Although I am really behind on writing race recaps, I’m going to skip past the 2 that I still need to write (the Lake George Triathlon Festival Weekend & Ragnar ADK) and get back to them later. Instead I want to talk about this past weekend and the Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon (MHHM).
I’m going to preface this post by apologizing for the lack of photos. I waited for the professional photos to be available before publishing this post in hopes to have a few good ones, but honestly, they are awful. I look fat, and slow, and I can’t bear to put those photos here, nor am I going to spend any money for them! Oh, and this post is kind of wordy, so if you don’t care about my race, you might want to stop reading now…
So anyway, this was my second time running this race, the first time was back in 2010 and it was my first half marathon. I trained my little heart out back then and was super happy with my sub 2 hour finish. I signed up to race it again in 2013 as a goal race to get back in shape after having Owen but that was a pipe dream and I didn’t end up running. Harrison had also planned on running it in 2013 with me but neither of us were prepared to do it so we picked up our race garb and called it a day.
This time around we both signed up in the hopes of being able to run it together. The race is always on Columbus Day Weekend which is close to our wedding anniversary so we thought it would be a fun anniversary race. After Ironman was over I started to have my doubts about being able to set a personal record (PR) during this race, which was my goal. When I ran it in 2010 my time was 1:55:56 which works out to just below an average 9 minute mile. While I have run those speeds in shorter distances this year I wasn’t really thinking I’d be able to do it for a half marathon.
Two weeks before the race Harrison hurt his back and wasn’t sure he was going to be able to run it at all. A few trips to the chiropractor and he was ready to race but wasn’t sure what kind of speeds he’d be able to pull off without hurting himself further. This meant I was going to run it alone if I wanted to try and PR.
Race morning was cold, very much like the weather in 2010, but while cold the weather report called for it to be a beautiful sunny day. I went back and forth on what I wanted to wear but finally decided on my favorite long roga shorts from Oiselle, calf sleeves, my new tanktop from Oiselle and long sleeved Oiselle shirt (can you tell who I go to for running clothes these days??) I contemplated wearing a beanie to begin but knew I’d regret it really soon so I opted for my Prince George ballcap which was perfect to keep the sun out of my eyes but provide a little extra warmth in the beginning. I also wore a sweatshirt for the first mile that I tossed just past the first water stop. The zipper was broken so I figured it was no real loss to me!
My strategy at the start was to take it easy. I was feeling a little sore and I wanted to use the first mile to warm up. It’s also the only part of the race that has any real uphill to it so I wanted to make sure not to push it and to just relax and let the legs work themselves into a good groove. So my first mile was a 9:18 which I was super happy with. Once out of the park and onto the bike trail I just tried to focus on staying at a comfortably fast pace but not push it too much. Whenever there was a downhill I let gravity take me and tried to use it to my advantage as much as possible. I didn’t stop at the first water stop but by the second I was getting thirsty so I grabbed some Gatorade and kept running. After that water stop I actually took my time and walked through them taking Gatorade and sometimes water. I didn’t carry any fuel with me as I knew I could get by with just Gatorade.
Other than the miles through Cohoes and Watervliet the course is gorgeous. The first 4.5 miles are on bike trail followed by 4 miles on the road (which are a little unpleasant, it’s pretty narrow with cars) and the last 4.5 miles are on the bike trail along the Hudson River heading into Albany. It’s quiet on the bike trail with minimal crowd support but I honestly don’t mind that. And once I got about 3 miles from the finish I knew the terrain as I often run along the river when I head out for lunchtime runs from work. So I was familiar with landmarks and knew what was around the next corner. I loved it! It was along this last section that I started to slow down and really doubt my ability to PR. As my splits above show, other than the first mile, miles 11 & 12 were my slowest. It’s flat and I was tired. Everything was tight and I was so ready to be done.
About a mile from the finish the crowd support picked up and I gained a little momentum back. I was determined to finish strong, and I did, earning myself a PR by 1.5 minutes! Although 1.5 minutes isn’t much, it was still a PR and while I was a little disappointed, I was hoping for better, I had a great race and really dug deep for it. I haven’t done nearly enough speed training going into it so my ability to squeak out what I did made me a happy girl.
Once I crossed the finish line I made a beeline to the food tent. My body was seriously craving salt! I grabbed a bag of fritos, wolfed those down and headed back to the finish to try and capture Harrison finishing. I had seen a friend about a mile from the finish so I texted her and asked her to give me a heads up when H was on his way. Not long after I found a spot to spectate he was coming in.
He had a great race, despite his bad back, I was so proud of him! That was the farthest he has ever run and it didn’t kill him, so I might be able to talk him into doing it again… maybe.
We snacked, a lot, stretch, a little (not enough) and cheered on a few friends at the finish before heading up to one of the water stops along Broadway in Watervliet to help out for the last marathon runners coming through. Our triathlon club was manning the water stop and we thought it would be fun to give back to those who were awesome enough to be running the full marathon on Sunday.
Once we were done there we headed back to my mom’s to collect Owen who had spent the day with Grammie and then had a cookout with friends from the tri-club to wrap up the day up at their house in Wilton. Fun times were had by all and I am really happy with my race. I’m not sure if I will run the half again next year but I do hope to do some more speed training and perhaps a PR will be in my future next year.
Until the next adventure, happy running! (or hiking, which is what is in store for this weekend!)