Portland Maine Half Marathon October 5 2014

This was very unique for me. I had not planned on running this event, nor had any notion to run a half marathon. During my late June, early July vacation in Virginia, I built up to an 8 mile long run, but was only thinking 5K’s.

About a month ago, my employer, Iberdrola, emailed about a lottery to win one of four complementary entries to this year’s Maine Marathon. Winners had choice to run the full marathon, the half marathon, or create a relay team. I gave it a shot. And lost. However, a co-worker contacted me about being on a relay. I was all set, ready to go, when I got a call: one of the winners wasn’t able to make it. Another name was selected, and it was mine!

I quickly contacted the co-worker, describing my problem. I didn’t want to let the relay team down, but also wanted to run the half marathon. I am glad it worked out: the relay team easily found a replacement, and I submitted my entry for the half marathon. No way would I be able to do the full.

I increased my long run to 10 miles; running that distance on September 7, 14, and 21; getting up to 30 mile per week. I cut back the week of September 28, and thought I was fairly well prepared for this race.

But …. I didn’t know what I could do. My long runs were between 9:48 and 10:10 pace. I had done two 5K’s – one in July, 7:39 pace, and the other in August, 7:31 pace. In September I ran a four miler at 8:51 pace. All other runs were 9:30 or slower. Most a lot slower.  I came up with this plan: run 10 minute miles until mile 10, and then run as hard as I could for the last 5K. Worse case I was thinking 2 hrs 30 minutes if I completely fell apart and couldn’t maintain the 10 minute miles. I thought I might be able to run it in 2 hrs 15 minutes, if all goes well. Because I had a complementary (free!) entry, I was thinking this was just going to be a long run, and not worry about racing.

The race starts at 7:45AM.  Iberdrola wanted everyone to get together for a group photo at 7:20AM. I planned on leaving Gardiner for the Portland race close to 6AM. That would get me there a few minutes before the group photo. Race was on Sunday.  Saturday morning woke up and saw 6:21AM on clock.  Had that OH NO moment – jumped out of bed with plan to just get in car and drive! Then realized the race was the next day.    Phew.

Later Saturday I got together supplies used for race day: running shoes & outfit, change of clothes, three bananas, two energy bars, two Gatorades, two Mountain Dews, towel, and deodorant. Sunday morning woke up without any panic at 5:30AM. Tried very hard to not wake up Doreen, but failed. She got up, and helped me get one other item I did not gather the day before: cash. Doreen took this photo as I headed out:





GettingReadyToGoRide to Portland was uneventful. I inputted the Bedford Street address suggested into my GPS. It took me to the building where registration took place. I pulled in, found a parking spot, got my race packet, asked if it was OK to park where I was for the race, told that was a perfect spot, agreed, and then got ready for the race.

I walked around a bit, and met up with the Relay team I was almost a member. Chatted for a while, and then met up with all Iberdrola employee marathon entry lottery winners. Nice bunch, and thanked the lead of the lottery for the opportunity.

Got into line at the “slower than 10 minute mile” sign. Start was very slow. First mile was running slow, slipping by runners, running a little faster, then repeat (slow, slip, fast…slow, slip, fast…slow, slip, fast…)   Felt like the slow parts were the places I was at mostly.

At the one mile mark there was an LED and it read 11 minutes and some odd seconds. OK I thought. With the walk to the starting line due to lining up so far back, I thought net time would be 10 minutes. I had my smartphone’s Endomondo program working, but turned off volume that speaks total and split times at each mile.

Mile 1 to 3(? maybe more – 4 or even 5?) was very congested. At one of the water stations I almost knocked into someone. I think all is well. I hope the person didn’t get upset.

At every mile, I would look at my wrist watch, thinking the minute should end with a 5.  The 7:45 start time made it easy to calculate if I was running 10 minute miles. However, I started seeing times that indicated I was running faster than 10 minutes per mile.  I felt good. A couple times a runner caught up and passed me. Three times actually. Two finished ahead of me, but I think I caught up with and passed the third. There seemed to be 100’s of people I caught up with and passed, especially in the first half of the race.

When I got to mile 8 or 9, I thought I had a chance to finish in less than 2 hours. Before the race, I thought there was no way that would happen.

Here are the miles Endomondo recorded:

1 09:11   This surprised me – After finishing mile one, I was sure it was slower than 10 minutes
2 08:29  another surprise – I was thinking maybe 9:30 – slower actually
3 08:30
4 08:20
5 08:10  Really? – I didn’t think I approached 8 minutes per mile at all during the race
6 08:33
7 08:15  Being able to catch and pass people – big help
8 08:19
9 07:59  Really ?  Really?
10 08:21
11 08:34
12 08:01
13 07:57 The last two miles were some of the fastest. Left lots on course
13.1 02:21 Delay stopping clock. With net / gun time it would be 01:41. That seems slow ??

Official gun time was 1:52:15 8:34 pace. Net time was 1:50:10 8:25 pace. Endomondo had 1:51:00.

Very happy with effort. Need to drop some pounds, do some quality training runs, and see what I can do next year.

Took a selfie in the car after race:









Here is the map, pace, and elevation information Endomondo captured:

mapHalf marathon results here – http://www.coolrunning.com/results/14/me/Oct5_MaineM_set2.shtml

Thanks for reading. Happy running!


About mainrun

I like to read, run, and watch tv.
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