I had heard great things about Glass City Marathon and jumped at the chance to run it. A flat, fast course and pretty close to home is always a plus.
The Glass City marathon expo was pretty nice. They had UT Savage Area floor to use and had the usual vendors for a mid sized marathon. Lots of local services with discounts- definitely nice for the local runners. Also they had venders selling GU etc. for the last minute "oops, I forgot to pack (fill in the blank)". A local run shop had different t-shirts and 1/2 zips to supplement to your Glass City Swag. I stayed away since I already have an entire dresser filled with running clothes. (Yeah, I might have a Oiselle problem!) The packet pick up was very clear and it was very nice that they had a special section for 1st time marathoners who got an escort by the elite runners.
Shirts are a nice New Balance short sleeve with the north coast line of Ohio across it.
Gear drop bag with bib and shirt was missing one thing: a map of the course and starting line. Since my husband was there to cheer he didn't want to be looking at the little map on the app that tracked the runner. I didn't use the tracking feature on the app either since I was concerned about my battery life on my phone during the race and after.
Morning of: I met up with a friend from high school & her friend who happens to work at UT. We waited in her building where it was warmer and had flushing toilets. We walked past the portapotty line which didn't look too long but I was thankful not to have to use them! I met up with my Oiselle Volée team mates for a picture a little before race time.
Corrals were pretty lame, they might think about refiguring them. Corral A was huge and hardly anyone there with 5 mins til start. I walked in A and stepped over the tape that was already on the ground to make my way to B. They had a nice flyover of the Mercy Health helicopter before the start and it took a picture of the crowd. Although everyone around me was correctly placed, I didn't need to run around slower runners.
My goal for this race was a BQ -5:00 so for my AG 3:40. I had been doing well with training but definitely had some small over use injuries that popped up every few weeks. I knew that my training wasn't as intense as I'd done in the past but I was not nursing any injury at the start. Weather was looking ideal as well. Low 40s for a start, not a cloud in sight. My plan was to run 8:20-8:30 pace for the first half then drop down to 8:20-;25 for the 2nd half.
The course circled around the UT campus then into Ottawa Hills (an absolutely beautiful suburb of Toledo) then through a metro park, out to Sylvania then back through the same metro park then bike path back to UT campus and finishing in the Glass Bowl stadium. I had looked on a few marathon review websites and it was common that the course was long if you didn't run the tangents. This course has a lot of turns so I tried my best to run the most direct path and ended up only running a tenth of a mile over compared to some who had run .4 over.
My race was going great until mile 10. My left knee which had not given me any problems during training started hurting. I have had problems with my IT band in the past and I knew that's what it was. I debated stopping and stretching. Would that mess up my pace? would it just make it harder to get moving again? I tried to run through it. By mile 16 i was slowing down, 10 secs slower every mile then mile 20 (aka the wall) hit as well. I dropped down to what felt like a crawl but really it was 10-11 min per mile pace. I knew that my BQ time was slipping away and I couldn't go any faster. It was a long slog back to the finish. My only complaint would be the bike path at the end... it felt so long and there wasn't any shade. I was hot, sad, exhausted and still had 4 miles to go. Ugh. The bright spot for the last 10k was oranges at the water stops. They were the best tasting oranges I have ever had. I've never taken food other than my own energy (Gu, etc) but wow. Fresh oranges are the bomb!
Another minor complaint is the last 1/4 mile you turn the corner from a down hill and you see the afterparty but the course isn't very obvious (at least in my haze at the end) I actually threw up my hands like "Where the hell to do I go?" but then it became obvious as they had a cheering section leading up to the stadium. I finished in 4:01:09. I finished, got my medal (holy toledo! that sucker is HUGE), then promptly started crying. I was asked if I needed medical and I said I wanted ice for my knee but then the volunteer walked away figuring I was ok. I was, but ice would have been nice or at least walked me towards the med tent. I stopped and just sobbed for awhile knowing that I had missed my goal by 20 mins but out of the blue my friend from HS was there rubbing my shoulders. She's done countless marathons and knows it's the nature of the beast. I do, too. It still sucks though.
Jen and I waited around for my husband who was near the finish line to find me. My legs were toast and I wanted more than anything is to put my legs up a wall (thanks, Jasyoga!) we found a wall at the end zone of stadium and rested for about 10 mins with our legs up the wall. (My friend had done the half). I actually felt way better after that enough so that I could walk down to the after party and get my nice finisher's glass mug. We promptly went to the food tent, got the usual bagel, banana and pizza. I didn't have much of an appetite but wanted the beer (numb the sting of a crappy race). I'm a beer snob and I have to say they had decent beer...and then I drank a Bud Light Lime because it sounded amazing and it was. (and I hate Bud Light).
We had an hour to get back to the hotel and check out so I didn't stick around to talk to the other Oiselle volee although I saw some from a far.
I liked the race. I would do it again definitely. The last marathon I ran before this was Chicago so this was definitely more hometown-y and low key in a nice way.