This summer when we realized that the beautiful and famous MDI Marathon was adding a Half Marathon to the event, Hillary and I decided we wanted to run it. I can't pass up an opportunity to run on MDI (Mount Desert Island, or "the island" or one of the top ten prettiest places on earth). Signing up kept me honest with getting in longer runs, plus, it just gave me something to look forward to because I love this event (I've run it twice as a relay).
And then, the forecast called for cold and rain. And then, there was a pretty important Red Sox game on Saturday night which was going to keep me up late, and we were having friends over to watch it, so I was now looking at running this race in poor conditions and on little sleep. My attitude was: oh well.
We all sat down to some Butternut Squash Chickpea Coconut Curry (recipe coming) for the pre-race/ pre-game meal. And, in case you didn't hear, the Sox won after a nail-biter of a game. It was a late night but totally worth it.
Sunday morning came very early, and it was indeed raining. While we drove to the island, I promised Hillary it would be pretty anyway, because there are so many awesome ocean views along this course.
Lo and behold, the rain stopped within minutes of the start.
|quick start line selfie before we took off.|
Sunday's race marked my second race this season where the forecast called for rain, and it turned out to be just plain beautiful. If you want to custom order race-day conditions, you ask for partly cloudy with a slight breeze, bursts of sunshine, and 55 degrees. And that is what MDI delivered. And it marks the second race this season where I was prepared to feel awful, and I felt fantastic. I didn't get a lot of sleep, but I got enough. I ate well and hydrated well and had zero pressure or nerves.
My actual race report is short and sweet. I felt, for the first time in a long while, in love with running again. I ran at a steady, even pace the whole race. I reveled in the views of the ocean and the stunning fall foliage, thanked volunteers at every water stop, and felt completely in control of my body. My legs felt good, even on the hills. It was such a freaking miracle to have this gift of a day, because I haven't been writing about it much, but I have been in a major rut with running. I can't get in as many runs anymore, and so when I do, it often feels hard and slow, and I usually slog more than run. I sort of thought I was done feeling good about running. I am so relieved. I don't think I've ever felt better in a race. Ever.
On Sunday, these things happened:
- I lost track of the miles, and didn't know that I had crossed the half way point of the race, and then was suddenly and pleasantly surprised to find out I was more than 2 miles past the half way point. THIS NEVER HAPPENS.
- I kept asking myself: "Is there anything you'd rather be doing?" And I kept answering: "Nope!" And I wasn't desperate for the end at all. I was enjoying every step. I even thought: I could keep going and going! THIS NEVER HAPPENS.
- I felt so good during miles 9-13 that I made a game out of passing people. I would get up behind someone and then as soon as we were pretty much even, I would take ten quick steps and cruise ahead. THIS HAS NEVER EVER HAPPENED.
- This race is very hilly. You are either climbing up or going down for almost every single step of the race. I was running along thinking: "I love hills." And it wasn't a sick twisted way to trick myself. I actually enjoyed the hills. They were fun and made the course interesting. NEVER HAPPENS.
|Hillary snapped this one along the course.|
Tim was shooting the race for his story when I crossed the finish line. He took this photo off of the screen. I finished in 2:17.23, which is 8 minutes off my PR but was about 5 minutes faster than I expected to run on this course.
And to Tim for being there as soon as I stepped across the finish line.
MDI Marathon folks for putting on such a stellar, well-organized, feel good event. We are totally going back next year, and there has even been talk of doing the full. But that might just be the race high talking. Either way, I'm back.
Here is Tim's story about the marathon that aired on the news tonight.