This post is about a week over due, oh well. This past weekend (October 6th) I ran my 2nd marathon. Wineglass Marathon in Corning NY. Signing up for this marathon was done on a whim. A friend told me about the race. Runners World Magazine touted it as a great race and a FAST race! Sometime around Christmas 2012 I entered my credit card # and committed to #2 around the dinner table while drinking (ironically) a glass of wine. During that time I was also trying to convince my dad to run a half marathon. He had just turned 50 and was getting more athletic. Either I was extremely persuasive or he had liquid courage (thanks Pinot Noir!) he signed up for the half marathon! But it gets better….not only did my dad sign up, but my mom did too! This would be a GREAT family weekend in Upstate NY. I decided I was going to PR this race and was excited to train my parents through this race 🙂
Fast forward a few months…..I am training and getting faster. Foot pain is gone and I’m feeling great! I recently got into triathlons and was eagerly looking forward to the three races I had for season. Little did I know this new love would turn on me. I completed 2 half marathons, a triathlon, a duathlon and an obstacle race all by June. Time to slow it down and focus on my “A” race triathlon and my “A” race marathon. I spaced them out enough so that training wouldn’t over lap too much and I could focus on each discipline. However at the end of June I (on a whim) signed up for another sprint triathlon to get more transition and ‘live action’ practice. At this race I successfully made it through the .5 mile swim, 12 mile bike and was about 400 yards into the run when I fell and sprained my ankle. Not giving up I ran a 34 minute 5K (ironically this was faster than my first 5K that I ever ran, that was a 38:34) Finishing the race with a swollen ankle, bloody knees and a hurt ego.
I lost about 5 weeks of solid training for both my Tri and the marathon. Ended up dropping from the Olympic Tri to only complete the spring (there is always next year right?) As the weeks went on, I feel further and further behind on marathon training. Long runs were cut short due to pain and numbness in my foot. Long story short, I got in about 60% of my total training miles. Zero speedwork. And limited tempo and pace runs. New Goal for Wineglass – Completion!
Fast Foward …race weekend. We arrived at our hotel around 2pm on Saturday. Settled into our room and then headed out to the expo. Corning is an adorable little town and surprisingly very accommodating to the 5,000 or so runners that were making their way throughout the city. Packet pick up was at the local YMCA and the wait wasn’t too bad. However wondering around the expo was not something I planned on doing on account of the building have no air conditioning and it was hot & stuffy inside. I managed to round up my parents and Jo (mom’s bff who was also running the race) and head to Market Street to see the finish. Grabbed some lunch at the in town brewery. Later that night we avoided the pre-race pasta dinner and instead headed east to Horseheads for Italian fare at Tanino’s, a spot a found online. PERFECT and DELICIOUS.
Race Morning! 4:15 Am rise and shine everyone! We surprisingly all got dressed and ready by 5:30 am and headed out to the start line where we would take shuttles to the start. This was a point A to point B race where the start was 13.1 and 26.2 miles away from the finish. Before leaving the hotel I would have my usual whole wheat bagel with peanut butter, banana and 2 cups of coffee. Potty stop. Then on the road. Arriving at the finish line we easily found parking and headed to the shuttles. Here we would be separated by half marathoners on the left and marathoners take the shuttles on the right. We all hugged, wished each other good luck and parted ways. It wasn’t until THIS moment that I realized OH CRAP, I’m running a marathon! I had been so focused on getting my parents and Jo prepared that I hadn’t taken the time to be nervous for myself. Oh well, here goes nothing. Grabbed a seat and off we went! Talked to a gentleman on the way to the start, he mentioned he has never run a marathon….as I began to give him a “first timers” speech…he added that he had never run JUST a marathon. He had done 2 Ironman’s prior and just did Lake Placid. Who’s the rookie now? Let’s say I asked lots of training questions and am now very eager to be an Ironman!
The Horn Blows!
Mile 1 – Having spent close to an hour waiting on the start I didn’t realize that I had actually become hungry. Yes, hungry. Even if you don’t run you should assume started a marathon on a growling stomach is probably not a good idea. I tried to put that out of my mind and focused on the pace groups in front of me. I sandwiched myself between 4:10 and 4:25 giving myself a little room to “slack” if the going got tough.
Mile 3 – UH OH. As we approached the 5K my stomach, as I say, flipped. I can’t describe the feeling. It hurt high and it hurt a lot. Not just a side stitch or breathing problems, it was pain. This feeling would come and go for the next 15 miles.
Mile 10 – The last 7 miles were pretty uneventful. I ran a slow but steady pace and tried to zone out to my new tunes that a special someone gave me the week before the race. I trained with it and found it was the perfect tempo to keep me slow and relaxed the first hour or so of the race. (Haim “Days are Gone”, in case you are interested)
Mile 13 – Here we crossed over the half marathon starting point. I was hurting pretty bad at this point and tried to erase the last 13 miles and pretend to start a new race. Just a half marathon to the finish, you can do that. At this point the scenery has been pretty dull and not the gorgeous upstate New York I was hoping for. Most of the race was on local streets and neighborhoods. What was wonderful though, were the families that sat on their porches cheering and clapping for us as we ran by. The race, in my opinion, is logistically very difficult for spectators to travel to watch you run past.
Mile 18 – Medic! I passed numerous medical tents without any desire to stop. But for someone reason I knew I needed this. I am a salty sweater and knew I was loosing to much salt. As soon as I stopped one of the aids looked at me and handed me pretzels without asking. How’d he know? I stashed from pretzels in my belt and went back on my way. Nothing exciting, but worth noting how great the volunteers were.
Mile 19 – Mentally can’t do it any more. By this point my back hurt, my foot hurt, everything hurt. I probably was not helping with the useless babble I had going on in my head. I constantly kept thinking, why am I doing this? I’m not an olympian, why am I out here? I knew it was time to phone a friend. I don’t normally run with my phone, but I’m happy I did! First call – my dad. Mainly to warn him about my late arrival at the finish (I was on track for a 5 hour marathon at this point) Then BFF – just when you need tough love and some good stories. Final call – the boy. Got myself some more tough love to keep me going the rest of the way.
Mile 23 – Holy crap it’s hot out here. The temps had risen to around 70 degrees at this point. In my book I consider that run naked weather. I was coming through each aid station and guzzling water. Some even had ice chips for us! Dumped a cup in my hat and gave myself a nice ice rub down while moving towards the finish. Only three miles to go. Only a 5k.
Mile 24- Woo hoo steep hill! The hill didn’t last long and once again found myself on a flat but beautiful park run. I was trying so hard to enjoy the scenery but the pains in my stomach had yet to disappear and I found myself ducking into a Porto potty. I had given up on time, I didn’t even bother to stop my watch. 2 minutes and then back at it. I found myself doing a walk run to the finish. They say when your legs give out run with your heart. In this case my legs were fine (well as fine as you can be after 24 miles) but it was my mind that I couldn’t escape. I tried to focus on everyone that has told me I bring them inspiration. I couldn’t let them down. I wouldn’t let them down. Right before I saw mile marker 25 I passed a woman who yelled to me ‘only one mile to go, you’ve got this honey’ . Such simple words. She didn’t quote a famous runner or give me a story of encouragement. She simply stated the facts and the smile on her face made me smile and start running again.
Mile 25 – where’s dad???? I’m a total daddy’s girl and I’m not afraid to admit it. When I talked to him at mile 19 he said he would catch up with me at mile 25. Where was he?!? I was being selfish. Forgetting the fact that he just ran his first half marathon (in 1:51 no less) but I needed him. I needed a familiar face. Then there .5 miles to the finish he stood beneath a tree. I spotted him from a few yards away before he saw me. Emotion took over. Tears streaming down my face. It was so relieving having my dad there. The .5 mile I ran with him was the hands down best part of the race. He was telling me how everyone did and how great he felt of his accomplishment. One foot in front of the other, he repeated. I needed that reinforcement. I just wish I had noticed that he was running crocs a little sooner. Opps! But kudos to dad, ran in crocs after running 13.1. #mydadisthebest
Mile 26 – Finish line in sight! The finish is down Market Street, beautiful store front lined street. Crowds lined the finish (still at the five hour mark!) I passed my mom cheering! My friend Jo and her husband! This was it. This is the finish. Crossed the finish line with my hands over my head cheering! Received my beautiful blown glass medal from another great volunteer. Passed on all the after race food they offered (standard fare of pizza, bagels, bananas) and guzzled two bottles of water before even coming out of the finishers chute. Dehydrated much? I staggered over to the curb plopped myself down and waited for my awesome support group.
Overall thoughts- congrats if you made it this far, I realize this is a very long post!!! I wish I had not been injured. I wish I had a better fuel plan. But I am glad I didn’t give up and wait for the sag wagon to pick me up. Yes I didn’t hit my goal time (took some time to get over that but I finally OK with completion) but I gained something more. I brought three people from never and infrequent runners to finish a half marathon. I helped them with their training and pushed them through the long runs. Sometimes who you miss a goal you find that the universe has something else in store for you. I am Beyond proud of my parents and Jo for completing the race. This race solidifies to me that we are nothing by ourselves. I have a longing to be with those that desire excellence. Until the next race….. Run on!!
Ps. Super friend Beth was there too!!! Two half marathons in the year, you go girl! Can’t wait to race again with you! #crush2hours