The Connection Runners + [running]

Maine Marathon

Yesterday I ran in the Maine Marathon, my first race in a bid to complete one marathon a month for twelve consecutive months. I finished in 3:44:00, averaging 8:33 minutes/mile. The course route was a bit tougher than I anticipated, as I was a full 9:00 off my desired finish time of 3:35, but it was a terrific event and I'll run this again without question.

Up at 5am and arrived at the University of Southern Maine gym at about 6:30 for packet pickup. My father accompanied me and it was great having him there. Just under 900 runners ran in the marathon, and about 2,000 ran in the 1/2 marathon. The out-and-back course began in Portland's Back Cove, and other than a few short turns though residential Portland it basically followed Rt. 88 through Falmouth and Cumberland before turning around in Yarmouth for the return.

The weather was crisp, about 50 degrees at the start. The cannon went off at 7:45, shoulder to shoulder, the stampede of footsteps, and the morning sun glistened off the water. Just a beautiful way to spend a Sunday in early October.

I wore my North Face shorts (with three PowerBar gels in each pocket), a Helly Hansen performance short sleeve shirt, and fleece gloves. I used my brand new Garmin Forerunner 310xt for the first time, and absolutely loved it (though I am still unable to transfer data from my device via wireless USB - frustrating.) I had it set to vibrate every mile and looked to maintain about an 8:00/mile average.

I ran exactly to plan the first 13 miles, and hit the 13.1 split in 1:44:44 - when I saw that I was remarkably encouraged and began to believe that 3:30 was within reach. Just maintain the same pace and I'm there.

Not so fast.

Here's the mile by mile breakdown:

7:18 Mile 1 out of the gate - to be expected.
7:35 Mile 2
7:40 Mile 3
7:47 Mile 4 - 1st energy gel
7:54 Mile 5 - feeling great at this point
7:57 Mile 6
8:00 Mile 7
7:59 Mile 8 - 2nd energy gel; took off my running gloves
7:52 Mile 9
8:12 Mile 10
8:00 Mile 11
8:22 Mile 12 - 3rd energy gel
8:24 Mile 13 - 1:44:44 split; almost the same time as last week's Niantic Bay 1/2 finish time. I'm very encouraged at this point
7:59 Mile 14 - back under 8:00 and my confidence is building
8:38 Mile 15
8:19 Mile 16 - 4th energy gel
8:57 Mile 17 - grinded up the steepest hill of the course; saw Cheryl and my parents who handed me a G2
8:38 Mile 18 - though times are mid 8's still feeling good though hammys and calves tightened a bit
8:43 Mile 19
8:40 Mile 20 - 5th genergy gel; still think 3:35 is in the cards
9:21 Mile 21 - first time I ran more than 20 since the Race around the Lake 7/30; begin to really feel it
9:18 Mile 22 - last energy gel
9:24 Mile 23 - stop in a port-a-potty to take a leak; lose 45 seconds?
9:36 Mile 24 - just grinding - legs have had it - an unexpected hill had me running hands on waist for a bit
9:57 Mile 25 - nothing left
9:40 Mile 26 - just trying to finish

So Mile 21 and after tells the story. I was strong through 20 but then ran out of fuel, something that didn't happen at Sugarloaf. I only bonked at Mile 25 but then recovered to sprint the last .25 or so; yesterday I knew exactly when I lost it and never regained a second wind.

Frustrating, but I can't be too hard on myself - 3:44 is a respectable finish. And the good news is that I have another 26.2 in the bank and have put my body through the last 6 miles so that should help when I run NYC next month.

Crowd support was decent - those who were out were vocal and enthusiastic - though there were stretches of solitude along Rt. 88 where I didn't see a soul. I do tend to enjoy crowd support, so I can only imagine what NYC will be like.

I had a slight fever when the race was over - this also happened after the ultra. I took some Aleve and it subsided a few hours later. Apparently this is common after pushing your body for so long. My Garmin also showed I burned 3,767 calories, about a full pound - 143 per mile - though I consumed 600 calories in energy gel along the way.

Today I feel a bit sore in my hammies and calves but not too bad - well enough to go to Taekwondo class tonight. If nothing else, I want to go for the stretching to shake away the muscle tightness.