Wineglass Marathon Recap

For the past 18 weeks, my training was focused on one race, one goal, and one day that would mean everything to me. Settle in and get comfy, because the recap of Wineglass Marathon is going to be a long one…

First, let’s back up to why I chose Wineglass as my marathon. Growing up, my family took a few vacation trips to the Finger Lakes Region of New York. We’d spend a week traveling the area, visiting wineries, and spending time in cities like Watkins Glen, Corning, and Elmira. My favorite was always Corning, mostly because of our visits to the Corning Glass Museum. We’d spend a day watching the glass blowers make glass, tour the museum and dine at their cafe.

About two years ago, I saw that there was a half marathon that went from Bath to Corning, the Wineglass Half Marathon, and I knew I had to place it on my 25 Challenge list. After my training went poorly for Akron, I entertained the idea of running the full instead of the half for Wineglass, but never gave it too much thought. But during a Friday morning run with some MCRR members a few days before Christmas, my mind was set. A few mentioned they were thinking of running Wineglass, and suggested that I run it too. I went back and forth, wondering if I’d really want to train and run another full. A few weeks went on, a few more MCRR members registered for Wineglass, and on January 11th, I pulled the trigger and registered for the full.

And so he were are, fast forward 10 months, and I began marathon weekend all over again. Saturday morning we began our drive to Corning, NY. What was supposed to be a 4.5 hour drive, turned into a 6.5 hour drive. The closer we got to Corning, I started to remember the views, and the rivers and everything I missed about the area. Even though it was cold, and would remain cold the entire weekend, the views were absolutely amazing. The ridges were covered in trees ranging from green to orange to yellow to red, it was perfect fall weather, and made all those humid, early weekend runs worth it.

Packet pickup was at the Glass Museum and I was beyond excited to pick everything up. We got a long sleeve tech tee, reflective drawstring bag, a wineglass, and a small bottle of Champange from a local winery. Seriously, best swag bag ever! I made my way around the small expo, only picking up a tank top, shorts and a long sleeve thermal. Because the expo was at the museum, once you picked everything up, you could tour the shops and museum free of charge. We only had a short time, but all the memories of my childhood came back, making the already exciting day, that much more meaningful.

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After the expo, we stopped at our hotel, relaxed for a bit, then made our way to downtown Corning for dinner. On our way, we ran into Mo and Michelle, which was great to see familiar faces so far from home. We stopped at Market Street Brewing Company, which had wonderful food, perfect pasta to carb load the night before the race. We finished up, ran to Walmart for heavier throw away clothes, and then I got ready for bed.

Marathon eve...quiet on the streets

Marathon eve…quiet on the streets

With a late start of 8:15, I slept in until 5:30. Although I was in bed by 10, I woke up every half hour throughout the night, and had more than a few nightmares about the race, so starting out, I was already really tired. I got dressed, forced myself to eat more than I wanted, and tried to relax before the start. This year, it was mandatory for all runners to take busses to the start, so Darren dropped me off at the bus, and I waited in line about 10 minutes before taking the bus to Bath.

Race day sunrise

Race day sunrise

Throughout the half hour drive, my emotions were all over the place. I was nervous, excited, doubting myself, relaxed, and not really sure what to expect. As soon as we got off the bus, I waited in line for the bathrooms. It was chilly, right around 30 degrees, and everyone was huddled, waiting in line. Once I got out of line, we heard that the race would be delayed a bit because more busses were still on their way. I managed to find an entrance to a building, and huddled close with about 30 other runners. As the start got closer, I used the bathroom again, slowly took off my throwaway clothes, and made my way right between the 4:15 and 4:30 pace group.

The starting line was very crowded, and the pace groups were close together. I was hoping that once the race started they would spread out more. Instead, the pace groups started to speed ahead, and I saw the 4:30 group sprint ahead. Knowing I would be running my own pace, I wanted to stay between the two groups, so once I saw the 4:30 group pass me, I started to question my own pace.

Start line

Start line

I made my way through the first two miles, trying to find an even pace of around 10:00 minutes. I was a little fast, but so were all the pace groups. I know I shouldn’t have let it bother me, but it was certainly a mind game. Despite being cold, my legs felt good, I was starting to loosen up and I was feeling pretty confident.

Mile 1-9:49
Mile 2-9:57

I continued along at a pretty steady pace and took in the sites of Bath. I wanted to stick to a strict fueling plan, so at every mile I took some water, making sure to stay hydrated. I was still just under a 10:00 pace, and was trying to slow myself down.

Mile 3-9:52
Mile 4-9:53

We continued along and the group around me was staying together nicely. There were a few that would speed up, but for the most part, we were a nice little pack. I knew the first hill would be coming up around mile 5, so I tried to conserve some energy, but I just couldn’t slow down. At mile 4 I took my first sport beans, and planned on sticking with the same flavor the entire race.

As we approached the hill, I tried to slow down so I wouldn’t use too much energy early on. The hill was a little longer than I expected, but I made it through and didn’t feel too fatigued. My hips however were a little tight and wouldn’t let go once I got to the top. I moved over to the side of the road, hoping that running on the crushed ground would help a bit.

Mile 5-9:58
Mile 6-9:54

It was about this time that another runner appeared next to me, walking about 20 feet, then running 50 feet. She shuffled next to the cones, and kept running to pass people and then stopping right in front of them. I tried to get ahead of her, but she kept up her walk/run pace….for the next two miles! This wouldn’t have been a problem, but she kept stopping in front of people, which made for some frustrating miles.

Mile 7-9:58
Mile 8-10:03

We continued on, and I was still on pace. We made it to mile 8 and I took my second set of Sport Beans. I was feeling ok, but I noticed that my miles started to slow down at this point. My hip was finally back to normal, but I couldn’t help but worry that something would go wrong. I tried to take in the views to distract myself from thinking of the race. Some views were beautiful, with farmland and rolling hills, some not so much, like when we ran next to the highway. But still, I was thankful to be out there, knowing the views and the weather could be much worse.

Darren said he’d try to be around mile 9, so I tried to keep a lookout for him as we got closer. As we approached mile 9, I saw Darren and couldn’t help but get excited. I was still on pace, feeling pretty good, and was glad that he had made it out to watch me go by.

Right on pace!

Right on pace!

Mile 9-10:08
Mile 10-10:08

I made the turn and followed the road, continuing my way to mile 10. By this point, my bladder was starting to fill up, so I knew I’d need to stop soon. Once I got to mile 10, I stopped at the port-a-potty. With my 4:22 goal, I didn’t factor in bathroom stops, so I tried to keep track of the minutes. 2:00 minutes at the beginning of mile 11, I’d still be good with a 4:24.

I continued on my way, a little disappointed that I stopped, but knew that it was necessary. The weather was starting to warm up, but not too warm where I felt uncomfortable. Somewhere between mile 11 and 13 I started to hit my first wall. I knew that once I made it to the halfway point I’d be fine. I tried to push out any negative thoughts and continued on my way. During mile 12 I recognized a purple and orange shirt. I ran next to the woman, and she asked me if I was from Medina, Ohio. I told her yes, and instantly we remembered running with each other during the long run that Active runner hosted. We agreed that we were having a harder time than we thought, and we would push each other through.

Mile 11-12:01
Mile 12-10:12
Mile 13-11:21

We made it just past the halfway spot until I stopped at a water stop to refill my water. She went ahead and that was the last time I ran next to her. I was now in the mindset that I had less to run than I already have, and maybe my pace and time wouldn’t be too bad, I just had to keep up my current pace.

I got to mile 14 and saw Darren, let him know I was having a bit of a hard time, and he said I was doing good and he’d see me at the finish. It was enough motivation to keep me going, but deep down I knew I was starting to wear down. I started to enter a dark mile, I questioned if I could keep running, if I could finish, and how I was able to run my long runs so perfect, yet here I was struggling at mile 15. I’ll be honest, I wanted to quit, I didn’t want to be out there anymore. But I had come so far, I had worked so hard all year, I didn’t want to disappoint myself.

Mile 14-10:34
Mile 15-11:01

Approaching mile 16, I started to feel sick, I was a little light headed, worn down, and I had an odd  pressure just under my rib cage. I remember the pain, just like I had during the end of the River Run. I didn’t want to get sick this far from the finish, but knew that if I did, it was something I couldn’t control. Luckily, I got to the water stop, stopped for the bathroom and refueled on Sport Beans. I walked for a bit after the stop, hoping that everything would be back to normal. I started to feel better and continued on my way. I only had 10 miles left now, and I knew I had to make it through them.

Mile 16-14:35

The next couple of miles were a blur. I tried to envision running mile 17-20 at Buckeye Woods where I had such strong finishes. This was also around the time where I started to run/walk/shuffle. My body was breaking down and I wasn’t sure if I was more uncomfortable running or walking. I felt so stupid for walking, knowing that I’ve never needed to in my long runs, so why would I know. Again, the feeling of self doubt kept popping up, comparing my training runs to the race. I do remember that once I hit mile 19, a volunteer made me cry, she said, “You’ve made it to mile 19, you’re doing so good!” It was exactly what I needed to hear despite how bad I was feeling.

Mile 17-11:30
Mile 18-12:31
Mile 19-11:32

Once I hit mile 20, I started to countdown how much I had left. I focused on taking it mile by mile, running, walking or doing whatever I could to make it through. I think it was around this time that I stopped for a port-a-potty again, but by this point, I wasn’t keeping track of how many minutes I was losing. We were getting closer to the finish, and I could feel myself start to become more excited. Mile 21-22 we made our way through a park, and with the slightest downhill I started to have more energy. I didn’t want to push it too much, but I felt like I was doing better than before.

Mile 20-15:20
Mile 21-13:48
Mile 22-14:59

I continued drinking water at every mile, and now started every half mile or so. I was also trying to run at least ¾ of each mile and walk about ¼ of each mile. Again, my body was uncomfortable doing both, but as long as I kept moving forward I was ok. With four miles to go, I was at 4:22, the time I wanted to finish. It was heartbreaking, knowing how far I still had to go, but knowing that in this moment, my goal times weren’t in the cards. At this point, all I wanted to do was finish in one piece.

I started to break down again at mile 23, frustrated with how I was doing compared to my training, worried that I would be a complete failure. I also made a note to never let myself sign up for another marathon, that I wanted nothing to do with this distance again.

Mile 23-12:29
Mile 24-13:47
Mile 25-13:56

The last few miles, were really just pitiful. I watched the minutes go by as I continued on my way, hoping that the last mile marker would show up shortly. I watched my Garmin hit 5 hours and was devastated. I was well beyond my goal time, and gave up all hope in my race. Until I hit mile 26. We ran across the bridge into town and I knew it wouldn’t be much further until I would cross that line. For the first time in many miles, I knew I was actually going to finish this race. As I came off the bridge, I saw a few MCRR members to my right cheering me on. I started to tear up, knowing I had such great support even in my darkest times of running. A few feet later, I heard another cheer, my orange and purple shirt friend (so sorry, I don’t remember your name!) from Medina, and I was so happy to see she made it.

So close, yet so hard

So close, yet so hard

Mile 26-14:00

With the moments of encouragement, I started to pick up  my pace, as much as you can by that point, and turned onto Market. I could see the finish line down the road, now I just needed to make it. I put one foot in front of the other, pushing all negative thoughts out of my head. As I got closer, I told myself, that this was my race, my marathon, my day that I worked so hard towards. Naturally, I made myself cry. I heard someone come up behind me, and gave it everything I had. Tears in my eyes, a smile on my face, I finished the marathon feeling better than I had all morning.

Last .4-10:34 pace

Crossing that line...best feeling in the world

Crossing that line…best feeling in the world

I almost got sick after I crossed the line, so I got some water then went to get my medal. As the volunteer was putting on my medal, I cried again. I never wanted something so bad, and I had finally made it. I got in line for my finishers picture, and started to tear up again. But it wasn’t until I finally saw Darren that I let it all out, and I was a mess.

IMG_8577

18 weeks of training, 403 miles, numerous early morning Saturday runs…I finished my second marathon in 5:06:43, a 21 minute and 27 second PR.

It took me all week to think about Sunday morning, to really process what happened and how I feel. When I crossed that finish line, I promised myself I’d never run another marathon again. I didn’t enjoy it, and I was miserable for half of the race. But I was also disappointed in myself, in my legs, in my mind, for letting negative thoughts in, and keeping me from running to my full potential.In my heart, I know I can run faster than 5:06, but on Sunday, it just wasn’t my time.

Race swag

Race swag

I’m finally proud of my 5:06, it took a while, but I know I gave it everything I had on race day. I’ll get my 4:30, and when I do, I’ll officially retire from marathons…..

Cheers to 26.2!

Cheers to 26.2!

Official Results

Time: 5:06:43

Age Group 25-29: 131/166

Female: 911/1174

Overall: 1610/1962

 

Columbus Marathon, Part 2

Saturday, I was nervous. Sunday, I was ready. I tossed and turned all night, feeling pretty awake by 5am. I was up by 5:35 and full of anticipation, ready to take on Columbus. I spent the next hour pacing the hotel room, trying on different clothes, and forcing myself to eat. I knew I had to eat a decent amount to have enough energy for the entire race, but with each bite I thought it was going to come right back up. I managed to get down a Blueberry Clif bar and part of a blueberry bagel. I made my way down to the the start line and was right at my corral by 7:00.

Surprisingly I wasn’t nervous. I kept looking around, amazed by how many people were out here. I chatted with a few people, but as the air started to get colder, all I wanted to do was get going. Every couple of minutes the cannon would go off followed by fireworks, and each time it would take me by surprise. We were moving closer and closer to the start line, and soon it would be my time to start. I left my headphones out so I could take in every sound. With every step I was getting closer to running and with each step I had more tears flooding into my eyes. I knew if I cried right away I wouldn’t be able to get my breathing under control, so I kept thinking of other things, like how cold I was and how crazy it was that all these people were out here to support the runners they knew. I put my headphones in, started my Garmin, and began my journey of running 26.2 miles.

Mile 1: 10:43

I was cold, it was crowded and my teeth wouldn’t stop chattering. I was having trouble getting my breathing into a normal rhythm from my teeth shaking so much. I needed to figure out what would be my best pace so I looked around to find the closest pace group. I quickly found the sign with “4:45” on it. I picked up my pace and settled right behind the sign. At this point, it was my best guess at how to manage the giant crowd and how I wouldn’t let myself go out too quick. 25 miles to go, this isn’t so bad.

Mile 2-4: 10:34, 10:38, 10:37

I started to warm up and I got into a pretty comfortable pace. It was still pretty crowded so we would slow down or speed up at times, but overall I felt good. My music was playing songs I didn’t think I had on my iPod, but I tried to ignore it and focus on the race. By mile 3 I pulled out the iPod and changed the playlist, I instantly felt better having my “go to” music playing. I saw a fellow Second Sole RR runner from my summer runs with the group. I took my first set of Sport Beans at mile 4, with a plan to take them every four miles. I saw Elayna along the course and quickly sprinted across, gave her a hug and thanked her for coming. It meant a lot to have support along the way.

Mile 5-6: 10:37, 10:33

I kept going, feeling pretty good. I made sure to stop at every water stop to keep myself hydrated, mixing water and lemon lime Gatorade (my fav!) The weather was warming up a bit, but I held onto my gloves  because I knew I’d need them for later when I’d probably be freezing. At mile 6 I decided I’d go ahead of the pace group. I had no intention of sprinting to catch the 4:30 group, but I wanted to give myself a time gap to fall into.

Mile 7-10: 11:09, 11:06, 10:57, 10:57

I started to remember this part of the course from last year. We went through Bexley, German Village and by Capital University. Lots of crowd support and some wonderful signs to put a smile on my face. I was a quarter of the way done and did a quick check on how I was feeling; legs were good, breathing was good, my mindset was good. I took my first Clif shot around mile 8, because at this point, I was already hungry. I was thankful that I was in a much better place mentally for this race than previously. I was at a steady pace and I had yet to walk.

Mile 11-13: 14:23, 11:05, 10:51

At mile 11 I had to break my pace and stop at the port-o-pots, I was definitely drinking lots of water. I spent a while waiting for one to open up, but it was ok, I wasn’t in a rush, I still had a long way to go. We were now getting close to the half way point, and there were more spectators and a great energy. I couldn’t help but be excited that my race wasn’t over yet. I asked myself, could I do that again? Sure, I felt like I had only run a few miles, I would feel good for at least another 5.

The closer we got to the the turn off point, the more I was surrounded by half marathoners. I panicked thinking I forgot to take a turn, I couldn’t see a single marathoner anywhere near me. Right then I saw the sign for the turn off, followed by Darren on the sidewalk taking pictures as I went by. I smiled, I felt good, I was so glad he made it to the race. I was running the second half. I was running a marathon.

Feeling great!

Mile 14-16: 10:54, 12:17, 13:32

After the half marathoners turned off I felt alone, most of the runners disappeared as well as the crowds. I felt like High Street was going on forever and I had no idea how long it would take to get to the Shoe. I stopped to stretch, and take some more sport beans. I could feel my body starting to tighten. It was starting to wear down a bit as I got closer to mile 16, and I knew this would be a turning point. The next miles would be my longest run ever, distance and time wise. My pace slowed down, but I wasn’t too worried yet. In mile 16 I suddenly felt weak, my hands started shaking and I felt that if I continued to run a few more steps I would pass out. I stopped. I drank a bunch of water, ate some sport beans and ate the only Gu I had left in my FlipBelt. I didn’t know if I would get to the finish.

Mile 17-18: 12:58, 12:11

I started to do a walk/jog combination for the next couple of miles to get my energy level back to where it should be. As long as I was moving, I would be ok. At this point in the race we were approaching the stadium, and I was excited for my chance to run through it. We came around campus and over a bridge to a winding path around the side. It was an amazing feeling come into the Shoe, but it was a short run through. Darren was there somewhere, but I didn’t look around. I just had to keep going. As soon as we entered, we left and would enter the darkest miles of the race.

The Shoe

Mile 19-21: 14:31, 17:57, 14:06

I honestly struggled from mile 17 to mile 21. But mile 19-21 were my slowest miles for sure. I went back and forth between walking and running. I felt like I was going to get sick, and wasn’t sure if I was better off running or walking. I felt miserable. Running a marathon was miserable. And it was hard. I was exhausted, hungry and in a lot of pain. I kept counting down the miles until I would finally be done. But I never once wanted to quit. I knew I had to keep going, I wasn’t going to give up. Right around mile 20 I stopped at the port-o-pots again, I felt over hydrated, but I clearly wasn’t. I thought I was going to get sick and didn’t know if I’d have energy to get me through the last 6 miles. I looked in the mirror and told myself to get it together. Yes, it was hard. But I signed up for this. And I wasn’t alone, there were plenty of other people that were hurting. I couldn’t give up now.

Mile 22-24: 15:26, 12:26, 12:15

Somehow, someway I got to mile 22. Because I don’t know Columbus very well, I never knew where I was in relation to the map or the city. I took more sport beans and told myself I had four more miles, just four more! I started to find a pace that was decent, I was feeling good all things considering. I kept going, and going. I felt almost free, a second wind. Everyone around me was walking, but I didn’t want to, I didn’t need to. I tried to figure out how I would approach the last couple of miles. I stopped at one of the water tables and filled up my hand held, I knew I would need as much water as I could get. I spoke with a gentleman who was also struggling. It was his first marathon and he was having IT problems, we shared the same thought that yes this was hard, but we’ve had a good day weather wise and the course was pretty flat. We had two miles left, and we were going to make it.

Mile 25-26: 12:53, 16:23

I took my ear buds out at mile 25. I wanted to cherish that last 1.2 miles of the race. I had come this far, I wanted to make sure I remembered the finish forever. I saw finishers walking to cheer others on with the medal around their necks, I wanted that. A half mile to go and the sun was shining. I took my last sport bean to have just enough energy to get me across the line. I could see the amount of spectators growing. The closer we got the the louder everything became. I started to get teary eyed, I was working myself up and I had to calm down. As I was approaching the turn, I heard my name called and let out the tears. I was going to finish a marathon! As soon as I turned the corner, I had to stop. I was going to get sick, not once, but twice. Nothing. I told myself to stop it, this is embarrassing. You’re fine, and you’re going to get up and finish this race. A few hundred feet from the finish, I had the energy of someone who had fresh legs, I picked it up and sprinted. I crossed the line. I finished. I finished a marathon.

Courtesy of @cbusmarathon

I was crying and smiling. A volunteer placed a medal around my neck and told me congratulations. I heard my name called, it was Darren. I went to the fence and as he reached over for my hand, I saw tears, something I’ve seen only one other time. He told me  how proud he was of me. It was the absolute best moment, such an incredible feeling. I walked towards the food, got my picture taken and let out a big sigh of relief. I was officially a marathoner.

26.2 Done!

I grabbed a small snack and got a massage. I was in a lot of pain, but at that moment I felt nothing. I wasn’t tired, I wasn’t sore, I was in a daze. I stood around to take in everything. I was an hour off my goal time, but I finished. I gave it everything I had and left it all on the course.

My biggest fan

Official Time: 5:28:10

 

 

Show me what you got

2011 was pretty awesome, but I hope 2012 can be even better. I’ve made goals and plans and hopes for the next year. Of course these will change as the year goes on, but I think I can take on anything that comes my way. Here’s my goals and plans for the next year!

Goals

  • Run a PR for the half marathon
  • Run a full marathon (I’m taking the plunge!!)
  • Run four half marathons in four new states
  • Run seven half marathons
  • Travel!
  • Volunteer at races
  • Try a duathlon
  • Raise and donate money for the American Diabetes Association
  • Learn German
  • Learn to cook…no more pasta diet

Plans

  • Vegas, Toronto, Dallas, Chicago, Long Beach-Work trips!
  • Colorado, Indiana, Maine, Nashville-Running trips!
  • CLE Half, round 2!
  • Columbus Full Marathon, yes that’s 26.2 miles!

So far a lot of traveling, but I’m looking forward to every trip. And like I said, I’m sure more will be added, but I’d say I have some pretty exciting things to look forward to!

What are your goals or plans for 2012?

Looking Forward

Three weeks ago I finished my last race of the year. Now it’s time to make the final decisions for next years races. As much as I was excited for the original ones I planned, a few changes made me rethink the entire year. Chicago Spring Half still doesn’t have a date, so I went back to one of the races I’m looking forward to the most, the Green Bay Half. But unfortunately construction will prevent runners to finish in Lambeau field so that will have to be put on hold. After all, what’s a fan to do when you can’t finish with all that glory? So after looking into what I had on reserve, this is what I plan on doing in 2012:

April 15, 2012 – Platte River Half Marathon

April 22, 2012 – Earth Day Challenge Half Marathon

May 6, 2012 – Greater Binghamton Bridge Run Half Marathon

May 20, 2012 – Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon

June 8-9, 2012: Ragnar Relay

September 15, 2012 – Mount Desert Island Half Marathon

October 21, 2012 – Columbus Marathon

November 2012 – Nashville Half Marathon

Facts about 2012 races:

  • Round two of 2 races in 8 days
  • Repeat of Cleveland, attempt at a quicker time
  • Ragnar is my “easy” race of the year
  • Yes, that’s a marathon on the list, I’m taking the plunge
  • Four more states to cross off of the 25 challenge!

This is only a brief look into the new year, of course as time gets closer, I’ll be looking at race goals and explain why I chose each race. I’m sure some 5k’s and other smaller races will be added, but these are the major ones. I’ve also realized that as long as everything goes as planned, I’ll be able to hopefully finish all 25 states before I turn 30, score!

#1441

As much as I love Cleveland, I love traveling down 71 to see old friends. Friday night was spent in Wooster, partly to make sure I wouldn’t be borrowing a friend’s couch to sleep, but also to help break down the drive. I woke up Saturday and did a short run to shake out my legs, trying not to blow away I headed around Route 83, dodging cars, and quickly found a housing development. I heard my knee pop just as I turned onto the sidewalk. Immediately I thought, this couldn’t happen, after taking two weeks off and being careful, I couldn’t bare starting the pain all over the day before the race. I slowed down and turned back. Luckily it was just a pop and some small pain. By the time I got back, it felt like nothing happened. Hopefully this was just my body’s way of telling me to be careful this weekend.

The drive from Wooster to Columbus felt like forever, probably because I was so excited to get to the expo! I was even more excited that Darren would get to experience it, and maybe it would make him want to be a runner….(wishful thinking). I got my number, pretty cool shirt and race bag, then I was off to see what I could find that “I had to add to my running closet” After spending more than I should have, and spending more than enough time, we were off to watch the Buckeyes at Eddie George’s.

We met up with one of my best and oldest friends Elayna

She stayed for the first half, and then left me in charge of Darren’s friends. Let’s just say that being the only sober person in a bar during a Buckeye game, isn’t always fun. But OSU won, so it was a great start to the weekend!

After spending about 6 hours at the bar, we met up for dinner with my old high school running buddy at this cute little pizza shop. Luckily the pizza was good, because we found out they took pasta off they’re menu. I was not a happy camper 😦

Laying in bed, my mind was all over the place. I don’t know Columbus that well, I wasn’t even sure how to get to the start of the race, or even where good parking garages would be. I wasn’t familiar with any of the race course, so I had no idea what to expect for the course. I had trouble sleeping because I was so worried about getting lost, but I could have easily overslept had I really wanted to. I was still really unsure as I was getting ready in the morning. I was so excited that a number of friends would be running their first half/full marathon. But my excitement quickly diminished for my own race. My stomach was a mess and I was undecided on long sleeve or short sleeve all morning. Stresses I didn’t need.

On my way to drop off my bag, I found Sarah, a friend from high school who was running her first. She was so excited and nervous, everything I had felt 5 months before, getting ready for Cleveland. I wished her good luck and was about ready to start. I barely fit on the street, but started to get excited as the fireworks went off and the race began.

Within the first half mile, I was already regretting running. I was thinking of ways I could get out of the race, trying to convince myself it wouldn’t be my day. Right as I wanted to turn off I felt an arm around me. Who is hugging me in the middle of the race? It was my aunt! We ran together for a few minutes, got my mind off everything and she sped up to do her own race.

The miles went on and soon I decided I needed to take a bathroom break. Waited in line for 2-3 minutes, then I was back on the road. My stomach was in bad shape and I could feel my legs slowly deteriating. The only thing getting me through was knowing I’d be a fanatic at the end. I was still keeping my normal 10:00 minute pace, but there was no way I’d be able to negative split on any miles. By mile 7 I was growing thin, my stomach was growling, cramping and on the verge of losing the Cliff bar I had in my stomach. This was about the time that the volunteers were handing out some sort of energy gel. I grabbed one. I figured nothing else could go wrong, so I might as well try one. Thinking in the bad of my mind, never try something new on race day, I figured it was worth a short, anything to help me through the race.

Slowly but surely, I started feeling better and had some energy. My legs were still sore, but I was feeling better. Thinking back, I should have put more IcyHot on to block out all pain. Around German Village I remember Elayna said she would be there to support me, I tried to find her, but unfortunately couldn’t spot her. She later told me she found me and that I looked great.

Two miles left and I hit my usual wall, not as hard, but my time was definitely slowing down. From then on it was just a solid line of fans on both sides cheering and pushing everyone to get to the finish. I don’t remember much of this part, but for the first time I knew I was going to make it. When I saw the sign that told the half marathoners to split off, I started to speed up, increasing my stride and opening up my legs, I was just seconds of finishing. And that moment never felt so good. With everything against me I made it at 2:17:38, just 2 minutes off my PR (Shouldn’t have taken that bathroom break) My greatest feeling was that I was finally a fanatic. I had worked hard to get to this point, and I could smile through the pain.

So here I am, Half Fanatic #1441. My toughest race to get to this accomplishment. And even though it was a horrible race, it made me stronger. I was 90% mentally not in the race, but somehow I made it through, had some firsts, and wasn’t far off my regular pace. Even bad races can be good.

Columbus swag

After I got myself steady I got a much needed massage, watched the finish and waited to see a fellow Muskie come across the finish line. I was already on the verge of tears after watching little kids squeeze through the fence to finish with their parents and saw a man being helped to the finish after his legs gave out 500 feet from the line. So watching Kimi finish her first marathon, I was completely overwhelmed. Even the guy next to me was excited for her. So proud she had an amazing race!

She’s my inspiration

Oh and hey back 13.1……I’ll see you next year!

One Hill of a Time

Better late than never, but here’s my recap of Akron. This past weekend I spent time with some amazing Muskie ladies. Friday after work I headed down to Akron to meet up with Team Muskies, Party of 5. We explored the expo, I even made it through without opening my wallet. Score! We even got a picture with our “M” flag.

After the expo, we headed up to Bravo! for some pre race pasta binge. I’ve never been to Bravo, but it has been added to my list of top restaurants. The next thing on our to do list was our team meeting, our captain Kimi did a wonderful job getting things ready and organizing everything! We set our alarms for 4:30 am, which came quick and we were out the door by 5:00 am ready to go.

Our goal was to finish by 11:00, giving ourselves 4 hours to do the full marathon. Kimi had the first leg, and she did great. I almost missed her because she was ahead of her projected time, way to go! I had the second leg, 5.7 miles. It was such an odd feeling jumping in after t he race started. Some runners already looked beat, so I was a little nervous for what I had ahead of me. I also found it hard to figure out my pace, just not knowing where I was or the pace of the fellow runners around me through me off.

I felt good, and my knee wasn’t too sore, but my legs were a little tired from racing for the past two weekends. I also noticed that there were many hills. Hills that I don’t train on. My guess, 90% uphill. But it was good to train on, and I finished in under my projected time! I passed my wrist ban off to Jessica, and met up with Kimi to race to the finish line.

While we were stationed at the 26 mile flag, Jessica, Jen and Molly were running their legs, bringing us to a solid victory. Our team did great, we all ran under our projected time, and finished at 3:54. A whole six minutes under our projected time! Go Muskies! We even had some pretty awesome race gear to make us run super fast!

Black and Magenta

Akron was a great experience, I met some amazing ladies who share the Muskie bond, and now share the Akron Relay experience. They also persuaded me into wanting to run……a marathon. Yes, its official, but not this year. That’s a story for another day.