I’ve wanted to run the Wineglass Half Marathon in upstate New York since it was launched back in 2011.
Wine, a (mostly) downhill race course and a glass medal.
That’s a no-brainer.
But it never really fit into my fall training schedule – until now. It was well worth the wait.
Most of us decided to skip the two-day expo in at the Corning Museum of Glass and instead, wake up insanely early to hit the road from Rochester well before dawn. I loved that race organizers allowed us to collect our bibs at the start line and our goody bags at the museum after the race.
It was still dark when we drove the 90+ minutes south, dropping Mark at the highway’s Bath exit so he could log an extra 5.5 miles before the race. We parked near the finish line in Corning and, after a waiting in a lengthy line of shivering runners, hopped a bus to the start area in Campbell.
This was the first year runners were required to travel by bus to the starting lines – previously, runners were allowed to park near the start and return post-race. We were among the last to reach the starting area, but race organizers waited until everyone arrived before kicking off the race, even though it meant starting our run about 15 minutes late.
And Sunday was chilly – just 33 degrees before we started running, so the extra throwaway layers we brought along were vital. And me? I decided to take it one step further with my lovely tube sock mittens. I created thumbholes and kept my frigid fingers toasty for much of the run.
In the mass of 3,000 half-marathoners milling at the start, Mark and I somehow spotted each other near the 2-hour pacers. The race began moments later as we chatted race strategy.
We were off.
The first few miles were crowded and hard to get a good pace going – but rather than weave around other runners, we hung back and waited for it to clear, then we bolted. Side by side, Mark and I settled into our race pace and decided to just run how we felt. We’d aim for sub 9s for as long as we felt strong. If we hit a wall, we’d slow down.
Time really didn’t matter to us. We were just there to run.
As our feet slapped the pavement, we both felt fantastic. We chatted as we ran, high-fived most children we encountered, thanked numerous volunteers and police officers and cheered for other runners. We even pointed out different picturesque spots along the course, many with colorful fall foliage over waterways.
Sometimes everything comes together on race day. Sunday was one of those days.
Around mile 11, Mark noted that we were on pace for 1:57ish finish (which is my PR) and I decided to pick up my pace to try for an even better time.
We spotted a running friend in the last mile and Mark encouraged me to sprint to the end as he ran in with our friend. I did. I pushed. I pushed hard.
I sprinted that last 1/4 mile, gritting my teeth as I crossed the finish on my unsteady legs.
Success! I finished in 1:56.37, a new Personal Record by nearly a minute. But better than that, was running with friends, who were all pleased with how they fared. Traci also ran her fastest half-marathon time. Way to go, lady!
After the run, we each received a coveted glass medal. And we were treated to post-race goodies, including my fave chocolate milk and Wegmans chicken noodle soup.
Post-race we also had the chance to take a nice warm shower at the Corning YMCA (I did, ah!) before we collected our goody bags from the still-running expo. I was initially worried that I wouldn’t get the correct shirt size by waiting until after the run to collect my items. Not an issue.
Highlights in the bag included the race shirt, (Asics! Women’s cut! Long-sleeved! Huzzah!) a small bottle of bubbly and a wine glass. (Note, I meant to take a pic of this and got distracted. I’ll share one later.)
And if you want to read more about how others fared at Wineglass, here’s my work blog on Sunday’s race.
Have you ever run a race after skipping the expo? What’s the coldest temp at a start line that you’ve faced? How did you cope? Tell me in the comments