October 19, 2010

Mount Desert Island Race Report

Spark notes: Awesome event! 2:57:59 final results. A Boston Qualifier. Enjoyed every moment. The last 6 miles were hard, but I'm confident there is room for improvement. Legs still a bit soar, but I'm ready for more! Thank you everyone for your support!

Mount Desert Island Marathon – Race Report

Woke up for an early shakeout just to get some pre-race never out of the system, which I’m not sure I’m even nervous for. Weird? I have no idea. Less I think the race itself I don’t tend to get nervous about it, more I think about it, I start to shake!
After running in the morning, Brittany and I got our stuff together and made our way to down to Bar Harbor. It was a storming, and very windy with some rain mixed in. That crazy weather made for some awesome photos from the Loop Road of Acadia National Park.
The Pre-race expo was just the right size, by my standards. With only two vendors, there were plenty of things for runners to look through and just browse. Plus with the small size of the expo it made it very easy to meet with a couple of other runners who I knew and then went on my way.
Spent the night in the campground I worked at for the summer. Since it had been storming pretty hard the last couple of days, there were some downed trees so we were unable to drive in. Let’s just say at 9:30 at night, still a bit windy, and just two whole people in the campground, it was a little scary that night. It was quiet and peaceful though, which made it easy for a good night’s sleep.
Sunday: Marathon Day

Woke up at 6:30 had some water with only a granola bar and walked to the top of the hill to the car since we couldn’t drive in. Drove down to Bar Harbor to make sure we had plenty of time to find a parking spot, use the bathrooms and meet up with Brittany’s parents. The start of the Course is right in downtown so it was very accessible for everyone to get to.
The start at 8am, with a shot of cannon, was spectacular, nerve racking and exciting. 3 ½ hard months of running and training had come down to this very moment and boy was I ready.
Miles 1-2: My first mile was 6:42 (perfect I said to myself). I wanted to take the first part easy and not really stress too much. Passed last year’s female winner Amanda Labelle and went on my way through the first water stop. (6:42, 6:40)
Miles 3-6: after making it up the first major hill working with a runner from New Mexico, I caught up to one of the “elite” (word for more experienced) runners, Ty Thurlow, and just sat with them.(6:31,6:23,6:50)
Miles: 7-10: Now I was running 6:20-6:30 pace I thought, didn’t pay much attention to the watch.. Maybe a little fast I thought, but not much effort was really going into this. I was running with 3 other guys. By Mile 10 I was just with Ty Thurlow and we were running a good pace. Just coming Into Northeast Harbor and completing the rolling hills. (6:42,6:41,6:31)
Miles 11-13: Came up the long hill toward the town on Northeast Harbor feeling good. At this point right around mile 12 Ty dropped off and I went on my way through the first half alone. I ran something like 1:27. A little faster than I wanted, but it wasn’t fast enough to make me hurt that much. (6:36, 6:45,6:35)
Miles 14-18: This part of the course is my favorite. I was alone until about mile 16, when I caught up with some guy who I saw at the very beginning. Sergeants Drive was a little breezy, but nothing really bad. I grabbed a GU from the aid station, and some water. I only got to take about half of the GU, which I later went on to regret. I chucked the last half of the Gu at Mile 18 just for some water, I wish I had taken the rest of the GU. (6:21,6:29,6:25,6:34,6:33,6:30
Miles 19-20: This is where my legs said “we’ve had enough.” I didn’t listen, plus with my mom, brother, my grandmother, Brittany and her Parents cheering me on from the Campground, it was very encouraging. I had passed one other guy (who later passed me in the last half mile) and at that point I was alone and in 14th place. (6:29, 6:43)
Miles 21-24.5: The Mount Desert Island Course up to this point had been enjoyable. I like to call the last few miles a total mind game. You think the last 6 miles will be a piece of cake, you’ve reached this far, what can go wrong? Heck, everything can go wrong and it did for me. I suffered immensely being by myself. At each aid station I stopped took a cup of water and Gatorade, walked and sipped on both. On the hills (there were many) I took walk break for 15 steps. This was by far the hardest part. It was really discouraging to see 11-14th placed runners get away from me during these miles. I saw them and almost knew I could catch them. This course will play with your mind and if you aren’t ready it will spit you out like a piece of old chewing gum. (7:00, 7:24, 7:02, 8:02)
Mile: 24.5-26.2: There was nearly a mile downhill before you hit 25.5. My legs were burning. Sadly I had to stop again. At this point I knew I could get under 3 hrs I just had to keep moving. The last half mile is a nice little hill, which you don’t notice when driving, but running almost 26 miles you notice the little bump and boy does it feel like a hill. I could see the finish; I could hear my name over the intercom. I knew I could do it I just had to push. I stepped over the line hands in the air and just totally in awe of what I had just done. 3:57:59 finishing time and 15th overall. Just amazing. (7:30, 7:04)
The finish: I didn’t really feel all that bad. I grabbed a bagel with some cream cheese, water, banana, smoothie, and Gatorade. Munched and drank just trying to replenish everything. There I was…A sub 3 hour First time Marathon Finisher! I was congratulated by the Race Director Gary Allen and shook hands with a few of the finishers. Met up with some family to hear what they had to say and hear their words of encouragement and awe. I quickly went to jump in the shower to beat the crowd and get cleaned up. When I got out I was still moving slowly, and my stomach didn’t feel good at all. I felt queasy. The world slowed, and somehow, I made it to the medical tent as I was looking for race results to see if I got any award for placement in my age group. Turned out I got 4th of 55!
I was dehydrated and badly. My body rejected everything I had snacked and drank within the last half hour plus some more. Luckily the medical tent was equipped and ready for action. After spending 3 ½ hours in the medical tent with 3 wool blankets and warming sheets, plus on an IV drip to get rehydrated I was finally released. Still queasy, but no burning headache from dehydration any more. I lost the bit of water and bagel I snacked on as I walked towards the car. Luckily that was the last of it.
Now I walk slowly around campus just another runner, blending in with the crowd.
I’m so glad I was able to run for Friends of Acadia, have so many people support me along the way and run my first marathon in the state of Maine. To finish and run under 3 hours in the Marathon, on Mount Desert Island has been a phenomenal achievement, and I’m glad to have shared it with so many amazing people.

October 6, 2010

10 days and pre-race nerves, and a plan!

The nerves. Yes they have hit, and hit oh so hard! The last couple of nights i sit in bed at like 11pm and think...dam...only x-amount of days. I question myself, can i run 26.2 miles? Have i trained enough? What's going to be my pace? Will i be able to pace off someone else? can i make or break my secret goals?....These questions and more keep running through my head.

I think about this all night. I think I've started dreaming about race day. So far i haven't had any bad dreams, so that must be some kind of plus. To be honest some of those questions i can easily answer immediately as i think about them, but than again I really can't count on anything come race day because i have no idea what it will be like.

So far this week i have been keeping it really low key. Nothing hard and i'm forcing myself to relax and just enjoy the fall colors a bit. I had planned something like 4 miles easy today, but i just couldn't resist a new trail that i had found yesterday while i was in Forest Vegetation class. The trail was only like a half mile long, but it led to a network of trails, both created by the Orono land Trust and by local mountain bikers, where stupidly i got lost. Instead of the planned 4 miles i ended up doing 6...no big deal really. the 2 extra miles were about 7:30 pace, so it wasn't like i was expending much energy, i though it was fun. Ended up running nearly a mile and half being lost, with part of that on the rail road tracks. Is that legal?!

So my plan...break down by miles. Come marathon day:
Miles 1-5: The first 5 miles the goal is to stay relaxed, don't get caught up in any body else's race. I would like to average about 6:50 from the start line through the first 5 miles
Miles 5-13.1: The rolling hills of Seal Harbor into NorthEast Harbor will be a challenge, but its nothing i haven't done before on 3 training runs. I i can get to the half way point in 1:28 and change, ill be happy and right on track.
Miles 13 through 20: Running along the picturesque Somes Sound should be really motivating. Last time i ran through this part of the course i had one of my best 10 milers, i just need to be relaxed on the hills.
Miles 20-26.2: What can i say, i'm going to be looking forward to these miles. I expect my legs to be crying and not to happy with what i'm doing, but at this point i hope to be running with someone, i could defiantly use them on the hills, as through 25 miles, its hill after hill, the last mile though is all downhill, which will wake the quads up and keep them screaming till the finish line.

So Time goals? Three answers: 1) I ran 20 miles in 2:10 and change, so that gives me confidence that i could possibly run 2:50 on a good day when the weather is right, 3:00 flat is the goal. Not 2:50 nor 2:55, get 3 and I'll be happy. 2) If something go wrong, weather, pain/injury 3:20 is acceptable, and i would know that i gave it my best. 3) Finish with a smile. Well of course I'll smile as i cross the finish line no matter what time, but if i can't make one of the two previous goals, a big ol' smile will save my day.

I'm not looking for a perfect race, nor a Boston Qualifier, but hey i feel like i have trained hard and it could be a possibility. Simply i would be happy with 3:10:59.