What a day it was!! After 16 weeks of training for this race in the cold temps of Ohio, race day met us with the only 80 degree temps of the year so far! In fact, the weather was snowing on Monday, but by Saturday and Sunday the highs were projected to be 81. Not so great for runners who haven’t acclimated to the heat!
The University of Toledo was a buzz with race excitement all weekend.
We got great swag this year – the marathoners got a jacket and we all got a glass.
Race day started in an unusual way this year. We had to feed our foster kittens! We are fostering 4 kittens who are a little over a week old and require frequent feedings. I feed them at midnight and then we were up at 4am to fed the kittens so we could be out the door at 5:15am. Parking on campus at the University of Toledo was readily available by the time we got there. I was going to meet friends for a picture at 6am, but the more important task of using the porta potty was first!
Here’s my one and only complaint about the race this year… the lack of porta potties at the start! I was in the corral where there were 4 potties. There were other spots in the start area with potties, but I did hear a large number of them were at the finish area. That makes sense, but I waited in line up until the national anthem was played to use one (and I am super thankful I waited!! I needed to go!).
At 6:30ish each corral was moved up to the start line. I did see a 2:00 half pacer, but not the 4:00 pacer. Oh yeah, there were 5 pacers behind me in line for the porta pottie! I later learned that they did not make it to their start corral on time. The 2:00/4:00 pace group was my strategy to keep it slow during the race and not go out too fast. Going into this race I knew the temperatures would not produce an A Goal race, or maybe even a B Goal race, so I tried working with the pace group.
Things were fine with the pace group but by mile 2 I was already sweating. And then the half marathoners split off at mile 10. Then I was all alone on my marathon journey 😐 The heat was already starting to get to me so I slowed my pace. And then… the first of the walk breaks happened!
I was also feeling sore already. My quads were the issue. I think it was a combination of the hilly part of the course and my Endorphin Pros. I know I’ve had sore quads from races before and I might just need more mileage on my race shoes to get used to them (because I train in the Endorphin Speed, which is similar, but not the same).
As you can see from my pace chart, each mile pretty much got slower and slower, with the ratio of run/walk finally turning into walk/sometimes run. By now it was at least 70 degrees out with full sun. I had a water belt with two bottles. On a typical long run I’ll maybe drink half of a bottle, but today, I drank both bottles, refilled twice and also grabbed a big disposable ice cold water bottle from a spectator who just happened to think giving the runners was a good idea. No, it was a GREAT idea!! She pretty much saved my life. My Garmin data reported an average HR of 170 for this race and hit a high of 196! Not sure how accurate my wrist HR is, but I was feeling it!
I did have thoughts back around mile 10 to just take a DNF because this race had “long &*%&^ day” written all over it, but I decided to just trudge through it like everyone else. My quads were on fire, so I didn’t run much, but little by little I made my way to the end. I also saw many of my friends and had some fun conversations along the way. I also ran through at least 3 sprinklers. That was great!!
Finally, I reached the last half mile. I was encouraged by the large crowds to “stay strong”, but oh man, keeping up a run was soooo painful. I finally reached a section called “Rally Row” at mile 26 and saw a big group of my friends cheering for me. I can do it!! All of their smiles kept me running and I hit the finish area. Thankful my legs didn’t give out and made a final sprint (actual pace for the last .2 miles, 11:443 hahaha!!) to the finish. My husband and daughter were at the finish and I saw them before I crossed. It was so great to finally be done!! Finish time 4:40. Alan finished in 4:19. On Strava he named his run “The suckiest sucky run that ever sucked.” LOL!! I guess you are getting the theme of the day by now. I was told that even the elites had walked during this race!
After pictures I headed straight for the beer line and sucked down a cold one. It was fun to share war stories with my friends and celebrate our accomplishment. What a day! I’m not sad that this is my new PW (personal worst) race time. It was one heck of a day and crossing that finish line is always something to celebrate.
I’m really looking forward to my race pictures because around mile 6 I decided to roll up my tank top into a crop top. It’s fair to say my abs really are not in top shape at this time 😉
One very positive thing about this race is that I didn’t have any of the pains I’ve had over the past few years (high hamstring pain, lower abs pain) and heck, even with all of the water I poured on myself I didn’t have one blister or chafing. I’m calling that a huge win!! This leaves me in great condition to regroup and think about a fall marathon. And hey guess what, in the Fall I get an additional 10 mins for my BQ time (4:05 vs 3:55). Hmmmmm, I wonder where I should set my sights for that BQ race?! Decisions, decisions.
We had delicious salty Chinese food for dinner after the race, and the next day we had our traditional “dogs and brew” lunch.
This was my 11th year of running an event at Glass City (6 marathons now, and 5 half marathons). It is also my 16th marathon!