Where to begin? I always struggle to put into words just how I feel after a goal race is complete. While there is usually a huge sense of accomplishment, I often find myself slightly sad that the hoopla is over, the goal is complete, and that very important date written in all caps with lots of stars and exclamation points all over my calendar is now a distant memory. If that’s not depressing I don’t know what is.
Glass City lived up to all of its expectations in my mind. I came, I saw, I conquered. I had a fantastic time and I accomplished my secret “A” goal.
I arrived in Toledo on Saturday in the morning, as we were staying with the in-laws. I was scheduled to work the race information booth on Saturday from 12:30PM-4:00PM. The expo was packed! It was great to see how large of a turn-out was going to occur on Sunday and Savage Arena seemed to have this crazy energy that only runners can generate. I was pleased to see that the expo had grown in size since 2012 with number of vendors, amount of merch, etc. So of course, I had to partake in purchasing some items for both myself and Hubs. My new shirt is definitely my “You Will Run Better in Toledo” hot pink tshirt. Foreshadowing, much?
I loved working the info booth, meeting up with my fellow Race Ambassadors, and was happy that I was able to help out many of my fellow runners get acquainted with the Toledo area and feel more comfortable with what to expect on Sunday. It was cool to see just how organized the volunteer machine was at both the expo and on race day. Without volunteers, flat out, there is no race and I know they were greatly appreciated!
I went out to eat Saturday evening with my Relay team to Carrabba’s. My meal was fantastic. Until that evening when it decided to make my stomach start rolling. I mean washing machine churning, I need to check to see if I’m hanging with the Aztecs, Montezuma’s revenge. It probably was a mash-up of nerves and pasta, but it left me feeling less than confident for race day and obviously less than ideally hydrated.
Sunday morning came far too quickly. My alarm went off at 5AM. My baby went off at 5:15AM. Meaning I had to quickly feed Baby J, get dressed, eat a bowlful of antacid, and eat a small breakfast before Hubby chauffeured me over to The University of Toledo for a 6:15 AM drop-off.
I am not one for messing around with any warming up business obviously. Aka there was none. Or stretching for that matter. In my mind, I was getting ready to go on a long run with >5,000 of my friends. I hung out at Savage Arena to potty it up and then situated myself in the “B” corral about 20′ before the start. Once the corrals began to fill, I got rid of my throwaway clothes. RIP old grad school anatomy scrubs and weird hoodie circa 2005, going to support Goodwill. I was so happy that I ran into both Jackie and Chris in the corral (who by the way, killed it on the marathon course!), runner friends that hiked it up from the Canton area to take advantage of this flat course and superb weather.
Before I knew it, they were playing the National Anthem and starting the race. I waited about 1 minute to cross the start. My goal pacing strategy for the race was to start with the 1:47 half group (3:35 marathon group) to keep me in check for the first few miles. If I felt good, I was going to proceed past. If I didn’t, I was going to just hang out there. Within 3 miles, I grew tired of following the pace group, picked up my pace and passed them. Also, the 2-3 mile area was when my Garmy started to go crazy. It went beep, beep, beep and wouldn’t stop. I looked down and realized my memory was full and I would need to delete old runs. Good one, Eli. Since that would require far too much coordination, I made a risky decision, I turned off my watch. And ran data-less. I felt naked, except I was still very much wearing clothes.
So I did what a good runner does, tried to run off feel. I thought about my first goal, getting rid of my relay belt at Mile 5.1. It was making my shirt ride up every 1/2 mile and was becoming very irritating, so I of course sped up to make sure I got there faster. When I tagged off to Brigitte (Team: Because Jeff Noftz Wanted to Lose Again), they announced my split. I did some quick mental calculations and realized “ok, that’s too fast and your will bonk like it’s hot before the end”. So, I tried to slow it down and keep things sustainable. We proceeded through Ottawa Hills, into Wildwood (which is always my favorite part of the course), and entered the bike path. This area always plays mind games with me, this year being no different. A much appreciated course change (not new this year, but new since I last ran the half), is that the course turns back into Ottawa Hills and enters the campus back through Stadium Drive. Less bike path=happier Eli. Also another fun equation is more cow bell=happier Eli.
I will say, I was doing fan-freaking-tastic until I started Mile 11. What were really minor rollers felt like hills (they weren’t) and my lack of doing longer long runs showed. I caught my second wind when I hit Mile 12 and they announced we were at 95′. I just kept thinking about my wonderful hubby, my sweet Baby J, and just how hard I had worked. I had this.
As I was running into the stadium, I saw that the clock read 1:42:XX. Holy poop balls. I was going to PR in a big way. I saw Hubby right before I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face. I was done. He showed me the official time off of RaceJoy.
Official Time: 1:42:54 (7:50/mile)
Age Group: 20/256
I could not be any happier with how my race went. I was secretly hoping to run even 8 splits, but obviously my legs wanted to go just a bit faster. So I guess we could say I hit my A+ goal. Yay! I was more than eager to fill up my Glass City finisher mug with a well earned brew. At 9 in the morning, nonetheless.
Our relay team wound up finishing in 4:02 and some change. I am proud of our effort, but sad that I missed on the team photo (had to get back to Baby J!)
I feel very grateful that I was picked to be a Race Ambassador for the 2015 running of The Glass City Marathon. I have had a blast sharing my experiences with you over the past few weeks and really enjoyed meeting and interacting with GCM runners at the expo. I will definitely be back to race next year!
If you ran GCM this year, how did you do? What was your favorite part of the race? I hope to see you in 2016!