Yep, marathon number 10 is now on the books.  I had great hopes for this race.  I hoped to finish in 3:50, which would give me a BQ – 5 mins, and I would spend my summer concentrating on shorter races, lazy leisurely summer morning runs, and go for a new PR in the Columbus half marathon in October.  Well, things don’t always end up the way you’d like.

Saturday, Race Expo

I had a good morning working at the Info table with the other race Ambassadors.  It’s fun to see all of the behind the scenes activities involved in making a race a success.  The Glass City Marathon is a well run race!!

2016-04-23 13.06.10-1

Sunday, Race Recap

A caught a ride to the University of Toledo, where the event is held, at 5:45am with my neighbors.  Our neighborhood is full of runners, so it wasn’t too hard to find someone who was racing Glass City.  The morning was downright beautiful, around 38 degrees I think.  It had been a question of wearing capris or shorts for most of the days leading up to the race, but I decided on shorts since they were warmer compression style.  I also wore a headband to keep my ears warm, a hat and glasses for the sunny forecast, arm warmers, so I could regulate my temperature, and throw away sweatpants and jacket.

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The race had around 7,500 participants so the starting corrals were getting full.  We lined up, and shortly after 7am we were off!  My goal finish time was 3:50.  My plan was to run for as long as I could at an 8:40 pace, with the ultimate goal of 8:45 overall.  I knew I was more of a positive splits and late race fade person, so I gave myself some wiggle room for later the race.

I thought my race was over in the first mile when the 3:55 pace group cruised right past me!  It was super crowded in the first 1.5 miles and my pace was already slower than wanted: 9:01, 8:42  Since I was concerned with overall pace, I went a little faster on the earlier miles to get my overall pace back up to 8:40.

Around mile 4 I reached to put my sunglasses on, and one of the lens popped out of the frame.  Crap!  It had done this before, and I’ve tried gluing it.  Guess that was not a good fix.  I threw the glasses off to the side of the road in disgust.  Good thing I had a hat on because it was sunny.

My overall pace was looking good for quite some time, and by mile 15 it had dropped just a little to 8:43.  My husband and my kids were spectating along the course and I was lucky enough to see them several times by this point.  Here’s a picture of me still hanging in there at mile 16!

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At mile 17 we started a 3 mile stretch along a busy street.  I always dislike this part of the course because of the street, and it’s an uphill climb.  At mile 20, we entered back into a park… and entered a new phase of my race:  the sucky part.  My overall pace was now 8:47.  On my arm I had written three numbers: 8:45, 8:51 and 8:55.  8:45 being my goal time (3:50), 8:51 my PR (3:53) and 8:54 barely a BQ (3:54:59).  I had a decision to make… I could dig deep and finish it out, or… walk.  And guess what?  That little voice inside my head that told me this was very hard, getting very uncomfortable, and my glutes were in immense pain… well it won.  I stopped running and walked 🙁  Yep, when the going got tough, I made the decision to not fight it any more.

I texted my husband and told him I was sorry, but I was fading big time.  He told me to just keep going.  So I did.  I started a painful run and kept going for a mile or so.  We entered into an incline that goes up to a house in the park.  It’s full of lots of cheering people, a band, and a lot of excitement.  There was no stopping now!  So I painfully trudged up to the top of that “hill” and then walked when I was out of sight 🙂  Phew.  That was exhausting.  Right at that moment the 3:55 pace group passed me!  And to add injury to insult, my friend was with them and he slapped me on the back and encouragingly said “Come on Lisa!”. Ugggghhhhh.  I let out the first of many tears that day.

My husband and kids were only a half a mile away again, so I started running again until I saw my daughter ringing a cowbell on the path waiting for me.  I slowed again and walked over to her.   At that point I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore and I just tried to smile and said Hi to her.  I really felt like I was disappointing them and I felt terrible.  I kept walking towards my son and husband, and my daughter just stayed there ringing the cowbell for other people.  I called her over to me, and when she caught up with me I could tell she had been crying too.  Oh man, that really sucked.  I felt terrible that I had upset her like that.  I got my composure back and started my slow run to the finish because I had only 4 miles left at this point.  Pace for that mile: 10:17  The next mile was my worst, 11:14.

In my head I figured the worst I was going to do was get right under 4 hours, and I knew that I had to do better than a 9:11 pace to achieve that.  If I was going to make that goal, I had to get my shit together and finish this thing.  I managed to pick up the pace slightly (9:44, 9:32, 9:36) and the overall pace on my watch now said 9:08, so it really seemed possible to get sub 4:00.  As I made my death march to the finish line, I started doing the math… two minutes left to run .2 miles?  I can do that.  I’ve got time.  I think.

When I crossed the finish, my official time was 4:00:48.  Damn.  The official pace, 9:12.

To say I was disappointed in myself for giving up is an understatement.  My fueling worked great – was not hungry at the end.  I took GUs at 7, 12, 17 & 22.  I hydrated enough.  I even dressed appropriately – finish temperatures were in the 60s.  Couldn’t have asked for a better day weather wise!  But I just wasn’t willing to push through the pain.  I need to get better not giving up when it feels uncomfortable.  There’s always something to learn from each race!

All in all, a 4 hour marathon is an accomplishment and is not even my worst time.  I was 18th out of 66 people in my age group.  Not bad at all!  I got a beautiful medal, an awesome race shirt and enjoyed being an ambassador.  Best of all, I had my family there to support me, even when I was having a meltdown.  For that, I am thankful.  Even a bad race is a good race if you cross the finish line 🙂



Q: Ever have a meltdown during a race?  What helped you get back in the game?

Q: Any suggestions – If I have continually had bad glute pain when running longer distances, who should I go see for that?  My sports Dr?  A physical therapist??  I need help, this problem needs to be solved!


16 thoughts on “Marathon #10 – Glass City Marathon 2016”
  1. Oh how I wish I was there to hug you….. this post had me in tears! OF course, I cry watching the Boston or NY marathons on TV. Just to know about all the training and preparation for the race, not to mention the actual work it takes to run 26.2, you can’t help your emotions. My heart goes out to you because I know how much a BQ meant…. but, you really kicked a$$….. I think you are AMAZING!!!!!! You inspire me to push myself!!!! And, I personally think you rocked that 26.2 in a fabulous time!!!!!!! You really are AWESOME!!!!!! Just know that!!!!!!

    1. Awww thanks Polly! I really appreciate your kind words and support. Marathons are such an emotional roller coaster for me. That’s what I like about half marathons – I don’t have time to turn into a bawling fool. 🙂

  2. Thank you for the work you did as a Glass City Ambassador & sharing your story. While I’m sure I would have felt the same way seeing my daughter cry during the race, I believe your example was a gift. Your family knows how hard you have trained & how dedicated you are. There are times in their lives that they may not make the team, or win the award, or get the job they have been working towards. But they have your example of giving your all, being dissappointed, not quitting, & coming back stronger (I know you will!). I thought a BQ would be mine in Indy this past fall, but was majorly disappointed. I had to work through that & was able to have a great race in Toledo. I really enjoyed Matt Fitzgerald’s book, ” How Bad Do You Want It?” while training this cycle., including a chapter called “The Gift of Failure.” Best of luck to you in the future!

    1. Thanks, you are right – I did tell her it was ok that I didn’t get my goal, I was just disappointed. It happens, and we learn from it. Interesting that you mention Matt’s book. I was looking for an inspirational book prior to the race and saw that. I will definitely check it out now! (Not the week before the race. Haha!)

  3. Sorry your race didn’t go as planned. It is really frustrating that you spend all the time and energy over 12-16 weeks preparing for one day and then, for one reason or another, it just doesn’t come together. It took me 18 tries to finally BQ and several of those were missed by only a couple of minutes. Like you said, every race is a learning experience, so rest up, heal up, and get back out there. As for the glute question, I have a doctor here in Chicago who is part of an orthopedic group and is speciality is non-surgical treatment of sports injuries. Maybe you could start with someone like that and find out what is causing the problem. I had pain in my right glute which turned out to be the quadratus femoris muscle.

    1. I think I will start with my sports Dr. I thought doing squats would help, but they just caused more pain! Maybe it was an adjustment period though, and later on they would have helped. And yes, frustrating for sure!! Oh well, life will go on 🙂

  4. First of all Lisa, you are absolutely stunning!

    This post had me in tears because I have been there before. I’ve walked when it got tough, I’ve felt like I let people down. I’ve missed my goals. It sucks, it’s a horrible feeling. The way you described it, I felt your pain. I am sorry the race did not go as planned.

    You will BQ. You will PR. I know you will because it is important to you. This race just must be part of your journey to your ultimate goal. And we all know how much sweeter victory is when the road was tough vs. easy. Sunday wasn’t your day, but your day is coming.
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Don’t Forget to Vote!My Profile

    1. Thanks Meg 🙂 This post puts *me* in tears just recounting it all, I better stop reading it!!! I am glad people post things like this because during a race, even though you see other people walking, you get the feeling that you’re the only one struggling. It’s reassuring to read about what other people go through and know you’re not alone.

      1. I totally know what you’re saying. But it’s true, we ALL struggle. That’s why I love connecting with other runners through blogs! We can share our triumphs and our struggles and 9 times out of 10 everyone is going to be able to relate.
        Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Don’t Forget to Vote!My Profile

  5. You know you want to run Erie this fall! And we can get up early in the summer and hit the track for some wicked hahd intervals that will make you faster! And you should always know how proud myself and the kids are of you. 🙂

  6. Congrats on a 4hr marathon! I could feel your frustration coming through this post and you’ve earned the right to feel that way after training hard. Some days just aren’t our days and I’m glad you’re able to see all the positives that came from this race too! I definitely don’t think you let anyone in your family down. I’m sure they were inspired by your perseverance!

    When I had a pain in my butt I went to the physical therapist!
    Kristina Running recently posted…Running Experts?My Profile

    1. Thanks for the kind words 🙂 That’s what I’m wondering – if a PT would give me some exercises, or if it’s more the kind of thing a trainer would work with me on for strengthening exercises. I suppose either one would give me that kind of thing. It’s just seemed like PT cost a lot of money (for me, covering my copay first). I just want to make sure I go to the right person! I have PT exercises from previous visits, but they didn’t seem to help much in the long run (pun intended!!).

  7. Aw Lisa, I’m so sorry the race didn’t go the way you wanted it to. I wish I could reach through the screen and give you a hug. You’ve been training so hard and it is so frustrating when things start to fall apart like that during a race. A four hour marathon is definitely something to be proud of, but I can completely understand still being disappointed from missing your BQ and PR.

    As for your glute: When I was dealing with hip/glute pain I saw a sports massage guy. This was about two weeks before my first marathon. I went the non-doctor route because I didn’t have time to wait to deal with a referral from my primary doctor to a PT. I also didn’t want to risk a having a doctor tell me I shouldn’t run the race. The person I saw is a former UM track athlete and has previous work experience treating UM athletes and assisting with physical therapy. If you are willing to make the drive up to Ann Arbor, I can pass on his contact information. He is amazing! Seriously! Before I saw him I had completely stopped running and had a few days where even walking was painful. After 3 appointments (and daily stretching/massage stuff at home as he directed) I was able to finish my marathon with no issues.
    Heather [is probably running] recently posted…5k #16 – 2016 Glass City 5kMy Profile

    1. Thanks Heather! I’m happy to report that I’m off the funk from that race and my mood is back on track. Post race blues are the worst!! I am getting a massage tomorrow, so the glutes will be a topic of discussion. It’s frustrating because almost every night I was stretching and doing hip/glute exercises and I felt like I was really doing a lot, but it really didn’t help. I did talk briefly to a PT at the race expo, and she seemed like a good resource. In retrospect, I should have chatted with her a lot, but my Ambassador duties were awaiting me. Free consultation! 🙂

    2. That’s great it worked for you. That gives me hope!! I know there is some solution for this issue, and I’m guessing it’s a combination of several things (PT, stretching & massages). Sadly, that’s a little too far for me to drive, but I’ll keep it in mind just in case!

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