the 2011 edition was my third albany winter marathon (it was emmy's 4th). missing from our road trip was rob (it would have been his 4th go round as well), who made the trip up ther with me in 2009 and 2010. like last year, the main factor was the bitter cold and wind. in 2010 the race began with 30 degrees on the bank thermometer and rose to 33 by the time i finished. this year it kicked off at 16 degree and worked its way up to a balmy 22 degrees! even so, the conditions weren't as bad as 2009 - when we experienced rain, snow and sleet for most of the race!
i had a relatively conservative goal for race, maintain an 8:30 pace and finish under 3:45 - which i was on target to accomplish thru 20 miles. but when i reached the last 10k, the wind had taken a toll and my pace dropped off significantly. to put it in context, my first mile was 8:34 and my last came in at 10:31 - for a 3:49:29 finish (8:44 pace). the bulk of my slowdown from the 20 mile point was probably a result of dehydration. i hadn't drunk that much to begin with, and the heavy winds a two points on the course sped up the process.
in warmer conditions, this would be a relatively fast course. it begins with a short outer loop (just under 4 miles) and is followed by an additional 4 longer loops (that incorporate part of the internal roads of the suny albany campus). there are two aid stations on the course (gatorade, water (frozen solid at times!) and gu). the volunteers who manned the stations were fantastic - and worked in some seriously frigid conditions! miler markers are provided at 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 25.2 miles.
here are my splits:
1 mile, 8:34
5 miles, 41:25
10 miles, 1:23:14
15 miles, 2:06:05
20 miles, 2:53:41
25 miles, 3:36:57
26.2 miles, 3:49:29
i tried to run each 5 mile segment in 42:30 or better and was fine with that target thru 18 miles. but i slipped off that pace just before 20 miles - and was 3:41 off target when i reached the 20 mile mark. at that point i was pretty cold. i had on gloves and mittens, but the wind seemed to blow right through both pair. numb fingers were my only physical hardship - the rest was all mental :D i had my ipod with me for almost the entire race. it was a big help because i ran the entire distance alone (i only caught sight of emmy twice on the out and back). aside from thanks to the volunteers, i didn't speak to anyone else on the course!
despite missing my target by almost 5 minutes, i was still pleased with the outcome given the weather conditions. afterwards, i more than made up for the solitary running at the evans brewing company at the albany pump house. in what's slowly become a tradition, it's become the rehydration destination of choice after this event. it was even more fun because two of my old (but non-running) and dear friends joined us there for lunch and drinks.
while i have repeatedly said i wouldn't be back for yet another edition of this race (and the same was said on the drive home sunday night), the memory of the frigid loops is already fading :O
here are a few race photos.