Friday, October 25, 2013

MDI Marathon {Race Recap}

What a weekend. While the race didn't go as I had hoped, my time on Mount Desert Island could not have been better.

We headed out on Saturday and reached the hotel where we were staying in mid-afternoon. Check out the view from our room. Seriously, how gorgeous is that?

The expo was here as well, which made it convenient for picking up our race packets. I searched the Crow Athletics booth for the race singlet I had been eyeing and found it. And Jen bought it for me as a birthday present! Sweet! It was a perfect fit and I was so excited to wear it the next day!

Instead of race shirts, runners get jackets instead. From past years I know that they run large, so I requested an extra small. It fits great in the torso, but the sleeves are out of control! Oh well, I earned it, I'm going to wear the darn thing!

We headed to the start line to snap a picture,

got a delicious pumpkin latte,

did a little shopping for the kids,

had dinner at Paddy's Irish Pub,

Photo courtesy of Running With The Girls
and headed back to the hotel to try to get a good night's rest.

But not before opening my awesome birthday gifts from Jill and Stacy.

Morning came soon enough with not a lot of sleep, but I still felt pretty rested. We got breakfast and headed to the start with time to see the early starters begin and snap another picture of our kick-ass outfits.

Photo courtesy - Running With The Girls

Photo courtesy - Kevin Morris Photography
Jill was running the first leg, so she and I found a place and waited for the race to start. After the National Anthem and a moment of silence for the Boston Marathon tragedy, a bagpiper started playing Amazing Grace at the back and the crowd of runners parted as he walked to the front. Talk about an emotional moment.

The race started and we were off.

Left of center - purple visor (Photo courtesy - Maine Running Photos: Kevin Freeman)

The plan was to take it slow for the first 2/3 of the race and then pick it up when I got to Jen and the third leg of the relay. However, that didn't quite go as planned.

Mile 1 - 9 : 9:29, 9:21, 9:23, 9:01, 9:13, 9:25, 10:06, 9:36, 9:53.

There were hills, but I felt that we were going at a comfortable pace. My Garmin was being a huge jerk and lost the satellite at mile 2.39 and would not find it again. Thankfully, Jill's was still working and she let me wear it for the remainder of the race.

Photo courtesy - Kevin Morris Photography
Photo courtesy - Maine Running Photos: Kevin Freeman
Marathons are FUN! (Photo courtesy - Kevin Morris Photography)

I started taking a Shot Blok every mile starting at mile three and there was a water station every two miles. It really felt like the miles were going by so fast which it made it easier to focus on the mile I was in instead of dwelling on how many more I had to go.

We ran by the campground Ian and I stayed at ten years prior which was the first time we ever went camping together. That gave me some positive thoughts to think about for the next few miles.

Before long, 8.5 miles had passed and it was time to say goodbye to Jill and hello to Stacy. I was still feeling pretty good at this point. My legs were getting tired, but it was nothing I couldn't push through. Stacy and I were able to slow the pace a little bit, until this amazing view came into sight and we accidentally sped up.

Not the exact view, but something similar! (Photo courtesy - Maine Running Photos: Kevin Freeman)

We were taking walk breaks on the hills until we saw a photographer up ahead and had to start running. We might have broken out into song, "You're so vain..."

Before long we passed the halfway point in 2:08:19. Slower than the first half of my first marathon last fall, but I was still feeling pretty good and this race wasn't about time for me. I hear my name from behind and it was Jamie, who was running her third full marathon. You can read her awesome MDI race recap here.

Mile 10 - 19 : 10:11, 9:50, 10:01, 10:15, 9:58, 11:05, 10:03, 11:48, 11:02, 10:42.

Toward the end of Stacy's leg I could feel my stomach start to cramp up. I had been taking a little more fuel than I was used to during my long runs to try and ward off any bonk, but I think it was starting to get to me.

When Jen took over for the last leg, I was hurting. My legs were starting to cramp and running made it feel like I was going to throw up all over the side of the road. Jen commented that she could tell by how I was running that my legs were tired. We'd try to make it to the next water stop running and then walk for a bit to recover. We'd walk the hills and try and run down the other side. The sun was out in full force now and I was more than warm. These miles also are away from the water views so the course isn't as interesting in miles 20-25 and there is a lot more vehicular traffic and a bunch of tough hills.

So for the majority of the last 6 miles, we walked. I felt terrible that Jen had waited all day to run and here I was with a broken down body forced to walk. Honestly, I'm sure I could have sucked it up and run more than I did in those last few miles. But what I really wanted to do was have the most fun. For me, puking is the worst thing in the world and not in the least bit fun. It was a gorgeous day in one of the most beautiful places, why not make it last as long as possible while still moving toward the finish line with an awesome friend. Jen, I am so sorry for all the grunting and in-extreme-discomfort noises I was making.

The plan had been to take it easy until mile 24 when the rest of the course after was downhill, but once we got to 24 my stomach cramps would not stop. I hadn't taken in any fuel (only water) since mile 19. I tried eating another Shot Blok around 21, but had to spit it out. But we were still moving forward, albeit very slowly. I don't even want to post my splits for the last miles, but here you go.

Mile 20 - 26 : 10:44, 12:30, 14:09, 14:41, 17:15, 18:16, 16:22.

We got closer to the finish and I wanted to time it so I could run at the end without stopping. Soon we saw Jill and Stacy waiting for us and they joined us to cross the finish. And look I'm smiling!

The girls even let me take the lead to finish my second marathon.

It was unbelievable, but my legs felt fresh in the last 100 meters. What the heck? Maybe I could have run a little sooner, but oh well. I did see 4:59:xx on the clock and booked it to get in under five hours.

And just like that, the marathon was over.

I received my medal and we looked for the food, but all we could find was a table of water in cups and milk. ??? Either we were just blind or this part was not very organized, but this is my only complaint for this race.

Here's what I loved the most about this race:

  • the course - Just beautiful. There is a reason it was named the second most scenic marathon by Runner's World. And it is in my home state. I promise, the beauty of this course will not disappoint.
  • the course support - Water/gatorade stations every two miles was very helpful in breaking down the distance into small parts. It's easy to keep going if you know exactly where you can get water or schedule a break. Everyone was very supportive and having fun. Spectators were also amazing and were often moving along the course as well, so we'd see the same people cheering for us again. I have to admit any time there were kids cheering it made me think about my boys. But I had worn my bracelet that Jen gave me last year on my birthday with my boys' names on it, so they could be with me every step of the way.
  • our outfit choice - Seriously, we had no less than 100+ comments about our Spandits! skull capris. Runners, spectators, and volunteers alike were all giving us love. The fun part was since the girls were running a relay, runners and spectators would tell us that there were people with the same pants waiting for us just ahead or let them know that we were coming up to an exchange. 
  • running with the girls - This was absolutely the best! While I'm a little disappointed that my body didn't cooperate, this was the most fun I've had running a race. I've never been so smiley! Five hours literally flew by. I can not thank them enough for being there for me. I am such a lucky girl. I love you all!


  1. AWW I love this!!! I'm sorry your day didn't go quite as planned, but you still did amazing and had a beautiful smile on your face at the end! I was so happy to meet you and I hope we provided you with a little smile when we yelled out your name!

    Hopefully I'll see you at another race soon!

    1. I was like, who the heck is yelling at me! It was great and thank you!

  2. Just finishing a marathon, especially a hilly one like MDI, is amazing accomplishment. Congrats! You are so lucky to have wonderful running friends to help keep you going.

  3. Congrats!!! I've always wanted to run MDI and your pics and review make me want to even more. I am so jealous that you got to run with your friends throughout the race! What a great birthday present.

  4. You rocked it. One never ever knows how their body will react to a marathon/fuel - etc. I loved the last leg with you! Don't ever be sorry for that. I'm just happy I didn't mention eggs - so you didn't have to stop and puke on the side of the road like the last time we had a long run!!! ;) I'm so proud of you! And yes, compliments galore on the awesomest pants ever made by the best company out there!!! I loved hearing that "my girls were coming". :) We have the best running group ever.

    1. Haha! I was hoping you wouldn't mention eggs!


Thanks for your comments!