Monday, April 18, 2011


GCM stands for Glass City Marathon. I ran this one in lieu of Boston because it's easier, cheaper, less time consuming, etc., etc. I'm happy I did.

There were a bunch of us Medina County Road Runners who made the two-hour trip to Toledo. Debbie Scheel, Michelle Wolfe and John McCarroll shared the ride with me. John and I also shared a room at the Roof. We went to the not-so-big expo and then to dinner at Bravo. I believe there were on the order of 15 of us at the table.

I'd forgotten how noisy cheap hotels can be on Saturday nights. I guess I'm spoiled. I wish I could blame my slow time on lack of sleep, but that wouldn't be entirely fair. It would be more appropriate to blame my absolutely stupid 20 miles of running (11 on trails at night) on Thursday.

Although I was pretty beat up from Thursday (as well as the previous weekend's 100k run), I felt okay at the start. Connie, Ladd, Debbie and I stayed together in the early miles before I fell behind to try to stay with the 3:20 pace group. This wouldn't be bad, thought I. If I could stay with them and possibly even pick it up a mile or two out, I'd be able to call it a 3 hours, 1x minute marathon, and I'd like that.

But then something funny happened at about mile nine. We passed Debbie, and instead of staying with the group, I ran with her. At that point I was still feeling extremely good, and truly thought I would be able to continue to hang with them. For some reason, however, I made a split-second decision to stay with Debbie. I could see that she was struggling, and I could also see that the pace group almost immediately got way ahead of us. In my mind, now that I'd decided to run with Debbie, I was locked into staying with her for the entire race. In any case, I honestly thought I'd be able to help Debbie recover and begin to get her pace close to what it had been.

She didn't. We slowed quite a bit during those middle miles. The easy pace gave me a chance to admire the scenery. The course had changed entirely since I'd run this race before. The change was definitely for the better: starting at University of Toledo (where I went for my freshman year of undergraduate studies), through neighborhoods and parks, on roads and bike trails. Although the leaves weren't out yet, a few flowers were, and even the bare trees were pretty. The finish was inside the UT Football Stadium.

And speaking of pretty, it was pretty darn windy! I'm not sure of the wind speeds, but they were extremely strong, and seemed to be getting stronger all the time. Luckily those winds were in our face mostly in the first half, and mostly at our backs in the second half. Debbie did manage to pick up her pace a little by about mile 20. Even then, she had some foot cramps that slowed her down. As the finish approached, so did the 3:40 time barrier. Don't ask why this is a barrier, just accept that it is.

I pushed hard to beat that, and I encouraged Debbie to do the same. I finished in 3:38.

So that's another one for the books. At some point I'd like to get back to last year's levels, but that probably won't happen any time soon.

Thanks to Wendy Kouvaras for use of the photo.

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