When we dragged ourselves out of bed in the wee small hours it was definitely nippy, but it proved to be a gorgeous day with blue cloudless skies, and crisp clear air...a most exquisite early fall Saturday in Maine.
Much of the day turned out as planned (or better). We arrived at the starting line appropriately equipped and on time for the horn (barely, in my case, but it meant I could skip the pit stop later). The Nanas managed navigation and timing such that they met us each at several points on the course (including the crucial first stop where they handed us our camelbaks), didn't lose or damage either of the kids, and got everyone back to the Y in time to see us finish. Mum even got some pictures. Here I am swooping in for a hug from Jeremy at the top of Eagle Lake.
I only paused long enough to get my headphones tangled up and to correct Mum when she mistakenly estimated that Alan would be back at the top of the lake in approximately 8 minutes. We were four minutes apart at that point so her calculation would have him doing 6 miles in about 12 minutes. Um...no. [It turns out, he had been trying to help her determine how far behind him I would eventually be, but no matter.] Here's Alan having completed said circuit (a reasonable amount of time later).
|Alan just after mile 10|
Alan--considering this just another training run, and part of his taper at that--had planned to take it fairly slow ("but not shingles slow" because that would just be embarrassing). His final time was 2:33:02, a new PR for him (compared to 2:46:59 last year, and 2:47:57 at Big Lake). He wasn't actually complaining about the finisher's "prize" when this picture was taken, but it does look that way, and the caption expresses our general feelings on the matter.
|A freakin' TRAVEL MUG??!! Where's my #@&#% medal?!?!|
I knew I'd be faster than last year, but didn't think I'd be in a position to beat my time from May, so I was shooting for 2:50:00 and was going to be happy as long as I was under 3 hours. This is me feeling pretty darn good about my own PR of 2:43:17 (compared to Big Lake's 2:47:56 and last year's sad, slow, shingly 3:13:13).
|Nancy triumphant! (and ready for a shower!)|
Here we are with our support crew and Emilie-the-Great, who looks like a rock star and ran like one, too. Note that SHE has a medal....
Medals vs Mugs
After polling registrants a couple months back as to whether we'd like an engraved travel mug in place of a medal, the race organizers decided to offer a choice of a mug or a medal. That sounds reasonable, but unfortunately they grossly miscalculated how many people would want the hardware and so RAN OUT OF MEDALS by the time the back-of-the-packers arrived (you know, the people who are less likely to have an excess of race bling and more likely to care about it). While I wish I had a medal, I really wish the organizers had been gutsier about the whole thing. They should have picked one item, made it a quality item, and presented it with style. The finisher's prize is a mug? OK, then make it a darned nice mug, put a ribbon on the handle and hang it around my neck. I'm serious! And make sure it says that I completed the race, instead of looking like something anyone could buy at a fundraiser and using it to advertise the store that sponsored them. While I applaud efforts to be unique and interesting, this did not cut it. I hope very much not ever again to bust my butt for 13.1 miles to be handed [I am not exaggerating here] A WHITE CARDBOARD BOX that says "MADE IN CHINA". Unless I'm in China, in which case that last part would be fine. But there better be something cool inside.
Other races have truly unique prizes:
- The Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon medal has a removable ribbon, a giant refrigerator magnet on the back and is shaped like a surfboard with a shark bite taken out of it that doubles as a bottle opener.
- There are companies like this one devoted to creating unique medals.
- And, it doesn't even have to be a medal. Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival gives out cowbells and I heard of another race that gives out small pieces of granite on a ribbon [hello? pink granite would represent Acadia nicely.]
Afterward, we drove around aimlessly for a bit hoping to find a shady spot with picnic tables, then gave up and headed back into Bar Harbor where our minivan circled like a giant silver vulture looking for a parking space. Finally, we landed on the green (conveniently near the public restrooms) and enjoyed a lovely picnic. We stuffed our faces, watched the boats in the harbor and even had a visit from a very friendly and trusting little bird that was like something out of a partially-animated, G-rated movie.
|"Feed the birds...tuppence a bag..."|
|It even agreed to be passed around...|
|...and pecked at Alan's ankle...|
|...and Madeline's sparkly nailpolish.|
So a good day was had by all and at this point all I had to do was figure out how to get up off the grass.
Oh yeah, and run a 5k the next morning.