Saturday, October 8, 2011

Inaugural Wineglass half-marathon race report

Last Sunday, I ran the Inaugural Wineglass half-marathon in Corning, New York. My dad, my sister and I were all running the half, and my mother was running the full. I finished with a PB of 1:48:48 or so.

This is me crossing the finish line. Notice the emergency poncho on my wrist and my T. Rex arms.

We picked up our race packets, which had a wineglass, and sparkling wine in them, and went to the expo. The expo was small, but nice. When we went it wasn't too busy which was nice. I kind of wish they had more selection, but I can't complain overall. They did have a variety of different things, just not what I was looking for.

The weather come race day wasn't that great - I think it was somewhere between 5-8 C, which is pretty darn cold, and rainy. There was some wind as well, but at least that wasn't too bad. I ended up wearing shorts and a long sleeve top, and I'm not convinced that was the best choice. The people in the half were really lucky. Our start was near a school, which they opened up for us to wait in, rather than having us wait outside, which was fantastic. We ran into a group of people from Ottawa, and a couple of friends of my dad's so that was pretty cool. My sister and I embarked on a potty search (at this point we couldn't get to the toilets in the school and we had to go outside to the port-a-potties), where we found some with a line and walked around to the other side of the school, where we found more. Unfortunately, because it was early, and because it was cloudy, you really couldn't see well in the potties. Anyway, we did our business (on the way to one set, we saw a guy that apparently just gave up looking and peed against the school. Classy), and went to find dad, to get to the start. We wandered around the school, found the now open area of the school where the bathrooms were, ran into my dad's friend, who pointed us in the direction of our dad, and then found dad. He hurried us outside to find the baggage check (we were momentarily stopped by the national anthem), and threw our bags on the truck and made our way to the start line. The start was delayed about 10 minutes; I found out later it was because the marathoners weren't all lined up. Apparently they were dropped off about a mile from the start and had to walk! At the start, I began with an emergency poncho on, which I kept on for about a mile or so and then took off and tied around my wrist, as I had the mistaken impression that I would actually use it again if necessary (I didn't). I think the issue was that it was too wide, so every time there was a breeze it turned into a sail, so I didn't really want to put it on again. I should have grabbed a garbage bag from the lady at the front desk of the hotel. Oh well. Anyway. Running. It was wet and cold. The water stops were really well run - no issues finding the gatorade or water! One stop had Coke! And apparently somewhere there was a guy handing out 'sunshine in a cup' aka beer. I didn't see him though. Which is too bad because an alcohol insulation layer would have been nice.

The first 15 km of the race went really well. I felt relatively good and was hitting my revised pace (I didn't think I was going to run between a 1:45 and 1:46 half marathon in the conditions, so I was aiming for between 1:47 and 1:50). I didn't feel too cold and my feet weren't soaked. I probably added on a bit of distance avoiding puddles, but it resulted in my feet not being soaked so I'll take it. There were a lot of people out too, for the weather. I was surprised to see people out in their lawnchairs with umbrellas, or pulled off the highway to watch. So that was totally awesome. I think I saw more people out in the rain and cold, than I see in the local half marathon races when the weather is nice! I accidentally missed the first water station I was going to eat at (read: scarf a Gu), so I ended up doing that a little late, but I don't think it hurt me too badly.

From 15 km-17 km I could I started to get a little cold, I think because my shirt was soaked, and just clinging to me, so the cold, wet never went away. I think that constant cold began to slow me down. Every kilometer I had to remind myself to start relaxing my shoulders because they were creeping up, and to swing my arms, because I was running with 'T. Rex arms" (as my sister puts it). My T Rex impersonation was not helping me run, unfortunately. At kilometer 17, I felt, what I thought, was a blister forming on my left foot. I had run in my shoes, and socks because and I didn't have an issue, but I think the wet took its toll on me and my feet (luckily though, nowhere else. I lubed up pretty well with BodyGlide, but you never know when it's rainy what is going to happen). I ended up slowing a little over the last 4 km, partly because my ankle was aching, and partly because I think my body was just getting tired. At about 1 km to go I chatted a bit with another runner, who had stopped (cramp in his calf) and had just started up running again, and how we would remember this race forever, and how we would make people think it was more hard by telling them we ran the course backwards (the race is a net downhill), in the cold and rain.

It was a really nice finish in downtown Corning, and there were lots of people on the streets cheering, which was nice. I finished the race with a PB of 1:48:48, got my medal and met up with my sister (who finished ahead of me and also PB'd with 1:46:51) and grabbed some chocolate milk. Soon after my Dad finished at 1:49:47, and we went to get our bags, and get some food. The food at the finish was fantastic. There was hot chicken soup which I mainlined about 3 bowls of, pizza, cookies, and the regular fair of bananas, apples, bagel, and yogurt. There were also some Gu's that we could pick up and some bottles of Powerade which we also took some of. We then treked back to the hotel to shower and warm up before seeing my mom finish.
My medal and my race number
 So we arrive at the hotel and I take off my shoes and socks, and I see, what I thought was a developing blister during the race, was actually a blister that had broken, and I was bleeding. Actually, when I took off my shoe, it looked like I had a gash across the back of my foot, just because of the way the blood had dried. As my sister and dad took their showers, I cleaned up my foot a little, and tried to get the blood out of my shoe.  Then heat, glorious heat in the shower. My ankle hurt like a motherfucker, with all the sweat/salt running over it, and I notice I had some chaffing on the top of my other foot, but other than that, there wasn't any, so I was pleased about that. Dry clothes, and back out to the race.

We saw my mom finish and then went to find her after she got her medal. And looked...and looked...went to the bag area, and looked...still no mom. Went into the food area...still no mom. Went back to the finish...still no mom. Split up and looked around, I picked up her bag and stood there, probably looking like an idiot, but it was getting muddy around the bag area, and I figured I'd see her coming. Finally we find her...she was in the medical tent! She was cold after the race, and was directed in there, got a couple of blankets and was near a heat lamp (if only I knew that after I finished...). We went back through for more food, and went to check out the results, mom won a shirt for finishing 3rd in her age group and...I wasn't there. No record of me finishing the race, nothing. So that was a little...stressful. I talked to the race director and the timing people, who took my name, bib, and approximate finishing time (I didn't have my Garmin on, and didn't have the exact time I thought I finished at). I figured that would be the end of it.

We had a lovely dinner that night at The Gaffer Grille and Tap Room - the place was pretty busy. While we were on the search for restaurants, we noticed that a lot of them were closed on Sunday, and despite there being a lot of people in town for the race...they were still closed. So the places that were open were really busy.

We got back from dinner and checked the online results and...still no Lauren :( I checked Facebook, and it looked like some other people had the same problem, and the race director said that they would fix it. I think it was an issue for quite a number of people; between the full marathon and the half marathon there were over 500 people that were listed as DNF. Some of those were people that did not start, and some that actually didn't finish, and some people, like me, that did finish and had a defective chip. Fast-forward three days, and I get an email from the race director saying that they have tentative results, and to see if you are there. I'm still not there. I e-mail back and they say that they are following up. On Saturday, there are new results and...I have a finishing time! My Garmin clocked me at 1:48:46 (gun time), and they have me at 1:48:48 (gun time), but I'm not going to fight over 2 seconds. I was just happy they were able to accommodate me. My time didn't have me place overall, or even in my age group, but it was a personal best for me, and it was really frustrating and disappointing to not have an official result that said that much, when I finished the race.

It is a really well organized race overall. The water stations were well organized, the food was great and again, with the timing thing, they worked hard to fix it for me. There were more people out than I had expected to cheer us on, so that was pretty awesome. I had heard some people in the half found some kittens (that I think someone had abandoned), on the race route, and picked them up and handed them off to some of the people watching the race, which is so awesome! The medal is really nice - the half one is a purple-y colour and oval shaped. I think it's pretty nice.

There are a few things I would like changed though. At the start, it wasn't immediately clear where the bag check was, I think because a lot of us were huddled inside. If we were all outside, it would have been fine, but unfortunately, because we weren't we had no clue where it was. We were lucky our dad knew where it was (it was a big U-haul truck or something), so we could get to it immediately. We likely would have found it on our own, but it was a lot less stressful to know that someone knew where it was. When picking up the bags, they were on the ground, outside under a tent thing (those ez-up tents). They had moved the food into a nearby parkade, so I'm not sure why they couldn't moved the bags in there as well. The ground was wet, so they got a little damp inside (especially the marathon ones, I expect), and the area got muddy after a while. The other thing that would have been nice was a scanner thing to ensure that the chips were working. I had attached mine to my shoe as instructed, so I'm not sure why it wouldn't have worked, unless the weather affected it or something, or if it was defective from the start.

Still, overall I thought it was a great race, and hopefully, if I run it again, the weather is a little nicer.

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