Boilermaker Blog

The Last Runner (or running with Neil Young)

The last finisher (albeit unofficially) of the 36th Boilermaker 15k hit the Finish Line on Sunday July 21, 2013 at approximately 1:00 pm; a full week after the official event.
That finisher was me.
Let’s go back in time…
I’ve been ‘on the blocks’ from running for two years with knee issues. It’s a long story but I have felt I’ve significantly recovered to make a Boilermaker run possible.
Although traditionally Boilermaker Committee members run the race the week prior, my longest run at that point had been four miles. If something bad were to happen, better to have it occur after the Boilermaker.
The starting temperature at 11:25 am was 78 degrees with little humidity and a slight breeze; clearly better than the sultry weather a week earlier.
For this run I would be wearing headphones- hey no bands or fans along my imaginary Boilermaker so I needed to bring my own music. I have Pandora and decided to listen to the Neil Young station for my 9.3 mile journey.
The run began with an absolutely blistering 16 minute version of Cowgirl in the Sand by Neil Young and Crazy Horse recorded at the Fillmore East in 1970- a great start.
The first hill three and a half miles into the run – Valley View Golf Course.
A tip, when running the Boilermaker do not look up at the hill prior to running it, keep your head down and focus what is in front of you. Looking up you will (a) be depressed you when you see the size of the hill and (b) be depressed when you see the amount of people ahead of you that are finished with the hill. You should however look backward when you have reached the crest of the hill and see the many people behind you- it’s good for your ego. However, if you look back and only see the people cleaning up the course you will surely not be happy.
As I traveled down the Parkway/ Sheppard Place Led Zeppelin told me of goin’ to California, Clapton cried for Layla, and Jagger and the Stones asked for a little shelter (my ringback tone).
Now we reach the horrible, awful, terrible bridge/ uphill that traverses from Faxton up to St.Lukes. It seems to make sense you have hospitals on either side of this obstacle. Neil came back to sing Don’t let it bring you down (another favorite) that managed to carry me up the incline.
At mile eight Bob Dylan sang about Knocking on Heaven’s Door, I certainly was thinking about visiting the afterlife but it wasn’t Heaven!
As I turned the final corner of Whitesboro to Court Street making the last final stretch of my run Neil came back
‘Old Man look at my life I’m a lot like you were…’ Such a reminder of my first year running this race in 1978 as a 24 year old, with 24 year old legs.
So I finished the race in 95 minutes clocking in a bit over a ten minute mile pace. My worst Boilermaker I have ever run in the 25+ I had previously been in- but hey, I finished.
I received my finisher’s pin from Jim the Race Director this morning.
Neil, thanks for the help; let’s do it again next year.

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