MacAdam: Marathon debut will be no sight-seeing tour for Mohonasen, UAlbany runner Udvadia

Albania – “Okay, let’s go, come on!”

“Don’t you want to see the Grand Canyon?”

Clark Griswold wraps his arm around his wife, Ellen, gazes out at the Grand Canyon for a moment, then urges his family out in a classic fast-paced scene from Vacation.

Cara Udvadia will have a similar vibe on October 30th and the venue will be Washington, DC’s vast array of monuments and landmarks

She probably won’t be on the run from the law like Clark Griswold. But neither will she dally to enjoy the gravitas of Arlington National Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall, and the US Capitol.

The 25-year-old former Mohonasen High School and UAlbany star distance runner is making the big leap to marathon distance for the first time and has set an ambitious but achievable goal of 2:50 at the 47th Marine Corps Marathon.

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The UAlbany record-holder in the 10,000 meters, who won the MVP Health Care Stockade-Athon 15k last year and 2019, has only visited DC once, on a family vacation when she was in middle school. She’s looking forward to a marathon debut where her watch won’t be the only source of engagement.

“It’s a pretty cool place. I think hopefully it will help take my mind off the pain at some point,” she said, laughing, during a phone interview last Thursday.

Udvadia, who married former UAlbany teammate Ryan Udvadia earlier this year and works as a hydrologist for the US Geological Survey, has been training for the Marine Corps Marathon for four months while being coached by her father, Mohonasen cross-country ski coach Bill Sherman.

Cara thinks she’s well set for October 30 based on her overall training, which included a long 22-mile run five weeks ago and another 22-mile run the second week of October.

The first was a valuable revelation; the last one went much better.

“It’s probably the first time in this training block that really opened my eyes to how challenging the marathon can be,” she said. “And I didn’t have a great day. I knew from the start, I don’t know what it was, but I was feeling a bit tired.

“It was a huge mental challenge from around 15 miles onwards. I really had problems. I had Ryan with me on the bike. He was super supportive and that sure helped. I don’t know if I could have done it without him.”

“I told her I remember when I was preparing for my first marathon, they would always say the halfway point of that 26-mile race was the 20-mile mark,” said Bill Sherman, who has run nine marathons. “And it’s true. I thought, that’s a bunch of crap, and I let it go and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness.’

“She had a 20 mile run a few weeks ago and said, Dad, I feel great, I’m ready, I think I could have done 26.” She went to 22 and said, ‘I think I get it , which you talked about halfway through.’”

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To reach her target time, Udvadia must maintain a pace of 6:29 miles.

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She posted the same time, 54:24, in her two Stockade Athon wins, which puts her at a pace of 5:51 for 9.3 miles, and she’s a under-pace in the Firecracker 4 at a few shorter races this year Ran 6:00 (23:33 for four miles) and Malta 10k (36:28) on September 10th.

To get a taste of a longer race than the Stockade Athon, Udvadia ran and won the Helderberg-to-Hudson Half Marathon in April in 1:17:01, a pace of 5:53 before she even started her serious training Block for the Marine Corps.

“I always knew that I would eventually rise [in distance],” she said. “After I finished running in competitions last year in college, I felt like I needed some time to catch my breath, so I took a little time off and then spent some time road racing This year I felt like I was ready for the leap.

“I decided to slow down a bit and started a half marathon with the belief that it would set me up for a fall marathon. It was a good experience. It was hard jumping into the distance.”

The Capital Region’s popular 26.2-mile run, the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon on October 9, was a logical place for her debut, but Udvadia preferred to get out of town, and the DC race has a few as well Familystories.

Ryan, who is also in good shape and will face the Marine Corps, had directed it with his grandfather.

“I was dying to do one that wasn’t in the area for my first,” Cara said. “A marathon is a long distance, and doing that in familiar territory didn’t want to bore me, if that makes sense.

“I also wanted to ride some new people and challenge myself with that. Ryan has told me good things about it. I wanted to find something that would definitely push me, and other women to run were very important to me. If you look at the results so far, it definitely fits. It looked like I would be involved, but definitely not the fastest. I felt like this would be a good way to push myself.”

The Marine Corps women’s winner typically runs in 2:40 seconds, and former Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake star Sam Roecker won the MHR marathon in 2:52:17.

The Marine Corps Marathon starts and ends in Arlington, Virginia, crossing two bridges over the Potomac River and passing many of Washington’s famous tourist attractions.

The course is mostly flat but has some climbs for the first few miles and another hill that starts a gentle climb at the marker at mile 21 and gets steeper at mile 23.

The learning process for Udvadia this year is twofold, how to train for a marathon and how to race.

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“That’s funny,” she said after learning her father described her target time as “aggressive.” “It’s hard for me to say. Of course, I’ve never run a marathon and I don’t want to underestimate that because I know it’s going to be a big challenge.

“But I think it’s very doable if I run smart in the beginning and don’t go out too fast. I know he thinks it’s more aggressive than I probably am, but he also has more marathon running experience than I do, so I’ve definitely learned some lessons during training, putting long runs behind my previous running distances. It made me realize that it’s probably going to be harder than I expected, so it’s good to be prepared.”

“Her training is going really well and she seems really strong,” said Bill Sherman. “I think it’s a lot to deal with when you’re suddenly working full-time.

“She has a pretty aggressive target for this first one. I think it’s aggressive and if she can do that, it’ll be great. I have her at a certain pace for her tempo runs and she says, “Dad, it feels so slow,” but you’re doing 12-mile paces. All pacing is based on your target time. And it’s going well, but you don’t know it until you get on the line and cross the finish line.”

Balancing time-consuming marathon training with a full-time job is also part of the challenge for Udvadia.

She and Ryan live in Clifton Park, and their work with the USGS occasionally requires traveling to all corners of the state to collect water samples for laboratory analysis.

“It also made me commit to taking a day off every week, which is what I usually do,” Cara said. “That forced me to do it. When you work a day longer than 12 hours, it’s difficult to find time to run. So if that happens once a week, it’s not bad for my training, to be honest.”

Udvadia said she will perform the Stockade athon again on Nov. 13 as long as there is no risk of injury while she recovers from the Marine Corps.

However, she is committed to her new distance and due to her training and affinity for longer distances, the October 30th race will be anything but a sightseeing opportunity.

“I don’t want to jinx myself, but in practice I was able to keep up the pace without any problems, so I think when race day comes I’ll have rested a bit the week before. My legs will probably feel better in the race atmosphere than at an average day,” she said.

“I find that the first time I do a new workout or a new distance or a new race, it’s a lot more challenging the first time. I try to keep that in mind when running the marathon for the first time, knowing it probably won’t go smoothly.

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“But I’ll have many more tries after that.”

CATCH UP…

… The Evans family.

Shaun, Nichole, Shamus and Simon Evans had a book signing at The Open Door in Schenectady on September 25th, so I swung over there to grab a copy of Shaun’s account of their 2015 cross-country adventure in which he Shamus pushed his jogging buggy 3,205 miles from Seattle to Pelham Bay in the Bronx.

Better Together was fun, inspirational read, not only because of Shaun and Shamus’ remarkable performance, but also because of the logistical challenges the whole family faced to not only make it happen, but to turn it into an effective exercise in charity, awareness and inclusion.

Along the way, representing Ainsley’s Angels, they donated wheelchairs to disabled children in 15 states.

TALKING TURKEY

Registration is open for the numerous Thanksgiving Day races on November 24, including the Troy Turkey Trot, the Christopher Dailey Turkey Trot in Saratoga Springs and the Ellis Medicine Cardiac Classic in Schenectady.

The 75th Troy Turkey Trot includes 5K and 10K races. You can login to TroyTurkeyTrot.com.

The fee is $35 until 11:59 PM on Saturday, then it increases.

The Christopher Dailey Run is a 5K run and you can register for $27 at christopherdaileyfoundation.com.

Online registration closes on Tuesday, November 22 at 12:00 p.m. Last chance to register in person at the Saratoga Hilton is Wednesday, November 23 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

You can register for the Cardiac Classic at www.ellismedicine.org/cardiac-classic/ and is $25 through Monday, after which the fee increases to $30.

STOCKADE ATHON

Non-members of the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club have until October 31 to register for the November 13 Stockade Athon for $45, after which the registration fee is $50.

Last chance online registration runs from Non. 1-11, and there will be a last chance walk-up registration at the Schenectady YMCA on November 11 from 4-7 p.m.

LOOSE LACES

Continuing the You Better Run theme in September, Ramon Dominguez, the 45-year-old Hall of Famer jockey who took up running after retiring from thoroughbred riding, won the Greenwich Fit for Duty 5K in 16:16 ( 5:15 mile pace) on October 1st. …

Two final men’s marathon records were set locally and worldwide.

Webster’s Joseph Whelan ran 2:14:14 on the Mohawk Hudson River, beating the 2:15:52 set by Tyler Andrews in 2016.

When Eliud Kipchoge ran 2:01:09 at the Berlin Marathon on September 25, it marked the ninth men’s WR appearance at the race since 1998. Kipchoge matched the previous mark (2:01:39) in 2018.

The women’s WR was set up three times in Berlin, most recently in 2001 by Naoko Takahashi from Japan in 2:19:46.

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