Friday, October 16, 2015

A Top Finisher Perspective {Guest Post}

Wineglass Half Marathon, 13.1, Run

October is such a huge month for distance races-- many of the biggest and most well known marathons take place in October. The Wineglass Marathon has grown quite a bit since the first time I ran the race in 2012-- and ask someone from Corning and they'll remind you how small it used to be or how they remember when there wasn't a half marathon.

Nick and I ran the Wineglass Half Marathon two weekends ago {check out my recap here!}. We both had kick-butt races. But Nick's race was super special. He was a top finisher! I convinced him {really, I think he enjoys contributing to Unapologetically You} to write up a race recap of his experience.

Race recaps are so much fun-- I love hearing the play-by-play from other runners. I hope you enjoy The Wineglass Half Marathon from a top finisher perspective!

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It has been a long while since I’ve raced a road half marathon and I was really looking forward to the Wineglass Half Marathon this year!

Over the last year, I’ve had a few decent races (at my pace) including the Dahlgren Trail half marathon, Catoctin 50k, and a few random 5k runs.  I was feeling pretty strong as a result of some improvements I saw in other races and assumed I’d be close to a PR.

More importantly, I thought I had a chance at picking up a CASH PRIZE!!!  Looking at previous years, I knew I had to be under 1:25 (I beat that on a trail half).  Also, knowing my running style I needed to make sure I was in a good position early on.

The week prior was nothing special in terms of training.  I enjoy keeping the intensity level up, even leading up to the race, but ended up tapering as a result of other commitments and our travel to the race.  I ate normal, drank water as normal, and rested just the same as I would if I wasn’t racing.  My legs felt a little sluggish leading up to the race because of the reduced intensity.

I jumped up to the front of the starting line ready to race.  I started sizing up the people, and saw an obvious contender towering over me.  He looked like a runner (we’ll call him Legs).  I trash talked a little with the people near the front, tried to get a feel for their goals, and talked about what a beautiful day we had to race.

The race start was pretty disappointing--the first place overall male took off like a bullet eliminating all hopes for a win.  He ended up beating the second place finisher by ~8 minutes. I sat myself comfortably in third behind Legs, and hung on for a mile or so.

Just past the first mile, there is a slight hill (my favorite) so I picked it up a little and decided to take second overall.  I noticed Legs started to fade, but right in his place was the first place female (we’ll call her Machine)!  I hung on her shoulder for the next 2-3 miles, but it was obvious she was in another league (she beat me by ~2 minutes).  


Wineglass Half Marathon, 13.1, Run

Near mile 4, the “two feet gained here, 5 feet gained there, Nick slowed a bit here” resulted in Machine separating from my pace.  Guess I’ll have to settle for 3rd overall.

I comfortably held 3rd place from mile 4 to mile 9.  The course was beautiful and there were a lot of locations where I could open up my stride.  I was tracking 6:05-6:15 per mile and nothing about my form or breathing indicated I was going to slow my pace.

Up near mile 9, a female (we’ll call her Lean) and and male (we’ll call him Shorty) came close enough that I could hear them breathing.  Lean had an amazing stride and was almost silent as she ran--a very good sign if you’re a distance runner as it means you’re probably not pounding the pavement.  Shorty also had great form, but seemed like he was holding back. Lean and Shorty passed me near mile 10 and I hung on to them until mile 12.  Once again, something that interests me happened--my legs were the limiting factor.  All throughout high school running, I’d lose ground due to a cramp or breathing, but now, I can talk all day to the runners but my legs hold me back.  Speaking of talking to the runners...Shorty and Lean didn’t get any of my jokes! “Hey, do you mind linking arms and moving a little closer together to block the wind?” I asked.  I guess they were busy…

Wineglass Half Marathon, 13.1, Run

Mile 12 was ran in solitude.  I saw Lean and Shorty pull away all the way to the finish where they ended up ~0:30 seconds ahead of me (spoiler...Shorty kicked it in and beat Lean).  Near the bridge (about 0.5 mile from the finish) I started to get a little nervous that I was going to get passed AGAIN!  I took a quick peek back on one of the turns and saw Legs about 0:30 seconds back.  I tried my best to kick it in with all I had left and ended up keeping my 5th place overall standing!

Wineglass Half Marathon, 13.1, Run

Legs showed up shortly after me and I congratulated him, then continued on in the finish chute to congratulate the others.  Somewhat weird...they all seemed to have disappeared!  I guess I kinda did the same--I left ASAP and ran back to meet up with Amanda.

I jogged/shuffled back to Amanda and met her near mile 12...much sooner than I thought.  I looked at my watch and tried to add up my starting time, how much longer it took her to start, etc. and realized she was doing really well!!!  I stayed off to the side and ran alongside her the rest of the way.

Overall, I was pretty happy with the results.  I’m pretty sure my 1:22:22 was a PR, and I know that $200 is the most I’ve ever won in a race!!!  Its not enough to quit my day job...yet...

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Wouldn't that be awesome to quit your day job and run races?? Probably a lot of hard work though. I hope you enjoyed reading a different perspective on the Wineglass Half Marathon.

"Check out this #halfmarathon recap from a top finisher perspective! #run #sweatpink @wgmarathon"

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Your turn! Have you raced recently? What was the best part of your most recent race? Do you have a big race coming up? What are you most looking forward to?
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AK

This post is linked up with Fitful Focus for Fit & Fashionable Friday. Make sure to stop by and say hi!