This Sunday was for the Boilermaker, one of my favorite races around. This Sunday was also for learning I have a looong way to go to reach my goal.
The Boilermaker 15k is so much fun to me because of the crowd support, the after party, and for whatever reason, I just enjoy myself 9.3 miles. This is the kind of race that just when you’re feeling like, “Oh man I’m pretty tired…” there comes a band or a booming radio station or a drum circle or bagpipes or one of the thousands of people lining the streets of the entire race cheering for us- handing out popsicles, spraying their hoses, giving high fives, and just being genuinely happy for us. It’s so awesome. Utica prides itself on this race and you can tell. It’s a huge race, 14,000 runners, but there isn’t any traffic congestion and the beginning of the race really isn’t that bad. At the end, there’s basically a giant street party with free Saranac beer being poured generously. So.much.fun.
Since giving birth to Charlotte, 15k is the longest distance I’ve run. I ran the Spring Forward 15k at the end of March and the Lilac races in May. I may have felt I was more ready for this race than I was- humidity notwithstanding. I wasn’t planning on a PR or anything (I will never plan on a PR in summer weather), but I wanted to keep my pace under 8 minute miles- which I barely did. I was doing great until mile 8. Happy, even.
I saw my family around mile 6. Braxton was upset with me at the Firecracker race when I didn’t see him, so I made sure to run up to him this time and give he and Charlotte a big sweaty kiss each. After that, I was filled with such emotion that I spent the next mile holding back the tears and the lump in my throat! These kids, I tell ya.
But at mile 8, I completely lost my groove. I forgot about the gradual hill that is the entire mile 7, and after that no band could bring me out of feeling awful. I felt like I was at mile 23 of a marathon- my legs got stiff, I felt dizzy, and I had to walk some. I can’t tell you the last time I had to do that in a race. Slow down, sure, but not walk. Runners passed me yelling, “NO WAY YOU’RE SO CLOSE.” This made me more upset than motivated because I was so frustrated. I ran again and tried to have some sort of kick for the last .3 miles. I finished, met up with Bri and the kids, and immediately became so light-headed I felt very sure I was going to pass out. Poor Braxton wanted me to pick him up, but I saw three of him and bee-lined it for the water. This was new for me and I was terrified…
…There’s no way I could deal with three Braxton’s.
Seriously, though, I have no clue what happened. I didn’t push myself pace-wise and I drank water at nearly every stop. My guess might be I was dehydrated anyways. I finished in 1:13 (my PR is 1:07), which is fine with me. By the end, I did not care what that clock said as long as I was done. I recovered and did enjoy a beer, so all was not lost:)
One thing I definitely noticed were my stomach muscles began to get VERY sore in that last mile (and have been in many of my runs). My back paid for it the rest of the day. I haven’t been doing much cross training yet- that starts next Monday. I think I need to focus way more on my core. Did I forget what my body just went through a few months ago? I ask a lot of myself and probably need to relax sometimes and take it slowly. Any muscles I did have were replaced with all things baby. My body is saying, Whoa, kid, take it easy, let me heal. Once I work on my core strength and get smarter about this, I can become stronger. I just have to not expect too much too soon.
This race has shown how hard I have to work to get to Boston. I needed this little kick in the ass, though, because maybe I was becoming too comfortable and not listening to my body.
But all that fun stuff aside, the Boilermaker is still one of the best races in my book. I already can’t wait for next year:) And I have to give a huge thanks to my family for being there, as always- Mom, Niki, Aunt Sandy, Pat, and Penny.
Bri and the kids- thanks for putting up with a 4am wake up call.
You are all literally the best.
And how could I forget my Hannah. You did awesome and I’m so proud of you for doing it again. I have to say, I was a little nervous for you this time, but you proved how amazing of a runner you really are. Congrats, Han. Cheers until next time<3