills appeared. Maybe there weren’t big hills and I was just getting tired. I tried to run up them but it was more like a slog.
At this point, my lower back started to ache. Why? My form? My shoes? (Who knows?) My feet did not hurt so there’s that!!
The crowd was also thinning. I was often running alone.
And I was walking more and running slower.
Soon we were running on a dirt path (construction on the bike path?). That was followed by a trail of rocks…
But eventually we headed toward Mohawk Harbor where you could hear the roar of the crowds.
As I headed toward the finish line, I got one last burst of energy.
I crossed at 1:43:xx. Slower than I had hoped but happy to done and upright.
I got my medal and some water. I was feeling queasy so I ate another Gu. I immediately felt better.
Lots of tired happy folks. The 5 milers were done and many of the 10 milers. Only the leaders of the marathon had finished. There was a band, beer, food, etc.
Pictures first, right?
Next, I grabbed my lunch and ate the chips while waiting for Sherry to finish.
I stopped by the results table and not surprisingly I did not win an age group award.
I’m not a beer drinker but we needed something cold to drink so we got our free one nd sat at a table in Druthers to relax and eat.
I had wanted to wait around for a friend to finish the marathon but she was not going to be done for hours so we decided to call it a day.
Well, I turned on the air conditioning in my car (we laughed as last year, I had to turn on the heated seats) and I drove Sherry back to her car at the race start. We passed many poor marathoners still out on the course with many miles to go 😦
Additional Race Reflections:
So yeah, I finished slower than I wanted. But hey, it was much hotter than I had hoped. It was fun to see many running friends. I never regret a race that I’ve run.
- Ample parking at the start and finish.
- Several distances: 10 mile, 5 mile, marathon
- Real restrooms at Mabee Farm
- Bag check for 10 milers
- Well marked course.
- Varied scenery including river views
- Lots of course marshals (even in the heat).
- Shuttle to the start (if needed).
- Well organized.
- A lot of pre-race information.
- Familiar faces
- Decent Post-race food.
- Race shirt optional for more money
- Cool medal.
- Free Beer (in Druthers)
- Free photos
- Immediate results (and live tracking)
- More water stops needed (for this weather)
Would I recommend this race?
It was super well-organized. Special attention was paid to EVERY detail. It will be even more fun when the weather is cooler.
Walking definitely slowed down my pace:
A 5k the Saturday after
and then a 15k a few weeks later.
Happy Running! Have you run a race yet in the summer heat? ? If so, how did go? Are you planning to run a long race this summer? Please share.