Thursday, October 20, 2011

MDI marathon

early last year i had registered to run both the maine marathon & the mount desert island marathon, 14 days apart, with the goal of becoming a marathon maniac. i had my first ever "DNS" for the 2nd marathon due to poor planning on my part (got the dates of a wedding wrong). however, im a firm believer that everything happens for a reason... and i am so happy that it fell through. albeit my training this year was far from stellar, the marathon training i had last year was awful, i ran maine hurt, got a personal worst finishing time, and i know i would have completely fallen apart somewhere along the mdi course and would not have enjoyed the experience. the emotions i felt over the last 3 weeks were unlike anything ive ever experienced before while running and i wouldnt change it for anything.

a quote i posted from my first marathon fits really well- "pushing my body to limits never before experienced with a goal of experiencing 26.2 miles ill never forget". after having run my 5th marathon this past sunday (all 5 marathons in the state of maine), i can honestly say i will never, ever, forget MDI. i cursed the course many times during the day. i swore up and down after it was over i would never run it again, but i think we all know thats a lie. it took a while for everything to kinda set in... i dont even know if ill be able to adequately recap it... you just have to go run it yourself and see what its all about. and i promise, you will not regret it.

2010 DNS
i picked up Ally from the airport on saturday afternoon and we headed up I-95 for the trek to bar harbor. Sarah had already picked up our bibs to ensure we got our x-small jackets, but we still wanted to check out the expo incase we needed any last minute goodies (no one bought anything). we got to talk to mary, a fellow "dirty little freak", and check out the awesome mile marker banners that were made for the auction. another fellow DLF had made one that was SO beautiful (sadly i dont have a pic) and i think she raised the most money, yay kate!

i took a pic of this sign they had at the expo... i know i outlined the bibs in my last post but i just think its such a cool idea. it was really neat to know who the "first timers" were along the course, and i talked to quite a few... the bibs were definitely a good conversation starter!

too bad this wasnt my first, team green!

after the expo we headed to downtown bar harbor to get some food. we ate at a restaurant called "guinness & porcellis", and a sign outside said "bar harbor's #1 carb loading destination"... perfect! only ally could pronounce anything on the menu, and when i asked her what one of the items meant she said "pasta with cheese"... ill take that! when it arrived, i cut into what i thought was chicken on the top... only to have it leak yellow. my pasta was topped with a poached egg! delish! (fun fact: i called the restaurant last night and asked what the name of the meal i had was since its not on their online menu- bucatini with pecorino. ill learn to make it one of these days!) and of course, in true tourist fashion, we just had to get out pic taken with the giant ice cream eating lobster! only in maine!

and of course our weekend wouldnt be complete without sing along hour to broadway musicals!
"high on a hill lived a lonely goatherd..."

after a few hours of sleep, plus a middle of the night slumber party-esque giggle fest with ally, my alarm went off and it was time to get ready. as i hit my alarm muttering shutthehellup idontwanttogetup imsowarminmybed(!!!), i heard sarahs alarm going off in the other room blasting "raise your glass"... that pumped me UP!
yaaaaay time to run a marathon!!

we got to the start line a little after 7:15am and walked around seeing friends, taking pics, and cursing about how it was starting to rain a little bit. i was able to chat for a few minutes with Bethany & Ryan and finally met Jamie.
(another) jamie, sarah, ally, me pre race
the royal sisters

before we knew it, the national anthem was being played and the cannon went off. within the first mile i began realizing what i had gotten myself into... sucks that you figure that out in mile ONE!

looking ahead.... road goes up.

looking back after mile 3... still climbing

this looks "flat" but i promise you it didnt feel like that
(it did look this beautiful though)

the atlantic ocean was the only thing between us and europe

beautiful harbor

somewhere around mile 6 i started getting really light headed. this is something that has never happened to me before in any of my marathons. it wasnt really all that hot out, but wiping my forehead all i felt was salt, despite knowing i was hydrating fairly consistently. i decided i should probably take my long sleeved shirt off and try to cool down a little (i had images running through my head of passing out, getting a DNF... yikes!). this seemed to help and i carried on.

stopping to pose for donna along the way

stopping to pose for sarah (cant pass up a photo op!)

before the race i had decided to run without my music. i had been forced to do so during the maine marathon due to the ear phones getting water logged from all the rain and the ipod completely shutting down on me. i had a great time talking to other runners and figured this might be my new thing! along the first 3 miles (that were all uphill), i decided that was a really horrible decision. i wanted my music so bad... so when i saw sarah around mile 4, i yelled ahead and had her grab my bag and get my ipod. i didnt use it the entire run, but i had it when/if i needed it. sorry to all you non music users out there, im not converting just yet!

just after the first relay exchange, the runners had to be diverted over a makeshift bridge. it was so windy and dirt was flying up everywhere. when we got back onto the road, i saw two guys running up ahead of me, one of which had a "marathon maniacs" singlet on. it instantly put a smile on my face, knowing thats what i was out there trying to accomplish. i caught up to them as we were heading up the hill and chatted with them for a bit (hi Oliver! hi Loren!) they got ahead of me for awhile and i caught back up to them around mile 24 and talked to them a bit more before powering up the last few hills.

it was shortly after this that i spotted a familiar tshirt (team "Ma, the meatloaf!" from reach the beach relay that a few of my friends were on)... i caught up to him and it saw it was Jonathan. we chatted a bit and then both headed on our seperate ways.
around mile 8, a few songs came on that i had added before maine that reminded me of aaron. i knew when i added the songs it was bound to make me an emotional wreck, but i also knew he would be watching over me as i ran and they would keep me moving forward. "fix you" definitely had the tears streaming down my face, and as with every other time i cry during races, i could barely catch my breath. i stopped for a few seconds to get it together and then pushed on. "never alone", which i can never make it through without crying, actually brought a smile to my face. i knew aaron was there with me (as his fiance pointed out to me yesterday, he can finally watch me run my races... something he had never seen me do before). people driving by me must have thought i was in pain, but i was smiling through my tears <3

i saw sarah & co. again right before mile 13. they had been great support throughout the previous miles, giving me ibuprofen and replacing my gu's... but i didnt feel like i needed anything so i just said hi (actually, i think i said "i feel like crap and these hills are killing me!" but i really meant "this is the most beautiful race ever! thank you for convincing me to run it! im loving it so much!!"... yeah something like that). so i didnt take anything and ran on. whoops, mistake. i had taken packed two gu's on me at the start of the race, and had taken both, plus replaced one at a previous stop. as i passed by them i realized i probably wouldnt see them again until the end of the race, so i was going to be one gu short. in a crazy twist of fate, there was a gu stop later on in the run! as i heard them yelling up ahead "vanilla gu", i almost threw up a little in my mouth (ill save you that whole story, just trust me.!) but when i got up there, they also had chocolate. yes! it was just what i needed.
i originally had big plans to live tweet this race, and even call a few people at various points along the way... what i hadnt planned on was not having any cell service. yay middle of nowhere coast of maine! although i didnt have a real specific goal time in mind before the race, i did pack a 4:40 race pace band in my handheld and also kept the 4:20 pace band in there as well (i didnt think i would do it after just having run a 4:18 two weeks earlier), but i thought what the hell, we'll see what happens. at mile 17 i texted Jeri saying i was still on track to go 4:20, but i didnt think i could keep up the pace for the rest of the course, especially not knowing what was up ahead hill wise. i was surprised i was feeling this good through 17 but i knew that unless i totally fell apart, i would not get a PW (4:43:30).

before i knew it we were heading into the last 10k of the race. i got to mile 20 at 3:21, and got really excited at the idea of going sub 4:30. i had purposely not driven the course so i didnt know what was coming, and im so glad. mile 21-25 were up... up... up. awesome. i did a lot of self talk during those last few miles, and tried to pump up other runners who were walking and looking defeated.
my fave #
(not to be confused with my fave mile, aka my slowest mile)

at mile 25ish was this restaurant... the "its all downhill from here" note was a little bit of a lie, since the finish is uphill (shocking), but the last mile is down.

i kept looking at my watch during the last mile to make sure i didnt bonk as we got closer to 4:30. as the course started to head back up a hill, i saw the mile 26 marker up ahead of me and all of a sudden BOOM. hamstrings seized up. i have NEVER had hamstring issues before. lovely. really? right now? with 0.2 miles left?! i dont THINK SO! i stopped for about 8/10ths of a second to try to stretch them out, and shuffled along. the spectators were awesome along this last stretch and helped push me to the finish.

and its official...

after i finished i went over towards the food tent and ended up running into Brian, who i had talked to on daily mile a few days before the race. how i happened to find him is beyond me... and we then ran into him at the top of cadillac mountain on monday too!
royal sisters finishing pic!

my stats:
time: 4:28:38 (pace- 10:15)
place: 416th / 925
age group: 20th / 62 (female 30-34)

best mile: 9:04 (mile 4)
worst mile: 11:30 (mile 22)

woooo hoooo i made the MDI website!
(dear runners world: feel free to add me to your mag, i wont mind!)

race recap in one photo:

...and this. shooooot me.
(i might as well have just run up a mountain and then back down)
elevation gain: 1,416 ft
elevation loss: 1,428 ft
(from my garmin)

final thoughts:

this whole experience really showed me what my body was capable of, and i know that with adequate training (including dreaded hill training/more speed work) i could really rock this course. im thinking my first two maine marathons (4:43:00/4:43:30) were flukes, and im really a sub 4:30 marathon runner (my PR is 4:15). i LOVED this course... i told the race director afterwards that i have absolutely not one bad thing to say about the race as a whole. if anyone is looking to be in the "50 states" club, make this race your "Maine" race.

i had said before this race that after i completed it i was done for awhile. by done i clearly meant "til spring". which unfortunately means training in new england during the winter... bring it on! i am in love with running, its true (dont worry, ty... i still love you mostest!). im not looking to make myself a real fast marathon runner, i just enjoy the challenge. i know you wont believe me but after ONE MORE marathon, then ill really take a break (many of you already know why).

so this begs the question, which marathon will i run? a potential lottery bib into boston from my track club that will be drawn in december will determine if i have to pick among other marathons (read: if i get into boston im not running any of the other two... maybe...), and the two im choosing between are:
     1. shamrock marathon 3/18/11 (lots of free yuengling beer....)
     2. national marathon 3/26/11 (lots of free katie... and beer...)

any comments about either race? any other suggestions?

and whats up for the remainder of the year?

MDI was my 59th road race... so of course i need just one more this year :) but how about a few more?

10/29 pumpkin run 5k
11/6 all women & one lucky guy half marathon
11/20 turkey trot 5k
11/24 thanksgiving day 4miler
12/4 jingle bell 5k
12/26 operation jack satellite run


  1. Love this!! That course looks beautiful, and those medals sure don't suck! Congratulations, Maniac!

  2. Sooo proud of you. Duh. I'm so glad you loved it (cause you might break up with me otherwise). What an amazing weekend. Now- beers to celebrate needs to happen soon. Xoxo.

  3. Woo hoo!! You're a Maniac. What an awesome post. I cannot wait to run this one next year!

  4. Ahem. Run a race in Texas, duh. I love this post so much! Loved our slumber party 3 am giggles, even if it was because I was hacking like a pack a day smoker. I had so much fun with you and I am so crazy proud of you, you are amazing! And now I'm totally craving that pasta again. Muah!

  5. you're my hero. you're so stinkin' amazing. I can't wait until we get to do a race together. :D

  6. If you do this again next year I WANT TO COME! or we could run the relay. :)

  7. congrats danielle! welcome to the insane asylum!! "fix you" always makes me cry and think of my dad. you are amazing!!! you should do shamrock, it is wicked awesome.

  8. uhhh, I think your "light headedness" came from NOT wearing your Ipod..... ha (Craziness!)

    I loved this race too. If I lived closer to Maine it would be an annual event for me. So nice!

    I haven't run Shamrock or National but would like to run both of them eventually.

  9. Hey! I didn't know you had a blog! I saw your profile picture on someone else's blog and when i saw your tat i was lik e"hey, i know here!" cool, glad i found you. You've got some GREAT pictures from the day! We LOVED MDI, infact, we've already signed up for 2012. Have you run Pineland Farms before (memorial day weekend?) That is one of our favorites, we'll be back to ME for that and then again next October. It was really nice to meet you and maybe we'll see you next year? (or maybe you'll run a marathon outside of ME and we'll see you earlier?)

  10. I have done Shamrock three years in a row- never the full- but it is super fun and a GREAT environment!

  11. Hey Danielle!
    Thanks for your post on the MDI Marathon. I'm seriously considering coming to Maine from Nova Scotia to run this event. If you get a chance to come to NS we have a 1/2 and full Marathon - Bluenose Marathon every may
    Any tips to prepare for this course?