by Danielle Kollarus-Maslowsky
It was a last minute decision to sign up for the Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon. I was wavering because I didn't train through the winter months. Occasionally I got a longer run in on the weekends and did a couple of Orange Theory Fitness classes during the week - hence the hesitation to run 13.1 miles. (Side note: I started a full time job in October and it was surely an adjustment!). So this race was a good opportunity to commit to my training and start putting in some quality miles to prepare.
After hearing about the course (net loss of elevation) and knowing that almost all my runner friends were going to be there, I signed up! It was the least training I have done going into a half, so my goals were: keep smiling, have fun, inspire others, run consistent and keep on keeping on even when it starts to hurt, appreciate a beautiful day running 13.1 through the 518, thank the volunteers and spectators and truly enjoy being part of the running community.
A few friends and I got to the finish line to catch the bus to the start around 6:45 am. We stood in a line, with what appeared to be a couple hundred people, for quite a while before finally getting on the bus around 7:35. A volunteer was walking around assuring us the buses were on the way and not to worry. Knowing that ARE was timing and organizing the event, we all felt like we were in good hands. The race time was supposed to be 8:00 and I think the gun went off around 8:20. Although there were over 2,000 people running, it didn't feel that crowed. The first mile or two was on the roads and you felt the downhill. Then we got on the path and it was smooth sailing for me. I felt pretty good as the miles passed. I met some upbeat people along the way and fed off their energy and positive vibes. It started to get warm and hydrating was a must. I stopped at every water stop and drank a cup of water and NUUN. It fueled me for about 1-2 miles and then I was ready for the next hydration stop again. It was around mile 11 when it started to get more physically and mentally challenging to keep my pace. As soon as I get in this mindset, I typically find a positive and motivating mantra to repeat. Saturday's was "I am strong, run calm and don't give up" - and it worked! I got through 13.1 miles, accomplishing all of my goals, and got to enjoy a massage and the after party with the runners and the spectators.
Congrats to all the runners and to Willow Street AC for the wins. Certainly not my fastest, but I successfully completed my goals. I will do this race again next year and highly recommend it! For an inaugural race with 2,000 plus people, I think they did a good job and already know what they will do differently next year.
Reflecting on my Goals
Keep smiling - as you can see in the picture, all smiles!
Have fun - All but 2-3 miles were fun. I slapped the kids’ signs to get power, spoke with some other fun people, and appreciated being healthy enough to run.
Inspire others - I always remind a runner who I pass or who passes me they are doing a "good job" and I think it helps me as much as it helps them.
Run consistent - My 5k average pace splits: 7:43, 7:46, 7:43, 7:46
Keep on keeping on, even when it starts to hurt - or even when a porta potty isn’t close by
Appreciate a beautiful day running 13.1 through the 518 - I am always grateful to be in nature exercising.
Thank the volunteers & spectators - Always - because without them there is no race and little excitement and motivation on the course!