Race Recap: Wineglass Marathon 2014

“All PRs are good PRs” has been my mantra since I finished this race. I did run a PR–a 3:35:40. (Probably. That’s what the text tracking and my watch said. Official race results say 3:34:53, which, ??) And given everything that went wrong, it’s amazing I managed that at all.

The finishing stretch felt so long, guys.

The finishing stretch felt so long, guys. All photos courtesy of Paul, who, along with my mom, was wonderful enough to come watch me race. Seeing them along the course was EVERYTHING!

What’s frustrating is that I am so, so much fitter than that. I really am! For once in my marathoning life, I know that my result was not related to my fitness but to a couple other factors, to be discussed below. But first:

The Thing That Worked Well

My new day-before-the-race fueling plan! Instead of loading up on pasta and bread the night before, I had white rice with salmon. (This recipe, specifically. Highly recommended.) I also made some changes to what I ate for breakfast and lunch.

The result? My race-morning bathroom trips were drastically reduced. On bad days before, I would need two hands to count the number of visits. Yesterday? I only went twice. I arrived at the start line feeling hydrated and ready to go. It’s a nutritional miracle!

I used to think, “Wow, my race-day nerves are really bad.” Now I am like, “Duh. Why did I never consider what I was eating?” So, one piece of the puzzle officially in place for next time.

We stayed in this awesome AirBnb on Keuka Lake. House = can cook your own food. Win.

We stayed in this awesome AirBnb on Keuka Lake. House = can cook your own food. Win.

The Problems

1) Lack of Sleep: I woke up after about four hours of sleep Friday night and couldn’t get back, and Saturday, I just could not fall asleep. I might have gotten two hours, tops, that night. Ugh, right?

At first, I feared I was just becoming an insomniac, but I think I figured it out since. When I woke up Friday, I started reading on my Kindle Paperwhite, and I read that before I tried to sleep on Saturday. (Plus several times in the dark in the middle of the night, in attempts to get to sleep.) For some reason, I thought the light from that screen was OK at night, but turns out, it’s the same kind of light as an iPhone/iPad, just positioned differently.

I’d read on this before bed before and never noticed a difference, but perhaps it’s why I often wake up in the middle of the night. And perhaps it’s a definite no-go when I have a big race coming up and sleeping will be more difficult anyway.

2) THE STUPIDEST MISTAKE: I will blame this decision on my sleep-deprived brain.

I drink Nuun pretty often, but never before or during a run.

When I woke up exhausted before the race, I thought, “I’ll just have one of those Nuun Energy tabs in my first glass of water this morning. That should help.”

NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. The bubbly water made my stomach churn almost immediately, yet I finished the whole glass, thinking, “I need a little hit of caffeine or I’m never going to make it.” NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. STUPID.

3) I probably should have carried my own water bottle during this race instead of relying on the water stops (since that’s what I do during training).

4) This didn’t affect the race, but my newish shoes were DEFINITELY not broken in enough. Hellooooo, black toenail. (On my big toe!) It hurts. I will spare you a photo.

The Race Itself

Weather was perfect. I felt more or less good until I tried to take a gel, which did not mix well with the Nuun in there. The first two gels (at miles 6 and 12) sat kind of okay. The third (at mile 17.5) did not. I abandoned my plan to take another in the 20s and spent the remainder of the race trying to move forward and not barf.

Taken not long before the ill-fated mile 17.5 gel. The dude next to me was having similar stomach issues. Aren't marathons weird, in that we discuss our guts freely with complete strangers?

Taken not long before the ill-fated mile 17.5 gel. The dude next to me was having similar stomach issues. Aren’t marathons weird, in that we discuss our guts freely with complete strangers?

As usual in these poorly-executed marathons, it took all my (already limited) mental capacity to move forward without stopping to walk. The last 10-K was an epic mental battle of wanting to quit entirely but knowing that, if I could fight that urge, I’d run some amount of PR. I don’t even want to look at my splits. UGLY.

I’d say the low point was the 3:35 pacer passing me at mile 24. But really, there were so many low moments in that last stretch.

I felt worse than I ever have at the finish, likely mostly a function of having gotten almost no sleep the previous night and very little the night before that. I ended up in the medical tent just because I was cold and cranky and crampy and needed some Gatorade and a chair in a warm place.

But check out that rear view, amirite? Look at my calf muscle!! Wow!

But check out that rear view, amirite? Look at my calf muscle!! Wow!

What Now?

After a post-finish meltdown in which I told Paul, “I HATE MARATHONS,” I am eager to try again, smarter. I have the fitness to go faster. I 100% know that. I know what I did wrong, and I won’t make those mistakes again.

I desperately want the marathon I know I can have: The one where I spend the first half, comfortably, at 3:35 pace, pick it up a hair through the 20-mile mark, then race into the finish. The one where I only feel barfy in the last 5-K, and that’s only because I’m picking it up so much and passing so many people, not because I am giving my stomach fuel and it’s too angry at me to digest it.

I don’t know when that marathon will be. Gotta talk to the coach. But I know I have it in me. And at least I know what to eat the day before the race now!

I got really cold after the race and this is what happened. Fashions.

I got really cold after the race and this is what happened. Fashions.

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About Meghan Loftus

http://meghanloftus.com/
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17 Responses to Race Recap: Wineglass Marathon 2014

  1. Congrats on a PR – totally agree that all PRs are good PRs even if it takes a little time to realize that lol. Sounds like you really pushed through some tough times at the end and still came out with an amazing time and knowing what it’ll take you to do better next time around!

    I’m finally ready to do a marathon again after a full year away. Looking at one in Annapolis end of March – will be the first time I’ve trained through the winter for a marathon, so we’ll see how that goes!!

    • Meghan Loftus says:

      Thank you! And I didn’t know there was a marathon there! Which one is it? I’m searching for a winter/spring marathon to give this another shot (before my own wedding stuff really picks up in April and May).

      • It’s the B&A Trail Marathon – (not really a trail race – it’s a converted rail trail, so it’s paved) put on by the Annapolis Striders. They don’t have the date up for 2015 yet, but based on last year, I’m thinking it will be March 29. I’ve heard really good things about it and compared to other Annapolis races, it is supposed to be fairly flat and fast. The weather was pretty awful last year, so I’m banking on that not being able to happen twice in a row, haha.

        http://www.marathonguide.com/races/racedetails.cfm?MIDD=773140330

  2. Congrats on a PR! I love your well organized and thoughtful race recap! I’ve also had that problem with Nuun before. Sometimes it makes my stomach go nuts, sometimes it’s great. Go figure. What did you change about your diet in the day leading up to the race? Nausea is my #1 foe.

    • Meghan Loftus says:

      Thanks for the kind words! I like Nuun postrun (and after too many drinks) but it’s clearly not my jam beforehand!

      Diet-wise, I ate almost no gluten and no dairy just the day before the race. I had eggs and toast for breakfast, turkey on a corn tortilla and applesauce for lunch, salmon and rice for dinner, and rice cakes, rice Chex, and a banana as snacks. Instead of a bagel before the race, I had a banana with a little peanut butter and rice Chex.

      I am not sure what solved the problem: the lack of gluten and dairy, or the fact that I was actually thinking about what I ate all day instead of doing whatever I wanted and then finishing the day with a big pasta dinner. (True story: Before my goal race last fall, I stopped at Friendly’s for a grilled cheese and a giant milkshake for lunch. I also had two beers that night with my pasta. No wonder I was sick!)

      For what it’s worth, my friend (who ate the same dinner I did) has stopped for #2 midrace in her seven previous marathons, and this was the first one where she didn’t have to.

      Try it! I hope it helps you as much as it helped me!

  3. Hi Meghan. I found you from random Googling, trying to see if anyone else had the same bizarre experience I had with Wineglass timing.

    My watch timed me at 3:25:09, but Auyertiming says I took only 3:24:17. Given that my first (7:48) and last (0.2 in 1:35) splits were as expected, the only thing I can think of that can account for the discrepancy is that the official timing is wrong by about 50 seconds. Which means that the official clock was started about 50 seconds late, or was stopped at some point for fifty seconds.

    Anyway, I search, and lo and behold, they made the same mistake with you. In other words, it looks to me like everyone’s official time is off by 50 seconds or so.

    • Meghan Loftus says:

      Hey Andre — Yeah, something definitely seems to be up. I raised the issue with the race and I’m confused by their answer (which you can see here: https://www.facebook.com/wineglassmarathon/posts/816443198418879?comment_id=816628051733727&reply_comment_id=817503768312822&offset=0&total_comments=4&notif_t=feed_comment ) but I did email Auyer Timing directly with screenshots of my Chronotrack splits (which have my gun time as 3:36-something and my chip time as 3:35:40) and my Auyer splits (gun time as 3:35:18 and chip time as 3:34:53). Still waiting to hear from them. No matter what time is right, it’s a PR for me, so, that’s good. But I genuinely do not think I went under 3:35, which would be a BQ for me. (Not that it would get me into the race anyway!) I’m planning another marathon in a few months, so I’ll just have to run faster there (and they’ll have to not have timing issues) to get a 100% official new PR I feel confident about!

      • Congratulations on the PR!

        We’re in the same boat. 3:24:17 would be a BQ for me, 3:25:09 would not. Either way, I don’t think I’d get a spot at Boston, given their recent cutoffs.

        Glancing through Facebook posts on the Wineglass page this morning, it looks as though there are quite a few other folks, all with around the same 50 second discrepancy. I am convinced Auyer screwed up, but who wants to admit everyone’s times were worse? Neither Auyer nor Wineglass has any incentive to fess up to screwing up the timing.

        I’m not a tin foil hat kind of guy, but I use an old school Timex stopwatch and I can’t understand how the gun time can be 40 seconds slower than my watch, when my first and last splits are clearly correct.

      • andrewilliamson says:

        Erm, make that “how the gun time can be 40 seconds faster than my watch…”

      • Meghan Loftus says:

        That’s what I’m wondering too! I started my watch after the starting gun/horn/whatever it was. I started it when I crossed the start line timing mat, and I stopped it after the second timing mat at the finish. Something’s fishy. I’m sticking with my Chronotrack time as my PR, no matter what they officially decide. (Not that I’d be above trying my “official” time to get into Boston [as it’s not far enough under the standard to actually get in anyway], but I’m confident I’ll have a faster, real BQ before registration for 2016 opens anyway!) High five for not wanting to just accept the faster time, as most people have told me I should do.

      • andrewilliamson says:

        Yes, high five. As much as it hurts to miss a BQ by 9 seconds, that’s what I think happened. And as you say, there will be other opportunities to pull off a BQ – just need to work harder and smarter!
        By the way, I sent an e-mail to auyer@gmail.com (as Wineglass suggested on FB) and that bounced back.
        So then I went looking on the Auyer site…the contact link they provide pulls up an e-mail “asdad@gmail.com” which *also* bounced back. On that second e-mail, I also CC’d auyertiming@gmail.com, which, so far, has not bounced back. I’ll let you know if they reply.
        Cheers!

      • andrewilliamson says:

        Btw, I just logged in to Chronotrack (they never did send live results to the phones I requested), and they have my official time as 3:25:05. That sounds correct (gasp! 5 seconds!). The plot thickens..

  4. Megan says:

    In the finish line photo my husband took of me, I can see the finish line clock reading about 3:45:19 as I was crossing the white sign just before the timing mat. My gun time is listed as 3:45:01. My Chronotrack splits and my Auyer timing splits match all the way through the 21.5-mi mark. I timed myself at 3:45:21, but I started my watch early and stopped it late. Chronotrack lists my gun time as 3:45:39, but there’s no way it took me 20 seconds to go the last few feet. My best guess is that the start and finish line clocks weren’t started at the same time, which seems like it’d be an easy mistake given the delay at the start. I believe their system may have made an correction for this but that there was an error giving us all quicker times. I think ultimately the Chronotrack time may be a hair too slow (like 5-10 seconds) and that the Auyer time is too fast. And, for my part, at the end of all this sleuthing, I have mixed feelings about this error because the time required to run the extra distance I ran from not hitting tangents perfectly, etc, more than makes up for the time I was given through this timing confusion.

    • Meghan Loftus says:

      What’s your Chronotrack chip time? My Chronotrack gun time is 3:36:06 and my chip time is 3:35:40 (which seems right, based on my watch). HOWEVER, in photos of me just after I crossed the finish line, the clock clearly says 3:35:(something—the seconds are obscured by the finishing arch). So the Chronotrack gun time does not synch with the finish clock’s gun time.

      My Auyer gun time (3:35:18) is faster than what my watch read (3:35:40), and I started my watch pretty well after the gun (when I crossed the first mat). I think the Auyer clocks are wrong—they were either started late or were stopped for some amount of time then re-started in the middle of the race.

      So much angst! I just need to run another marathon (one that hopefully doesn’t have these problems) faster than this one to get a 100% for-sure PR. 🙂

      I hope this resolves. Congrats on a huge PR either way!

      • Megan says:

        Chronotrack chip time was 3:45:18, which seems really close to what I’d expect from my watch. I really think the finish line clock was wrong, and I don’t know what Auyer did to give us all gun times faster than the time on our watches. But my gun splits are (Auyer/Chrono): 52:42/52:43, 1:50:35/1:50:36, 3:03:17/3:03:18, 3:45:01/3:45:49. One of these things is not like the other!

        Thanks! I know I did my best. My old PR (from my most recent marathon, 2009) was 4:23:11, so +/- 50 sec REALLY don’t matter. I’m just curious about whether I’ll have automatic entry into Chicago next year. And I’d like to know what happened. I’m surprised Wineglass doesn’t use Leone Timing.

  5. Emily says:

    Do you have a page where you list all your marathon finishing times, chronologically? I am in the midst of training for my second full, and trying to gauge how successfully other people have been at chipping away at their times down to a BQ. I have always really liked your material in RW/twitter. Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Meghan Loftus says:

      No, but I can give you a rough recap! In order, all 15, from memory (so maybe not perfect): 3:58, 3:43, 3:56, 3:57, 3:51, 3:41, 3:45, 4:04, 3:37, 3:42, 3:51, 3:41, 4:50 (ran with boyfriend), 3:35, 3:38

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