Every year, the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club puts on the Winter Series, a series of free races for its members ($5 for non-members). On New Year’s Day, starting at noon, they offer the Hangover Half or 3.5 mile Bill Hogan Run as Winter Series #2.
In 2015, I ran the Hangover Half (as a training run.)
and it was a very cold one
Then in 2016, 2017 and 2018, I wasn’t that crazy and I only ran the 3.5 Miler.
It was definitely more enjoyable so I decided to run the 3.5 miler again. They call it a 3.5 miler but I realize each year after the race that it is actually 3.75 miles.
Starting at noon meant that I was able to enjoy my New Year’s Eve.
I arrived at UAlbany early figuring that there are a lot of local runners who do these races and I wanted to get a close parking space.
The weather was so much better than last year (even the re-scheduled race date was freezing). Today it was forecast to be in the high 40s but I worried about the wind on this course. It is always windy!
I took a big risk and wore a skirt. The good thing was that there is an indoor place to hang out before and after the race.
This race brings out everyone I know who runs – from running groups, races, friends, etc.
So it was great seeing everyone and catching up. I immediately bumped into runners that I know from races and lots of Sole Sisters. We hung out inside and chatted until the very last moment when we had to go outside.
I was hesitant about what to wear. I was afraid that my cap would blow off with the 40 mph wind gusts or that I would be cold without a jacket (which I brought). In the end, I went with my gut and I was perfectly dressed.
Eventually we did have to leave the nice warm building and climb down the stairs and head to the start.
I just squeezed in near the front in order to keep warm and be shielded from the wind.
I told myself to have a “relaxing” race and not try anything stupid and get hurt.
This course is not flat. There are annoying hills throughout. Nothing awful until you are tired (at mile 3).
pic from last year…no snow this year but no blue skies either
This was the first year that I can remember that there was NO ice or snow.
I won’t lie. I was a little cold especially with the wind but at times, I was warm and unzipped my vest. I even eventually took off my gloves. I was happy with my clothing choice.
There were about 230 runners running the 3.5 miler (and 225 in the half). I was never running alone. I ran with someone I knew several times when they caught up to me but soon they left me behind.
I wasn’t bothered at all by my apparent lack of speed. I was just trying to get a run in. I wanted to run the race without walking too since I rarely do that during my weekday training runs. And I did for the first two miles. In fact, I was feeling pretty good.
There were no mile markers on the course but I could hear my Garmin beep. I couldn’t pay attention to my pace or time because my Garmin was under my long sleeves. (Probably a good thing.)
another pic from a previous year
As I mentioned, I was feeling pretty good until mile 3. This was the most boring part of the course as well as uphill. To make matters worse, the wind was incredible here. There were times that I felt like I was not even moving forward. I struggled and the wind seem to suck the life out of my legs. Runners were passing me by, even a runner pushing a child in a stroller. I finally gave it and walked. But it was just as hard to walk into the wind and so I started running again. At this point, I just wanted to finish.
Finally, it was over and I was surprised to see that the clock read 33:XX minutes. I knew that it would not be a course PR but I actually thought that I was even slower than that.
So I sprinted and crossed at 34:14 (according to my Garmin) and 34:15 on their clock.
I was content!!
Soon after, Karen and Alyssa finished. We chatted and then Barbara and Judy came in.
We waited for Judy and then went inside. Somehow we missed Sherry.
These free races are not chip-timed. They handed you a piece of paper and then you recorded your time.
mile 1: 8:50
mile 2: 9:01
mile 3: 9:27
.75 – 9:23
Good old positive splits. Nothing has changed for 2019. LOL
Again this year, the course was long!! I was surprised that in these windy conditions I was faster than last year (35:45) and not far behind my course PR from the year before (34:04). Nevertheless, I was happy with how I ran the race. I never felt really tired or that I was pushing hard. I think if it weren’t for the wind, I could have run the whole thing and had an even better finish time.
Definitely not disappointed to not have chosen to run 13.1 miles in this weather.
For a free race, they have decent refreshments – vegetable soup, bread, fruit, cookies, hot cocoa.
And I had all of the above and many pieces of cranberry bread.
I waited around for awhile and chatted with other runners and for Barbara’s niece to finish the half marathon.
They give 10 year AG awards to the top 2 in each group. Two years ago, I won 2nd place and a free loaf of bread. Not so this year. I was 5th.
So a race and a perfect way to start off 2019!
As you know, the Tuesdays on the Run link up has been retired. There is now a new link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner). The new link up is called Tuesday Topics and starts today!!
Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these ladies.
One of my most favorite things to do is look back at my photos.
They remind me why I love running and racing.
Here are the highlights month by month:
a bunch of free local races and runs with friends
Winter Series #4
Winter Series #2
some cold temps and then some unseasonably warm temps, lots of work travel runs and two races
Polar Cap Run
Winter Series #5
A race-cation in Florida helps get me through this long winter. Then it is back home and two local races.
Brew 2 Brew Half Marathon
Spring racing has begun with three races
a rainy Cherry Blossom race
my birthday month, an annual tennis vacation in Florida and of course races, like FIVE of them
Brooklyn Half Marathon
Prospect Park Track Club Summer Speed Series #1
the racing season continues with four races as boating on the lake begins
Freihofer Run for Women
Brooklyn Ice Cream Social
Adirondack Race to the Lakes
warmer temps mean less racing (just one race) and more boating and tennis
Silks and Satins 5k
A few races cancelled and only one mid-week race
Hump Day 5k
our race got cancelled but we did get to run over the Brooklyn Bridge
Finally one of the race-cations I’d been looking forward to and the re-scheduled NYC race in addition to lots of work travel to NYC
Governor’s Island 5k
RnR Montreal ( I ran the 5k and the half)
Skirt Sports Sister meet-up in NYC
another meeting with fellow blogger Cari
the long awaited trip to France and another NYC race
run in Paris with Karen
Poland Spring Marathon Kick Off
The racing season winds down with a 15k and my last (and hardest) half marathon of the year
Pelham Half Marathon
and so it ends with a holiday 5k and a free local race
Albany Last Run
Winter Series #1
I realized that after picking those pictures above that they had nothing to do with age group awards or finish times.
In fact, many of them were not stellar running/racing efforts yet they were memorable for many other reasons.
I ran a lot of races in 2018 and each was special in a different way. Some were new experiences and some were races that I’ve run over and over again. Many were with friends but many were solo attempts. Very few were PRs and I’m sure a few were PWs.
But I think I had a smile on my face during each and every one.
Last week, I wrote about the BEST of 2018. As you know with running, everything is not “wine and roses.”
Here are some of the not so stellar moments of 2018.
So what determines a “bad” race? Slowest?? Hardest? Ugliest course? Most unorganized?
Any of the above.
Les 20 km de Paris
Due to the heat and lack of water, this was a very tough race.
Brew 2 Brew Half Marathon
This course was awful – around a parking lot and then on a main road with traffic.
Brooklyn Half Marathon
This was bad only because of the weather – freezing and wet for all 13.1 miles,
RnR Montreal Half Marathon
A very poorly organized race with an ugly course route and no food at the end.
Pelham Half Marathon
The hilliest course I’ve ever seen.
Any run done on a treadmill, of course.
And probably one that I did in sub-zero temps.
There also was the time that I tripped over a dog on the streets of Manhattan. No photo of my injuries, however.
Worst Picture(s) from a Run or Race
This is hard because I usually fake smile when I see a photographer or delete the photo if it is ugly. But I found a few not so flattering ones:
Race Experience(s) you would never repeat:
The only one would be Brew 2 Brew because there are so many other half marathons in Florida in the winter. (And yes, the medal was that small.)
You can’t control the weather or the hills. I am sure with all the negative reviews, RnR Montreal will be greatly improved next year.
As you know, the Tuesdays on the Run link up has been retired. There is now a new link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner). The new link up is called Tuesday Topics and will start on January 8th!
So today I’m linking up with Courtney to share my Year of Running in 2018! Be sure to check her site and see how everyone else did!
Warning. I’m not good at picking just one or even two. Lol
So what determines a “best” race? Fastest? Best Food? Most scenic course? Most organized? Best swag?
Well, I unexpectedly had THREE PRs this year. And they were at three of my favorite races. All three races deserve kudos for their organization, logistics, course, post-race food, etc. (Although no medals at any of these races.)
Bacon Hill Bonanza (5K)
Delmar Dash (5m)
But I loved all of my 30 races. Each one was special in a different way.
My runs are not usually very good or very exciting.
But I’d say that my best ones were done with my local running friends. We now call our group the “Sole Sisters.”
They have gotten me to run longer and faster and to walk less. The best part is being accountable during those long cold winter months.
I would be remiss not to mention that my job has allowed me run on some neat bike paths (Onondaga Lake State Park in Liverpool, Lake Ontario and Erie Canal Trail in Rochester and of course, Central Park and the river paths in Manhattan). That has been exciting (the running not the job or the traveling).
Best New Piece(s) of Running Gear
I have bought many pairs of running shoes but they are always the same (Nike Zoom Vomero). I have, of course, bought Skirt Sports running clothes.
The only thing new that I love are my Goodr sunglasses.
Most Inspirational Runner(s)
Well, there are quite a few.
First Des Linden who kicked a$$ and won the Boston marathon in those awful weather conditions.
Secondly, a blogger that I have met in person: Wendy from Taking the long way home who was diagnosed with RA but does not let it interfere with her running journey and a blogger that I have not met in person: Laurie from Meditations in Motion, who got injured and still completed the Marine Corps Marathon.
Finally my local running friend Judy from Chocolate Runs Judy who ran four long races in four months, one being an 18 miler. Now that’s impressive.
Favorite Picture from a Run or Race
Again there are a few:
Racing in Paris
Racing in Central Park, NYC
Race Experience(s) you would repeat in a heart beat
Well you know I love race-cations so there were several in 2018. A few of them, unfortunately, are on my “worst of 2018” list too. Stay tuned for that post next week.
Les 20Km de Paris
I mean it was running in Paris and I loved it even though it didn’t turn out to be one of my better “races.”
Rock n Roll Montreal Half Marathon
It turned out to be a bad year for the race itself but racing with friends is the best.
Brooklyn Half Marathon
Ending up on the beach in Coney Island? But again, not a good year for this race. It poured!
I doubt I will be able to repeat any of these but I would if I could.
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be?
Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these wonderful ladies:
The AlbanyLast Run is a very popular local race. In fact, it always sells out (at 1500). The race starts with fireworks and then you run uphill, around the lights in the park and it ends with a downhill. I have run it every year since 2010 and it is one of my favorite races.
The course map:
Here are some pics from a previous year:
One year, I ran this race in the rain. Another year, in a blizzard. Last year, this was how I finished the race.
snowy, icy and very slippery!!
I was hoping for better weather this year. Could it be any worse??
They used to give out windbreakers for this race and I have them in many colors
As usual I picked up my bib & shirt beforehand to save time on race night. (I also picked up shirts and bibs for NINE of my running friends.)
Of course, I debated about what to wear… I like to look festive. But it was COLD. I hate to overdress but how to stay warm, dry and also be comfortable???
I wore several layers but ended up being a little warm because although it was in the 20s, there was no wind.
I carpooled with Barbara and decided to leave my car where I use to take yoga classes. (I hate that crowded parking garage) and walk the mile or so to the race start. I wore an extra coat (that I would ditch before the race) and I was still a little cold. At least we got to wait inside.
As I mentioned, it is a popular race and I bumped into all sorts of people that I knew– runners from my turkey trot training group, runners from work, runners from tennis and FB friends, etc.
So excited to see my tennis pal who got me started on this running thing. She has recently finished chemo and this was her first 5k this year.
We chatted until it was time to head out. It was fun to see all costumes and how everyone creatively got into the holiday spirit.
Most of my “Sole Sisters”
Finally we left our warm home to go watch the pre-race fireworks.
The fireworks were awesome but we were COLD and anxious for the race to begin.
the senior (over 60) members of the group
About 20 minutes later, the race finally did.
Not worried about our times for this race, we waited until the fireworks were over before we headed the start line. Then we just pushed our way into the crowd and waited to cross the start line. The race was only gun-timed so if you were serious, you had to watch the fireworks from the front of the crowd in line to start the race.
This may have been the best weather we’ve ever had for this race and it was insanely crowded, especially when you were starting toward the back with the slower runners and walkers.
Mile 1: 10:26
The race started with an uphill, went through the city before we entered the park. It was very very crowded at first and usually the crowd thinned out but it never did. I unsuccessfully tried to run but just was weaving in and out, say “Excuse me, excuse me.”
I think this mile was much slower than my Garmin says because when I crossed the Mile 1 clock, it read over 12 minutes.
courtesy of the Times Union (last year)
Once in the park, we were running under the festive holiday lights. Though the road was filled with ruts and cracks, it was much lighter than on the streets. We hit our second hill and I would have normally been tempted to walk up the steep hill but I didn’t need to and actually picked up the pace. (After Pelham, these hills seemed flat.)
Mile 2: 9:40
It was still very crowded and I was passing everyone but since I felt like I was running slow due to the crowds. I was able to enjoy the lights and the crazy costumes worn by the runners. I got positive remarks from spectators about my outfit, as well.
from the TU (last year)
During this mile, I was really having fun!!
I took these pics the other day when I ran through the park
The whole time I was running, I kept looking at the ground trying to avoid cracks and uneven pavement and keeping an eye out for potholes and NOT FALL!! So far so good. It was so nice that the roads were dry.
from my friend’s FB page
Mile 3: 8:53
Finally around mile 3, my hands had warmed up so I took off my gloves and there was enough space to actually RUN.
Eventually we left the park, the road was dark but it was DOWNHILL so I carefully sprinted to the finish.
Officially I crossed at 30:44I guess.
On my Garmin, it was about 30:08 but not sure if I started or stopped at the right time.
Yes, my slowest 5k this year but one of my most enjoyable. Afterwards, I chatted with some of my friends but it got cold so I went inside to wait for my Sole Sisters, check the results and get some refreshments.
They gave awards to 10 age year groups so I was 6th. but would have won if it were 5 year increments. No big deal. Some races are just run for fun. And this was one!!!
The food was nothing to speak of – apples and bananas and some bars. Once everyone had finished, we all headed to one of the Sole Sister’s house for a pot luck dinner (and knitting lesson). It was a blast. I am so lucky to call those women my friends.
The Last Run is a standard on my racing list each year. It did not disappoint this year.
My time this year was the slowest of all my Last Run races (except for those years with snow, ice and injury). But there’s no way that this race could be a PR. I know in order to have those faster times again, I would have to ditch my friends and stand close to the start line at the beginning.
But this is more important:
Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with these wonderful ladies: