This race recap comes from my awesome wife, Ellie. Enjoy!

Or, as one woman’s beautifully crafted sign read, “Worst Parade Ever.”

On Sunday, we embarked on a 9.32-mile-long journey through Utica, NY. This was our second try at the Boilermaker, because last year was a little heat-strokey. (Note: If you are running in hot weather, hydrate before, during, and after your workout. Stay in the shade as much as possible; wear sunscreen; wear a visor or a hat. Heat stroke is not fun, and no one likes being hooked up to IVs or barfing up snow cones.) Anyway, I’d say Jon got his revenge, which he’d been planning since he regained vision after nearly passing out last year . . .

IMG955557Everyone was a little nervous the night before the race, and even a hilarious game of Cards against Humanity couldn’t ease the tension completely. Mike, Suz, Jon, and I all stayed with Aunt Linda (thank you for letting us crash at your house!!), while Scotty, along with Adrienne and Donna, slept at Tutu’s. The four of us at Aunt Linda’s went to bed nice and early, about 10:30. . . . But we certainly didn’t fall asleep very quickly. After adjusting the air conditioner so it didn’t turn off, then on, then off, then on, sleep was definitely more likely. But the air mattress Jon, Audrey, and I were sharing was no Temper-Pedic. I moved my arm to rub my eye and it sounded like I had just slammed Stone Cold Steve Austin on the floor of a wrestling ring. For some reason this mattress was just SO loud. After settling into a state of rigor mortis to quiet the wrestling ring/mattress, we thought we would finally fall asleep. Not so! At 12:30, Sharky Maneen (the pug) informed us that there were goings-on outside (Audrey confirmed). Sure enough, there were red-and-blue flashing lights pouring into our room as a cop thoroughly searched the vehicle of an apparent hooligan for about a half hour. After all that, we closed our eyes (not necessarily sleeping) and waited for our alarms to go off.

Once everyone was ready and assembled together with the Sneeringer clan (Gene, Susie, Pete, Marisa, Jeff, and Victoria!) near the starting line, then my nerves started kicking into overdrive. I tried to focus on the World Cup finals later that day, and I honestly was more nervous about the outcome of Germany v. Argentina than the outcome of the race. So that helped calm me, at least for the time being. The starting gun went off (apparently, though I didn’t hear it) and the Rocky theme began playing over the loud speaker. It took four rounds of that theme before we got to the start line; we were already fourteen minutes into the official race time before our bibs crossed.

This takes commitment. Or they lost a bet. (Image from cindy1701d at deviantART.)

This takes commitment. Or they lost a bet. (Image from cindy1701d at deviantART.)

Right away I felt better than last year and better in general than I have in a long time at the start of a race. I didn’t have the usual feeling of “Why am I doing this again? Why do we keep paying other people to exert ourselves? Isn’t running supposed to be free?!” We ran by the Blues Brothers (in full suits!) and onto the parkway. Jon and I decided to take the right side this year, as it had much more tree cover than the left (which likely added to the debacle of last year). You know what the right side also had that the left didn’t? Freezy pops!!! I snagged one (green!) and gleefully gulped it down instead of taking a water break. My first Boilermaker freezy pop! So happy. Then we cruised onto Valley View and beasted the gradual hill leading to the golf course. I shouted to Jon how proud I was that I hadn’t needed to walk yet when last year I had already taken two walking breaks. What a difference overcast skies make. When we turned right into the golf course, we decided it was time to eat some Gu Chomps and Honey Stinger chews. Thanks to the Flip Belt I wore, it was super easy to grab the chews. (Highly suggested equipment for anyone looking to stash your phone, ID, credit card, etc.) I might put a little tear in the Gu Chomp packages before the next race, though, because they are still hard to open, even when walking.

I think everyone was surprised at how happy we looked at mile 8!

I think everyone was surprised at how happy we looked at mile 8!

After refueling, the golf course seemed to fly by. I high-fived some band members and kept cruising through until we hit a downhill somewhere in mile 4. I turned to Jon and asked, “Was that it? Was that the horrible hill?” He said, “Yup! You’re done with it!” I couldn’t believe it. What had been miserable last year was the most fun part of the race this year. We came out of the park and back onto the parkway, where we saw a guy with a boa around his shoulders near the Utica Zoo. I snagged a popsicle (orange!) and shouted, “If I’m going to barf, it’s at least going to be pretty colors!” #worthit

These were my favorite part of the race. By far. (Image from Lori at Fresh Picked Whimsy.)

These were my favorite part of the race. By far. (Image from Lori at Fresh Picked Whimsy.)

Miles 6 and 7 were a little rough and I just wanted the gradual hill to end. My excitement from the first half of the race quickly faded, and I was worried I would have to stop to walk. But Jon kept me going and we didn’t have to take a walking break.

Nine-mile marker! So happy to see this! (Image from Bad Angel Rules for Running.)

Nine-mile marker! So happy to see this! (Image from Bad Angel Rules for Running.)

We saw Adrienne, Mikey, and Donna just before Tutu’s water station in mile 8, which pepped us up and gave us a boost to finish out strong. I grabbed one more freezy pop (blue!), convinced that my stomach was a tie-dye mess at that point. After some high-fives from little kids and a guy on stilts, and after some Beyonce blasting from a dance studio, we finally saw the finish line approach. I must have been elated to be done with the race, because I almost forgot to grab Jon’s hand before crossing the finish line! (It’s a corny tradition I enforce every race.) But I got it, wet and cold from holding ice cubes the whole race, and locked my sticky, popsicle-coated fingers with his. It was a great feeling to be done with the race, but it felt even better knowing how much we had improved this year. And we cut our time by about seven minutes! Official times were as follows:

  • Pete: 1:19:26
  • Jeff: 1:19:27
  • Marisa: 1:21:31
  • Gene: 1:32:49
  • Victoria: 1:32:49
  • Mike: 1:36:06
  • Suz: 1:36:06
  • Ellie: 1:37:53
  • Jon: 1:37:54
  • Scotty: 1:44:50
  • Susie: 1:45:52

In all, I am astonished at how weather dependent running is. I still want to work on running in high humidity and hotter temperatures, but I want to be safe about it. I can’t believe I’m saying this again, but I am strongly considering running in Boilermaker 2015 (and missing the Taste of Buffalo again), and I hope to see some fellow fat nerds there as well! Oh, yeah, and GERMANY WON THE WORLD CUP!! SCHLAND!!!!

Mike and Suz and Jon and me, post-race! We made it!

Mike and Suz and Jon and me, post-race! We made it!