I finished. So there's that.
Let's just get right into the bullets, shall we?
- The course has a net loss in elevation. This makes it one of the fastest courses in America = a lot of people BQ here. There was a moment on a massive downhill when the view in front of me opened up to show the mountains, and I was practically sprinting, and I thought, "this is why I run." Unfortunately the marathon is made up of many moments, and this one was fleeting.
- Decent pre-race pasta dinner, and decent post-race food.
- Water stations. I'm pretty sure they were adding extra ones towards the end of the race due to the heat, as they seemed to appear every mile.
- Efficient shuttle service before and after the race.
- The woman holding the sign that said: "Worst parade EVER!"
- Beautiful scenery on the course. Lakes, mountains, streams, pine trees... Here's a sample:
And the cons:
- The whole race goes along Rt. 27, which does not get shut down. The cars are held off for a bit at the start when the runners are still bunched together, but in the latter miles the runners are essentially running down an active rural highway with cars driving on both sides. That sucks.
- Speaking of cars, in the final tenth of a mile, which is supposed to be the glory moment in the marathon, I had to squeeze between two cars on one side and the people on the other, just to make it to the finish line. That's ridiculous. I understand not being able to close the road for such a small marathon, but get those cars off the final tenth of a mile!
- Because it's a small marathon in a rural area, there was extremely limited crowd support. It's amazing the difference having thousands of people cheering for you can make in a marathon.
- When the DJ at the finish area exclaimed, "what a beautiful day for a marathon!" the woman next to me said, "someone's never run a marathon before." It was a gorgeous day with no clouds and temps in the upper 70's, but this is not ideal for a marathon. Running on black asphalt with cars zooming past with the sun beating down overhead and little shade all made for a tough day.
- No beer stop and no beer at the end! For shame! No cold water at the end, either.
- Despite having chips, the only timing mat was at the finish line.
I ran the first half comfortably in 1:44, but the heat really got to me in the second half. After mile 20 I had to take a few walking breaks, which I haven't done in a marathon since Twin Cities in 2007. I finished in 3:43:41 - far from my personal worst, but far from my personal best.
Glad to be finished marathon #9 and to take a break from running for a bit. It's clear that I've been burning myself out with the running this spring, and I need to find a way to cross train for a few weeks before I come back to it.
From Maine with love...