Have you ever have a nightmare that these things went wrong before a big race?
- The power went out so your alarm didn’t go off
- You got stuck in traffic getting to the race start
- Your Garmin wasn’t fully charged and said low battery when you turned it on
- The humidity was 90%
And yes, all these happened to me for this race. More on that later.
The course for this inaugural race was described as:
an out-and-back course begins at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, located on the eastern banks of the Hudson River. The route continues southwest on the flat, tree-lined William R. Steinhaus Dutchess Rail Trail, which winds through the Dutchess County towns of Poughkeepsie and Wappingers Falls. The stunning views from the elevated Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park offer runners a wonderful mid-race pick-me-up as they head across the river and onto the Hudson Valley Rail Trail in the Ulster County town of Lloyd. A return trip across the Walkway, and a final downhill sprint brings participants back to Marist and the scenic waterfront.
Believe it not, the race sold out with 2500 runners registered. Not bad for the first year of a race.
I was prepared for it to be hilly and the steepest ones seem to be on the 2nd half (when I always die.):
Of course, this is what they advertised & I wanted to believe:
Each of the three race courses is primarily flat (with a few gently rolling stretches and bridge crossings). Most of the marathon and half marathon is run on paved rail trails. All three races are fast; many participants can expect new PRs!
At the time when I registered, I thought I would be running better, longer and stronger. After my last two slow half marathon finish times and my achy feet, I knew not to expect much from this race.
Plus I had to leave at 4:30 am to get to the race start. Then meet someone I barely knew at 6:30 to get my race packet.
So now to race morning. Luckily I set all my clothes out the night before.
We had a thunderstorm during the night so I should have known better but I didn’t set my phone alarm in addition to my clock like I usually do when I have an early flight.
I woke up and it was light outside. Uh oh! The clock was flashing and I had no idea what time it was. I ran to get my watch and found out that it was 4:55!!!!
I scrambled and threw on my shirt & skirt and grabbed everything else. I made oatmeal and tea and took it with me to have while I was driving.
Believe it or not, I was in the car by 5:10.
Although my GPS wanted to take me on the back roads, I decided to take the Thruway because I could make up time.
I ate my oatmeal while I was driving (which wasn’t easy) and drank my tea (which scolded my mouth Oy!)
I was scheduled to arrive at 6:30 so not too bad, all things considered.
Then when I got to the entrance of Marist College, the traffic was backed up. That was the only entrance and it was not moving. It took my at least 20 minutes to get in. Yes, now I was really late but I texted my friend with bib that I would find her on the porta-potty line.
The parking was no problem but I had to walk toward the river which was quite far.
I guess this was my race warm up.
I sprinted to the race start to find out that they were having day of race packet pick up (since so many runners did not pick theirs up the day before) and that because of the traffic, they were delaying the start of the race.
I found my friend who had my bib and shirt and went to bag check. Well, they couldn’t have put it farther away from the race start. They said that they were afraid of a bomb disturbing the race. Really?
Although it wasn’t raining, it looked like it would at any moment. So so humid!! I was sweating already and I don’t sweat.
It was finally time to line up and wait until they decided to start the race. The announcer played music and an obnoxious train whistle each time he wanted to get your attention.
I turned on my Garmin and it said “Low battery.” Great!! I charged it but obviously it didn’t charge. I wondered how long it would last.
This was the course.
Right after you start, there is a hill and then there is another hill and another.
After you leave the campus and you pass through the tunnel under the rail tracks, there is a fairly significant, steep uphill climb for about .25 mile.
Finally you are on the rail trail which is rolling hills but not too bad of an incline. You were on the bike path until around mile 6. You got to see the lead runners. And you turned around and went back. It was now nice to see how many runners were still behind me.
The bike path was nice because it was shady and the rain never happened. Instead, the sun came out and it was warm.
There was great crowd support. I was surprised at how many people were along the course. They were very enthusiastic.
My favorite sign was “Don’t trust a fart after this point.”
Eventually we hit the famous Walkway Over the Hudson. It was beautiful. However, it had no shade and it was very windy (which actually felt great.)
I didn’t realize how long it was – at least 2 miles and we had to run it in both directions. The biggest problem was that it was concrete – painful on the feet and even my back started to ache at this point in the race. On the way back, I bumped into someone from Albany. She had fallen at the turn around and was taking it slow. I ran with her which may have slowed me down but I didn’t care since it was nice to chat with someone.
Finally we were heading back toward campus.
Now came those same hills. This time they were torture. I thought the race would never end.
I finally saw the finish line. I was relieved that I finished under 2 1/2 hours but a little sad that I was even slower than my last half.
My official time was 2:25:53.
More thoughts on the race:
There were also a lot of water stops. They started at mile 1.5 and were at least every 1.5 miles or more. There were signs announcing them in advance. At each stop, there was Nuun and Gatorade in addition to just water. I made sure in this heat and humidity to walk through every one! I also ate 3 GUs and walked quite a ways while I ate them.
I also walked up every single hill – so several times during the first and last 2 miles. I just don’t have the strength or stamina to run up them.
My Garmin did die at little after the halfway point. So I had no idea of my time or place for the second half of the race. And it made me more relaxed. I know it made me slower because I didn’t care if I walked since I had no time to beat.
Surprisedly, my feet were OK until about mile 8 or 9 and I felt blisters forming around mile 10.
After I got my medal and my chocolate milk, I limped all the way to bag pick up. I changed into flipflops and inspected my feet. A slight blister on my right foot but a huge one on the bottom of my left. (I did put moleskin on my feet but not where the blister was.)
So I went to the medical tent to get a band aid. They seem to be bored and several people put antiseptic on my feet, bandaged them and gave me tylenol & gatorade.
Now I had to trudge back to where I parked the car. It seemed like an even farther walk this time, of course.
Even with all the things that went wrong with this race, I am glad that I experienced it. My half marathon times are getting slower with one but that’s ok. I can run 13.1 miles and that’s all that matters.
mile 1: 11:16
mile 2: 10:28
mile 3: 10:17
mile 4: 9:59
mile 5: 10:43
mile 6: 11:29
First Half: 1:08:25
Second Half: 1:17:28
I am also linking up with Jessica from The Silvah Lining for the Race Recap Link Up.
Happy Running! Do you race this weekend? If so, how did it go?