Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wineglass Marathon October 2009 and Corning Museum

Please vote on what Naomi’s next piercing should be.

I Flew into JFK, smooth flight compared to my last flight to the United States on a B-17 bomber.

We all meet at my brother-in-laws house. Running in the marathon, is Michael my brother-in-law, Naomi, they both ran the Philadelphia Marathon with me last year.

We had a 4.5 hour drive to Corning, New York. It is Friday afternoon and the race is on Sunday. Dan, Naomi's husband is joining us for support. Also joining us are Mercury, Baby, and Fat Chelsea, Naomi and Dan’s kids.

Pictures (keep reading below)

We arrived in Corning, New York at 6:30 PM, checked into the hotel, unloaded our stuff and headed out to look for food. Corning, New York was a farming town, then in the early 1800’s a glass manufacture from Manhattan moved to Corning to gain space. Corning has easy access to railroads and river barge traffic so it was a perfect location. This converted Corning to a manufacturing / farming town with a thriving downtown. This still holds true today.

We headed downtown about half mile from our hotel. Market Street is their main street with shops, restaurants, and apartments above. This area is known as the Gaffer District. Gaffer is the professional title for a Glass Blower.

There were many types of restaurants, so you might think we had a lot of choices of where and what to eat. With 1,400 runners in town for the marathon several restaurants were full. We found a great bar/pub called Holmes Plate. We all had great meals and the owner Brendan Holmes said if we needed something he did not have he would make it for us, understanding we were running a Marathon on Sunday. Holmes Plate has great service, great food, and great people, I highly recommend it.

On Saturday we had an early run in the morning so off to bed we went. Michael and I shared a room. He could do a commercial for Flowmax, he must have peed 15 times in one night. After the first night I moved into the living room so I could get a full nights sleep.

Video (keep Reading Below)

It was Saturday morning the race was on Sunday our work out for Saturday was to simulate the race. Naomi's coach Bob Kaehler an Olympic Rower and physiologist, prescribed this method of gearing up for a marathon, the last week before your race you taper your workouts, then two days before the race you run 4-6 miles easy. The day before the race you run 2 miles easy, 3 mile at race pace and then 2 easy as a warm down. The key is to run the runs at the same time of day as the race, in our case 8:00 am.

The Wineglass Marathon is a point to point marathon. Many marathons are loops with the start and end at the same location. In the case of Wineglass you start in Bath, New York and run 26.2 miles to Corning, New York. The course is a slight down hill, with two mild up hills, you start at an elevation of 1,150 feet and finishing at an elevation of 950 feet.

After our run we drove up to Bath, New York to check at the race course so we would not have any surprises on Sunday. Michael had a goal of breaking 4:00 hours. This was his second marathon and first one he had really trained for I was confident he would make it.

This was Naomi's 4th marathon, she ran Philly with me last year in 3 hours and 46 minutes. She set a goal for this marathon of qualifying for the Boston Marathon which means she has to do 3 hours and 40 minutes or less. They do allow you to round down to the nearest minute, so that means she has 59 seconds leeway.

After watching Margarite run Boston last year I also got the bug to run Boston. For me I would have to run a 3 hour 30 minute race. A full 16 minutes faster then I ran Philly last year. When I started my training I thought I could do it. I had run the Marine Corp marathon in 2006 in
3 hour 36 minutes, so it was only 6 minutes faster.

As my training progressed I realized this goal was not in the cards, without me giving up some of my dedication to poker or travel. So I changed my goal to "JUST HAVE FUN". Yes you can run 26.2 miles and have fun. Last year was a ton of fun.

With no time goal Naomi asked me to pace her for the first half and Michael asked me to pace him the second half.

While I agreed I was concerned if I could keep up with Naomi for 13.1 miles and then stay with Michael for the rest of the race after a short break while I waited for Michael to catch up. We would see!

The course looked great the only concern was they do not close the roads. All the marathons I had run prior were on closed courses, meaning "No Cars". Though this was a smaller marathon compared to the others I had run, New York 40,000 runners, Marine Corp 35,000 runners, and Philly with 20,000 runners. Wineglass would have 900 for the full marathon and another about 500 running a 3 person relay. Though smaller it only takes one car and one runner to have a disaster.

After driving the course we all just hung out and rested up for our big day.

Sunday, woke up at 6:00 am. I like to get up a few hours before a race to make sure my body is ready for the day’s stress it is going to have to endure. My morning breakfast is potato salad, which I make with hard boiled eggs and mayonnaise. I will be out running for close to 4 hours burning somewhere between 3 and 4 thousand calories. I find this combination for breakfast gives me the proper carbohydrates, protein, and fats to carry me through the race.

Dan drove us to the start. With just over 1,000 runners at the start it was very pleasant and relaxed atmosphere. We did run into Naomi's arch enemy Karen. From what I could tell they belonged to the same running club and Karen always beat Naomi. For the race they both had the same goal 3 hours and 40 minutes.

I gave Naomi her pre-race strategy. This was to make sure we do not go out to fast as the first mile is a good down hill. After that any down hills we should pick it up and the few up hills relax in to them and if need be slow a little.

And most important stay behind Karen until we knew we can crush her.

The start was perfect we got caught up in the crowd which slowed us down and we crossed the first mile mark at 8:29. We had a goal pace of 8:20 per mile which would get Naomi to the finish at about 3 hours and 38 minutes, giving her a 2 minute cushion. The pack quickly thinned and we picked up the pace and completed mile 2 at 8:08 pace.

The weather was perfect 50 degrees and partly cloudy. I had started with cap, gloves, and arm warmers. At mile 3 I had warmed nicely and gave Dan my cap and gloves.

At mile 5 we had settled into a pace of 8:18 2 second faster then our goal. We had also made up for out first mile everything was going perfect. Car traffic was light but the cars were not very courteous to the runners. At one point the runner in front of me was heading right for a car that was heading right for us. The car slowed and finally stopped I moved to our left while the runner in front kept heading straight at the now stopped car. I realized the runner had her head down and did not see the car. I yelled "CAR UP!!!". As she looked up she jumped to her left and missed running into the car by about a foot.

I have seen runners space out before by not in the first 6 miles of a 26.2 mile race.
Miles 7 through 10 went great. Naomi had warmed up nicely we passed ten miles at 1 hour 22 minutes and some change holding our pace of 8:18. Karen had started off about 300 meter ahead of us and at the 10 mile mark we had closed the gap to about 100 meters. Naomi was getting antsy to pass but I held her back. I knew we had a hill at mile 14 and I did not want Karen behind us on that hill.

We crossed the half way point 13.1 miles at 1 hour 48 minutes giving us a 2 minute buffer for Naomi's goal time of 3 hours and 40 minutes. At this point I would have put her finishing at 3 hours and 35 minutes negative splitting the second half (running the second half of the race faster then the first).

At this point I felt good and decide to keep running with Naomi and blow Michael off. Dan had his bike and was giving us water as we ran. I asked him to let Michael know the new plan. I found out later Michael had found a hot chick Leigh to run with, so he was happy I did not drop back and interfere.

Karen also had a pacer running with her. As we hit the mile 14 hill we had caught Karen and were on her and her pacers heels. I could tell Naomi was getting antsy and wanted to pass. I told her in 5 miles, mile 19 we could pass.

Then we realized Karen was slowing to the point if we did not pass Naomi would miss her goal, so we easily passed and got no resistant’s from Karen. She never even challenged us.

At this point I was feeling great we had just passed mile 16 just over 10 miles to go and our current pace would get us in at 3 hours and 36 minutes. I started asking myself, could I make up 6 minutes in 10 miles and hit a 3 hour 30 minute race and qualify for Boston. That would be dropping from an 8:20 pace to a 7:46 pace. Not really do able but I felt good and I thought Naomi felt good, so I stepped up the pace to 8:00 I quickly lost Naomi, I knew at this point she would make her goal and qualify for Boston so I did not worry she did not stay with me. At mile 19 still 7 miles from the finish and 3 miles into my faster pace, I realized my brain had more confidence then my legs had strength and endurance. My right hamstring told my brain slow down or "I WILL SLOW YOU DOWN" it was clear if I did not slow down my legs would cramp and force me to slow, so I reluctantly slowed back to an 8:20 pace. At mile 20 I got the shock of my life Karen had caught me and even passed me and no Naomi so she must have passed Naomi also.

I found out later it was Karen’s pacer that was fading back at mile 14 not Karen she felt great. I stayed with Karen until mile 21, where she accelerated her pace at that point I had a few options. 1) Trip her and as she falls give her a good kick in the ribs. 2) Try to stay with her 3) Listen to my body and let her go. I went with option 3 and Karen ran a great 3 hour 35 minute marathon 5 minutes under her goal.

At this point my legs were really starting to break down I had to slow again as I did Naomi passed me looking strong but showing some pain it was now mile 22.

Toward the end of mile 22 my legs gave out I hit their limit of my training. I had to walk and completed mile 22 at a 10:30 pace. The next 3 mile I walk ran with times of 12:34, 10:05 and 11:39. I saw I could still hit a 3 hours and 50 minutes if I ran the last mile which I did but a little slower then I needed to at a pace of 9:39 and finished at 3 hours and 51 minutes the key is I hit my goal of having fun. It was a great race.

I found Naomi she finished in 3 hours and 40 minutes and a few seconds, qualifying for Boston. And just behind me was Michael finishing at 3 hours and 59 minutes hitting his goal of under 4 hours. The good news this means Naomi is getting another piercing. Each time she does and event she piercers a part of her body, the list of her current piercings is to long to list. Please vote on the next piercing.

There was a nice celebration after the race then a walk back to the hotel for showers and stretching.

We all needed to get some protein in us after trashing our muscles. This is an issue for Naomi, since she is a vegetarian. She needed a tofu meal. So we went back to Holmes Plate, Brendan the owner had said he would make us what ever we wanted. He was telling the truth. He made Naomi a vegetable stir fry with tofu. He actually went to the store and got her the vegetables she wanted. Naomi said it was awesome. Everybody’s meal was great and they have 17 beers on tap. What a great place if you are ever in Corning please stop by ask for Brendan and tell them DUG sent you.

Monday Michael and I visited the Corning Museum of Glass. Well, worth the visits a lot of live demonstrations as well as great education and exhibits on the history of glass

Then the 4.5 hour ride back to Michael’s.



P.S. Next week I am off to the University of Michigan

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