State #38- Maine
Lifetime 1/2- #46
13 in 13 progress- #4
Official Time: 1:42:52
Normally when you think of racing in Maine, beautiful coast line and mild summer temps are what would come to mind. What you probably are not looking for is running back and forth on asphalt in freezing temps, trying not to let the wind knock you down, yet that is what I got.
Although I knew Race the Runways was not going to be scenic and most likely cold for this time of year, it was flat and I was able to turn it into a double header with New Hampshire so that out won beauty. For those looking to run in Maine or New Hampshire, your best bet to save money is to look in Southern Maine and then fly into Boston, MA. B and I lucked out and found a R/T for $330- cheapest I've been able to get out to East Coast yet.
Our first day in Maine was tolerable, temps in lower 50s with a slight breeze....
On race day it dropped to lower 30s with a windchill of 20 degrees. Crazy as it sounds, the 30 degrees wasn't even that bad, however that wind.... gah I have never wanted to NOT race as much as when I got outside Saturday morning.
Race the Runways is organized by the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, Midcoast Triathalon Club, and the Maine Track Club- although the race was around 1,000, definitely a small town feel. The 'runway' part of this race uses the Brunswick Executive Airport and Naval Air Station which closed down in 2011.
Race started at 9:30am, however, bib pick up ended at 8:30, so we had to get to the race early in time to pick up our bibs and shirts. We had the longest /2 mile walk to the gym to get everything, and in that process we had several people tell us how crazy we were for wearing skirts. The race announcer was directing people over the megaphone where to go and even said I had guts haha. Once we got what we needed we ran back to the car and blasted the heat for the next hour and rested our eyes. Finalllllllly at 9:15 we emerged from the car and walked over to use potties with a few min to spare.
Clenched fists = COLD
I can do cold, it sucks, but I run decent in it. What I can't do is headwinds... I have no clue how to run in that. I decided to just go out easy, conserve energy, and do my best to stay warm. Surprisingly the first 2 miles weren't bad in terms of wind- I was actually feeling good and both miles clocked in at 7:30s. As we head into miles 3.5 AND 4.5 we are on the runway going SMACK into the wind. I kept thinking
1. I have never been so cold running before in my life
2. I think the snot in my nose is frozen
3. I can't believe how hard I'm working and its only yielding XYZ pace. (mile 3- 7:40, 4- 8:21, 5- 8:08)
There was a herd of 10 or so people maybe 100 yards in front of me all drafting off one another, I kept trying to convince myself to stride it out to catch up to them, but man is wind tiring! Eventually (thankfully) we turned off the runway and although the wind never stopped during the race, the most intense part was over.
After a mile or so we entered the 'loop' part of the course- it was an 'out and back' and then turn around and do the same 'out and back' again - this pretty much covered miles 6-11. Although it was boring and there was nothing spectacular to photograph, it was neat to see the leaders, and then see all the people you were ahead of. I also got to see B 3x on this part, making it 4 total for the race:
yup thats snow
she took the photo way far away
Another bonus was that the gu stop was during the out and back x2, sooooooo I passed the gu station 3x. Although I still took my cliff double shot energy gel, I did manage to snag 2 extra vanillas and a chocolate outrage. I'm convinced cliff double shot energy gels are the best thing since sliced bread.
They don't sponsor me, send me free stuff, or give me some personalized coupon code for a discount... HOWEVER if they are reading... I will gladly accept any of the 3 items listed above :)
Mile 6 and 7- 8:19, 8:04
Typically when it come to halfs, I don't really know how I'm faring till about mile 7ish- this is when the wheels have a tendency to come off. Despite what the above picture shows, once I started looping people, there were tons of runners to pass which I think helped me bring my pace down. I also have a theory that the cold numbs the pain, so my body can keep going if my lungs are willing to hold up.
I don't keep total time on my main screen of my watch, just avg pace, current pace of mile i'm in, and distance. Since I didn't care how I did in the race, I wasn't actually paying attention to my splits, however I did notice my average pace was still in the 7:50s... I'll take that
I decided I just wanted to break 1:45 (8:08) pace and that would be good enough for me. Literally when I made that decision, the times went down
Mile 8- 7:39
Mile 9- 8:01
Mile 10- 8:12
Mile 11- 7:48
We finally finish the out and back loop mess - which sidebar, totally would be easy for someone to cheat and just do one out and back vs. 2--- B said they are only cheating theirselves but I still say not fair! Once we head back for last 2 miles it is literally just me and 3 guys in sight- due to not being surrounded I can hear my loud wheezing and wonder how am I even still running right now? I've come to the conclusion that as long as my legs are fresh enough, they can handle faster paces, but my lungs are like that little fat kid inside me screaming "no more! I want cake (or bacon)!!"
At this point I have no desire to 'kick in the last 2 miles', but I told myself if I could just do sub 8s, it would all be over in 16 minutes... so thats what I did.
Mile 12- 7:40
Mile 13- 7:45
Somewhere in in the last 1/2 mile I got HAWKED by this chick as she was making a mad dash toward the finish line. I kept thinking how it would suck if she was in my age group and then I caught myself and for once told myself I honestly didn't care how I did. I ran WAY faster than I anticipated, especially on day 1 of a double header, and I was just proud that I was able to pick it back up in the 2nd half. ( I think not keeling over from hypothermia was an accomplishment as well)
Mile .1 - 6:46
As I crossed the clock it read 1:42:54... for those that don't know, that is my PR from Cinco De Mayo back in Portland, OR last year. I knew I didn't cross the start line right at the gun so I just ran a freakin PR and didn't even know it!!!
Official results finally came in and it was only 2 seconds faster, 1:42:52, 7:51 pace, but hey I'll take it.
Even as I type this I'm not super jacked about the PR itself since I have plans to break 1:40 this year. I think what I'm most ecstatic about was that I fell apart for a few miles in the race but managed to pick myself up and finish strong--- that is NOT something that comes easy in the Lisa mental game, so HUGE win in my book. From a numbers perspective I'm doubly stoked because without that wind and me conserving energy for day 2 of double header, 1:40 would have been extremely realistic... she will be mine :)
B also ran a PR without realizing it (she was sans garmin all weekend)- she went from a high 2:04 / 2:05 to a 2:03 and change. Whats great for her is that the last several years shes been a solid 2:10/ 2:15 gal (her PR is from a few years ago), so she finally broke free from that benchmark and now has the mentality to go along with her training to break 2 hours this year---super pumped for her WHEN that happens. Main thing that changed for her... SPEEDWORK. (you can betcha i'm making sure to include it 1x a week, no questions)
As an unexpected bonus, I placed 3rd in my age group. Apparently all those women ahead of me were young looking gals in the 30-39 age group and not 20-29!Yup, still wearing my 'throwaway'- first time in a race I never even thought about taking it off...
Immediately after receiving my award we head back out to brave the cold and take the hottest showers of our lives before checking out and heading down to Portland, ME for exploration.
State # 38 complete
Unexpected PR and AG win, but thats a-okay.
The event was well organized and the bling definitely goes down as one of my favorites. Since the naval base closed in 2011, there are ZERO planes on the runway or the entire course (except one plane on display at the entrance of the 'park')---if you want to geek out on seeing planes, I highly suggest Air Force marathon. For being part of a double header, the race served its purpose. If you are seeking out more scenery, I would definitely wait till summer / early fall for decent temps and when everything is green and in full bloom!