I raced the Glass City Half Marathon on Sunday. I was 2nd woman, running 1:19:23 and got $200 in prize money. This was my first half marathon since having Wells, who turned 7 months old on race day!
I am very happy with the race, as I thought my best case scenario time was 1:20 (based on my tempo runs and other workouts, plus looking back at my first half after having Currie and my training leading up to that. I just happened to be 7 months postpartum with her when I ran my first half as well and I ran 1:21:52.)
I raced Glass City Half back in 2011 in 1:18:45. I really like the flat, fast course (just a few rollers, but nothing I’d consider a “hill” especially since moving to Pittsburgh!) The only thing I didn’t like about the course in 2011 was the horrible headwind the last few miles. We had that same headwind this year, but not as strong.
So, here’s the RUNdown:
Woke up at 4am (7am race start) and downed a Smooth Caffeinator Picky Bar, a pack of Generation UCAN mixed with 16oz water (I have Cran-Raz and can’t stand the taste to be honest but I think it’s a good product), 2 cups of hotel coffee all by 5am. 20 minutes before gun time I had a peppermint GU that expired 2 years ago. (Tasted just fine!) I pinned a non-expired espresso GU to the inside of my shorts for later. I never ended up using that GU because of pre-race-poop problems. I raced in my Oiselle singlet and Mac Roga because at 38 degrees and windy at the start it was slightly too chilly for a bra top and buns.
I felt kind of rushed from the time we arrived, getting my warmup done (2.3 mile warmup), getting to the start and gear drop off. We were able to use restrooms inside Savage Arena but they were upstairs so we had to walk up and down multiple times which ended up being a bit of a time killer. I was happy to run into a high school friend while in Savage Arena. She was running her first half and made her time goal of breaking 2 hours! (Great job Stephanie!)
All of a sudden, I realized it was time to head to the start line, in fact, it was a little later than I’d usually head over. I never did get my gear dropped off in the official tent, but thank goodness my sister-in-law was with us and took care of it for me and my older brother who was also racing! Thanks Megan! I was able to do 2 short strides, and heard a few people yelling my name. It was 2 of my high school friends who were getting ready to race the relay! I ran over and hugged them. Thanks Amanda and Breezy! That really brightened my morning! I lined up in the 2nd-3rd row at the start line and the gun went off.
I positioned myself behind 2 ladies I didn’t know at the time. I knew there was an elite field of approximately 20 men and women and know from the past the winning time is usually 1:17-1:19. My goal was to start off at 6:10-6:15 pace to see how it felt and work down as the race went on. My first mile was 6:11 and felt very comfortable.
Mile 2 & 3:
This mile buzzed by as well. I ran 5:57 for both and was sort of tucked in behind a guy. The wind was at our backs. The first 2 women were still ahead of me. I took a sip of water at the first water stop and tossed the cup into the garbage can. She shoots, she scores!
Mile 4 & 5:
I was expected to start feeling the hurt at this point, but I still felt good. I ran 6:01 and 5:59 and the guy I was holding onto dropped me. I was in no-man’s land. I raced alone for the remainder of the race. I got another sip of water and tried to make a basket in the garbage can but missed!
This is where I started feeling the urge to poop. Oh great. (I think the early race start and being rushed before the race contributed to me not getting my pre-race-poop (PRP) out. I was 90% sure I was going to have to stop the race and poop on the side of the street before I saw the finish line, similar to my Cleveland Marathon experience of 2011. Thank goodness, the urge kept getting stronger but I was able to make it to the end of this half without a potty break!) This is also where I planned to start taking my next GU. I knew if I took in any gel or even much more water I wouldn’t be able to make it to the end without a bathroom break so I skipped the GU altogether. I slowed slightly to calm my stomach and this mile was 6:06.
Mile 7 & 8:
Other than the PRP problem, these 2 miles (the miles I originally thought would be my most challenging) flew by! I had equal feelings of panic that I would poop my pants and so much strength. I couldn’t believe I was over halfway done and felt like the race just started! I passed one woman in these miles and took another sip of water. I was shocked when I saw the 9 mile marker ahead! I completely missed the 7 and 8 mile markers. I ran 6:05 and 6:08.
6:01, 6:04, 6:01. I was just running by myself, eyes on the 1st place woman. I gained a little on her and decided I was going to win this race (which sounds silly now, since I didn’t win, but I was still feeling so strong. It was unbelievable!) I took a sip of Gatorade and a sip of water. People were urging me to catch that #1 girl!
Oh boy, this was my worst mile of all. Ran 6:13 and I’m shocked it was that fast. I was scanning the area for a porta potty, sure I wouldn’t be able to finish without a pit stop. I slowed a bit, hoping my stomach could calm down and I could make it to the finish. It did calm down a bit.
I ran this in 5:58, still feeling good! I knew at this point I could make it without a potty break! I kept it strong and smooth and felt wonderful hearing everyone cheer as I closed in on the finish line.
This was in 5:59 pace. I ended 31 seconds back from first place, feeling better than I’ve ever felt at the end of a half marathon! And very relieved I made it without an accident!
After the race, I was able to reunite with my brother and do a few miles of cooldown with him. And of course use the restroom!!
I was also able to pose with the Pink Panther and reunite with fellow Oiselle teammate, Deloris who I haven’t seen since early 2012!
Overall, this race gave me a lot of hope for the rest of the training cycle. I’ve been a bit overwhelmed lately, telling my husband I feel like I’m drowning most days with the training load and making sure I’m being a good parent and wife and keeping my house at a general level of cleanliness while my he travels and works a lot. My running has been getting better and “easier”, but I was definitely questioning my fitness before the race. I’m still trying to take everything day by day. I think many parents (and people in general) get these feelings at times and just try to make it through each day. Eventually we come out on the up-side and it feels so good.
This week is all about recovery as I’m racing the Pittsburgh Half Marathon this weekend! A few people have asked me “which race are you trying to run fast, Glass City or Pittsburgh?” My reply is “both”. I want to run fast again this weekend. The key is staying healthy this week and recovering from Glass City. Both of my kids have horrible colds right now so I’m concentrating on sleep and Emergen-C!
Thanks for reading and for all of the encouragement, friends!
Any PRP stories to share?
Ever race back-to-back half marathons?
Would you consume an expired GU?