Boilermaker 15k – Utica, NY

I got up this morning to a sore left ankle and a huge bruise on my heel (compliments of rolling my ankle slightly during the run and stepping on rock during my dismount from the bike in yesterday’s triathlon). But after walking around getting dressed I felt fine to run. After dropping the girls off at the shuttle for the 5k run I went to the 15k start line. I got there a little early so I got to chill for a bit. Later I took the approximately half mile walk to the start line. My ankle felt fine but I had some soreness in my heel so I didn’t know how fast I’d be able to run.

They gave us the OK to enter the corrals, I was in the second to last coral and it was a long one. I was one of the first to enter so I thought I’d do some warm-up jogging to the line and back. I felt some discomfort below and in my left calf. It was an odd pain that just seemed to come out of nowhere. I jogged another loop in the coral because no one else had entered. I still felt the pain again so while waiting on the start I massaged it and stretched on my toes thinking it would go away.

At the start of the race we were walking because of all the people. Then it went into a trot and I could feel my calf tightening up. We didn’t get into a run until we actually hit the start line. All along I could feel my calf tightening up. I figured I’d just run out of it so I picked up my pace but then I got a sharp pain below my calf. I’d never felt that before. I really slowed myself down after that. I was only about a half mile into the 9.6 mile race and I’m injured. I was thinking do I pull myself out right here (at the same time I’m thinking I don’t like to quit and oh man, I have another race next Saturday). I looked down at my watch and saw a 10 minute pace, I should have been running a 7 minute pace…no chance of me finishing in less than 70 minutes now which was my goal. The slower pace seemed to help with the pain below my calf but my calf muscle itself was still bothering me. It was weird to feel so relaxed running at this lower speed but at the same time having the pain in my calf and heel. After passing the 2 mile mark and seeing almost 20 minutes on the board I just chuckled…oh well just enjoy the spectacle of the race.

I started just taking in the scenes the people on the route cheering, the music, people dancing and I gotta say…the ladies running in the spandex shorts and some in really short shorts…fantastic (what can I say, I’m a dude)!!! I started chatting with people that would run up along side of me. I ran up on this one guy and he just looked so relaxed. I tapped him on the back and said “dude, you look very relaxed”. He said I’m OK right now but I don’t know how long it will last. I laughed and he said you know, you look familiar…I said really, how so? He said did you run the Skeleton Run a few years ago? I said yes I did! He said did you win your age group? Yes, I did win it 2 years ago. Now granted I don’t ever remember seeing this guy before! Then he said yeah, I remember you because my wife and I said that guy looks great to be in the 50 year old age group. I smile and said thank you for the compliment. My calf was feeling a little better so I wished the guy a good race and picked up my pace. Shortly after that a Sista (you know what that is right) ran up along side of me, she said can I keep pace with you, I said sure but I’m running kind of slow today. She said cool, I’m just out here having fun because my baby girl is gone into the Marines…I said that’s awesome. Then she said I would have gone too but I have seven kids and I have t stay back to take care of them. We ran together for a bit then she took off on a sprint (this woman was having a great time). I would catch up to her a few times throughout the race. At one point she was telling me about a statue on the Parkway that she hoped they would just tear it down and put something else there. It’s of a black man kneeling with his head down and a chain around him. I’ve lived in the Utica area for 30 years and never knew it was there. She pointed it out and was very vocal about it as we passed by…I really need to go check that out sometime soon!

I bumped into a guy that I met at the mini-Musselman triathlon the day before. He’s from Ohio and comes back to town each year to be with family and run the 2 races as he was raised in the area. We chatted for a bit but as I was feeling a little better I bid him well and sped ahead. I knew I was going to struggle on the hills but the first test was on the hills in the golf course and it wasn’t that bad. Yes I slowed a bit but I concentrated on keeping my toes high so I could roll off my foot and not engage my calf too much, but coming down off the hill aggravated my heel. There wasn’t much I could do about that. I did eventually get over into the grass and that helped some. I was able to pick up my pace considerably once I got out onto the parkway. I wished I had wore my heart rate monitor as it would be interesting to see how low it would be at this pace. The worse part of the race came for me on the climb up the hill from Faxton Hospital up through to St. Luke’s hospital. About 2 miles of constantly rising hill climb. I was doing everything I could to keep the pressure off my calf, so much so that my right hip started to bother me because it was bearing most of my weight as I had started to limp to keep myself going. I was really going slowly after I made the turn and just couldn’t do anything about all the people passing me. I knew the downhill part was coming soon thinking I could pick my pace back up but only manage to go a little faster because my calf was now throbbing from the extended hill climb and my heal was aching. After making the final turn with about a mile to go there was one last hill to climb. I think I slowed a little too much here, I could have gone a little faster but there was no point now that I didn’t have a time goal to meet. The final stretch was downhill and I couldn’t resist sprinting it out. I don’t know how I managed it but I was running pretty fast. I backed it down with a few feet to ago and crossed the finish line very relaxed. I wasn’t breathing hard at all…just kinda strolled through the finishing shoots. I finished in 1:22:29, 3486th out of 11,359…lol, those numbers always make me laugh! I was actually surprised by that time. I thought for sure I’d have my worst time ever but I still managed to finish respectably.

Now I just need to heal up in 6 days as I have the Delta Triathlon next Saturday. Well I’m hoping I can heal up by then!

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