The North Coast 24 is just days away. Having done few long runs this year, I though I would get in my "longest" training run before the NC24 by running the Glass City Marathon in Toledo on April 22nd. Toledo is an easy 2 hour drive from Cleveland. In years past, I have just driven up the morning of the marathon. This year, two friends joined me so we decided to make a road trip out of it and went to Toledo on Saturday night.
Since I last ran Toledo, the course has changed. It could only improve because the old course was run on alot of roads with heavy traffic, not alot of fun.
Last year, the course changed so instead of starting and ending in downtown Toledo, the race started and ended at the University and in between meandered through neighborhoods before turning on a bike path and through parks a fairly flat race. I would give the course a pretty good mark. There were surprisingly quite a few people out to cheer on runners even though the race started at 7:00 a.m. and the race start temperature had to be in the 30s.
As the race got underway, I was trying to figure out if I should just lope along, try to run really hard or somewhere in between. I fell in with the 3:40 pace group and thought that would be a good in-between group for me.
It was a bit crowded in the initial miles of the race as there were quite a few twists and turns. Although I looked forward to the joke that our pacer told every mile, I decided around mile 7 that I needed to get away from the pack so I wasn't fighting to get into position to run the tangents. I slowly pulled ahead and then kept waiting for the pace group to blow by me at some point. I also decided to not watch my splits too carefully so I wasn't really sure how fast or slow I was going. By the mid-point of the race, temperatures were about perfect although there was some headwind. We apparently ran by Olander Park, which is the former site of many former 24-hour and 100 mile races... although we didn't run inside.
I finished the race at 3:38 so I was able to hold off the 3:40 pace group to the bitter end. Not a huge race so I was able to get a first place finish in my age group - nice functional award that included an Asics gym bag, arm sleeves and socks. Each finisher also got a glass beer stein (and nice medal of couse). Due to the weather being pretty chilly at the finish, we opted to pass on the free beer (shocking) and instead went back to the hotel for a hot shower! Now we'll see how prepared I am for the NC24!!