Thursday, October 18, 2012

It takes a village – or in my case – it takes an entire family.





Three days later and I’m still in love with this race.  The energy, the excitement – it’s just incredibly overwhelming.  The MDI Marathon is going down in my book as the most incredible races ever.  Yes, sure, it rained.  Two marathons, both in the bone-chilling rain of the fall.  Although it did rain, this course was for sure incredibly scenic.  But I already knew that was going to be the case.  I knew most of the roads that the course went along, but it has been quite a long time since I had been there.  However, driving on the road and running on the road are quite different.  AND being 24 years older, I will have to say I appreciate the beauty of Acadia far more than I did when I was vacationing here with my parents. 



The day before the race, I went up to Bar Harbor with my father-in-law and kids.  Ward had to work and so we wouldn’t have two cars up there, it made more sense for me to go up with my father-in-law and then Ward would drive up later on with his mom.  The weather was perfect.  Clear blue skies, slight breeze.  An absolutely gorgeous fall day. After we picked up my bib # and jacket from the expo, we spent the afternoon shopping in Bar Harbor.  



Later, we went out to eat with Jill, Wade, Jackson and Scout at Route 66.  I had decided days ago that my night-before meal was going to be a beer and a burger – so this is what I chose.  Phenomenal.

And yes, that's my beer.  This burger was so yummy,
I had it again the next day post race.  Damn straight.  


Race morning went like this.  
me:  “Ward, what should I wear?” 
Ward: "clothes"
me:  "should I wear long sleeve or tank w/ sleeves?"
Ward: "wear what you want" 
me: "gloves?  should I wear those?"
Ward: "if you want"

Ugh!  NOT helpful at all!  

Then I started to get nervous and the conversation went like this.
me:  "this is just a long run"
Ward: "no Jen, this is a RACE"
me:  "crap"
Izzy:  "crap"
Tucker:  "hahahahahahaha"
(I'm an awesome mom)

I had several outfits ready to go for the race.  But with the cool temps (39F, wind and rain at the start of the race) – I opted to go with my Northface long sleeve, Reebok capris, Headsweats visor, throw away gloves (that I’ve actually held onto for two years?)  and I chose my Mizuno Mushas as my marathon shoe. No worries super awesome tanks and skirts – you’ll get your day.  There are plenty more races to come!  Oh and I took an imodium.  Remember all of those bowel issues I had on just about every single long run?  I didn't want to repeat them today, so I took one with hopes it would be enough.  

photo courtesy of Jill 


The race started at 8 am, and our motel was less than a half-mile from the starting line (perfect!).  It didn't take anytime to get there and to find Danielle, Andy, Sarah E, and Christy.  I even got to meet Sara B.  I had time for a quick photo op and then got in place.  

Scout and Izzy running wild - & Andy and Ward - photo courtesy of Jill


A few moments later, we lined up and then this happened:  Thunderstruck.  Damn I love that song.  A perfect song for the start of a race. 

Not far after the starting line I saw my family.  I was already so excited to see them!!  




Miles 0-8ish
I needed to focus on my own race - so I separated myself from everyone I knew so I wouldn't push myself too hard.  The beginning of the race was so easy.  There were some uphills but quite a bit of down hill.  I tried to reel it in and not let the excitement of the race get to me.  I knew I had to preserve some energy for the end because of those killer hills for miles 21, 22, and 23.  I felt great and just went with it.  I also kept repeating to myself something Ward and Wade tell me all of the time "downhills are free, take them" - so I did.  I just opened up and went down them with ease.   About a mile and a half into the race my Garmin did something funky and it reset itself.  Ugh!  At that point I only just wanted it for mile paces.   I think I lost the first 11 minutes/1.4 miles.  This part was quite emotional for me.  I kept thinking about my mom and how much she loved MDI and how happy I was to be here.  I know she was with me. 

Andy was there riding his bike offering up his support services to Danielle, Sarah, and Sara.  Sara was far ahead of me and Danielle and Sarah weren't very far behind me - so I was fortunate to see him several times during this race.  It was uplifting to see Andy each time he rode by, checking to see how I was doing as he cheered me on.  

photo courtesy of Kevin Morris


Miles 8-18
Otherwise known as the Wade miles.  Wade joined me around mile 8ish.  Yes, I have the best brother-in-law ever.  The other day he offered to pace me and of course  I wasn't going to say no. When I met up with him, he took my Nathan water bottle and held onto it.  These miles seemed to fly by.  I got to see my kids and the rest of the cheering crew and it pumped me up.  When I saw them I started to tear up.  It was very hard to hold back the tears, but somehow I managed.   I was still rocking a 9ish min/mile.   Still feeling awesome.   Wade gave me tons of encouragement and running advice during this stretch.  He had me throw in some surges, helped with my breathing, gave me fuel, water, gum whenever I wanted it.  It was the perfect setup.  I felt spoiled.  I will be forever grateful.  However, the only way I'll ever be able to repay him for his generosity will be to ride a bike beside him because he is far speedier than I.  It was along this route I saw Stacy and her pal.  I was so happy to see them but felt so bad they were standing in the rain to cheer me on. I don't know what the heck I did to deserve a friend who will drive 3 hours, stand in the rain for 4+ hours, and then drive home the 3 hours, but I do know I am blessed and I love her very much.  

photo courtesy of Jill - best sister-in-law ever



Miles 18 to 26
The Ward miles.  Poor guy.  He took over when it got hard.  Real hard.  My left leg was killing me - my inner quad, my hamstring, my glute, my calf.  Darn cambered roads.  I am thankful for him because when I wanted to walk, he wouldn't let me.  He coached me in my breathing to relax, helped me with my form (I actually appreciated it today), and encouraged me through those hills and then guided me to push harder and "dig deep"for those last miles.


the best pacers ever & support crew!  - photo courtesy of Jill


I had my slowest miles during this stretch but I knew that was coming as those hills were a challenge.  Nothing different than the hills by my house, but at that point in the race, any hill would be a challenge.  At about mile 24, the music was pumping and the rest was downhill.  I was exhausted and my leg hurt.  But I knew I had it in me to finish the race.  Ward kept up his encouraging words and I felt stronger and stronger.   



Otherwise known as my finish line roarrrrr.....
Why is it that I always have my mouth open for finish line pics?
photo courtesy of my dad



As I came to the end, I heard the crowd and my excitement went through the roof.  Ward ducked off to the side and I just cranked it with everything I had left.  I was SOOO close to a sub 4 hour race - but I will definitely take this time.  I'm psyched that there was a 4:00 in my time.  It's just a measly little 28 seconds off from that goal.  I will do it next time at Sugarloaf in May 2013.  



Instant results by scanning the qr code on my bib # w/ my iPhone.
Nice touch!


Marathon #2 is done!  Now I need to plan on my next races - so far I have Sugarloaf Marathon in May and MDI next fall.  I think I have a problem.  

Damn happy to be wearing my kickass medal and my "small" jacket.
Yes - it's a small and yes it's far too big - but I'm going to wear it anyway.  

The outpouring of support and love I received for this race was absolutely overwhelming.  I am a very lucky woman to have a family like this who will stand in the rain (again) for hours to watch me run a marathon.  Throughout the race, I was lucky enough to see my kids, my niece and nephew, Jill, my dad, mother-in-law, and Stacy a couple of times.  And each time I saw them I teared up.  

Most of my "crew" - minus my dad and Stacy.
Without them, I would NOT have been able to do this race.
I love them all. 

My goals for this race were quite simple:
1.  Improve my time of 4:15 - DONE!
2.  Not to crap myself - DONE! (and I didn't even pee)
3.  Run a sub 4 hr marathon - NEXT TIME!

How to pass the time in the rain for 4 hours!  Poor kids!
- photo courtesy of Jill 



All in all - this was the most organized race I have ever run.  The volunteers were incredible and I thanked them whenever I saw them (even if I didn't take any water or GU from them).  The course was spectacular, even in the dreary weather.  The race director is a rockstar.  As a matter of fact, I loved this race so much, I decided that I am going to run MDI again next year.  And I even signed up to be a Crow.  CAW! CAW! 

28 comments:

  1. AAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHH You rocked it big time chick, well done; who ever said running was a solo sport was wrong its team work all the way for sure.
    CONGRATULATIONS xx

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  2. What an amazing day for you!! And yes, you have a wonderful support crew :) maybe i'll see you at MDI next year

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  3. Jen - you did fantastic!!!! Congratulations.

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  4. What an awesome family you have!! Congrats on your race!

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  5. Congrats!!!! You did amazing and this was an awesome race report. I would pretty much count that as a sub-4 because it doesn't get much closer than that. You are going to kill Sugarloaf! Enjoy your rest!

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  6. Congrats girl. Loved reading this post so much. Love all the support you have too. I think it's important to be surrounded by that kind of love, support, and understanding. Now I need tips on running gear for cold and wet.

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  7. WOOOHOOO! Such a great support system and a seriously AMAZING time!! WAY TO GO!

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  8. im soooo glad you loved every minute of this race. i tell everyone how much i love this race and then when they sign up for it i cross my fingers and hope they love it as much as i do. YAY!!! and im proud to call you a teammate! caw! what a great race you ran in crappy weather! blah! congrats!

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  9. Yup, I'm crying. I've been waiting all week for this recap! So proud of you and thinking I'm going to have to run this one too.

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  10. OMG what a great recap! It made me cry too- so many great memories from SUCH a fun (and wet) weekend. Definitely the best race I've ever run- can't wait to do it again! :-)

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  11. I am so happy for you!!! What an amazing race! That is an incredible time! I am seriously jumping up and down right now. I want to do MDI next fall, it looks gorgeous and I have always wanted to run this one. I'm thinking. A huge congratulations!! hugs, hugs, hugs!!

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  12. Been waiting to read this. Sorry the rain came in. So pleased (and a bit misty-eyed) to read about all your loving family and friends supporting/pacing you on this fantastic race. You are totally making me want to return to Bar Harbor!! Big ((HUGS)) and congrats on your 4:00!! That is just fantastic! I fear it would take me nearly that long to run half that distance!

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  13. Congratulations! Great job in less than ideal conditions and so, so close to your sub 4 goal!

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  14. Loved reading this recap!! You ran such a great race! Many congrats, girl!!

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  15. My mouth was literally hanging open as I read this. You are awesome!! Wow, congratulations on your marathon. Ugh, 28 seconds! So close!! How wonderful to have pacers like that. I always dream of a pacer for the 20-25 miles, but can never find takers. HA!

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  16. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am not going to lie. I got a bit distracted when you showed me that huge burger and your cutie kids at the start but I loved how you broke these miles up. YAY WADE!!!!!! I am so glad he got you through it and GREAT TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you are going to kill your next one!!!!!!

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  17. Congratulations on such a great race! I'm like Ali Mc-the huge burger distracted me too. It looks delicious. I'm sure a sub-4 marathon is in store for you in the near future. You are such a strong runner!

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  18. Congrats! Way to kick but and hold on staying strong through the end! :)

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  19. i love every bit of this race recap. and this race. and you :) congrats on such a great accomplishment on a tough course in the rain! again! ugh. sugarloaf has no idea whats coming for it :)

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  20. LOVED this!!! (Also side note: I love Route 66, so good!) You rocked the hills of MDI and being from there I know that this marathon is no joke and you killed it!

    I cannot wait to see you there next year!

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  21. Congratulations lady! You are superwoman! :) Such an encouragement, as always. Great job! 4 hours WITH hills? you go girl!

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  22. First, I cannot tell you how proud I am of you! You did an amazing job and PR'd when you were told that this was not something anyone should expect when running this race. You worked damn hard to accomplish this goal! Next, a great friend deserves a great friend in return. I will happily follow your marathon journey to support you along the way! LOVES!

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  23. Great job! How awesome to have such great support during your race to help you pull through! This was so fun to read. So happy for you and that is an awesome PR to get. I hate when the temps make it hard to decide what to wear. and 39 degrees is so on the edge, especially if it is supposed to warm up very much.

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  24. Nice job! You will get that 4:00 (or below) so don't sweat it. Or rather, sweat it but don't worry about it. Taking about 15 minutes off your PR is amazing, so be proud.

    I too never throw away my throwaway gloves. I don't know why, they cost like a dollar.

    It sounds like you have great family and friends to support you.

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  25. Fantastic job, Jen!! This really makes me want to run a marathon again. :) Cracking up at your pre-race conversations, sounds like my house!

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  26. Congrats on a great race! So funny, my goal for every single race is not to crap myself, glad to know I'm not alone.

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  27. Congratulations!! Gotta love family that loves you despite (or because of) your crazy races and goals! And super job with the 4:00 time!

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  28. Congrats on that awesome time!!! And that burger, WOWZA!

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