Monday, October 5, 2015

Wineglass Half Marathon race report

spray-painted route marker

Wineglass has been on my dream races list for a long time -- in part because it's a new state -- New York -- but mainly for the beautiful glass finishers medal. Plus, net downhill, point to point course, and the Museum of Glass. So perfect. 

So when this year's Summit was in not-crazy-distant Philadelphia the day after Wineglass, well, the die was cast...

LSF Suz joined me on this trip, since she has family in New York and it all seemed to make sense. 

After a delayed flight to Philly, we didn't hit the road until nearly seven from the airport... And drove in darkness through construction and a little mayhem, arriving at our Holiday Inn Express at nearly midnight. I was exhausted but jangly and couldn't sleep right away, but the room was comfy and eventually I slept. 

The next morning we slept in a little, then had breakfast before going to the Museum of Glass, where the expo was. We saw some 5Kers returning victoriously, and congratulated them. They were bemusedly holding bowls: the race was sponsored by Corelle, and every participant had received a bowl. Funny. 

Then we headed over to the museum, where we were both TOTALLY SUCKED IN BY THE AMAZING GIFT SHOP. Did I mention my obsession with glass pumpkins? Well, they had pumpkins. Thousands of 'em. 

Some were handsome and surprisingly inexpensive, but made overseas. I managed to resist those. But I did pick up two small pumpkins, one made in the museum hot shop, the other made by a Corning-area studio. Fingers crossed they'll make it home to my pumpkin patch!

Then, expo...

A well organized affair, where we were separated into half and full, and then given a nice bag with a champagne split, our long-sleeved shirts, our bibs, some bumpf, and our wineglasses. 

The vendor selection was small but well chosen - nice for an expo like this. 

We exited the expo via the official merchandise area -- lots of wineglasses, pint glasses, and shot glasses, along with a wide range of printed race gear. Not having an official shoe/apparel sponsor meant they had a lot of nice pieces from a bunch of different manufacturers -- definitely a win for the runner. 

I managed to resist everything but the sticker...

**Quick non-running interlude: we poked around the sprawling Museum of Glass, which was amazing:

Taxidermy crows pecking at a glass chandelier!

Glass crows hung from the ceiling!

Okay, maybe I just love crows? But the glass was very, very cool, if a little overwhelming...

Then we drove out to see Mark Twain's grave (while failing to find any food for lunch):

And then found our way back to Cornimg where we had a nice dinner at Holmes Plate 54. (A big chopped salad with eggs, and a side of marvellously gooey macaroni and cheese, plus a pint of Harvest Jack Pumpkin Ale, if you're curious. ) 

We also wandered around the very large Wegmans in search of better cider than the 7-11 could offer, so by the time we got back to the hotel, I was beat. I think I collapsed into bed at 8pm. Not normal, but I think the driving had really exhausted me!

And now, back to the running. Ish. 

Up at five-something, then down to the lobby for breakfast. (Thank you HIE for opening early!!!) we drove into town, got parking near the finish line (and where we wouldn't have to cross the course to leave), and then went to the shuttles. 

Oh, the shuttles. Look, it wasn't mayhem, like the scenes in Close Encounters where people are forcing their way onto trains. It was very orderly.. Except for one of the volunteers, who for some reason, kept taking people from the back of the line to load buses, rather than the front. The volunteer at the front of the line was more lackadaisical, not even trying to organize her people to prep them to get on the bus... Or counting them in advance. 

We kept watching people walk up and get put on buses, while a lot of us waited for more than 30 minutes. It was one of the weirdest things I had seen at a race. It was especially weird when there was a lull between shuttles. The clock was ticking, we'd been in line for 20 minutes, and the next shuttle that did arrive... was loaded with people FROM THE BACK OF THE LINE. 

Luckily, we made it to the start with 35 minutes to spare, which gave me the chance to make a quick stop in the stinkiest porta-potty in America (Suz: "I can't go in there.") before hightailing it down the road to the start. 

Which way?


The drop-off / muster point was a couple of hundred yards "down course" from the start, so we were all told we needed to get to the start area by 7:35 so as not to delay the start at 7:45. I liked that they were strict about it -- delaying the start would mess things up for all of us ... and, eventually, the marathoners!

view from the starting area

I do love that the half starts exactly halfway along the course... and that we get a half-hour head start on the full marathoners! (Even if it means standing in a cornfield...)

Suz headed farther back, while I considered my race. I wasn't trained enough to go for a fast one, but I also didn't know if I was disciplined enough to keep running ony own. So I slipped in with the 2:30 pace group and hoped I could make myself hold on.

To attempt to bond, I took this terrible photo with Rachel, the pacer. This is what happens when someone who doesn't see well attempts a selfie. 

Then, running. Rachel did a good job of keeping us on pace, even if it meant a lot of weaving in the first couple of miles. I suddenly realized that I could still hear her if I ran right in front of her group, too -- mind:blown -- especially since she did a call-and-response after every water stop. 

Where my 2:30s at?
Right here!

She also played games ... Find the letters, in order; then find numbers 1-10. This passed a few miles. 

At some point I realized that I had separated from the pack after a water stop. I figured I could be re-assimilated later if I slowed back down, but would just keep running in the interim. 

To be honest, I don't remember that much about the course. There was a park we ran down into; a newly-widened bike trail we ran along; lots of water stops; and lots of flat countryside. 

One cute person had set up a small beer stop -- so small and subtle that I almost missed it, except I noticed the PBR box. I slid over for a sip (because tradition) and was amused, as always, to hear chatter about how they could never drink beer while running. Seriously, folks, the ounce of beer isn't going to get you drunk. It's just funny. And carbs. 

I started to flag around mile 11, and started adding walk intervals based on counting my breaths. 100 breaths running, 50 breaths walking. That really helped. But I was still THRILLED to run across the bridge (high fives!), see the Wegmans, then the home stretch. 

I love this (blurry) pic: always high five anyone who offers!

I passed the 13-mile marker (the sign of a good race!), said "God save the queen!" And hustled as fast as I could go down the home stretch in 2:26:38. 

The finish area was a little nuts -- I almost missed picking up a medal because a lot of finished runners were standing by the finish line. (Ya gotta move those folks along...). There were long lines for food, but I got a bottle of water and a slice of pizza by sniping in at the end of the table. 

I then stood along the finish chute for a little while, which meant I got to see the marathon winner Bryan Morseman come in, urging the crowd on, and all by himself.

Speedy Bryan Morseman for the win

It also gave me time to notice that they had divided the finish areas by flowerpots, which I had totally failed to notice while running past them. #gladididnttrip

I was cold, and thirsty, and I needed to use the bathroom. I also knew I had a little time before Suz would finish. So I popped in to Homes Plate 54 again to take care of a few things. Ahh. 

thank you, Harvest Jack...
Refreshed, I headed back out to find a spot in the sun to cheer Suz home. I saw her and shouted "there's my girl!", at which point she perked up and sped down the line. 

We headed back to the hotel, had quick showers, and then headed back to Philadelphia. (Yes, it *was* a pretty drive...)

Overall the race was very good, with nicely branded swag, good post-race food, and nice community support. But to be honest I didn't think the course was especially pretty (though, to be fair, I live in an extraordinarily pretty place!), and there are some organizational hurdles to beat. 

But, oh, this beautiful medal!!!

this picture doesn't do the medal justice ... it's a pale purple-blue glass disc, really gorgeous

And, umm, STATE #31!!!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for inviting me along, I had a great time! If you thought the bus situation was bad, you should have seen the 8 metal detectors for 15,000 runners at RnR Brooklyn. Delayed the start of the race by 30 minutes.