Recognize the shirt? No, not the race shirt, which was also pretty awesome. My finish shirt. Yep, that’s the shirt from my first ever race. Besides being adorable, it has turn into a little bit of a crutch and might be a marathon shirt.
Rewinding a bit. With family in Albany, this race had been on my radar for some time. My brother actually ran the full some years ago. This year it happened to coincide with my nephew’s birthday party and thanks to a little bib swap magic courtesy of an injured friend of Darlene’s, I was able to run it this year.
First, I have to say the race shirt is one of my favorites. It’s so soft. Perfect recovery shirt, although I never did get a photo wearing it. It & my bib were waiting for me on arrival in Albany thanks to one of my local sherpas.
This was an interesting trial race in a number of ways: namely being outside my environment. I am very much a creature of habit, but I know that isn’t going to fly on November 3 with the later than normal start. This week’s chapter: being out of my own environment. Before every half marathon and most long training runs I’ve eaten the same dinner, avocado toast. Being at someone else’s home, I couldn’t. I decided to eat smartly, but normally. I’m not sure where the (not my) birthday cupcake fit into that. Otherwise, tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole and mom’s chicken cutlets. Not ideal, but not bad and no ill effect on Sunday morning.
In addition to forgetting to pack a small Ziplock of my Science in Sport, I forgot to freeze my water bottle the night before. Given how chilly it was at the start, not freezing my hand was a good plan.
My original plan was to run to the race’s start shuttle from my brother’s house, but he decided to drive me. It was easy enough to find a trail to run down for a few warm up miles, even though I wasn’t too stressed about not getting in the five necessary to bring me to 18 on the day. As I was running back toward the start I circled back as I saw a woman wearing Skirt Sports and we chatted briefly. As she knew Darlene she was able to tell me where I could find her so that we could get this photo before heading toward the start.
During the Race:
My brother and Darlene told me about segments of the race, so I knew to expect the Watervliet Arsenal, and then the Hudson at about mile nine. Beyond that, I didn’t really know much and I kind of loved running into the unknown. I listened to one episode of Running Rogue before going to music to get me through the dead zones.
The first miles were through the park and onto the trail I’d warmed up on before we hit the streets of Cohoes and Watervliet. I have to say, my favorite thing about this race was the course marshals and water station volunteers. Everyone was so upbeat and when we’d thank them for being out there, they’d thank us for running. It was an awesome environment. Personal favorites: The Team in Training water station and inspiration, the water bottle table outside a fire station and an older person sitting at a small table with tissues, paper towel and vaseline. I wasn’t chafing, but the tissue came in handy for a runny nose.
As I mentioned last week, my tongue and electrolyte tablets are going through a break up. This made water stations easy. I took a cup at the first few water stations and as I felt myself getting dry due to the cool air, I took the offered water bottle at the fire station and then filled that from cups at subsequent water stations until I tossed it at about mile twelve.
After re-joining the bike path, we followed the Hudson for the next few miles. At about mile twelve and a half or so, we came into some amazing crowds.
I knew Mom & Bob planned to get there if they could get there, and Judy had texted me that she’d be somewhere near the finish. She ended up getting the second photo above and one more great photo of me on the run. It was so awesome to hear her and some of the Albany runners call my name. I wished I’d been able to linger longer and meet/see them. Cheer Squads are the best.
I was able to find mom & Bob easily (can’t miss 6’4) and we quickly headed back to the house for the rest of the birthday festivities.
I really enjoyed this race and would do it again if schedule stars aligned. Although it wasn’t as gorgeous as I’d hoped – late changing leaves all around – it was a pretty course along the bike paths.
I was glad for the chance to try my Lioness Capri on a longer run. It was OK up to 13, but I’ll be doing Lotta Breeze if it’s not Cascade weather in November. I thought I overdressed for this race based on the other runners, but I was comfortable even in the long sleeves until about mile eleven. I’m just not (yet?) an arm sleeve person.
Training has made me a bad racer:
- When people asked me, I said this was my sixth half marathon. I didn’t realize until late afternoon on Monday that it was my seventh: Lebow x 2, Lauderdale x 2, Brooklyn, NYC.
- I know my Half Marathon PR, but not the other times. I had no frame of reference for where this race fell, although I was only ever running it as a training run. My only goal was not to get hurt, and while I was sore today, it was manageable.
- I picked the belt based on the one I used a few weeks ago that fit my phone & gels. This is not the belt that has bib toggles, so I was left pinning it to my Skirt. Must fix this before November 3.