Yesterday, I ran my first half marathon in Corning, NY at the WineGlass….I know you are probably thinking, didn’t you run a marathon, wouldn’t that have been your first? Yes, I guess that would be my first true race but that training cycle was rough and I ran hurt this was my first 13.1 and healthy distance race.
My first marathon, the weather was terrible it rained and was freezing the entire time. I had hurt my IT Band during training (probably due to my terrible habit of not stretching enough, doing minimal strength training during the training period, and not being a runner for very long). Before that training period the most running I had ever done was maybe 5 miles at the most and those were few and far between. I was a basketball player, we don’t do distance we do sprints.
But this training cycle was completely different. I have been healthy the entire time. It was warm out and I was able to do most of the training outside (another aspect that was different than marathon training last winter). I also added a lot of additional strength training back into my program. To top it all off, I wasn’t overworked with basketball and full-time career so I was able to focus on my life and have more of a balance in it.
The Corning WineGlass is a gorgeous course, and I couldn’t have asked for better weather. Unlike DC where it was gorgeous both days around the marathon but pouring the day of, it poured on Saturday (for the Corelle 5k) and then it was sunny and 50s for the race on Sunday. The course runs along a scenic route throughout neighborhoods and during the perfect time of year when the leaves are just starting to fall and are all different colors. It is ranked as one of the top half-marathons to run.
My mom and I got to go to the expo together to pick up Maya and Kaylee (my two friends from high school who were running the full) and my race information. It was much smaller than the expo in DC but then again the race was much smaller with about 6,000 runners. The expo was held at the Corning Glass Museum which I highly encourage anyone to venture to if you are in the area. Runners were given a long-sleeve running shirt (I had to exchange mine after the race because the medium was so short on my torso – the large is perfect)! Runners over the age of 21 were also given a bottle of champagne and a wineglass. There was limited other free things from the vendors; however, there was an offering of free pre-and-post race massages (the line was to long for my taste – but hey its free).
When Maya and Kaylee arrived my mom and Tim had made chili and lasagna for our race prep meal. It was delicious and protein packed. After we were all stuffed and getting excited/nervous for the race the next morning. It was going to be Kaylee’s first full and Maya had done the DC marathon with me. It would have been nice to run with them but I don’t think I will be doing another full for a long time, if ever! The training just consumes your life, what is nice about a half is that you can do all the training during the work week.
Race morning, I woke up at 5am – had my cup of coffee, a pumpkin pie Oikos Greek yogurt (tis the season), and 2 packets of Steel Cut Oats – Raspberry and Blueberry. It was the perfect amount to leave me full throughout the race but not too full. I also drank more water. I had really hydrated the day before so I was feeling good.
The way the race works you have to get on a bus that takes you to the start line, for the half the buses ran until 6:30 with the start time for the race at 7:45. So my two friends (who were running the full) and I headed to the start (thanks Mom for driving) at 5:55 to make sure we had plenty of time. The start of the race had a lot of bathrooms and also had the school open to stay warm (though no one listened to the instructions to go all the way down the hall so I didn’t bother). As I was waiting around, I ate my banana I brought with me (unlike DC where they were giving out water and fruit, there was nothing at this start). The biggest problem with the race morning is that it is so early; however, we had heard last year the race started 45 minutes late and a lot of people were mad, I know I would have been.
What was really nice after all that waiting around was that the race started right on time – myself and 3,500 other half marathoners headed out only the course for our journey to the finish. I ran the first mile and a half with the 2:10 pacer and couldn’t resit the itch to get going a little faster like I had in my training runs (probably a mistake but you live and learn). By mile 7 I was at 1:04 (right where I needed to be for a sub-2 hour). But it wasn’t to much longer after that when I got a side-stitch and at that point it was so painful I needed to walk. I was able to keep a 10:30 pace the rest of the way which lead to my chip time of 2:10:18 – my B goal. According to my tracker I actually ran 13.31 miles in 2:10:52 (I forgot to stop my nike app for nearly a minute after the race) so really it would be 13.31 miles in 2:10:18. My official half marathon time on my GPS was a personal best of 2:07:57. I also ran my fastest 10k to date in 56:34.
Crossing that line felt amazing. It was the first race that I had run alone and unlike the marathon I was smiling as I crossed the line. I was also able to maintain under a 10min/mile pace. It was also great to see my mom, Tim, Devon, Sam, and Ben at the finish. Dev, Sam, and Ben ran down the side walk of market street (the final shoot for the race) so they could alert my mom I was coming. So they like to say they finished with me.
Post race they had a lot of food for the runner with water, chocolate milk, bagels, fruit, cookies, fresh hot pizza, and fresh chicken noodle soup! It was a nice assortment of things though I wasn’t that hungry yet. However, that chicken soup hit the spot. The volunteers for the race were amazing. The water stations were all adequately stocked. I am not sure how I missed the GU Gel station but unfortunately I did, thankfully I had one stored in my back pocket which I took around mile nine. From beginning at the expo to end at the finish, the volunteers made the race what it was – I am so glad and thankful for all of them!
The best part of doing a race in a town where your family lives is being able to go home and shower and change into clean clothes without having to drive far. My mom lives about 5-10minutes from the finish so it was really nice to just hop in the car and drive home. Post shower, another bonus was my mom’s new hot tub which definitely helped to ease my muscles. After a nice long soak I quickly changed and headed back down the hill to be able to see Maya and Kaylee finish! They killed it with a time of 4:15:08.
Over this winter, I plan on adding some yoga into my workouts to force me to stretch more. I am also thinking about taking spin and strength classes to throw a change-up into my routine for my body. All while running 3-4 miles a couple of times of week with a longer run around 6-7 miles a few times throughout the winter. As the days get shorter and the nights get longer I plan to do most of my workouts inside and yes that means more miles on the mill – but no extreme distances and more focused on increasing my speed which I think will help prevent some of the injuries I suffered during marathon training.
I am very excited about the next race I have signed up for which right now is the Buffalo Half Marathon over Memorial Day weekend. I have made it a goal of mine to run a half in every city I live in, so this is my first checkmark! I plan to run the Corning 8k the weekend before during GlassFest. I know the Corning WineGlass Half Marathon is one I plan to run on an annual basis and come January, I will be signing up again for 2016.
Looks like I found my new expensive hobby though I don’t know if I would say I have caught the running bug quite yet as I still don’t enjoy running, I definitely have never lost the training bug – looks like NARP status is not for me.