MAINE √ (8 STATES COMPLETE)
I full out admit that the end of this race was my own doing – this definitely put a damper on the experience of the race, but there are definitely some changes that would significantly improve this race. (After reading some reviews from past years the race directer is pretty rude and calls people who suggest things whiners) So safe to say I will NOT be running this race again.
Moving on to the recap …
I must say that I have never been so unprepared in my life. Training wise, packing wise, even list making wise. I have been off this whole week, on Thursday I could tell that this race was not going to be pretty.
I tried so hard to control the mental aspect and I did pretty well for the most part, but I hadn’t properly prepared myself in other ways to match my metal strength.
Traffic was miserable getting home from work on Friday (it took me almost 2 hours) and I was planning to meet two of my friends in Portland for dinner while I waited for Chris to get out of work and check into the hotel. I haven’t been feeling well so the night before I told myself I would have plenty of time tomorrow to get everything together after work and went to bed. WRONG. I got home and threw everything together in 15mins. Typically I leave everything that is race essential in my race backpack, but the last race I did was the Spartan and everything was all out of sorts (I didn’t realize this until 10PM pre-race day).
I somehow got to Portland before the 8PM closing of the ‘expo’ and got my race bib – I asked the woman who handed it to me “what now?” – she pointed me in the direction of the next tent holding race shirts, oh okay phew. To my surprise a race T-Shirt was an extra $12 .. hmmm okay no. Soooo .. yes, that was it .. just a race bib, nothing else. I remember seeing in past race recaps that there was a beer mug and a shirt in prior years. I guess they cheap-ed out this year. I will say that packet pick-up was very quick and super easy to get to.
There wasn’t really an expo at all there were a few tents for bib pick up, one for t-shirt PURCHASES, one little running shop, and the huge Team Challenge section (these guys made up a good chunk of the runner population), there was also a small AdvoCare table!! (but noone was there at the time so I didn’t get to connect with anyone). The pre-race meal was going on and it seemed to have a good turnout and positive energy.
I met up with good friends of mine for dinner – my only request about the restaurant was they must have my customary pre race dinner of chicken and broccoli ziti. We went to Bruno’s Restaurant and Tavern and it was delicious! The service was slow so we ate later than I wanted to, but overall it was a great night and great to see Jamie and Rach!
Chris was finally out of work, I headed to meet him at the hotel. Checking in I made a joke to a girl who was also standing in the lobby about the serial killer documentary playing on the TV adding to the ambiance of the situation. And with that, all I am going to say about where we stayed is that I will be the one making the hotel choices from now on.. haha Chris and I did have some good laughs about it and I 100% appreciate his effort on the last minute reservation buttttttt .. I am pretty sure he is in agreement that will remain my job :).
As I began to lay out my race outfit I realized I didn’t have my hand held water bottle and I had grabbed at dark shirt. Knowing it was going to be a hot day I began to get a little nervous.
- 5:00am wake up
- Sipped on a bottle of Rehydrate
- 1/2 a meal replacement shake (for some reason I was not hungry AT ALL perhaps the late dinner was messing with me)
- Bottle of water
- Got dressed
- Energy Gels (luckily my capris have pockets in them or I would have been screwed without my water bottle/pouch)
- 6:00am left the hotel
- Grape Spark and 1/2 of a VO2 prime
Parking was super easy, there was a garage not even 100 yards away from the start. Chris walked with me over to the starting area where my first stop was naturally the port-a-potties. They had the perfect set up and a good amount of port-a-potties considering the amount of runners. They had 2 corrals Orange for the speedy ones and Green for the rest of us. After puttering around a little, putting the KT tape on my knee, and using the restroom one more time I said goodbye to Chris and joked with him that I would see him in 5 hours.
It truly was a beautiful morning. There were pace groups and pace leaders set up throughout the corral. Somehow I ended up in the 10min/mile group. Now some of you may know this, but I had forgotten about this race until about a month ago when they sent out the race information packet. SHIT I DIDNT EVEN TRAIN! So in short, I should not have been there and staring off at this pace definitely did not set me up for success.
After the National Anthem and the first wave went through we were off. The course took you down the middle of a main street, literally down the middle of the street with traffic on either side of you. This really took away from the beautify of this part of the course because you were looking at cars and angry looks from people who clearly didn’t read any traffic warning signs. The first mile was quite crowded with all of the runners trying to settle in to their race pace and people maneuvering through the congestion.
- Mile 1 – 11:19
- Mile 2 – 11:26
- Mile 3 – 13:14
- Mile 4 – 12:26
- Mile 5 – 12:15
These first few miles were through beautiful residential areas. As you can see around mile 3 there were some hills, they weren’t long hills, but they certainly were steep and with these inclines came some very intense downhills (HELLOOOO QUADS!) Throughout the entire race there were Team Challenge runners and coaches – these people were amazing and super supportive of each other and the rest of the runners. There was a sever lack of spectators for this race so these people truly added immense value to the race.
I missed the first water stop and knew that was a mistake when I already needed a gel at mile 4. Mile 5 came back down that main road we started on through the middle of traffic with the same lack of scenery to enjoy. As the hill began heading into mile 6 I saw the gem peaking out behind a light post clapping away for me.. he truly is the best!
You know it isn’t going to end well when around half way through you are already starting to feel signs of dehydration. I repeated positive affirmations to myself and used the motivation of the few spectators that were around to push myself up the hill, and boy was it worth it.
- Mile 6 – 13:10
- Mile 7 – 13:57
I needed to see this beautiful view, I needed some sort of sign that all of this is going to be worth it. After all the state doest count towards my 50 if I don’t get the medal! After coming down around the bend of the road I saw Chris, but he was standing with someone .. LIZ!!!! One of my best friends was standing there cheering for me with a poster with an inspirational quote .. girl knows how to get me pumped! I remember saying “guys its hot out here” as I made my way around the turn.
I do want to give HUGE shout out to the police officer who ran this half marathon in FULL UNIFORM! Whoever you are you are an amazing individual and I thank you for your daily sacrifice on the job!
I really don’t have much to say about this portion of the race mainly because it was all quite the same. We ran along the highway for a bit where we then peeled off onto a trail around Back Cove. Due to my lack of research beforehand I was not expecting the dirt and rocks offloading portion. This is where I started walk/jogging and my vision became slightly blurry at times. I took my second energy gel and pushed on.
- Mile 8 – 13:21
- Mile 9 – 13:48
- Mile 10 – 15:03
- Mile 11 – 15:41
Mile 10 & 11 were actually a little scary for me with my vision playing tricks on me and the fact that there were very few spectators and not many runners around. As I stopped for water and to walk under the misting tent I got a text from Chris saying he was waiting for me at Mile 11 so that helped me to get through.
I saw Liz and Chris standing next to the water station and I could have cried in relief. I would have absolutely quit if Liz hadn’t joined me in walk/trotting this last part of the race. I honestly can’t remember much, but I know she was talking to me and keeping my mind of the pain and confusion. I am so appreciative that she hopped in with me! LOVE YOU LIZ!
- Mile 12 – 15:24
- Mile 13 – 19:11
I started smelling the water treatment facility towards the end of mile 11 and into these next couple miles and it made me extremely nauseous. It was nice to be along the wanter and have the gorgeous views, but I could not get past the smell. I had to stop a few times to hunch over by the train tracks as you can see from the time in Mile 13. I seriously thought I was going to hurl and I wish I could have – maybe it would have made me feel better.
The Final .1
Liz left me to jog the last portion by myself, as I tried to pick it up to a jog my calves immediately had a tearing and grinding sensation causing my foot to lock up. I made a truly ugly finish and got my medal.
I grabbed a water and headed over to Chris and Liz where we made our way to some shade. A huge headache tired to develop and I needed to sit down. I remember a Fire Chief (or something along those lines) coming over and sitting in the chair not too far from me. He started making light conversation and wanting nothing to do with him I told him I was fine and just felt nauseous. He was extremely nice and super attentive. I feel like he knew I wasn’t telling him everything as he began to question me and my pre-race morning a little more. Next thing I know a paramedic is walking over with the fanciest barf bag I have ever seen!
After trying to eat a piece of a bagel and a bite of a banana and instantly throwing it up, the paramedic asked me how long I had been sitting down feeling like this I said 5 minuets turning to look at Liz she looked at the guys and told them it had been a half hour .. WHAT!? NO WAY! I just sat down.
The paramedic brought me over to the medical tent where he said ‘they would monitor me’ I saw Chris slightly laughing out of the corner of my eye as the nurse approached me and started asking me the same questions the paramedic and fire dude did. He knows I absolutely hate attention like this. After denying an IV the nurse gave me a cold towel for my head and neck and walked away.
I don’t know how much time passed, but my nausea was getting worse. Finally one nurse came up to me and told me I was turning green, asking if I felt sick. YESSSS! I DO! HELLO!? didn’t the first 5 people who asked register this. She was extremely nice and gave me a tablet to dissolve under my tongue.
I wish someone had given me that early after a few moments I felt so much better, I ate an orange and was able to keep it down. She then gave me some Tylenol and after finishing a bottle of water, I was on my way.
From the sounds of this the post race festivities were lots of fun and there were some yummy treats to enjoy. I was able to get a picture in front of the huge race banner and some necessary photos with my crew before heading off to the car.
I want to sincerely thank everyone who helped me whether it have been s positive comment or cheer in the middle of the race, the amazing poster from Liz, the support of Chris, the medical personnel, the fellow struggling runners I shared a laugh or gag with (yay water treatment facility). Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
- Adjust your pace to your training level
- Look at the elevation map before hand
- In this heat – stop as much as possible for at least a sip of water
- Hydrate DAYS before
- I NEED my lists
- I should choose the hotel
- Trust the fire chief
- Swallow your pride and admit when you don’t feel well, it won’t help you in the long run
- Don’t forget the races you signed up for!
- Find more friends who run so you don’t always run races alone
- Somehow get Chris into running a half with you .. HA!