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So, from the beginning I can admit to you that I trained very poorly for this race. We had a lot of new stuff at work and we are trying to get the electronic billing up and running without losing our minds and training time was minimal. I was scared that I couldn’t even make it through…but I did!!! The day before the race, 05/12/2017, started with getting up at 1:30am and leaving the house by 2:30am. We were on a 5:30am flight that stopped in Baltimore, where we did a layover and on to Portland, Maine. Our flights were fine, no worries and we even managed to get the extra leg room on the first leg and the bulk head on the second. Our flight attendants on the second leg were super and it went fast. Portland airport is a dream! Easy to get around and the rental cars are right there. We got in our car and it was pretty much a straight shot on the highway to the hotel in Biddeford, Maine. Our room wasn’t ready so we set off for the Run of the Mill Pub, for a microbrew and some snacks. I actually didn’t mind the layover because it means I ate when I left the house, again in Baltimore and then in Biddeford at the Pub. We had crab cakes, yum!!! We got to know our bartender, Mike, super nice chap and we took a tour of the brewery with Steve the brew master. This guy loves to talk about beer and couldn’t stop smiling while he did it. We wrapped up the snacking portion of the afternoon and headed to the start of the race to pick up my race packet. We drove around up and down the coast a little to kind of see what I was up against and it was nothing like California; rolling hills and nothing major at that. We went back to the hotel, I always have to lay everything for the run out and make sure that I have it all. I did and we headed back out for pizza as my pre-race meal. We had artichoke, pesto pizza, it was amazingly good and back to the hotel we go, where I got ready for bed and was in bed trying to sleep at 8:30. I had planned to get up around 5, so that gave me some extra hours and time to unwind. I was up a bit before 5 and did all my pre-race prep and we were out the door at 6:05. We got to the race start, found a good parking spot and roamed around for a while. I always have a lot of nervous energy and it was compounded by the fact that I knew that I was ill prepared to run this race (ooops). I found a good spot to stretch in the pre-race expo room, the floor had a little padding and then did my banana, Larabar, and gel. I was loaded up with my new water belt and ready to go. The start was pretty good, I didn’t have any trouble for the first half, and then about a mile 7 my back started hurting so I stopped at a water station to stretch it. That seemed to help with the pain, but it took the wind out of my sails and I never really got back to my stride and stretched a couple more times, walked a part of mile 13 and for the most part was dragging my little red wagon. I took gels at 4, 8 and 10 but my stomach was rocky and that wasn’t helping it. The gel I took 15 minutes before the race was Espresso and it had caffeine, I had a headache and have used that in the past to help with that, it may have been the cause of my rocky stomach. I had plenty of water and really didn’t have any physical complaints except my back and my lack of wind. Training, turns out, I needed more, duh!!! Well, I met a girl named Kirsten at about mile 12.5 and she talked to me and helped me get to the end, but, it wasn’t one of my best efforts.

Now…let’s talk about the scenery…unbelievable!!! The shore of the coast of Maine is rocky and blustery looking, though I had a fabulous day, 48 degrees at race start 52 at the end. There are sections of bogs and creek beds everywhere, cutting into the lush greenness, so beautiful!!! There was a breeze but it was nothing major to contend with. The sun was here and there, but not so here as to make it tough, all in all, it was a great day to run. I crossed the finish line with Brian on my left in the bright pink “run Joan run” T-shirts that he had made. It was good to be done. There was after run food and beer so we hung out and recharged. My back was still hurting, but it felt mostly muscular at that point. We went back to the hotel and got cleaned up and went back to our Microbrewery to have a proper sample of the house specialties and that is when I had Chowdah!!! So good, just a snack though, because I promised Brian we would go out for Lobstah!!!

Now…let’s talk about the lobster…while at the microbrewery we got the skinny on the best Lobster place and just before 5pm we left to go the Kennebunkport (yes, the president’s summer home, place) for Lobster at Nunan’s. This is a family owned Lobster “shack” that takes no credit cards or checks and is a no frills approach to eating Lobster. The tables, floors, walls and bathrooms are covered in heavy marine epoxy…I mean, hurricane level water wouldn’t dent it and the Lobster is served on a metal tray with butter and lots of napkins, a roll and baked potato. We were like my Mom and Dad and showed up right at 5pm for the special, get this, 2 – 1.25 lb lobsters with the fixin’s above, yes, I said 2! So, That Happened!!! Obviously, from the picture, it was amazing, flavor like you can’t imagine because it was caught that morning. We drove around a little and went back to the hotel, relaxed for about an hour and then headed back out for frozen yogurt. I love the day of a run, because eating is for fun and not for fuel! The next morning we got up when we woke up and headed down to breakfast, oops, it ended at 9 and we showed up at 9:20. They were cleaning up and we managed to talk them out of a few things then packed up our crap and headed towards Portland, where we would fly out later that day. While at Starbucks we ran into a yoga instructor and she gave us a quickish list of things that we should do and going to the Old Port in Portland sounded great. The weather was truly the low patch of this part of the trip. It was blowing and raining. I felt bad for all those marathoners that were running; this event was a 2 day event with the ½ marathon on Saturday and the full on Sunday. We found a good spot by the Old Port and walked around, my umbrella got turned inside out a couple of times and we gave up and had a beer, then we had lunch. Lobster roll for Brian and Lobster stew for me…do you see a theme? We walked around and did our best to see some sights and shop, found a gift for our roommate for taking care of the cats and finally settled in a pub for another beer as the weather continued to deteriorate. At 3pm we were off to the airport to drop our rental car and wait for our flight. Our flight home from Baltimore was a little delayed, so we ate dinner at the Silver Diner (not diner food, quite excellent) and finally got to Midway and home a bit after midnight. Well…though I kind of dread sharing these, here are my fairly ordinary stats: 2:23:07, 26th in AG out of 45 females aged 55-59, 1039 of 1371 runners overall, 683 of 973 female runners. As my husband, Brian, reminds me when I am disappointed, “Babe, this is a participation sport, the goal is to finish”! He is very wise! Next race Idaho in July…and this one is ALL downhill!!!

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