Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Maine Half Marathon - Lobster Aunts Rock!

(Author's Note: No lobsters were harmed in the running of this half marathon....)

I arrived in Bangor, Maine late on Friday night. Cathy and her friend Norm came and picked me up. After a late night stop at Denny's for some dinner, we headed back to Cathy's place to sleep for the night.

Early the next morning, we headed out on the two hour drive to Portland, Maine to pick up our race packets. They garenteed Race Bags to the first 1500 people to pick up there packets. We thought it meant we got actual bags perhaps with the name of the event on them .... no such luck... just plastic bags with some treats...Typical Race stuff.

The race tshirt was actually a nice "Brooks" techinal Tee. Pretty Nice for a Marathon that had only a $25.00 entry fee. Are you listening Marine Corps and Baltimore Marathons,you don't need to charge us extra money for a tech tee!! (they are probably not listening...)

WIth the whole day ahead of of, Cathy and I went to Freeport, Maine about 12 miles away to do some Outlet Shopping. We were on a mission, to find something fun to wear on race day ... and we found it.

Behold ... They look like gentle, fun loving women shopping at L.L. Bean ....

But really they hide their secret running identity:
Rowen's Aunts - Lobster Girls!

Even Lobster Girls need a place to rest their legs and claws before race day.
So we checked into the "Residental Inn".
Looks kinda small doesn't it?
smallest hotel

We were very HAPPY and RELIEVED to discover the actual HOTEL was back behind the little strip mall just beyond this small building. So we settled in for a good nights sleep.

Is she a Lobster Girl or a Pirate? Both!

As has become a "G-Sisters" race tradition, we made shirts for race day. Since Heather would not be racing, due to the delivery of her first son (and our first nephew) Rowen just 3 days before, we decide that we would honor Heather's big event and bring Rowen along for the run with us, at least in spirit!!

The FRONT of the Lobster Girls Race Tee:

And the BACK!!

Since both Cathy and I have had a crazy year in our own ways, we decided that we were going to only focus on having FUN at this race. There were no magic *times* to beat and the only rule invoked was the "Nancy Toby Rule" which states *you must take advantage of any downhills in a race*.

The half marathon course followed the full marathon course to the 6.5 mile mark where the half marathoners turned around and headed back to the finish line. The course is advertised as flat for the first 4 miles with hills in miles 5-7 and then a return to flat for the finish. I think the MAINE definition of FLAT is much different from the VA definition.

I'd would call the first 4 miles WAVY.

In any case, Cathy and I made great time and were averaging 12 minute miles until we hit the big hills around Mile 4. Then we switched from following the interval beeps of my watch to simply picking spots up the road to run to. Cathy would say "Okay .. to the yellow sign just past the start of the climb" and off we would go.

As a part of the goal to HAVE FUN and apply the "Nancy Toby Rule", early on, I began yelling "WHEEE" whenever we encountered a downhill. This had 3 effects:
1.) It made us giggle.
2.) It made the runner's around us smile.
3.) It seemed to pick up our pace.

Very quickly, we made friends with two other women who were running our pace and they would listen for us on the downhills. When they heard "WHEEEE", they would say "YEAH!!!".

People LOVED the Lobster Claws and the "Rowen Rocks My Socks" shirts. We heard many "Go Aunt Holly!" and "Go Aunt Cathy!" from spectators and alot of runners asked us "Who is Rowen?" "Is he racing today too?"

All the comments and cheers gave us plenty of good vibes and engergy to cover the distance. At one point, as we passed a little boy and his Mom on the side of the road, he said "Look Mommy, Reindeer!!" ...Not QUITE but that was okay!!

Other than a gentleman with a large texas hat on (who we think ran the full marathon) we were the only people with anything "goofy" on our heads that day. There were several times that faster runners going in the other direction, saw us and smiled for a moment. That was worth it!!!

The miles flew by and Cathy and I kept talking and bargaining and picking new "spots" to run too.

Early on, before the race started, Cathy talked about how she wanted to run the last mile ... no matter how badly she felt, we just *had to run the last mile, all of it*. I didn't say much, one way or the other, I just figured if that was what she wanted, that I would find the strength to do it, somehow.

When we got to Mile 12, Cathy looked at me and said "Do you remember how I said I wanted to run ALL of the last mile?"


"I don't really care about that now....I just want to finish, why don't we just plan to run those last 2/10 of a mile when we see the 26 mile marker for the Marathon?"

You could hear my peals of laughter all the way to the finish line...

Cathy and I continued to "pick points" and run then walk to recovery all the way up to the *26 mile* sign. Then we kicked it into gear and began the final 2/10 of a mile to the finish line. As we neared the finish line and moved to the left for the "Half Marathon finishers chute" Cathy put forth the final challenge.

"At the bike (about 50 yard from the finishing mat), We SPRINT and finish STRONG, Sister!"

And that is just what we did!

Just as we crossed the finish line.

During that final sprint we heard voice yelling "Go Holly!" I looked up and there was my college buddy Dwight and his wife, Chris!! They had read I was doing the race on my Blog and drove from Manchester, NH (about 1.5 hours) to cheer us and and say Hi! It was a wonderful surprise!

Cathy and I finished in 2:54:29 according to my watch. Not too shabby for a couple of Lobster Aunts out for a day of fun on a half marathon course!

Aunt Holly and Aunt Cathy with Finisher's Medals!
finish line

With Dwight and Chris - Who came to Cheer Us On!

Life is Good!! Live STRONG!


TriFeist said...

Woohoo! That was a fun race report. Maine has a weird definition of flat. Glad to see the hills didn't steal your enthusiasm.

*jeanne* said...

What fun!!!
I loved it ALL: the special shirts, the lobster hats, the kid mistaking you for reindeer, the whee-filled downhills, the wavy "flat" course!

How great that you got to do it together and have so much fun, and still beat 3 hours! STRONG!!!



*jeanne* said...

PS- those big boot pics are GREAT! :-D

Bolder said...

Oooooo, serious L.L. Bean envy... I've always wanted to go to that store... it's open 24/7 right!

Nice job on the 1/2 Mary.

You keep doin' your thing, and livin' strong!!

kerihadley said...

i love the "nancy toby rule", how does nancy feel about it?

Holly said...

Bolder, you are correct .... 24 hours , 7 days a week of LL Bean heaven (if you happen to like LL Bean)..... I resisited getting Monogramed, just barely....LOL

surferchickHG said...

Rowen and his mommy love their Reindeers! oh i mean lobsters!