Monday, October 12, 2015

Wineglass Marathon - October 4, 2015

Vignettes of a Marathon
A week of rainy weather, led by a threat of a nor'easter and Hurricane Joaquin, and a mysterious illness that sidelines Rebecca casts uncertainty over our participation in the Wineglass Marathon but clearing weather on Saturday and near-perfect running weather Sunday save the weekend.  The course is nearly identical to that I ran in 2010 (report here), 2009 and 2006 (Mark's report), so I'll stick to the highlights and skip the mile-by-mile details.

How to Hydrate for a Marathon
Saturday afternoon is the day for a bit of Seneca Lake touring.  We go first to the FLX Wienery for lunch, for which I wash down a Zweigle's White Hot, home-made chips and french fries with a birch beer.  We drive down to Watkins Glen and then up the east side of Seneca Lake for a stop at Grist Iron Brewing for a beer.  From there we proceed to Two Goats Brewing for more beer and to admire the hundreds or thousands of dollars thumb-tacked to the high ceiling. The owner tells us the secret of how they are thrown up there using a stack of quarters as a weight behind the thumb-tack.  Then on to Damiani Wine Cellars for a tasting flight, and a visit to the next door Finger Lakes Distilling.  Barry and I pass, but Emaad has some whiskey, grappa, and maple jack liqueur. We drive the back roads of Schuyler County to get to Heavily Brewing in a converted dairy barn in Montour Falls. Barry gets a sandwich and a coke but Emaad, Sandy and I share two flights of beer amongst us.

After we are done we return to the house.  Barry calls it a day, but the other three of us head out for dinner.  We wind up in a sports bar, but wisely we all skip any additional complex liquid carbohydrates.

Barry, Emaad and I keep warm and rested awaiting the start.
Madness? Who's Mad?
About a mile into the marathon, Emaad complains that he is having trouble getting loose and that running is hard.  We are in the midst of other runners as we run down Route 54 in Bath, so I lean close to him and make a slightly inappropriate suggestion as to what would motive him to run faster.  He doesn't quite hear me, and I start to giggle at my own suggestion and his asking me to repeat it.  For some reason the humor (to me anyway)  of this grows on me and I start to laugh louder and louder.  Emaad  slides away to the side.  That makes me laugh more and louder.  Emaad moves further away.

Runners awaiting the start

And then I start to yell, "I don't need to take any medicine! I feel good without it! I don't need to take those pills!"  Emaad drops further away.  Other runners give me a wide berth.

[Later in the day, long after I've left him Emaad decides that his tightness is a result of his compression tights.  He ducks into a corn field to remove them and gathers shouts about Portapotties for his efforts.] 

Move on! Nothing to see here!
Running along East Steuben Street in Bath, the eastbound lane is given over to the runners. Periodic traffic cones provide some warning for runners and the few oncoming cars on a Sunday morning.

I'm with a group of runners regaling them with my favorite tales from Marathon du Medoc when I trip over a traffic cone, fall on my right side, roll and pop back up to my feet. 

Nice scenery on Route 415 east of Bath - between miles 6 and 8
People ask if I'm hurt but a quick inventory reveals nothing problematic medically: small scrapes to my right elbow and knee. Partially embarrassed from my inattention - I never saw the cone even after my fall - I yell out, "Nothing to see here! Just keep moving along!"

But I managed to fall squarely on a gel pack in one of the compartments on my shorts and the pack burst, leaving sticky gel smeared on the right side of my shorts. Retrieving a couple of other gels from adjacent pockets that were coated in the mess, I carry them along until I get a bottle of water to wash off them and my sticky hands.

Pictures Along the Course
I'll let the camera do the talking for much of the course.

Along Route 415 headed to Savona - about mile 8

Well maintained red barn on County Road 125 outside Savona- around mile 11
Crossing the Cohocton River in Campbell - around mile 13
Horses in a field on Tannery Road - around mile 15

Recrossing the Cohocton River into Curtis - around mile 16
Less well maintained red barn on Route 415 around mile 19

On on! Hashers serve beer on Painted Post Trail 
- about mile 23
On On!
Hash House Harriers are those fine folks who belong to "a drinking club with a running problem." Local hashers frequently set up impromptu beer aid stations at marathons, and I'm looking forward to seeing them today.  Five years ago I got to their station only to be disappointed that they had run out of beer.

That is not the case this year and the liquid refreshment just past mile 23 is welcome.  I greet the fine HHH volunteers with an "on on!"  

Help Wanted
The marathon may start at mile 20 but I knew at the halfway point that I wasn't going to be able to reach a stretch goal of 4:30. The lack of serious or even goal-oriented training was a large part of it, and also that I hadn't started out the day with a particular goal in mind.  The 4:30 had been a fleeting thought, but reaching halfway in 2:15 with the knowledge and experience that I don't run negative split marathons but an end to any chance of it happening.

So when I got to mile 20 the goal was to finish in under 4:40.  A glance at my watch indicated I have about 65 minutes to go 6.2 miles, around an 11 minutes/mile pace.Mile 21 was a bit of a drag and then well into mile 22 Elaine, the 4:40 pacer, caught up with me.  I figured that was the end of it for me.

Elaine leads the 4:40 pace group at mile 25
But she was cheery and positive enough that I was encouraged to try to hang with her and the group that was following her.  We chatted as we went along. Her previous race had been a little jaunt in France at the end of August, the 170 kilometer long, 33,000 feet of climb and descent, Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, which she finished in 44 hours.

I figured I could buy into some of that toughness and try to hang with her for the last four miles.  We compared watches and discovered that I had started about 50 seconds later than her, so that was She was running a rock steady pace and sometimes I'd get ahead but then I'd walk or slow down and she would catch up.

Despite her encouragement, by ones and twos the group with her started to shrink.  By mile 25 there were six left and I think that by the bridge over the Chemung River to turn onto Market Street for the last half mile or so a couple more had dropped off the pace. I had gotten a little ahead and took the slight uphill onto the bridge as a chance for a last walk.  When she caught up I took that as the clue to start running again.  A straight shot down Market Street to the finish and I was done.

She finished in 4:39:07, just 23 seconds faster than the 4:39:30 that she told the folks running with her that was her target.

Awkwardly worded volunteer shirt
What were they thinking?
Volunteers on bicycles cruise along the marathon route.  They are easy to spot wearing their special yellow shirts.  Only when one goes past me do I realize that the slogan on the back may be poorly worded - perhaps "course support" would be more appropriate.

At the end I point that out to one of the female riders.  She agrees. "I'll raise that in our post-race meeting," she says, allowing me to photograph the shirt. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, click here.)

Results and Some Unusual Statistics
The details for me:
Finish; 4:38:07; 18/40 AG; 529/729 M; 1170/1931 Overall
Splits: about 2:15 / 2:23

Overall, 62 percent of the finishers were women, significantly higher than the 43 percent reported by Running USA for marathons in 2014. And the half marathon, run at the same time on the second half of the course, had 78 percent of its finishers being women, again significantly higher than the 61 percent reported by Running USA for 2014 half marathons. I have no idea why the proportions at Wineglass are so much higher.

Swag: Bag, split of sparkling wine, wineglass, shirt, bib,
program, gift cards, candy, glass finisher's medal