Sunday, October 3, 2010

Race Report: Maine Half Marathon {in which everything goes perfectly}

I'll get to the race report in a minute, but check out how our weekend started. Our plan to head down to Portland to pick up our race packets and get dinner was bumped up by 2 hours when Jen convinced us all go to LL Bean in Freeport where she heard we could meet Patrick Dempsey. Jen is a little bit attracted to him and had her heart set on meeting him. Patrick Dempsey, I learned, is from Maine. He was in town for the weekend-long bike race/ 10K event in Lewiston that he started to raise money for cancer called The Dempsey Challenge. I figured it was going to be a madhouse of a scene, a free-for-all to get his autograph, but when we got there, we found a very organized line that would lead into a tent where you could meet Patrick Dempsey and three Tour de France super-star cyclists. As we got closer in the line, and Jen could actually SEE Patrick Dempsey, she was getting weak in the knees. Christine, known to also be interested in celebrities, got really excited too, so Amy and I agreed to photograph them as they got into the tent to see McDreamy.

When it was our turn, I made sure to ask for the autographs of the three Tour de France guys too because they were a wee bit under Patrick Dempsey's shadow. And then, Mr. Dempsey was shaking our hands, signing our Dempsey Challenge posters, and thanking us for waiting. So kind! So gracious! So HANDSOME.

We took Jen and Christine's photo with this cyclist guy first, Kevin Livingston, because...well, look at him.  Hello, blue eyes.

And then!  Ta Da!

Look how smiley he is!  I totally understand Jen's crush.

We talked later about who would have gotten me as excited as these girls were.  My answer is Jude Law, and it's true that I can't say his name without blushing.  I was proud of Jen for not fainting, but she was definitely blushing.  What a fun way to start the weekend!

Next stop:  Dinner.  Italian food.
Jen was under strict doctor's orders NOT to run the half marathon, and she did the hard but right thing by skipping this race in hopes of saving her injured foot for later races.  We missed her when she left us after dinner, but knew she was smart to do so.

We checked into the hotel and went to bed early.  5:45 wake up call, and we were ready to go.

I had hopes for a great race (of course), but was not setting myself up for failure by hoping for another PR after getting one 2 weeks ago.  I decided that I would wait to set my time goal after I had run a few miles to see how I felt.  Race conditions were certainly perfect... it was bright, sunny, and about 40 degrees at the start.  I was pretty calm at the start and feeling excited.

I don't really know how to write about this race because it was so free of drama or misery or pain that I think it might be boring.  I felt good from the very first minute.  Everything was just lovely.  I was very comfortably running sub-10 minute miles for the first 4 miles.  And so, I decided to go for it, to hang on to that pace if I could.  The course was beautiful.  I was running by myself, but feeling just fine the whole way.   Boring, huh?

When I got to mile 6, the almost-turn-around point, the streets were lined with cheering people and I saw some happy and supportive friends.  I got to see my student Katy, running her first half, who was just ahead of me. She was looking fast and adorable and we high-fived as we passed.  (YEAH KATY!!). 

When I got to the yellow cone that was the half-way marker at 6.5, at the top of a hill, where the half marathoners turned around and the marathoners kept going, I thought "good bye, marathoners!  Have fun with that!" and I zipped around the cone and cruised downhill.  I loved the mental part of an out-and-back.  I kept thinking, "I'm on my way back now!"

My Garmin (still don't have the right name yet) told me I was doing great.  It told me if I could hold on, I was going to PR again, and I smiled and ran ahead.  I put my ipod on around Mile 8, enjoyed the ocean views and the colorful foliage, kept smiling, kept running.

At mile 12.5, my ipod sang to me:  "Oooooooh, Child.  Things are gonna get easier..."

I saw the finish line and came up with some final kick at the end.

I saw the clock and as I crossed the line, I said to myself:  "You've come a long way, baby."

Another PR.  By 5 more minutes.  Now we're getting somewhere.

My Garmin says I ran 13.24 miles which means either the course was a little long or I was guilty of too much weaving.

AVG Pace:  9:56

Calories burned:  1580

DONE!  Amy and Christine had best times too, there was lots of good post-race food, lots of familiar faces in the crowd, and general happiness in the air.  We all relished in our great, beautiful day and a sense of accomplishment that left us glowing all day.

And get this:  Christine talked to the manager at the Clarion where we stayed and complained about the fact that our bathtub didn't drain and that there was only decaf coffee in the room and a couple of other little complaints, and because she has magical powers when it comes to such transactions, he comped us a $200 room.  Just because our weekend wasn't great enough already, we got our hotel for free. 

We ate lunch (Flat Bread Company of course), bid goodbye to the fair city of Portland, and drove home. 

My Garmin (are you sick of me saying that?)  keeps beeping at me from the shelf in the kitchen.  I think it's saying:  "Great job out there today!"

For a long time, I couldn't run one ten-minute mile.  A long time.  And I just ran 13 of them in a row.  A miracle hath occurred.  I'm thankful for making progress, and for surprising myself, and for beautiful fall Maine weekends, and for having such great friends.  And for Patrick Dempsey.


Carly said...

Wahoo! Great job! My Garmin is still fairly new and I love that thing, so I get it. :-)

Darlene said...

Congrats! Great race!

Cat said...

OMG! You met McDreamy... and he is a do-gooder! Even more dreamy! Oh dear, I need to calm down. My heart is racing over here. Hope you one day get your Jude Law face to face! Well done on the run and congrats on the PR! I am signed up for my first 5K in January. Li is doing the half!

Bethany Peavey said...

I was there too! I didn't spot ya though, but we had almost the same exact nettimes :) You were faster by a couple of seconds. It sure was a great day and a great race, although I wish my knee had been a little better. It started acting up around mile 8. But thats ok. I'm happy with my FIRST half marathon. :)

Anonymous said...

Next goal: Half marathon in less than 2 hours. The Power of the Garmin strikes again!

SNW said...

yaaaaay! bravo! i miss fall running in maine. your "all women" post-race recap next month will surely do me in. xo

Brooke said...

Great job Emilie!!

Eileen said...

Holy moly, that's a GREAT PR! Nice work! And, fabulous pictures of Patrick Dempsey. I think he looks even better in that 2nd one than he does on TV.

Joanne said...

WOW! Congratulations on your PR and fabulous race experience! Congrats on looking through the camera to take that shot of McDreamy - just looking at the shot (w/ Jen especially) makes my heart jump - Sweeeet!

Kristin said...

Awesome run!

Nancy said...

Way to go, Emilie!!! And this was NOT boring to read. You exude happiness; what's not to love about that?!?

Mo said...

Hey Emilie--GREAT race! I think I saw you about mile 6...but you zipped on by before my mouth could catch up with my brain! Love the happy race report!

Michelle said...

Amazing!!! All of it!!!
Ahhhhh McDreamy, I was watching him on Ellen just the other day and he was talking about all the biking he does. I had no idea he'd be up by you, you lucky girls!!
Great job on your run!

Claudia said...

Congrats!! amazing job!

ajh said...

I'm jealous! I wanted to go see McDreamy but I went and watched my daughter race! Last year I did the marathon in Portland. It was a beautiful day! Congrats on your PR - again!

Sarah Woulfin said...

Dudette, a 5 minute PR is rad :)

Becka said...

Yay for Patrick Dempsey! I enjoyed reading your race report. It was a beautiful course!

Carver Fam said...

Great post. Free of the suffering drama, you still bring the excitement and thrill of a race.

And Patrick Dempsey.

That PR kicks some serious ass, Em.