Monday, October 3, 2016

Day 9.267: The Maine Marathon

I didn't start my training until after running Beach to Beacon in early August. That really meant 5 weeks of training and 3 weeks of taper. I knew this short period to adapt would probably adversely affect my time. My PR from last spring was set on a hot day. I hoped that, even with a short training cycle, I had a shot of doing a bit better than that if the weather was kind.

I left in what I was pretty sure was plenty of time for this home-town marathon (actually a 20 min drive away). The traffic was challenging for the last half a mile, so having parked and sorted my stuff out, I needed to get a move on - but I wasn't rushed.

After the essential pre-race activities were completed arrived at the start line with just about 15 minutes to race time. A few minutes later the assembling runners stepped aside to watch the marching band come through:

After the National Anthem, I took my throw-away sweater off (it was about 55 degrees, cloudy and virtually no wind - pretty close to perfect racing weather) and took my place for the start. The race had 3734 registered runners of which 2256 were running the half marathon, 604 formed teams for the marathon relay and 874 for the marathon. That means there were probably about 3000 at the start - which was well organised and seemed to have fairly effective self-seeding assisted by some pace-guidance flags and some half- and marathon pace teams.

The course is mostly out-and-back for everyone, so the first 6.5 miles is the busiest. The first and last two miles are along the waterfront of Back Cove - my old running haunt. One of the detours on the outbound trip takes the runners to the waterfront of Casco Bay in Falmouth. Most of the rest of the course is along tree-lined roads with a short section on city streets. After the half-marathon turn-around, the field was quite thin, but I had people around me until around mile 18 or so (when I could have most used some company) then it was pretty much a solo effort (except for some brief moments of passing or being passed).

The course has rolling hills throughout, but has a couple of decent climbs during the middle section (the half-marathon runners avoid them). I had allowed a little extra time for three of these mile sections in my pace-band-plan.

I stayed on schedule for the first 20 miles, then started the gradual slow-down. Just a few seconds per mile during miles 21 to 23, an extra 30 seconds per mile for miles 24 and 25 and nearly a minute for the last full mile. Not terrible by any means but the last 1.2 miles felt like a long way.

The finish was more interesting than it should have been. Here is how Exile #3 recorded it on her phone. Here I am having just had my photo taken by the finish-line photographer:

Here I am stopping my watch and walking it in but having a moment of doubt:

And here I am actually running to the finish line having realised that the photographer had set up at the pre-finish line they use to notify the announcer of who is about to finish:

My actual finish time was just outside my PR - maybe by less than I lost during that incident - but certainly not by much!

After reuniting with the family, I collapsed on the wet grass for a while, but was OK to limp to the car and drive home after a short rest and some liquid. The medal with its bright flashing lighthouse LED caused quite a stir with E5N1:

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