Mohawk Hudson River Marathon 2012

by Joanne on October 8, 2012

I thought “you don’t have to run this race. you got your PR for the year 3 weeks ago at Air Force so WHY do you want to stand here freezing this morning?!”

Then I decided since my number and shirt had been picked up, and since I liked the shirt so much, in order to wear it, I better run it.  Let’s see how it goes.

Ted drove us to the start instead of having to wait for the bus in Albany.  We spent 45 minutes before the race in a nice warm car, only having to endure the cool 45 degree temps for about 20 minutes.

As runners began lining up, there was a 3:40 pacer, a 3:45 pacer, and a 3:55 pacer that I had my eye on.  Since I just came off a 3:46 marathon, I knew the 3:45 was within reach so I held onto Ludo, the 3:45 pace leader.

It seemed everyone else held onto Ludo as well. We were in a tight group most of the marathon. It wasn’t until after mile 15 that some dropped off pace (or raced ahead, I’m not sure).  The running in a pack wasn’t comfortable.  I like a lot of space and there wasn’t any on the paved trail.  We were tight.  There was an annoying grunter/heavy breather running with us who I actually thought wouldn’t make it passed 5 miles. But he held on until…not sure when we lost him?  I only noticed the nice LACK of grunts as I ran along.  Apart from the grunter, there weren’t too many other notable happenings along the course. We ran, we talked, we ran, we Gu’d, we drank water and Gatorade every 2 miles (alternating the way we should between the two), we ran… it ended up being kind of nice staying with the same group for 3 plus hours.  The constant elbowing each other and occasional near miss from getting tangled in each others feet wasn’t fun but the close company kept our minds off the many miles ahead.

It took me until about the 9 mile point to feel good about the race. I wasn’t as fresh as I wanted and it seemed to be a struggle to that point. We entered the bike trail at about the 4th mile then it was 7 miles of flat, tree lined paved trail running.  There may have been some quick dips or climbs but nothing significant at that point.  It got kind of boring so the surrounding conversations offered some distraction.

At mile 12, there was a hill that took a lot out of me and I wondered why because it wasn’t that big of a hill. I was slow to recover and questioned whether I could hold the pace. To keep going, I thought about Ted waiting, Shane and Zoey at home, and celebrating another marathon finish.  If I held on, the faster that finish line would come to me…or me to it.  Besides, if the folks I was running with could do this, I sure could.  I kept running.

At the 16 mile water stop, a girl was bent over picking something up RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE COURSE! A dangerous tactic to say the least.  Who gives her a good kick in the butt and sends her flying? Me.  I felt SO AWFUL! I stopped to see if she was ok, she said she was, I asked if she was sure, she was, then continued on but it took my head out of the race for a few miles.

I was hoping to see Ted at the 13.1 point but he wasn’t there. Disappointed and not expecting to see him again until the finish, I kept running and tried not to feel alone struggling through holding a steady pace.

Coming off a nice steep hill at 19, there he was “JOANNE!”  I heard his voice and had renewed energy.

Although it looks like I’m about to fall down screaming, I’m actually coming off the hill, smiling and yelling since I’m THRILLED to see Ted. It really makes the world of difference when friends and family are there to offer support when the going gets tough.

Ted followed a bit in the car since we wouldn’t get back on the bike trail until mile 21.  We ran through the town where runners have to dodge the cones which is the only thing separating participants from on coming traffic.

Something happens to me at the 21 mile mark. The race gets tough. I know it’s going to be mental strength that keeps me going.  Here’s what goes on in my head:

  1. If everyone around me can do it, I can too.
  2. I’m not the only one feeling tired at this point, so be tough and keep going.
  3. The miles seem to go by a little bit quicker which is odd considering most of the time I’m running slower.  But when I come to mile 21, I know I’m almost there and it seems from that point, the mile markers aren’t so far apart.
  4. I take myself out of the current race and imagine how Boston would be (my favorite marathon) with all the spectators, the urging on to the finish, the things seen and heard on the course… I love Boston and getting from mile 21 to the finish, although hard, seems like a flash in comparison to the earlier miles.

And so came mile 26, still holding on to Ludo and the 3:45 pace (he had 32 seconds in the bank when I slipped behind), I had fallen back but not lost sight of him.  I knew if I pushed that final distance, I’d have a sub 3:45 and I did.

Here are the splits and the results of a fantastic pace leader.

  1. 8:38   7. 8:34  13. 8:34  19. 8:28   25. 8:34
  2. 8:33   8. 8:36  14. 8:23  20. 8:41   26. 8:33
  3. 8:30   9. 8:40  15. 8:16  21. 8:26     .2  8:02
  4. 8:22   10. 8:44  16. 8:31  22. 8:41
  5. 8:19   11. 8:37  17. 8:36  23. 8:40
  6. 8:39   12. 8.32  18. 8:27  24. 8:42

AVE. PACE: 8:36

That got me:  1. ANOTHER PR for 2012 YAY!  NET TIME of 3:44:37 (gun time of 3:44:56)  7 seconds off the pace leader

AND…

winner of a USATF Age group award!  *USATF posted GUN time not net. So cool!  Never thought I’d be able to say I was first in my age group in a marathon. *Age group specific not age group as in 40 – 49.

Overall results:

  • Place: 284
  • Division:  6/54
  • USATF place result:  11 of 31
  • Splits:   1:52:46,   1:52:11,  2:31:42,  3:44:37  Net or 3:44:56 Gun
  • Pace:  8:36

The best thing about this PR: Holding on when it got really tough, finishing my sixth marathon and physically feeling so good right now.  Sure there’s a little stiffness in the legs but nothing more than a walk with the dogs in the morning won’t fix.

Number six really is the new lucky number.

As for Mohawk Hudson River Marathon, it’s a good race with a net elevation loss.  The expo is small but the event itself isn’t huge.  Driving in the city of Albany can be frustrating as is parking but what larger city isn’t when you come from a smaller area like Utica.  The course is not easy (IS there an easy marathon?!) but offers a nice paved trail run (about 18 miles of trail), a lot of shade, good support from the many water stations.  It’s well thought out, friendly and a good marathon experience from beginner to seasoned marathoner.  It’s touted as a good Boston Qualifier due to the net elevation loss. Highly recommended.  There’s even a live band at the finish if you want to stick around and be entertained.  The refreshments offered: chocolate milk, Gatorade, water, bagels, bananas, oranges, chips…there might have been more but all I wanted was a ginger ale.

Medical tent wasn’t as busy as in some marathons (a good thing!). There were many massage tables to offer runners a rewarding rub down after supreme efforts.  Although I didn’t use it, the baggage bus was efficient and handy at the beginning and end of the race.  If a runner was parked at the start of the race (in Schenectady), there was a 2:30 pm bus to take participants back to their cars in Schenectady.

What’s next?  Ted and I run the Stockade-athon, a 15K together in November (if all goes well) then the Goofy Challenge in January.

What’s on your race calendar for the rest of the year?

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11 Comments

  • At 2012.10.08 10:19, misszippy1 said:

    Wow Joanne! Congrats to you! I am so impressed that you pulled out a PR so soon after Air Force. Way to go!!!

    I have Mowhak in my sights for the future–I keep hearing good things about it!

    • At 2012.10.08 11:42, J said:

      Congrats on the marathon! Great job on the PR and age group win!

      • At 2012.10.08 12:50, Jason Whitmen said:

        I just stopped by your blog and thought I would say hello. I like your site design. Looking forward to reading more down the road.

        • At 2012.10.08 13:07, Bill Fine said:

          Great job, Joanne…….looks like I need to put this one on my radar for the future as well!

          • At 2012.10.08 16:17, Tina@GottaRunNow said:

            It’s amazing to me that you did so well at two marathons only 3 weeks apart! Congrats on the PR – again!

            • At 2012.10.08 20:57, Pam said:

              Great job Joanne!!! Way to PR 🙂

              • At 2012.10.09 09:03, Ali @ Peaches and Football said:

                Ahhhh how exciting! Congrats on the new PR – that is absolutely AMAZING time!

                I can’t imagine running 26 MINUTES straight, let alone 26. 🙂 I think I’d be like you – wanting a little more space and breathing room but I bet it did help having people around to chat with. Or at least listen to them chat to help distract yourself.

                CONGRATS!!

                • At 2012.10.09 10:50, Heni said:

                  …and you’ve done it! Great job! You have to be proud of yourself! That’s such a bug deal! Congrats and maximum respect to you!

                  • At 2012.10.11 07:51, Heather said:

                    Whoa, Joanne, you KILLED this race! Congratulations – I knew you would do it!!!
                    Rockstar.

                    • At 2012.10.19 21:41, The Green Girl said:

                      Congratulations on the unexpected PR, girl! Whoo hoo!

                      You made me laugh so hard when you ran into that girl!

                      • At 2012.10.25 21:50, Jim Moragne said:

                        Wondeful description of that course, Joanne, and congratulations on both your PR and age group award! Very impressive! Sorry I missed you, but did the half and had to head home shortly thereafter. Good day for me, too – 1:59:15 and 6/22 in age group. Hopefully we’ll see you and Ted at the Stockadeathon (if I survive the Hairy Gorilla this Sunday).

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