Thursday, May 7, 2009

Team In Training Week Thirteen-- The Mountain Goat Run

Week 13 was something special. The mileage was significantly lower than our previous runs which climaxed at 18 miles for the group, and 20 for myself. This week we ran the Dunn Tire Mountain Goat Run in downtown Syracuse, NY.

The Mountain Goat Run is one of two major runs in Central New York, with the other being the Boilermaker in Utica. However, what makes the Mountain Goat special are, as the name suggests, the HILLS. The race begins at Clinton Square on Clinton St. and ends in Clinton Square on S. Salina St.
Before the race began I met up with the Lake Effect Run Club crew at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument that makes Clinton Square identifiable. It is also the home of the skate rink during the winter and the location of the Jerry Rescue monument from the days of the Underground Rail Road. We started the race and headed up Clinton St. and then up toward the reservoir on Stolp, the first killer hill that needs to be taken slowly. If you're not comfortable with hills and go to fast, you will run out of steam early and the next 8 miles or so will be painful. Although I separated from my buddy before reaching Stolp, I took the hill at a comfortable pace preparing to enter Onondaga Park where the second hill awaits.
Once in Onondaga Park, the runs is flat until the reaching the backside and a climb begins, not very long, giving the runners an opportunity to look out to the Syracuse University Hill across the city. Mount Olympus, the Carrier Dome, and Crouse and University Hospitals make for a spectacular scene. It is breathtaking. On this side of the park, I caught up two my running mates from the Team In Training, Charlie and Joel. However, once the peak is reached, the first large down hill run begins, and I took it fast just as I planned. Anyone who passed me on Stolp now was behind me after descending toward South Ave.
On the turn toward Kirk Park, I accepted a couple of Gel packs which I used later and took my first water stop. It came just in time to re-energize my legs for the climb up Colvin, the BIG ONE. At the second water stop I sucked down the gel pack and chased it with water. Turned onto S. Salina and headed for Colvin Ave.
Colvin Ave. is a double segmented hill. At first its long and gradual. Then it plateaus before becoming a steep, short climb to Euclid Ave. and the Manley Field House. Several runners sped passed me, but I remembered the words of a good friend I ran this hill with over the winter. She told me to take it very easy because once you get near the top, the runners who passed you will be dead as they near Manley. She was so right. I began passing runners on the last segment and reached Euclid Ave in good shape. As a matter of fact, I caught up to another friend on this flat part of the run which leads us to Thornden Park for the final hill.
Euclid is the calm before the storm. Euclid is flat and comfortable. The streets are lined with onlookers. The distance is more than halfway, maybe 6.5 or 7 miles. I felt good. I ran the yellow line; I held an even pace hoping to come into Thornden Park with enough energy to climb the last hill and finish strong.
Thornden Park was tough, but I made it to the top, passing the water tower which had been part of the old Mountain Goat route. I took my second gel pack and water before leaving Thornden Park for a fast descent on Madison and then Irving. I flew down these hills like it was nobody's business. I received encouragement from a friendly face. It made me feel good. She shouted out, "Hey Bill Boyd, How do you feel?"
I shouted back, "Great!"

I did feel good. I reached E. Genesee St. and headed for Columbus Cr. and Jefferson St. The finish is near. Once turning onto Jefferson St., you can see the Armory. It seems like that is the end, only about a 1/2 mile to go, but one more turn onto S. Salina and the spring for the finish line commences. I saw the finish banner and three of four runners ahead of me. I told myself I could beat these guys. I took off, gradually increasing my pace until I passed them and crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 25 minutes, and 56 seconds.
I did it. I finished my first Mountain Goat. I bumped into a friend in the shute who volunteered to remove time chips and another friend who finished 5 or so minutes before me. She looked refreshed and ready to run again. I was bushed and ready for a Powerade, bagel, and water.
The Lake Effect Run Clubbers all met up again at the monument in the Square. We had refreshments, listened to music, and shared our race experiences. What a blast. Now I look forward to running the San Diego Marathon and the Boilermaker in Utica.

Although I am writing of my running experiences during my training for the marathon, its important that me and you do not forget why I started to train for the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon. I run am training and running for Jane Spellman. She is the sister of my best friend Tom Belinsky. Jane was diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer 4 years ago. She has undergone many therapies including a kidney transplant and a bone marrow transplant. I do thi in honor of her and her family hoping to bring a smile and hope. Your donation to support my run is actually supporting people like Jane Spellman who hope and pray for a cure.
I hope you may find it in your heart to support Jane Spellman and donate on my Leukemia & Lymphoma Society donation page at:

Your donation will be greatly appreciated by me and Tom, but most importantly to those who have been diagnosed with blood cancer.
Thank you for your support.
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