Tuesday, May 20, 2014

30 for 30

The Sugarloaf Marathon in Eustis Maine took place on May 18. With approximately 700 participants the race was small and personal. The weather turned out to be absolutely perfect for a run. The air was cool and the sky was clear. The promised rain showers were nowhere to be seen. The lakes were full and the mountains were vivid and green with the recent rain and snow run off. The race ran down route 27 along the Androscoggin River which was high and tumbling fast down the riverbed. The race starting on a flat, going up hill and cresting at the midpoint, and finishing downhill broke up the miles and made the course easy to break up mentally.
The best part of the race was the fans cheering on the side of the road. Since the road was open during the race cars and trucks leap frogged like the runners. Cowbells and car horns and signs and streamers were all along the course. A few clever signs made us all giggle a little and informed us that; 'You run better than the Government, Humpty Dumpty had wall issues too, and Sweat is liquid awesomeness!'

Right from the start I was leap frogging with a small group of people from Connecticut. I shared my 30 mile goal with a woman in rainbow socks who cheered me on and one uped me with having run 42 this year on her birthday! I was maintaining a 8:20 ish pace and was worried that I made my usual mistake of going out too fast. Everything felt good so I told myself to relax and keep going. Going into the hill I felt strong and thankful for all of the Caribbean island training. I knew Julia was meeting me at mile 11, after the crest of the hill. Just after mile 10 my shoulders started cramping up a little. Jules was bringing energy gummies with her. The sugar, potassium and caffeine were an instant pick me up. As the decline increased I let myself go with it and held a pace closer to 7:25. Jules dropped out before mile 14 and Reg jumped in at 15 to finish off the hill. My legs started to feel the miles around 17. My father joined me for a mile, Jen for a half mile and Julia jumped back in at 23. Doubts started creeping in just before 24. As another runner ran past, I expressed my doubts at speeding up. Before I could get too discouraged, Jules just said, "Go with her, you can do it." and as she peeled off I pushed through the tight hamstrings and mental doubts and kicked past the girl runner as well as a few guys in front of her. I had enough in me to finish the final two miles at a 8:30 pace and jogged it out after the finish until my watch reached 30 miles.

After a lemonade and some homemade granola (only in Maine) I read out my watch statistics. For 30 miles my elapsed time was 4:18. My marathon time was 3:43 with an average pace for the whole thing of 8:36 minutes per mile. My shoes, that had been holding on by a string, finally ripped apart during the race and I bought new ones yesterday. Interestingly, I had to buy a half a size larger than I did last time. I broke them in this morning with a 3 mile jog around downtown Portsmouth. I picked up the New England Running Calendar to look for the next race before the high wears off. I had a great race and was surrounded by my awesome family, I couldn't have asked for more. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Here I go....

I’m running 30 miles tomorrow. Realistically, I should have chosen a marathon in June. I have missed some significant parts of the training due to work and life changes. I think pushing the date could get me back on track but those marathons wouldn’t be on my birthday weekend. I set out to run Run 30 miles on my 30th birthday, happy birthday to me!

I’m incredibly lucky to have a family that likes to get together and will use any excuse to do so. We have been known to move holidays around to suit our travel schedules. This weekend we celebrated three May birthdays and mother’s day. They all decided to head up to Maine to join me in one way or another in my run. Kate hosted a pre race cookout at her house in Saco and my mom made me a wicked awesome shirt that I will run in. Julia, my father and my brother in law are going to jump in and run some of the race with me. Jen is going to run a mile with me and her kids, sort of a cool down victory lap.

My friend Jillian blogs about her running and training adventures ever since she traveled over to Ireland to run her first marathon. She’s pretty incredible and I read her blog to stay current in her life and for the inspiration it provides.  She’s not training for anything specific at the moment, but wrote, “when asked if I was training for a marathon and I thought about how even though I wasn't, I kind of was. In running or in life. We all are. In every marathon there's a rough stretch. At some point in every single race, it's gonna suck. And yet, almost always, we finish. We come back for more.” Funnily enough, some pretty amazing opportunities have come out of leaving Antigua abruptly and heading out to sea. This week I was in New York City working with The Atlantic Cup, a sailing organization that is trying to save the world by being a carbon neutral event. Last week I was superyacht racing in the Palma Vela and the month before that I had the best crossing of any of them that I have sailed.
As for running in the past month, my Nike+ gps is getting pretty tired. Linking to satellites seems to take longer when my runs are 2,000 miles apart. I hopped off the boat in Palma and ran 7 miles along the waterfront. Later in the week I ran up to the castle and back the morning after the first team dinner. Since I may have had a glass of wine too many the night before, I joined Amy that afternoon for another run. It was a beautiful run through the olive groves in Alaro. Before leaving Mallorca I ran down the waterfront again for 10+ miles. From Mallorca I flew to Charleston, SC for the start of the Atlantic Cup. The event kept me pretty busy but I managed to squeeze in some half mile intervals early one morning. Between Charleston and New York I had to drive through Beaufort, NC to meet one of the race boats. I stayed over night and, after sending the boat off the dock, I ran 12 flat miles around Beaufort and Moorehead City. This week in New York I tapered by running around the city instead of taking the subway. Am I ready? I think so. I know that I’ll finish, I’m just unsure of how I’ll be feeling when I do.

The race is in the area around Sugarloaf Ski Resort. Sugarloaf is approximately at the half way point as the course winds down route 27 from Eustis to Kingfield. The first part is flat road leading up to a hill climb that starts around mile 7. It climbs for 2 or 3 miles before heading down hill for the rest of the race. In order to bump it up to 30 miles I am going to run a 3 mile warm up on the way to the start and finish with a mile after the finish. It’s what most people do anyways, warm up and cool down, but tomorrow I’m going to count it all. I think it’s going to be a nice run. The weather hasn’t decided if it’s going to cooperate yet, it could be cold and rainy. After all, it’s a race in New England, as long as you keep running the weather will probably change.