Tag Archives: Boilermaker 15-K

My 2012 Running and Triathloning Recap

Happy last day of 2012, friends!  How are you spending the last 24 16 hours (and counting) of this year?  Will you set resolutions for 2013?  Even though I’m not one to set goals when the clock strikes midnight (you don’t have to wait for a new year, month, or week to make a change), I do like reviewing what happened this year–on the running and triathloning fronts, of course.  Seeing which races and distances proved successful—and which turned into struggle fests—I can better make my 2013 training schedule and race calendar.  This post has been circulating the running, triathloning, and healthy living blogs recently—and a big thanks to Miss Zippy for conceptualizing this idea—so with the new year only hours away, it’s time to reflect on 2012.

Best race experience?

Running:  The Seneca7 (during pre-Fitness and Frozen Grapes days). (The Boilermaker 15-K was a close number two!)


This seven-person relay race around Seneca Lake promised everything—running (three legs and double-digit mileage for the day), eating (the swag bags contained nut butter and chocolate!), and lots of laughing.  At the beginning of the day, I didn’t know everyone on Team Run-On Sentences, but there’s nothing like running 77.7 miles to bond people.


It was literally one of the best days ever, and four of the original Run-On members are looking to get a team together for 2013; I’ll keep you posted!

Triathloning:  Cazenovia Triathlon.


It was my first triathlon in my hometown—I got to swim in “my” lake, bike on “my” hills, and run on “my” roads—and my family showed up in full force!



Even though I completed brick workouts in the weeks leading up to the event, doing a true triathlon ignited a passion in me that I thought died during collegiate basketball.  After I crossed the finish line, I was totally hooked; deciding to give this triathlon thing a “tri” (sorry, couldn’t help myself) was a huge turning point for me, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me in 2013.

Worst race experience?

Running:  Tromptown Run (half-marathon).  In hindsight, training for my first triathlon and half-marathon simultaneously wasn’t the best idea.  Doing my first multisport event provided enough of a challenge (not to mention a learning curve!) that I could’ve done without increasing my mileage; if I hadn’t spent so much time running, I could’ve worked more on my swim and bike.  Anyway, this race itself proved to be my toughest run (mentally) of the year.  On the bright side, I can only improve, and looking forward (wayyy forward), I know I can and have run 13.1 miles … for when I train for a half-Ironman.

Triathloning:  Honestly, I didn’t have a disappointing triathlon (thanks to low expectations—ha!), but the swim portion of the DeRuyter Lake Triathlon ended up being especially brutal.  Wind and choppy water equated to my slowest swim split of the season.


Again, that just means there’s room for improvement.

Best piece of new gear?

Running:  Mizuno Wave Elixirs.


I’ve been an ASICS girl for the longest time, but I’m really glad I switched over; these sneaks feel so light!

Triathloning:  As a swim-bike-run rookie, I had to get all the necessary gear—tops and shorts, wetsuit, bike, everything.  Today, especially during the winter, I’m grateful for my CycleOps Fluid2 trainer.


If I didn’t have this apparatus, I wouldn’t be riding regularly.

Best running/triathloning advice you received?

Running:  “Run the mile you’re in.” (I think I read it in Runner’s World.) While running, it’s easy to get caught up the distance or time remaining.  During the summer, heading out for a 10-mile run seemed daunting, so I’d break it up into smaller chunks.  Sometimes, I could handle running five and then another five, or maybe eight plus two, but there would be those days that making it to the next mailbox was the goal.

Triathloning:  A lot of running advice translates to triathloning—don’t try anything new on race day, always have several (“A,” “B,” and “C”) goals and races, etc.  Overall, though, I’m still learning so much about the sport, and my cousin MB has been great putting up with all my questions and offering tips.  Most recently, she told me about her general fueling strategy on the bike.

Most inspirational runner/triathlete?

Runner:  How can I pick one runner?!  Everyone has overcome obstacles, challenged themselves, and pushed past their limits, which sounds inspirational to me.

Triathlete:  Again, same thing. (Although I do have a total soft spot for Craig Alexander now.) Each triathlete has a story to tell, and each has a unique journey that lead them to the swim start.  Inspirational people are everywhere; you just have to look.  I’ll freely admit to tearing up while watching the Ironman World Championships in Kona–crossing the finish line means much more than swimming, biking, and running.  And after being inspired by these athletes, how can you not want to do it too?

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

Challenging myself, going outside my comfort zone, and ultimately making a lifestyle change.

Running/triathloning ups?

Tackling new distances—like my first 10-Kvolunteering at the Ironman 70.3 Syracuse and with New York Runners in Support of Staten Island, and finishing my first sprint triathlon.

Running/triathloning downs?

Where I was mentally during my half-marathon; and honestly, the end of the triathlon season bummed me out.  In terms of confidence, I hit a turning point during my third tri, and I felt like I was starting to somewhat figure out what I was doing.  That’s off-season motivation, though!

Surprise of the year?

The fact that I started triathloning—and having people call me a triathlete.  I still can’t wrap my head around it sometimes!  If you told me one year ago—when I was a wee college senior—that I would be swimming, biking, and running after graduation, I probably would’ve looked at you in complete disbelief and had a good laugh.  Now, though, it seems like such a logical transition, and I can’t picture myself not triathloning.

Let’s hear about your 2012:  favorite race?  Best piece of new gear?  Surprise of the year?

Boilermaker Expo and 15-K Roadrace Recap

Wow, I can’t believe it was only yesterday I ran the Boilermaker 15-K in Utica, NY!


Although I attended the race after graduating from high school, this 35th annual showcase was my first time “running Utica.”  I had an absolute blast—talk about a 9.3-mile party!

Saturday – Boilermaker Expo

On Saturday afternoon, I picked up my friend Sara from the Utica bus/train station, and we went to the expo.  Held at Mohawk Valley Community College, this Boilermaker kickoff event allowed the sold-out race crowd (14,000 entered the 15-K and 11,360 finished) to pick up their race bibs and “swag bags.”

In addition to registration logistics, more than 70 vendors set up tables, including booths for the Turning Stone Races and The Mighty Run, a obstacle/adventure race held in Utica.  Sara and I were all about loading up on free samples, and some of my favorites included Larabar and Chobani stops.

For an afternoon snack, I tried this Vanilla Chocolate Chunk, and it was really good!

It tasted sweet—more like a dessert—and I would definitely have it again.

Saranac, a local brewery and another official sponsor, also had a tent.  Although I was tempted to “carbo”-load on beer, I figured it would taste much more refreshing after running 9.3 miles.  Gulp!

Sunday – Boilermaker 15-K

A 4 a.m.-wakeup call started race-day, and my dad, Sara, and I left the house around 5:30 a.m.  It takes about an hour to get to Utica, and we picked up a few fellow runners on the way.

Because so many people participate in the Boilermaker, the race utilized staggered corral starts based on each runner’s estimated finishing time. (During online registration, each runner had to specify their estimated overall time.)

Even though my bib was steel blue—I calculated my estimated time using 8:30 splits, I think—I stayed in the gold corral to run with Sara.  We didn’t have a goal-time or target pace; for us, the race was all about having fun and taking full advantage of the “party in the middle of the pack.”

The best way to see a city is by foot, and the racecourse weaved through the streets of Utica.  By passing through neighborhoods and local hot spots, the runners became familiar with the city.  This 9.3-mile route promised a bit of everything—rolling hills, one somewhat steep climb, refreshing declines, and fast straight-aways.  Overall, the course felt relatively flat and fast; it would’ve been neat to run the race for time (there’s always next year!), and I bet it’s common for runners to set 15-K PR’s at the Boilermaker.

The Boilermaker is what it is—a 15-K party run—because of the awesome volunteers, fans, and spectators.  Along every twist, turn, hill, you name it, friendly people camped out to watch, cheer, clap, and hold up signs.  The energy from the fans was contagious, and I couldn’t help smiling, laughing, and cheering right back!  Honestly, I think I was grinning like an idiot the entire time because I was so happy.  A lot fans sprayed runners with hoses and handed out freezer pops, too.  As if the energetic spectators weren’t enough, every mile contained at least one DJ booth or big-time boom box that blasted music, and there were also live, local artists playing along the course.  Everyone—from the fans to the volunteers to the EMS workers—were super encouraging and supportive.  The 9.3 miles went by too quickly!

Sara and I didn’t run the race competitively—our official time was a leisurely 1:43—but we had so much fun!  After eating some orange slices, we embarked on a new quest—finding beer!  Ha.

Definitely well deserved.  We sipped our beers while stretching out, and then we went to search for food.  Although each runner’s bib comes equipped with a “lunch” tab—you tear it off and hand it in to get a bagged lunch—there were no more bagged lunches.  What the heck?  Luckily, we were able to track down bananas, water, and Chobani yogurt.

Hands down, the Boilermaker 15-K is one of the top two races I’ve ever run.  After the frustration I experienced on Wednesday, this festive and fun run was exactly what I needed.  There was no pressure to perform, and there were no problems with my calves; by scaling down my efforts and completing the race with a friend, I remembered why I run and why I love to run.  Between the lively atmosphere and enthusiastic fans, the Boilermaker was one big party!  I highly recommend running if you can—I know I will next year.

It’s Almost Time

Happy Saturday, friends!  Did you do anything fun last night?  I had yet another extended family get-together; I think we’re on 4th of July, Part III—just one of the perks of having a huge Irish/Italian/Roman Catholic family.

In other news, it’s almost Boilermaker time!

T-minus one day—AH!


I took yesterday completely off, and I went on a short, one-mile run this morning.  My body is finally starting to rebound from Wednesday’s race, but I definitely won’t have rested legs.  I’m worried how well my body will hold up tomorrow—mentally, there’s a huge question mark regarding how my calves will feel—but my main goal tomorrow is to have fun.


After my shakeout run, I toasted two Kashi waffles for a go-to favorite.

Plus PB and banana slices, of course.


I threw together a quick salad with spinach, turkey, carrots, celery, sliced almonds, red peppers, and lemon vinaigrette dressing.

For dessert, I had a bowl of frozen black grapes.  They hit the spot!

The Boilermaker

Coming off a less-than-stellar showing at the Cazenovia 4th of July 10-mile Footrace, I’m going into the Boilermaker with zero expectations:  I will listen to my body, run accordingly, and have fun.  Sara, one of my friends from HWS, is coming to stay with me and will be running tomorrow as well.  We always have a blast together, and I’m looking forward to having a running buddy—there were definitely times on Wednesday when I could’ve used a friend’s positive encouragement.  This will be my first race running with someone, so I’m excited for this new experience.  Plus, one of the Boilermaker articles I’ve read says the “middle of the pack … is just one big, moving party,” and who wants to leave a party early?

I’m off to pick up Sara from the bus station, visit the expo, and pick up some free swag.  Have a great day, everyone!

Have you ever run a race with someone?  Did you have a goal-pace/-time in mind, or did you run for fun? 

Infected Thumb and Write It Down, Do It Up

Hi, everyone!  How was your Sunday?  Things were lackadaisical around here.

Zelda loves a lazy Sunday.  My infected thumb made for an interesting wake up call, though.

Gross, right?  It’s been bugging me for a few days, and I figured it was just an ingrown cuticle.  However, when it woke me up around midnight—absolutely pulsating with pain—I had to pop two painkillers.  I rarely take Motrin or Tylenol—I’m paranoid my body will build up resistance to it—but I had to take a couple pills last night in order to fall back asleep.  It hurt that much.  Good news is I’m on antibiotics, so I’m hoping the swelling goes down within the next few days.


When I’m not volunteering for the Ironman 70.3 Syracuse, Sundays bring Cycle 60 at the YMCA.  I arrived shortly before 8 a.m., and the building wasn’t open yet!  Eight of us stood outside and counted down the minutes before the doors opened at the top of the hour.  In all my years of organized athletics and gym rat-dom, I don’t think I’ve ever been locked out of a facility.

When spinning class began at 8:15 a.m., I focused on simulating a road bike ride:  I changed gears quite often—putting on resistance and taking if off even if Ron didn’t instruct it—and worked to keep my cadence—or turnover—constant, regardless of resistance.  After the hour-long class, I went to the weight room for some quick upper-body work.

Write It Down, Do It Up

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday evening, I will post my week workout schedule, and I invited you to do the same.  This way, we can motivate each other and hold ourselves accountable.  Sounds like a win-win, right?)

You know you’re a runnerd when you sign up for three races in nine days.  Here’s what my fitness-filled 4th of July week looks like:

Sunday – Cycle 60 at the YMCA

Monday – Swim at the YMCA/rest (but most likely swim)

Tuesday – short run (three miles); free weights; ab exercises; potentially Women on Wheels

Wednesday – Race-day – 4th of July 10-mile Footrace

Thursday – Swim at the YMCA; potentially Women on Wheels

Friday – Swim at the YMCA/rest

Saturday – short run (three miles); free weights; ab exercises

Sunday – Race-day – Boilermaker 15-K

Are you running any 4th of July Races?  Anyone going to the Boilermaker this weekend?