To my dear run-nerd readers, you will get your fix midway and endwise. So scroll if you will. Or, humor me as I pine for Maine, family, and gluttony.
Getting back from four days in mid-coastal Maine and immediately being plunged into traffic on I-90 was a really jarring transition. On Saturday it took me 7 minutes to get checked in and through security at the Portland airport. It took me an hour and 15 minutes to get from O’Hare to my house. Which is, like, 8 miles or something.
Another jarring transition was the following statistic that I just made up (or rather, experienced); whilst in Maine I ran 30 miles, and within all that time and all those miles I did not hear a single insulting, rude, frustrated, or otherwise misinformed or anxiety driven comment directed either at myself or a fellow outdoors/endurance sport enthusiast. Back in Chicago it took exactly 2.34 miles (I checked on my Garmin).
A less than 10% take home.
I love the lakefront path, but people really can be mindless.
I digress. I want to share an amazing mini-vacation with you all. I admit that I didn’t take many pictures. My brother was there, and he’s an actual photographer, which was a really awesome excuse to be a) lazy and b) well, there is no “b”, actually.
That said, nearly all that follows were shot from my iphone.
I headed to Maine last week to meet up with my family. We are all Mainiacs to some degree or another. My folks grew up together (I know, yeuch.) When my brother and I were still sprouts we moved to New Hampshire which is were I grew up and also went to college. We spent many a weekend and holiday in Maine, and a large contingent of our extended family still live there.
I find it painful to think, now, after this first trip in 7 years, outside of a funeral, to Maine, that I worked so very hard to get away from New Hampshire, when I could have just moved a few hours north, to Eden. Le. Sigh…
And now, a second digression:
My father picked me up from the Portland, ME airport on Tuesday morning (6/3) and though we had a family reunion to get to, there are certain traditions that must be upheld. mmmm Freeport.
After some spectacular blueberry beer (of which I had many over my mini-fam-run-cation), sweet potato fries, a giant lobster roll, and chatting with the bar tender at Linda Beans, we met up with the rest of our immediate family, fished my nephew out from underneath the cabin, and meandered over to my aunt and uncle’s amazing coastal cottage. (check out the link, they own a couple of properties, and I have enough local ties that I am already planning – in my head – a runners retreat for next summer!)
Then there was that weird sort of “catching up” that can only happen with cousins and other extended family members, where even though you haven’t seen each other for months, years, or longer, you immediately start joking and jibing. It’s the best.
This was mixed with some Lobster Ale, which was really quite good. This one of only 3 or so photos my brother is in. He’s usually climbing boat bows and sterns, or otherwise dangling, crouching, and contortioning to take the photos, rather than be a slob like me and just strike a pose.
While we chatted, the kiddo’s got the lesson in Lobsterology that has been handed down through the generations.
And that was followed by Pilaf. And lobster, and all kinds of other food.
After food there was a little it of smack talk about the 5k coming up the next morning to kick off the 4th of July.
I had been planning to go gangbusters on that race for months. I maybe (ok, totally), have held a teensy grudge against my darling favorite uncle who out-kicked me in a 10k in 2006.
It was a great 5k, the weather was cool and drizzly, and a good looking tall dark man, in a collegiate shirt that I didn’t understand, paced me from the start to mile 2.80, via happenstance. I hate to admit how motivating that can be. He was a good sport and at the 2.80 gave me a little “go get em” and I surged ahead and finished, reaching my summer running goal of breaking the 20 minute barrier!
Even better, all 5 of us that ran representing the family tree… PR’ed!
I love watching people I love finish races. It will never get old.
We’re already planning a reunion race in November, you just can’t waste that kind of energy!
Also, this happened (quoted from villagesoup.com -Camden Herald and Courier Gazzette … not really sure how to credit this, the by-line says “staff”):
“The first female finisher was Annabelle Winters, 30, of Chicago, Ill., who crossed the course in 19:51. That bettered the previous fastest time by a woman on the 5K course of 20:19, set in 2006, said Snow.”
My goal 5k races for the Summer were planned to be the Bastille Day 5k/8k, this Thursday, and the Bucktown 5k, in September. But it feels really good to have a sub-20 in the bag, because although it’s been a goal for the past year, and I have talked about it a lot, and trained for it, I wasn’t totally confident that I could really do it.
Shockingly, as cool as it feels to be able to say I hold a course record, even if it was in a race of only 188 adult runners, this wasn’t the best part of my trip. The highlights were the moments of play with my nephew, when we swan in a lake, went on some boats, modified a few yoga stretches, and played on a swing.
Later on, on the 4th, my father, brother, runner-uncle, and my fathers 3 cousins went for a motorcycle ride where we went to the lighthouse from the Forrest Gump movie (the bit where he runs across the country).
And then we stopped again to eat 6 plates of fried clams and have some more blueberry beer at a bar where they keep the lobsters in a tub.
On the 5th I ran a 10 miler with my Uncle Paul and cousin Beth, pictured below during a trip to Florida in 1995. Kate (right) and her husband ran the 5k with us, they don’t know it yet, but I am pretty sure we’ll all be running a marathon together next year (hi guys!).
Yes, I took a picture of a picture so I could burn it into the internet forever.
I got in another 10 miles on the 6th, and the rest of that day looked like this, more or less:
On the 7th (Saturday) I got in 4 miles before heading to Portland to fly back to Chicago. Once I landed I realized that it felt less like I’d been running while away, and more like I’d been hammering away on a stairmaster.
I don’t run with any technology other than my Garmin (except for the rare mid-day solo long run when I listen to audio books via iPod), so I didn’t take any pictures of the terrain other than this:
As I mentioned at the start of this post, the transition back to city life has been a bit jarring. 12 miles into my long run of 16 on Sunday I jumped into Lake Michigan at ladder #3. Not the most scenic part of the lakeshore, but I was instantly recovered and at peace again. That is until I had to put my shoes back on faster than an Ironman champ and sprint off before the frustrated lifeguard caught up with me. The water was choppy and they’d cleared swimmers out.
In other running news I hit an all-time weekly mileage high last week of 51 miles.
My plan is to peak this marathon training cycle at about 65 miles a week. This way I can make 60-65 miles my weekly average when training for the Boston Marathon in 2013.
That said, I made today an imprompu rest day because between all those hills in Maine, 7 days in a row of running, and a harder than planned leg workout at the gym yesterday, I felt more motivated to drink beer and blog tonight, than I did to run my scheduled 12 miler.
Consider that a success (apologies for typos).
That’s the other hard transition, it is no longer appropriate to grab a beer whenever I feel the whim, although I did slug a nice IPA immediately post run last night (Monday).
Anyone else running Bastille Day this Thursday? Some friends and I are planning a meet up after, it would be great to see some virtual friends there too!