Mountain Goat 10 Miler Race Recap

7 May

The 35th annual Mountain Goat Run was held in Syracuse on Sunday.  They do a 3k (flat) race, followed by the notoriously hilly 10 mile race around the city.  I’ve done this race twice before (2011, 1:23:45; 2012, 1:21:55) so I knew what to expect. However, with a lingering hip injury and a wild neglect of hills in training, I set my goals pretty low for this race: A) sub-80 B) don’t die/worsen your bursitis/poop yourself.

Race morning was a bit of a rush – I drank some coffee in my lucky Boilermaker mug but kind of forgot to actually eat real food.  This will be important later on.

Coffee on the porch, perfection.

Coffee on the porch, perfection.

I was signed up to run the 3k with a super special bud of mine, and was looking forward to taking it easy as a warmup (~10-10:30ish pace).  She had different ideas.  We started around 10ish pace, until she dropped the hammer in the second half.  I of course was playing cheerleader and encouraging the pace, but a small voice in my head was telling me that it was already hot, and I was already working a bit too hard on sore legs.

Smiling! Laughing! Cheering! I'M HAVING SO MUCH FUN RIGHT NOW!!

Smiling! Laughing! Cheering! I’M HAVING SO MUCH FUN RIGHT NOW!!

After the 3k, I realized my stomach was growling, so I downed some margarita-flavored Shot Bloks and hopped in line for a porta-potty.  Before I knew it, it was time to line up and I still had no idea what pace I was going to shoot for.

The first mile clicked off in 7:32.  Oops.  I just tried to run comfortably hard and not worry about what the watch said, which was working really well up the first hill.  The real trouble came in the downhill section around mile 4.5.

I'm lookin' at you, you beast of a downhill

I’m lookin’ at you, you beast of a downhill

I didn’t remember this being so steep, but man, it did a friggin’ number on my hip.  I could essentially feel my bursa screaming at me, and on top of already being a poor downhill runner, I was just slamming on the brakes as hordes of people screamed by me.  I knew I was done at that point, and that I needed to let go of sub-80 and just get to the finish in one piece.

It was around this time that I also realized it was hot outside.  And that all the water at the aid stations was warm.  And that I was probably pretty dehydrated and boo, this isn’t very much fun anymore.  (Related: I’m a pretty pretty princess when I’m in pain)

Not having so much fun now, are we?

Not having so much fun now, are we?


I tried to switch on the positive thinking though, and started to psych myself up for the second hill up Colvin St.  This is by far the worst hill in the race – it’s in the second half of the course, it’s steep, and it’s in the direct sunlight.  The band on the hill really makes all the difference – a funk band with 10 (yes, 10!!) drum sets lined up along the hill playing “Stayin’ Alive.”  It is entirely impossible to stop and walk, no matter how much you might want to.  The highlight of the race, in my opinion.

I “powered” up the hill and enjoyed the flat stretch leading up to the University.  I was trying to keep a steady pace but I knew I was dehydrated and was a bit nervous of the downhill after Thornden Park.  As we turned into the Park and saw the Irish dancers, I tried to stay positive – just a quick little hill ahead and then smooth sailing.

The hill didn’t bother me too much.  The downhill after proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.  I tried to power through, but my hip flexors were screaming.  With 1 mile left to go, I looked at my watch and realized I’d have to throw down a 7 minute mile to come in under 80.  Instead of bucking up and going for it, I slowed to a walk and stretched my hip.

And I feel epically shitty for that.



I keep trying to rationalize it away in my head, but at the end of the day, I stopped and there isn’t any changing that.  Shit happens.  It wasn’t a goal race.  There’s nothing to do but move on.  I ended up finishing in 1:21:10, which is still a PR.  So here I am again, complaining about a PR.  This is a good way to make friends, right?

After the race, I stood under the fire hose for a minute and started to feel more like a human being.  I met up with family, grabbed my bag, downed a Powerade and stretched my hamstrings.  Felt more like a human being.  I took off to wander for a bit, chatted with a few co-workers, and then found Hollie.  We chatted for a bit, and became internet friends who are people who exist in real life WITH PROOF, which was most excellent and awkward.

We are winners.

We are winners.

(stolen from Hollie)

So that was that.  It was a really fun day, though I wish the race started a tad bit earlier.  I also heard a rumor that there would be a goat at the finish line and much to my dismay, there was no goat to be found (I did see a goat around mile 1.5ish on the course?  was this the rumored finish line goat?  he was adorable, for what it’s worth).  In any case, if you ever find yourself in a position to run the Mountain Goat, I highly recommend you do it for the ass-kicking hills and some of the most scenic views of Syracuse.


4 Responses to “Mountain Goat 10 Miler Race Recap”

  1. Laura May 7, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    I have heard this is a KILLER race! I didn’t realize how big of a race it was until I looked at previous years seeing number of participants and crazy times people were throwing down. That’s awesome they had bands along the way (especially in the hard parts), I’ve done a few like that and it really helps! Congrats on the PR, I know it didn’t happen the way you wanted but it happened so that’s that. I’ll let you in on something… a few years ago I threw down a PR at a half (and won the race) I was ecstatic but my hips acted up so bad on the last hill that I walked for about 45 seconds. I tell you what though, at the end of the day it was PR on a rough course and look at you doing the same thing. So celebrate!

    Now stretch those hips out and relax, cuz’ girl you’re gonna be in for some shenanagins Sunday morning doing the 5k with Hollie and I!

    • upstaterunner May 9, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

      I can’t wait, seriously! I’ve been taking it easy this week so I’ll be ready to roll. Hopefully.

      I honestly appreciate the story about your half. It actually does make me feel a lot better – I think in the heat of the moment, I tend to be really hard on myself … but you’re absolutely right, a PR is a PR and a PR on a tough course is even better. Hard to not be happy with that!

  2. HollieisFueledByLOLZ May 8, 2013 at 5:59 am #

    First, I cannot believe you PRed on that course. Congrats on that. You would probably be under 1:18 at least on a flat course. I know that. Moving on, those downhills are were the absolute worst and I honestly just felt my body saying “yes let us injure ourselves on this hot and lovely morning”.

    See you on Sunday. It’s going to be awesome and I am feeling another PR for you. Hope your hips feel better now. 🙂

    • upstaterunner May 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

      Ahhh I really hope so. I doubt attempting a 5k PR with no speedwork in the past, oh, 6 months is a great recipe for success but we will see! It will be fun nonetheless.

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