Last year, I had planned on doing the Forks 15k, but it was during one of my many pulled muscle incidents… (Oh, and I wasn’t anywhere near capable of running 15k at the time – but I’m not going to mention that part.. Totally going to blame the pulled muscle and pretend I could have done it otherwise.) The big difference between this year and last year – is I have been very careful to NOT pull a muscle. (I also feel its worth mentioning that I have been training this year as well…) Now I hadn’t done 9 miles this year, but I had done a couple of 7 and 8 mile runs, so I knew I had this.
For Reference, the only other 15k I have done is the Utica Boilermaker last year in 1:30:20.
Yesterday was looking to be a bit chilly – 40’s to low 50s, beautiful running weather! I headed up to Chenango Forks Highschool to register and was faced with my first quandary of the day.
Do I need to start with the “early” starters – that get to go 15 minutes early? I know I am not the speediest runner – but how slow am I? Well, after seeing the Orange things the early starters had to wear, I decided not too, as orange clashes with my complexion.
All joking aside – I figured I was probably going to be ok with not doing the early start. There were around 225 people at the starting line when they yelled “Go” (followed by the beeping of countless GPS watches/phones starting.) Off we went – around the highschool and into the development in Chenango Forks! Like every other race in the world, the starting point was crowded – but it had spread out quite well before the first mile marker. I let Chris go – as he was hoping to come in at 1:15 or faster, while my goal was to beat my 1:30 time from
the Boilermaker. I had stayed with him in the St. Pats four miler – but will power won’t get you through nine miles!
I ended up running with a guy named “John” who was trying for 8 minute miles. I felt foolish starting at a pace I figured I couldn’t carry for longer than 3 miles – but what the heck! Sure my legs were tired from walking the maplefest the day before – but nothing ventured, nothing gained! At mile marker two, when Rebecca snapped the photo, I was still in a great mood. You can see John’s blue shirt just behind my right shoulder.
The course itself was nice – it wasn’t too hilly but it had some nice rolling hills. As you can see in the photo, we were running along a road – but you can’t tell that the traffic was not blocked off! The cars were careful as they went by though – so it wasn’t anything that detracted from the race. We did run through a fairly busy area at one point, but even there the cars were good about us being there.
I had been warned that there was a big hill around mile 7 or 8. As we approached mile marker 7, I knew I couldn’t keep the 8 minute/mile pace up any longer and told John to go. He did try to talk me out of it – but I knew it simply wasn’t there. That hill was a killer. It was actually 3 littler hills – but it did NOT make it better. At the top, with 1.3 miles to go – I was almost there. That is also where I found one of two brand new pet peeves related to running races. There were people running their cool down as I finished, not surprising – and not my new pet peeve. I had folks running their cool down directly behind me chatting about how they were disappointed with their finish time. They were too slow, having come in only a minute or two before the hour mark. This is NOT what I needed to here as I was struggling in for that last mile. They did bail after being behind me for 1/2 a mile. Though by bail – I mean they went by me and up a side road.
The 9 mile marker is right before the turn in to the highschool. I swear that last .3 mile was the absolute longest part of the race. I’m not sure if it would have been easier or harder actually seeing the finish line at that point, but all I could think of was stopping. I crossed the line at 1:16:51 – 13 minutes and 29 seconds faster than my Boilermaker time! At that point, I needed to walk – and I needed water.
You can see in the picture to the right that I was done. With about 30 feet to go, my shoulders are slumped, I can’t lift my head and my feet are no longer pointed straight! But just after this I DID finish!!! And the water jug at the finish line was empty.. (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!) I took my new “finisher” coffee cup to a water fountain and solved THAT issue!!!
Now on to my 2nd pet peeve I gained yesterday. I headed in to where the food was and had to wait because a gentleman (runner) was letting his kids (non-runners) jump in front of me to get food. Now I have let my kids get a banana or chunk of bagel before. But only AFTER all the other runners have finished and had an opportunity. I certainly wouldn’t let them “jump” the line while runners were in line. Now, I admit – it is a small thing and only held me up for a moment – but it held off my “collapsing” into a chair.. It seemed like a big deal at the time..
I only saw one other person in Vibrams, he was wearing the Komodo Sports. I did get alot of comments! People always seem amazed that I run in them… Even Runners!
All in all, it was a fantastic race – I recommend it!