Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Maine Marathon {Race Recap} and a PR!

Where to start? I guess at the beginning, right? Settle in, it could be a long one.

Last week, I was still a little in disbelief that I was running a marathon. It didn't seem possible that the time was actually here, but I started carbo-loading and hydrating on Thursday. I went to the expo after work on Saturday to pick up my race packet. I look up my bib number on the list and smile to myself when I see "999" by my name - I love cool numbers like that. I was also pretty impressed by the swag bag and shirt.

I got to bed by ten that night and woke up a couple of times. It was 1:30 AM the first time I awoke and I felt completely rested and ready to go at that point, but settled back down to sleep for another four hours. The alarm went off at 5:30 and we got up, dressed, and out the door by 6:15 to make the fifty-minute drive down to Portland. We made a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for the boys and got another 15 minutes down the road when we realized we didn't bring the boys' rain jackets. It was raining...oops.

We arrived in Portland and headed to the start, found a parking spot, and I headed to the port-a-potties before returning to the car to take off my jacket and sweatpants. It was barely drizzling and in the low- to mid-50s. I gave the boys kisses and headed back to the start line with about five minutes to spare and settled around the less than 10-minute pace sign. The race director did his announcements and I was trying my hardest to hold back tears through the National Anthem.

"The start will be marked by the sound of a cann-" BOOM! And we were off.

I just kept the pace of the people around me. I didn't worry about weaving in and out of people or about my pace. There was plenty of race to get into a groove. I was feeling pretty emotional for the first couple of miles that led around Back Bay, but finally got focused on the task ahead around mile three.

Runningschultz shared some marathon clips on YouTube and I found myself! See if you can find me on the left side when he pans to the runners around the 11 second mark of the first clip...

Mile 1 - 9:47
Mile 2 - 9:20
Mile 3 - 9:17

I saw Ian and the boys holding up their signs they made and it made me smile so big.

I was happy with the pace I was holding. I felt really comfortable and my breathing was completely in control. I wasn't pushing the pace, I was just going with the flow - so much that I missed the mile five marker as we did our first loop off the main route.

Mile 4 - 9:13
Mile 5 - 9:13 (both an average from the missed marker)

I saw fellow Rail Trail Chick, Kim, who was also running her first marathon up ahead. I contemplated speeding up to catch up to her, but reminded myself to run my own race. I knew a water stop was coming up around mile 5.5, so I ate my first three Shot Bloks on the run. I was able to eat and run without a problem since I was keeping the pace easy. I took a cup of water at the stop and walked while I drank, but it was only 45 seconds at the most before I started running again. I was feeling good. I missed the marker at mile 7, so the following splits are just an average.

Mile 6 - 9:27
Mile 7 - 9:27

The rain got pretty heavy at times, but I tried my best to keep a steady pace and even effort up the hills. I think it was around this point that I got surprised by Ian and the boys again who had driven up the course to see me go by. I yelled out their names and that I loved them and Ian gave me a thumbs up and yelled, "Good pace!"

Mile 8 - 9:12
Mile 9 - 9:07
Mile 10 - 9:23

Kim stopped to retie her shoe and I passed her without even realizing it until she yelled, "Carrie, is that you?" from behind. We ran together for a little bit and chatted, but I was still trying to run my own race and not get caught up in someone else's pace and she went a little ahead of me.

Mile 11 - 8:57

It was time to fuel up again before the water stop at mile 11.5. Shortly after, I came to the turn that would loop around past the halfway point and there was Jen, who was planning on joining me when I came back around at mile 14, but she jumped in with me at mile 12 instead.

Mile 13 - 9:34

I reached the halfway mat in 2:02:45, just about where I hoped I would be.

Mile 14 - 9:43
Mile 15 - 9:47

My mile times are slowing down at this point, even though they seemed to go by more quickly with Jen to talk to to keep me distracted. I was still breathing easy, but my legs started feeling fatigued. I was happy to see the mile 16 marker, only 10 and change to go!

Mile 16 - 9:40

Time for a third fueling and a short walk at the water stop at mile 16.6. I then felt a huge urge to walk a hill (the first time I walked other than to drink water) which really affected my split.

Mile 17 - 11:50
Mile 18 - 9:53
Mile 19 - 9:57
Mile 20 - 9:51

We ran along with a guy who was running a marathon in each of the 50 states. This was number 36 and he had just run the New Hampshire marathon the day before. Awesome! Now it was time to say goodbye to Jen. She was going to meet up with Jill and run with her from mile 20-26. I gave her a hug and was so grateful that she got me through those middle miles. So grateful.

The mental game begins. From here on out, I just wanted to make sure I made it to the finish. My breathing was still in control, but my legs were tired and started to feel like stumps and my lower back was starting to ache. I let myself walk up any hill or what seemed like an incline. I would run to something like a sign or telephone pole and walk for a bit. Thinking back, I really didn't have to walk. I could have kept running, but my brain was telling me that it would feel better to walk, when in actuality, it felt better to run. So, for the last six miles I did this run/walk thing. Time to fuel up one more time so I ate the last three Shot Bloks I had and walked through a water stop.

Mile 21 - 12:45
Mile 22 - 11:01
Mile 23 - 11:28
Mile 24 - 11:50

I saw the Boudreau's again, as well as Jess, Joe, Stacy, and Andy (Kim's husband), who were all standing in the rain supporting Jill, Kim, and I. I turned for the last little section through a neighborhood  and continued leapfrogging several runners, including "lobster girl" who was dressed in a red tutu and a lobster claw headband.

Now back to Baxter Boulevard along Back Bay. As flat as it is, it's hard because you can see the finish line over 1.5 miles away. Run for a bit, walk for a bit...until I saw Jill's husband with Scout who thought I was her mommy. "Keep it up, you've got people waiting for you up ahead!" He got me running again all the way to the finish.

Mile 25 - 11:19
Mile 26.2 - 13.19

Photo courtesy Maine Running Photos

Everyone else was right before the curve that heads to the finish and I just started smiling and picked up the pace. They announced my name as I crossed the finish line and it was over. I did it. 

I happily took my medal and a heat blanket and Ian and the boys were waiting there for me at the end of the chute. I grabbed some water and a bagel and went over to where the others were standing to wait for Jill to come through, while Ian and the boys went to the car to get out of the rain.

My fingertips were numb (and stayed that way for about an hour), but I really did it. And I was immediately ready to do another, knowing that I can do the distance relatively comfortably. I don't know as if there is any such thing as an easy marathon, but I was able to cross the finish line within my goal time in the pouring rain with a smile on my face without any major aches, pains, chafing or blisters and feel fully recovered three days later. My first marathon was a complete success!

My stats:
4:24:01, 10:05 pace
529 out of 1003 overall
176 out of 411 females
25 out of 51 in my age group (35-39)

I am a marathoner!


  1. Congratulations Carrie! What an accomplishment! :)

  2. Yes dear, YOU ARE A MARATHONER! It was a pleasure to run with you. Next time we'll take on a marathon together.....and race to the end. ha! Just kidding. Well, on the racing it part. ;) So proud of you!!!!

    1. You're not really kidding...I know you better than that!

  3. YAY!!! Congrats!!!!! This is a huge accomplishment!! I was there cheering people on but I never saw you :(
    and weird, we are The Boudreau's too... is Jen a Boudreau?

    1. Yup, she's married to one! And Jill's married to the other brother.

    2. ha! I'm married to one too! The Boudreau Chicks!

  4. YAY!!!! Awesome job on a rainy day! You should be very proud :-)

  5. Congratulations - this is HUGE!!!!!!!! Way to go!!

  6. Congrats!!! So fantastic. I really love that last pic of you running through the mist--that's a keeper. Enjoy the marathon "after-glow" and rest up those weary legs. You've earned the break!

  7. Congrats! What ana amazing post and race!!

  8. Congratulations! You did such a good job. I only wish that I would have seen you at some point in the day. I can't wait until we run together again!

    1. I'm glad I got to see you finish, my shoe twin. Sorry, I didn't stick around, I was dying to sit down and take off my wet clothes. Thank your husband again for me, he was the reason I got to the finish line running. It was so cute when he yelled at me and Scout asked him if I was you. I guess it's hard to tell one drowned rat from another. :-)

  9. Congrats! I ran the Smuttynose 1/2 marathon on that day. The rain was horrible so way to be a champ and push through! I was soaked after almost 2 hours, I couldn't imagine what it was for 4! You are a marathoner!!!!

  10. Congrats! How did the Pre 13s hold out over 26.2? I have NYC coming up in 4 weeks and stumbled on your blog. I'm also debating Pre vs Brooks Pure shoes for the race. Great job!

    1. Thanks Michael! If I wasn't completely a believer in Mizuno shoes, I certainly am now! No aches or pains, and the one tiny blister I got was due to my sock, not the shoes. I've also been battling Plantar Faciitis for many months, it's been getting better since the Pre 13s were put into the rotation, but it has now magically disappeared after the marathon! I run in Pure Connects for short races and tried the Flows, but they give me blisters on any run over 3. Have fun in NYC and thanks for stopping by my blog!

  11. Congratulations Carrie!! I'm glad you had a great race! You are a marathoner!

  12. you rock! totally crying reading this :) love reading first time marathon recaps, theres nothing like that feeling!

    1. Awww...shucks. I'm still feeling the high!

  13. Just reread this race recap. It's making me feel more confident and capable of running my very first marathon this coming Sunday October 5th, 2014 in Maine! The forecast for this year's Maine marathon is early morning rain. I was worried about how my running shoes being wet woudl effect my pace. I aiming for 4:20's marathon time. I hadn't really put that goal out there until now! Thanks Carrie! WIsh you and Jen were running the Maine marathon this year, I would have loved to see you out there on the course!


Thanks for your comments!