What. A. Day.
445 am the alarm goes off for a 515 departure time: it’s off to Utica for the Boilermaker. I drive the 20 yards to Deb’s house in the wrong lane, halfway on the sidewalk. But no one’s up this early on a Sunday.
630 we arrive in sunny Utica (or, Ackuhtoo, as Deb keeps calling it–apparently an inside joke that I’m not inside). We have to turn around only once before finding a decent parking space near the shuttle.
645 Deb passes me a flask-looking bottle. “Good Sense” is, apparently, an off-brand anti-diarrheal, and she swigs it like a wino. She says, “Don’t look at the expiration date. Just chug.” It is VILE and while I feel quite tight in the bowel, my stomach threatens rebellion.
650 I munch some trailmix on the shuttle to the starting line. I pray the nuts will soak up some of the poison Deb has just poisoned me with.
700 We pick up our numbers and chips and stand in line for the port-a-johns. Many men pee against just about anything that will stand still: electric posts, bushes, trash cans. While in line, we read through the info packets. We find that our bibs are color-coded based on our seed time. We immediately begin looking around to see what other colors there are, and try to guess which color means what. Green and bright yellow appear to be “fast” seeds, as those who sport them are exceedingly fit. Our color, light blue, is worn by all shapes and sizes, though none of them looks exceedingly fit. We also decide that “if” we get separated, we will meet at the McDonald’s Parfait table at the post race party.
715 We find our way to our seed corral: it is at the very end of the pack (though neither of us is surprised). We chat with various runners, joke about being slower than bread mold, and begin to realize the magnitude of this particular race.
800 The gun.
808 We finally make it to the starting line. I work very hard not to get kicked in the knees by the runners in front of me.
818 The first mile. There are still people, runners, everywhere around us. A runner stumbles in front of us, taking several runners down with him. I want to look back to see how long it will be for the pack to pull ahead and leave us, but I fear that if I look back I’ll trip someone. Deb and I pull off the street and take to the sidewalk, which is considerably less crowded.
830 I tell Deb I’m going back into the street so’s not to miss a water station. I have to navigate through the thick line of specators, and by the time I’m back on the street, I’ve lost her.
845 There are people having tailgate parties, drinking beer and roasting burgers on their front lawns. It’s 845, people!! Go drink some coffee and read the paper!! Mile 4 is at the top of a very cool hill (not nearly as bad as St. Albert’s) that once I crested, I could see the huge crowd of runners both in front of and behind me.
855 Big downhill to mile 5, where at the very bottom was a water station people were slowing down for. I slowed too, again, not get kicked in the kneecaps, and a man behind me put his hands into my back to push me to one side so he could get by. Angry RuDe Man in Ugly Orange Shirt.
900 Popsicle stand!!
910 I pass ARMiUOS. Want to push him but don’t have the nerve.
920 Awesome metal band rocks. Moments later: cool hippie Toby Lightman-like chick with acoustic rocks.
928 Holy crap: mile 8 already?? I don’t even hurt (bad).
941 Finish 🙂 Smiling.
This race is HUGE. 11,000 people. And except for ARMiUOS, all of them friendly. The post-race party is quite amazing, with more free food goodies than I’ve ever seen at a road race. Not just dry cold bagels and bananas here. A turkey sandwich lunch bag, cookies, oranges, whole bottles of sports drinks, free beer (lots of it–but I just can’t drink that early, or that soon after running). Deb and I found the end of the line to get what we thought would be our T-shirts, but ended up only getting a nice beer glass. No free T with this race. 😦
Though I found once I got home that race participants can get them for only $1.50. Not bad.
Official time: 1:33 (10:03 pace). Deb, without me acting as a “governor,”: 1:25 (9:13 pace).