Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Maine (1/2) Marathon Race Recap *2017*

There are runs where everything clicks and all is perfect.  Either you crush you run and hit all of the paces you aimed at.  Or the weather is simply perfect, and you don't care about your pace, and just take in the fresh air and gorgeous views.    Then there are some runs when everything goes wrong.  Your breathing is off, or the weather is absolute crap.  Or you set out to hit specific paces and come no where near them!  

 
post half marathon, easy run, smiles in my new awesome race shirt


Learning to embrace each run for what they are, and accept that even though that run sucked the big one, you had the opportunity to run.  Not everyone has that chance.  Not everyone has the ability to lace up their shoes and get out the door.  

selfies mid race with Allyn!


When I think about the Maine Marathon course, a feeling of "home" comes to mind.  This course is where it all began.  Well, at least my love for half marathons!  


Scott rocks!  Post race happy faces.  


In 2010, I ran my first half marathon on the Maine Marathon course.  I remember it was an absolutely perfect day.  A typical October morning in Maine.  Chilly in the morning, crisp cool air throughout the day, and the sun shining.   When I finished the race that day, I made the decision that I would be completing the full marathon the following year.  

so old.... but way back in 2010 we did it!  we finished out 1st half!

And that I did.  However, it wasn't perfect conditions like I had experienced the year before.  It was cold and wet.  It poured almost the entire time.  But I didn't care.  The day was perfect.  I completed that marathon and I was now a marathoner.   


a year later, I completed the full, in the rain, with tears rolling down my cheeks with
the cutest boy cheering me on!  


The following year, I ran along with my sister-in-law, Jill, and friend, Carrie, as they took on the 26.2 milestone.  Again, it poured.    


Fast forward to last spring.  I decided I wanted to focus on the half distance.  I have been lacking speed in a big way lately and wanted to take a break from running marathons.  In talking with my coach, we decided that half's were the way to go.  'Half the distance, twice the fun!'    I decided that I was going to train my butt off and kick butt at the half marathon and push to a new PR (which would be a sub 1:44).   

flat jen was ready!


Sometime around mid-August, I came down with bronchitis.  Again.   This time it didn't go away as quickly as I wanted.  That jerk stuck around and annoyed the crap out of me (and is STILL annoying the crap out of me).  Some runs are perfect and I can breathe.  Other runs, I get in a half mile and I have to stop and cough my lungs up and then take a few moments to regain the ability to breathe.  It's frustrating and scary.   (I am waiting to see my asthma specialist.... I've had an appointment made like forever ago)   And then I sprained my ankle.  That set me back again.   BUT, in the midst of all that, I was not going to give up on the Maine half.   I knew the PR probably wasn't in the cards, but a strong run could still be a possibility.   

loved their Maine theme!  


So, when I rolled out of bed at 5AM on Sunday morning, my breathing felt pretty darn good.    The weather forecast looked amazing.  I was excited and ready to go.  In talking with Amy, she suggested I check in with myself at mile 3 and if I felt good, then go for it.  Check in again around 5/6, and if I was still feeling it, then run hard to the end.  If not, put on the breaks and enjoy the run.  

Yes, I forgot to tell you why we had this game plan.  The following weekend I was going to be running the BAA Half Marathon.  

I set out around an 8:18ish pace and felt amazing.   Then it crept down to 8:08, then 8:00.   I was feeling really good.   Then I ran an 8:05, then 8:19, then BOOM!  The wheels came off.  Just like that.   I didn't feel sick or bad.  My breathing didn't feel amazing, but it wasn't horrible either.  I'm not sure what was going on, but I embraced whatever it was and put the breaks.  Actually I decided I would just stop and chat with some friends on the side.  

From that point, I decided I was definitely in the run very easy and enjoy the moment I was in.  And I did.  I decided it was a good idea to do some snaps while I ran on the bridge.  Then I walked a few times, looking behind me for my friends Gretchen and Carrie.  But I couldn't find them, so I kept running along.  When I came up to the Runaways tent with only a little more than a mile left, I stopped again, took a selfie with the rockstar, Sarah, and then continued on my way.  

Sarah is a rockstar! 


As I came around the last bend along Baxter, I remembered the feelings I had before when I came around the curve.  The feeling of pride and excitement, seeing families and friends of so many runners there to cheer them on.   Remembering that 6 years ago, I completed my first marathon here and 7 years ago, I completed my first half marathon here.  

David Colby, from Maine Running Photos, is amazing!  
Thank you for the photos! 


And then, just like that I was finished, with a time of 1:58.  Way slower than I had expected, but seriously happy that I listened to whatever my body was telling me and slowed down to enjoy the day and the race that I love so much.  


a gorgeous day for a race! 


What I've taken away from Sunday's race is that I want to enjoy running for as long as I possibly can. If that means I'm as slow as mud, then so be it.  At least I'll be running.   If my time is fast, awesome. If it's not, oh well!  

this girl has been an amazing friend!  I love going to races with her.  


This doesn't mean I'm going to give up on racing.  I'm going to keep on working hard.   Maybe someday I'll crush that PR again.  Or maybe I won't. 

A proud Maine Marathon ambassador right here sporting all of the Maine Marathon  gear!   


BUT, I will tell you, that I will definitely be lining up at the starting line for the Maine Half again, and again.  This course means the world to me.   



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