Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mount Desert Island Marathon Race Recap

I almost don't want to write this recap because then it will mean that one of the most amazing races of my life is truly over. (I know, I know. I say that a lot). If you missed what happened prior to the race, check out my post here.

No turning back now

Sunday morning, we woke up at 5:53am (Mike had gone past :50 and he didn't feel like changing it, ha). I had actually slept really well, for the most part, and I got ready quickly. Crystal and Joe were up too, and so were my parents, and within 40 or so minutes we were all dressed and had food with us for the drive to Bar Harbor for the start of the race.

My mom, dad and Joe were going to be spectating so we all drove in my dad's truck so that we didn't have two cars. After getting some gas and coffee for Joe, we made it into Bar Harbor easily. Since the roads are closed my dad went down a side street and we sat in the truck for a few minutes while it was raining. I actually saw some people that I knew, the parents of two girls that I swam with growing up, and after chatting for awhile Mike, Crystal and I decided we should get out of the truck and get ready.

We were walking down Main Street and as we rounded the corner we bumped into, almost literally, Sara and Eric. They were running the half marathon so they had to catch the shuttles that would take them to the halfway point of the marathon (it is a point to point race).

Almost two minutes later we ran into Carrie, who was running the full, and Jen, who was running on a three-person relay team to run with Carrie. It was really funny because Jen said to Mike, we know who you are! I actually saw more blogging friends than people from my hometown at this race!

Mike realized that he didn't have bandaids for his nipples, chaffing isn't good! So he went into a coffee shop to request some, and he was successful! Then we saw Isaac and Crystal and I went into the public restrooms before the line got really long.

We told my dad we would meet him at 7:30am to give him our throwaway clothes (since it was still raining) and Mike realized he still needed to go to the bathroom! We met up with my dad and then we got ready to line up, without Mike still. After a few announcements, Mike made his way into the crowd.

The national anthem was played and then we had a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. At the end of the moment of silence a bagpiper started to play "Amazing Grace" and I got really emotional. I started to cry because it was so sad and a beautiful tribute.

After that Mike went ahead of us, we all wished each other luck and it was almost time to run the marathon! The MDI Marathon always plays "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC at the beginning of the race, and when I heard it start to play I knew it was time. We actually started a little before 8am (7:57am according to my watch) and Crystal, Isaac and I crossed the start line!

 Mike at the start!

I love how Crystal and I look the same!

About .2 miles in to the race we saw my parents and Joe and they wished us luck! The beginning of the race takes you out of Bar Harbor and goes toward Otter Creek. Isaac did a great job of telling Crystal and I to reign it in, and every time he did that we would put our hands out like we were slowing down.

There wasn't a lot of crowd support at this point (cars aren't supposed to follow the runners) but there were a few people out, like a mime! Mile 3 has the biggest hill of the race, and as I tried to rush up it Isaac told me that we had time for awesomeness later.

 You can see me in the background in the green jacket

Crystal and I were taking our energy chews every two miles, with the water stops, and around mile 4 we saw a photographer! We had our jackets on at this point and Crystal unzipped hers and said, "I have a bib!". The photographer laughed and said he wasn't the police.

Mike out on the course

After getting through the top of the hill in Otter Creek we were welcomed by a nice down hill. Some runners in front of us were taking photos and the guy asked the girl, "do you want to stop?" Crystal and I both yelled, "don't stop!" The girl liked that we said that but the guy looked annoyed with us, ha!

Prior to the marathon I figured out that I would hit my 1,000th running mile for the year at mile 5.6 of the marathon. Crystal said that my milestone was coming up and Isaac said he would have to get the noisemakers ready. Crystal and I laughed and then he literally pulled noisemakers out of his shorts! When mile 5.6 came we blew the noisemakers and yelled, "1,000 miles!" and continued on our way.

At this point we turned off the main road and enjoyed some scenery on a back road. Isaac was telling us stories of his marathons and he got to marathon #3 and said, "a facebook friend of mine had started posting about couch-to-5K and I got back into running after taking 6 years off". Yep, I'm that friend!

Isaac kept telling Crystal and I to slow down and keep an even effort. And he said that we were tricking him into telling stories so we could speed up! At this point we were running by the ocean and I saw some triangle thing on a rock and I said, "I don't know what that is". Almost in unison Isaac and Crystal said, "the ocean". Very funny guys!

At mile 8 we were back on some main roads and running by the Seal Harbor beach. There were a few hills at this point, but we still kept an even effort. I don't remember much about this part of the race other than that Isaac told us about marathon #4.

 Mike, still thumbs-upping at this point

Getting ready to shed our jackets!

My parents and Joe were coming up around mile 11.5 near Asticou gardens, and I spotted my dad on the corner. I waved to him and he signaled to my mom that we were coming. All of a sudden, Isaac says, "hi, mom" really casually. He had told us that his mom couldn't be there but that his dad was, but I guess she surprised him! We rounded the corner and we saw my mom. Crystal and I threw her our jackets, since the sun had come out and the rain was gone for good.  We hadn't seen Joe yet, but we saw Isaac's dad and as we got to the turn to head into Northeast Harbor we saw Joe!

We got to the mile 12 waterstop and I was still taking energy chews every two miles. As we ran through Northeast, I mentioned that I hung out there a lot during high school and pointed out a few sights. We passed Carrie and one of the relay team members at this point and cheered her on.

This part of the race takes you on some back roads so that you can pick up Sargent Drive, which was the part of the race I was looking forward to the most. We got to the halfway point around 2:07:40. As we approached we could hear an announcer and some song came on, I guess it was Hakuna Matata, and Crystal and I started dancing.

We continued on our way and I mentioned that soon we would be at single digits, something I was really looking forward to.  We got onto Sargent Drive and we saw the tree! There is a big tree that kind of looks like a bonsai tree and we all said, "ok we've seen the tree, we can stop now". And a guy in front of us said, "there's no beer or bbq here, keep going!"

The views were gorgeous and Isaac pointed to the other side of the sound and told Crystal we would be running to that point. He asked me if I could swim there and I said yea but I would get there a lot later than them if I did that!

When we hit single digits I cheered on the inside, and verbally, a little bit and then continued on my way. We saw Isaac's parents right around mile 18, Crystal saw someone she knew from Instagram as we turned on to the main road again and we were all still in good shape. One of Isaac's bosses had seen us at this point and he followed us on the road and said, "I knew you'd be running with two pretty ladies". We all laughed!

Here comes, Mike!

Giving a wave

Still happy at this point

This part of the course was a bit frustrating because of the cones on the road. They didn't give runners a lot of space so we had to run in single file. Luckily, we didn't have far to go and made a turn down a side road (which made us bypass a HUGE hill) and then I saw my dad! I asked him how Mike was doing, and he told me great, and then we saw my mom and Joe. They wished us luck and we kept going.

After getting back on the main road, my parents and Joe passed by us. My dad honked and Isaac said, "do you know those people?" I said that I may or may not be related to two people in the car and Crystal said, "three". I joked that Joe was my brother, and Crystal said, "brother-in-law" (since we joke that Mike and Joe are brothers).

There was a steep hill toward the last turn and then we were at mile 20. I took some more energy chews and walked at the water stop (we saw some kids that Isaac works with), which was probably a bad idea looking back on it. I was struggling to get the chews down at this point so I just held them in my mouth. We ran through Somesville, by the bridge, the bookstore and Isaac just kept us going.

At mile 20.5, I stopped to walk. Crystal kept going, which I'm glad she did since I knew she was going to do amazing. After a brief walk break, I picked it back up. We actually caught back up to Crystal but then the hills were unrelenting. Since the sun was out, I was getting hot and I had to slow to a walk on a hill again.

At this point Crystal said, "I love you guys", and she was gone. I was getting frustrated with myself that I had to walk but Isaac kept me running on the downhills and wouldn't let me walk too long on the uphills (we actually negotiated at one point when I would start running again, ha).

At the mile 22 water stop, I took two waters and dumped one on my head. I spit the rest of my energy chews that were still in my mouth out in the cup and I was done with nutrition for the day. I said at one point, "what is wrong with me?" (because of all the walking) and Isaac laughed and said, "maybe it's because you've run 24 miles".

We finally got to the top of the final, big, hill and I was able to pick up the pace again on the downhill. I had slowed for four miles to above 10 minute pace, but not too bad. Isaac told me that we were on track for 4:18. I willed myself to keep going, had to walk a bit, but then I saw my dad! We started running again and he said we weren't too far from the finish (which I knew).

 Mike bringing it in to the finish!

So happy to be done!

With .5 miles to go, I walked a few steps more and then continued on. Finally, I could see the finish line! I saw my mom and Joe, then I heard Crystal telling me to get to the finish line and I saw Mike!

As we got closer, I told Isaac to give me his hand and we held hands as we crossed the finish line! I was done with marathon #3 and other than a few slower miles in the end it was the best experience ever!

We reunited with everyone and I found out that my finishing time was 4:17:37, an over 29 minute PR! Crystal had crushed her former PR as well and Mike PR'd by about 11 minutes with a new PR of 4:07:39!

 Love all these people!

Isaac was initiated into the jump photo!

We saw Danielle, who did great at the half marathon and then we took some finishing photos. After we said goodbye to Isaac and we walked to my dad's truck. We visited the Bass Harbor Lighthouse and took some more photos to celebrate the experience.

 Happy marathoners!

Contemplating what is next

It's really hard for me to admit this weekend and race is over. It was my hometown race, and though challenging, it was an amazing experience! I can't thank Crystal and Isaac enough for running with me, and Mike for putting up with this hard race and believing in me. I can't thank my parents enough for feeding us and providing us all lodging for the weekend, and cheering us on. And Joe for coming to yet another race to cheer for us.

I am DEFINITELY running this race again and I hope to better my course PR. And now, as long as I feel good after our Ironman next year, I'm going for sub-4 at the Philly Marathon in 2014!


  1. This course looks amazing! I'm putting this one on my bucket list :) Congrats on the PR!

    1. Thank you! I would definitely recommend it!

  2. Congrats to all of you! Wow massive PRs! Looks like it turned out to be a pretty day once the rain stopped.

  3. Wow! Such a perfect race for all of you, with huge prs! I love hearing positive marathon stories- I'm trying to fill myself up with confidence for mine in 4 weeks! Congrats!!

    1. Thank you! You are going to do great at Philly!

  4. What a fun recap! I'm thinking I need to add this race to my bucket list! Incidentally, I read a travel post this morning over at Runaway Bridal Planner about Mount Desert Island in Maine. This must be the same place, right? I really want to visit, and a marathon sounds like a perfect excuse to me. Great job on your PR, too.

    1. It is the same place! It's where I grew up and I would definitely recommend visiting, and running the marathon of course!

  5. You are a marathon machine!!! Woohoo!!!

  6. What an awesome race with amazing friends!!! You got a great training cycle in and it paid up with a huge PR!!!! It was such a great day!!!!

    1. Isaac you are an amazing person, and I really can't thank you enough for running with me and pushing me until the end! See you in a few weeks!

    2. I should be the one thanking you for getting me back into running!!!!

  7. What an awesome time! Congrats to you and Mike on the PR! It is WELL deserved! You two work so hard!

  8. Huge PR congrats to you and Mike! Amazing times! That looks like a wicked beauty course as well. Man, there are so many marathons to run!

    1. Thank you! Yes, yes there are! I would definitely put this one high on the list though!

  9. I so loved reading about this beautiful day and weekend! CONGRATS on reaching 1,000, and CONGRATS on an amazing PR marathon - in your hometown to boot! Huge thanks to mom for taking all those great photos along the course! Big fat squeezey hugs to each of you!

  10. Nice going, friend--woohoo for a well-deserved PR! And the fact that you nailed the PR at your hometown's race makes it that much sweeter. Also glad to hear you had an enjoyable experience. You and Mike should do a sloth week now! ;)

  11. Such an amazing day for you guys!! Yay!!! :)

  12. First of all, your time is amazing and I am so proud of you.
    Second, how do you remember it all?
    My marathon recaps pale in comparison.
    Pretty sure this was my entire Country Music Recap: It poured. I was wet. I ran well until 13. Then crashed. Hills suck. Legs hurt. Finish good.
    Can you come narrate MCM for me?

    1. Haha well I think the fact that it was my hometown marathon helped, since I know most of the course anyway. But I also have a pretty photographic memory and I can easily remember things that most people wouldn't. :)

  13. WOW!!! Congrats! Nothing better than getting a nice shiny PR!

  14. Even though I was there it was nice reading your recap!! Dad and I are so proud of you and Mike (Crystal and Issac too!!) The photos are phenomenal!!! Love you!!

  15. The pictures are so pretty! This race looks perfect. Y'all had an outstanding day, and I'm so impressed. Major congratulations!

  16. Okay PR queen, you are just ridiculous lately. So freaking proud of you--you deserve every second of it!