Peak fall colors, endless amazing views, cool sunny weather.
I flew out of Charlottesville early Saturday morning to Portland Maine, connected in Charlotte. The flight left late out of Charlotte due to “cleaning” and thus my tight 3.25 hour window to get to the expo before it closed dwindled to 2.5 hours, the drive is 3 hrs 20 min. I figured I will get there and figure it out, maybe they would bring the race numbers to the pasta dinner, there was no race day pickup (although the morning of the race they were set up on the village green handing out numbers).
In the Portland airport I spotted a couple, with one of them wearing a Boston Marathon jacket on, I figured they were going to the race. Sure enough, 3 hours later we both pull into the expo 30 minutes after they close at the same exact time. The volunteers were kind enough to go and dig in their car for our numbers and race jackets. They were blaze orange wind jacket pullovers but mine was too big. Derek doesn’t know that he just acquired a new fall hiking jacket. 10/16 also marked my 2 year anniversary of dating Derek, so he called me with the power of Skype from Chile as I headed out of town, I almost never ever talk and drive, but I put it on speaker phone and made this slight exception.
Fall colors were EXPLODING this time of year. Amazing, gorgeous, continuous eye candy. Vibrant Yellow, Red, and Orange. Slight overcast and very, very windy on the drive up. Once I got my race number, I drove a short ways up highway 3 to my hotel, checked in, then drove to the local high school who was hosting the pasta dinner. Good and plentiful food, and I met a few more Marathon Maniacs, Maine Maine-iac and Dana, whose blog I read www.52beginnings.com and is running 52 marathons in 52 weeks to raise money for South African AIDS orphans. To bed shortly after dinner.
Morning of the race the hotel set out breakfast earlier than they normally do, and thankfully their coffee was not too bad. It was cold outside, but the wind had died down and the sky was clear. I had time to kill, and the hotel wifi was pretty much not working, so I hopped in the car to check out the start in downtown Bar Harbor and turn in my drop bag so I could get a shower at the finish line. A local café was handing out free coffee and tea to runners, so I got a cup from them, it was very good. Headed back to the hotel to finish getting ready. Parked the car, milled about the start and chatted with other Marathon Maniacs. Also got to meet a 22 year old gal who was finishing her 50 states with the MDI marathon and she would now be the record holder for the youngest female 50 stater, friendly and humble girl. As I turned on my garmin, it flashed low battery, I didn’t even try to charge it last night, I guess I should have checked on that. So I turned it off, and got to run the whole race with extra weight on my right wrist.
I was very chatty the first half and was on cloud 9 from all the amazing scenary. I told the runner next to me that there is no reason to be in a hurry today, it is just too nice out. I took several pictures and enjoyed the moment. I had no idea what my pace was until the finish line, I felt as if I was running slow. My finish time was 4:37 and I thought I was running in the 5 hour range. Much hillier course than in Chicago last week but the cooler temperatures made all the difference.
Towards the end, I sought out runners with green bib numbers, indicating they were first time marathoners and I tried to give them tips. I had also picked up several unopened Gu packets that had been dropped on the ground after the Gu handout spot just before mile 16. I gave them out to the new marathoners to take again before the finish. I ran and chatted with a new marathoner that had spend the summer working trail crew in Baxter State Park. Another guy ran up to me and told me that he wished that he could get trained up so that he would have springy legs like I did this late in the race, he told me that he was hurting. I lost him as I walked throught the next aid station to drink, and he briefly looked back to try to find me then turned around and kept running. About 2 miles out, I came up to a girl and started chatting with her, she had a green race number on and lived near Portland, Maine. As often happens, she got pulled along with me and my pace and in the last half mile she confessed that I had saved her and her race, that felt good to hear and ultimately made my race.
They had plentiful and tasty after race food available, I saw the RD taking out a full trash bag and told him what a great race with great scenary it was. Got a quick light massage in the school gym, then headed for the showers but did not have the patience to wait so I headed out to catch the shuttle back to the start. Ran into the Mainiacs that I had been chatting with at the end and we had an energetic conversation on the shuttle ride about marathons that we all liked and our upcoming races. Very neat people.
Bar Harbor downtown was inundated with European tourists from the 2 huge cruise ships moored just offshore and I decided to forgo playing tourist and headed straight to the car. I wished my stomach was ready for a big meal as there were several nice restaurants with lobster, and all manner of seafood on their menus. Next time, Bar Harbor, next time.
The less speedy 3.5 hour drive back to Portland was uneventful, steak dinner at Applebees near my hotel, and straight to bed. A massage Monday evening awaits me, courtesy of my 2 year anniversary gift. Thank you Derek and Maine for a great weekend.
Marine Corps Marathon in DC/VA in 2 weeks on Halloween!!!! Can’t wait.
P.S. When I got home I installed two coat racks for my race medals.