Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Glass City Marathon Reveiw.

Res a good panoramic stitch togetherImage via Wikipedia
By: Brent

I have run plenty of races. I started small and graduated up. I ran my first 5k at age 30 after having my second daughter and realizing I wasn't getting any smaller, or younger, or healthier. I weighed in at around 238 lbs. My first race was at an 11:30+ mile. I was pleased to know I could finish, but knew I had more in the tank. I ran a couple more and always saw progress. Then I stepped up to a 10k. This was a road/trail race. I honestly thought they had mismarked the course. I knew somehow they had sent me on a 10 miler and everyone was laughing at me. Nope, it appears it had been marked as expected. I then ran a couple more 10k's and again, always saw progress. I finally got down to under an hour and felt pretty good about that. I then stepped up to my first half marathon. 13.1 miles amongst 35,000 others. I honestly didn't enjoy the crowd but I was okay with the length. It was 40 minutes of waiting from the time the gun fired to the time I finally started the start line. That alone put me in a funk and I just never shook that. I entered 2 more half marathons and again, always saw improvement. I started flirting with a 2 hour half marathon and I liked the sound of that. I figured that since I was so close to the 2 hour point, I should step up again.

4/25/10. Glass City Marathon. 26.2 miles. Toledo, OH. 700 Marathon runners. Dead flat. The weather made for tricky game time decision as far as what to wear. It was 50 degrees and had rained hard the night before. The forecast was still pretty spotty looking as far as what would happen, but it was rain or shine and the most important thing was that it started. Elizabeth went to the race with me and as they are saying the final announcements I change my mind. I'll drop the long sleeve shirt and just go short sleeve. She helped me change my bib to the short sleeve and about the time I got my hat on, the gun fired. As always the crowd pushes and you feel that instant adrenaline, then it bottlenecks and you feel like a dope walking for 15 seconds, then you take off again. Its like detonating a bomb, then stopping to tie your shoe. So the race began and for the first mile and a half it takes me a little bit to get in a groove. Then you sink in and left right left right just seems to be an after thought. You forget breathing and you just coast. I remembering looking around in some of the subdivisions that it trekked us through thinking, "I have never been to Toledo, but this is a wonderful city" So around mile 4 I thought, "hmmmm. I gotta pee." But I was coasting along nicely at a 9:30 pace and I really didn't want to break that. I pushed on. At about mile 6, I was started chatting with another lady who was running her first marathon. Very pleasant lady who was the overly positive thinker. Very nice. Just a little over the top with the whole "everything is sooooo wonderful". Either way we got in a great pace and both had 4:10 on the brain. We coasted along with no complaints (not that she would have heard them anyways). We hit the halfway point and it was roughly 2:05. I knew that was good and bad. Good that I was on pace at about my half marathon pace, and bad knowing that I had to maintain it all over to not lose my 4:10.

Pee was on my mind. It was getting worse. I had that thought. Yes I did. "How bad is a wet sock?" Then it dawned on me... I will not be winning anything. Zero. No amount of urine in my shoe was going to be worth it. At mile 16 we were still kicking along at 9:30's but I saw port a potty's and it felt like it was going to be the right move. I checked my watch before going in. No line, but the "process" felt like an eternity. Come on, come on...... Okay! ...get back to it! But it was tricky. That stop felt very rewarding. it gave the muscles time to tighten and the lactic acid some time to set in. Even if this wasn't true, in my head, it happened. I knew I was doomed. From 16 on it was a struggle.

For about 10 miles I mixed running and a strong willed walk. It wasn't what I wanted but it wasn't rolling over and letting the marathon win either. I passed each mile marker and always felt a bit of relief with each pass. When I hit mile 22 I thought, you did it. Your going to make it, push on. I thought with 3 miles left, you can run it out to the finish... but I couldn't get the body to agree. With 1.2 left I thought okay, we can finish this. You could see the stadium that you would be finishing at. But I couldn't get it going, still mixing short runs with longer walks that were still spirited no doubt. At mile 25 one volunteer yelled "Water, Gatorade, Beer!" With the iPod blasting, I flinched. BEER!?!?! I grabbed one thinking this will be the best story ever! I took a college gulp of the coldish Coors Light and instantly thought, this was a horrible idea. I still needed to juggle my guts another 1.2 miles so I dumped it (Sorry Beer Gods, just poor timing!) Just after the 25 mile marker the 4:30 pacer passed me. So I knew I could hang in there for this, the last mile. I mixed my pace and we switched back and forth until we finally made the turn in to the stadium. I knew I could finish with a run. No questions. I looked good, as I always do at any 2 given moments.. 1) Camera man 2) Finish line. Never let them see you walk in the newspaper. You have to be ready to pick up the pace and you never know when the camera man will hop out from a bush. Race camera men are like ninjas but at the finish of my first marathon, I knew I would be lookin' good.

At the end of the day I ran a 4:31:57. A PR (naturally). Did I have that feeling of okay, when is the next marathon? Nope. I wanted to throw up. I wanted to cry. I wanted a hot tub. You do instantly think about the pee break and think "what if..." But I really didn't care. I won't say I will never run another, but the marathon isn't my favorite distance. I love the bike. I want to get into Duathon's and I am thrilled that I completed a full marathon. I knew if I did a duathon first (run, bike, run) I may never do a full marathon so to me I have now graduated on to do another sport.... Multisport.

Overall thoughts of the course. Very pretty. Lots of nice grassy, forest area's. The downside, the course was frequently on 6 and 7 mile straight sections. Wind was tough but then you do it for 6 and 7 miles straight, it gets really boring. If I could have hung with that lady, it would have helped having someone to pass the time with but overall, I was very pleased with the course.

4:31:57. PR.
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  1. Wow!! What a great 1st Marathon. Great job!

  2. Great job good buddy! :)
    Proud of ya!

  3. Great race report. I've done 2 halfs, and I'm going to step up to a full when I can actually run most of it.

    My cousin Matt Folk has won this race two years in a row, and I think when I'm ready to do one, I'm going to come home and do that one.