Erin Hamlin has been all over the world. She has luged her way to a world championship and an Olympic bronze medal.
But for all of her worldly accomplishments and adventures, there’s one milestone in her own backyard that she has yet to achieve: Running the Utica Boilermaker Road Race.
She’ll be able to cross that one off her list on Sunday.
One thing she learned early is the stark difference between training for a luge season and training for a 15-kilometer race.
“Training for those two things is like polar opposites,” she said. “I try to do a lot of aerobic exercises, but this is a little more extreme than I’m used to.
“Hopefully there’ll be so many people there, and it’ll be so fun that I won’t realize how much I’m hating life at the end.”
That may sound like a bleak outlook, but Hamlin – a newbie to distance running – doesn’t want to be overconfident.
“I’m going to expect the worst,” she said. “That way it won’t seem so bad.”
Hamlin, like many others, was glued to her computer at noon on March 22. She was one of the lucky 14,000 runners who got into the race – luckier than her uncle, who had run many Boilermakers in recent years, but was shut out this time around.
Hamlin admitted last month that she had fallen behind a bit in training, and said she planned to step it up a lot in the final month before the race.
“My normal routine is to run 3 miles, so I definitely have to step it up,” she said at the time. “It’s been sporadic.
“If I’m running at home, I have to start out going up this steep hill – it’s just the worst – so I try to avoid it.”
Hamlin said her luge training schedule usually keeps her away from the Mohawk Valley in the summer, but this year was different.
She has been spending more time away from the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, anyway, and she also will be in a friend’s wedding on Friday.
“I try to shoot up to Lake Placid if I get a couple free days,” she said. “But I have a lot of stuff scheduled back home, so I’m spending a lot of time there.
“Between the wedding and the race, I’m just hoping for perfect weather all weekend.”