Wednesday, October 9, 2013

maine half marathon

94 lifetime races, 15 half marathons, and i STILL got nervous pre race jitters. this might be one of the best things about racing... every race is different, regardless of how many times you have toed the start line or crossed the finish line. the road/trail never gives you the same thing twice, and prior to the gun/cannon/"GO!"... you never know what lies ahead of you.

all that being said, sunday couldnt have gone any better. i hadnt run a half marathon since the summer of 2012 where it was sweltering hot. although i ran a 15 mile training run about a month ago, i hadnt "raced" the half marathon distance in a long time. oh yeah, and i had a baby (not sure if you guys heard!) needless to say, sunday was emotional for me. lots of doubts about whether i could do it (whether i wanted to do it), how would my body hold up, should i race or just have fun, etc etc etc. 

saturday henry and i headed out to the expo to pick up my bib. it was all very well organized, despite tons of people and long lines (volunteers were super efficient and you really could be in and out in 10 minutes max). obviously i wasnt out in 10 minutes due to all the vendors (im a sucker for ALL THE THINGS!). i ran into rebecca and little miss harper as well, always fun to see friends (who also help convince you to buy all the things! thanks rebecca!) i picked up a few GU (peanut butter and espresso love for those wondering). i also checked out the maine marathon swag to see if there was anything new (you might be surprised to know i passed on a hot pink maine marathon jacket!) and picked up a sweet car magnet to replace the beach to beacon one that sarah made me take off the car last week. i had purposefully passed by the brooks vendor tent because i knew i would probably be in trouble if i checked it out, but i saw rebecca lingering over near it and went back to see what they had. ive been eyeing a jacket on the brooks website for a while but i just couldnt justify spending the $115 on it. sure its really pretty but come on! well wouldnt you know... the vendor tent had ONE of that very same jacket. for 50% off. what?! there were no mirrors and i had henry in my baby carrier so i put him down on the floor (on top of the carrier, but still... youre welcome for the germ exposure kid) and i tried it on. and then had the vendor take a picture of me in it so i could make sure it looked as hot as i figured it would. and then rebecca convinced me to buy it "dude its 50% off. you need it". fact. and done.

for $115? no. for $57.50? absolutely.

the swag bag for this race was the best we have gotten in all the years ive done this race (which is a lot... like 8 times i think. although im sad we didnt get a drawstring bag). everything came in a hannaford reusable shopping bag (yay hannaford!) and included a few bags of potato chips (obviously i loved that!), crackers, assorted medical things (ibuprofen, KTtape, icy hot type stuff), a ticket to a sea dogs game next season, listerine (weird?), a maine marathon lanyard, and... wait for it... a can of baked beans! the shirts were awesome this year as well, always a bonus when they fit, they look good, and are comfy!

not joking. amazing.

missing a few bags of chips, since i ate them already.

ty, henry and i went out to lunch with friends at the great lost bear and i ate tons of carbs in the form of macaroni and cheese and nachos (healthy eater, party of one)... and a few pumpkinheads of course. i then attempted to run with sarah too close to eating, and we made it 2.5 miles before i felt like throwing up and decided to stop. we ended up going to bed at the ungodly late hour of 7:30pm (ahhh, the joys of new parenthood). henry was thankfully on board with allowing mommy to get good sleep and woke up at 4 instead of 3 like he has been, and ty woke up with him so i could sleep til 4:45am. i had my normal pre race peanut butter toast and coffee and we spent about an hour looking at new homes online (isnt that what everyone does before races? haha. we need a bigger house....)

i left for the race at 6:15, right on time (and about 5 minutes down the road i got a call from ty and had to go back home since his car keys were in the truck i was i stopped at dunkin donuts along the way to use the bathroom (you might think this is weird but i was not the only one there for this reason!) and then parked and went to find michelle. a good friend of mine was getting ready to run her first ever marathon down at smuttynose and i texted her a few words of support, and of course started crying. seriously, i have a problem. kristal texted me and told me she hadnt left her house yet.... this is really no surprise to me, but i worried about her making it on time and this was her first half marathon! she needed to get there! (i knew she wouldnt miss it but i need to be at a race early.)

when you get to races early you have time to take silly selfies.
kristal take note.

michelle and i hung around at the start shivering, watched the wheelchair races take off, and right before deciding we needed to get into the crowd, kristal showed up! a nervous wreck to say the least, but i was glad we found her, i didnt want her to run alone. no surprise i started crying during the national anthem, and before we knew it everyone was starting to move and we were off! i didnt really have a major goal or game plan, i just wanted to make sure i didnt totally bonk or have to duck off into the woods and puke my guts out (my stomach had been weird all week). i decided to take things pretty conservatively, set my watch to distance and overall time only, and chatted away with michelle and kristal as we took off.

the first mile/mile and a half is along portlands scenic back cove. ive run this many many times, and that first mile seemed to draaaaaaaaaaag. spiderman and an 11 year old kid passed us along this first mile. good times. just before mile 2 i heard and saw sarah jumping up and down, high kicking and screaming awesome inspiring things to us! it was amazing! (were all glad she didnt run with us, she brings rain to every race she runs. its ridiculous. someone hire her if you want rain on race day!). when we got to the mile 2 and the mile 3 sign i was shocked at how fast those miles seemed to fly by. im pretty sure i also said i was glad we only had 10 miles left to go and not 23, hah. (barf).

mile 1: 9:00
mile 2: 8:55
mile 3: 8:54

the course had to be changed this year from its normal one due to construction. i know there are many who didnt like the change (no scenic ocean views this year, more hills) but this new course was so spectator friendly, people were able to drive more easily from point to point and see their runners at different spots, and i felt the roads were much nicer to run on than the more highway feel they usually have. (and i know a lot of people are with me on that thought as well, i really hope they keep it!!) 

we saw sarah cheering for us again around mile 5 and the crowd of spectators increased tremendously as we ran over I-295 into downtown falmouth. at this point the half leaders for both men and women had come back past us and we could cheer for the runners who had made the turn back towards the finish (love this about out and back races!) and remember the lighthouse that passed us on the beach to beacon course in august? well he ran as a moose in this race. and again, passed us. damnit mooseman!

kristal ran ahead of us just prior to the turnaround. we got to the halfway mark at about 58 minutes so i knew we had about a 4 minute sub 2 hour buffer if we kept pace. my body felt really good at this point and i just kept talking michelles ear off. i knew i wanted to try to get sub 2 (for me and for michelle as well!) but anything can happen, and i knew that. just before mile 7 michelle grabbed something to eat from her fanny pack (hehe) and i remembered i had a peanut butter gu and figured i should probably take that since i hadnt done anything other than water/gatorade mix (and my stomach was starting to growl. oops). we came back through the big crowd of people which helped motivate us again and we powered up one of the bigger hills on the way back (knowing there were a few more, but also with some good downhills to recover on as well). we saw and cheered for louise as well, who was looking strong and had a huge smile on her face! i thought we would see sarah again soon, but come to find out christine (who she was also out cheering for) killed her half marathon PR at a blazing 1:45, so she had come through ahead of us. no biggie, you rock christine (and sarah had a huge high kick waiting for me at the finish line!). 

mile 4: 8:46
mile 5: 8:48
mile 6: 8:42

miles 7-9 were a bit tough mentally and i couldnt get out of my own head. here came that little wall, the self doubts, the "lets just stop and get someone to pick us up and go hang out in sweats and watch football and drink beer" thoughts. i asked michelle if she cared if i put my headphones on and she said no, so i turned on the tunes and just got lost in the music. i pulled a little bit ahead of michelle but kept her in my sight. i cried some. i cursed at myself for crying. i took in the sights of the new course and just pushed along. 

mile 7: 8:55
mile 8: 9:05
mile 9: 9:01
mile 10: 9:01

when i got to where i just had a 5k left to go, i let loose. sadly i couldnt see michelle behind me anymore but i knew she would be ok without me. i passed many runners with strength i knew i had that i had been holding back. i thought of henry waiting for me with ty along the finishing stretch. i thought of aaron and how he had helped push me through the end of the marathon a few years ago on this course. if youve run a hundred half marathons or marathons or one, you know the emotions, the feelings, the sense of accomplishment. i was going to do this, and i was going to finish it strong. 

coming back onto back cove you can see the finish line but you have about a half mile to go. it feels like its a very long stretch, but you know youre almost there. right around mile 12 i saw kristal up ahead of me and caught up to her. i could tell she was feeling down, and she told me she hurt and wanted to quit. she had raised money to run for the childrens cancer program and she was 1 mile away from completing her first half marathon (under two hours i might add...) i sure as hell wasnt going to let her quit now. i gave her some forceful words of encouragement to try to kick her ass into gear. shes a tough cookie, i knew she wouldnt quit. as i ran off, i turned around and said "whatever you do, dont you dare give up". 

she didnt, and im so proud!

as i got closer to the finish i saw ty and henry on the side of the road. i dropped off my handheld and one of my arm sleeves (i couldnt get the other one over my watch, stylish!) and i kissed them both and ran off. sarah was jumping up and down screaming when she saw me, and i had a huge smile as i pushed through the finish line. (sadly the professional photographer was changing her batteries as i ran by, but a few others got some awesome shots!)

mile 11: 8:37
mile 12: 8:09
mile 13: 8:08

courtesy of maine running photos

and the last 0.24 miles- 1:39 (garmin reads that as a 6:57 pace.... whoa?!)

(courtesy of jason eggleston)

kristal finished just after me, and michelle just after that. everyone seemed to have a great race and we couldnt have asked for better weather (cloudy/mid 50s, NO RAIN!). congrats to all finishers! and thank you to the awesome race organizers, volunteers, and spectators!! also congrats to my friends hollie, sarah n., and sara for BQ-ing for 2015! also to jyoti for completing her very first half, and allie for completing her very first marathon both down at smuttynose! i have amazing friends!!!

me, kristal, michelle

so proud of her!

and henry is so proud of mommy!

half marathon #16!
cant wait for #17 in 11 days at mdi!


  1. Yay! I am an emotional mess about MDI and reading this got me that way again. Thanks! haha

  2. Wow! We had a good pace going through that whole race! I guess the wheels really feel off the bus for me at mile 9. Looks like I tagged on an extra 2 minutes/mile to my pace... :/ wah wah

  3. MDI MDI MDI MDI....OMG MDI!!!! im fully expecting you to return the high kick favor at the finish the rain. :)... oh, and good race. so proud of you. duh. xoxo.

  4. Friends help friends make good purchase decisions...fact.

    Nicely done mama, you should be very proud of yourself getting into half marathon shape 4 short months after having a baby!!

  5. Congrats!!!! You look amazing and did a fabulous job. I'm so proud of you. See you in a couple of weeks!

  6. Way to go you!!! I am thinking if I cheer you on enough one day before I'm 90, I'll have the nerve, the strength and the want to run a half marathon. You did so well and you make it look so easy, too!

  7. I like the shirt.......and baked beans! Great job. Glad you had fun.

  8. Love this race recap! Great job my friend! And thanks for getting me to the finish line :)
    Couldn't have done it without you. <3

  9. What a perfect race weekend!!! Congrats,!!!

  10. Congrats on a great race! I always love reading your race recaps for these fun Maine races!