On Sunday I ran the Glass City Half Marathon in Toledo, Ohio. I wasn’t expecting the race to go very well since my training hadn’t quite gone according to plan, but I have to say, all things considered I am very happy with how the half turned out!
My expectations for the race took a slight hit when I woke up on Saturday with a sore throat. I figured it would go away after an hour or two. No such luck. As the day dragged on I felt worse and worse. I had gotten up early on Saturday with the hopes of going to bed early that night. Instead I spent all day fighting to stay awake. I was afraid if I took a nap I wouldn’t be able to sleep that night, and with a 4:30 am wake up call, I needed a good night’s sleep. Again, no such luck. I woke up at 1:00 am feeling absolutely dreadful. I managed another couple hours of dozing in and out and then my alarm was going off.
I had planned out my race outfit the night before, so I wouldn’t have to make any decisions while I was still half asleep. I ate a quick waffle with peanut butter and tried to sip on some water but my throat was not interested in swallowing. I packed a cooler with some post race snacks and a couple bottles of water, grabbed a change of clothes for after the race, and then it was time to hit the road. I managed a bit more water in the car, along with most of a Clif bar, and, more importantly, some cold and sinus medicine.
|Race Swag: Tech tee, finishers medal, beer stein|
Mr. Shoe got us to Toledo about an hour before the race would start. This gave me plenty of time to get through packet pick-up and stretch a bit before the race. I was very pleased that runners were able to stay inside before the race since it was quite chilly and still dark out. This also meant I was able to use a real bathroom instead of a port-a-potty. Before long it was time to face the cold and get in my corral.
My plan was to line up next to the 1:50 pace team, but I couldn’t find them! So I placed myself about halfway between the 8:00 and 9:00 pace signs. As I was looking around before the gun went off, I finally found them about 10 rows back from me. I didn’t have time to move back, so I figured I would just make sure they didn’t pass me. Then the gun went off and it was time to run!
|Pre race excitement.|
The first mile I made sure to take it easy while keeping an eye out for the 1:50 pace team. I checked my watch after the first mile and saw I was at 9 minutes. Yikes! That was way too slow! So I picked up the pace and started passing some runners. Around the 2 mile mark I caught up to the marathon 3:40 pace team. The 1:50 half pacers should have been right with them, but they were no where to be found! I settled in to their pace and ended up running with them until about the halfway point.
I was feeling pretty good at that point and decided if I picked the pace up now, I might be able to PR. My original plan was to stick with the pacers until 8 miles. So I worked on speeding up a bit over the next couple of miles, which were in a really nice park. Around 9 miles I started to get a side stitch that managed to stick with me for a few miles. At about 10 miles in I realized my lofty goal of PRing was pretty unlikely but I should be able to beat 1:50 if I kept my pace up. I have had trouble in my other half marathons with maintaining my pace for the final stretch, so I knew it would be a challenge.
At about 11 miles in there was a short but steep hill that I (and quite a few others) ended up walking up. I didn’t want to exhaust myself just getting to the top. At this point I just kept repeating to myself that there were only 2 miles left and I could do it. I ended up repeating that for the rest of the race because I never saw another mile marker. With about half a mile to go I came across two guys, one was struggling and the other was yelling encouragement to him. While I wasn’t Joe, this motivation really kept me going! The next thing I knew I was entering the stadium and sprinting to the finish! I can’t believe how strong I felt at the finish!
|Football stadium finish line.|
Mr. Shoe missed me crossing the finish line, which is a bummer, but can’t be helped. Upon crossing the finish line I was handed a mylar blanket, my finisher medal, and a bottle of water. Mr. Shoe found me and helped me get the blanket wrapped around me and opened the water for me. This is the best that I have ever felt after a half. In the past I have been really out of it, so this was a nice change. I stretched a bit and pulled on a few more layers. The wind was starting to pick up and the mylar blanket was trying to escape me.
|Post race exhaustion.|
We headed over to the post race party where I was able to grab some food (bagels, cookies, pretzels). There was also some pizza and pasta, but I didn’t feel up for that. Then we headed to the beer tent to make use of my two free beer tickets. I had the Glass City Glory, a wheat beer brewed just for this race by Great Black Swamp Brewing Co.
Before getting back in the car, I was able to look up my official finish time. 1:49:00. My PR is 1:48:13, so I was less than a minute slower. I am so very happy with the result. My PR was set at the end of my race season last year, and I am starting this race season basically at the exact same fitness level. Only two weeks until my next race which will also be the first race for Mr. Shoe’s season. It will also be a chance for us to check Michigan, our home state, off of our 50 states list!