Race Recap: Old Port Half Marathon

2 Aug

This race was nothing like I expected.

I know, I know, a New England half marathon in July. What a foolish notion. But having lived in Portland, Maine for two years, I was confident that it would be cool and there would be a nice ocean breeze. Wrong on both counts. I don’t ever remember it getting unbearably hot in the summer but it only took a mile of running for me to be sweating like crazy.  There was no shade.  And there was no wind.  Well, there was about a mile worth of a breeze but it didn’t cool me down, only made me gag on its fishy essence. And there were 3 underpasses we ran under, maybe for 3-5 seconds each that were shaded?  And we got to run past the Portland Sewage Plant twice.  Because there is nothing prettier at mile 8ish and again at 11ish than to see hundreds of gallons of churning poop.  Had anyone been able to keep Gu down at that point, it would all have come back up.

I may sound a bit bitter about this race but actually, I’m not. I PRed on a hot windless extremely hilly race (do not trust the race reports, this is not flat) where the winner of both the half marathon and the 5k were 5-10 minutes off their target pace. I repeat: the winners struggled with the heat and the hills and ran slower than expected.  I ran a lot faster than expected.  What’s not to love about that?

Having said that, I wouldn’t do it again.

I loved the local feeling and seeing people I knew. I loved knowing my Dad and brother in law were running the 5k (both finished 5th in their age groups!) but sad that I never got to see them run. I was happy that I finished fast and strong but sad that my family wasn’t at the finish line yet (because I was about 15 minutes faster than expected). The finish line food was the best I’ve ever seen but I could only chew on a frozen Greek yogurt popsicle and guzzle water.

I’m not sure why I ran so fast.  And by “so fast” I mean, fast for me. It might have been all the Crossfit training I’ve been doing.  The hill runs and the stadium step workouts. The fact that I’ve been running less but running with a purpose. It could have been that I was so miserable and wanted the race to finish sooner.  I was looking forward to celebrating my sister’s birthday and seeing my cousins once it was done. I was also relieved to be outside after my first long week of jury duty.  Maybe freedom had something to do with it.

My Stats:

Official Time: 1:41:08
Pace per mile: 7:43
Overall Place: 77/1824 (top 4.2%)
Age Group Place: 4/208 (top 1.9%)

In case I never run this fast again, I’m going to enjoy how good it felt to finish at the front of the pack. Not to mention, despite the weather conditions and the sewage plant and the baked bean plant and the other little things I don’t miss about Portland, I did love to be back in the place I once called home. I’m happier in Boston, much happier. I wish the girl in Portland could have known how much better her job/life/friendships/racing would be in the future. But I’m proud of Portland for being the first place I fell in love with long distance running and triathlons…the place I could always run along the ocean when I needed to chill out and be alone…the place that challenged me in ways I didn’t want to be challenged but am now grateful for in retrospect.

I’ll be back to visit…once there are ocean breezes and cool temperatures again!

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