After a labor intensive summer for both my husband and I it was only appropriate that we spend the long Labor Day weekend reconnecting as a family. My marathon training schedule called for a race this weekend so I found a half marathon in Boothbay, Maine. Maine has yet to disappoint and Boothbay is a place we have never visited.
We arrived to our small rental cabin in Edgecomb, ME late on Friday night after a quick stop for dinner in Portsmouth, NH. Portsmouth is an eclectic, vibrant little seaside town. There are a variety of restaurants to appeal to all tastes. We settled on the Friendly Toast. It was kid friendly and offered some vegan dishes. After we walked around the bustling town to stretch our legs.
I slept until I woke up on Saturday morning, no alarm or need to get up for anything. I was still up before 7, but it felt really luxurious to “sleep in.” In need of coffee we traveled into Boothbay Harbor. Though it was early, there were lots of people out and about. The weather was gorgeous. We grabbed coffee at the Red Cup Coffeehouse and then booked ourselves on a harbor boat tour. We had enough time to explore the town a little before the boat tour began. Boothbay Harbor is a quaint seaside town. The narrow streets are dotted with old inns, stores, galleries, ice cream shops, and restaurants.
Our harbor tour took us out to Squirrel Island and then back to the dock in Boothbay Harbor. On the way we were given a narrated history of the harbor. There was a wedding party on board who were headed to Squirrel Island for the wedding. At 10:30 in the morning the party was well under way as they were all enjoying a beverage or two! It was a fun group.
The afternoon included a quick 3 mile run for me. It was really hot by the time I went for a run, but I was enjoying the change of scenery. I ran from our cottage in Edgecomb into neighboring Wiscasset. Right before the bridge in Wiscasset there is little stand on the side of the road that sells lobster rolls. They must be amazing because there is always a really long line.
After my run we went to visit my cousin and his family at their cottage on Damariscotta Lake. Carlos was in heaven. He went kayaking, swimming, tubing and floated in a classic inner tube. I relaxed on the dock. Orlando swam and went tubing too. We were invited to stay for dinner and then sat around the camp fire chatting and roasting marshmallows.
I got up early on Sunday morning to run a few miles before the half marathon to get some extra mileage in for marathon training. I ran about 3 miles. There is absolutely nowhere you can run without encountering giant hills in this part of Maine. I felt good though. I slept well the night before and have been eating healthily. However, for some reason by the time I got back to the cottage I was feeling really on edge about the race. I’m usually a little nervous on race day, but this was different.
Orlando and Carlos drove me to the packet pick up at the Watershed Tavern. They went off in search of breakfast before going kayaking in the harbor. I sat alone waiting for the race to begin. I couldn’t shake the unsettled feeling in my stomach. The race began at 9am, a rather late start for what was shaping up to be a very hot morning. I had read a couple of reviews of the race and both indicated it was a challenging hilly course. I wasn’t too worried about that because I’m used to running hills around home. Well the reviewers weren’t lying. I started off ok. I felt better once I got going, but by mile 5 or so my stomach was a bundle of nauseous nerves. It was really hot and the water stations were far and few between. The hills were relentless. My legs felt like blocks trying to push myself up. The climbs were steep and the declines were short or nonexistent. I entered into that head space trying to convince myself I was going to make it to the finish. I have never DNF’d a race, but I have also never felt this horrible during a race.
The rest of the race I spent more time walking than I would like to admit, but my legs would not power up those steep hills. I felt as though I was able to walk them faster. I walked and ran, walked and ran. It was a demoralizing race. Each time I slowed to a walk I was disappointed in myself. Mile 13 seemed to last an eternity. I told myself I was going to run the last mile. I didn’t, I couldn’t. By that time my energy felt sapped. My stomach was on edge, I hadn’t even been able to take my Vega gel and every time I turned my head to the side I felt a bit dizzy. I ran as much as I could in the last mile. The race ended on an uphill and I forced myself to run up that last hill to the finish line.
I finished. I have absolutely no idea what my time was, but I am certain it was my slowest half. All I could think about was water. I sat for a little while to catch my breath and rehydrate.
More than a few times throughout the day I lamented about how disappointed I was with my performance during the race. I have been feeling really great about my training and running. I have improved so much throughout the summer.
With each bad experience I typically learn something about myself and I can identify something I could have done differently. I felt as though I prepared as well as I could have leading up to race day. I ate really well the day before. I went to bed fairly early. Was it the three miles I ran before? I did not give up or did I? Although I felt as though I had nothing more to give, I am frustrated by my failure to push harder and move faster.
After a much needed cold shower, we spent the afternoon at Popham Beach. It was restful and relaxing, exactly what I needed. I read a few chapters of a new book, Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham. Carlos instantly made friends with an 8 year old girl who had an extra boogie board. They were hysterical together, seemed as though they had known each other forever. Orlando took a long walk on the beach.
Sunday evening we went on a Red Cloak Haunted History tour of Boothbay Harbor.
It was a fun and interesting way to see the town and learn more about it. It was a beautiful night, perfect for walking around the town. We had dinner at the Boat House Bistro.
Monday morning I invited Carlos to join me on my recovery run. We did a run/walk to Fort Edgecomb where we learned a bit more about coastal Maine history. The Blockhouse in the photo was built in 1809 and overlooks the Sheepscot River.
It was a great weekend. I love Maine. The air is cleaner and time moves a little slower. It’s rustic, scenic, and most importantly relaxing.
Sounds (and looks) like a lovely trip! I’m guessing hills and heat were probably to blame for the race (or mid-race fueling errors, or going out to fast, which is frequently the issue for me), but sometimes, I think it’s just the day and there’s really no good explanation. I’ve definitely encountered the exact feeling you describe, endless expanses between water stops, feeling like you’re just not moving, etc. The Red Cloak tour sounds like the exact way I’d love learning about a town. How fun! Glad you all got to get away together and celebrate the end of summer.
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