America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk 40th Anniversary. Since it began, this event has raised over $21,000,000 to fight heart disease and stroke. Look at these accomplishments:
- 55 years ago there was no CPR.
- 40 years ago there was no angioplasty.
- 35 years ago there were no effective anti-rejection drugs for heart transplants.
- 25 years ago no medications to reduce disability from stroke.
- 15 years ago no drug-eluting stents.
- 10 years ago no smoke-free legislation for New York restaurants. Also 10 years ago, no guidelines for healthy snack alternatives in New York schools.
- 8 years ago AED’s were not required in public places in New York State.
This event makes a difference. The goal this year $1,133,000.
Saturday, March 1st the weather was not the best for running or walking. When I took the dogs out for a 2 mile run, just to test my running gear considering I would soon be on the cold, hard pavement for close to 3 hours, my legs took on a numbing chill. Before leaving the house for Barneveld, where the 30K run began, I put thermals under my running tights in hopes that would be enough. The temperature was 6 degrees with a 9 mph wind.
Ted dropped me off at Van’s Tavern where 30K runners met. Ted took off to park the car near Utica college so he could catch a bus for the 10 mile run which left from Rte.291 & Irish Road in Stittville. Upon entering Van’s, a lady greeted me and told me to help myself to coffee, water, refreshments that were set up for the runners. It was only me and one other runner at 7 am in the tavern.
7:10 am welcomed the runners arriving off the bus from the college. We were a scant few this year. Maybe 18 – 20 whereas in previous years the numbers were closer to 30 plus.
At 7:27 am, runners were called outside to start. It was a quick singing of our National Anthem then a loud canon blast. We were off up that rotten hill, and it was a ROTTEN HILL today. My legs were cold and stiff. I was trying to run but getting no where.
As the course leveled out, my legs loosened slightly but with that came the usual hamstring ache which radiated into my left glute. After the long down hill, my arches began aching. I wondered if I would make it to the 10 mile point where the next group of runners took off. It was cold and difficult to maintain an even, comfortable stride. This day was going to be a challenge.
I wasn’t moving fast but the miles were ticking off. There were a few water stations but very few spectators to cheer us on. The 10 milers had already gone by the time I reached that starting point but I could see the pack just up ahead. Must have missed them by about 1 – 2 minutes. At my 10 mile point, Ted’s 2 mile point, we finally met up. I ran with him or just ahead of him for about 4 miles. My left leg kept wanting to buckle underneath me either from the cold or the aches. Maybe running at a slightly faster pace (if I could do it) might help my muscles. It did… for a while.
When I reached the 5 mile starting point, those runners were long gone. I usually run into the 5 miler slower pack. Same situation at the 5K starting point – not-a-one runner. I kept hoping the running pack would be seen just up ahead of me but no. What a really strange day! Only a stray runner here and there with a couple of 30K runners passing me and some still behind me.
Approaching “Heart Break Hill” I knew I’d be going up it alone. That meant no hiding in a crowd to sneak a walking step or two. It was a slow jog up that hill. By this time, the leg had loosened up, my feet still ached but the hamstring and glute were a little better. I turned the corner onto Burrstone Road to see groups of people, mostly walking but some running. FINALLY! I was SO ready to be done with this run.
I crossed the Finish to find no crowds as in previous years. Most people were going into the buildings. The 3 mile and 5 mile walkers were lined up on Champlin Ave. ready to start there cold trek around New York Mills.
*See the dots at the base of the hospital? Those are walkers lined up ready to go. But look at the road in front of me. There isn’t one person!
I went into the student center to get warm while waiting for Ted.
He made it! He had the same thoughts as I did …”where were all the 5 mile and 5K runners? Where was everyone??” Maybe it was just so cold that people didn’t come out this year? Maybe we were running super slow this year? Maybe they started the races earlier than in previous years?
What ever the case, we were tough and we made it.
As for my goal pace of 9:06 to 8:53, that didn’t happen. Given that the cold temperature can add up to 8% to your pace time, I won’t be too upset with an overall 9:33 pace for 18.3 miles. It wasn’t the most encouraging run for Boston training but, like I said, I got through it.
A 2.24 mile early morning run with the dogs plus 18.3 for the Heart Run gives me my longest run for this training season so far.
If you had a race/run you did as a ritual before a key event, what circumstances would keep you from doing it?