Monday, November 9, 2009

Maine Coast Half Marathon

Bless you if you are actually going to read all of this. Turns out I had a lot to say and show!

Meredith and I spent the night in Portland (after an obligatory stop at the Banana, Gap and Nike outlets in Freeport) and drove down to York in the morning (the southern-most part of Maine), arriving with over 2 hours to spare. We got our bib numbers and shirts and sat down to stretch.

I found Steph (my friend and former student) who was trying to get psyched up (or calm down) to run her very first half marathon.

I think that man with the orange shorts wants to be our friend too.

While Meredith and I were sitting in the gym stretching, I looked over and said: "ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh! It's Marathon Mama!" You know, we are devotees of her blog, and there she was, getting ready to run. She is a wicked-smart mom who runs fast and gets paid to blog about it, need I say more? She is a beast with a potty mouth and we love her so. We went over and introduced ourselves and told her how awesome she was. We were psyched to find that we got a shout out in the race report on her blog! And I was glad that even she called it a challenging course, because it was hillier than I expected. More on that later.

As long as Meredith and I have been running together, due to prior injuries/pregnancies/recoveries from childbirth, this is the first race we actually ran together from start to finish. We needed a "before" shot!

This post has so many photos thanks to Sandi and Steph's Chris, both of whom got great shots during the race. Thanks to both of you!

Getting ready to go:

Mindy, Me, Mer, Suzanne

Lining up at the start!

Pausing to talk about Steph's tattoo, a glimpse of which is shown here:

I'm thinking of another tattoo in the same spot.

Okay, refocus! Time to race! Off we go.

It was an UNHEARD of 66 degrees and unlimited sunshine for the race. I was actually very over-dressed and sweating like a madwoman by mile 2.

This photo, taken after the race, shows a good portion of the race course, which followed all along this road and out along the cove you can see in the distance.

And here you can see Nubble Point (the tip of land to the right), which was a turn around point for the 2nd loop (miles 4-7 ish). That was the part of the race that was surprisingly hilly, no crazy steep, long ones, but tons of up-and-overs that stung a bit and slowed our otherwise-steady pace.

Here is Steph running tough in her zen-like zone.

And here we are doing our happy golden retriever impressions:

Look at that sky. When I look at this photo, I can still feel the sun on my face.

Meredith and I got into a really good push-and-pull routine and sustained it for the whole race. There were times I needed to be pushed, and she would be 2 steps ahead of me (as shown) and times she needed to be pushed and would be 2 steps behind me. We did this dance the whole way, up and over hills, all along the ocean, prodding each other along. After about mile 6, we didn't talk much; we were grinding it out. I ran it about as hard as I could have, and felt very good about my efforts. After the marathon 3 weeks ago and a half-hearted training schedule since, I was pleased with my results.

This photo captures everything that is Suzanne. I mean really, my friend, could you try to have some fun or show a little enthusiasm?

The last few miles were tough, but pretty soon, we saw the end.

My favorite photo! Suzanne finished 5 minutes ahead of us, and look at her here, bringing us home. I was digging deep to finish strong and Meredith, who came up with some serious kick at the end, was pulling me with her.

A kind of shadowy/sunny after shot! Love the lighthouse race medals!
This is after we sat on the grass in the sunshine and ate the post-race food: pizza, veggie soup, pita chips and cider.

Little miss first timer ran a 2:02. Quite impressive, Steph.

Before heading home, we spent a few minutes walking the beach.

And using the great Atlantic for a quick ice-bath for our aching feet.

Yes, we are still wearing our medals.

Me taking a last minute assessment of the world before heading home: quite pleased.

Let's pause for a quick reflection on my half marathon race history:

Boston Half Marathon, May 2008: 2:45 (pain and misery)

MDI Half Marathon, Sept 2008: 2:30 (better!)

Big Lake Half Marathon, May 2009: 2:21.40 (I was happy with this)

MDI Half Marathon, September 2009: 2:25 (at the height of marathon training)

Maine Coast Half Marathon, November 2009: 2:21.02 (a 38 second PR? That's it?)
I think I could have broken 2:20 if it had been 10 degrees cooler and there were more water stops on the course (my one complaint about this race), but I'm happy with this finish 3 weeks after the marathon.

On the 2 hour drive home, I felt strong, sore, and satisfied with this last season of running, and I felt the pull of Sam and the kids waiting for me at home. I'm ready to settle in to a less hectic schedule for the holidays, and then I'll be ready to pick things up again in February.


Michelle said...

Hi Emilie!
Your running accomplishments continue to amaze and inspire me! Congrats on a great race!

I'm slowly getting back to running with no knee pain YAY!!!

My Meredith has me contemplating an Iron Girl Triathalon for next Aug. Yeesh!

Love all the pictures... esp. the one of Suzanne at the end. Is she loving it or what?

SNW said...

I'll blog tonight after my class, it will include lots of ridiculous pained looks on my face-- and that's BEFORE the start line-- plus my thoughts on that DIY water stop and the surprise gummy snacks (who has chewing muscles at mile-whatever-that-was?) xo

Carver Fam said...

That was so fun!! And thanks Michelle. I admit it. I did love it.

Does Michelle really have her very own Meredith?

I think that is Steph's comment above me (holy cow-like Steph of the 2:02??!!) and I thought the same thing... who wants to chew at mile 7.5?? I still haven't eaten them.

And thanks Em for calling me ripped. Does a girls heart good.

Kristina said...

"Beast with a potty mouth"... I'm getting a little teary. Damn, that's the best compliment I've gotten in a while.
It was great to meet you both, too.
Congrats on the race!

Michelle said...

Yes! She's my seester!

Oh Emilie, Marathon Mama commented on YOUR blog. Way cool!

Mo said...

Great pics Emilie--you look Happy HAPpY HAPPY!!

Paige said...

Hi EMilie, You look like you're having way too much fun. I am so glad you are running. You are an inspiration to so many of us. Love you.