I am so excited to share my experience running the Wineglass Marathon on October 5th with you!! Over the past week I have been slowly getting back to running and basking in the post-marathon awesomeness/soreness. :) I’ll talk about that in a later post but for now here’s my race recap (and it’s gonna be a long one, I can feel it).
My dad and I drove into Corning, NY on Saturday October 4th, we got in around 1. On the drive I was admiring the awesome fall colors out the window.
The race expo was at the Corning Museum of Glass which was an awesome venue. (Last year, when I did the half it was at a local YMCA and I felt this location was much better.)
I had plans to buy all the things at this expo! Who knows when I’ll do another 26.2 and before Goofy I was worried about “jinxing” myself by buying race swag, and I’ve regretted it ever since.
Pictured above: a pink tank top that I purchased, the bright green participants tech tee (long sleeved, gender specific, woo!!), and a black jacket that I purchased. We also got champagne splits and a champagne glass when we picked up our bibs. The 26.2 sticker was given to me when I purchased the tank and jacket – the cashier asked me if I was running the half or full and put it in my bag! Such a cute idea!
After the expo we went to our hotel – it was in Painted Post, NY which was super close to Corning (only a 10 minute drive).
I got all of my race stuff out to make sure I had everything for the 10000th time before we went to dinner.
Okay well, I didn’t run with the champagne, but you get the idea :) I went back and forth about wearing a tank top + arm sleeves or a short sleeved shirt. Ultimately I decided the tank with arm sleeves was a better choice since I’d always rather be a little cold than too warm (luckily I had run my 20 miler with the arm sleeves on with no issues).
For dinner we hit up Olive Garden (predictable food is always best) and went back to the hotel to rest up and sleep. As I was laying in bed relaxing before I fell asleep I noticed how calm I felt. I didn’t feel nervous, just calm and most of all, ready. I just hoped my performance the next day would show how hard I had worked this training cycle.
The next morning we woke up super early and got ready to go. Then we took the quick drive to downtown Corning. For the second year in a row we found free parking right near the finish line (love this!!!) and easily boarded the bus to go to the full marathon start line. As we boarded the bus I just kept thinking, okay, no turning back now. It’s all about the 26.2.
The bus ride took about 30 minutes since the full marathon starts 26.2 miles from the finish (and the half, 13.1). I tried not to freak out by how long the bus ride seemed to take (since that was in fact how far we would be running). I just closed my eyes and tried to stay relaxed. I still didn’t feel many nerves and I wanted to stay as calm as I could until the start.
Once we got to Bath, NY, where the full starts, we unloaded from the buses. and holy crap, it was freezing. I found out later it was in the 30s. I was so glad to have a throw away sweatshirt and gloves!!! They had a large shed-like structure where all the runners huddled together for warmth. They also pulled out portable heaters to help us stay warm. I do think that the half marathon start is a bit better for protecting against the elements, since there was a school with a gymnasium that we were able to hang out in last year. But I also understand that they are probably limited in what buildings we can use that early in the morning with that many people, so I do feel the race coordinators did the best they could given the circumstances. There were also plenty of port-a-potties and even race morning bib pickup which is a nice perk.
Around 8 we all walked outside to the start line, my dad and I took another stop at the port-a-potties (can never do this too much, right? ;)), dropped our bags off at the bag check and we lined up. I left my throw away sweatshirt in my bag check and put on a garbage bag to stay warm. A nice perk of this smaller race is that we could actually do all of those things within 15 minutes. There were no corrals, just instructions to line up based on pace. There were also pacers (up to 5:30:00 estimated finish time) so that people could use that as a guide. As my dad and I were hanging out ready to start I was lucky enough to run into a friend of mine who is a runner (and a fast one – she has qualified for Boston SIX times), and as we were waiting to start I saw Erin waving at me!! I love meeting people who follow my blog and it was so fun to chat with her briefly before the start.
The race started a little bit late – it was planned to start at 8:15 and I think started closer to 8:20/8:25. No big deal. I do wish the race started earlier though, but since the half starts at 7:30 I think they pushed the full back to 8:15 so that the fast marathoners wouldn’t be slowed down by running into the slower half marathoners. I never really got nervous as the start came, I felt more excited and ready than anything.
I crossed the start line within 5 minutes of the gun time starting.
For the first 15 miles or so I felt awesome. I kept up with my plan of walking for a minute each mile and walking through the water stops. I took in the gorgeous scenery and had a really great time. I hit the half marathon mark in around 3:09:00 which I was THRILLED with. I started crying when we hit the half marathon mark because I remembered it from last year as the start of the half marathon and I thought “I’ve done this part before so I can do it again, no problems”.
Around mile 16 the back of my legs really started to ache – perhaps from the downhills, I’m not sure. But I just kept trucking along and enjoying myself. I had been leap frogging with a couple people over and over so whenever I’d pass them or they’d pass me we’d say hi and ask how each other was feeling.
Around mile 21 or 22 it started to get really tough mentally. I was a bit alone, people had either sped up to be ahead of me or slowed down and were behind me. I made it my goal to catch up with the pack of runners ahead of me, and I eventually did (but it was tough because it took a few miles). My Garmin also ended up getting a bit off with the distance – I think it was just the cumulative of not running the best tangents over the previous 20+ miles. It was feeling really tough mentally – but I decided to enjoy it, and take it all in. I took out my music, caught up to the pack of runners ahead of me and just started talking to everyone.
I high-fived volunteers, thanked the folks at the water stations, talked to fellow runners and tried to have the best time I could over those last few painful miles. I walked when I wanted and ran when I wanted. The goal was just to get through it and enjoy myself as much as possible.
When I turned the corner onto Market Street and could see the finish it was the best feeling in the world.
I let the other runners I was with run a bit ahead of me so that I could enjoy my own finish line moment.
I crossed the finish line in 6:44:48. A 23 minute PR from the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2013.
Could I have pushed it those last few miles for a faster finish time? Maybe so. However taking in the moments of those last few miles – the mental struggle, the pain in my legs, the awesome volunteers that were still out there, my fellow runners – was totally, completely worth it. And coming in well under 7 hours and PRing is something I am immensely proud of and I think shows how hard I worked this training cycle.
I have become stronger this training cycle, I am positive of that. Mentally stronger and physically stronger.
and a few days later I drank that champagne and enjoyed every.last.drop. :)