The Wineglass Marathon was one of the best races I’ve ever run and I had such an incredible experience that this race recap is going to be tough to cut down to a reasonable length. I’ll do my best. You might recall that I was planning on using the Wineglass Marathon as a training run to help prepare me for the Marine Corps Marathon that I’ll be running in just a couple of weeks. I set my goals for Wineglass accordingly and hoped for a great day with great weather. Man, were my prayers answered!
Where to start? The race was set to begin Sunday morning in Bath, NY. It’s a point to point from Bath to Corning and is a net downhill, with just a few little rolling hills. On Saturday, my friend Jess and I drove five rainy hours up to the Finger Lakes region of New York and went straight to the expo. It was tiny and a bit tight inside the gorgeous Corning Museum of Glass but I didn’t mind much because I’m not really into expos anyway. The best part of the expo was getting to meet some of Oiselle teammates who were also running (pic below). So great to meet these ladies and see how they rocked their races! Love the Oiselle team (I also met a really sweet girl while running – she was wearing Distance shorts, so of course we became friends!).
After the expo, Jess and I retreated to our hotel (just a few minutes outside of Corning) and did our shakeout run (in the rain) and then proceeded to watch college football the rest of the day. I got super pumped after watching Alabama whoop up on Georgia (roll tide!!!). I laid out my outfit, and headed to bed around 10pm. Here’s what I wore:
In the picture: Oiselle Distance shorts, Oiselle singlet, Oiselle arm warmers, Injinji socks, Zensah calf sleeves and (not pictured) Adidas Boost Glide sneakers. I carried my Nathan handheld and had my phone in my back pocket of my shorts.
Race morning dawned a bit chilly, but it turned out to be a beautiful day, weather-wise. I wore pants and a long sleeve over my race day outfit and around 6:30, Jess and I drove the ten minutes to where we would pick up the bus that would take us to Bath. The race requires each runner to ride the bus to the start. It’s a 30 minute trip and I didn’t mind. I used the bus ride to eat my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and drink a bottle of water. By the time we arrived in Bath, I was ready for a bathroom pit stop and then we had plenty of time to
freak out get ready. I was a bit cold, so I threw a poncho over myself until it was time to take our bags to the bag drop.
The race was so easy to manage. We didn’t head to bag drop (which was right by the start) until about ten minutes before the race and that was perfect. We dropped our bags, wished each other good luck (I was starting with the 4:40 pacer and Jess [who was also using this – her first marathon, she’s amazing, as a training run] was starting with the 5:00 pacer, and got settled in. The next thing I knew, we were off!
As you can see from the elevation chart, the course is pretty flat. There were a couple of small hills (with the largest coming right after the half way mark), but nothing that made me even think of walking. Definitely a flat and fast course. Since I stayed with the pacer from the first mile until around mile 19, I won’t recap mile by mile because that would be boring. I will talk about sections of the race though.
Miles 1-6.2 took us through Bath and down near a river. It was really pretty and the energy was so high during these miles. I was running a pack of about ten or so runners and had so much fun chatting and running. (10:38, 10:41, 10:31, 10:38, 10:35, 10:38).
Miles 6.2-13.1 were more of the same – gorgeous views and awesome conversation. I felt really good and was constantly pulling myself back from speeding up ahead. I wanted to stay with the pacer as long as possible and see if I could push the last few miles (haha, how naive of me!). Our pacer was really awesome – high energy and fun and supportive. (10:46, 10:37, 10:23, 10:39, 10:36, 10:35, 10:36).
Miles 13.1-20 were where we encountered the most significant hill of the course. Honestly, the hill was not bad at all. In fact, I welcomed the change from the flatness. After charing up the hill, we eventually settled into a long boring stretch where we were running alongside a highway. This was the point where people started to drop off from our pace group. I was started to feel a bit tired and remembered that marathons were hard. (10:42, 10:29, 10:49, 10:42, 10:36, 10:38, 10:51).
After mile 20, I lost the pace group – there were only three or four of the original group still together then and I just had to drop back. I did end up coming upon one of the girls I was running with late in the race. She was cramping pretty bad so I gave her my last pretzel – I’m happy to say that I saw her cross the finish just about ten minutes or so after I did. Anyway, miles 21-25 were what I’m affectionally (kind of) calling “the dark miles.” I was in pain and my brain convinced my legs that they didn’t want to run anymore. The frustrating thing is that, yes, I did hurt, but I hurt because I’d just ran 20 miles, not because I was injured. I just honestly couldn’t get myself to run. So I did the best I could in those miles. I ran when I could, I thanked volunteers, I took a shot of beer at mile 23 (really, why not?) and tried to have fun. I was feeling pretty bad about myself because I knew I could run faster but I just couldn’t convince my brain of that. I stopped and prayed a couple of times and stretched but that really didn’t help (the stretching, I mean, the prayer did help). Finally, I reached the bridge that brought us into downtown Corning and I’d never been so happy to see a finish line! (11:49, 11:40, 12:50, 12:37, 14:04, 12:08, 9:46 [last .2 miles]).
After I crossed, I was handed water, a medal (which is so pretty!), and a heat sheet. I signed up for the free stretching and then sat down because it’s really all I wanted to do. I felt really uncomfortable for about ten minutes but then went and got some food and that helped. There was an excellent spread of fruit, hot soup, pizza, bagels and more and what was great was that they gave you a bag to put everything in – so clutch! After I started eating food, I actually started feeling pretty good. I hung out, talked to folks and waited for Jess to finish. We relaxed the rest of the day, hung out at the official Wine Down after party and then headed back to DC the next morning.
Official time: 4:51:18 – a 15 minute marathon PR. I’m pretty happy with that. I have so many thoughts about this race but if you’ve made it this far, I’ll just say this: it was a fantastic marathon. There was so much course support, the local towns really came out in full force and that was awesome. The course is gorgeous and really flat and fast. The race day logistics were very easy, which I really appreciated. This is one I’ll be coming back to – probably next year!
Fueling: I drank water with Nuun in it for the first couple hours. Around mile ten, I started taking Gatorade when it was offered and stopped and had volunteers fill my bottle with water a couple of times. I took four salt sticks while running (on the hour mark) and ate a few pretzel sticks and gummies. No cramping and no hydration issues! I plan on using this same plan for subsequent races (a bit more on hydration coming in a future post).
I’m still riding the high (and the soreness!) of this race and hope I’ve inspired some of you to sign up for next year!
Did you race recently? Tell me about it! And who’s in for Wineglass 2016???
This post contains affiliate links for some of the things I wore.