Tuesday, August 2, 2016

downeast sunrise trail relay

way back at some point earlier in the year... when running on the treadmill was my only option (im a winter running wimp) and i longed for warm races outside with friends other than youtube and my cat... i was somehow roped into an all night/mid summer relay from an eastern part of maine to the very very farthest eastern most point of the whole united states in the middle of the woods on some sort of trail, kicking and screaming until i pressed submit and my credit card was charged. then i was informed about the potential hazards of said relay which were not fully explained to me before... that i would be carrying bear mace and had to sign some sort of "your life is in high danger" waiver. seriously, thats totally how it happened. #ormaybenot

im getting old, my memory isnt that great. 

but yeah, ok, so maybe i actually really might have invited myself onto a team that i convinced needed a mediocre female runner. it just so happened that i was the slowest of all the other runners, so im certain they all looked at their captain with a "wtf dude?" type look... but i promised cookies and fun selfie opportunities and of course my mad singing skillz. so i guess that helped?  (although the team denied my celine dion request. theyre all bound to hate me). as time got closer for the race, i got more and more nervous. i let everyone in my small circle of life know that i might not make it out alive. i did pack my pepper spray, got a better headlamp than i currently owned, and made sure i had every piece of neon and reflective gear i owned all packed up and ready for use (i also suggested we go and sign our wills, but that did not happen. so i couldnt die! thats how it works, right?). bring it on downeast sunrise trail! (this early am road runner city girl still wasnt quite sure what she was getting herself into...)

but, ready or not, the weekend finally arrived. lucky for us, a team composed of almost all really fast runners (minus the new girl), we got the very last start for the relay. 11:30. PM. seriously, have you ever started a race at 11:30pm? it might be the worst. when do you eat? hi, my bedtime is before the sun goes down. friday was gonna be a long day (night)... #nosleeptileastport

of course i woke up super early friday morning (thanks hen!). coffee was bound to be my friend for the next few days (of which i actually had very little). i had obviously been packed since wednesday, so i headed out mid morning to spend the day in ellsworth, hopefully finding a nice place to nap (i did!) and get something to eat (also did, a few times!). i met up with aaron (team captain who approved of inviting the slow chick, blame him!) to get some last minute snacks at hannaford and gu from cadillac mountain sports, then headed to another team members house where we watched some running movies, got some more snacks, discussed team strategy (run, dont be scared, dont poop in the van), then headed out for the start line at 11pm for our check in with gary and mary, the race directors. #crowathletics

team US Dept of Minimal Effort

had a bit of a "survivor" feeling

last three teams starting the race

tracy started off for our team. we headed out to the 1st transition site and met up with another team there who were just getting ready to transition off on their second leg. for the first few transitions it was just our three teams (who had started together) until we started to catch up with some of the other teams. i noticed right away once i got out of the van and took a look down the trail in either direction... we werent in westbrook anymore, toto. also, the trail was dark. luckily the thunderstorms that had been forecast looked like they were going to miss us (i had packed 4 pairs of shoes though just incase...ya know, for my 2 runs...), and we had a very bright, almost full moon with a cloudless sky to help guide us. i was still pretty nervous for what was to come though, and it didnt help that gary had also told us before we started that there had been a bear sighting along the 2nd leg of the relay. luckily i had not been switched to that leg (as we had discussed prior to the start)... nice knowing ya, leg 2 runners! #runrealfast

tracy came flying into leg 2 transition and handed off to aaron and off he went to chase down the bears team ahead of us. we drove on to the next transition, which was when i would soon start running. as i waited for aaron to come in, i went off along the trail to pee quite a few times. the nerves were slowly leaving me and i was actually getting excited. i havent run a night relay since early 2012... if you have never done one, its quite an experience. i missed this fun, sleepless, team atmosphere. we had only been out on the road/trails for under 2 hours and we had already been having so much fun. (and i wasnt going to let my team down, so i had to get psyched up to run at lightning speed!)

one of the coolest things about this race was how far ahead of time you could see your runner (or a runner anyway) coming up the trail. at some points almost over half a mile or more! we would all yell "runner!" when we would see a light coming up the trail, and then we would wait. and wait. and wait some more. most of the time you would know who was coming, but there were times when the lead change mid leg made us unsure who to cheer for. the team just ahead of us came in and their runner took off, so we knew the next runner would be aaron. we started to see his light and i got myself ready. reflective vest, check. head lamp (on), check. back blinky light (on), check. lets do this. #omgfreakingoutalittlebit

it was f-ing dark. start of leg 3, 1:15am

i took off like i was racing the mile with a pack of crazy wolves chasing me. whoooooa slow down (oh hey 6:18 pace. barf). the first mile was interesting to say the least... i couldnt figure out my footing on the trail. part of it was soft gravel and part was semi packed down, i felt like i was weaving all over the place just to find some sort of groove (which never really came). i finally just shortened my stride and tried to just run. i kept looking around me with the flashlight i brought (i actually kept my pepper spray in my handheld pocket, i wasnt that scared) and saw a bunch of frogs and piles of (likely) bear poop. lovely. it had been projected that i would run around 7:30 for this leg (7.6 miles, a slight uphill then a long downhill), and i was roughly close to that other than mile 4 when i felt like dying and my legs didnt want to move at all. suck it up legs. also, were not dying out here so lets get movin.

after the awful feeling mile, i got my footing semi figured out and decided to push it and just get this run over with. the whole run actually felt like it went by fairly fast. before i knew it i started seeing a few lights ahead of me and i booked it. eventually i could hear my team cheering for me and i saw chris ahead of me, slapped his hand and he was off. yay, my middle of the night, scary run was done! and i lived to tell about it! and i didnt see any snakes! #hotsweatymess

took the first (and sadly only) sweat seat selfie
next year there will be a not so top secret selfie stick

12 seconds off pace. sorry team, ill try harder next run

although that looks like a sharp downhill, it was so hard to tell what the hell you were running out there in the dark. i never felt like i was running downhill, but i guess maybe being able to speed up on the last few miles was an indication (or i just wanted to be done running). i was really glad i had brought my handheld (with tailwind) but wished i had brought salt pills too. it was humid and i was sweating a lot, but i also feared drinking too much. i didnt want to get bloated or end up puking... i needed to be the tough girl if i wasnt going to be the fast girl! roar! #sotough

we drove on to the next transition and didnt have a lot of time as chris's run wasnt very long. there were a few more teams at the next spot (we were running fairly fast and on schedule for what we had expected, but i dont think we expected to be catching up to teams this early on). i changed out of my sweaty clothes (it was actually getting quite cool, but was still humid) and put on more bug spray (the flies were so bad). there was also a very stinky yet welcoming porta potty at this transition. #runnerspoopsomuch

chris came in and handed off to jen who took off for a 10k or so. the team ahead of us (pace cadets) werent too far, and jen ended up passing them along that leg. jen passed off to stephen who then passed off to tobin. this was where things got.... fun. we really started catching up to more and more teams. fun little get togethers at each transition site. a little after 4am the sky started developing some color. my (now stinky) van mates (all who had been on the team last year) started discussing how they felt they were ahead of where they were last year at this time, they hadnt remembered seeing this many teams before the sun came up, etc. we were all in great spirits, laughing and joking and just all around having a good time. and with some great music to boot. #playlist

tobin had just under 4 miles to run so we took off right after he left the transition area. and somehow, US DoME got lost. #UnitedStatesDepartmentofFail. and im not talking just a little lost... we were really, really lost. we went down one road for awhile, figured it wasnt the right one, turned around and went back a ways. then we decided it really was the right road, so we turned around and went down it again. and again, we decided it was wrong so we turned around. of course the cell service was shit out there so no one could figure out where we were or where we were supposed to be going, where we went wrong, etc. someone tried calling another member of a team we knew would be at the next transition to tell tobin what was going on, but those calls kept getting dropped. it was a mess. tracy was driving the 15 passenger van like a boss (in hindsight we should have likely worn seatbelts), i finally got some sort of gps to work on my phone, and we got back to rt 1. where we were supposed to be only needing to go 1.6 miles, we now had to go 16 miles. like i said, we were a bit off track... #sofreakinglost

someone was able to relay to tobin that we had gotten off course and they sent him on along the next leg of the relay instead of having him wait for us. so after killing his 4 miles, he now had 8 to run, unprepared. oof. 

sorry man. #assholeteammates

sarah was likely equally pissed that he was running what should have been her first leg (she had yet to run and was getting antsy). from the back of the van (and running on no sleep) i saw an animal up ahead in the road and got so super excited that i was finally going to see my first out in the wild moose, and i yelled so loud "MOOSE!". to which i likely scared tracy, and everyone else, and it ended up being a very small deer. oops. but yay wildlife? #citygirl

after what seemed like hours of driving, we finally got to the next transition and sarah got out and started running back on the trail to find and support tobin. i had to start getting myself ready to run again, but i also had been thinking about going to the bathroom. everyone kept talking about a dunkin donuts (which i was so excited about, of course) but sadly that was not until my run was over. oh well. the sunrise was gorgeous and i was happy i wasnt going to have to run my 2nd leg in the dark. i was also happy i could use my music, as i felt like i could really push myself this last bit and try to gain some of our lead back (the pace cadets came in before tobin did, they had caught up to him on this last leg while our team was out exploring the backroads somewhere in lost land).

start of leg 9, 5:30am

nothing says breakfast of champions quite like a chocolate gu

up to this point i hadnt really eaten much (shocking). an apple. pretzels and peanut butter. a cookie, maybe 2 (or 5). some twizzlers. i wasnt entirely sure what a fast almost 4 miler was gonna look like on no sleep, a fairly fast previous 7 miler, and iffy nutrition, but i was about to find out. tobin and sarah came around the corner (i was nervous about what tobin was going to yell at our team as he came in, but he was pretty quiet). we high fived and i was off. christa, from the pace cadets, had left shortly before tobin came around so i knew i had some work to do, and i didnt care that i started off fast. i was gonna catch her. starting pace, 5:59. boom. #competitive

as i approached mile 2, i caught up to her. she also had her music on and i had been trying to call up to her so that i didnt scare her. we discussed the difficulty of the terrain/trail for a few seconds and then i took off. kety perry and 30 seconds to mars blared in my headphones throughout this entire leg, pushing me as hard as my tired, hungry legs would carry me. this leg was over before i knew it, and i handed off to chris again. then i almost barfed.

faster than expected! youre welcome team!

i sadly didnt get any dunkin donuts after my run (i made up for it the next day with 2 stops) and we headed to the next transition to wait for chris. we met up with a few more teams and i was able to change and organize my stuff. i also got some granola and a small cup of lukewarm coffee from barbara (on another team). now that the sun was coming out it was starting to get pretty warm and i was secretly so happy that i was done running. (and sarah still hadnt run yet. weird). this was a shorter relay than i had ever done (minus mdi marathon as a relay) so just running twice was a different feeling in itself. the terrain and scenery of this relay was amazing though (better than running through the streets and worrying about cars... here you just have to worry about wild animals that want to eat you. no big deal). 

chris came running in and handed off to sarah and she was ready to flyyyyyyy. apparently she had this same leg last year and it was certainly not known for bring all full of rainbows and butterflies, but she was determined to kick some ass and off she went. we waited around a little bit and then headed to the next transition, aaron started to warm up and we fought off deer flies for the next half hour or so. they. were. awful. #goawaystupidflies

there were quite a few teams at this transition and we all swapped war stories from our overnight runs (im pretty sure we were the only jerks to get lost and force our teammate thru near death runs). yay DoME! #werule

sarah came bounding in to the transition, handed off to aaron, and she promptly bitched about how awful that leg was and swore she would never run it again. the air was definitely thick and the not packed down trail made running feel like a chore for sure. but her blazing speed helped us to keep our lead at about 10 minutes ahead of the pace cadets, and aaron wasnt about to let them catch up to him (despite leah frost, olympic marathon trials hero, asking who he was and exclaiming "im gonna try to catch him!" as she does... but she didnt).

we had some time to kill while aaron was out on his leg (i think this was the longest of all the relay legs). there was a real bathroom (and a real long line) but we made the best of it, found some fun pins and candy, and enjoyed the company of the other teams. the bugs had finally departed but it was hot hot hot. the scenery was gorgeous and it was a good place to rest for a bit. tracy was ready to blast her run and she took off like a bullet when aaron arrived. he didnt allow the pace cadets (or leah) to catch up with him, but that long leg (without aid or shade) did a number on him. #sweatymess

tracy showed us all her true beast mode and busted out a crazy run for her leg. she handed off to stephen and we headed to the next transition, seeing more teams along the way. steven handed off to jen for what was said to be the toughest leg of the relay (and it was sunny and hot now). we waited for her to come out off the trail and onto the road to give her some water, and she trucked along until she got to the final transition to hand off to sarah. lets do this! #DoME

jen handing off to sarah for the last leg

welcome to eastport

we played leap frog with sarah along her last leg, allowing her to dump water on her head and neck and keep herself hydrated. the last leg goes through downtown eastport in a loop before heading into the campground, so with about a mile left we drove up ahead to park and get ready to run in with sarah to the finish line. we didnt have to wait long. #superspeedy

coming in to the finish

we all went and jumped into the ocean to cool off, then took showers at the campground and went to clean up the van before heading to the lobster/chicken cookout and awards ceremony.

US DoME- 1st place!

winner winner lobster and chicken dinner
with a side of cold beer and a downpour
(thankfully after the race was over)

DEST was a truly unique relay race, full of fun, friends, and food. im in no way apprehensive in saying that i am excited to do it all again next year (if my team will have me back!)... at least i wasnt driving when we got lost (hehe, sorry tracy!) 

Monday, July 11, 2016

llbean 4th of july 10k

it comes as no surprise that a week has gone by and i havent blogged about my last race. (i also never wrote about the 5k i raced after boston... i guess that one just wont happen. actually heres a quick break down)...

husky dash 5k- a local race in gorham benefiting maine medical center cancer institute. the race was organized by a co workers son, and i found out about the race 2 days before. sure, why not.

in true danielle 5k fashion i started off fast (weeeeee yaaaaay 6:30s are funnnnnn #barf), climbed the big hill (see idiot, shouldnt have gone out so fast #morebarf), weeeeeeee downhill to the finish. the end.


21:21. a new 5k PR. finished first female, 4th overall. super surprised with this race, likely the best executed 5k ive ever run. maybe i should do these things more often... way less training than marathons!

great recap. sweet heel strike.

ok so onto 4th of july... every year we register for llbean 4th of july 10k and then curse ourselves when its a zillion degrees and a billion % humidity and they never change the course and the hills suck and we basically die. that about sums up yet another year of this race, except it was in the 50s when we woke up, which felt fantastic. it was quite humid though, and when the sun came out it started to get hot. certainly a cooler year temp wise compared to others, but not by much.

i woke up early to get a few miles in before leaving (knowing i wouldnt want to run before the race once we got up there), had some coffee and a small breakfast, and ty and i headed up to freeport. we met allie and jamie when we parked, and michelle came to find us too (for our pre race selfie, of course).

michelle is super patriotic. i was still trying to wake up.

we went to the flagship store to utilize the bathrooms (we werent the only ones with this idea... sorry llbean! this is what happens when you dont have locks on your doors and youre open all the time! yay for no pre race portapotties!) then i ran another little bit, changed my shoes (i looked like red white and blue barfed all over me) and headed to the start line. we couldnt find leslie, running late no surprise haha (looking for tall and neon... she usually stands out fairly well)... and then before we knew it we were off. i hadnt really had any sort of goal or gameplan in mind, was just gonna run and see what happened.

"just gonna run and see what happened"... also known as a fantastic way to run a horrific 10k. this race distance is likely my least favorite. 5ks are stupid and fast and over quick. 10ks are twice that distance (duh) and i still try to run stupid fast which ends up making me feel awful and question all life decisions in under an hour. running is so fun.

the start of the race, as always, was awful. a small road packed with a zillion people and if youre not basically standing on the start line, good luck for the first half mile. so crowded. you start downhill and everyone seems like theyre trying to win from the get go. i knew it was a bad idea, but i weaved in and out and around people until i found a good open spot, then took off (right after one of the boudreau twins, sorry guys i dont know which one you were, ran up behind me screaming CAW! scared the shit out of me! and then they likely really did win the race). after an 11 minute pace starting off, i was now looking at 6:30s... i want to just throw my watch off a cliff sometimes. i reigned it back in as best i could, but still knew i was running too fast for this course (and i knew i was not in PR shape so wtf are you doing idiot slow down!). of course i dont listen well and kept running... fast.


ok, not terrible, but im pretty sure that was a combo of the 6:30s and the slow start. the entire first mile is weeeeee yay i love running downhill and then goes up. then some more down, then up. up. up. (barf). and more up. begin 2016 llbean 10k breakdown after mile 1. yay.


you see where this is heading. my legs felt like lead. it was getting hot (despite most of the race in the shade... which felt like a rainforest in places). i wanted to walk more than anything, but i pushed through. dumped water on my head and back of my neck at each stop (which were pretty far spaced apart for a hot hilly race, IMO). i had my handheld of tailwind so i thankfully didnt rely on water stops for hydration. 

running through the cemetery just before the biggest hill on the course was certainly fitting for how i felt at that moment. d.e.a.d. 


oops. awful. but i was able to pick myself up at the top of the hill and finish semi respectfully. i wanted this race done with. the last mile is mostly downhill with a small uphill finish (and a bridge, yuck). i went back and forth with a guy in a red shirt and we helped push each other. 


guy in red shirt had passed me, i caught him at the finish
(photo credits to Allyn!)

i dont know that ive ever felt fantastic running this race. its a tough course and typically hot and humid, but its fun to get out early on the 4th of july and see friends. so yay, llbean 10k every year! of course. (and just for fun ill put in the reminder that the one year i made sarah run this race she puked at the end. she hates when i talk about it and i think its hilarious. sadly i cant find the post race pic of us).

...oh say does that star spangled banner yet waaaaveeee...

one day ill get this whole racing thing right
(and not always try to win the race to the port-a-potty post race)

198/1174 overall
10/95 age group

pace, heart rate, hills, oh my!

post race hydration at its finest... 

thumbs up for america!

Friday, June 24, 2016

the great run

way back in january (it seems like so long ago) sarah (and gary) convinced me to register for the great run. a marathon, 6 hour, and 6 hour relay on great cranberry island off the coast of bar harbor. a 2 mile stretch of road... running back and forth, back and forth. i had so much fun last august running 40 miles on a high school track, the loops of rhode island 6 hour in november was a blast... while everyone else thinks this was a crazy idea, i couldnt wait. bring it on great cranberry island! the competitive side of me also knew that i could likely break the female marathon course record (3:49:30), and if i worked hard enough, place close to the top. (gotta love small races!)

fast forward to the boston marathon. my training had been the best its ever been. race day was hot, i ran 10 really good miles, and 16 still semi good, smiling/not hurt/not race ending miles. i was (and still am) proud of my 3:46 finish there. ill look back on that day forever with zero regrets. but after boston i looked ahead to gci hoping maybe i could use the training i had done to carry me to a BQ for next year. take a little break, then jump back in. do some speed work. get in a few long runs.

what i wasnt prepared for, however, was that boston beat me up pretty good. racing a 5k shortly after was not my brightest move. ive been dealing with some lower leg muscle issue, im tired, need a break, etc. but i was looking forward to running at gci and was going to give it my all. i took my sweet time easing back into "training", 20 mile weeks at first, then some 40+ weeks, a few fast runs here and there. my long runs were anything but long. my thoughts of placing close to the top moved to "hey ill just aim to be top 15 female! yay! so fun!" (i think there were 15 females registered haha). i still thought a 345 was not a far off goal to set, but i had mentally let go of the BQ. i really didnt know how i was going to feel, what to expect. i went into this race with fairly negative thoughts... not ideal.

marathon road trip essentials

packing for a weekend on an island proved to be more difficult that i had envisioned (im sure it will shock you all that im not a huge camping type person... is there a dunkin donuts on the island?), but i surprisingly packed very little (we were all going to be stinky and sweaty, who cares about clean clothes ill just wear the same sweatpants all weekend! just dont forget the toothbrush!). theres just something about bar harbor and i love heading up that way so i left my house early and spent the day walking around town, had some lunch at side street, relaxed in the grass watching the tourists. it was a beautiful day and was forecast to be an incredible weekend, with low humidity. perfect race day? my negative thoughts started to change. i felt strong and confident. an "anything can happen, go give it what youve got" kind of attitude. winds of change.

you cant hate this even if you tried

is it october yet?
(the tree along mount desert island marathon course)

i got to the dock way before everyone else, so i just sat in the back of my car listening to music and reading. very calming and peaceful.

despite recent feelings i had been having, arriving on great cranberry island solidified that i was prepared to run a marathon. race a marathon even. i didnt get this far to only get this far. theres just something about this place... hard to explain. it felt welcoming. a step back in time. 

the morning was quiet and relaxing. i walked around taking pictures, stretching out the legs, waiting for the runners to all arrive. i took a golf cart ride with greg while he videotaped sarah for her fundraiser. it was a cool 50 degrees, the forecast for the day was a high of 70 something. the humidity was to stay low, however, which was going to prove to be very helpful. and the breezes coming through felt amazing.


i am in it with all my heart. a great reminder.

the smell of lupine beats daves car exhaust


despite not sleeping well and my stomach feeling like junk, i was able to get a little nap in and felt better when i got up and got going again. lets get this show on the road!

ready or not

race start time was 11:30 (i pleaded with gary to start the race at 7am in the cool temps. next year?! its a logistics thing, i get it. but oof, the sun was warm). i had a peanut butter sandwich, banana, some gatorade and coffee, and time passed pretty quickly. before we knew it we were heading to the start line... listened to the national anthem (i cried, obviously). race announcements and introductions of some awesome people... and we were off.

"believe. to look within, to overcome. loving myself enough. i have the will, the determination and the courage to defy the odds... and inspire. my challenges have made me a fighter- a survivor. they will not define me or confine me. i will run my own race. different, beautiful and all my own. i believe in me and my potential. and im going to succeed because im brave enough to think i can"
fellow flowers- turquoise

aaron graciously agreed to run with me... im not sure he knew what he was getting himself into (sara remember all the burping at maine coast? yeah, im pretty sure he thought i was going to puke all over him too! yay marathons are so fun!). i likely hadnt adequately prepared him for all the singing, crying, complaining, ankle popping excitement he was sure to be a part of over the course of the day... but he didnt leave me until after 23 miles (or drop back while i took off on a mad tear), so he obviously was having all the fun! (and hes clearly super lucky i didnt leave him since his sweat was flying off and hitting me throughout the whole race! ew). 

we had spoken with michael westphal just prior to the race about his race plan, and thought we might be able to run some of the race with him. (please please please watch the video link... i cant watch it any more, it makes me dehydrated. truly amazing man and i am lucky to have shared that island and race with him). my plan had been to start out at low 8s, high 7s, see how long i could hold out (way sub bq pace but i felt confident in that plan, as opposed to starting out slow and trying to speed up. endurance has never been my forte). mikes plan was first 2 miles at 8:30, then down to 8s. we started out the race just behind him, passed him within the first mile or so, and then he passed me. i stuck with my race plan, he was slightly ahead of his.

mile 1- 8:05
mile 2- 8:02
mile 3- 8:09

the race starts about a half mile up the dock. we ran out just past the 1 mile mark, turned around (sharp cone turn #1 of soooooo many), ran back thru the start, down (literally) to the dock, around the cone (i had yet to have thoughts of keeping on going and just running straight off the dock), then back up the hill on the start of the first 2 mile stretch to the other end of the island. up up up to the start line, then weeeee down. the support through the start line was one of the best parts of the day.

perfectly in stride, setting myself up for some superb arm bend tan lines, still stupid smiling and happy only because i have only climbed one hill and made two sharp cone turns

pure evil

official time stamp on this photo- 12:01. just short of mile 4
the smiles, sillyness, and all around good ended shortly hereafter
(replaced with delirius alphabet ramblings and all the complaining)

1 mile to go! oh wait, no. theres a lot more. the curse of a course like this.

mile 4- 8:02
mile 5- 8:07
mile 6- 7:59

the early miles ticked by pretty quickly (this is what happens when you are well trained, not injured, and goal focused, right?) i actually felt really good. i dont remember exactly when i started complaining, but i dont think it was within the first 10k. i was slightly surprised i was keeping very evenly paced miles right at/around what i had wanted. i didnt think i would be talking as much as i was, but who am i kidding, i love to talk. one of the best parts about this race/course was the fact that you were out there with marathoners, 6 hour runners, and relay runners. everyone had bibs (front and back), and you passed back and forth all day with each other. you were really never alone (well, there were pockets here and there). we would see the leaders coming at us the opposite way (ahead in the course), relay runners full of energy would pass us, the leaders eventually lapped us... just a really cool race concept.

somewhere after mile 6 and before mile 10 the negative feelings crept in (the miles between 6 and 20 are a blur). the day got hot... there were stretches of cool breezes and yes the humidity stayed low, but heat is heat, especially when youre running a marathon. who gives up in a marathon before mile 10? this girl. cool. i wont say im some pro runner (despite having gotten a pay check for winning a 5k a few months ago! amateur...) but i feel like ive run enough marathons to know its a long day. whether that hurts me or helps me is up for anyone to debate (ill likely win). but feeling not so great before mile 10, when theres still a lot more of the race (day) left to run... thats not awesome. sure i was pulling out good, even splits. but i was feeling dry, tired, sore... any excuse i could think of i thought it. i tried to pull myself together but kept sliding back into the negatives. 

photo by scott mason
i obviously said something so funny
(also, scott, you have a great camera that gave me some sick arm muscles!!)

aaron asked me what my plan was somewhere before mile 8. i said i wanted to surpass my 10 mile stretch from boston. get to 12 miles at an 8:05 pace, and re-evaluate after that. break the race up into 4 mile stretches, i thought that was what would be best for me. get to 12. get to 16. get to 20. just a 10k after that (if i made it that far). i told him i didnt care about the BQ (false). i didnt care about podium, let alone winning (also false. i was in 5th place at this point). in hindsight, i wish i had said that i cared, because i did. i cared a lot, actually. this has been the hardest thing for me this past week (all the tears. so. many). i wanted to win this race, and i gave up on myself so early. i made myself believe i couldnt do it. sarah would ride by on her bike and ask how i was. "hot" was all i kept telling her. if i had told either of them that i wanted to push it, just how much i cared, that i was giving up on myself but thought i had more, they both would have kicked my ass into gear. but i kept quiet (for once). i had stopped looking at my watch, and instead focused on the ring on my right hand that read "strength". the "HAS" i had written in sharpie marker on my left forearm. i knew i had more to give.

mile 7- 8:06
mile 8- 8:02
mile 9- 8:11
mile 10- 8:01
mile 11- 8:15
mile 12- 8:09

i made it to mile 12 and took a deep breath. i still wasnt even at the halfway point. i slowed down, sighed, but kept putting one foot in front of the other. i must have said 100 times if i said it once that it was going to be a long day. a lot of things hurt, my heart included. why couldnt i always have a race like mdi? i specifically remember asking how long it would take to walk 14 miles (to which aaron did the math that id never be able to do while running and said we might make the 6 hour cut off... excuse me, dont you understand i need you tell yell at me and tell me to suck it up and no there is NO walking keep running you fool! poof. next time. ha!). how one goes from running just over 3:30 MP for 12 miles to contemplating walking the remainder of a marathon is beyond me. but im so good at doing shit like that.

mile 13- 8:37
mile 14- 8:30
mile 15- 8:50
mile 16- 8:39
mile 17- 9:25
mile 18- 9:01

but alas, i kept running. not low 8s, but not terrible either. 830s felt like 10s, my feet shuffled and my legs didnt want to pick themselves far off the ground. i nearly tripped and broke my face on every bump along the stretch of road. the cones/sharp hairpin turns were not my friend. i had taken a gu somewhere along the way (early) and my stomach never felt the same. i was convinced i was going to puke. i took water at every water stop, mostly to throw on my head and the back of my neck, and drank my tailwind. i had a few salt pills which seemed to help, and chewed on some pretzel sticks (which proved to be too dry to swallow so id just get the salt off and spit them out. super hot). i do regret not eating any of the ice pops kids along the course had!

miles still ticked by and i lost track of where i was. another benefit of this course is no mile markers. same scenery over and over. different faces at different places, but all the same none the less. i watched matt pelletier, six(?) time vermont city marathon winner, crushing the course like a boss. leah and maddy racing the 6 hour course. before i would get to a cone at either end of the island i could see where i was in the race for females. the field had separated quite a bit, but the top 5 had been secured early on. caitlyn gained a big lead for first throughout the first half. maria was now in second. rebeccah had dropped behind jackley at some point. and i continued to slowly gain on rebeccah.

after 18, aaron announced only 8 miles to go. "were at mile 18?" "yup!" i was shocked. i hadnt thought we were that far, and only 8 more miles? seemed do able. the next few miles werent the fastest of the race, but my mind was back into it. i got some wind in my sails. sarahs music pumped me up a little (minus a few tears here and there, of course. damn you great big world!). there was one table out on the course with the coldest water ever made. and berries. a bowl of salted potatoes. the little things. it was also around this point that i was told about caitlyn dropping out of the race. she looked strong the times i had seen her, so i was concerned what happened to her. but ok, ill figure out what happened to her later... for now im in 4th place. still doesnt get me that damn mug. who cares. just keep running.

but i cared. i didnt get this far to only get this far.

mile 19- 9:14
mile 20- 8:54
mile 21- 9:15

im not sure when i caught up to rebeccah, somewhere before the cone turn on the far side of the island. there ended up being a good distance between us, which (unless i walked, which was still not out of the realm of possibility) secured my 3rd place spot. id call that a great day! the great run! (shuffle). i still couldnt give myself proper credit, but i kept pushing. approaching the start line again before heading to the dock for the final lap, i told sarah i wanted my last gu (likely too late but i took it anyway). and i decided i wanted my music. i didnt listen to music much at boston, but music fuels me and i know that about myself. i knew the songs i had lined up for my gci playlist, despite never having plans to even wear the thing. get the music on, let it all go. just do it. i didnt get this far to only get this far. 

where was this mindset 10 miles ago?

mile 22- 8:34
mile 23- 9:50

but first i stopped to get water. walked to put my headphones on. walked through another water stop. took my salt pill and ate my gu. as i approached the cone at the dock, jackley (2nd place) had just turned. i dont know how many times we had come up this hill, but this was going to be the last time (thank god). get thru the start line, 1 mile to the citgo sign, downhill around the cone (i curse these damned things!). ok, its go time. i saw her ahead of me on the hill, walking. i inched closer and closer and she started running again. thru the start line the cheers were empowering. i had lost aaron at the last water stop... i kept turning around to see him behind me, thinking he would catch back up. eventually i couldnt see him anymore and just pushed on. within the mile i caught and passed jackley. 2nd place now. dont turn around, dont slow down. just keep going. relentless forward motion. i didnt get this far to only get this far.

mile 24- 8:16
mile 25- 8:28

as i approached the last cone turn, i hadnt yet seen maria. there was a left turn that i couldnt see around and knew the cone was around that corner, but i had been expecting to see her earlier. just as i went around the corner, she was coming at me. there was very little road between the two of us. less than a quarter mile? maybe. i rounded the cone and tried to take off, but theres a nice hill placed right there and my legs just didnt want to kick it into the next gear. but hell if i wasnt going to try. i ran into aaron still headed out towards the cone and he gave me a quick pep talk.

i didnt get this far to only. get. this. damn. far.

1 mile to go! for real this time!

when i finally saw the citgo sign (for the last time), i started to cry (shocker). the whole day replayed in my mind. i could see maria just up ahead. "wasted time" by keith urban blared in my headphones. even just the start of that song is enough to pump me up and want to run fast.

mile 26- 8:29
0.2- 7:50

the space between us became less and less, but it was just far enough out of reach. i watched just ahead of me as maria crossed the finish line. gary draped her in the american flag. time seemed to stand still... cue all the feelings. she deserved the win, thats for sure. but i cant say i didnt feel an ounce of race envy. jealousy. im ok to write that because thats how i felt for in that brief moment. sure the tears have fallen this week thinking back on many parts of the day (oh hey 9:50 effing mile 23... wtf?!) but my race was my race alone. the world is full of IF's, and im not going to be stuck on some of those "ifs" because of this one race. it was an amazing day, a fantastic race, on a truly beautiful island. no one will ever be able to take this race, this weekend, away from me. would i run it differently if i could do it again? not likely. each mile made that race what it was. i could have (and almost had) ended my race before the halfway point. but instead, i came back and finished stronger than any marathon ive ever run before (i havent officially checked other race paces, but the way i felt i know that i worked hard and strong those last few miles, which is typically when im broken and slow and just trying to hang on to the finish). some races are a bigger deal to me than others... maine coast was the first time i went for a huge goal, falling short but learning so much about myself in the process. chicago, a huge stage for my first BQ, with an epic breakdown and a mile 25 water stop. MDI, my favorite race, the result of tough, dedicated training for an all around amazing race. and boston. the dream race for many, a memory ill have forever. and great cranberry island... surrounded by friends. fellow crows. giving it everything i had after wanting to give up altogether. this race reminded me about what it is that i love so much about running, about being competitive with others, but mostly about believing in myself. 

in the last 3 mile lap i made up almost 4 and a half minutes on 1st place, and placed 2nd, finishing just 24 seconds behind maria. 

i came through the stretch of flags, smiling the entire way. marathon #14, completed. 


1st and 2nd place females

does your marathon have a lobster trap podium?
(sadly you cant even see it but i love this photo)

there we go. also, close to impossible to climb post race.
but totally worth it.


after a really cold jump off the dock (that took a lot of convincing), and a lukewarm shower, i got some food (mostly about 7 handfuls of potato chips and some chocolate covered strawberries) and watched the finish of the marathon and 6 hour race. then onto an amazing lobster and corn on the cob dinner with friends, a walk to the beach to collect rocks and witness an amazing sunset, a crazy bonfire, and some scary amateur fireworks...

theres truly nothing like this race. this island. magic.


tent city management department maintaining order?

this picture took a very, very long time
(and you sadly cant see gary's purple hair)

until next year...

morning came all too soon and we packed up our tents and headed to a wonderful breakfast (cheesy hash browns!). we waited at the general store by the dock for our boat, i was able to get in a little bit of an atlantic ocean ice bath for my feet and calves, and took in the beauty that was great cranberry island for just a little bit longer. leaving was tough, but ill be back... thats for sure.

jen and i supporting boston

run fast, run long

we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears
we are tied to the ocean

race day was warm with some patches of nice cool breezes. i ran 12 really good miles, and 14 still semi good and mostly smiling/not hurt/not race ending miles. i was (and still am) proud of my 3:43 finish there. ill look back on this weekend forever with zero regrets.

well, except my lack of pink and purple ice pops.