Sunday, October 19, 2014

Wineglass Marathon Race Report

Two weeks ago I completed my 5th marathon.  When I first started running, I was sure a marathon was for gifted runners and crazy people...not ordinary people like me.  And then when I registered for my first marathon it was going to be a one and done.  However, I fell in love with the marathon.  But, unlike the half marathon, I can't crank out a marathon every week or couple of weeks.  I've limited myself to 2 a year last year and this year.  Because I don't do them as frequently, it's hard for me to choose a favorite.  They all have great things about them.

Here are a few of my favorite things about the Wineglass Marathon:
- Gorgeous race course
- A finisher medal made of glass
- A course that never merges with the half marathon
- Outstanding race swag - a wineglass, a shirt and a bottle of champagne

The race started in Bath, New York and finishes 26.2 miles later in Corning, New York.  I love a point to point race.  Sure the logistics are a little tougher, but you get to see more and there's no chance of the dreaded out and back.  I also really love marathons that are just a marathon.  It's a difficult thing to watch the half marathoners break away and go to the finish.  While this race had a half marathon, we never saw them.  They started before us and in the middle of the marathon course.  It felt like separate races!

We had to catch a shuttle from the finish line to the start of the race.  The shuttle got us to the start line about an hour before the race was to start.  We had trained all summer in the heat and humidity.  One of the great things about picking a race in New York in October was knowing the temperature wouldn't be too hot.  And it wasn't.  It was a toasty 32 degrees.  Which might not have been too bad to run in, but it was brutal to wait in for an hour at the start line.   It was at least mile three before my toes had defrosted.

I ran this race with my dear friend Holly.  She trained with me last summer to run her first half.  She's completed a few of those, and in the spring just hinted that she might like to run a full.  Of course, I ran with that.  We've been training together for this race all summer.  She is amazing - through all of our training runs and the entire race she never complained!!  Don't worry, I complained enough for both of us.  I loved getting to train with her every week and running the race together was definitely a reward for all of our hard training.  I loved getting to experience her first marathon with her.  I also loved that our friendship got even closer during the process!  Maybe it's the shared experience (and pain) or all the conversations that happen on long runs, but either way running glues people together.

Races have been hard for Mark since he's been injured and recovering and overcoming setbacks for so long.  I know it's hard for him to get excited to come out to a race and cheer.  I really expected him to only meet us at the finish line.  But he was the most outstanding spectator all day!!  He was able to find us on the course at least eight times.  Every time he was all smiles and cheers and had the music blaring in our rental car for everyone to enjoy.  We were thrilled to see him every single time.  You have no idea how much of a mental boost it gives you to see a familiar face during the race.  It really helps you keep going.  But Mark impacted many more people than just our group of runners.  I heard at least five different strangers tell him how much his cheering meant to them.  And I think he got a little bit of a boost from the experience too.

The race was an amazing experience.  There was never a point where I thought I couldn't do it or wouldn't be able to finish.  I'm thankful to Fleet Feet and Personal Best Fitness for that.  And thanks to Mark & Holly for the on course entertainment.  Holly and I got to run the last 2 1/2 miles with my great friend Kendra.  She was coming off an injury that cost her weeks of training and still significantly PR'd the race.  I loved getting to finish the race with her.

A big shout out to my amazing friend Gail, who trained her butt off and PR'd the race by more than 10 minutes.  She's amazing!  She works hard all the time.  I'm definitely the slacker in our training.  Danielle ran her first marathon and was the speediest runner in our group!  She rocked it and has already signed up for her next marathon!  It was also Erich's (Holly's husband) first marathon.  He is a personal trainer and super fit.  He had limited running training and still had an amazing race!  We kept expecting to pass him on the course (and we might have glanced in all the medical tents we ran by to make sure he didn't hurt himself) but he was a rockstar!  And he's planning his next marathon already too, or at least he's thinking about it.

Corning is quaint, super cute little town.  It reminds me a lot of downtown Franklin.  And because we crammed in a trip to Niagara Falls before the race we didn't have a chance to visit any of the local wineries or create something from glass (glass is what Corning is known for), so we clearly have to plan a return trip.  I haven't done a half marathon in New York yet.  It's my goal to do one in all 50 states.  I'm planning to come back to run this one next year. It's a well done, beautiful race.  Plus, if I put in the work, it could be a potential PR course.