I registered for this race almost a year earlier after a really bad few weeks following last year’s Marine Corps Marathon. I had seen a few other 50 staters and maniacs post about Wineglass and thanks to a trip to Napa with my best friend a few years before, I knew I liked wine. When I saw the post somewhere advertising a $35 entry fee for the first 35 to register for the 35th year of the race, I set my alarm for the midnight registration opening and got in. The net downhill and almost guaranteed cooler temperatures made this the PR goal race for 2016.
There’s plenty of information on the website so I will skip most of the course details. I ended up flying into Buffalo, staying the night there and then driving just over 2 hours on back roads to more expensive Corning. It was a nice drive and the fall colors were beautiful. After checking into the hotel, I ran over to the Corning Museum of Glass for the expo. The glass pumpkin patch was open and we walked through the Museum gift shop to get to packet pickup. With a big goal in mind, I planned to save the sightseeing for after the race. I got my packet, long-sleeved tech zip shirt, wineglass, mini champagne bottle, and assorted other stuff that’s typical of a fairly big race celebrating an anniversary. Then it was back to my hotel to try and sleep.
Race report: Race morning was cool and not humid. I walked from the hotel past the museum and over the bridge to the shuttle area where there was a long line for the school buses to Bath. They boarded us quickly in the dark and the sunrise started as we rode the 30 minutes to the start in Bath. There were plenty of portapotties, big tents (maybe heated?), food, water, and coffee at the start. It had been a while since I’d run hard on a road and the combination of having a potentially unattainable goal and the thousands of other marathoners made me more nervous than I’d been in almost a year. The friendly stranger I’d met on the way to Michigan a month before sent encouraging and reassuring last minute texts and then I joined the stragglers at the back of the pack and crossed the start line. The first few miles were through the town of Bath, then we headed south along country roads. The weather stayed perfect, the scenery was beautiful, and there were occasionally unexpected things along the road that helped distract:
I thought that was someone’s front yard and spent a few miles imagining the conversation that must have happened for it to end up there (“But honey, who else would a helicopter in the front yard? Think how awesome it will look!!”). The course was as expected given the descriptions I’d found online and the few hills were not too bad. Things that stood out (besides the Apache) were a woman who had somehow gotten a coke (!) around mile 21, a sign about a kitten at mile 23, and that I was really, seriously going to puke during a race but I had to keep running because I was SO CLOSE to my super secret really ambitious time goal. I ended up beating my St. Louis time by over 26 minutes and (ouch) missing my A goal by only 1:51. It was a great day.
Off road: The Corning Museum of Glass is worth at least a half a day. I wished I’d had more time there.
The race offered several options for wine tours and after a lot of research on the area, I finally went with theirs. It was mostly just the bus dropping us off and picking up from 4 wineries but it was nice to tour/drink with other runners. The wineries were nice – one was fantastic, and the area was beautiful.
I found a backpack in my hotel room in Corning. Having just waited in a long line of runners to check in, I was certain that it belonged to another runner. I decided it would be faster to just see whose bag it was and call their room through the front desk rather than wait in the line again. It did not contain the usual running gear:
The friendly stranger and I had talked every night since meeting on a flight to a month before and were planning to meet in Nashville a few weeks after Wineglass. (Even I know no one wants to go on a first date with someone tapering for a marathon and I was hoping not to wreck it before anything started.) When I opened the backpack and found the unexpected contents, I texted to ask the friendly stranger if he had, uh, maybe sent something to the hotel as a surprise? No. Or maybe he was trying a creative way to disclose something to me? No. He wanted to know what was going on. I sent him the picture above and he called, laughing, to say NOOOOO, not from him and it might be a good idea to change rooms because who knew what else housekeeping may have missed if that was still in the closet. At least I had something to ponder during the race, right?