Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Beach2Beacon 10K

Saturday was the running of Maine's biggest road race. (I think I have that fact correct.....) This 10K was created 13 years ago by Joan Benoit Samuelson. She grew up in my hometown and was even coached by the same man that coached me in HS Cross Country! (Just a cool little fact.) Joanie's vision for this race has come true and it now draws elite athletes from around the world. The race is a point to point race that starts on a road by the beach I grew up Lifeguarding at and ends at Fort Williams Park, the site of the most photographed lighthouse in the country. It's a beautiful venue. The allure of this beautiful race has caused it to grow and grow and this year they capped the entries at 6500. We used to mail in paper registration forms but now we sit by our computers at 8:00 March 12th and pray we can click fast enough to get in before they are full 27 minutes later.
Mark and Jeff, my husband and brother, are STreakers. They have run in every single Beach2Beacon. They get automatic entries. I took a few years off when I was pregnant and post-Ironman. (I learned this year that that is in fact, no excuse.)

Friday night we moved back to Camp for the weekend. This weekend was different on our little island however. It was a family reunion for Mark's family. The population on Lindsay Island swelled to over 50 by Saturday. So on Friday, we arrived to find a handful of cousins and Aunts we hadn't seen all summer. Mark and I were disciplined that night however, and headed to bed nice and early with the kids so we would be ready for action nice and early Saturday.

4:30 a.m. I was up, brewing coffee, and diving into the lake. I did a short warm up swim just to get the blood flowing. I felt great. We were absolutely blessed by Mother nature because the heat and humidity FINALLY broke and we had crisp and Cool air that day!!! It was wonderful. And, unprecedented for B2B!

By 5:40 a.m. we were crossing the lake in our party boat with the whole gang. We hurried into town to meet my parents and my brother. My parents are true race day rockstars (and have been since I was 8, I must add) and took all 6 kids in 2 cars across town to watch us finish the race. ( the other 3 are my brother's kids.) They've been doing that since the kids were born. You can imagine the various stages they've had to deal with....assembling baby joggers, carrrying and changing diapers, feeding baby food, runaway toddlers....oh yes...they've earned their own medals in this event!!
But this year, all 6 kids are rather self - sufficient. Still wild, but at least they can walk the distance without much ado ( you have to park far away from finish ) , they can even carry their own snacks, and understand, "you need to wait." about whatever the issue is. ( I hope it was that easy at least?? Thanks MOM and DAD!!!)

We drove to the start and unloaded ourselves into the masses. It's hard to describe the scene but somehow I managed to see most of my friends that were there. I stuck to Mark's side and we corralled ourselves in between the 6-6:30 pace area. By the time the start was minutes away, a handful of my Tri Friends were all in the same spot. Mark, Ange, Mike, Tim, Bob, Jeff, Josh, Ann, Carrie, Rob, Mary... and more. It was fun. ( I didn't see Mary at the start but I know she was in that mess somewhere.)

I was feeling good and really pumped up. I was determined to go fast. I wanted a good race. There was no need or excuse for anything otherwise. My husband is a fast runner. He is a natural. He doesn't train much at all. Maybe 2-3 x / week on a Good week! There is no structure. No plan. He just runs. I started him in on road races when we were first together and back then, I beat him. Now, I can't. I crush him in triathlons but road races..it's all him.
He has broken 40 a few times. I really really want to break 40 someday. My PR before last week was 41:30. I ran a 42:30? in a 10K in July. I hoped to get near my PR this past week.
My plan was to just Stay with Mark. I would turn myself inside out if I had to but I would just stay on his feet. I could do it.
I grew up on these roads. I know that course like the back of my hand. I know where certain houses are. I know who lives where. I know who I'll see at each intersection. I don't even need to look at my Garmin for the mile markers. I know where they are like you know your training routes.

The national anthem played. The crowds moved forward. The gun blasted.
We weaved in and around the crowds. People were moving fast but there's just no clean road for the first few miles. I was with Mark. We were running side by side and it was comfortable.
mile 1 6:14
Keep going. Find your groove. I felt total control. I wasn't pushing too hard. I was working but my body could handle it. Who was behind me? How close? I had to push harder.
Mile 2 I didn't look at my split. I had glanced at my watch and knew I was holding pace.
We were in town now and Mark surged ahead to get under a hose. He gained ~5 steps on me. And that was it. He wasn't going to slow down and I could NOT get back to him. He did it for the hose, not to loose me, but that's all it took. Ok fine. Just keep him in your sights. He's 6'3" so I can do that easily!!
I ran by Shore Acres and heard the greatest sound. CHRIS!!! My BFF from growing up (friends since age 6) was home from Chicago and she was out there cheering!!! Yay !!! I smiled and waved and in my head I wished her a Happy 40th Birthday!!! I wish I had had the oxygen to yell that too but I thought it Chris! So happy to see her and her little baby in her arms! I smiled for a while after that.

Mile 3 and into the center of Cape.
Time for a little chat Ange. you're half way. 3 miles to go. How hard can 3 miles be?? You did two Ironmans! You can run HARD for 3 miles!!! So stop feeling any pain and just GO !!! Just run run run! Turn over the feet. Push back. PUsh. You won't be any less tired if you slow down a bit.

Mile 4 Ok..two miles. I remembered Rev3 and the point of that dreadful run at which I had 2 miles. This was much easier than that race. MUCH! TWO MEASLEY MILES! Seriously...two miles! Two loops around the block! PUsh hard. Push back and dig in. Don't take baby steps. Run like you mean it! Run like you want to Get somewhere!

I am not sure if it was during this mile or the next one, but around this point I heard, "Hey Sis!" WTH!!!!!!!! Ok, I know he has been dying to do that for several years since I did it to him at about the same spot a few yrs ago. I gave him that 'not so welcome' "Hey bro!" But I must say, this year, it SHOCKED ME! And totally Impressed me! This is my little brother that just did an Ironman 2 weeks ago!!! How on earth were his legs moving that fast??? Impressed doesnt' begin to express how I felt. Go Jeff...you are ROcking this year!!!

That's ok.. I just kept pushing. No need for anyone else to pass me. SO keep running hard!!!

I periodically looked at my garmin to see my current pace. It was alwasy right down there where I wanted it. I lost all ability to do math and figure out if I was on track for a PR or even, a sub 40? nahhh....

Mile 5 The hills. This course isn't very hilly. There are a few little bumps along mile 3 but until mile 5, it's faily mellow. Mile 5 however, has a few decent climbs. Just enough to kill your quads and your pace. That's ok...just go. You are so close.

This is where we start to see even more spectators as we get closer to the park where it ifinishes. ( but this course is very cool in that there are people lining the streets the entire way. They blast music, give out water, spray hoses, wave signs...the town gets into it!)

Up over the hills.. I'm dying now. I heard recognizable voices hollering for me and saw a few faces as I ran by. Thanks Roger! Alina! Mrs. Patton! I knew my family was on the same corner as every year but I missed them! I heard my name however and they did see me. I love smiling at the boys each year though..sorry kids!

At this point, I'm almost out of my mind. I was running harder than I had ever run. The course rounds a corner and gives you the illusion of being a quick run down the finish line. But NO! Hahaha!! we Tricked you! You aren't even at mile 6!

I rounded that corner and saw my watch. 38:38. I wasn't sure how far I had left. I just knew, I was close. And then I heard a most familar voice, my buddy Mike, "Kick it Ange!!"
Oh man! Ok...here goes! I cranked into that one last gear. Mike said Kick it and I knew he was doing just that right behind me.

I ran so hard, things were blurry. And then, the funniest thing happened, I was about 15 yards from the line and my legs turned into total rubber. they were bending in and out in distorted angles and I am serious, I almost went down. My knees buckled and I caught myself at hte last second. I even chuckled. I've never had that happen.

I crossed the line and dropped to my hands and knees. I was fine. Just needed to really stop. Two arms were on me in a second. One was a medical helper and the other was Mike. He's alwasy there... thanks Mike! I was fine.

Finishing time?

50 seconds off my PR. I was PSYCHED!!!!!!!!!! No sub 40 this year but that is OK! I broke my PR by a ton and I feel awesome about that. Mark was 39:45 and JEff was 40:09. Amazing. Mike was a short 2 seconds behind me and another friend Tim just a few more behind him. Within minutes, all my Tri friends were flying over the line. We all huddled around chatting and hugging and just doing what we always do post-race. Of course, we were shuttled away within a few minutes but that's what I love about my tri peeps...everyone's so friendly and supportive.

On the way home I checked the splits on my Garmin. I checked them over and over because something didn't seem right.
6:58 (the hills...)

I was even MORE excited that I kept my pace so steady.

I don't know exactly where my head has been all summer. Sometimes it's been focused and postive and other times, not so much.

Sometimes all it takes is one race to get things back on track.
After this race, something clicked inside me again. I think it was a small validation that I am still where I need to be. I am ready and strong. I can head to my 70.3 next week with my head held high and know I am in the right frame of mind for a great race.

I ended up winning my age group/391 and
I was 391/ 6500 overall. I never thougth I'd say anything like that at Beach2Beacon so I'm feeling really happy with that race.

We rushed back to the island for a big family party. Lots of food, drink, waterskiing, swimming, singing and chatting. The next day I woke up, had breakfast with the family, procrastinated a bit, and then drove the boat over for my 16.5 mile run. OUCH!

Time to hit Lake Winnepesauki for the big final hoorah of the summer.

You can see my brother back in the crowd of men chasing me...he's in a white shirt/blond hair...getting ready to make his move!


FFigawi said...

Congrats on a great run! I knew exactly where you were all the way along by the description of the landmarks. I really need to run this some year.

cheryl said...

that's awesome Ange! congrats!

Kim said...

awesome job ange! and i love that photo - you are the only woman in that throng of men. congrats on a huge PR!

Beth said...

Congrats on an awesome race and HUGE PR!! YEAH!! I think that is so darn cool that you had the same HS coach as Joanie!! Oh, and your mile splits - WOW! Nobody can ever accuse you of not being even. ;)

Mary IronMatron said...

Awesome splits! That last mile is a real pace crusher... You are amazing. Killer race, ange. Congrats!!! Can't wait to witness you crush it at timberman!

Jennifer Harrison said...

HA - love the consistency indeed! Way to PR, Ange. You have been working hard for things to come together and the timing (10k) before is great...next up: Timberman!

rungirl said...

Nice Job Ange! Are you doing the half at Timberman?

TriGirl Kate O said...

I think that since the clock didn't say 41 you totally nailed a 40min 10k! Way to go.

Swimming for ME said...

I guess you kicked the Smurfs butts!
Nice job Ange!!