Joe Geronimo crossing the finish line at the Syracuse half marathon Sunday March 22nd 2015.
Wondering the streets of London in a fog as thick as pea soup, in the distance I can hear the tolling of Big Ben echoing throughout, I’m groggy and appear to be lost. I pull myself together only to realize that it’s not Big Ben I hear but my iPhone telling me its 4:00AM and time to get up and get dressed I have the Syracuse half marathon to run. The weather report for Sunday March 22nd in Syracuse, New York is bleak. Cold, Wind and snow. Nonetheless I’m excited and make my way to pick up a few friends. Once on Interstate 81 headed north is where the fun begins. Wind is whipping, snow is blowing and yes race fans we have whiteout conditions. Seventy five miles later we arrive in Syracuse under what appears to be brightening skies and no snow. It’s cold, very cold and I question myself only briefly. The race begins and ends at Syracuse’s Oncenter right in downtown. A very large conference center with plenty of room for the 2,773 runners, of which women outnumber the men two to one. Here is where we met up with about forty other runners from the Binghamton area “Triple Cities Runners Club” and “Broome County Triathlon Club” creating the party like atmosphere. In a nutshell it felt rather like a large social event rather than a race making you forget about the cold for a while. The race start was delayed from 0800 to 0815 due to weather conditions, as volunteers had been out salting the course to make sure there wasn’t any ice. 0815 the race begins and runners move through the start like a herd of cattle. Once across the starting line we were able to break out a bit. The sun begins warming our faces but the wind is still reminding us that winter is making its final grasp. This is my first race in 2015 and my first race since New York City marathon in November 2014. I’ve also been plagued with some lower body issues for quite sometime now. My goal today was to run this race, not get hurt and just have fun. Around mile one is where the largest hill on the course is gaining gaining 120 feet of elevation in about a mile. The rest of the course through the city is rolling with lots of turns to keep it interesting. In all honesty I have to say “I Love This Course!”. I’m on the backside of the course or about mile 6, my calf is feeling good so I decide to pick up my pace quite a bit for several miles. Feeling no pain in the calf, approaching mile 10 I back off the pace and feel my calf start to complain. I’m worried a bit, my mind races and I’m thinking to myself I only have 3 miles left. I can do this I tell myself and 3.1 miles later I crossed the finish line at 1:52:20, far from my best half marathon time but I was excited and proud. Hey its all about the shorts! The post race pancake breakfast back at the Oncenter was awesome. They had pancakes, bacon and sausage which was absolutely delicious. Byrne Dairy chocolate milk, coffee, water, fruit, bagels and so forth. Definitely a nice spread. After breakfast and some stretching I changed clothes and ten of us made our way over to Alto Cinco, a Mexican resteraunt in downtown for more food and a few adult beverages. This adventure was a riot to say the least. The food was great, the beer amazing but the laughs were out of control. Finally around 3:30PM we are on our way home, tired but proud. Today wasn’t about racing, today was about running, camaraderie and friendship. I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing group of people and I will cherish that. Cheers! http://broomecountytriathlonclub.com http://triplecitiesrunnersclub.org