Sometimes races go better than imagine, sometimes they don’t. Wineglass was one of the latter. It was possibly the hardest race of my life, as a runner and as a competitor. But let’s rewind.
Doug flew out Thursday after he ended his season with a grueling race at IMChattanooga. I was happy that he’d be here for a few weeks and that our off seasons lined up. Friday, we went to the Expo as I had to work. Saturday, my Mom, Douglas and I headed back to Corning, walked around a little and hung out. Dinner Saturday was pretty eventful, I was starving and we had terrible service. You know it’s one of those times where you just want everything to go ok so you can just get to bed and race. Well, the waiter forgot half my food, then charged us for it all anyways. Ok, fine. I can brush that off. One little bump? No biggie.
We made our way to Bath, where we were staying and was the start of the race. Remember how there was three of us? Welp – the hotel changed my room without my knowledge. We now had one queen bed. I almost cried on the spot. After some calling, knowing everything was booked, They managed to give us a king bed with a pull out couch. Ok- Fine. 8:00PM rolled around and I went to bed (probably from being up from 2:30-6AM saturday morning). Tomorrow’s a new day and things were going to be better.
5:15AM and the alarm clock came on. I felt it was late compared to the triathlons this summer. Almost sleeping in. I did the usual pre-race morning things: ate breakfast, etc. Took a shower to loosen up more (lately had been feeling very stiff/sluggish in AM). Finally, it was time to bundle up in all my Oiselle favorites (Lux side zip, flyte LS, Lesley Tights, Flyer Jacket – as it was 30 degrees outside) and head to the bus drop off to take us to the start, which was new/mandatory this year.
Once to the start (after the bus driver got lost), I saw a certain Joe Reynolds, which was very comforting. After a quick hello, I huddled with everyone else running the marathon in a big barn and waited for the minutes to tick away. A pit stop later, it was time to get warm, do drills, ditch the clothes and head to the start (which they started late because of the bus drivers getting lost). Before I knew it, everyone was lined up and I chitchatted with a women who was from the same town as me. What a small world! As they started the countdown, a few last people jumped into line and wouldn’t you know it was #oiselleflockmate Jen!
One more deep breath and we were on our way. My race plan was to run with as little effort as possible for the first hour, then reevaluate. I settled right with the 3:15 marathon pace group and settled into a nice rhythm. At mile 2, I saw my mom and Douglas and just smiled. I was enjoying this, just running. Mile 3 came and I saw Meg & Kate (two of the girls on the Cornell Team whose mom was also running). They went nuts. The guy next to me was definitely jealous. After that we just kept running, the large group, chatting away, being as relaxed as possible. Hitting splits right on.
Before I knew it we were at mile 8 and I was feeling good, the legs were itching to go faster. Slowly but surely I started to pull away. Mile 9 came and I saw Douglas, my mom, Kate and Meg again as well as my college teammate and good friend, Justin. Still my focus was staying as relaxed as possible, using the men to block the wind and know it was going to eventually hurt. Mile 10 and 11 were a little rough as I was just alone, then Jen and another women (all ran together for the first hour) caught me at mile 12. I was so happy to see them. I responded nicely to the change in rhythm. Halfway came in 1:35:10. I was really looking forward to the second half. I was thinking about how happy I was. Wondering what I could really do. I just had to maintain and I was going to be happy. Then things started shifting..
Warning: this is the stream of thoughts through my head for the last 12 miles. Mile 14 came with a slight uphill, I didn’t want to press up the hill so I let Jen go a bit. I also got a little sick in my mouth. First though: I have TWELVE miles to go. CRAP! Next I tried to calm myself down. Be relaxed as possible. Mile 15: my legs did not want to move anymore. It was a long way to the finish. Mile 16: Where is my family? Mile 17: where is a porta-potty? Mile 18: THANK GOODNESS a porta-john. I stopped to use it. I hoped it would allow my body to reset to keep chugging through. Please body, get your crap together. I realized it had been 6 miles since my last gel. I started running again with the 3:15 pace group as I came out of the pit stop. I tried to take a clif blok. I dry heaved. I panicked a little. Mile 19: I saw Douglas and my mom. I started crying. I didn’t know what to do. Was I being smart? Should I finish? Somehow Doug rubbed my back and just encouraged me to keep going. I started running again. Had to stop to dry heave. I had some consolation from other runners. I started running again. Mile 20: slight uphill, almost got sick. Saw Meg and Kate. Started to cry/hyperventilate. Mile 21: Saw Justin, told me it was going to get better. Kept chugging. Mile: 22 got some water, tried to keep moving, abs cramping, legs cramping. I just wanted pretzels. I still have 45:00 minutes to go for a BQ. Mile 23: walk/stop/running cycle continued. Claire passed me, reminded me I was an ‘Ironman’, made me smile. She looked good! Thought about asking someone for a phone. Mile 24: I got sick 4 times. I kept trying to move forward. Mile 25: Should I try to get some water? I don’t want to get sick again. Abs started cramping. Almost got sick again running up, then down the bridge. Saw Justin. I saw Chris & Crew. Mile 26: Chris ran with me for a little. It helped, as much as it hurt to try to run faster. Saw my Mom and Douglas. Saw a Mr. Joe Reynolds at the finish line. I think I smiled? Finish line. 3:31:09.
After hanging out in the Med tent for a while, I was able to eat some pretzels (never tasted so good) and get some water in. After I could stand up and walk, we headed back home. My stomach was a messsssss. Ginger Ale saved me. It took 2 days before I could eat a good meal. Needless to say, it was time for a break. Looking back it was well over 2 years since I had taken a full week off from running. Now that it’s been 8 days. I still haven’t ‘needed’ to running. Since wineglass, I’ve eaten a lot of delicious desserts from Kelly (yummmm), and even traveled to Michigan for a football weekend. It’s been splendid.
A big thanks my Mom, Douglas, Alex, Artie, the FLRTC crew, the Cornell, my teammates from Oiselle and Coeur and everyone who provided support, encouragement and love. To Dale for those painful, fist clenching massages. It has clearly been a reason I’ve been healthy as long as I have been. To Sarah Moskey, who squeezed me in at short notice AND who helped me feel the best in weeks on race day.
Onto the next adventure.