Mohawk-Hudson River Half Marathon +

Sunday, October 11 is the Mohawk-Hudson River Half Marathon. I have a 20 miler scheduled for that weekend. My plan is to run the half and then run around the Corning Preserve to get the extra miles in. The plan is to head to Chris and Teresa’s house on Sat night.

Saturday. We’re going to go apple picking at Bellinger’s Orchard in Fultonville, not too far from my folk’s house.

“So how does this work? We pick the apples?” says Lar. She’s never been apple picking.

“Yes,” I say.

“Off the tree?” she asks.

“Yes. Hence the word ‘picking,’” I say snootily ’cause that’s just how I roll when prepping for apple picking.

“Okay just a second.” She disappears upstairs, and is back again in a couple minutes. Remember that. It’ll be important later.

It is a truly awesome day. Chilly and deep blue sky. Not too much mud. I haven’t been apple picking since I was a kid. My folks would take me and my neighbor and they’d turn us loose. We’d climb as high as we could to get at the coveted apples at the top of the trees, the ones the adults couldn’t get because they wouldn’t risk a broken leg. One of us would climb, one would be on the ground catching the apples that the other threw down.

Yes, good times. What a nice feeling of tranquility and contentment. You know what’s missing?


Oh wait… they’re actually not missing, because Lara brought hers. That’s right, folks. My wife brought a gun to the apple orchard. You know, ‘just in case.’ (She’s packing in that brown handbag. She has the same bag in black, too. I guess that would be for formal events like communions or baptisms.)

Sunday. Up at 6:00. We’re about a 20 minute drive from the start, and it’s not till 8:30. Drink 1 bottle water. Eat two pieces of italian bread with peanut butter and one very fresh macintosh apple. Chris wakes up, and says hi. He’s surprisingly talkative for a guy that got to bed three hours ago.

We decided last night we’d leave at 7:45. You’d think I have this stuff down to a science now, but I’m running around like an idiot. Forgot to trim the toenails, forgot to put in the contacts, where’s my bib etc… . We leave @ 7:55.

Lar and Teresa drop me off at the portopotties. I meet them at the start with only @ 5 minutes to spare. This is the coldest race-start I’ve ever had. I think NYC was @ 43 or 44 degrees. It’s 40 here. The humidity is high and it doesn’t feel that bad at all.

Damn! I’m fast when I’m freezing my ass off. Here are some of the highlights:

Early on, we cross a stream via a covered bridge. The sound of hundreds of footsteps on wooden planks starts out jumbled. Halfway through the footsteps become almost synchronized, as if one giant runner is crossing the bridge.

Along the route through the trees, I run under a blanket of bright yellow and gold leaves high up. It’s overcast now, but if the sun was shining it would be an even more impressive sight.

At 6 miles I get sprayed when a guy in front of me opens a can of energy drink (or maybe it was a Red Bull or something). I was trying to pass him on his left and he just happened to hold it to his left and pulled the tab as I passed him. He apologizes to me as I pass and I tell him it’s no problem. A mile or so down the road he catches up with me and apologizes again. I tell him it’s really okay, my fault (it really isn’t).

The water stations are 2 miles apart. Not a big deal, but the following is. 8.5 miles in and I’m feeling pretty good. I decide to skip this water station and grab some at 10.5. 10.5 comes and there’s no one manning the water station. There’s one bottle of water, a stack of cups and one box of vanilla bean Gu sitting on a table. Great. The lesson? For these smaller races, maybe hit at each station no matter what. Even if it’s for just a sip.

I made it to 12.5 and snagged some water to wash the Gu down. First water since 6.5. Good thing it wasn’t hot out.

Finish the half in 1:51:31, grab a bottle of water from Lar and set out to get my last 7 miles in. I run further south but run out of room. Turn around and backtrack along the marathon route.

I’m pretty happy with the half finish time. Got a little spacey @ mile 19. That eye-darting thing that happened to me last year in NY happened again. I’m thinking it may have been because I was a little lax on the Gatorade/Gu intake. What’s more important is that my pace didn’t change all that much over the 20 miles. I’m really happy about that. The goal here is an under 4 hour finish at NY. I think I’m within range. That feels good.

And in case you were wondering, yes, Lara did bring her gun to the race ’cause hey… “you never know.”

2 comments to Mohawk-Hudson River Half Marathon +

  • kway

    Congrats on the time. Very impressive. Good luck in NYC.

  • SoundDawg

    So I met Lara at the finish line just in time to hear them announce kevin from brooklyn finishing. Don’t see the blur of a runner but hear his name. Anyways, I got a sweatshirt and wind breaker on and in the sun it is quite warm. Lara and I discuss the fact that it is getting quite warm and she has on more layers then me. I says, “Lara, why don’t you take off that sweatshirt”

    She says “I can’t”

    I says “Don’t you have another couple shirts on under that”

    She says, “I am kinda hiding something”

    I says “Right….your gun”

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