Thursday, October 21, 2010

MDI Marathon Relay

Sometime over the summer, while super pregnant and not running, I thought it would be a good idea to sign up for the MDI Marathon Relay. I called my friend Kate and asked if she wanted to do the 2 person relay with me meaning we would each run 13.1 miles. After a few weeks of thinking about it, I decided I may not be ready for 13.1 miles 12 weeks after delivering my baby boy. I called her in a panic wondering if she could find another runner and do the 3 person relay. She recruited her cousin Jen and we registered!

Attending MDI High School and growing up in the area, I knew it was a difficult and hilly course. In the weeks leading up to the race I started to freak out a little. Was I really up for this? Was I trying to do too much too soon?? At this point it was really too late and I just needed to do it.

I spent the first 2 days fielding questions about Train 4 Autism at the expo.

At the expo I got to meet some DM people Jamie, Jill, Jim and his wife Patti. That was pretty sweet. I went home Saturday night and had to switch gears from train 4 autism to race mode. Of course my 3 month old is just starting to teeth and he was not having a good night. I was pretty concerned about getting enough sleep that night. I was finally able to get Tyler to bed and I laid in bed staring at the ceiling. It was one of those things where I was so tired but could not sleep. Awesome. While laying there though, I remembered I hadn’t done my football picks yet and certainly wouldn’t have time in the morning to do them so I got up to make my picks (not like it really matters because I missed a week and so I’m not going to win…booo). I got back into bed and visualized myself powering up the hills I was going to be running the following day.

Race Day. My alarm went off at 5:00am. I was surprisingly wide awake and ready for the day. I got myself ready, exchanged a few tweets with Jaime, got Tyler ready and hurried my slow family out the door. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s rushing to the start line. I like to have plenty of time to get there.

Heading onto the island race morning.

Team Project Zach. Kate Jen and I before the start. Brrrrr

My brother Zach and I

I ran into Jim and Patti and then we found Jill. Patti was able to snap this gem of a photo before we all lined up.

I stood next to Jill who flew in from Montana for this race. I asked her why she picked MDI and she said that since it was the runner up for the best overall marathon, she had to check it out! She also said she wants to come back and run
Beach 2 Beacon and I told her this was a very good idea (Jill—registering for B2B is like registering for Boston 2011. You must be at the computer the minute it opens!!!). The star spangled banner was played (Danielle, I still thought of you!) and then ACDC’s Thunderstruck was played over the loud speaker. Everyone was getting pumped and jumping up and down (I was doing it just to stay warm. Did I mention it was cold?!). With that, the gun went off and so were we!

My teammate Kate who is running NYC in 3 weeks wanted to get a long run in so she ran my leg with me before running hers. I have never been one that enjoys running with other people. I like to be able to just focus on my run and not worry about holding my running partner up. Even though Kate is a faster runner then I am she hung with me and never left…well except when she had to pee. I’m pretty sure that without Kate with me that day I would not have done as well as I did. MDI is known to be a tough course. It’s got some killer hills and I knew that it wasn’t going to be long before they came. I don’t actually remember where the hills started but I felt as if I was running up hill for a long time. The one I was most proud of for conquering was the long hill that took up much of mile 2. Yea, that was not so much fun. It was while I was running up this hill that I was super pumped that I was only running 8.5 miles and not the whole thing. I think it was also at this time that I swore I would never run the MDI full. I was feeling great and during miles 4&5 and I even sang to Kate. Yea, you read that right. Glee came on to my ipod (I know Danielle and Jeri will love this) and I couldn’t help but sing. Outloud. Kate loved it…I’m not so sure the other runners around me did. Oops:-)

Somewhere around mile 6 I was feeling like I wanted to stop and walk but then I saw our cheering squad (My mom, dad, brother and son along with Kate’s mom, aunt and cousin Jen) at the top of the hill and I knew I couldn’t stop. Kate stopped in to use the bathroom at her friend’s house (advantages of being a local) and I kept going. When Kate caught back up to me I remember telling her how good I was feeling. I seriously couldn’t believe my legs. 4 weeks prior I had “run” a 10k on a very flat course and I struggled with it…a lot! Here we were at the 10k mark of the MDI Marathon and I felt awesome. Go figure. The next 2 miles I we didn’t talk much (might have had something to do with the fact I sang for 2 miles earlier…I was getting tired) but I just took in the scenery. Even though I grew up here, the views were just breathtaking. I really wish I had my camera. There was one point on Cooksey Drive where we came around a corner and looked over a cliff and out to the ocean. It was just amazing. I am a little disappointed though that Martha Stewart was not at the bottom of her driveway with cupcakes cheering for us when we ran by. Fail Martha Fail!

There were a lot of killer up hills but there were some awesome your quads will hate you for life down hills too. I had the pleasure of ending my leg with a nasty downhill. We came into Seal Cover beach at the 8.5 mile mark. This is where my leg ended and Kate’s began. She had the next 10.1 miles.

We jumped in the car and drove to Northeast Harbor where we watched Kate run by. Damn she looked good for being on her 12th mile. We had a pit stop at Kate’s parents house before heading to the exchange for the 3rd leg. It was here I got to see Jill and Jim run by! I also saw my friend from high school Emma fly through here. Kate came in and picked up Jen and the 2 of them continued on.

We ended up picking Kate up 2 miles later. I saw Jim and Emma run by again and I gave them my best cheer! The last 5 miles or so of this course is pretty much up hill. No joke. Why do you think I picked the first leg?? I’m no dummy. I knew that runners were going to need as much support on this stretch as they could get. I remember one guy who was walking down the last major hill of the course. He looked like he was in a lot of pain. We started cheering for him as loud as we could and gave him some words of encouragement (like there are no more hills, it's flat from here on out, 1.2 miles to the end!) He started running again and looked at us, waved and yelled "Thank you". :-). Our last stop was at mile 25 which also happened to be right where Jen lived. We parked in her driveway and waited for her and then ran the last 1.2 miles as a team. Emma drove by and gave us a nice little honk as we entered the home stretch.

Patti and Jim were waiting for us at the finish line and she got this sweet picture of us!

I had such a blast during this race. I felt great running, I enjoyed cheering on runners when they didn't think they could go any farther and it was nice to do it all in my old stomping grounds. I know that somewhere around mile 2-3 I said I would never run MDI as a full. Ok I lied. Or I already forgot about the hills. Either way, this week I signed up for the MDI Marathon 2011. I am beyond excited. It's going to take some serious training, but heck, I've got a full year to do it. I've enlisted Jamie to help me with a training plan (did I mention he BQ and I'm going to get to watch him run in Boston along with Jill!) and I'm so pumped to make MDI my first. I grew up here and it will be pretty special for me. I already know several people who are going to be running it as well. It's going to be an epic weekend!


  1. Jamie is a bad influence! He encouraged me to sign up for the MDI full next year. I look forward to seeing how your training goes :-)

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  3. Great job Sarah, congratulations! I will see you at MDI and you will enjoy it!! It is a great place for your first marathon! I know I am glad it was my first :)


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