Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Patience in Pace (Maine Coast Marathon race report)
Scott has always said, “Let the run come to you”. It’s a great mantra and I believe in it, but I hadn’t fully practiced it and felt the reward – until Sunday. Sunday, I embraced that sentiment and implemented into a plan. A plan to manage my race, keep the pace steady and sustainable, and most of all, have some gas in the tank for the latter, harder miles. Patience in pace is where the physical training meets the mental training. That sweet spot.
Maine Coast Marathon was a great race. It was formerly held in the 1980’s, but then stopped for 26 years. 2013 marked its revival running and it did not disappoint. It was a small race (results reflect 262 finishers) but packed a punch. A punch in its rolling and sometimes very long hills, a punch in its beautiful rocky coast scenery (though race day was rainy and foggy), and a punch in its support – both volunteer and spectator. I couldn’t have run this race without the volunteers and spectators. For a point to point race along the coast of Maine, the support exceeded my expectations.
Before the race started, there was a moment of silence to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing followed by the National Anthem. The rain was light but steady. The humidity was already a force to be reckoned with. Within the first mile, I stripped off my long sleeve throw-away and turned on my focus. That first mile felt like a slight decline so I monitored my body and my watch and let the nerves shake out in that first mile – 8:46. Perfect.
This is also where I fell into step with Jeannine, who was running her first marathon ever. We got chatting and suddenly found ourselves already 7 miles in –
At this point, Jeannine had to visit a tree and I continued on. She had a very different goal and so I knew at some point we’d likely separate. I did find out later that she finished in 4:08 – go Jeannine!
The next several miles brought us to the driveway of the President Bush Compound in Kennebunk –
These miles also brought some hills and a dip in energy for me around mile 12 – (queue the salt tab!!)
The power gel and salt tab seemed to do the trick because I found my mojo again between miles 14 – 19. I’m happy to report that the slower Mile 16 reflects where I finally had to retie my shoes; not because I was fading –
I think Mile 19 was a downhill; that 8:30 split gave me such a lift and a great spring board into the REAL race: the final 10K.
When I hit Mile 20 and saw I was under 3 hours, I got excited. Then I got nervous. Then I got out of my head! Mile 20 was far too early to set my sights on some ridiculous finish time I was suddenly dreaming up during my running stupor. I quickly settled down and refocused. Mile 21 split shows where some dizziness stepped in, so I dialed back enough to shake it off and recovered during Mile 22. When I rounded the corner at Mile 26 and headed into the final .2…..I was floating! I found that final gear and used it, passing a handful of people in that last .2.
The great thing about Scott finishing in 3:24 (yeah!!!) was that he was at the Finish snapping pictures of me!
I had a solid training cycle, I had a realistic plan for race day, and I had a combination of things go very well on race day (i.e. stomach cooperated, the sun didn’t come out until mile 24, manageable wind). The magic of Sunday for me was finally understanding and leveraging the importance of managing my pace early on and throughout the race.
During my taper, I purposely went back in time and remembered Cape Cod Marathon I ran a couple years ago. Yeah, my 3:57 was a great time for me. But the way I ran the race that day? Notsogreat. I started out like a bat out of hell and convinced myself that I would be fine. The latter miles slapped me in the face! I was lucky that day to have Meaghan run me in during the last 7 miles, so she talked me through some of those really rough moments. I did not want to relive that. Been there, done that…..