Thursday, October 4, 2012

Maine Marathon RR: Cotton Balls and Bandaids

Hey hey hey!  Well, Thursday brought sprinkles and showers to was a crud day outside, but did that stop us?  Nope nope nope!  The hubs and I biked up to Cape Elizabeth and back...21 miles of mud slinging on the trails, or...2 hours of wet, laughter, and road spray.  I wish it was sunny out, but we had fun anyways.
We spent the afternoon relaxing inside with some hot cocoa and the latest James Patterson (me) and Star Trek marathon (him).  We got in a nice 4 mile walk on the beach before dinner, and hit up Bua Thai again for some ginger chicken and curry.  Noms!
It's been a somewhat wet week, but we've made the best of it.  Tomorrow we hit up Wells and Kittery, then it's time to come home.
Things I miss about home:  My kiddo (cat), my bathtub, dryer, and my own bed.
Things I DO NOT miss:  my cell phone.  We have crap service up here...and I wish I would never get it back :-P  Is that sad?  I am so anti 21st century. 
Oh, I also miss Big Bird.  Wait, we haven't elected Romney yet.....(just kidding).
So, with little to report on the day, let's backtrack to Sunday, shall we?
Maine Half Marathon 2012:  Cotton balls and Band Aids
 Pre race:  Someday, I will learn that 8 hours in a car or flying cross country the day before a race is, well, stupid.  Not this day, I guess.  The hubster and I drove 475 miles from NY to Maine on Saturday.  My foot felt good strength wise, but getting out of the car in the morning, I cracked a callous on the ball of my foot and started bleeding.  Not cool.  It felt a bit better throughout the day, but the roll through was rough for fast walking or running.  Perfect.
I woke up at 4:45 Sunday, ready to go.  We arrived on site at 6am for a 7:30 start.  The swag for this race was awesome-you got a long sleeved tee, towel, toothbrushes, floss, mini lara bars, baked beans (wut?  Someone has a wicked sense of humor!), granola, and a bunch of other samples and snacks in a re-usable bag,.  The race bib had your first and last name on it.  Super cool!
The race morning weather started out okay-50 and cloudy.  I wasn't super worried about anything-I ate my PBJ and did some stretches, lined up with the 9:00 mile guys.  My foot hurt, but I had taken Ibuprofen, so it felt a bit better-plus it was well band aided up to cover the split callous.  My plan was to stay under 9:00 miles until mile 10, and see how I felt.  I was loosely going for a sub 2 (blame my type A tendencies-Ive never had a stand alone half marathon over 2 hours since I started running), but I knew that if I was to go over 2, I wouldn't blame myself-I've been injured most of the year and have ran a grand total of 7 training runs sine Memorial day.  Yeah, you read that right.
As the starting gun went off, it began to sprinkle.  Not too bad, I thought.  I geared myself up and took off, logging miles 1, 2, and 3 between 8:15 and 8:30.  But I never felt good.  You know how you start to run and feel like death for the first 5 minutes?  Yeah, that never went away.  My back felt tight, my foot hurt, and I just wasn't "in it".
About mile 4, the heavens opened up and it started raining harder.  My shoes got wet.  Blah.  The course went over a bridge by the ocean and through a park at this point, but the rain made it hard to appreciate the scenery.  About mile 5, we hit the rollers, and all hell broke loose.  I hit mile 5 at 42:45, still respectable...and felt a sharp pain in my left foot.  I gritted my teeth and pulled off, and saw blood coming through my sock,  Brilliant.  I made it to the medical tent and changed band aids from my freakin' callous, then headed off again.
The next section...was not fun.  It was cold.  My foot hurt.  And the rollers were a pain in the butt (think similar to River Rd. on IMLP course).  I hit the turnaround (6.6ish) at 58:30...and knew it would be tight.
Miles 7 (1:01), 8 (1:12) and 9 (1:22) passed by in a blur.  It started to rain harder.  My head felt like it was stuffed with cotton balls.  And I walked for a good minute every mile.  I was hurting.  And I was not alone.  There were quite a few people shivering as they ran, and also a bunch that pulled off and gave it up. 
At mile 10 (1:32) we pulled over the bridge, and I gave myself a come to Jesus talk.  I had 28 minutes to do a 5k.  I so could do it.  That's a 9 minute mile!  That's...marathon pace for me!  I took a deep breath...and trucked on.
Mile 11 (1:42) and I still felt hope. Then, all hell broke loose from mile 11 to mile 12.  I just...couldn't.  I walked more than ran, and every step felt like lead bricks with my soggy shoes and left foot.  My brain wasn't working well.  (I shudder to see these race photos).  Mile 12:1:53. At this point, I knew I had no sub 2.  I was hoping for a 2:02. No dice.  According to my watch, I crossed at 2:04:xx (according to gun time 2:05)....doing the unthinkable...stopping before the finish line!  It was kinda a daze to me.  The hubs caught me, and they did a Mylar blanket, but it was a good 5 minutes before I could make my mouth work again...I was so cold!
I finished in the top half of my age group (20-29-so weird) and the top third of women, so I know that it wasn't my best effort, but that everyone had a difficult day.
Post race, I grabbed some coffee and muscle milk, and then hightailed it to the parking garage (where they provided free parking!) to dry off and get into some warm clothes.
Post race thoughts?  It was a fair, but not flat course. Much flatter than Unity, nowhere near as flat as Buffalo.  50 degrees and rain is too cold for me.  The race organizers did a great great job with the logistics, swag, and medal.  And I'm not sorry I ran it.  If my body can churn out a 9:30 pace for 13.1 when I've basically NOT ran for the last 4 months...then I'll take it.
Am I somewhat bummed I handed in my sub 2 card?  Yup.  But I'd rather hand that over than take a DNF!  It was a great race for a vacation and no stress race-and I learned a few things:
No vacation races with Greg.  It always rains :-P
DO NOT drive before a race for more than 2 hours.  My poor back was so mad at me!
Always wear the garmin.  I have a sneaking suspicion the course was a bit long (13 minutes for the last mile??) But then again, I did a crap job of running the tangents.  Still, I would like to know how much over 13.1 I went!
End of story-this is a great race, and if you're looking for a nice destination marathon, do it.  Hopefully the weather will be nicer next year :-)

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