as i sit here listening to the national anthem being sung by james taylor at game 2 of the world series, 4 days after the mdi half marathon, i realize i should probably try to start this recap. why is that important? because i love the national anthem. and i tear up every time i hear it before a race starts. (and this is important because? this girl cries at everything!!).
because i didnt cry at the national anthem this year....
because i missed the start of the race.
sarah picked me up on saturday morning and we headed north, stopping at dunkin donuts and eating a bag of potato chips. pre race health tips 101. we caught up as if we hadnt been away from each other in a long time (we spent a year together in college playing bball and havent seen much of each other since, other than when she paced me to my PR half almost two years ago and celebrated my PR marathon last year at the finish line of smuttynose). good friends are good like this (side note: please move to maine! you can babysit... well you can fight kristal for that luxury!) speaking of kristal, she was supposed to come up to mdi with us... but she got sick. ill leave it at that. xo
this was my first night away from henry but all my good friends that i was spending time with helped to keep my mind off of it. i knew he was in good hands with ty and it was nice to have a night away (although i sure as hell missed the little dude!) we arrived at the expo shortly before 3 and met up with all the friends! we got our numbers, grabbed our bibs and race jackets, and checked out the sweet new balance gear for the race and crow athletics. obviously i got a new hooded sweatshirt (a girl can never have too many!)
my fancy new phone can do cool things like panorama pics!
after dropping off our bags at our hotel room (which was literally on the starting line of the marathon!) we went out to grab a drink before dinner and met up with my friend betsy from high school and her husband brian (betsy was running her first marathon since 2005... and crushed it!!) dinner at guinness & portcellis was fabulous, as always, and we took silly pics in our pajamas before the red sox game came on and we settled in for the night (and maddy and sean brought us ice cream and wine!)
the night went by fast but i think we all slept fairly well. and wouldnt you know, we woke up to... RAIN. shocking. we dropped into the continental breakfast and watched the early start marathoners take off, and i got ready to head over to the half marathon start (at mile 13.1 of the marathon). kristal had come up late night with her husband and i dragged her out of bed told her i would unfriend her if she didnt come run. she was so excited (not). i had to lie to her and say that we were leaving at 7:10am so that we would hopefully be out the door by 7:30 and not be late to the race. we somehow got to the start in plenty of time, i went inside the neighborhood house to stay dry and stretch out, said hello to sara and eric, and went for a half mile warm up, while kristal stayed in the car, seat belt on, cursing me and my enthusiasm for all things running.
when i came back in the line was pretty long for the bathroom so i decided to wait (bad decision #1). with about 15 minutes left to the start of the race the bathrooms emptied out so i went. i also took my first of three GU as planned. as i left and headed towards the start, kristal ran up to me and asked about the bathroom. i told her she had time to go. so she went (bad decision #2. sorry kristal, my watch must have been slow). i kept jogging towards the start line and a cop came up to me and told me that the race was going to be starting early. so i started sprinting (just what you want to do before a race). up ahead of me i could see the group of runners all lined up, and then i heard a countdown...
"3... 2... 1... GO!". and then a lot of runners started running.
i looked behind me and couldnt see kristal so i just kept running. i had to go a little ways down the road to the left in order to go around the starting mat and cross it so my bib would register me as running, and then i took off, not wanting to be stuck at the end. there were quite a few people walking so i had to weave in and out, which was pretty annoying. this totally threw me off. i hadnt been planning on winning the race or anything but it was just not how i wanted to start a race that i was pretty excited about running and wanting to run it well.
mile 1: 7:57
mile 2: 8:06
mile 3: 7:59
my original goal was to try and run consitent 8:30s. not quite what i been planning/hoping for. but i settled in after those 3 miles and felt pretty good for the next few, and the rain had turned into a light refreshing mist. i started to feel hungry around mile 4 but hadnt planned to take my next GU until mile 5, but i took it anyway and drank some of my water/gatorade mix from my handheld.
mile 4: 8:16
mile 5: 8:31
mile 6: 8:40
up until mile 6 the hills werent too bad, but id run this course enough times to know what we had coming
happy to be doing the 2nd half of the marathon... but still....
(this map was from my recap two years ago)
(this map was from my recap two years ago)
i had caught up to eric along mile 2-3, and we talked for a few minutes and then played leap frog for a bit. i knew he was right behind me and didnt want to slow down at all, but i ended up getting a rock in my shoe and it was bugging me. i finally decided it needed to come out and when i stopped to do so, he passed me. at least he was a nice guy and asked if i was ok as he passed. i caught back up to him around mile 7, once we hit the beginning of the long steady hill, and told him i didnt want to look at his butt for the rest of the race and took off. sorry eric! this was also where we saw some epic posters people had made with some really great sayings on it that i wanted to remember. no surprise, i dont remember any of them. something about strangers and nipple chafing. running is a funny sport.
shortly before i made my final move
mile 7: 8:49
mile 8: 8:29
mile 9: 8:57
i had decided before the race that i was just going to run by how i was feeling. i didnt want to look at my watch and be worried about splits and time and stress out if i wasnt hitting certain times. my two goals, however, were to again finish under 2 hours, and to not let the winner of the marathon beat me (the marathon started a half hour before the half so if there was a speedy guy that was going to win he would most likely finish when the half marathon clock read close to 2 hours...)
right around mile 9 a girl came up next to me and asked if i was sarah's friend danielle.... yes? (still dont know how she picked me out). her name was amy and she is a fellow crow athletic teammate who lives nearby. we chatted for a bit... this was just her 2nd race, her first being great cranberry island 50k. wow! and she was cruisin too and didnt look like she had broken a sweat... i kinda hated her haha (jk amy!) she then asked me when my plan was to "kick it up". what im not running fast enough for you?! i actually hadnt thought about it up until then, so im glad she asked. i told her with a 5k left i was going to see what i had left and try to push it, and then she took off. i kept her in sight but could never catch up to her. i was able to meet up and talk with her a little after the finish though. i love meeting new people!
anyway... i took my final GU just after mile 9. again earlier than i had wanted but i knew i needed it. at mile 10 i decided to put my legs to work... go figure, we were literally climbing a mountain when we passed the mile marker. the rain had stopped a while back and the sun had come out and although i was in shorts and a tank top, i was getting very warm. my head felt a little weird and i had a lot of salt on my forehead. i was also running out of water/gatorade in my handheld and hoped to see dean drive by so i could flag him down for my gatorade in his car (no such luck). i didnt want to drink the gatorade from the aid stations but i grabbed a water and dumped it over my head and the back of my neck to try to cool off, which helped. during mile 11 i was able to start picking up some speed, although that was my slowest mile. stupid mountain. it was within these last few miles that i also saw "go madz" for maddy, "SIUP!" (suck it up, princess!), and "breathe sarah" spray painted on the road. obviously i teared up, and this just pushed me harder thinking about where those ladies were behind me on their road to the finish, and how much they both mean to me (and the SIUP is something that we say to each other when the going gets tough). i needed to see those things and they came at precisely the right time in my race.
mile 10: 8:43
mile 11: 9:08 (ugh)
cresting to the top of the hill i knew there was a great downhill and then a slow uphill to the finish. i felt great on the downhill but as i started heading in towards the finish i felt like i had absolutely nothing left to give. shortly after mile 11 i stupidly looked at my watch. i said i was not going to do this... why would i do it now?! whatever the time read i tried doing math (which we all know doesnt work for me while running) and for a brief moment thought i could PR if i ran stupid fast to the finish. thats probably true since i didnt end up being too far off my PR, but stupid fast would have had to have been 6:30s for the next two miles i think. regardless, i took off, and started seeing 7:40s for my pace. i could see the finish ahead of me, i passed a few people, tossed my water bottle to sara on the side of the road (who finished about an hour before me, 2nd place female!) and sprinted through to the finish at a 6:40 pace. despite feeling like my legs were made of stone, id say thats a pretty good way to end a tough, hilly half marathon.
mile 12: 7:55
mile 13: 7:53
last 0.14 miles: 55 seconds- 6:40 pace
after getting my medal and tin foil wrap blanket from elizabeth, i went over to hang out with dean and watch kristal finish. i had convinced myself that she had gotten so pissed that she was in the bathroom when the race started that she had just gotten in the car with dean and didnt run. what actually happened was that she heard the race start from the neighborhood house, got in the car with dean, drove to the start and was actually the very last person to start the race. then she passed 185 people! boom. so proud of her, hangover and all hahaha.
as we waited for her to finish, we heard sirens in the distance coming towards us. i knew exactly what was happening... as the cop car came closer, lights flashing, i said to dean "uh oh... here comes the marathon winner". louie luchini came cruising in for a 2:32:55 marathon finish. wow. kristal wasnt far behind him, and she flashed me the double bird as i jumped up and down for her. thanks a lot!
2 half marathons in 2 weeks
kristal sent me this pic and wants me to get this outfit and pose with her... ok!
about 20 minutes after louie finished, we heard the sirens again and saw the female marathon leader coming in. i could tell from the colors of her outfit it wasnt maddy or lindsay, which made me sad. but i saw gary (race director) run out towards her and start screaming at her to sprint. i turned and looked at the clock and it was just under 3 hours. if this girl sprinted her heart out (after running sub 7 minute pace for the entire race, ha!) she would not only break the course record, but also break 3 hours, something that had never been done by a female at mdi before (and she would get a sweet bonus check). it turns out this girl was leah frost, who had just won the maine marathon two weeks before in 3:00:47. unbelievable. she took off after hearing gary and finished in 2:59:45. a minute later i saw lindsay crest over the hill to the finish and i screamed for her... her finishing time was 3:01:21. maddy came in third female, 3:11:12. geez you people are freaking incredible.
i watched betsy finish, sarah n. came in looking strong, and crystal (who almost puked on my shoes...) ...but where was my rock? my bff and running partner? i had gotten text updates of her half time so i had hoped she would be crossing soon, but i hadnt seen her yet and the clock kept ticking. after visiting lindsay in the med tent (seriously girl, you gotta stop trying to meet people in there! hehe) i walked out to the finish line area and found two volunteers holding sarah up. i ran over and pretty much knocked one of the volunteers over and took sarah into my arms. she just cried and cried and i kept telling her she was ok, despite not knowing what the hell happened out there. we went and sat down in the med tent so she could rehydrate and she just flat out said "marathons are hard".
nothing puts you in your place quite like an off day, but were all stronger because of those races (and man, does this girl have heart. hitting the wall and wanting to quit at mile 10 but kept going and still had a great race time!) watching all of the marathon finishers, some with smiles from ear to ear, some with tears, it really made me realize how awesome it is to be a runner, and i cant wait to get back to that 26.2 finish line next year.
overall, i am super happy with my race. despite my splits being all over the place, my average pace of 8:27 was right around where i wanted to be. as much as i am hoping to run the full again next year, i hope that they keep the half marathon option as i felt it was a really great addition to an already great race/weekend. i heard nothing but good things from the people around me who ran it as well (and those final hills arent so bad when you havent already run 21 miles before it!)
sarah n. became a marathon maniac after going 3:29 at smuttynose two weeks before!
i finally got to meet jamie!! (and isaac, not pictured)
half marathon #17
official time: 1:50:33
6th place age group
15th overall female
50th / 316
sweet new gear this year
a fabulous weekend with great friends
love mount desert island...
whos coming next year?!