Trails are hard!
Well, I guess I'll use an unexpected 3 hour delay in the Philly airport for an excuse to start my race report. Finally. I've spent a lot of the last week thinking about it and trying to figure out what's important to put in it. and in a lot of ways, the race itself turned out not to be the most important part of the trip. OK, maybe crossing the finish was. But a lot of the interactions before, during , and after will be the memories, I think. So this could be long.
We started the journey with a trip for work to a job site an hour or so north of Lubec. This was an unexpected benefit that got us into the area a day earlier and another stay at a very nice B&B in Eastport, ME. The fact that I got half of the travel expenses that we would have had anyway paid for was a nice side deal. A quick shake out run on Friday morning along a country road felt good, but sweaty.
A major highlight of the trip was staying at a B&B on Cambobello Island called the Owen House.
It was built for the son of the original owner of the entire island. Everyone staying there for the weekend was there to race or support the racers. It made for a very social weekend, with lots of chatting about past races, hopes for the next one, and even a few non-running subjects. There were two Lisas along with husbands that were best friends—one was running her 2nd marathon to celebrate her 50th birthday. And the other Lisa's husband was going to help pace the first Lisa. His Lisa ran the 10K after only 7 weeks of running. They were from SC and FLA. There was Terry, who was on her 50 states quest and this would be about #17. She and Hubby were from Kansas City, KS. Another couple from NC with Mike running his 15th. He predicted 4:30 and ran 4:40. He had a much better grasp of his training and capabilities than I did. A couple of Maniac ladies from NC who drove all the way up. it felt as comfortable as the get-togethers in Boston with all of my imaginary friends from RA. And they were all as excited about my first as you guys were. The house was huge and gorgeous and wonderfully furnished. We had a room on the third floor, which I initially worried about making it back up to after the race. The hostess even put out bagels, bananas, peanut butter and several pots of coffee out early for all the racers (and supporters that got dragged out at an ungodly early time). They even had a nice old Golden named Georgie. DW and I realized on the way home that we were too busy petting him to have taken a picture.
Saturday, we drove the whole course. Not sure it was a good idea or not. The fact that I had to down shift going up a few of the hills was not highly encouraging. The races (marathon and 10K) both started at the West Quoddy lighthouse.
It's also a beautiful area. You'll probably get tired of my saying that, but the whole area is lovely.
This is the eastern most point of the US. You may be curious, as were we, as to how something named "West" could be the eastern most anything. That's because East Quoddy lighthouse in on Campobello in New Brunswick, Canada.
Which happened to be the turnaround point of the race. It's a very common theme—we stopped at the eastern most gift shop in the US, read the eastern most newspaper, passed the eastern most campground, etc.
Just about everyone that we met asked if we were in town for the race. They all seemed excited that it had attracted such a large crowd. Anyone not excited apparently kept to themselves. When the race committee had gotten started they were hoping for 200 people. When they started approaching 500 for the marathon and 300 for the 10K, they were at a holy carp moment and had to actually close both races when they hit that. I certainly hope that this was a good boost to the local economy—for all the beauty, there's not a lot do to make a living, other than fishing and tourism. It's also not heavily populated—about 1300 residents in Lubec and around 1000 on Campobello. At times it seemed that half of them were volunteering. And the rest all seemed to be out along the course cheering. Every time we thanked people along the way or at water stops, the usual response was "No, thank you for coming". The pasta dinner went pretty smoothly for having to feed at least 1000 people. Just so everyone knew they were in Maine, you could get a lobster dinner as an upgrade. DW said it was delicious. The pasta was, too. As were the cookies baked by all the local ladies.
There was actually a race involved around this report. I was happy with my training right up until I lost a month in April with my tendinitis. So I only managed to make a 16.5 miles LR, which I hit just before taper time. They very nicely put in a water stop every two miles, so I planned to walk each one and try to run in between. Going in, I had hoped that that would allow me to maintain 10 minute miles and come in around 4:30. With having seen the course, this was revised to 5:00 as a hope time.
We started at 8am in West Quoddy and the first 6 miles were in the US. I told my DW to be looking for me at the bridge somewhere around 9am and I hit that right on the button.
Of course I managed to miss seeing her, which explains the picture of me looking around for her. We went up over the bridge and hit the mat there while the customs agents took down everyone's bib numbers. I did some chatting with a few runners and spectators through this area. I thought of Jay as I said hi to a Maniac race-walker. (who finished well before me, BTW) once we got into Canada, the bigger hills started and both racers and spectators were a lot more sparse. I think I made it most of the way to the half keeping to my running between water stops. Then I started walking up the bigger ones. The turnaround was at right around 16 miles. It was probably psychological in part, but it really started to feel really hard not long after I hit 17. I was going to bring out the MP3 at that point, but discovered that it had gotten turned on somehow and it was dead. It was right around here that I met up with Lou from RI who was also doing his first. We went the rest of the way together, taking turns suggesting that it was time to run (aka shuffle) again. We had an enjoyable time chatting with each other and runners that we passed and got passed back (several times). One little girl was holding a sign that said "GO ADDY", and I asked if I could be Addy today. Her mom said Addy is kicking your butt—she went by a while ago. There were a lot of signs along the way and a lot of cheering.
By the last few miles, my calves had pretty much seized up, but Lou and I agreed that there was no way we were walking over the finish. When the 26 mile marker came into view on the downside of the bridge, we were able to do a reasonable impression of runners down the bridge and around the corner over the finish.
Getting wrapped in the mylar blanket I think made me feel like a marathoner even more than the medal.
Although it IS a very nice medal. I managed to miss DW trying to get my attention and taking my picture. Again. It was more emotional than I expected. Maybe it was just the rain. Maybe not. DW said an awful lot of the finishers were saying that it was about the toughest course they had ever done. And there was a boatload of marathon experience gathered for this race. So while I was initially a little disappointed in my time, it felt a lot better after that. The amazing thing was that a bunch of people managed BQs on a course like this.
I'm glad I had all of you along for the ride. I certainly got my money's worth out of the course. I wasn't sure before I started, but I think there just might be another one somewhere in the not too distant future. Lessons learned just in case—main one is get the full training in. the LR is pretty important, especially for figuring out how to deal with the distance. I never had to deal with getting enough nutrition and electrolytes and I think that had a lot to do with the painful calves and the last miles shuffle. I'm also a little sorry I didn't bring a camera. I stole a few pictures from Deb and there's a few of the route that I added after the fact.
Did I mention this might be long? Hope it didn't bore you TOO much, but I guess there is something to this marathoning stuff. 26.2 adds up to a lot of stories. Thanks for reading some, all , or none.
Now it's pretty much complete
Need a fast half for late fall. Then I need to actually train for it.
Great report, Stumpy! Man, that place looks beautiful. Maine is a state that I really want to spend some time in when I do it. Thanks for sharing your experience and congratulations...you're a marathoner!
Wow Stumpy! You did great! You really soaked up and appreciated everything about this first race! Now, for a second marathon, look for an easier course. But you did great on this one, so happy for you! (Beautiful area, for sure!)
Great RR, and congrats on becoming a marathoner!
DW and I went to Lubec/Campobello for an anniversary trip 3 years ago, and loved it. We covered most of your race course, but had the advantage of doing so in a car. Yes, you could say it is a bit hilly. The fact that you took on and completed a marathon on all those hills is a great testament to your determination.
The racewalker you saw was likely my friend Anne Broussard. She and her husband (Bob Kennedy) are both Maniacs and (I believe) 50-Staters.
If you are looking for another gorgeous Maine marathon, I've heard that Mt. Desert Island should fit the bill. I've also heard that it is a bit hilly, but that shouldn't bother you anymore...
I love story time! thanks for sharing your story. and congrats on finishing your first marathon!
goodness is its own reward; for more tangible outcomes, you need to try badness.
Awesome? What a great read. Congrats.
"He conquers who endures" - Persius "Every workout should have a purpose. Every purpose should link back to achieving a training objective." - Spaniel
1. What a great report. Nicely done. As you say, the memories are much more than the race. The next one will be easier.
2. What a great race. This location is beautiful and it seems like such a great economic development project. I'd much rather see this than the monster urban races. Your race dollars are really being appreciated.
3. Would you be willing to make your map public so we can see the elevation and details? I'm flirting with putting this on my calendar next year.
King of PhotoShop
Proud of you Stumpy. You are a marathoner. Proud of you. Spareribs
Wonderful report Stumpy and a great length---not too long at all! Very well done for your first and what a great location. Mr CNYrunner's great-grandparents and their ancestors were lighthouse keepers in New Brunswick and some of his relatives are buried in Eastport---next summer's trek for us. The while area is just spectacular.
Thanks for sharing this and congratulations!
Jay--unless your friend is a 6'-4" man, I don't think it was her
Tramps--map is marked for public. and here's a link that shows the full profile without the strange flat section on mine. it wasn't really there.
I would HIGHLY recommend this to anyone. For a first time, they came pretty close to nailing it. About the only complaints were not enough potties at the start and maybe some more along the course. So I would think little things like that will be fixed for the next go-round.
Wow Stumpy, you did it!! And smiling too!
Yes, kind of emotional, aren't they? And it is so much more about the atmosphere and the people than the actual race sometimes.
Looking forward to your next one...
"During a marathon, I run about two-thirds of the time. That's plenty." - Margaret Davis, 85 Ed Whitlock regarding his 2:54:48 marathon at age 73, "That was a good day. It was never a struggle."
Well done, Kevin! Looks like some amazing scenery! And staying at the B&B with a bunch of other marathoners was pretty cool. Glad to hear you might consider another marathon at some point - that's always a good sign. Great RR and nice pictures!
I hammered down the trail, passing rocks and trees like they were standing still.
I peek in this forum now and then, mainly for the core workout ideas.. I hadn't heard of this race so read the report out of curiosity.I'm so glad I did! That looks like a beautiful race and a well written report. Congrats on a job well done!
Congratulations marathoner stumpy. Great report with pictures of beautiful scenery.
This RR was worth waiting for! What a beautiful recap of your victory lap! I took a look at the profile, ouch, that was not an easy course and you did it!!!
I much rather run the small ma and pa marathons than the big ones. This would be my type of race.
Stumpy, you are a marathoner...hurrahhh!!!!
"Champions are everywhere; all you need is to train them properly..." ~Arthur Lydiard