Monday, July 14, 2014

Old Port Half Marathon recap

I will need to do an entirely different post about Portland, it was AMAZING! The shops, the food, the activities! I could go on and on and on....

The hubs booked the perfect hotel! It was basically three blocks from the expo, and 2 blocks from the start and finish! Bonus! The expo was pretty small, but the bib pickup was speedy! I got my bib and beer glass with no problems, and we scored a couple Kind Bars and then went back to the Porthole, the hubs' new favorite bar, for some Shipyard Blueberry Ale.
But I digress.
The morning of the race, we got up at about 5:45. I set the alarm for 6, but I never sleep well the night before a race, so I was already up and dressed by then. We headed over to the Start, and wandered around a bit checking out the trophies and the medals....

 The hubs got a great pic of the sunrise....
 and the Brewing Company sign....
 my dream pace average....
 the view from the pier where the corrals were....
 posing with Kim from Disney Running...
 and the Half Fanatics.....
 It was a nice breezy start. I would have loved to get pics on the course, because it was beautiful, but my iPhone had to stay at the hotel. Why? At my last race, in the pouring rain, my little shuffle got fried. I am using an old iTouch until it is replaced, and there was no room in my Sparkle Skirt without looking really lumpy and miserable. Sounds silly, but the last photo where I had a bunch of stuff in my pockets ended up everywhere. I looked 6 months pregnant!
Again, I digress!
The start was a bit late, and we had to wait a little while to cross the start, because we were in the back. By "we", I mean me, and all of the strangers around me! I started my Garmin as we crossed what I thought was a chip start. More on that later!
 The course was made up of a few out and backs. The first one brought us along the waterfront, and into a local park. The hills were insane but I was told that these were the only ones and the rest of the course was flat. The map in the packet did show two hills, but I was going by what the people at pickup were telling us. Big mistake!
I stopped somewhere around mile 4 to use the port potties and waited about 6-7 minutes for my turn. I never truly recovered, and never came close to catching up.
The 5th mile brought us past the finish line, which is cruel, and away from the waterfront for a little while. The hubs just happened to be walking back towards the start as I ran by, so he got a few shots of me. See the car in the street? Yeah, that happened a few times. Oh, and as we turned the next corner was a ginormous hill. Yes, that is totally a word. After the hill, we passed the 5K race start, and we were running along the water again, which was beautiful!

still happy!
 The course brought us to another park. First we ran partway up a bridge, and took a sharp turn, and ran down a dirt path that ran along more water. The entrance to the park brought us past some butterfly bushes. There were a few monarchs flying around which was nice. This was about the time that my foot started to hurt. The park had 3.5 miles of gravel path, which was hard on my foot, and I started to slow down considerably here. I was starting to do math in my head to see if I could walk the end of the race, since there was a 15 minute mile maximum. Most of the people around me now looked as dejected as I felt. It was hot, the "Party Zones" were basically just tents spraying misty water, with no music and no excitement, and there were a lot of non-racers on the course at this point.  Most of them did not make easy for the racers and looked annoyed that we were there. I came close to being hit by several people on bicycles as well. We did run past a very cool Health Course, made up of climbing walls and a cargo net climb. I was jealous. Ours is just bars and benches for you to do crunches and pull ups.
We exited the park, and back onto regular road. Back over the bridge, back under the bridge, to a small out and back, that was maybe a block long. It was weird, and seemed a bit silly, but you have to get that 13.1 in I guess.
Up another hill, and along the water to the left, and a sewage plant to the right. I was having flash backs to the Disney races! I focused on the view, pinched my nose shut, and breathed through my mouth. Around another bend and running along train tracks now. Almost done.
The train was old, and stopped on the tracks, with spectators cheering and clapping. That was nice, but I had totally checked out at this point. My foot was on fire, every step hurt. I am tearing up even as I type this! I was 50% embarrassed that it took so long and 50% thrilled that I was almost finished! The pic below is just before mile marker 13, and it was the only one the hubs took where I didn't look 100% miserable. Seeing him made me start full on crying, and he was yelling all of the right things: You're almost there, you did it, great job, so proud. Crying harder now and telling him that my foot hurt so badly.
 I was so glad that I finished under 3 hours. My watch said 2:58 but apparently at a race with almost 3000 runners there was no chip start? I am still not sure. People who comment at the Facebook page are being called whiners by the race director, so I am a little wary of asking a question right now! On looking back at the Facebook comments, I see that it was a chip start, so now I need to fill out a form. Not sure how much I care at this point, though!
At the finish, the volunteers were amazing, they were calling everyone by name (on the bib), directing you towards the food.
However, it was a hot day, and I was given one small cup of water at the finish. The promised ice cream was gone, and I have been told that spectators ate a lot of the ice cream and pizza. Zico was there, but that was gone when I finished. I heard that they ran out at around the 2 hour mark. I did get some pretzels and peanuts, and there was root beer and cookies. Plenty of food trucks, but I shouldn't have to pay for my race food! The hubs brought me some chocolate milk and cold water, so I was set, and KIND bar didn't run out. I had my choice of about 6-7 varieties at least. The Madagascar Vanilla Almond was delish!
So, here is my elevation chart:

I was told the only hill was at mile 2.5 or so. That is a mountain, not a hill! I am a Jersey Girl, from the beach, and we don't have hills! That second one is at mile 6 or so, and those little blips all over the chart felt huge to me! The downhills were not as glorious as they appear, but they did help!
Below is my Garmin data. Please note the almost 7 minutes I lost because there were only 2 potties where I stopped, and at other stops there were only 1. TONS at the start/finish though. That best pace must have been on a downhill!
Overall, I am happy with my race. I finished. It was my 9th this year, and my 25th since May 2012!
I probably would have considered doing it again. You know, for redemption. Until the RD called people whiners and asked them not to come back to the race in the future. Ummmmm, some people were misdirected and ran a 12.8 mile half. Asking how this will be fixed in the future doesn't make them whiners. It makes them curious. We all understand human error, and no one was mad. Until he made that stupid comment.
I mighty have to find another Maine race instead.
Later today is my appointment with the foot doctor. Cross your fingers that it is minor, won't keep me off my foot for too long, and I won't have to defer any of my Fall races!

Did you race this weekend? How did it go?


  1. Congrats on finishing. Sorry to hear about your foot. Hope you get good news at the doctor.

    1. Thank you! All is well, minor inflammation that is already feeling 90% better!

  2. Congrats on the finish!!! Hurting and all!!!!

    1. thanks! It wasn't the same without you!

  3. YIKES! So sorry to hear about your foot, and fingers crossed that it isn't too serious. Congrats on the finish, despite what sounds to be a hilly (and disorganized?) race! Not cool that the RD is reacting that way, these are DEFINITELY issues that should be addressed! Looknig forward to reading more about your Portland trip, sounds like you had a fabulous time!

    1. Pics of Portland to come soon! Minor inflammation and already feeling better! Are you running the Westfield pizza run? If all continues too go well, I will be there!

  4. I ran the 5K in it's first year and it was so darn hot I wouldn't do it again. I believe I remember hearing that they ran out of water very early last year too, I can't believe it happened again. I hope the rest of your trip to Maine was wonderful and there are a ton of other fantastic races here for the future!

    1. I love Maine, and will def be looking for a new race to run there next year! We hope to rent a house with a group of friends next time!

  5. Great recap…hopefully the RD apologized for losing his cool!

    1. he did, finally, and offered the peeps who ran the shorter version a coupon code for next year.