Last Thursday was the annual CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge, a 3.5 mile run in downtown Albany with 10,000 of your closest friends. Yes, really, 10,000 people. They actually capped the race this year at 10,000 and it sold out. My first time running this race was in 2009, about a year after I started running. It was only my 3rd race, ever. It was slow, but I had a good time and was encouraged by everyone to keep running, and I did just that.
Fast forward to 2016, my 6th time running this race, and what I was sure was going to be my slowest time yet. This year has been rough for me with running and I haven’t reallt felt like being out there. Fortunately for me, I had my trusty sidekick with me this time for good luck, Hatrison. He was also running it on the team from his work. It was a lot of fun to get to run a race with him because often times one of us is pushing the jogging stroller or sitting out with Owen so we don’t get to race together.
Normally I walk up to the race directly from the office because it is at the Empire State Plaza but this particular day I had to be in Clifton Park for the afternoon so I met up with Harrison there and we rode down together. I changed at the YMCA in Clifton Park and had a minor panic attack when I realized that I didn’t pack my sneakers that morning. Luckily for me I keep a pair of running shoes at work so we made a quick detour on our way to the race to swing by my office for shoes.
Just about the time we were getting to the Plaza where the teams were all congregating the skies opened up and a quick downpour passed through. But Mother Nature was on our side and it only lasted a short while before it cleared up again. The temperature was perfect and it was mostly overcast which was great for running.
Team photos were taken before the race and then we all made our way down to Madison Ave to get lined up for the start. As always we were packed in like sardines. In hindsight we probably should have started a little farther up because we were passing A LOT of people to begin with, but I think that’s always the case unless you are right at the start line planning to run really fast.
Once the race began Harrison and I settled in to a pretty steady pace. We weren’t always side by side because we were constantly dodging people but we always found ourselves back together eventually. I was feeling pretty slow so I told H to go ahead if he wanted but he stuck by my side. I walked through both water stops, I was thirsty and I don’t find it beneficial to try and run through them while trying to juggle a cup in hand.
Finally we were at the last half mile which is a long downhill on Madison Ave finishing at the State Museum. At this point I was tired but I like to take advantage of the downhill and let gravity propel me ahead. H was fading so he told me to forge ahead, so I did. I managed to hold a good pace and crossed the finish line in 31 minutes 21 seconds. Harrison was just 20 seconds behind me.
I didn’t realize it at the time, in fact it took me 5 days to notice that my time was in fact a personal record (PR)! I never expected that to happen but apparently some of my Ironman training from last year carries through the winter. I’m hoping it’s a sign for good things to come this race season.
Once we stretched and gathered our things we said our goodbyes and headed towards the car whilst brainstorming where to get some dinner, we were starving. My team had reserved a space at the Albany Pump Station but we wandered past the Merry Monk and saw empty tables and don’t make it any further. I had a delicious drink and mussels that totally hit the spot. It was kind of like an impromptu date night!