This year, we scheduled it to coincide with the Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon in Portland, Maine. A trip to New England and a half marathon with my mother? What could be better?
|My mom's a badass. She started running when she was 51 and has done a marathon and a bunch of half marathons. Including one with a broken arm in a sling. BAD. ASS.|
Race morning! Up at 5:30 after a mostly-decent night's sleep. Coffee provided by our gracious hostess Martha, Mom had a PB&J sandwich on a hot dog bun (hey, I guess if it works...), I had two hard boiled eggs, leftover roasted cauliflower and carrots, a handful of almonds and half a sweet potato. Got dressed, messed around with water bottles and snacks, and out the door by 6:20 or so.
It was a quick drive down to the starting line at the Ocean Gateway Terminal, and parking was free, close by, and super easy. Yay! Huge plus for this race. I did hear traffic got worse a little later in the morning, but we parked like rockstars.
Check-in had been available the previous two days at a local running store, but only from 4-7 Friday and 10-2 Saturday (too bad, we would have loved to check in Saturday late afternoon). But race day check-in was easy and efficient, and the lines moved fast -- even the line for the (very civilized, indoor) bathroom! There were also several dozen porta-potties and the line for those also seemed to move well.
The view from the starting line was pretty awesome.
|Tugboats to the west...|
|... rising sun and piers to the east.|
|Colorful, well shaded, well organized starting line.|
Pretty soon, though, we were climbing the Western Promenade and taking in the awesome views and water and Gatorade at the well-staffed water stop.
|Great day for a run!|
The next leg of the run climbs up to the Eastern Promenade, one of the most scenic parts of Portland. We tried a little more running, but eventually settled into a good steady walk. After a great first 4 miles, it was clear that it wasn't Mom's day to run a great half marathon.
|Still felt pretty good, though. Dig the sharp INKnBURN gear!|
Oh, hey, did I mention that Old Port provides race photos for FREE? Another BIG plus for this race!
|We tried hard not to violate the speed limit.|
The views weren't bad here either.
|You don't see a fully rigged schooner every day.|
|Most of it looked like this...|
|... though we also passed the baked bean factory!|
Instead of climbing back up to Eastern Promenade, the return route goes along a railroad grade at sea level. A nice flat finish! We broke into a jog as we approached the finish area, and finished together with a time of 3:20. Not bad for a splendid 4 mile run and a leisurely 9 mile cool down!
The post-race party was a good one. Lots of pizza, two (pretty good) beers per finisher, coconut water, Kind bars. There was ice cream, but only banana flavor when we got there... meh. Live music, cool age group awards (boat buoys), and a really nice finisher's medal. Oh, the race shirt was pretty cool as well.
|Good color, good fit. $12 extra -- good if you don't need another race shirt|
Would I do this race again? If I were guaranteed a cool, overcast day, I'd do it for sure. The scenery was great, the support was good, the shirt and medal were great, and it was fun. Plus, I love having an excuse to visit Portland, which is a great city. But after this and the Minnesota Half Marathon, I'm thinking maybe half marathons in July are asking for trouble, for runners who don't love the heat. Maybe I'll stick with shorter runs or trail runs in the woods during summer months next year.
It was great to run with my mom. All the races we've done together have been really special, and it's always a joy to run with her. As someone who came late to the running party, she runs with a special joy in every step. It's great to share that energy. I hope we can do another one soon. Maybe the Polar Dash would be cool enough?