Thoughts on the 2012 Boilermaker

Welp, I finally did it. That stupid race has been on my to do list since I was in 9th grade and this year I finally grew a pair and ran it. The 35th running of the Utica Boilermaker 15k Road Race was July 8, 2012 and it was everything I thought it would be. And worse. And better.

I should note here that Tyler is in better shape than I and could leave me in the dust without breaking a sweat. But during this entire process he has been by my side, pushing, but never giving me those ‘encouraging’ phrases that annoy me. Also, he is tall so I don’t have to adjust my gate to run like I would with any of you midgets under 6 feet.

The race itself was crazy fun. I focused on not running into people, finding water stations and, as Ryan O says, “picking them up and putting them down.” Most everyone was fun to be around and the ones that weren’t kept to themselves. The sea of people when I looked behind me after the Valley View golf course was crazy. We had to stop twice for hugs, once for a shoelace and once while I dry heaved. I’d like to state “screw you bridge on Burrstone Rd.” the sun really hits you on that incline and people just stop. That’s where my stomach need a talking to and then from there out it was a mental game. I did not pick up speed on the downhill nor did I speed up at the finish line. Keeping my pace and effort level allowed me to be coherent at the end. We crossed in 94 minutes and 52 seconds, somehow shaving 2.5 minutes off of Tyler’s 2011 race time. Do not look up my race time because my chip didn’t read at the start line so they marked me with the gun time.

Now for a few gripes. I understand the need for ambulances but I do not understand the need for them to idle and blow exhaust onto the race way. The smell of that gave me an instant wave of nausea. Along that line I’m not a fan of people who smoke by people who are running.

Next are the spectators my girlfriend heard say “those people don’t look like runners.” Because that’s what people want to hear is someone sitting on the side critiquing them as a person. It’s one thing to say they have a weird gait but to just insult someone while you sit around is another thing.

If the committee could actually get the pre-race stuff working that would be great. It took half the Star Spangled Banner before you took the mic out of the trumpet so the speakers would broadcast it. The runners laughing at you had enough common sense to understand the basics of audio equipment. On a plus note we were only a measure ahead in the Anthem when the speakers kicked on.

Finally, runners: get out of my way. Do not run in the middle of the road to only stop right in front of me then give me a dirty look. Work your way over to the sides away from the thousands of people you are bottle necking. I spent more time dodging walkers the first 5 miles than I did focusing on my running which ultimately hurt me at the finish.

But other than those complaints I love the race, the fans were great, the course was challenging but not as hard as I thought it would be. I just need to start training for the heat because that’s what did me in. That and looking for people in the crowd. It was like trying to see everything as you spin on a merry-go-round. I saw people I wasn’t looking for and missed people I wanted to see but that’s to be expected.

Things I saw and favorite quotes:

  • Eeyore the Donkey that the Lockheed Martin employees adopted at the Utica Zoo
  • A girl gag on an ice cube that slid down her throat
  • “Hey we passed the 5K mark! My math might be off but I think we’re half way there!
  • The golfers flaunting their ice cold beer at the top of Valley View
  • Tyler asking every Popsicle station for a grape one then jumping like an idiot when he got one.
  • Every water station, every home owner who turned on their sprinklers over the runners, misted the runners with their garden hose.
  • I hated every sign telling me how much further I had, or had completed. I love the signs reminding me about the beer at the finish line.

That is all I have for now. Next year’s goal is sub 90 minutes and no stops. Except for hugs of course!

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