Sunday, October 16, 2011

Race Report: MDI Marathon Relay.

Oh, hi Mount Desert Island.  What a beautiful morning for a marathon.

I left home at 6 am and drove with Amy to the island, thankful that Sam, Lila and Joe would entertain the kids for the day while I was free to be out in the sunshine with my friends.  

Jen, Amy and I ran the 3-person relay and Susan ran the whole marathon.  As for our other Sole Sisters, Suzanne couldn't run due to a pesky and unfair leg injury, and Christine couldn't join us this year because she is on a Mediterranean cruise.   But they were both with us in spirit.

Susan, team of one.  Jen, Amy and Emilie, team Maine Sole Sisters.
Because "Sole Sisters" was already taken.  :(
At the starting line right before the gun went off.

Our plan was that our relay would also serve as support for Susan, and we'd each run our leg with her.  It worked out so well.  Jen and Susan set off at the start for the first 8.5 miles.  Amy and I went back to the car and made our way to the first relay exchange which was in Seal Harbor.
I debated about shorts vs. pants, long sleeve vs. short sleeve, and finally made a choice and I was ready to go. 

Right on time, Jen showed up to pass off to me with Susan right with her. 

Susan and I set out for the next section.  My leg of the relay was 10.2 miles.  I was happy to be there for Susan who has been such a good friend to me.  She was feeling great, but I knew she had a long way to go.  I reminded her when to drink water, when to stop talking on the uphills, and encouraged her along.  I also did what any good running friend does:  I told her when there was a race photographer up ahead so she should pick up the pace and smile. 

Once in a while, I'd say, "we're running 10-minute pace right now.. you sure you want to hold that fast?"  She did.  She was doing fine, running so strong even on the hills.

The 10 miles I ran with her were just so stunning.  There is no way for me to explain it.  We had long stretches of ocean views, dramatic cliffs, bright fall foliage, and beautiful ocean homes.

We played the "which house would you buy if you could have any one?" game.  I found several ocean front, cedar shake beauties that would do just nicely in Northeast Harbor.  The hills were definitely prevalent.  Lots of rollers, up and down, up and down.  So pretty.

Before I knew it, my leg was over.  Here we are getting to the last relay exhange.  Susan was getting tired but still running so strong. 

Susan jumped into line for the port-a-potty and Amy got ready to bring her home. 

Then, Amy and Susan headed off and we said we'd see them at the finish line.  I changed clothes on the side of the road and switched into biking gear, grabbed my bike (which I brought down in my car, switched to Jen's car and then to Susan's car and back to my car), and rode to the finish. 

I stopped at mile 20 (I think) to cheer for them as they ran past.  Looking good, girls!  
It was a pretty trafficky stretch so I didn't get to bike very fast, but it was fun to cruise alongside the marathon course and see everyone getting close to the end.   It was also pretty cold and a little bit windy, so I was ready to find Jen and some warmer clothes.
Near the finish line in Southwest Harbor, Jen and I got coffees and bagels at a coffee shop which tasted about as good as anything I have ever tasted.  We were both really cold and the coffee warmed us right up.

We calculated what time we thought Susan and Amy would show up, and were walking out to wait for them, when all of a sudden, there they were!  10 minutes ahead of what we thought. 

So, Jen and I jumped onto the course to run together across the line with our coffees in our hand.  The announcer made sure to make a joke about how amazing it was that we ran the whole marathon without spilling our coffee.  

Susan finished in 4:35, which was a personal best for her, which is freaking amazing on a course like MDI.  She surpassed her own hopes and totally impressed us all. Very graciously, she claims her secret weapon was having each of us to pace her for our leg of the relay.  It all worked out so smoothly. 

Another race medal, a cool green running jacket, and a beautiful day with my girls:  check.
What a fantastic day.  So proud of my friends.

Yesterday, before I left, I got my new shoes in the mail (I discovered ordering shoes from Ebay for a lower price). So, today's race was my last run in my old (left) Asics.  They are tired out with a total of 493 miles. 
 When I opened my new ones, I said:  "Hello, you." And Skyler said:  "Mom, do you realize that you are talking to a pair of shoes?"  Yes.  And I take photos of my shoes too, kid.
Only 2 more races in 2011.  And then it will be time to start talking about 2012 and some pretty cool ideas I have for where I'll go next.

Time for some pizza and a cold beer.  More pics of Lila and Joe's visit coming soon.


The Finicky Farmer said...

Congratulations, Emilie and crew! What a fabulous race with some equally fabulous photography!

Any chance that the Sole Sisters hire out as official marathon pacers??!

Jen said...

I love how you did the relay and supported Susan. What an ingenious idea. I love the team name on your bibs as well. I've heard its a fabulous course and cannot wait to do this one next year!

Jennifer said...

Love running with you, my friend. It was a beautiful day. And your new sneaks? That color ROCKS!

Eileen said...

That is a fabulous running story. What a great TEAM you all made. Nicely done!

Carver Fam said...

awesome job team maine sole sisters. You all look great and OMG Susan. You kick ass and take numbers every time.

Sorry to have missed it. What fun it looks like you had.

Meaghan said...

What a perfect day.. Congrats to all of you, and AWESOME pictures!!

bodegabliss said...

You are such an inspiration, Emilie. My sister just ran her first half marathon in Connecticut over the weekend and I think because of you and this blog, I know what that meant to her. I called her as soon as it was over (since I couldn't be there to be at the finish line) and told her how proud I was of her. She was so happy! She ran it in 2:03! So proud.

I sent her your blog so she can continue to get inspired by you as I do. I've also promised her that one day, I'll run with her.

Dura Mater said...

So sorry we didn't connect at the race? I too had the pleasure of being supported through my first marathon by two women whom I've been running with this summer...they ran the two person relay and without them I'm not sure what I would have done!