I plan events for a living. My exact title at work is Associate Director for Alumni Relations but when it boils down to it I am an event planner. Depending on the year I can plan 20-35 events, give or take. I send over 100 mass emails out throughout any given year and I have meeting after meeting to make sure everything runs smoothly. I can safely say that I am well versed at planning and executing events.
The Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon is an entirely different beast. The marathon weekend as a whole is one event, then the expo, kids’s marathon, race day set-up, coordinating volunteers and about 20 other things are all events in their own way. Each portion of the weekend takes advanced planning and has to run on a strict timetable. Basically, this is one superbly run mega-event. I kid you not, this is an event of epic proportions and it is run flawlessly. This speaks volumes to the dedication and love of the sport of those who produce and run the race weekend.
I worked at the information table at the expo on Saturday and wow were there a lot of questions but with over 8,000 people rushing in and out there are a lot of people to help. The best part about the information table was that I got to finally meet the four ambassadors I have been working with for the last four months. They are a great group and I am happy that I had the opportunity to work with them.
I have always been at the expo to pick up my packet and oogle the items for sale but this year it brought about a whole new experience.
One of the great things about working at U Toledo is that I have keys to my building and my office building is not open on race day. Keys + Building = Private Bathrooms for me. This, in itself, makes the day that much easier! I met my best friend Michele and her Aunt Kim in the parking lot and walked over with them to the starting line. They both ran the full (and killed it). Michele and I have taken a picture together at the starting line the past two Glass City races we have run together and this year was no different, we just added Aunt Kim into the mix.
One of my favorite things from the entire race weekend is the two firetruck ladders over the start line holding the American flag. This was so beautiful, touching and honestly brought tears to my eyes. In January, Toledo lost two of its brave firefighters in the line of duty. Any life lost is precious and these two lives brought a city/region together to celebrate their lives. #ToledoStrong has proven how much a city can rally together. This is why having the firetrucks holding the flag is so symbolic right now to Toledo.
The picture in the right bottom corner is me at about mile eight. This was just before the half and full split at a dead end. Half to the left and full to the right. I heard a lot of ‘I dare you to turn right’ or ‘Why am I turning right’. It is a huge point in the race and something that I look forward to each year, no matter which distance I am running.
I had a hard time during some of the race. I was off of running for three weeks due to some back issues. When I have to take time off my body isn’t what gets angry at me, it is my lungs. My asthma makes jumping back into running a little rough, so adding mileage slowly always helps. I went from nine miles, to three weeks off, to 13.1 miles. Its a crummy progression. I just wanted to finish. I knew I would be far away from my PR (about 20 minutes away) but I wanted to run and I wanted to be an Ambassador to the slow runners. The picture of the last part of the race before you turn in to The Glass Bowl was really pretty to me with the flags that were set up at the start.
I had a few people ask me what I was pacing for the race. I did laugh and told them that if they just wanted to finish, that I would pace that. I do not run at a steady pace. I do not run 13 miles without walking. I have limitations and I work through them, with pleasure. I am happy that I can even run.
The new medal is beautiful! This is very symbolic to U Toledo, it is the iconic University Hall tower. I like getting to add a new medal to my rack, especially one that is so unique.
I sprinted when I saw the finish line, as I always do at the end of a race. I don’t care how dead tired I am or what hurts, I always finish really strong. I love a good sprint! The finish line picture is taken from the back of the finish line but still shows some of the glory that the finish inside The Glass Bowl adds to the race. When you run the full or the half you get a mug to take home. This was my third mug and they look great all lined up in my kitchen! As my friend Michele said, we have to run it at least one more time so we have a full set of four mugs!
I hung my bib and medal up when I got home and celebrated finishing my seventh half marathon. My medal rack may look bare to most, but I am happy that I have even this many to display! I save all of my bibs from the races I get a medal at and I can easily say that the bib this year at the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon is the prettiest one I have by far.
My official time was 2:51:01. Very slow for me even. But, like I said, I finished and a lot of people can’t say that.
I have enjoyed this race weekend for three of the past four years, I only took one year off for knee surgery. I will run this race, half or full, every year when I am able to. My body is not meant for distance running, my knee is not meant for distance running, my lungs are not meant for distance running, my heart is not meant for distance running. My head tells me I am, so I try my hardest to make it happen.
With the honor of being an Ambassador for the race it was a a podium of sorts to tell the non-elite and non-mid-pack runners, that we (the slow runners) are runners too. We may get laughed at, made fun of, called names, be dead last at a race (all things that have happened to me), but we show everyone that we have heart, guts, endurance and the will-power to run an absurd amount of miles at 7:00 a.m. and train for months on end. We punish ourselves the same as any other runner, just in different ways.
I feel like I opened the eyes of some runners in the Toledo area even. I have had some elite and speedy runners talk to me about having never thought about what the slow runners go through, or what we have to do for a race. Example – An elite or mid-pack runner will run five miles in around 30-45ish minutes, maybe even a bit longer. I am ecstatic when I am able to run give miles in 60 minutes. Seriously, that is fast for me. If we are talking long runs, let’s say 20 miles. The fast runner can push that out in 2-3ish hours. That takes me four + hours. People talk about the time it takes them to train and I get jealous and laugh a little in my head because I always have to add on hours each week to their training, even when we run the same mileage. No matter what, I am a runner, and we slow runners deserve the same respect as the elite do.
Anyways…I loved being a race Ambassador. I loved the experience of the race weekend and everything that Clint and Erin do to ensure that the weekend is flawless for all of the runners and volunteers.
Want to run it next year? The date is set for April 26, 2015! Lace up those shoes and get to training!
My goal for April 26, 2015 is another full marathon. Let’s seriously cross our fingers that this next winter isn’t as punishing as the one we just finished.