My big plans for the weekend consisted of running the Wineglass Marathon. After a week full of birthdays and Lisa’s ankle injury, it was almost surreal to suddenly be flowing into Wineglass weekend.
On Friday special guest Bart Yasso gave a lunchtime talk at Corning headquarters, and it was inspirational – he didn’t talk race strategy or anything like that, but rather about his view of life and the world through the decades he has been running road races. There were great stories from all over – from massive runs in South Africa, to the Bandlands 146 he ran in the 80s, and more. It made for a fun and inspirational talk – and I was surprised that only about half the people in the room were running one of the races!
I was squeezed for time so I couldn’t get my bib and packet and stuff, so I texted Lisa to see if she wanted to join me on Saturday to go get it. Now she has been stuck on the couch since Tuesday … so she said ‘PLEASE YES’! After dropping the boys off for their marching band day (10AM rehearsal, football game, then off to Victor – near Rochester – for competition and home by midnight), we got ready and headed into town.
Bib pickup was at the Y, and was less busy than when my brother John and I went in last year, but still bustling. Lisa took a chair while I grabbed my stuff, and then we poked around the expo before heading across the river to pick up my wineglass and champagne split. Then we headed to the Market Screet Brewing Company where Lisa grabbed the picture at the top of the post.
Pre-race didn’t go how Lisa had planned – she wanted to cook me dinner, send me to bed and pick up the boys at midnight. Hey, remember I mentioned she is the most insanely great supporter?!? But with the boot … well, she was definitely feeling it in her ankle from out Corning trip, so I ended cooking dinner. Then we went to bed at around 9:30pm, and I got up just after 11:30 and the boys texted they were pulling into the high school. So I went to pick them up, and we were home and I was back in bed around 12:30.
As a result, 5AM came early for all of us, but we did a good job getting out of the house by 5:45, with me all band-aid’d, bib attached, breakfast eaten and Garmin on. I like having a marathon so close – it is all of 15 minutes from our house to where the buses pick up to head to the starting line. You can drive to drop off at the start – and I did that for my brother in 2011. I don’t recommend it.
At the start I wished I had my camera – the sun was rising and the starting line is on a hill, so the view was gorgeous. It is also an anomoly to be hanging around with more than 2000 people all in pretty decent shape and also wearing all manner of funky running garb! Would have loved some pics there! Of course, by the mid-point of the race when I was sloppy soaked in sweat I was glad I didn’t have it!
I had struggled with which pace to use – my goal was sub-4:00. So did I choose a straight 4 and then kick to beat it at the end, choose 4:10 to start and after the half work to catch up, or try an even 3:55 run? I had trained to be comfortable at a sub-9 minute pace, even with hills, so I knew I could do that pace. So I chose the 3:55 … and we were off!
The first several miles just ticked away … I was always somewhere around the pacer – I would typically fall back at the water stations as I would grab water AND Gatorade at each stop. Then I would work to catch up and be slightly ahead by the next stop. Potty break at mile 8 took me a bit longer to make up, but straight through the half-marathon mark I was dead on with the pace group. But even as I crossed 14 miles I could tell there was something ‘up’ with my left calf/Achilles.
I had to stop at the first aid station around mile 14 to get more band-aids – was having a rough time keeping them on. And they were a bit disorganized so my stop was longer than I wanted and at this point I was struggling to catch up, but kept the pace group in sight and tried to slowly ease up. But my lower calf was starting to really tighten up, and I knew I needed to slow up and see what was going on. So I did … and it was only feeling worse and worse. It got to the point where by mile 19 I was actually planning what I would do if I had to stop. Yeah, that is a pretty lousy feeling!
And around this time the water stops came every mile – and I still took two cups, plus dumped water on my head. I knew I was a bit dehydrated, which was annoying since I was trying so hard to avoid it … but then again it was humid, sunny and almost 80 degrees! I thought this was an October marathon in western New York?!? We were running about 25 degrees above normal!
But then I started alternating running a bit … then a bit more … and pretty soon I was able to just keep on running … and I ran the rest of the way! It was interesting seeing people as I ran those last 6 miles who had passed me as I struggled, many of whom were running with me in sub-4 hour pace groups … those hopes long since crushed for all of us! I saw people with pace tags on their backs – 3:25, 3:40, 3:58 and so on. And as I was feeling somewhat better and running fairly well I could really empathize with how they all must have been feeling.
So my splits?
10k – 55:42
13.1 – 1:57:17
20 – 3:19:28
If you look at the splits, you can see that the 3rd part of the race was like a chasm for me – whereas I took about an hour for the first half … it took more than 1:20 for the 3rd chunk! That was my struggle …
BUT … if you then notice the final split – I ran the last 6.2 miles in ~56.5 minutes … which is nearly the same pace as my FIRST 10k, and better than my pace through the half! Overall pace of 9:46/mile. Again, not what I wanted … but better than I feared around mile 19!
Speaking of fears, one of the biggest when you run a marathon is that you won’t be able to finish – or worse yet end up in an ambulance. The weather was insane, as I mentioned. It was nearly 80 degrees for the last half of the race and super-humid. This was beach weather – not marathon! As a result the EMTs were EXTREMELY busy!
I mentioned trying to catch up to our pace group – but what happened was suddenly I WAS catching up … but I hadn’t increased my pace. Something happened to our pacer, I asked if he was OK as it was obvious he wasn’t feeling well. Soon after he stopped and never finished. I have asked race folks what happened and there was no official word, but his ‘pacer roommate’ said he wasn’t feeling great.
I was also asked by a police officer and race official around mile 22 if I saw a ‘racer down’ but I hadn’t. Though I’d already seen several people heaving by the roadside and one person taken away by EMTs. Later on (~ mile 24) I saw another person in agony getting taken away in an ambulance. After finishing the medical tent was overflowing!
But I did finish – and as it did last year, coming over the bridge and down Market Street was exhilarating! I really kicked at that point and blew by several people into the finish. I was greeted as I rounded the corner by Lisa and the boys! She had them bring folding chairs so she could sit, and they were LOUD! Soon they were drowned out by all of market street – the spectators are simple awesome for this race.
Overall it was a day of highs and lows. I nailed a PR – YAY! I was seriously worried about a possible injury – YUK! Didn’t break 4 hours – BOO! Feel pretty great the next day (still some calf tightness) – YAY!
And as she does, Lisa asked me … ‘so you LIKE doing this to yourself’?
Yes, yes I do … can’t wait for the next one!