Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wineglass or Bust 2014

My Wineglass Marathon Experience

   On Saturday, October 4th, I kissed my kids and husband goodbye, as I was about to go on my first overnight trip (without kids) since becoming a Mother. As I loaded my luggage into my friend Chris' car, I thought WOW!! This is for real! She and I, along with her 16 year old daughter were about to embark on quite an adventure. Chris and I had a Marathon to run!
   As we made the 3 and 1/2 hour drive to Corning, New York, we laughed, talked, and enjoyed some tunes, as well as each others company. The closer we got, the more excited we were, almost giddy. As we began to exit the highway, traffic got heavy. We could see the Corning Museum of Glass from the highway, but we just couldn't get there. So close, yet so far away. After some time and patience, we finally made our way to the parking lot of the Welcome Center and caught the shuttle to the CMoG to pick up our race packets. As we followed the sidewalk, we saw masses of people carrying Yellow bags with the race logo on them! We were here and all these people were here for the same purpose!!
   We made our way into the building and picked up our bags, race bibs, wineglasses and our bottles of celebratory Champagne. (Not that I'll be drinking mine, I'm keeping it as a souvenir) They tested the chips in our bibs to make sure they were reading and that the information was correct, then we made our way in to the Race Expo! The race expo was awesome. There were several vendors of race gear as well as nutritional products and the museum gift shop to explore. I left with a new running shirt and a hoodie with the Wineglass logo on the sleeve. :)
   Once we were finished with packet pickup and expo shopping, we headed back to the hotel about 30 minutes away. There we met up with Chris' Parents and Aunt and headed to dinner. After dinner, Chris, Sami, and I enjoyed a soak in the hotel's pool and hot tub. Then it was time to head back to our room and get our gear ready for the race. We debated what to wear since the forecast said it was to be in the 30's the next morning, and laid out our "flat selves". I Skyped Jake and the kids for a few minutes, then it was time for bed. We had to be up at 4:15 to get breakfast and head to the pick up spot to catch the shuttle to the start.
   I didn't sleep well that night. The bed was comfy, but not my own, and I was too nervous about running my first Marathon. 26.2 miles... was I crazy or just stupid?? I tossed, and turned, and wondered if I was the only one not sleeping. Finally about 4 A.M., I thought I heard Chris move in the bed across the room, and whispered "Are you awake?" I saw her sit up and saw her phone light up, and knew that she too was up before the alarm.
We dressed, packed all our stuff and headed downstairs to eat breakfast before the big run. At 5:15, we left the hotel to head into Corning so we could catch the shuttle that would take us to the starting line in Bath, NY. It was so cold that morning that we had to scrape the frost off the wind shield before we could even leave the hotel parking lot. Once we arrived in Corning, we stood about 5 minutes waiting for the next bus. The bus ride took about 30 minutes. When we arrived in Bath, we were ushered into a large garage type building that we had assumed would provide warmth. Unfortunately, there was very little warmth to be had, except for the fact that we were sheltered from the wind, and that there were hundreds of people crowded in this building. We had an hour and a half to wait before the start and I began to get even more nervous. After waiting for an hour, we decided to make our way to the Porta Potties and the Start line.
   It was almost time for the race to begin. Since Chris had previously run a Marathon, she knew what her pace had been and what her goal was, so we decided to run with a Pace group and made our way through the crowd to get near the runner holding the 5 Hour pace sign. We had a plan. I was feeling good, knowing that I could run that pace for at least the first half, and when the gun went off, we slowly began to move. Since there were 2000 runners, it took a while before we actually got across the official start line. But soon we were off and moving at a comfortable pace. For the first 4 miles or so, I felt like there was something stuck to the bottom of my shoe, but it was just my frozen toes not functioning properly. Once my toes thawed, I felt great. Chris and I had passed our pace leader and felt like we could pretty comfortably keep a 10:50/mile pace. At least for the first half. We walked through hydration stations, and sipped Gatorade as we walked. At Mile 8, we saw Chris's family cheering us as we went. It was a great feeling to hear all the people cheering as we ran by, and to read the signs everyone was holding. I was still feeling good through mile 9, but at Mile 10 my knee was beginning to feel tight. We stopped to use the Porta Potties, and just that minute or so of rest, gave my knee the break it needed to keep me going strong. At Mile 11, I had to slow down a bit and Chris went on ahead. At the half way point, I was still feeling good physically, and mentally. I was 13.1 miles in and I had made it that far in less than 2 1/2 hours. If I could keep that pace, I was on target to finish my first Marathon in less than 5 hours!  By mile 15, my knee was really hurting, and my calves were starting to tighten up. I hadn't trained properly and my longest run had been a half Marathon. I Just kept going, running a steady pace and walking through the hydration stations and enjoying the scenery and the signs that the spectators were holding. By mile 18, it was so much more mental then physical. My legs hurt, and they hurt bad! I was in pain from the bottom of my toes, almost to my thighs, but giving up was NOT an option! I had no option but to walk for a while. A couple times, my eyes welled up with tears, and I thought I was never going to be able to finish. At this point it was more of a mental game than anything! I came up to another runner who was walking and we stuck together for a while, talking and encouraging each other.  Her name was Katie, and she was from Pittsburgh. After walking a couple miles, I felt the pain ease up enough that I felt like I could run a bit. I bid Katie goodbye, and good luck, and she told me maybe she'd catch back up to me. Around the 22 mile mark, Katie caught back up to me and we shuffled along attempting to run, but ultimately walking most of the next few miles. It was then that we decided we would run once we hit the 25 mile mark. I had to mentally prepare myself, and when we hit that point, off we went. The closer we got, the louder people cheered. As we turned the corner onto Market Street, I could see the finish line. The crowd was cheering, and saying things like "you're almost there", "looking good" and "keep it up"! As I neared the finish, with Katie by my side, I saw Chris' parents, Aunt and Sami, and as they cheered, my eyes began to fill with tears. I had made it, I was just about to cross that finish line and I had completed a Full Marathon. As I crossed the finish and received my medal, I heard "Shanny, you did it! You finished!" and looked up to see Chris running towards me. As I hugged her, we both began to sob. Not even a pretty cry. We had a down right UGLY cry! She had completed her second Marathon, and I my first. I have never felt such a sense of accomplishment and pride in anything before! It was amazing! But, I couldn't have done it without the encouragement I got from Chris and my new friend Katie!

No comments:

Post a Comment