June 3, 2013

Race #3 - Freihofer's Run for Women

This weekend I completed the third of my three races in three weeks with the 35th Annual Freihofer's Run for Women.  This is the third year I have run this race and it is by far one of my favorite races!  The race begins under the bridge of the Empire State Plaza and we run through Washington Park and around downtown Albany before finishing at the same place we started.  Friday night I headed down to the CDPHP Health & Fitness Expo to pick up my race bib, running shirt, box of cookies and bread.  Yes you read that correctly - registration for the race includes a loaf of bread and a box of the most amazing Freihofer's Chocolate Cookies (they are to die for)!  I was a little disappointed in the shirts this year - the sizing just seemed off.  I got an XL which would normally be big on me (I'm not a fan of running in super tight shirts) but it was skin tight!  So that was a little disappointing. 
For this race they line you up according to time (at registration you enter the time of your last 5K) - slow to fast - walkers in the back and the fastest people in the front.  Each section has a different colored bib - this year mine was green and I was three groups up from the walkers - almost the middle of the pack.  The morning of the race was HOT, probably about 75 degrees and humid when we lined up at 9:45 AM and it reached about 80 throughout the race.  I knew it was going to be hot so I made sure to hydrate a lot the night before.  It is crazy to think that the weekend before I was running the Survive the Farm race in 40 degree rain and just one week later I am running in near 80 degrees and sun!  
As I was standing at the start time waiting for the ceremony to start and the gun to go off I was looking up at the (very) large banner that hangs on the bridge over the start line.  The banner announces the date/time of the race and has a panoramic shot of a bunch of women starting the race.  Well wouldn't you know it but I am one of those women!  I am on the huge banner overlooking the start of the race!  I couldn't believe it and thought it was so cool!  The picture is from two years ago - my first time running Freihofers!
Banner overlooking the start/finish of the race.
It may be pretty hard to tell but I am the one in the dark green shirt.
The race began and we were off!  5,045 women ran the race - a record number and there were a ton of professional runners!  The start of the race is uphill and being a 'back of the pack' starter means you get to watch all the super fast runners race up the hill.  It is a pretty awesome sight to see - those women are so fast!  It may sound somewhat corny but it is really empowering to run a women's only race - it's just something about the energy of being surrounded by so many other women all of whom are there to run and have a good time!
Start of the race!
(Picture taken from the Albany Times Union website)
Personally my race was good but I felt like my time didn't reflect it.  Simply put, I am just slower than I was last year.  I definitely need to work on my speed and the number of times I run during the week needs to increase.  It was also SUPER hot and even though I ran 95% of the race, there were a couple of times I needed to stop and catch my breath or drink some water.
Action shot!  Coming in at the finish!
After the race we went up to the Empire State Plaza and picked up some refreshments - there were a ton of people, bands were playing and everyone was celebrating finishing the race.
Me, Elise and Elise's aunt post race!
I am really happy I ran the race - it is fun, well organized and always empowering.  I will probably end up running it every year I am in Albany!  Freihofer's wrapped up my three races in three weeks and that'll probably be my last race for a couple of months.  I may run the Firecracker 4 Miler in Saratoga but if not I have my eye on a couple in September - maybe even a 10K!

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