Sunday July 11th, 2010 - RACE DAY!!!
Between nervousness and excitement, I had a hard time sleeping the night before the race. But I managed to get up at 4:00am in time to stretch and get ready to go. We had to leave by 5am to get a good parking spot before they closed down many of the streets near the race course. The after party would be taking place right below this sign just a few hours later.
Billy and Doug ready to run.
A wheelchair runner coming to the finish line, cheered on by the fans.
These three elite runners finished within exactly 2 seconds of each other.
Billy coming up on the finish line. Yes, I did finish the race in 2:17:51. My pace ended up being 14:48 per mile. I was hoping to finish in under 2 hours, but I was happy I finished especially my first time out. About 1500 runners did not finish for various reasons. Doug finished an hour before me and came back on to the course to run in the last 1.5 miles with me, coaching me all the way. The last mile was really hot and the sun was blazing down with no trees for shade. There were a few moments where I wanted to just walk to the finish line, but he challenged me to dig down and I found a burst of energy to run it out to the end!
I have to say that these were some of the best, most enthusiastic spectators I have ever met. It was like a party/barbeque/rally ALL along the race course. Perfect strangers high fiving me, cheering me on, saying, "You can do it!", "Just a few miles to cold beer!". Handing out water, ice chips, having hoses available to mist the runners. I felt so much love and support from a city that really takes pride in this event and comes out in full force to show it. There were radio stations playing music along the route and band, actual LIVE BANDS performing alongside the course. I saw and heard an Celtic, bluegrass, Carribbean steel drum, country and a rock-n-roll band just to name a few! Amazing. I was almost in tears a few times that day. As tired as I was at the end of it all, I was very happy and I am counting the days until next year's race!
The after party. Packed to the gills with plenty of live music, cold beer, oranges, bagels, bananas and lots of other food.
Our friend Betsy from Utica College ran it as well and had a very good showing. I don't think we had seen her in almost 17 years!
Sorry I didn't take a pic of my beer. I was a bit out of sorts after a while. They serve up a very refreshing Pomegranate-Wheat beer.
After we left the party, we made our way down to Doug's hometown of New Berlin, NY (about an hour south of Utica) to spend some time with his family and to have a late lunch at their local favorite spot, New York Pizzeria & Restaurant
It's a small place with a few booths and some tables in the front. Doug's family refers to it as "Frankie's" and they have been coming here for years. We made a pit stop here in 2008 for some of their justly famous Pepperoni Rolls (aka Roni Rolls).
The pictures that grace the walls are mostly of the owner's and their extended family.
We met up with Doug's friend Duane and his friend Rick, both of whom ran the Boilermaker as well.
I started out with some "hot" Buffalo wings. These were both meaty and crispy, but I wish they had been hotter and the sauce had a stronger flavor. Although the sauce at the bottom of the bowl was good for dipping our bread!
I was thinking about trying the Chicken parm sub as I am always on the hunt for a good one, but then I saw the special of the day, a steak sandwich with sauteed mushrooms and provolone on a toasted sub roll. Well, I was sold and it was really good! The steak was juicy and tender and had great flavor. The mushrooms were big and meaty and the provolone had a slight sharpness to it that I liked. The roll was so toasty and crunchy on the outside on chewy in the middle. The accompanying fries were okay. Not sure if they were fresh cut, but the parmesan cheese and parsley coating provided some depth of flavor.
After we said our goodbyes we drove up so the Syracuse area to spend the night with Doug's sister and her family. On the way there was passed the Sno Top ice cream stand in Manlius, NY and did a u-turn as we were all craving some soft serve!
I went for the Dusty Road sundae which was creamy and delicious. The only shortcoming for me is that it didn't have enough malt powder.
Upon arriving at our destination, we were greeted by two of the sweetest, most affectionate dogs I have met in some time. Everyone, say hello to Sweet Pea...
And her equally adorable sister, Molly! Monday July 12th, 2010
- after turning in very early and a night of deep, restful sleep we made our way back through New Berlin once again, but not before stopping to see some of Doug's relatives and getting to pet this sweet girl named Gabby!
I'm not sure what towns we were in, but one of them was Edmeston. Very beautiful and quiet out here. I could hear myself think. A big change from NYC! We stopped by Doug's niece's new house and ended up scaring off a deer that had bedded down underneath the deck behind the house!
Another late lunch and I started out with the Roni Roll which was fantastic as I remember. Spicy, buttery a bit greasy and that dough was just right with a slight crispiness and chew to it.
The main event was the Chicken Parm sub. In hindsight, I should have cut this in half to show the inside but my "sandwich lust" got the better of me! This is quite possibly the best chicken parm sub I have ever hung a lip on. The bread was so toasty and crunchy. The cheese had some crunchy brown spots on it and there was plenty of it but it wasn't too much. The chicken inside was made up of moist tenders and plenty of them. The sauce was just bit sweet with a bright tomato flavor. I never once thought "Oh, I don't want any more of this, it's just too much". Every bite was just right.
Dayna had a Spinach & Mushroom calzone and this thing was HUGE. Lots of mozzarella and fresh ricotta. The dough they make there is so fresh tasting and has a great crispy/chewy balance that it really elevates anything made with it.
Doug's wife and I walked down to the local mini-mart to see if they had any copies of the Utica newspaper with the race results. No such luck (but as it turned out my mom picked up a couple of copies for us), however we did pass this very interesting collection of birdhouses on the walk.
1.) New York Pizzeria & Restaurant
7 South Main Street
New Berlin, NY 13411
2.) Sno Top
315 Fayette Street
Manlius, NY 13104
That's it for this report. Thanks for sticking around for this mostly running-somewhat food based crazy report!
Til then, "Eating is an adventure, enjoy the ride!" - billyboy, 2010
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