July 13th: My son Michael and I got our road trip to the Adirondacks going at 0600. The plan was to drive to Utica, New York and pick up my Boilermaker race packet for Sunday and continue on to Old Forge to spend an afternoon hiking together. Approaching Utica I had this brain fart that if we could get in and out of packet pick up I should have enough time to get Michael on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and he could ride the train fifty miles from Utica to Old Forge and I would pick him up at the station in Thendera. Sure enough plans worked out and Michael was boarded on the train and I began north.
Michael before boarding the Adirondack Scenic Railroad in Utica, New York. Image © Joe Geronimo
Upon picking up Michael we decided on some lunch at Walt’s Diner. Walt’s is classic and our family loves to eat there. A turkey club with a side of fries later we were ready to get hiking. Our first stop of the day was Sis & Bubb Lakes trail head. To view both lakes it is a short 1.8 mile mostly flat hike. After the recent rains though the trail is a bit muddy but easy to navigate. Here is a good link for a bit more information about this hike. http://www.cnyhiking.com/BubbLake.htm
Michael at Bubb Lake. Image © Joe Geronimo
Frog along the edge of Sis Lake. Image © Joe Geronimo
Michael navigating the Sis & Bubb Lake trail. Image © Joe Geronimo
After finishing a quick picture we are off to our next adventure. Image © Michael Geronimo
Next stop was the Rocky Mount trailhead near Inlet, NY. This is another short hike consisting of .5 miles but with a steep incline. this trail is nice but has an elevation gain of about five hundred feet. So basically every 1/10th equals one hundred feet in elevation. Once at the summit the view of Fourth Lake is spectacular. Follow this link for more information on this hike. http://www.cnyhiking.com/RockyMountain.htm
View of Fourth Lake from the summit of Rocky Mount looking south towards Eagle Bay. Image © Joe Geronimo
Michael and I on the summit of Rocky Mount.
Coming down from Rocky Mount as the hands on the clock indicate we need to start heading back to Utica for our dinner reservations, all we can do is leave the Adirondack Park in our rear view mirror. Back in Utica at Babe’s Macaroni Grill http://www.babesutica.com where Boilermaker runners eat free tonight. Meeting up with friends Mike and Sheila and their daughter Megan for dinner. Carbs consumed along with a Saranac Blueberry Blonde Ale we all drive to see where the starting line is for tomorrow’s race. Afterwards Michael and I make our way to our hotel about nine miles west of Utica in Oriskany, New York. Now this where the fun begins. After winding our way to our hotel in the middle of nowhere pulling up to the Days Inn I begin to wonder if the Bates Motel would have been a better choice even if Norman as Physco. I’m thinking to myself what a dump! Ok it is only for one night and Michael at this point is so engulfed in his Nintendo DS never noticed. Here we go, check in and the place smells like my parents basement because they don’t run a dehumidifier in the summer. The place is outdated looking like it was used in the set for that 70’s Show. During check in I ask the person at the front desk if I could get an extended check out in order to come back after the race shower and change. That idea flew over the cuckoo nest. Gosh I hope the room at least has air conditioning? It dis so I figured at this point we’re batting one hundred. After several minutes in the room I say to Michael, do you want to get ice cream? Back in the car and we are on a reconnaissance mission to find ice cream. Fortunately we found a great place nine miles away but my brownie sundae made all worth while.
July 14th: Boilermaker time and I’m up early and nervous. This is the largest race for me to date. It is also the most popular 15K in the United States with runners coming from all over the world to compete. This particular race caps at 14,000 runners and sold out in sixty three hours. Checking out of our hotel we make our way back into Utica to meet up with Mike and Sheila at their five star hotel. Sheila has already shuttled Mike to the starting area and I am next. My son Michael and Sheila head to find a place to cheer us on. Over at the staging area there are runners lined up like its Black Friday, but instead of Christmas gifts they are waiting in line to use a port a john. Seeing this, now I have to pee! So in line I go and it is taking forever. The guy behind me in line says “What is taking so long” and my typical guy response “I Don’t Know”. Well I finally put two and two together realizing there are about 20 females in line ahead of me and no males. Ok I get it! Moving on to the start runners are stretching, chattering, listening to iPhones, texting and taking pictures. The volume from all the was that of a rock concert, our National Anthem begins and one could hear a pin drop. It was awesome!
With the screeching of the horn and we are off. Crossing the starting line I wave to the TV cameras in hope that my wife and son back at home see me. At this point I feel like I’m packed like a can of sardines. Working my way through the pack I can feel the excitement of the race coupled with the cheering crowds I slowly begin to advance. However it would not be until mile three where I would gain my space and rhythm. Also at mile three is where we attack the first hill and this is where I begin my road kills. The air is heavy and humid and the temperatures are in the mid eighty’s. I keep advancing! Grabbing some water as I race on by with a few sips and then I douse myself with the rest. I would continue this pattern every three miles and I would also take full advantage of sprinklers along the course to keep my core body temperature low. Working my way to the finish as I descend down Court Street even Christopher Walken would approve because there was plenty of cowbell to go around. Crossing the finish line in 1:12:10, placing 1,116 in my first ever Boilermaker 15K I was extremely pleased. But most of all seeing Michael’s smile and excitement at the finish line really put this into perspective for me. Yes I ran the famed Boilermaker and I did extremely well however my biggest accomplishment was staring right in the face. Looking back to this weekend I feel honored that I was able to have Michael there by my side.
Joe Geronimo finishing the Boilermaker June 14th 2013.
Michael and I after finishing the Boilermaker June 14th 2013.
After several gulps of water it was time to make our way to the after party. F.X. Matt’s Brewing makers of Saranac Beer throw a huge party afterwards complete with free beer, a concert and other goodies. Here is a link to a short video from the after party. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4a2BhSTP5Q
Well friends that is pretty much it. Michael and I had a wonderful time together and he wants to run the Boilermaker next year. Until next time, Cheers!