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.

***

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. 😉

psst. If you like what you’re reading, please subscribe and share. xomeg

just because it’s Christmas

I’ve returned from a quick trip to Montreal and despite the lack of snow, it was lovely and festive. I am so #blessed to get to go on an annual pilgrimage to my old stomping ground for both work and play!

But, as much as I love Montreal, I am a forever and always an East Coast girl. So whenever I visit my co-workers, I get the usual “something smells fishy” and “Say ‘I took my Carrrrr to the Barrrrr and ate a Beaaaaygel’ ” banter. Je les aime. Actually, I think they’re a little envious because they know deep down, the East Coast is the best coast (especially when it comes to music), and with this in mind, I made a mix CD for my office Secret Santa exchange: IMG_4044East Coast Christmas CD-Inside Christmas is for giving so I am giving you chance to win one!

Leave a message and tell me what your favourite Christmas song is. Mine is Oh Holy Night but it’s a toss up between Mariah Carey and Anne Murray for best rendition. Winner will be picked on FRIDAY.

IMG_4070office party… they’re not usually this classy but I love them
IMG_4087#Ihaveathingwithfloors : Lionel Groulx metro station, Montreal
IMG_4090My alma mater
IMG_4091I can not pass up a chance for the vegetarian pita at Boustan
IMG_4092best.job.ever.
IMG_4093A must-see at Christmas time in Montreal. The window at Ogilvy’s
IMG_4097At night with lights and snow, this is a showstopper
IMG_4101Get them while they’re hot, St. Viateur Bagels
IMG_4104Our home on rue Gauthier…
IMG_4108Bright lights of Montreal
IMG_4110Me and Jess
IMG_4111Khyber Pass – Cuisine Afghane, Duluth Street Montreal. Amazing.

Just because it’s Christmas (and at Christmas you tell the truth), to me, you are perfect.

psst. If you like what you’re reading, please subscribe and share. xomeg

how to be an awesome cheerleader

Really, who doesn’t want to be awesome at cheerleading?

I’m living in the post-marathon / it’s cold outside blue period so I want to lighten things up with something fun. Cheerleading. I have taken field notes and am here to report on some great tips – mostly related to running events however, I think you can modify them for anything (cook-offs, dance-offs, the theatre, surviving winter, etc.)

In no particular order, here they are:

  1. Signage: 1-DSC_044911-IMG_2461 Be funny, send love to strangers, support your team… So many great reasons to invest in some cardboard, markers and glitter glue. The best distraction while running is reading all of the signs so make it good. Here are some of my favourites:
    “Go Mommy” / “The only marathon I do is Netflix / Remember, you paid to do this / “I don’t know you, but you’re doing awesome / “You’re Running Better than the Government” / “Running shoes: $120, Race: $75, Finishing: Priceless”. Also, I noticed a new trend: People are making cut-outs of their runner’s faces and posting them on sticks that they hold high – like lollipops. Kind of creepy but effective. You will totally notice your big head bobbing high in a crowd. Or alternatively…
  2. Balloon or umbrellas: 2-IMG_2539 The best way to stand out in a crowd is be tall. Easier said than done so buy some balloons or fun umbrellas and hold them high. Your runner will spot them easily. At the Cabot Trail Relay we had 4 & 2 balloons for our team number. Easily spotable until they popped in the car on leg 3. My poor teammates were terrified. In Chicago, a group had matching kid’s froggy umbrellas – I saw those five green and speckled frogs many times. Adorable.
  3. Cheer loud, send happy thoughts and have fun: 3-IMG_2598There will be music, so dance. Cow bells and bear bells are encouraged. Cheer for strangers. I will never forget the woman who yelled: “It’s all downhill from here” near the end of my first half marathon. She wasn’t lying and I really needed that positive encouragement.
  4. Pick a side: 4-simpsons-lefty As the Chicago marathon was about to start, I realized I should of talked to my family about what side of the road I’d run on so we could better find each other. When there are 1.7 million people on the sideline and 45,000 runners, it is a needle-in-a-haystack situation. Luckily my mom knows me well enough that I am left-handed proud and will always choose the left.
  5. What not to wear: 5-IMG_3576 Not a time for heels – being a cheerleader is a serious workout. You may be running to several spots on the course. You will be up on your tiptoes. You will be jumping and juggling signage, water and a camera. You may need to jump in an offer support and encouragement. Be prepared. No one, not even a cheerleader, should loose a toenail. And speaking of clothing, know what your runner is wearing so you can spot them in the crowd easier.
  6. High-fives: 6-IMG_5106 I once heard someone yell “high-fives make you stronger”. It’s true. Give them out, they’re free. I always try and take one from the kids.
  7. Gear: 7-IMG_3554 Mike calls himself Sherpa-Mike whenever there’s a race because he has to carry a backpack full of post run stuff (flip flops, food, water, the camera, my phone, clothing). Get a good bag, save your back. Also wear a watch – preferably a stop watch so you can track the time. It’s helpful to know your runner’s pace so you’ll have a better idea of when to start holding up the awesome sign you made (see #1 & 2).
  8. Meet-up spot: DSC_33148-IMG_2512
    At the end of the San Francisco half marathon I quickly realized I didn’t plan a meet-up spot with my parents. Not smart when there are 35,000 runners. Not smart when your iPhone dies after taking pics of the cute fireman who were passing out Tiffany necklaces at the finish line. Not smart when they have no idea what you were wearing. Luckily the race organizers are smarter than me and had a “call a friend” station set up. I was able to call my dad and find them right away.
  9. Training: 9-IMG_3529Listen, join, and practice. Listen to them ramble on and on about their training and join in if you can. That way you’ll know their speed and needs. Leading up to Philadelphia, my mom practice running and jumped in for encouragement (I had no idea she ran) – she kept me company and took my jacket all without needing to stop or slow down. Since then, she’ll often join me on her bike during long runs or family members will come and get me at the end of a run.
  10. Music: 10-say-anything-e1402066953749 Does your runner have a pump-up song? Play it. We made a mix for our Cabot Trail Relay team with each teammate’s favourite song and played the song during their leg. At the Rum runner’s relay we brought the songs back and no joke, Eminem is a solid cheerleader.

So that’s it. Happy training and good luck next season!

psst. let me know if you have any other tips
psst. let me know if you have signed up for anything already!
psst. If you like what you’re reading, please subscribe and share. xomeg