Once we were all showered, dressed and ready to go, we hopped in the car and made out way over to the UT campus for the start of the race. The temperature wasn't to terribly bad being in the high thirties since there was no wind to speak of. With hardly any traffic on the roads we made really good time and got there early enough to get a pretty close up parking spot. Mandy had a friend from work doing the 5K with her so we made plans to meet her at the expo hall at 6:30. Once we met up with Annie we hung out in the expo hall to keep warm while I did a few light stretches and some warm up exercises. With twenty minutes till race start we headed outside so I could get a couple light warmup laps and my dynamic stretches done. When I was ready to go we snapped a couple pics and I attempted to find my place in the starting corals.
This year was a growth year for the race as far as participants go, so when I tried to get in my assigned starting coral, it was so jam packed there was no room for me. People were climbing over the bike rack barricades to get in and the provided doorways in were full and spilling out into the spectator area. I ended up finding a small hole to get in to the coral ahead of mine, which worked out fine because I ended up running faster than I originally anticipated. I was in the corals with about 5 minutes to spare before a couple of guest speakers said a few words and then the horn sounded and we were off.
The race course quickly takes us off campus across a major road and into some of the nicest neighborhoods in Toledo. What is nice about running through these neighborhoods is the fact that the community embraces the race and people come out of their homes to clap, cheer, hold signs or simply just to watch while not being upset with street closers or disrupting their daily routines.
Around mile 2 I started to have some GI issues and had some gas pressure building up that also was putting pressure on my bladder. From that point till almost mile 7 or 8 I felt like I had to pee, which made me think maybe I should slowdown and maybe hit a port a potty. I almost did when a runner a little bit ahead of me made a B-line right for it, so I decided to just press on. Slowly I was able relieve the gas pressure (sorry runners who were behind me) and my need to pee subsided. As the race went on I kept a close eye on my Garmin trying to maintain a steady pace, all while telling myself to run my own race and not worry about people passing me or me passing others. I would have to remind myself that just because someone passed me doesn't mean I am slowing down and my Garmin confirmed that.
Through the first half of the race I was holding a steady pace between 8:10 and 8:15 so I thought if I felt good at the half way point I would slowly increase my speed and try to get a negative split for the second half. Mile 7 I started to speed up and I must have hit a mini wall because I was feeling a little tired in mile 8 and struggled to even get an 8:15 pace. I pushed through it and got back to around an 8:06 pace for miles 9-11. At mile 10 they had a timing clock that read 1:21 on it when I passed and I quickly did the math in my head, three or four times to be sure, that if I held my pace I was going to hit a sub 1:50 time and even had a shot at a sub 1:45 time. When I hit mile 12, which was mostly an up hill climb, I decided to not push to hard and save my legs for the last mile, so my paces plummeted to an 8:21. Just before the last mile I looked at my time and thought If I want a sub 1:45 I need to get a move on, so I threw on some loud fast rock in roll and cranked up the pace to go as fast as I could without burning myself out too early. Unfortunately I just didn't have enough time to do it, but I wasn't disappointed at all because I crushed the shit out of my PR by more than 12 minutes.
After I crossed the line I got a water and my medal and met up with Mandy, who showed me her shinny new medal. I was more proud of her for completing the race and getting the medal than I was of my new PR! Mandy always said she doesn't like running and who knows if she ever will, but the fact that she got out there and did it was the best part of my day. We took a few pictures and headed to the post race party to get some food and to relax. The Glass City puts on a hell of a spread with fruit, pretzels, cookies, candy and my favorite Gino's pizza and bread sticks. Of course the beer was flowing as well for those that like to partake in a nice cold one post race. We sat out in the warm sun listening to Zak Ward's band play a few tunes while we enjoyed our little feast. When we finished I stopped over to talk with Zak, we are buddies from high school and were in a band together for a few years before school and work took precedence and we had to call it quits.
For me, other than the race organizers needing to reevaluate the starting line and corals for the growth in participants, I don't have anything else bad to say or to criticize about the race. I can't speak to the full marathon, but for the half all the water stops, but one were fully staffed and well stocked with fluids, all the timing mats except for one had either a clock or someone there calling out times and the spectator support was great. My two favorite parts of the entire race is the view of the University Bell Tower as your are coming down Drummond road (sorry no picture, I was trying to crush my PR) and the finish when you come through the gates of the UT Glass Bowl football stadium and run the finishing shoot on the 50 yard line.
We will see what next year brings, but I would really like to complete the trifecta and do the marathon next year, but we will see. I want to give a big thank you to Amanda Kessler for asking me to be a race Ambassador for this year. I had a lot of fun writing about it and to be asked to represent my hometown race was truly an honor. I also want to thank friend and Race Director Clint McCormick for another wonderful Glass City Marathon event. Even though this is only my third year participating in the event I have to say you and the other organizers are a class act providing Toledo with an event we can be proud of!