Monday, August 8, 2011

Beach to Beacon Recap

Running my first Beach to Beacon didn't feel like the fantasy race I had envisioned and dreamed about. There were definitely many, many positives about the race, but darn it if those negatives started to drag me down.

I woke up around 5:00 AM (didn't need the two alarms I set), got dressed, packed up, and was out of the house by 5:45. Driving south on 295 I wondered how many cars on the road were on their way to the race. I arrived at the satellite parking lot in Scarborough and boarded the school bus that was to take us to the start line.

The bus dropped us off and we started the trek (at least 1/2 mile) to the starting area. I checked my bag and jumped into the first port-o-potty line (which took 25 minutes to get through!) It was just 8:00 and I was worried about finding a place in the mob before the start (it didn't actually start until 8:15), but I settled in between the 8 and 9 minute per mile area with plenty of time to spare. At this point I felt pretty good, but it was already starting to get hot and humid and the sun had broken through the haze.
Photo courtesy of Kevin R. Morris @
It was at least 20 seconds after the start before I was able to even take a step and about two minutes until I crossed under the balloon arch. The first mile felt pretty good, but I very quickly started to get very hot and my legs hadn't warmed up yet (this usually doesn't happen until 2.5 miles in...key word usually). My split was an 8:09, just about where I'd hoped to be, but I remember thinking I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep it up in the humidity. This showed at my mile 2 split of 8:38, but was still just under my previous 10K pace. Mile 3 was 8:28 (yes!, but I really wish my legs felt better). Mile 4 (8:51 split) - OMG, I am burning up...thank goodness for the wonderful spectators that had sprinklers on. And at each water stop, I never stopped running...I took a sip and dumped the rest on my head...until I reached mile 5.

My legs were so fatigued and it was so frustrating and I really didn't understand it. I ate a sandwich on the drive down and drank plenty beforehand. They went from not warmed up to feeling like lead and it took all my willpower not to walk.  I kept repeating in my head, "I will not walk, I don't need to walk, keep running." I felt great otherwise, my breathing was controlled, no cramps or pains. I'm thinking I need to invest in some compression socks (which I should wear to help my "old lady" legs, regardless), but maybe they would really help my leg fatigue?

Anyway, I did walk through the water stop at mile 5. I find it near impossible to run and drink any good amount without inhaling it. I accidentally pushed the split button on my watch before the water stop, not after where the mile marker was, so I'm not sure the exact split - somewhere around 8:55 is my estimate.

Now come the three rolling hills. I headed to the center of the road, pumped my arms, and lifted my knees as high as I could and muscled my way up them. I really do love hills. Really, I do. Honest. Can you see me? Right of center of the photo in the left hand lane, pink tank, black skirt. I think I look pretty strong here...I definitely feel tired, though!
Photo courtesy of Maine Running Photos - David Colby Young
The entrance to Fort Williams where the finish line is located came into view. TONS of spectators were lined up behind the fence and cheering for everyone. It was awesome. What was not awesome was that there was another hill to run up...why was I not aware of this one? Needless to say, I got up it, around the corner, and across the finish line. Final time 54:06.2, 8:43 pace - not a PR, 26 seconds slower than my previous time, but it really only comes out to 4 seconds slower per mile...pretty much nothing in the whole scheme of things. Oh well... Here I am at the finish stopping my watch. It's like a Where's Waldo...
Photo courtesy of Maine Running Photos - Joe Hyatt
Oh, and I had previously mentioned that I would come across the finish line smiling no matter what. Well, I didn't. I was exhausted, and for the first time since racing again, I felt like I had pretty much given it all I had. So, I guess that was something to smile about, but I forgot. The humidity, not so much. The incredible location, yes. My legs that felt like 50 pounds of bricks were tied to each, uh no. The kids in the crowd along the course holding out their hands for high-fives that made me think of Zeke and Finn, absolutely!

I also was able to meet up with Jen, Stacy, (who both PR'd) and their running crew afterward thanks to Jen's easy-to-read map - that was cool. And seeing Joan Benoit Samuleson congratulating runners at the finish. And learning that my friend Meredith came in SECOND in our age group with the top ten removed with a time of 37:13.9 or a 6-minute pace! Meredith, you rock! All in all, it was a great day and I hope I have the opportunity to run it again.


  1. Great post! You did an awesome job!

  2. Great recap. That stretch through the woods looks beautiful.

  3. Great job! Your time is great! (I aspire to your time!)

  4. I'd love to run this race someday!!! Joan Samuelson is my idol!


Thanks for your comments!