Sunday, October 02, 2011

Maine Marathon, Portland ME

Ducky weather. We three all agree that the weather was for the birds. And, we have photographic evidence, see bottom.

My Marathon:

The goal was to complete a marathon in Maine without irritating any prior injuries or causing any new ones, because we have a heavy schedule ahead. Goal accomplished, I believe. Nothing hurts except the stuff that usually hurts. I'll know more tomorrow, after all of the endorphins have worn off. Details:

  • Time: 6:10:45. I was shooting for 6:15, so that's a fine time. But I was sixth of six in my age group, 819 of 897 overall. Ugh.
  • Nevertheless, there is joy in Mudville (Portland) today! We're all happy and I'm havin' a beer.
  • I used a walk/run ratio of five to one, running 30 seconds of each three minutes. Mostly. Toward the end I tried to run a little more, but often had to be satisfied with maintaining the pace.
  • I chipped a little bit of skin off my thumb when I opened the door latch to leave a porta-potty. My first-ever porta-potty injury! It bled a little, but a little bit of blood looks like a lot in the rain. Now cleaned up and Betadined.
  • Near the end, a woman who was walking and evidently done running, said that she was on her fifth round of the 50 states. I responded that I was only on my first round. "Well, take my advice," says she, "when you're done, don't get sucked into doing another round of 50!" Seems like she has ignored her own advice at least four times. Perhaps she was just feeling a little discouraged near the end of this marathon. Anyway, I'm already looking for other celebrations of life. Dancing with the Stars? Oops - you gotta be famous first. Marathon in all seven continents? I hear that Antarctica is really cool.
  • Gels along the way: seven. Salt/potassium tablets: seven.
  • Someone posted several signs of encouragement for "Pookie" along the way. Example: "Pookie - on a scale of 1 to 10 you are a 13.1." Clearly, Pookie ran the half marathon. I hope s/he did well.
  • I started with two shirts and a running jacket, eventually tying the jacket around my waist.

We three have run in much worse weather: (1) In St Charles, MO, the remnants of Hurricane Ike screeched sideways through the town as the race was starting, drenching the landscape with untold amounts of rain. Then the race, while under way, was adjusted to a 10-mile length because parts of the proper course were under water; (2) In Chicago, the race was stopped in progress because of heat - they ran out of ambulances. I did finish that one; (3) Two or three times I have finished Grandma's Marathon in temperatures above 85. I'd certainly rather run in this ducky weather than any of those. It rained most of the time but not all of the time, with temperatures in the high 50's, and a buffeting wind much of the way. I wore enough clothing and was never cold. No problem for a Minnesotan.

The rain in Maine falls plainly on my bean.

When we look back at this marathon we'll probably remember the weather more than anything else, but of course that's no fault of the people of Maine. It can happen anywhere. Every marathon has a surprise or two.

The Maine Marathon:

It's a good one, of course. Pluses:
  • This was well organized. They haven't done this 20 years in a row for nuthin'.
  • After 56 marathons I'm amazed how cheerful, encouraging, and all-out helpful the volunteers were. After all, it was raining hard on them too. Huzzah! to the volunteers. And to the cops too.
  • At one time on the return of the out-and-back course I couldn't see a single other runner anywhere, and I switched from the right side of the road to the left, though we were apparently expected to be on the right. A police vehicle came by, and the officer said "You wouldn't mind running on the other side, would you?" I replied that I actually preferred the left side because then I can see what's coming. "Well, if you're comfortable with that, then so am I," said he with a smile. Maine hospitality, police style.
  • They gave us a very fancy race bag filled with lots of goodies.
  • At the finish, there was plenty of good food, even for those (like me) who finished after six hours.
  • There was a bagpiper along the way, early in the race, playing in the drenching rain. I'm a sucker for bagpipes.
  • The shirts were nice, long-sleeved technical in women's and men's styles, and they let us try them on for size.
  • The course is quite picturesque, with views of the ocean (or the bay, whatever is out there).
  • They had finishers' blankets and they put them on for you. For once, I was glad to have one.
  • There was no doubt when the race started - they fired a cannon!
The other stuff:

  • The Route: As attractive and engaging as it was, for much of my 6-hour race the route was shared with plenty of vehicles going 35-45 MPH, and in a few places there was really no shoulder, or the gravel shoulder was six inches below the edge of the road surface. I really, really didn't like sharing the road with that many vehicles - I felt very vulnerable, running on the right with vehicles coming from behind. There were times when a vehicle had to pass within two feet, and I had a guardrail preventing me from moving over.
  • The out-and-back course had us on the right side almost all of the time, so any slant was always to the right, and there was often a slant. This has been a problem for me sometimes, resulting in bursa pains in knees or hips, though happily those problems didn't show up today.
  • The timing "chips" (strips) were attached to the runners' race numbers (bibs). They are supposed to be vertical, on the sides of the bibs, but someone had mistakenly attached them horizontally, along the bottom ant top, so we runners had to pin the bibs on at 90 degrees. That's a new one for me. Dopey.
  • The race allowed a runner to specify an address for an email to be sent automatically when the runner finished, but the finish times in the received emails were wrong. I don't know for sure, but both the race numbers and those emails could be the responsibility of the timing company, rather than the race committee. If so, I wonder if that timing company will be back.

For the Record (whining):
  • The right-side sports hernia barely showed up at all. Tomorrow may be a different story.
  • The hip flexors or adductors (I can't tell which) on both sides started to hurt around mile 10, and kept hurting. The right side was worst, and became a limiting pain. They got worse when I ran, and better when I walked, although they still hurt some when I walked.
  • Knees were cold but there was little pain.
  • The left glutes or hamstrings hurt a little but were not a limiting issue.
  • Nothing else hurt. Even with the rain, my feet are fine. Muscles are tired but not nearly as tired as they would be if I had gone faster.
Splits: 13:07, 13:22, 13:09, 26:36 (2 mi), 13:35, 13:38, 17:32 (porta potty), 12:49, 14:19, 13:14, 17:28 (porta potty and med station), 13:56, 13:59, 14:33, 14:18, 14:14, 13:03, 15:24, 13:09, 16:10 (porta potty), 13:00, 12:50, 15:03, 14:10, 18:10 (1.22 mi), total 6:10:45, average pace 14:08.

News Stories:
WCSH Channel 6, NBC
Portland Press Herald Newspaper

Ducky weather. These mallards are finding something to eat in the rainwater on a mowed lawn:

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