Last Thursday was the CDPHP Workforce Challenge and I’m pretty sure it was my fourth year participating. Maybe fifth? I’ve lost count. Anyway, I wasn’t going to write-up a review however I figured because I had a goal of running a race a month and this was my May race, then a review was in order.
While walking down to the plaza with my co-workers, it started to rain. More than a drizzle. I’m pretty sure if it was raining when we left, they would have bailed. But because we were almost there and already wet, we all committed to running. This was the second year that I was team captain, so I checked us in and handed out our bibs. There were ten confirmed participants on our team but only five of us ran, which is a bummer but I completely understand why they didn’t want to walk the race in the rain. Before I knew it, it was time to line up.
This year the course was new. The starting line was at the top of Madison Avenue instead of at the bottom near the museum. This I thought was a perk because we always end up walking the hill due to the number of participants. This simple change also cleared people off of the plaza- where I was stuck last year when the race started. It was still crowded throughout but I loved running throughout the park = a few more little “hills” but great scenery.
The second new aspect of this race (to me) was the fact that I ran it alone. Yes, there were seven thousand plus people on the course but every year I always run with my friend Laura. But because she had a bebe the week prior, that was obviously not an option. I hadn’t trained for this race and in fact, I did an hour of spin that morning to shake out my sore legs from a five-mile run. I had no clue how I’d feel along the way but here’s my best to sum it up:
Mile 1: “Holy crap! Am I running the streets of Albany or am I jogging under water?!” That was my exact thought. It was beyond humid and I was sweating within the first couple of minutes. I spent a lot of effort trying to dodge through people and find my groove and passed the first mile marker sub 9 minutes. Cool. Well, not cool in temperature but cool as in not bad.
Mile 2: “Okay, we should have turned back there. Alright, another little hill.” This part of the course is a blur only because it was new and when we reached the second mile marker, I was confused as to how big Washington Park really was. It was neat because at one point you could see the mass of runners zig-zagging through and it gave me a little pep in my step to keep it up.
Mile 3: “Holy crap! I think I can’t breath! I think I’m breathing in water. Ew! Did that guy’s sweat just hit me in the face?!” This mile was hard for me. The heat slowed me down and I just told myself not to walk. I did look down at my pace and saw 9:30ish and didn’t believe it; I felt like I was moving much slower to a snail’s pace. I reminded myself that the last .75 is all downhill and tried not to waste more energy than needed to finish.
The last .1: Around this time I saw Patrick pass me- you know, the guy I hiked with this past winter. He held off and said hi and agreed that this race was gnarly. And it was: I’ve never heard that many people grunt, spit, breath that heavy, and just look exhausted in previous years. I was kind of happy that I wasn’t the only one struggling. Is that wrong?
Ahhhhh the finish line. I grabbed a cup of water, almost grabbed a second to dump over myself, and went off to collect my loot. I took my sad finishers photograph (sans Laura) but was happy with a course PR and another race in the books.
You can read about last year’s race here.