Long overdue race report, as usual. Lots of pictures, as usual.
Waaaaay back in mid-May, I traveled north for the second annual “Caitlin’s Birthday Mother-Daughter Race Weekend.” Last year’s inaugural event was the Martha’s Vineyard Marathon, where my Mom ran her very first half- marathon and I ran my 13th marathon. This year we were keeping it in New England but heading north to Maine, where Mom would run her third half- marathon (she’s a total pro now) and I’d run my 12th half- marathon AND my 17th marathon, because why run one race when you can run two??
I got home to Massachusetts from DC on Thursday, and Mom and I hit the road for Maine on Friday morning. But first, an important stop for apple cider doughnuts, because New England.
We hit the expo at the University of New England in Biddeford, ME and picked up our packets, then had a tasty early dinner at a cute little Italian place in Saco, where we were staying. I got Flat Caitlin ready for Saturday’s half- marathon (race #1), and we called it an early night.
Saturday morning dawned cool and crisp (sunny and 50 degrees!), which felt amazing to me since DC was already in the throes of its hot, humid summer weather. Mom and I drove over to the start/finish area at the University of New England (about 20 minutes from where we were staying; it seemed like everywhere we needed to be over the weekend was about 20 minutes away from each other…) and parked the car, then headed inside the nice warm student center to wait for the race to start. Lots of other runners slowly trickled in, and I kept an eye out for the yellow bibs that indicated another crazy person who was doing the 39.3 mile challenge. It was so awesome to have a comfortable place to wait indoors and to have real bathrooms to use prior to the race! With about 10 minutes to go, Mom and I walked the little ways over to the start line in a nearby parking lot. I was in the first wave, so I lined up in my corral and chatted with a couple of other runners while we waited for the race director to blow the official starter conch shell.
At 8am sharp, the conch was blown and we were off! Given that I had a marathon to run the next day, my plan was to take the half- marathon nice and easy. This turned out to be a fantastic race to just run for fun, because the course was so beautiful! Almost all of it was right along the coast and I had so much fun soaking up the ocean views and marveling at the gorgeous beach mansions in the quiet neighborhoods that we ran through.
The race seemed to fly by, and before I knew it I was coming into the finish back at the university campus! I was really happy with how consistent I kept my pace throughout the race, and how comfortable it felt.
I collected my medal and commemorative water bottle (way to be both green and fun, Maine Coast Marathon!), went to the car to grab my warm layers, and then camped out at the finish to cheer on runners and wait for Mom to come in.
I met two super cute and very good dogs waiting for their person to finish the race as well, so that was fun. And cheering at the finish line is ALWAYS a great time! Mom came flying in so much sooner than she’d expected – she finished in 2:54:xx, breaking three hours for the first time and getting a ridiculous 14-minute PR!
After enjoying a post-race Shipyard beer in the beer garden, Mom and I got cleaned up and then headed into Freeport, because it was only about half an hour away and I was desperate to visit the HUGE L.L. Bean flagship store! It didn’t disappoint!
The rest of Freeport was super cute and we had fun walking around and window shopping (and maybe doing some actual shopping too!). We stumbled upon the Wicked Whoopie store, which was SO exciting because they always come to the Big E (basically a New England state fair that’s held the next town over from my parents) and are a family favorite!
Look at the size of this whoopie pie!!
That is 5 entire pounds of sugar and fat. A little much even for my huge sweet tooth. I did get a few regular-sized whoopie pies though, including a chocolate-dipped one! Mmmmmm….
After walking around Freeport for a while, Mom and I had dinner and some beer flights at a really cool brew pub over in Portland: Liquid Riot Brewing. It was so delicious! Then we went back to our hotel, I got the marathon version of Flat Caitlin ready, and I hit the hay.
I got up nice and early to have my pre-race breakfast and coffee, and Mom and I drove the 20ish minutes to the Marathon start at Kennebunk High School. Yet again, we had a nice warm indoor space to wait and real bathrooms! Maine Coast Marathon FTW!
There was a bit of confusion after we moved out to the start line. The race director made an announcement that there was an emergency with the volunteer crew that was setting up the aid stations, and that there would be no hydration stations for the first 8 miles of the race. They would also be delaying the start by another 15 minutes to allow the volunteers to get the aid stations set up for the remaining miles of the race. We never found out what happened with the volunteers, and while I wasn’t super thrilled about extra time standing out in the chilly morning, I’d much rather do without water for the FIRST 8 miles of a marathon rather than the last 8! (as I sit here in August in DC thinking about 8 miles without water, I shudder a bit, but it was only in the 40s that morning!)
Finally we were off! I had zero plans for this marathon other than to take it easy, have fun, and try to run fairly consistent splits, which meant starting off at a really easy effort. The course itself was mostly really enjoyable. We wound through Kennebunkport, which was such a cute little town! And there were more breathtaking ocean views and gorgeous beach houses to look at. There was a stretch along the shoulder of a highway that was less than ideal, and it’s also where pretty much all the uphill was. So that was a little unpleasant, but I got through it and the last few miles were back to scenic ocean views.
I started with gloves and tube sock arm-warmers because it was so chilly! Oh to feel cold again…
The volunteers were great, and by the time I came through Mile 6 or so, they’d gotten a makeshift water station set up. I honestly didn’t notice the lack of water for the first several miles, though I was thankful to have it once it was available again. Hopefully that issue didn’t mess up anyone else’s race too dramatically!
It’s been a little while, so I don’t remember as many specifics about the race as I might have immediately afterwards. But I remember just genuinely enjoying running it, and kind of marveling at how fresh I felt given that I’d just run a half the day before. In the couple of place where there was an out-and-back that allowed us to see the runners ahead of and behind us, all of the people with the yellow 39.3 Challenge bibs cheered for each other, which was really cool!
Before I knew it, I reached the final few miles. There was a photographer right at the 26-mile mark, which I thought was both hilarious and a little bit mean, so I had to cheese for him a bit.
I made the final turn and heard my mom cheering before I spotted her.
I was so happy with how I’d paced the marathon, and I was thrilled to have gone sub-2:00/sub-4:00 for the race weekend, since even though I didn’t officially have any goals, doing that was my not-so-secret goal.
It was still cool enough at the finish for me to rock the Challenge jacket, so that was great!
Mom and I hung around in the finish line beer garden for a while, and met up with Amber and her DH, which was great! Mom had packed up the car and checked out of our hotel while I was running, so everything was ready for our road trip back to Massachusetts. But we made a slight detour on our way out of Maine to see the famous Portland Head Lighthouse:
After getting back to MA, I enjoyed a super relaxing week at home to recover, hang out at the stables, and celebrate my 32nd birthday!
Next up: more catch-up bloops about summer training, crazy 5Ks, and chasing big goals!