I signed up for Wineglass on a whim several months ago when my running partner committed to the race. In the weeks leading up the the race, I experienced enough stress in other areas of my life that I wasn’t even sure if I was going to make it to the starting line. Fortunately, my schedule cleared a few days before the race and we had the green light to go ahead. We met up and got on the road mid-morning the day before the race. The drive up took us about four hours, and we immediately appreciated the changing leaves that we began to spot along the highway.
We made it to Corning and drove straight to the expo. The expo was tiny, but after years of running races, neither of us tend to care much one way or the other as long as we can get our race stuff. What we were more excited about was the opportunity to create our own sand-blasted wine glasses. We each paid $12 for the opportunity to get creative. We were provided with a blank wine glass, several rolls of masking tape of various thickness, and a wide variety of stickers. After spying on some of our neighbors to get ideas, we sat down and got to work. Thirty minutes later, we were each the proud owner of a one-of-a-kind wine glass.
Our glasses, prior to sandblasting.
From there, we drove the 20 minutes north to our hotel in Bath, which was also acting as the start line of the race. Our hotel was extremely sketchy. The entire place smelled like smoke and it gave off the vibe of a place where you would take home bed bugs. In fact, I had not one, but two nightmares about that as I tried to get some rest for the race. Fortunately, our fears were unfounded and we survived the night and checked out in the morning with only the items that we had brought with us.
The benefit to staying in Bath was the ease of traveling to the start line. We drove about 3 minutes down the road, found parking in a free lot behind a county building, and then boarded a bus for the five minute drive to the start line. We arrived at the start with about 45 minutes to go. We ate a snack, tried to keep warm, and observed our fellow runners. With fifteen minutes before the race start, we dropped our bags at the gear check, and positioned ourselves at the start line. It’s funny how calm this start was compared to the big city races – with almost no fanfare, we were off on our way.
The first several miles of the course took us through Bath, before we turned onto the highway that would take us all the way to Corning. For the first ten miles, we were positioned between the 4:20 and 4:30 pacers. It appeared that the 4:20 pacer was a bit ambitious, as we were running roughly 9:45 min/miles and he remained ahead of us. We had agreed that we didn’t care about the time for this race, but after such a strong start, I felt cautiously optimistic that this might be my race to break the 4:30 mark. The course was almost completely flat, with just a couple of short inclines and declines (really too small to be called hills), and the scenery was stunning. Add in the gorgeous weather, and it really was an ideal day to run a marathon.
Some of the gorgeous sights along the course.
Unfortunately, my body began to feel differently around mile 11. I began to experience a stabbing pain in my foot, something that I had experienced occasionally over the past year, but never to that degree. Dealing with sharp pains is a nuisance on any run, but it is unbelievably discouraging when they show up before you’ve even hit the halfway mark of your marathon. I quickly went from visualizing a PR to simply aiming to make it as many miles as possible before having to slow to a walk.
After several more miles, I seemed to have forged a compromise with my foot – it was still painful, but wasn’t getting any worse, and as it hurt both walking and running, I figured I might as well just run. It was at that point that my stomach starting acting up. I honestly can’t say how many times I pulled over to the side of the course between miles 15-23. I actually found myself trying to get sick, just to clear the contents of my heaving stomach. Sadly, I couldn’t even manage that. Somewhere in the midst of this stretch, my awesome friend actually veered off course to a 7-11 to purchase me a Coke in the hopes that it might settle my stomach. I don’t recall feeling much better afterwards, but I did manage to run most of the distance from 22 to the end, so maybe it helped a bit.
Thank God for sympathetic running partners. My friend, Jen, announced the day before that we were sticking together for the entire race, no matter what happened. After such a disastrous experience, I tried to send her off numerous times, but she stubbornly stayed by my side. To be honest, as guilty as I felt for messing up her race, I’m not sure if I would have made it all the way to the finish line without her. When we made the final turn and spotted the finish line, I nearly burst into tears.
Wineglass has one of the most beautiful finishes that I’ve ever seen. The final stretch lasted about 3/10 of a mile, and was filled with encouraging spectators. We crossed the finish line and were greeted with beautiful glass medals, space blankets, and a surprisingly satisfying post-race spread that included string cheese, hot chicken noodle soup, fruit, and chocolate chip cookies. I was also thrilled to see that they were handing out free cans of Coke at the finish as well, something that I’ve only previously found in ultra races. We found a warm patch of pavement and plopped down to refuel and soak in the atmosphere.
Celebrating friendship and the ability to persevere to the finish line.
It’s been about a week since the race, and I’m still not quite sure how I managed to feel so awful on such a perfectly beautiful day for running. Maybe it was all of the outside stress in the weeks leading up to the race. Perhaps it was too much time spent on the trails and not enough long runs on the roads. Maybe the awful night of not sleeping caught up to me mid-race. All I know is that despite feeling worse than I ever have in a race, we managed to cross the finish, and even somehow broke 5 hours. In addition, the race itself was great, from start to finish. I doubt I’ll run it again, simply because I’m learning that I have a much greater love for trails than roads, but as far as road races go, I highly recommend it.
Our gorgeous finisher medals!