November 09, 2010

Race Recap: Maine Coast Women's Half

"If one could run without getting tired I don't think one would often want to do anything else." - C.S. Lewis


I love running!  (Ok, I realize now, that isn't much of a spoiler.) And what better way to do it, than to toe the line! 

What a blast! This was my 3rd half-marathon and just like the other two, I have finished feeling completely glow-y. 

The first, in June, well that was my first, the original PR (personal record). The second, in October, that was with Sarah, and just plain awesome. And the third, the Maine Coast Women's Half, well this certainly ranks in the top 3! 

On Saturday, me and the kids rode up to York, ME with my friend, Marcia, who found this race and suggested we run it after she missed out on the Lowell half in October.  We decided to pick up our bibs the day before and to get a lay of the land. Plus if you want a race shirt that actually fits, it is best to get there as early as possible and it is nicer not to have to scramble through packet pick-up on the day of the race if you can help it. (Of course we did scramble anyway....more on that in a sec.) 

The expo was decent.  Local businesses, cheap tech tees from other LOCO races and ones with cute sayings like "kick assphalt."  I felt a little odd "buying" a tee for a race I didn't actually run, but as Marcia pointed out, we'd be advertising their race for them Regardless, I didn't end up getting any. If they had more long sleeve in my size, maybe I would have - they *were* $5 after all.  But the best-est part of the whole expo....

PASTA SALAD!  The cheerleading coach (with a baby also named Izzy, that my Izzy A-dored) and cheerleaders at York High School were fantastic and made the most unbelievable whole-wheat pasta salad (Can you say carb loading???) at the snack bar and for $2bucks gave me and Marcia a never ending bowl.  Yum!  And thanks to the timely article, on marathon running and avoiding the bonk, we halved it and figured we needed around 1000ish calories in carbs 12-36hrs before the race. No bonking for us! 

Then Sunday.  Race day. 

Yay! for daylight savings! Extra hour of anxious restful sleep! 

Actually, of all the races, this one is the first one where I slept through the night.  Maybe it was because it was so late and we didn't have to leave until 7:30 for a 10am start rather than the 4:45am leave time that I had for the previous 2 races. I didn't have the recurring nightmare that I slept through the start time.  Cuz that does not help the REM cycles. 

Up at 6:30. Coffee. Chobani. Clif Z bar & banana for the ride. Marcia got here and we got the kids to the car and headed up around 7:30. The great thing about all the schlepping to and from York, is that Marcia & I got 3 car rides to chitchat so we knew that we could just concentrate on running the race. I wanted to go out fast enough that "pace ok?" would be about the only thing I could say. 

Before we got to the race, we parked at the elementary school and waited for the bus to take us (it was COLD!) and we seemed to be waiting a long time. Other runners gave up and started walking, but we didn't bring the stroller and didn't want to make the kids walk.

We got there and still had 30 minutes before the start. So we hit the bathrooms. Gu'd at 9:45 while waiting in the bathroom line.

Except there was the matter that they made all the bathrooms in the school "Women Only" and had the guys use the portajohns (which we couldn't find) or the woods. Fah-reeeezzing!   

When we saw the long lines near the entrance we headed for the single room secret bathroom we found on Saturday off to the side of the cafeteria.  Except it wasn't a secret anymore. With all the women waiting in line,  David decided to forgo the restroom and he headed out a side door while we waited in line, keeping an eye out to let him back in.  

Marcia went. But no David. My turn, and I took the kids in with me because (OF COURSE!) they had to pee at 9:50 when all the racers were ready to go. Actually, the 3 of us were faster than most of the people in line. Anyway...

Somehow in the shuffle we missed David banging on the door to let him back in. It was 9:58 and we were still in the same spot, me Marcia, and the kids. Sarah called my cell, found me and took the kids, Marcia went ahead, found David just as I was calling him on my cell, quick hugs to Sarah, saw the AWESOME signs!

Friday Night Lights makes an appearance!

I gave Sarah my bag, and my kids. Almost forgot my gloves. That would have been bad. Go back digging in my jacket for them. Quick hug & kiss to David and we scrambled to the starting line (or sideline really), they start the race, we scramble through the spectators and into the mix and I spent the first 100yds or so untangling my earbuds. I hit play on the zune, but didn't listen for awhile. I had timed it so that Madonna's 4minutes would come up 4 minutes before the 2hr mark. 

Marcia and I originally both wanted to try for a sub 2, but she was feeling for this specific race, on this day, a 2:05 would be more realistic. I trained for 2, so I was torn between running with Marcia, and my sub-2. I decided this race was mine and I needed to run it and knew that Marcia’s race was Marcia’s and we both supported each other in our goals. 

We agreed to start out at 9:30ish and then get to our respective paces, but then Marcia took off like a shot weaving in and out of people dern quick. I barely could keep up! My nerves took over and honestly didn't think I could do keep that pace. I looked down and saw we ran the first mile in under 9, then the second mile under 9. But then at 2.1 in clicked for me. I say this every time, but I need to remember that the first 2 miles no matter what the pace are always the toughest. (In the end the first 2 miles were my "slowest" splits.) At about 2.5 I was feeling good and ready to pick up the pace, Marcia’s strategy was to hold back, so I went on. Just after we split, I saw Sarah first in her adorable hat, black curls, teal jacket and David in his BRIGHT orange coat, kids waving, signs shaking, shouts erupting. Fantastic! That energy took me all the way for the next 10!
Smile coming.

Smile going.
Each mile I kept thinking, I can’t believe this. I feel good. I really did not trust that plan. Tempo runs are one thing, but to run a 9:09 pace needed for 13.1 miles? Really? 

But the adrenaline and the energy and the ocean and the surfers and the cheering and the sheer joy to be out there just takes over! 

At mile 6 I knew I would get the 2 hours. Then it became a game of when to gu, when to water, I tried to gu as soon as I saw a station coming up…nothing worse than gu with nothing to wash it down with. 

At mile 10, I saw I was at 1:27 and with only a 5k left, I knew I could do that in 30 minutes. I tried to whoop it up on the hills, but most people seemed in the zone. I’m curious if other racers find that annoying or helpful. I like, it, but maybe that is just me… The crowd seemed more serious than I expected. Though I loved the “Angry Kitties” Pink and Green jerseys. I have to look that running club up….

At mile 11, going around the bend, I was thinking about Molly.

Mile 12 had a bit of a bottle neck. It was a little unnerving to run on the side of the road *with* traffic and only cones there to keep you to the side. It also made it tougher to pass which I was trying to do. But I tried to find lulls and sprinted to the open spaces when I could. Part of it was annoyance for me, but also to give other runners space.
At 12.5 I started to think about David and Sarah’s face at the finish and how SHOCKED they would be to see me running in under 2. And not just a 2hr half 'thon, But at least 5 minutes under 2!

I saw the balloons, I saw David and I saw Sarah's jaw on the floor and then heard their shouts and I wanted my kids to see me SPRINT (!!) and finish strong, so I booked it with a quick wave to them as I went by.

I finished, walked over to my family and saw Sarah first. 


This race is exactly what I trained for (even though I didn't trust the plan. heh. Next time trust the plan!) I could not believe my splits! Especially the last mile – an 8:09 I ran that mile faster than any of the previous ones that were still all under 9. Makes me think I may have left some in the tank. goal? For now I am wicked please with my sub 2 and 22 minutes off my previous PR.


1:54:25 was my official time. Placed 205 out of about 1,200 racers.

I never did hear Madona & JT sing 4 minutes.  I guess I will have to set it to pop up at 1:46 next time. 

And Marcia. She got her 2:05. Awesome! And looked dang fine doing it!

And Simon got his Fun Run.
Simon's Smiling too!

I love running so much. Whoda thunk it. And yes, I love running so much, I will crew, run with you, whatever, whenever. I will be your pacer, or you can pace me. I have had some amazing family and friends help get to me to my goal, I would love to pay it forward anyway I can!  Name the race, and let's do it!

1 8:52
2 8:55
3 8:44
4 8:49
5 8:45
6 8:31
7 8:44
8 8:27
9 8:37
10 8:46
11 8:29
12 8:36
13 8:09
14 2:10
The MOST supportive spouse EVAH!

Future 'thoner


meredithlevin said...

WOW! Those splits are amazing! And your description made me cry! Awesome job!

Dawn said...

I finally found a chance to read this! I'm just so proud of you. What a wonderful race. I'll never have your speed, but I totally understand the thrill of doing better then you thought you could! I'm thinking it's time for you to start thinking FULL MARATHON!!!

Christy Z. said...

Thank you Mer & Dawn! This was a lot of fun, and you two, along with a lot of our runner buds were certainly there with me in spirit too!