What a Race; Boilermaker 2010/ Part I

The streets have been cleaned, the Port-a-johns have been hauled away and, hopefully, runner’s muscles have recovered from Sunday’s run. It was a remarkable weekend!
So what is it like to be me race day; well, every 10 minutes are different. Frankly, it becomes a blur. But let’s start at the beginning.
Prior to the race our region was experiencing an oppressive weather system blanketing the Northeast with sweltering heat and humidity. Two pre-Boilermaker events, the Road Runner Mile and Youth Olympics, had to be postponed for participants’ safety.
On Friday we gave away our entire supply of Nirvana water allocated for both days of the Expo; Planet Fitness (our Expo sponsor) also blew through their supply.
I was absolutely convinced we would be seeing some sort of thunder and lightning event at some point; and then it happened. Or rather; it didn’t.
If God is not an outright Boilermaker fan He is at least a benevolent spectator. The weather front calmly left the area late Saturday afternoon.
My race day regimen is to get up around 3:00 (am) and head off to the finish line. I am keenly aware of the temperature I feel as I walk out my front door. What a pleasant surprise; the air is refreshing with only a trace of humidity!
The entire Post Race area is a beehive of activity with forklifts darting back and forth hauling pallets of water, orange slices, and sports drinks. In the background is the constant hum of refrigerated truck a/c units and generators. Meanwhile, in the front of the brewery, final preparations are made to the finish line under the ghostly shadow of klieg lights.
Hop a ride to the Start Line and watch the gathering of the herd of runners. For the first time my radio crackles to life with updates on road closures and bus updates. The voices on the other end are serious but not frantic. The shuttle buses had been a known concern with a record number of runners and limited parking in West Utica. Wow, it looks like the extra buses and extra time are working! The early arrivers are clutching their bodies to ward off the morning chill as the morning sun glints behind intermittent clouds. I think to myself; ‘in a few miles you’ll be so happy to have these cool temperatures’.
In the background I hear the voice of Phil Stewart over the loudspeaker. On Saturday I had received the final, final, final, answer that there would be no flyover and told Phil to announce it to the 15k runners, no need for the crowd craning their necks skyward after the National Anthem.
Steady rivers of runners feeding in from the west and east are creating a massive blob of humanity.
The final runners are loading into the chute; I look up at the thousands of faces. The Start Line official gives final instructions to the elites with the final words ‘May God watch over you’. For the last minute a hush has enveloped the entire scene as the clock ticks down. It’s like watching the last seconds prior to a rocket launch; you know the big explosion is coming. The cannon fires; now it begins!
What is the most important I monitor at this point; the Medical Tent. The humidity quickly rose meaning those with the least ability to handle it were out there the longest amount of time. Sort of funny how that works!
Part 2 to follow…

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