It seems like everyone in capital district LOVES the stockade-athon Because of the hype, I knew I wanted to be apart of it, & I love the 15k distance and really wanted to nail down a PR.
Registration was cheap, and it was my mistake for not realizing that they were giving away bags this year, not shirts. This is now the 3rd race I've gotten a bag from in 2013. Quite frankly an extra shirt is more worth it to me than another random bag, but moving on.
The weather seemed a bit dodgy when I left albany, the sun was rising while it was raining and the clouds hanging over Schenectady looked mean. I've been very lucky in my running career and have never had it rain during a race so I was hopeful my luck would hold out.
Thankfully the rain stopped and after sitting in the parking lot for a while, I ventured out towards the race. I used the bathroom once when there was no line and then did a mile warm up around the park. I saw lots of familiar faces both from real lfe ( high school, college, co-workers) and twitter/blogging friends.
Jen and I had met up and made our way to the start. After chatting for a bit, suddenly we were off. If they sang the national anthem or made any sort of announcements I didn't hear them.
I knew that I had started too fast, but in a race of only 2,000 people (where the average pace was 8:54 overall) it's hard to avoid it. At about mile 2 I got one of my first side stiches ever, but was able to do some fake labor breaths and work it out, my stomach was also not a fan of my breakfast choice, but thankfully calmed down with some water.
At whatever point we started going down hill, my right ITband/knee began to bother me. Last week during the hike, I had strained that quad muscle. I spent most of the week taking it easy and heat/resting it, but I think it was the underlying cause for my IT band to suddenly react. I was able to ignore it and continue through the actual Stockade district of the race and began heading back up towards the park. I enjoyed the run through Vale Park/ Cemetery and in general found the course to be nice despite how quiet it seemed. (this race made Mountain Goat seem like Olympic Championships with all the spectators)
I made up the big long hill ad I think I had initially left my lungs down at the bottom. Once they caught up I continued on and could see the park below. Based on the direction people were running, I had a vague understanding that there would be some looping involved.
I began my final push just before the mile 8 marker I gave what I had as I entered the park. I switched my watch to see what the elapsed time was and saw that I would definitely come within my goal of 1:35.
I crossed at 1:35:22 (10:14 pace) which is a nearly a 10 minute PR for the 15k distance.
Once I finished, I desperately wanted a sip of water and none was to be found. This put me in a super pissy mood, because I wasn't about to bump into loads of people to get into the post-race food pavilion just for a water. Instead I said a quick hello to a friend & Jen supplied me with some of her water before I kept my negative nancy panties on and promptly left the race.
I realize that this was a fast race and I was coming in as a slower runner, but there were still over 300 people behind me. Not having water at the finish or within a reasonable walking distance after a 9 mile race is unacceptable.
Nothing takes away the thrill of a huge PR then realizing you're still too slow to receive water at the end.
With that, I have a huge chip on my shoulder about the HMRRC Schenectady Gazette Stockade-athon and I highly doubt that I'll run it again.