Boilermaker 2009

I think a shirt that I saw during the race pretty much sums it up:

“My sport is punishment in your sport…”

Yeah, that feels about right.


  • Mile 1: 6:54
  • Mile 2: 7:36
  • Mile 3: 7:15
  • Mile 4: 7:40
  • Mile 5: 6:41
  • Mile 6: 7:08
  • Mile 7: 7:43
  • Mile 8: 7:12
  • Mile 9: 7:25
  • The Final 0.3: 2:05

Final: 67:44.  That’s a fairly impressive (for me anyway) 7:16 average pace, and a new PR by about 4 minutes and change.

On the drive out, I was really worried about GI problems finally catching up with me.  Thankfully, after making it over to the starting area, things seems to work themselves out.  Even though it was about 54 degrees out, I was feeling pretty comfortable.  I hung with the my crew a little longer than I probably should have and ended up getting stuck around 3/4 of the way back in the green section.  Thought I made up some ground when they started moving people up to the starting line, but felt like I had a ton of traffic to weave through.  Right before the first mile marker, things began to open up a bit and I started to find it easier to get around people.

The rest of Culver Ave and the Parkway up to Valley View Road was fairly uneventful, except for getting boxed in by a couple of guys running together.  Caught a few elbows, dropped back moved to the other side of the road and was able to get around them.  As usual, the turn into the golf course is pinched off pretty well with water stations on both sides of the road.  Luckily the middle seemed clear enough for me to squeeze through.  I also seemed to avoid an errant soaking and ice from other runners.

I’m happy see the lesser runners begin to wilt a bit on the big hill;  with all the retarded hill work that I put in, it doesn’t slow me much.  I’m worried about everybody catching up as I putter down the other side of the hill.  Even though I do about as much downhill work as uphill, my body just wasn’t made for downhill speed.  Regardless, I try to open things up to hold my ground.  At the bottom of the hill, I’m looking forward to more uphill.

Cruising down the Parkway from the Zoo to the tennis courts, I flash back to riding down the bike trail on the side of the road when I was I kid and thinking how fast it seemed.  I also remember looking back up the same hill when watching the Boilermaker when I was a kid and running how people could run that far, let alone the full course.  At the tennis courts, I snap myself back to the moment and start scanning the crowd for my mom.  She’s really good at being in +/- 5 feet of her spot every year.  Unfortunately, my eyes are getting worse every year.  I finally spot her and get a nice high five as I motor on.

In the next block or so, I picked it up for a bit.  Even though I seemed to going a little faster, others seem to start catching up and inching by.  Will strong, body week, I guess.  A couple of turns, and I’m at the base of heart break hill.  I’m happy to pass a fair number of folks slowing for water at the bottom of the hill.  I throw it in low gear and big the low but long grade.  Even though its still pretty cool out, the open road and lack of shade make things feel a lot warmer.  As usual, it feels like an eternity to get to the mile 7 marker where the hill finally begins to level.

Out of nowhere, I notice that I’m feeling kinda tired.  Nothing hurts;  quads ok, knees only a little angry, calves fine, ankles fine, feet fine.  Just plain tired.  Don’t remember feeling this was during a race before.

On the normally welcome downhill of Champlin Ave, it feels like everybody suddenly got their second wind.  I plod along, searching for my second wind.  If that wasn’t struggle enough, I had to choke back a little nausea as a not so shapely big guy passed me running in nothing but Speedos.  That’s a picture I really didn’t need.

When I make it to Whitesboro Street, I’m feeling a little better and pound a couple of quick swigs of water.  I don’t think I found a real second wind, but I was able to pick things up a little.  Still not really passing a lot of folks, but not getting passed by everybody it seems.  Still kinda feels like I’m in slow motion.  Right before the veering on to Court Street, there’s a guy in the crowd wearing a plush chicken mask high fiving runners as they go by.  Only in Utica, only at the Boilermaker.

Time to step it up one more time.  After the final turn, a bunch of people in front of me slowed to a near crawl.  I squeaked in between catching an elbow or two along the way.  No worries, I was out of their hair soon enough.   I’m moving pretty good when I get to the railroad tracks, making up ground, when I notice some other people turning it up.   I catch up and realize I’m just asking for trouble.  I’m pretty happy with my time, no use being stupid and getting hurt.  I zip over the maps right behind them.

I crouched down and tried to unstrap my timer chip.  Took a few tries, but I finally got it.  Maybe next time, I’ll use one of the handily provided chairs.  I stumbled through the end of the chute depositing my chip and picking up my 7th straight Boilermaker Finisher pin.

Waxing a bit, I guess I’ve got a lot to be thankful for:

  • my health.  not everybody can run, let alone race.  I’m trying to make the most of the time I have on my stock set of knees.
  • an understanding wife.  she’s gotta be to let me run for 8+ hours every week.
  • my running friends.  those guys and gals who motivated, challenged, shamed, and humbled me.
  • an awesome running community.  Syracuse and Utica both have excellent running clubs and first rate races.
  • courage.  while it pails in comparison with some of the folks I see at the Boilermaker (from first timers to wheelchair rollers), I like to believe that the special kind of stupid that keeps me running is a blessing.

That’s enough rambling for this year, I guess.  I gotta go register for 2010.





2 responses to “Boilermaker 2009”

  1. Samuel A. Falvo II Avatar
    Samuel A. Falvo II

    Congrats on the run.

    Meanwhile, I’m putting in about 60 miles on the bike every week going to and from work.

  2. jasonjcrowther Avatar

    @sam, thanks! Some day, I’ll make good on my plan to start bike commuting myself. Maybe I’ll get my bike tuned up for a little more motivation. I’ve only had it out once in the last 2 years. Yikes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *