This is my third time running this 15k race. In 2011, my first time, I finished in 1:36:08. I was injured in 2012 and then I ran it last year and finished with a disappointing 142:22.
This year, I was hoping for a rebound.
But since this was a brand new course…who knew??
My legs should have been fresh since I hadn’t run on Thurs, Friday or Saturday. (Yes I skipped my Friday run out of laziness.)
With over 2000 runners in this race, they were forced to make some changes to the course.
It no longer started and ended in Central Park. It also started earlier – 8:30 am
This is a description of the new course:
The Stockade-athon 15K course was modified in 2014 and now 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 via Front Street 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.
To save time, I picked up my race packet on Saturday at Fleet Feet in Albany.
As usual, I didn’t sleep much the night before the race. I woke up with a bloody nose (sinuses not used to cold weather, I guess.) I had decided what to wear but still wasn’t sure about how cold it would be. It was in the 30s when I got up and it was forecasted to warm up to the high 40s.
I left extra early not knowing where exactly to park. I got there around 7:15am and found a spot in a convenient lot a few blocks from the start of the race.
I walked to the YMCA to use the restroom and check my extra clothes. There I bumped into a few familiar faces.
I used the restroom right away and was glad that I did since the line got very very long later on. I also decided to take off my extra layer (the shirt under my purple shirt) but keep my gloves. It was so nice to have some place to stay warm before the race. They even had water, coffee, donuts, fruit, etc. I didn’t eat anything since I ate breakfast before I left but did take a GU. (For some reason. it gave me an instant stomachache which never let up the whole race. Strange? I’ve never had a problem with GU.)
Soon, it was time to walk a few blocks and head to the starting line, Bev and I started together towards the front.
As with any big race, it was very slow going at first. As the description above stated, we headed west along the Mohawk River into the Stockade section of town. (One criticism that I have read about the race is that you didn’t run as much through this area as in the past.)
I really liked this course. It was so varied that it also took your mind off the hills. With the large number of runners, 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. (Even I ran up them.) The second half had fewer hills but they were steeper.
During the first half of the race, the sun peaked out and there was no wind so I was warm (so glad I took off that shirt and regretted holding those gloves.) But during the second half, it clouded up and got breezy and I was a little chilled by the end.
After the bike path and the Stockade area, we ran past Union College and around various residential neighborhoods.
It was fun to spot many volunteers that I knew. The crowd support was great, as well.
We actually ran past my friend. Bev’s house. Her family was out front with a big sign that said: “You’re not old. You’re not slow. You’re Bev Skoll. Now Go, Go Go!!”
That made me smile. I yelled hello and tried to run “faster.”
I was trying to keep my pace around 10 but at this point I was starting to slow down. I had a stomachache and the hills were relentless. How could I not? I still felt strong and stronger than I had during the 10 miler 2 weeks ago.
Around mile 6, we entered Central Park with its rolling hills and pretty foliage.
I had at this point walked through both water stops and a few other times (including once to take a GU). My pace was still strong but my stomach cramps lingered on and I walked again.
Between mile 7 and 8 is where the BIG hills came. I walked up the first one. And it was the first hill that I walked up (those Troy hill runs must be helping.) Then I decided to run up the second because I heard it was the last one. It was so steep that when I got to the top, my legs were jelly and I could hardly run.
At this point, I was excited that the hills were over and I got a second wind. We proceeded to run through the cemetery and then through a park before heading DOWNHILL to the finish line at city hall.
When I saw the clock, I ran as fast as I could.
As soon as I was done, I saw a bunch of SRMs and then I waited for my friend Bev, to cross.
I looked at the results and saw that I finished at 1:33:23 — 9 minutes faster than last year and a new PR by almost 3 minutes!! I was thrilled. I was 11th out of 29 in my age group. (No award for me…and they gave out nice pottery too)
I walked to the YMCA to change into warmer clothes and then went to Proctors to get something to eat. There was vegetable soup, pizza, bagels, cider donuts, fruit, chocolate milk, yogurt, and lots more.
I bumped into Bev again and we hung out and ate. Then we wandered over to the indoors Farmers Market — 2 floors of local baked goods, fruits, vegetables. Unfortunately I didn’t have any money on me so we just sampled the food and walked around.
So this race was everything I hoped and more. The race was well organized and though my pace was slower than 2 weeks ago, I felt better. The hills slowed me down but I ran up almost all of them.
Good news! I did not get blisters!! I wore different shoes and put waterproof bandaids over the old blisters. (However, I’m not sure they helped because they felt off.)
Bad news! Upset stomach and lower back pain. (Dinner?? Shoes?)
mile 1 – 8:49
mile 2 – 9:29
mile 3 – 10:03
mile 4 – 10:04
mile 5 – 9:49
mile 6 – 10:30
mile 7 – 10:35
mile 8 – 10:58
mile 9 – 10:02
.4 – 8:26
As you can see below, my pace for the 10K portion was 9:55 and then the final 5K, it was 10:20.
A: PR (under 1:36:08) YES!
B: Faster than last year (under 1:42:22) YES!
C: Finish happy and healthy (hopefully without any blisters!) YES!
Ibuprofen and a hot shower cured my back ache. The day ended with a Chinese dinner with my Mah Jongg group to celebrate 6 years of playing together.
Happy Running! Did you run or race this past weekend? If so, how did it go?