Glass City Half Marathon: Race Recap

Last year I ran the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon.This year, however, I decided to run the Owens Corning Half Marathon. This Half Marathon isn’t new to me, I ran it for the first time in 2013.

Race Week Training

You can find the details here. But to summarize, it was a low mileage week for me that I haven’t seen all year. This training period I read a lot about different training philosophies to the point of feeling overwhelmed and doubting everything. This week was a really solid week of short runs but mentally I struggled trusting my training plan.

Training Review

This training plan I followed my runcoach schedule to the letter. For the most part. In runcoach, as you add completed training and update future races, your training schedule will recalculate; half way through this training cycle I noticed that some of my speed workouts in runcoach didn’t match what I had on my calendar that I printed in January. Also, my weekly mileage didn’t add up (runcoach had me running two 50+ mile weeks in April). I didn’t adjust to the changes in the plan, and I stuck with what I had from the beginning. Let’s not forget I had to make a few modifications for Ireland and illness as well. I felt solid and really confident throughout my training. Yes there were a few runs that rattled my confidence but for the most part I have no complaints. I have a snap shot review of my completed training here.

Expo and Packet Pick-up

Saturday was the Expo and Packet Pick-up. The morning was another cold and windy day, so I held off on my shake-out run. We arrived at the Expo around 11:30am. I saw my friends and their kids who were running the kids races at noon. On my way to bib pick-up I finally met Amanda. Bib pick-up went smoothly and we wandered around for only a short while, running into more people we knew, before it was time to head out and watch the kids run. The kids races are an experience. It’s inspiring to see such young athletes out there “competing” but it’s also quite entertaining to see some of them just wander around the course being herded by their parents. After that, we headed to a neighborhood park so I could squeeze in two miles. I noticed I was running into the wind so I purposefully slowed down so I wouldn’t work my legs too hard. Instead of my pre-race sushi I reverted back to my old pre-race meal: Chipotle. It was a late afternoon lunch. I took an afternoon nap because I was exhausted and knew I probably wouldn’t sleep well that night anyway. After my nap, I had a bowl of rice and finished hydrating before calling it a night.

Race Day Wake-up

Sunday morning’s wake up was at 4:00am. But apparently I hit the snooze and woke up at 4:21am. I didn’t sleep well Saturday night and woke up having some pretty bad night sweats, which concerned me hydration-wise. I quickly made my breakfast (oatmeal) and cup of coffee before hitting the shower to rinse off. After my shower, I waited as long as possible to get dressed because I was sweating so much. I checked the weather and double-checked my gear. At 5:15am, I finished prep, mixed my UCAN (Chocolate) and headed downstairs. I walked outside in a sweatshirt over a tank top and sweatpants over race crops, and at 39 Degrees I was warm.

When I made it to campus, I parked and headed to my office to ground my gear. Around 6:15am, I headed out for a short 1 mile warm-up. I ran my warm-up in my normal training shoes and switched to my racing flats for the race. I loosened up my legs with a short yoga routine, drank my UCAN and then headed to the start line around 6:40am.

Race Goals

Preparing my Goals during race week was frustrating at best. I haven’t trained for a race in 8 months (although I’ve run 12 various races since then). My last true race was the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half in Chicago.

According to various finish time calculators, I should finish in:

  • 1:55:22 to 1:57:39 (using my last race finishing time-St Patrick’s Festival 5K)
  • 1:57:20 to 1:58:02 (using my last true full marathon finishing time-GCM 2014)
  • 1:51:48 to 1:54:00 (using my 5K PR)
  • 1:48:32 to 1:48:57 (using my fastest race-Finish on the Cruise 2014)

That’s a wide range of finishing times. From an 8:16/mile pace to an 8:58/pace. My best 2 training runs were during cut back week at the end of March: 8 miles (8:49/mile), 6 miles (8:42/mile). The 8 mile long run in Week 10 was at race pace for a PR, was relatively easy and a major confidence booster.

Goal A: My goal for 2015 is to break my 1:55:47 PR; however, I’ve been training with paces based on my fastest race. Although it seems like a huge jump, this goal will be a true test of my training.

  • 1:48:57 (8:18/mile)

Goal B: Since A is faster than my 2015 goal to break my 1:55:47 PR, I looked at my best training runs and decided to push it just a bit.

  • 1:54:00 (8:41/mile)

Goal C: My safe goal. This was a struggle to decide; do I want to break 2 hours or beat my last true half marathon time (1:58:23). Instead I went with an estimated finish time from my last race.

  • 1:57:39 (8:58/mile)

 Start Area

I lined up with the 1:50 pacer. Last year I went out too fast at the start and had trouble settling into my race pace. I was wearing my Lululemon Run A Marathon Crops with a Lululemon Run Swiftly Long Sleeve Top and my SmartWool PhD running socks with Light Cushion. I did some more yoga in my starting corral because it wasn’t too crowded yet. The sun was out and I didn’t feel any wind. To me it felt like a nice 50+degree race and I was worried I over dressed. Weather was closer to 37 Degrees.

Miles 1-6: 8’36″/8’06″/8’25″/8’16″/8’29″/8’37”
This part of the course is familiar, and familiar is good its relaxing and comforting. The course starts off on the University of Toledo’s Main Campus and heads north into Old Orchard. I started at the front of Corral B with the pacer but this first mile felt too crowded and I was having trouble keeping him close. We reached Mile 1 and I knew we were running to slow. I didn’t have any trouble keeping up as he picked up the speed into Mile 2 to get us back on pace. Shortly after Mile 2, the crowd thinned out and that was helpful to let me settle into my pace and relax. I took water after Mile 3 because I was getting thirsty and watched as I started to lose sight of the pace group. Mile 4 & 5 came quick as well, and I was happy to hear I was averaging 8’23” which was right on track for 1:50 projected finish even though I was no longer with the pacer. As I headed into Mile 6, I started to fall apart. First I got a side stitch so I grabbed some water and it went away. I started noticing people I had been pacing with were pulling ahead and my legs weren’t keeping up. I kept doing the math in my head to make sure that even if I slowed in my pace that I could still PR because that’s what I trained for.

Miles 7-9: 8’39″/8’51″/8’58”
Right before Mile 7, I crossed Central Avenue and headed into Wildwood Metro Park. I grabbed another cup of water which I ended up choking on. This made my throat feel raw and dry which wasn’t pleasant when my body already felt like it was having a bad day. I struggled through Wildwood. I didn’t choke on my cup of water before Mile 8. After that, half marathon split off to head back to campus, as the full marathon headed north. This was where I planned to start pulling ahead of the 1:50 pace group. Since I had lost them, I kept with the plan to push myself. My body just wouldn’t listen.

Miles 10-13.1: 8’54″/8’47″/9’14″/8’54”
Shortly after Mile 10, the course heads down Bancroft. Since this was the final 5K, I got excited. The majority of my runs, both long and short, have been focused so the last 2-3 miles are my fastest miles. Mentally and physically, it has trained me to have this last 5K of the half be my fastest splits of the day. This, however, was a bad day at the office. I was also unfamiliar with this part of the course which was unsettling. After crossing Mile 11 at 1:35:29, I knew even if I slowed down I would still PR. But I wasn’t about to risk it. Normally in this part of the race, I don’t have issues with crowds, but today I was getting cut off by a lot of people who would move in front of me and then slow down. This was frustrating for me because I was having a hard enough time picking up my pace. Mile 12 was my slowest mile of the day. Mile 13 went faster than expected and as we turned off of Bancroft I started my kick. There was no kick left in my legs even as we headed into the Glass Bowl.

Official Finish Time 1:54:44
Average Pace 8’45”

After crossing the finish line, I thought I was going to be sick. This is a new phenomenon that started about a year ago at the Shamrock Marathon. I just kept walking and it went away quickly. I got my blanket and my medal. I grabbed a bottle of water and headed towards the parking lot for food. On my way out of the Glass Bowl, I picked up my finisher’s mug to add to my collection! I ended up taking two bites of Gino’s Pizza before deciding it was too greasy and I wasn’t hungry. Then I headed back into the stadium to find my friends. I didn’t realize how crappy my legs felt. I didn’t hang around for very long because I started to get cold and really just wanted to head home.

Pros: Overall, the weather was sunny and I didn’t notice too much of the wind. There was a good amount of spectators out on the course and plenty of water stations. I PR’d. Even though I wasn’t feeling my best, I still went out there and accomplished what I trained to do (for the most part). The weather was great for race day; it was a beautiful day to be running Toledo. I was at one point dumping left over water down my back to keep me cool. I’m also still adjusting to UCAN. The website says every 2-3 hours of activities, and I’ve also read it most runners take a second packet/scoop at Miles 15-17 typically. I haven’t run more than a 14 mile training run and with the increase in pace I wasn’t sure about my energy levels, so I packed some Clif Shot Bloks because they deliver energy faster than a GU. The long-winded conclusion is that I survived a half marathon without needing any additional energy sources besides one packet of UCAN 30 minutes before the race.

Cons: I didn’t run any negative splits. My legs felt heavy. I didn’t accomplish my race plan, despite executing during training. I’ve run faster half marathons during full marathons (GCM 2014!). I also had a few crowd issues today. The course seemed overcrowded at certain points and barren at others.

Some post-race thoughts: I executed my training plan. That being said, I trained to finish 6 minutes faster than I actually did. It’s hard to not be happy with my race and how I ran, but still be happy I PR’d. I put a lot of time and training into this and it’s just disappointing to see it fall short.

As always, GCM was a great experience. I am happy to have PR’d in my hometown.

To find out more about my GCM Training look here. And you can find all of my Race Recaps here!



Glass City Half Marathon: Training Roll-up

Last year at Glass City, I ran a second-best marathon. After that race, I rolled-up my training to share with you, and I thought I would do the same again this year.

Overall: I ran four 14 mile long runs. And endless miles on the Treadmill which was a huge step.
Total Mileage: 501.90 Miles
Total Time: 80 Hours 0 Minutes
Number of Runs: 84 Runs

GCM: Week One
Long Run: 6 Miles (on a Treadmill)
Mileage: 22.0 Miles
Time: 3 Hours 31 Minutes
Notes: I was still recovering from the Dopey Challenge, but I successfully began integrating treadmills into my workouts.

GCM: Week Two
Long Run: 8 Miles Outside
Mileage: 23.4 Miles
Time: 3 Hours 41 Minutes
Notes: I missed a 6 mile run because we were snowed-in. I also cut a workout short because I just wasn’t feeling it.

GCM: Week Three
Long Run: 10 Miles Outside
Mileage: 39.4 Miles
Time: 6 Hours 22 Minutes
Notes: This was a huge jump in mileage (don’t do the math–it will scare you), but I was back on track with my training plan. This really was Week 1 of a Training Plan, if you think about it.

GCM: Week Four
Long Run: 11 Miles (on a Treadmill)
Mileage: 41.0 Miles
Time: 6 Hours 34 Minutes
Notes: A slight weather issue with my scheduled 12 mile run, but I bounced back and finished the week with a smile. One Speed Workout.

GCM: Week Five
Long Run: 14 Miles (on a Treadmill)
Mileage: 42.1 Miles
Time: 6 Hours 48 Minutes
Notes: I conquered 14.0 Miles on a Treadmill! One Speed Workout.

GCM: Week Six
Long Run: 12 Miles
Mileage: 42.0 Miles
Time: 6 Hours 48 Minutes
Notes: Two Speed Workouts and One Yoga Session!

GCM: Week Seven
Long Run: 9 Miles
Mileage: 35.75 Miles
Time: 5 Hours 46 Minutes
Notes: Cut Back Week. Two Speed Workouts and Two CrossFit Workouts.

GCM: Week Eight
Long Run: 12 Miles (Outside)
Mileage: 41.4 Miles
Time: 6 Hours 40 Minutes
Notes: Ireland! No Speed Workout but I raced a 5K in Dublin.

GCM: Week Nine
Long Run: 14.0 Miles (Outside)
Mileage: 43.2 Miles
Time: 6 Hours 52 Minutes
Notes: I completed my birthday run and a GRC in Ireland! No Speed Workout this week.

GCM: Week Ten
Long Run: 8 Miles (Outside) @ Race Pace
Mileage: 34.4 Miles
Time: 5 Hours 4 Minutes
Notes: Last Cut-back Week! One Speed Workout and One Tempo Workout plus One CrossFit Workout.

GCM: Week Eleven
Long Run: 14 Miles
Mileage: 44.0 Miles
Time: 7 Hours 9 Minutes
Notes: I reintroduced myself to trail running this week with two Trail Runs. One CrossFit Workout and One Speed Workout.

GCM: Week Twelve
Long Run: 14.0 Miles (On a Treadmill)
Mileage: 45.0 Miles
Time: 7 Hours 2 Minutes
Notes: Skipped Speed Workout due to being sick. Took an APFT. No true speed workout.

GCM: Week Thirteen
Long Run: 7.0 Miles (x4 Outside)
Mileage: 36.0 Miles
Time: 5 Hours 55 Minutes
Notes: Skipped Speed Workout. One CrossFit Workout. Taper Week.

GCM: Week Fourteen
Long Run: What Long Run? 13.1 Miles–Glass City Half Marathon
Total Mileage: 12.1 Miles
Total Time: 1 Hour 51 Minutes
Notes: No Speed Workouts, No CrossFit Workouts.

Result: PR 1:54:44

You can the original weekly workout recaps here and my GCM Race Recap here.



GCM: Week Fourteen

It’s Race Week! And week two of tapering! I’m avoiding trails and treadmills this week so my legs stay fresh and not fatigued.

Monday: Rest Day! Of course I was watching the Boston Marathon live coverage and that only made me want to get out there and go run.

Tuesday: 3.0 Mile Run Outside at an easy comfortable pace. I didn’t push myself and I just let my legs do their thing. Much better than last week!

Wednesday: 4 Mile Run Outside + Lifting. Yesterday I read an article where the coach suggests not tapering because it takes your body out of your 12+ week routine and you’ll end up stale on race day, instead of fresh which is the point of taper. It made me so confused but it’s 3 days from the race and now is not the time to make changes to the plan.

Thursday: 3 Mile Run Outside. This was a rough one. I had a 14 hour work day. I couldn’t run at 4am because it was “Feels like…” below freezing and >15mph winds. I didn’t think it would be a smart decision less than 3 days from race day to overexert my body so I prayed that a late night run would result in better conditions. Thankfully it was a bit warmer in the evening (felt like low 40s) and around 8mph winds.

Friday: Rest Day! A day of struggling to hydrate, foam rolling and trying to make sure I get enough sleep.

Saturday: 2 Mile Shake-out Run Outside + Expo. It was another cold and windy day. Doesn’t give me warm fuzzies for tomorrow.

Weekly Totals:

  • 1 hours 51 mins
  • 12.1 miles running

See all weekly workout recaps here.


GCM: Week Thirteen

Two weeks to go, and time to start tapering! I started the week very excited to Taper. My cut-back weeks have been really strong, so my concern is that I might fizzle by race day. But I need to trust the taper. If you really need to see the struggle it was apparently on Wednesday. I had to pull out my original training schedule then log into runcoach to determine what the heck I really should be running this week. Not exactly a problem I envisioned having 10 days from Race Day. This week ended up being nothing like a cutback week. Overall I ran much slower and this has me a bit worried going into Race Week.

Monday: Rest Day!

Tuesday: Allergy season is upon us and I am not prepared. Spent the day avoiding outdoors and fighting a sinus headache.

Wednesday: 4 Mile Run Outside in the AM + 4 Mile Run Outside in the PM. Feeling much better than Tuesday. So I spent my original 6 mile run plotting how to make up yesterday’s mileage (during taper week). I also calculated and realized that my originally scheduled 42 mile week wasn’t a taper, so then I had to calculate a correct taper and then mentally debate if that was appropriate. Eventually, I decided that running two 4 Milers in one day would help and cut my first run short, even though running less than 5 miles made me feel antsy for some reason.

Thursday: 7 Mile Run Outside in the AM. Now that Spring has sprung, it’s sunrise when I head outside to run. Almost miss needing my headlamp to get my mileage in.
CrossFit in the PM was a mix of heavier and lighter, and I couldn’t find the perfect weight for any exercise.
1. Front Squat: 3 Reps @60% EMOM x 12 Minutes
2. Deadlift: 3 Sets x 7 Reps
3. 5 min. AMRAP: 60 Single Unders + 15 Power  Snatches
—Rest 3 min.—
4. 5 min. AMRAP: 10 Pull-ups + 10 Overhead Lunges (25#)

Friday: 7 Mile Run Trail Run in the PM. There was 0.0 mile visibility fog this morning when I woke up for my run, I checked the weather report and realized I wasn’t going to get a run in before work and my only other option was to run in the afternoon when the projected temperature was 72 and Sunny.

Saturday: 7 Mile Run Outside. Another 72 and Sunny run. I got sunburned. This was a painfully slower run for me mainly because I wasn’t acclimated to the heat.

Sunday: 7 Mile Run Outside. 50 degrees, Cloudy and Windy. This was a better run than Saturday, but still a slow run.

Weekly Totals:

  • 5 hours 55 mins
  • 36.0 miles running

See all weekly workout recaps here.


GCM: Week Twelve

So close yet so far. I started the week feeling under the weather to include skipping a run. By the end of the week, I couldn’t be more excited to taper (not because I like it, but because it means I’m so close!).

Monday: Rest Day! Was hoping for a session at CrossFit but I was too exhausted to make it.

Tuesday: Had a 6-7 Mile Speed Workout scheduled. Got to the gym, had a pretty decent lifting session, and ended up with no energy to run. So I walked a mile cool-down and called it a day. I’d rather be healthy for race day than force myself through a run when my body isn’t able (or willing).

Wednesday:6 Mile Run on the Treadmill in the AM + Lifting. 4 Mile Run on the Treadmill in the PM.

Thursday: 7 Mile Run on the Treadmill in the AM. I’ve been so exhausted this week I decided to skip CrossFit in the PM.

Friday: 14 Mile Run on the Treadmill. It was 35+ mph winds outside, so I thought it would be better to run inside. It is also a drill weekend and an APFT, so running 14 miles on Saturday wouldn’t be possible or a wise decision.

Saturday: 7 Mile Run Outside. After all week on the treadmill, I felt slower than usual (which is normal for me), but it felt nice to shake my legs out.

Sunday: APFT + 5 Miles. Push-ups, sit-ups and a 2 mile run. I didn’t really go full out on any of the events. It was more of a gauge of how I’m doing physically without really trying. Now the concept is that you give 110% for every APFT event, and while I agree with that, to each their own. I ran a fairly comfortable 2 miler, actually falling into a pace faster than I had intended, and then kept running for a total of 7 miles. The weather was twice as warm as I’m used to running in so it was a shock to my system, but hopefully it can only make me more prepared for race day!

Weekly Totals:

  • 7 hours 2 mins
  • 45.0 miles running

See all weekly workout recaps here.


GCM: Week Ten

Wow. Cutback week. Keep the intensity but reduce the weekly mileage by 20-25%. This is the last reduction before I taper, which means I’m so close. And so excited! I never thought I would enjoy a high mileage half marathon training program before, but I’m loving it. I feel stronger, and faster-ish.

Monday: Rest Day! But I still went to CrossFit. Snatch was 2 reps EMOM for 7 minutes followed by 1 minute of max reps at 75%; Back Squats 3 x 5; Metcon was 2 x 5 minutes on and 3 minutes off: 10 Wall Balls (14#), 10 Pull-ups, 50 Single Unders.

Tuesday: 5.9 Mile Speed Run completed on the Treadmill. Originally this was going to be 6 Yasso 800s, but I couldn’t decide between a safe pace (4:00 minutes), a goal pace (3:45 minutes) or a wishful pace (3:30 minutes). In the end I decided to do all three paces, running 2 x 800m at each pace; however, I felt so good running an 8:00 min/mile pace, that I decided to call an audible and keep running to finish out the mile. I kept that going at for 7:30 min/mile, but knew it wouldn’t be smart to run a whole mile at a 7:00 min/mile pace so I split it up to 2 x 800m. I felt really strong, and that is the best part of a speed workout!
10 minute Warm-Up
1 mile @7.5mph (8:00 min/mile) + 4:00 jog
1 mile @8.0mph (7:30 min/mile) + 3:30 jog
2 x 800m @8.6mph (7:00 min/mile) + 3:00 jog
10 minute Cool-Down

Wednesday: 5 Mile Run on the Treadmill + Lifting. This run was a breeze. And I’m thankful that on this cold and rainy morning I had access to a treadmill and it didn’t suck.

Thursday: 4.5 Mile Tempo Run on the Treadmill + Lifting.
15 minute Warm-Up
2 miles at slightly faster than 10K Pace (7.8mph, 7:42min/mile)
1 Mile Cool-Down

Friday: 3 Mile Run on the Treadmill in the AM. 2 Mile Run on the Treadmill in the PM.

Saturday: 8 Mile Run Outside at Race Pace. Goal was to test run my race pace and I finished feeling fresh. This run helped boost my confidence that my training is on track for a PR!

Sunday: 6 Mile Run Outside in the hills of Kentucky. I ran a comfortable pace trying to keep it steady and consistent. Another successful run!

Weekly Totals:

  • 5 hours 4 mins
  • 34.4 miles running

See all weekly workout recaps here.


GCM: Week Nine

Last week and this week were tests of maintaining training while traveling. Making the sacrifice of waking up early while on vacation wasn’t that bad and I felt better knowing I got my run in and my training was still on track. I also am happy to announce that I’ve decided to run an ultramarathon later this year. I definitely felt stronger this week, and although I’m on a roll, I’m looking forward to next week’s cutback week to help refresh my body and keep my momentum moving forward.

Monday: Finished the GRC (10 hours long) and spend the rest of the day relaxing and recovering.

Tuesday: 10K in Dublin, Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day! Ran through Phoenix Park again and finally saw some of the Fallow Deer herd. 2 Degrees Celsius and Cloudy.

Wednesday: My traditional birthday run! 8K Run Outside through Phoenix Park. -2 Degrees Celsius and Cloudy with increasing Fog.

Thursday: 6 Mile Run Outside. Finally getting my “speed” back.

Friday: 6 Mile Run Outside. Talk about a speedy run. I was very happy about the warm (but cloudy) weather and how fresh and fast my legs felt.

Saturday: 14 Mile Run Outside. A very slow long run. Tried something new by fueling with UCAN, one packet of the chocolate protein. I was a bit concerned going in because some runners say it lasts 15-17 miles, and others say 90 minutes. It definitely got me through 2+ hours, and there was no dip in energy, although I was really hungry when I finished!

Sunday: 6 Mile Run Outside. A bit chillier of a run. A bit slower recovery run.

Weekly Totals:

  • 6 hours 52 mins
  • 43.2 miles running

See all weekly workout recaps here.