I decided to do something new with training this summer to prepare for the Wineglass Marathon. I was actually going to train properly! Ha! I became a member of the NY Flyers and signed up for their Marathon Training Program. The program was 18 weeks with weekly coached speed workouts and 3 coached weekend long runs. I was ready for something new and to finally hit my goal of running a 3:30!
Unfortunately, my stomach had other plans. I had very bad heartburn this summer, which caused esophagitis. It was painful to eat as my esophagus was swollen and food had trouble passing. People who know me know that I love to eat and can eat a lot. Esophagitis really tested my mental state because I had to cut out caffeine, acidic foods (tomato sauce, orange juice, PIZZA!!!), chocolate, fried foods, big meals, and alcohol.
I had some pretty good long runs despite the pain, but I also did not finish some long runs because my stomach cramped or I crashed because I could not eat my GU. My gastroenterologist actually told me to stop eating GU because something so concentrated was not going to go down well. I tried Generation UCan, but I could only take it if I made a smoothie and I put too much liquid in my smoothie so I had to go pee mid-run. I figured out that my stomach could handle Honey Stinger chews so I planned to use that for fuel, but it meant that I would have to eat a lot of chews to equal the amount of GU that I would normally eat. A cavity was sure to develop after the race.
I loved the speed workouts on Wednesdays with my new training group because it was something that I never did on my own and it was encouraging that I could run at the speeds that my coach told me to run. It was also great to train with a big group of people and everyone was so nice and supportive throughout the training.
So I felt ready for race weekend despite my stomach issues and the weather not looking too great. It was either going to be muggy or it was going to rain. My coach wanted me to start out running 8:10min/mile for 8 miles, then speed up to 8min/mile for the next 8, and then run 7:50min/mile for the next 8. Whatever I had left would be for the last 2.2 miles.
I usually run even splits and have never been great at negative splits because it is always so hard to hold back in the beginning of a race. So on Sunday, I stood way behind the 3:25 pace group and in front of the 3:35 pace group (there was no 3:30 pacer). My plan was to stay in front of the 3:35 pace group and slowly distance myself from them. Sounded pretty good until I got engulfed by the 3:35 group within the first mile and looked at my watch to see them clock a 7:58 first mile! So much for a pacer!
I quickly got out of the group because I didn’t want to get tripped or elbowed in the large group. I settled in with a small group of women and I felt like I was going as slow as possible to try to stick to my plan.
Another problem I had was my bladder. I needed to pee and I did not go in the corn fields next to the start line like other runners because I did not think it was very nice to pee in someone’s corn field. As I approached the mile 6 flag, I saw someone get out of the only portopotty by the the flag. I raced to the portopotty to make sure no one else got there before me, peed quickly, and jumped back out onto the course. Even though the course was downhill after the portopotty, I could not catch up to the group of girls so I let them go. I was quickly joined by a runner named Mark. We became fast friends and chatted away. It was Mark’s first marathon and he was hoping to run around 3:30, which would also be a BQ. As Mark and I clicked away the miles, others joined and we had a little group to share the miles. Runners were very spread out on the course so it was great to have some company.
Some runners eventually sped up and some dropped back, but Mark and I stuck together. We saw his family 3x along the course, which was a great boost for Mark. Mark wore a yellow shirt with a picture of a boy on his back and I asked him about it. The boy was Mark’s son who passed away unexpectedly, which was the catalyst to Mark’s running career. Mark started with a 5K run in memory of his son and he worked his way up to running a marathon.
Mark asked me why I run marathons and I told him that I love the challenge and that it has introduced me to so many friends along the way, including my husband. I shared with Mark how Andrew and I met while running for the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge for our dads and that we just got married. When you’re running a marathon, there’s a lot of time to share your life stories!
By mile 18, our legs were both feeling the fast pace, but I told Mark to focus and that we would get through it together. Suddenly, we heard this girl coming from behind us yell “I’m going to Boston!!!” As she passed us, she said “My legs are shot, I’m running with heart from here!” I wish I had her energy at that time. Mark was able to stay with her and he took off. I kept them in my sights and just tried to keep a steady rhythm.
The next few miles were a bit lonely and I could not eat another chew, but I noticed that I was catching up to a few runners. By mile 25, I caught up to Mark and he told me that his legs were done. I told him to keep moving and stay with me.
I knew that I was not going to hit my goal, but I still wanted to finish strong. As I made the last turn onto Market Street, the finish line was in sight and I ran as fast as I could. The result? A new PR! By 7 seconds.
Mark finished right behind me and I gave him a huge hug afterwards. I told his family that he was going to run a few more marathons after this one and that I would see them in Boston 2018! So I ended the day with a new PR and a new friend. 🙂
I was disappointed that I lost focus in those later miles because I was so close to 3:30! But I have to accept that the race was over and I did the best that I could that day. Overall, it was a great weekend. I had fun at the Corning Museum of Glass and walking downtown. I even got a few souvenirs from the museum. =)
How do you handle disappointment from not reaching your goal? You sign up for another race! Good thing I’m already signed up for four more marathons. =) When I hit my 3:30, I will have PIZZA again. PIZZA PIZZA PIZZA!!!
Men’s winning time: 2:24:49
Women’s winning time: 2:47:35
My time: 3:31:09
Mark’s time: 3:32:03
Andrew’s time: 3:53:15
Total Participants: 1922 (784 Men, 1138 Women)
Race Swag for $105 registration Fee: reusable bag, half zip long sleeve running top, stemless wineglass, a small bottle of champagne, glass medallion medal, amazing post race spread (soda-Coke & Diet Coke!, chocolate milk, cookies-chocolate chip, sugar, & gingersnap!, bananas, apples, chicken noodle soup, pizza-sigh)