Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Monday, July 12, 2004

For the first four years that I ran the Utica Boilermaker the conditions on race day were really not a concern. I was always hurt, or recovering from an injury, so just struggling to the finish was a sufficient accomplishment. Last year, for the first time, I was healthy, and as luck would have it the weather was nearly perfect: as cool as mid-July is likely to be, and cloudy. I had a great race, running it pain free for the first time.

This year I am in much better condition than I have been in years, but as soon as we got off the bus at the starting area I knew that it was going to be a rough morning. It was already warm, and the sky was clear and blue and beautiful. It was going to be a hot one, and there was going to be no protection from the sun on the course.

By now the route is familiar, and I feel like I can attack it tactically. The first 5k is rolling hills, with about a mile of flat along the parkway. That stretch, which is the coolest part of the race, is also probably where there is the most shade, although there are also long stretches, by the Armory and by the public housing, that are completely exposed. When you make the left onto the road that leads to the golf course you start to deal with grade, and people start slowing down. The golf course itself is where our training pays off: it amounts to a mile long hill, and the only problem I had with it were the people in front of me. This year I ran on the grass, off the path, because maneuvering around people was spending more effort than the climb was. The other two great things about the golf course hill are the fact that the grass makes it cooler, and the view at the top, which is spectacular. The descent is also sweet, and the stretch that follows is, I guess, my favorite part. The lama from the Utica Zoo is always there, and the spectators hand out popsicles. I had lime this year, and I could feel the difference it made. This stretch is flat, and you come into it after coming down hill, knowing that this is a place where you want to run strong. Loop around the block, past the Utica Blue Sox stadium, and into the toughest part of the race. At this point there is no shelter: it is all asphalt and buildings, and you start the climb to Utica College. This hill is strategically placed to crush you. When you hit the 10k mark you still have nearly a mile to climb, and it is always hot enough to bake cookies. The roadway is concrete, reflecting the sun back up at you. About halfway up is Ice Station Zebra, and I filled my hat with a handful of ice, and took water twice.

As bad a hill as it is, the training at the Ridge still pays off: I passed people all the way up. Every year I think, "Now that I'm past that, I'm home free," and you'd think that would be true, but the last two and a half miles are as tough as any of the rest of it. Although it is mostly downhill, there is one more short climb, and as hot as it was yesterday, every spot of shade felt like it made a difference. Once I had crested the hill I started seeing people being attended to by paramedics: at first I thought that I was seeing a spectator holding a 8"x11" sign, and I thought, "That's a stupid size for a placard," and then I realized it was an IV bag. I guess I saw about a half a dozen runners down, more than I ever have before. The pipe band outside The Highlander gave me the lift I needed for the last mile.

For five years the Boilermaker has been the best thing I've done. This year we get to keep going. (Cross-posted from the KRAC Blog.)

| Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?