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  • Michael Gordon

Back in the saddle...Maine Marathon report!

Hard to know where to begin with a blog that hasn't existed in nearly a year, but figured a recent race warranted an update to the world as well as a quick race recap.

Kara, Lane and I made it to Maine!

As most people in Washington know at this point, my family and I had a not so short move across the country this past June (only takes about 50 hours of driving in a Uhaul to get here...super convenient :). We've settled in the Portland, ME area (actually Falmouth if you know the Maine) and we were lucky to get here in the heart of the summer when the weather was great and start acclimating to this side of the country. So far things have been good as I was lucky to get roped in by some great people here in Portland to join their run group...this happened when I showed up to one of the Weekly Back Cove Series races in July to "meet some other runners" and was lucky enough to meet some great people who've since become good training partners and great friends. When we showed up here in Maine, it'd been months since I'd felt like I'd had any sort of fitness and realistically years since I'd thought of myself as an someone who was in is the case with many people who have a one year old, most days were just a matter of Kara and I taking turns going for a run or bike ride in order to not feel like a slob :)

Kara on a morning stroller run near our house...not a bad view!

The good news is that the change of scenery has brought a bit of a different routine, and I quickly found myself logging run miles some of the crew from Dirigo RC that made me feel like I might be a runner someday!

Fast forward a couple months, and I'm on a cool down with Spencer, Chris and Michelle when Chris decides to convince me that I'm so old I may never have a chance to run a marathon again! Of course is was all in good fun, but this is what happens when your training partners are 10 years younger than you!

After a PR effort in an impromptu 5k effort a few weeks out from the Maine Marathon, I decided to sign up to race the full marathon on Oct. 2nd here in Portland. It just seemed to make sense since the race literally travels about 50 yards away from our house at one point...and what's left of the triathlete in me told me, "oh you'll be fine, just think of it as a long training run."

So with a few "race effort" workouts in legs the last several weeks, I headed into the Maine Marathon this past weekend. While I feel like I'm typically the type of person who can raise their game a bit on race day (sometimes as the cost of being too aggressive, along with suffering the repercussions of that tactic) I will say that I think this might be one of the few times that I got my tactics wrong and should have been a bit more aggressive. Obviously a marathon is a long way to race, and while I'd not necessarily been planning on racing the marathon for long, I've rarely let good logic get in the way of the opportunity for a great racing experience that could easily go wrong (case in point, many of the bike races I took part in during college when I rolled in behind the field after racing way over my head early on). Race day started with perfect running weather in the 50's and overcast with a race field of nearly 4000 between the half and full marathon race that would start together. Both races travel on the same course up to about mile 6.5 when the the half marathon turns around and heads back towards finish. The marathon continues along the coast towards the town of Yarmouth for a short loop and then heading back down towards Portland. At the start I settled into a group of half marathoners who were running in the 5:50 range along the flat roads around Portland's Back Cove. While the pace early made sense, my mistake was in not running a few seconds quicker during the first several miles in order to put myself into the main pack of marathon leaders (including my training buddies) as well as a half dozen half marathons. While this didn't seem like a problem early on, at the turnaround point of the half marathon, the roads suddenly opened up and I was running solo with no one to be seen! The leaders had opened up a gap of probably 90 seconds at this point which was enough to be out of sight on the winding roads of Route 88 heading through Falmouth towards Yarmouth. The course was beautiful, the weather was perfect, the fans were lining the course with lots of music being played...really no excuse not to run fast, but I continued to play is safe thinking there would be a moment when suddenly I'd hit a wall. In the meantime, the leaders started to pull away (which I found out later looking at splits) while I ran along conservatively waiting for something to happen. Instead, I slowly slipped off the pace a bit from what I'd hoped to run, but I'd attribute it in a small amount to physically breaking down over time (doesn't surprise me as it's a marathon) but more so to mentally just not "getting after it!"

Spencer, Marc, Michelle, me, Jorma post race..."spiked and psyched"

Regardless of the outcome I'm glad I went ahead and raced the whole marathon and I think I learned a good lesson realizing I'd like to treat my next marathon more as a race as opposed to a practice in pacing. That being said, I'm happy to have run 2:39 on very nearly even splits (1:19/1:20 and change), and as a results my legs seem to be bouncing back much more quickly than I expected. There will be many more races in the future to go into kamikaze mode, so I'll save those efforts for another day.

I should recognize my training partners Spencer and Chris who were far more brave in their race tactics and pushed the pace early, resulting in 1st (Spencer, 2:31) and 3rd (Chris 2:37) place finishes and being rewarded with some nice paychecks for their efforts! Also Michelle came out to do a progression workout in the half marathon and did an "easy" 1:18 half, crazy!

For the training nerds out there (I include myself in this) I'm happy to share my weekly mileages over the 10-12 weeks that I ran before the marathon since moving to Maine as I know I learned a lot from others experiences in racing and training as well. Realistically, most of July was spent running sporadically, and riding my mountain bike a couple times a week, but it all adds up, right? Also, feel free to take a look at the Strava effort from the race if you're one who likes to follow that as well.

I hope your fall is off to a great start and you're reaping the benefits of a productive summer of training. I'll be making it a point to update the blog more frequently. Although I don't have any immediate races in the future, there are plenty of great things to enjoy this time of year, or perhaps you're even starting to plan for your years goal races. But before that, a big good luck to the Blue Mountain Endurance athletes and friends taking on IM Hawaii this weekend (too many to list), we'll be pulling for your from wherever we are on Saturday!

As always thanks to the supporters of BME, especially Hammer Nutrition and Brooks running.

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