I left my house at 4:50am on Saturday morning, as I wanted to get there in time for the start of another race on the island, the MDI YMCA Half Marathon to cheer on my buddies Ian, Emma and Erik, who I train with regularly. Upon reaching Bar Harbor, I parked way too far away and barely got there in time, but was able to find them at the starting line and wish them well. I walked up the road in hopes of seeing them run past me, and the starting gun went off. I turned around to see the entire field running in the opposite direction. Oops.
I drove up to Eagle Lake after the start to cheer them on at a couple points and a hard, driving rain began to fall. After seeing them through, I made it back to the finish line just in time to see them finish. All three did fantastic, with Ian narrowly missing his PR (which is very impressive, given the relentlessly killer hills on this course) and Emma placing third woman overall. Erik also seemed very happy with his performance, and it was a real treat to cheer them all on. Great job guys!
After the race, I went to the Blackwoods Campground to set up my MSR Missing Link. Stakes are needed to set the tent up, and I thought I had left my tent stakes at home (which were later found in my bag). I improvised with the help of a few well placed stones, and after finally getting it set up, I ducked inside and changed into some dry clothes and fell asleep.
During my two hour nap, the rain had stopped and the sound of a motorcycle woke me up, marking the arrival of Andrew. We exchanged greetings and soon after he set up his tent, Marc and Mike showed up for our afternoon run. We drove up to their hotel which was near the starting line of the marathon course. Our run began there, and we followed the hills along Route 3 for the next several miles leading back to our campsite at Blackwoods (also located just off the course). A very nice little jaunt, and it felt great to get reacquainted with the course and get to know my blog buddies better. We took some additional distance here as we ran through up the road that led to our campsite, and enjoy a cooldown walk to the tent.
Ran 6.3 miles @ 7:39/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 150/165
Upper 50s, mostly to partly cloudy.
Afterwards, we showered and hit Geddy's for some food and drinks. Great time as we continued to exchange stories and laughs. Food was great also. Also fun to watch the Red Sox beat up on the Yankees badly. Turned in early that night, only getting a few pages into my book before I clonked out.
I woke up around 9 1/2 hours later at 6am, and Andrew was already up and making tea with his new Jetboil stove. We got our running stuff ready and Mike and Marc showed up soon afterwards. Checked out at the campsite and we parked on Rt. 3 right across the street. The run began, and we picked up exactly where we left off on the course yesterday.
A few miles in I had to make a pit stop at Seal Harbor and Mike waited for me. We caught up to Andrew and Marc not far up the road where they had stashed some water.
Onwards and upwards, and downwards and upwards, downwards and upwards... repeat over and over again. This is one hilly course! It's great, I love it. What makes it even better is the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. Mountains, rugged coastline, harbor towns, thick forests, this course goes through it all. If you're having a tough stretch, all you have to do is look at your surroundings.
We reached Sargent Drive which goes along Somes Sound, the only fjord on the east coast of the U.S., where we made sure to point out to Andrew the town of Southwest Harbor across the water. You see, he loves the fact that you can see the vast expanse of water you have to run around in order to get there. It invigorates him and fills him with glee. We were happy to oblige.
We reached the tip of the fjord and the town of Somesville. Marc planned to call it a day here and had his car waiting for him at a gas station. He then very graciously drove to Mike's van to get some food and picked me up a Gatorade and drove back to our ending point.
Meanwhile, Mike, Andrew and I took on what is the most difficult section of the course, and go figure, it's at the end. You climb for around 4 miles of hills, being teased all along that you're near the top only to see another stretch of uphill just around the bend. Finally, we did indeed reach the top, and enjoyed the mile and change descent down into Southwest Harbor and stopped at the course's finish line. Soon afterwards, Marc showed up with the goodies, and drove us back to where we left our cars and we bid each other farewell.
It was really great to finally be able to meet the infamous Three Blind Moose. Thanks guys for a terrific weekend. Look forward to four weeks from now when we do it all again!
Ran 20.8 miles @ 7:58/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 147/173
Mid-40s to upper 50s, sunny.