Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wineglass Marathon Recap

First things first - I shaved a whopping 4 seconds off my previous marathon PR. 3:54:36. Yup, a PR is a PR, but don't tell me you wouldn't have been pissed if all you could take off was 4 freaking seconds. After thinking long and hard, I'm going to share the reason why. 
Be warned: shit is about to get real. And not just because Harrison and I shared a huge bonding moment when I changed his diaper for the first time.

It's always this exciting, right?
I strongly urge you to consider this information when making your decision whether or not to continue reading.
Friday after work, I rushed to the airport and flew to my hometown of Rochester, NY. Here's some advice for running a marathon: get your family involved. Obviously this is only relevant if you have awesome family members like I do. If you don't, become friends with me and get my family involved. If you're cool. 

All weekend, I was spoiled. My mom made amazing homemade food for me Friday and Saturday night, my dad took me out to lunch at one of my favorite local places (Hogan's Hideaway), I got to shop with my sister and Kari, and of course, I monopolized my nephew as much as possible.

Alien baby!
Plus, my parents got up at the crack of dawn and spent hours Sunday driving around to various spots on the race course, spectating like absolute rock stars. Seeing them was such a huge boost every time.

Me and my dad 
Kari, me, my mom and stepfather
The race was about an hour and a half away, so on Sunday, Kari and I were up bright and early at 4:30 to head down. It was pouring rain throughout the whole drive, so our "WTF is wrong with us" level steadily grew. Somehow, the weather Gods smiled at us, and the rain stopped right before we arrived (I knew my sacrifice of watching an entire football game in the rain would appease them).

It was a fairly small marathon, so we quickly picked up our bibs and waited in some sort of barn or shed or something (I don't know, it was early) until the race began at 8am.

Our "Waking up at 4:30am to run 26 miles is awesome!" faces

In the spirit of mentally preparing for the strict no headphones policy at the JFK 50, I decided to leave my music at home. For some reason, my Nike + watch was unable to get satellites at the start, so I was running with no ipod and no GPS. I considered chucking my shoes as well and going all out caveman for this race, but I'm really too cheap for that.

At the start of the race, the humidity was 96%. Kari and I had some good stories planned to amuse each other while we ran. She told me a great one right away, but it soon became apparent that in this humidity, trying to do both talking and breathing wasn't going to work out. Kari said she felt out of breath and I was that person in the race, the one whose breathing is so loud and annoying that you discover strength you never thought you had in order to sprint away from them.

So we focused on running and breathing, and stayed mainly quiet. The race was pretty, but this picture pretty much sums up the scenery.

26 miles of foliage. And 2 horses.

Even though I follow a strict dehydration/excessive porto-potty visit plan pre-race, I had to pee by mile 6. I was really annoyed, but when nature calls with 20 miles to go, you answer. I ran ahead of Kari to a porto-potty, hoping to catch up with her after. Of course, I came out totally disoriented with no idea how long I'd spent in there or if she was ahead of me or behind me. I finally spotted her after a mile or two and raced my ass off to catch up with her. You know what's a fun thing to do in a marathon? Sprinting!

After that, my stomach was really bothering me. I guess I've been lucky, because I've never had that problem before in a marathon, and I sure as hell haven't been watching what I eat prior. But this was my first marathon as a 29 year old, and obviously now that I'm pushing 30 things have changed. 

At mile 12, my stomach still felt awful but my legs felt good, so I said goodbye to Kari and joined the 3:55 pace group. I figured that would at least help me keep moving at a good speed, and with any luck, I could pull ahead of them later in the race. 

That plan worked out decently, and I leap frogged with the pace group until mile 15. Then I went from feeling "eh" to "OMG I need a bathroom NOW" in under a second. This being a small race, porto-potties were spaced pretty far apart, but even if they'd been every mile it wouldn't have helped.

Suddenly, I saw the most beautiful sight as I rounded a bend - a patch of woods with a huge tree on the edge. My prayers had been answered. I crashed through the brush, frantically repeating "leaves of three, let it be!" in my head. Full disclosure: this wasn't my first time at the rodeo. You don't survive the Stone Mill 50 Miler by throwing caution to the wind.

After I emerged, covered with burrs and foliage, I was all sunshine and rainbows. For the rest of the race, I was all "I love running! Marathons are the best! Life is wonderful!"

Sunny disposition from mile 15 on
This was a really odd race for me. The first half was horrible, the second half was great, even the last 6 miles. I wish I my watch had worked so I could see how much I rocked the negative splits.

At the mile 26 marker, I finally saw the 3:55 pacer again, and kicked it into high gear. Probably at 26.1 I saw that the clock was in the 3:54 range and I vowed not to let it hit 3:55 before I crossed if it killed me. My greatest fear happened - my calves were spasming and contracting like crazy and I thought I was going to die. I swear I ran that tenth of a mile faster than I've ever ran in my whole life.

I guess it was worth it though, because I'd much rather have a 4 second PR than finish 4 seconds over my previous PR.

I saw my dad somewhere in that last .2 and realized he'd already taken a picture of me. I knew that photo was going to be a true depiction of what a marathon finish looks like, and it's not this:

30 minutes later, I can pretend to be normal for a picture.
Here's the real deal my dad captured:

You can't fake this look.
I call this my "WTF just happened?" face
I love the medal. It's a handmade glass medal from Corning (the place that makes the bakeware).

Hard to photograph but so pretty!
Harrison was not impressed.

After the race, I found my cheering squad, met up with Kari, and we got our shirts, wineglass, and champagne.

I'm a weirdo who started craving black coffee at mile 16, and I met some random cute guy in a coffee shop who said he craves coffee during races too. The coffee was also the best thing I'd ever tasted, so that little stop was a real win for me. 

The cute guy is behind me. I don't really know if he was cute.
I was delirious.
My mom and Vince drove us back to Kari's car at the start (it was a point to point race, my first!) and we drove the hour and a half home. I unleashed some serious pain on myself there.

Oh foam roller, how I love/hate you.
I haven't had stomach issues during a race before, but I've often had them after. I was having none of that after Wineglass. My mom had made me an amazing veggie lasagna, and I wasn't taking any chances on not being able to eat it. I had a chocolate milk after the race, but I abstained from all other food until dinner, except for a few pieces of candy corn and some pickles. 

It worked like a charm, and I was able to gorge myself on salad, lasagna, and bread. Of course, my plan wasn't totally foolproof. I ended up having two glasses of wine before dinner. Two glasses of wine on an empty stomach will normally hit me hard, combine that with running a marathon, and I was really flying high. 

Drinking wine with my sister is the best thing ever

Finally, it was time. Caramel salted chocolate cake with Nutella buttercream frosting

What I imagine heaven is made of

My greatest regret in life is only having one piece.

So, now I've totally embarrassed myself on the internet, but if it gave anyone a laugh, it was completely worth it.


  1. Bummer race, winner cake. Balance?

  2. Woohoo for another sub 4 :) Awesome job!!! I might steal that baby by the way. Too fricken cute.

  3. You win for blog post of the year. Cake, wine, a marathon PR and babies all at once? It's almost overwhelming. Congrats!

  4. bacon!!
    no headphones!!
    no watch!!
    no throwing shoes away cause that would be a waste of money!

    Ok, for right now, until I read more than the first two paragraphs of the report, you're my hero :)

    Oooh, chocolate cake -- saw that when I was scrolling down to post this. Now I'm hungry again.

  5. I was cringing, waiting for some embarrassing female things to pop up, but happily they didn't. What was so.... oh, cause you're OLD and in a year you're gonna be OVER THE HILL COMPLETELY and you will be going to the bathroom ALL THE TIME.


    Also, congrats on a nice report and a PR. 50-miler training paying off. :)

  6. I'm not going to lie, I kinda thought that you'd get to bring wine with you during the marathon. How is that not a thing yet? I would be an ace at the "Bourbon 500."

    ...No I wouldn't, I'd veer off and go to McDonald's.

  7. Congrats on the PR! And this post was awesome - PR, baby pictures, delicious cake, funny poop story. Seriously, that cake looks amazing. Recipe?

  8. The picture from your dad isn't loading. I want to see it! Congrats on the PR. And if this race was that hard, you can effortlessly PR the next time!

  9. Congrats on the PR, a PR is a PR and it even had some breaks in there! This doesn't seem embarrassing at all to me...of course during the last marathon I ran, I had about 6 bathroom stops so maybe that's why!

  10. I think being really perky in the second half of marathons is your gift. That's pretty much how I recall your mood at Baltimore... :)

    You are totally prepared for JFK now. You don't need GPS or toilet paper to survive.

    Why doesn't your sister even LOOK tired? I read her blog and she claims to not be sleeping much, but I don't see any undereye circles. I expect a "Make up secrets from the sleep deprived" post from her soon. Tell her to make it idiot proof please.

  11. If I take care of business pre race, I don't have issues UNLESS its hot and humid. I bet the humidity was to blame. Even less blood going to the gut = ridiculous GI hell.

    Keep reminding yourself that this was a training run! 99.9% of the people running that day were running their goal race. Cut yourself some slack. I'd say you did great!

  12. Omg, that cake is just taunting me!

    Let's just hope that Hartford goes better overall for both of us. No pooping, not completely crapping out on the race. I'll start saving up stories and praying for low humidity.

    Seriously, though, it was so fun to hang out with you and your family!

  13. Sub-4 for the win!! Sorry about your potty troubles. Getting old is rough. A PR is still a PR though, so congrats! Just consider it a training run for Hartford :) which is in... 2 weeks?

  14. Sorry you had stomach troubles during the first half of the race but you must have really rocked your second half to still set a new PR! Harrison is just as cute as always and that cake looks yummy!

  15. You pulled out a PR *with* the GI troubles? I'm impressed and loved the whole recap.
    I bribe myself, during long runs or races, with coffee, too. Not very imaginative to tell yourself "Just 2 more miles and you can have that steaming cup of the same liquid you ingest every. single. day.!", but it works for me.

  16. Interesting ... I have a Nike+ as well, but the folks at Garmin sent me the ForeRunner 10 to review, and I took a leap and wore it for the Wineglass. Glad I did - it tracked perfectly the whole day.

    Sorry about the GI issues, but great to hear ... pretty much everything else!

  17. I laughed so hard as I often do reading your race posts. One of these days I will run into you I am sure. Stomach troubles, I started getting them at 29 too. Sigh, and now even at 31 I am much more strict about what I eat before/after races. Otherwise the after effects are not pretty.


Thanks for commenting! Comments make me probably more happy than they should.