wineglass marathon recap

Also known as the day my music died.

It’s been a little over a week since the Wineglass Marathon and I’m finally writing a recap. As always, it’s long and painful just like a marathon but I hope it is handy for all the Googling marathoners out there who are looking for their next race and landed here. Afterall, it’s other people’s race recaps that influence me to sign up for stuff like this in the first place.

After running last year’s New York City Marathon, I needed to find something totally different. As much as I loved the big city experiences of Chicago and New York, I wanted to go back to something smaller and less overwhelming but yet a bit bigger than PEI. My sister Erin, who lives in upstate New York, mentioned the Wineglass Marathon so I looked into it and it met all of my requirements:

  1. Smallish (3,000 runners in the full).
  2. Early start (8:15 am) and minimal travel to the start (our hotel was 2 minutes from the shuttle bus drop-off).
  3. Great route (flat and point-to-point). I should clarify that there is no wine on course… a lot of people asked me that! 

With all of these factors in place, I decided to sign up despite being slightly injured in the Spring but with physio, training started off better than expected. I set my goals prior to a marathon:

  1. Sign up, show up.
  2. Finish.
  3. Finish sub-four hours.
  4. Get a new personal best! I would need to be under 3:56.

Unfortunately, early into training I stupidly bruised the arch of my foot doing jump squats on and off a curb and my training got slightly derailed. I cut back on my mileage and went back to physio. There were many times I thought about deferring but kept running as much as possible and decided to show up and do my best. By the end of 18 weeks, I got in a few good long runs and things we feeling okay.

Race weekend

The Wineglass Marathon is in New York (state) and the finish is only 45 minutes from my sister’s house so I was excited about being close to family and the beautiful Finger Lake region of New York did not disappoint!

I flew to my sister’s on Friday morning and with my parents also in town, it was fun and stress-free leading up to the event. Erin’s friend Tara, who was running the half, flew in from England on the same day so we all chilled in Binghamton and went to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning before making our way to Corning. We got our race kits and drove to the small town of Bath where the race starts. Although the Corning is bigger, I prefer being as close as possible to the start line and booked a hotel as soon as I registered for the race. This was a smart decision because there were limited accommodations options in Bath. A not so smart decision was thinking I was the only one with the idea of having a carb-happy Italian dinner in the cute town just a few miles outside of Bath. There were about 1,000 runners with the same idea but luckily we found a great tavern and chowed down before checking-in at the Super 8. My sister introduced me to her friend Nick who was also running the full so it was nice to see a familiar face at the starting line.

Race morning arrived (as usual, with little sleep and lots of anxiety). It was cold (about 1 degree Celsius) but I put on my shorts and tank-top, knowing I’d warm-up once I got going. As I mentioned above, I love this start time. I was able to stay in bed until 6:00 am, got up and took my time getting ready – ate a bagel, popped some Advil, drank a coffee and water and layered up. Erin and mom drove me to the shuttle bus at 7:15 am and I reluctantly left them and the warm car. The bus ride (which is a requirement) to the start was less than 10 minutes. There were tons of porta-potties and they opened-up industrial garages for us to congregate in (heat!). Bag check was super-easy too – with about 5 minutes to go, I pulled off all my layers, stuffed them in the bag and lined up right behind the 3:55 pace bunny.

The goal was to stick with the bunny, eat my chews and hydrate early.

About 1 km into the race I felt great and decided to jump to the 3:50 pace group. About 1.5 km into the race by shuffle died. I spent the next 2-3 km totally distracted trying to get the music to work but also felt great and was pumped to see my sister and mom early on. I threw them my arm warmers but kept my gloves on. It warmed up to about 7 degrees at the sun came out about halfway through. I was grateful that David gave me his lucky hat and promised me it’d give me speed!

About 5 km into the race I still felt great, having just climbed the only significant hill in the race and decided to jump ahead to the 3:45 pace group. Without music, it was nice to listen to the conversations and since it was a very rural course, the crowds were pretty quiet most of the time. I stuck with the group for the next 15 km and I was remembering to hydrate, the road was fairly flat and there were lots of nice country views. As we approached the half, I hesitantly moved ahead of the group but not by much. I just needed some me-space and was excited to see my mom and sister again at 22 km.

The rest of the race went by fast – I still felt good but started walking through the water stations. As per usual, things start to hurt but nothing significant. I never saw the 3:45 pace group pass me and although I was walking the water stations, I caught up to the runner’s that passed me. Without music, I spent a lot of time trying to predict my finish… but I honestly had no idea if it was going to fall apart. Finally, when I thought I still have a few kilometers to go, I realized I was at 41 km and the finish was just over the bridge! Not sure how that happened but I kicked into gear and pushed hard for a strong finish. Now, it was no New York or Chicago but running down the final stretch of Main Street and seeing my sister, mom, dad, brother-in-law, Tara and my niece and nephew in the crowd was awesome. I threw out some high-fives and finished!

The medal is the prettiest yet (glass of course). I saw Nick again at the finish:

They had chocolate milk, coffee, bananas, pizza and soup (to name few) and a PB bell plus a place to get an instant print out of your results.

After catching my breath and calling Mike and David, we made our way home.

Guys, I can’t say enough good things about this race. It was near perfect. If you are looking for a great smallish race that’s early in the fall this is it! There are not a lot of turns, it’s very flat with a few small rollers and there is very minimal congestion. The only small negatives would be the road is not fully closed-off to traffic so the pylons are a little obstructive (a poor guy fell over one and broke his nose…) and there is not a ton of crowd support because of the limited cheering locations. My mom and sister (bless them) were cheering for the half and full, which made for a lot of crazy back-and-forths but still managed to see me three times.

I hope this is helpful for anyone thinking about the Wineglass.

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Oh, but wait, there’s more! I almost forgot to talk about the swag! A long-sleeve tech shirt, a wine glass and some celebratory champagne. That’s the icing on the cake!

And with my new PB, that’s a check off the forty before forty bucket list! Now I need to think about a spring marathon. Let me know if you have any recommendations. 😉

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