Maine Half Marathon

Sunday morning was the Maine half marathon, and it was such a special race for so many reasons.

Run Rise retreat pre race

There were six of us running: Allie, Jen, Jes, Sandra, Carrie and I.  With our busy weekend, I had little time to think or worry about the race – we chatted Saturday evening over pizza and went to bed by 10pm for our 5am wake up.

We woke up to a super cold, windy morning but by the time we drove from the beach house to Portland, the wind was settling down and the sun began to peek through the clouds.

We did our warm up run with our throw away pants and sweatshirts and then left them with our Sherpas (Christine, Angela and Sarah) and lined up.

Tina Muir (elite runner and sweet blogging friend) offered to pace one of us for ten miles, which made it extra fun.  She became Allie’s pacer, with a plan to stay at or under a 7:00ish pace.

Run rise retreat racing


I saw the 3:15 marathon pacer and decided to start with them (about a 1:37 half) so that I wouldn’t go out too fast.  My ultimate goal was to break 1:36 which I haven’t done since 2012.

Allie and Tina took off, and Sandra and I started together around a 7:15-7:20 pace. I was surprised how easy the pace felt.  I’ve had heavy legs or tired quads in a lot of the races I’ve done this summer, and it was nice to feel fresh after a good tapering week.

I stayed at the 7:15 range for most of the first half.  The first two miles were flat, and then we hit some rolling hills so some miles were faster, some slower.


Run Rise Retreat race start


It was an out and back course, so each hill I ran up or down I knew I’d have to cover again.  I’d heard there was a big hill at the turn around point and I saw it as I approached.  It looked intimidating but wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected.  These NJ hills must be paying off! I also distracted myself by watching for Tina and Allie.  It was so fun to see them run by!

As I hit the turn around, I continued looking for the other girls and cheered for Jenn, Sandra, and Jes as we passed each other.  I watched for Carrie but somehow missed her.

Our Sherpa cheerleaders were also close to the halfway point.  I had my gloves in my hands waiting to see them, and tossed them as I ran so they could save them for me.  Thanks to their support, I only threw away one item (my sweatshirt) in this race!

I was not expecting to be feeling so good, so I started picking up the pace for the second half.  Miles 7-9 were in the 7:05 range and by the final three miles I held onto a 7:00 minute pace.

Those last three miles were not easy, but I reminded myself that they’re not supposed to feel easy.

Run Rise retreat mantras

I remembered the mantra I had chosen for my Momentum Jewelry bracelet and reminded myself to Believe, Endure, Achieve.

Around mile 12, I saw Tina doing the rest of her workout on the path alongside the runners.  She started encouraging me as she ran along, reminding me to stay strong.  She offered to take my arm warmers, which I had been rolling down so I tossed those.  She kept me focused on finishing with a strong, steady effort.

The final mile was the longest one, as usual.  We couldn’t see the finish line until the final turn when it was just .25 miles away and I pushed with whatever I had left.

The clock shocked me, with a 1:35 (final chip time 1:35:31).  My pr is 1:35:25 and I had no idea I was so close to my pre-baby fitness.  It was a huge confidence boost!

Run rise retreat Maine half

Allie was cheering for me as I came across the finish, and together we cheered in the rest of the girls.  Everyone ran an amazing race!! Allie got an award for first in her age group (go Allie!!), Sandra ran a solid race after a huge race the weekend before, Jenn got a new pr (woohoo!), Jes surprised herself with a great race and Carrie finished her first ever half.  I’m so proud of everyone!

And now, of course, I want to find another half and break that pr.  🙂

How do you taper for a race?

Have you had races with heavy legs and races with fresh legs?


23 thoughts on “Maine Half Marathon

  1. Wow, Laura! What a fantastic time! I have to admit, there really is nothing that feels better than achieving race time goals. That’s an awesome feeling! It’s been a long time since I ran a race for time so most of the races I’ve run recently have been with somewhat tired legs. I’m in my taper now for Marine Corps Marathon and despite a rocky summer at work that impacted my training, I’m still hoping for a small PR.
    Christine @ We Run Disney recently posted..Evolution of my Marathon RacesMy Profile

  2. The amazing thing about the race for everyone is that they went in totally ditching their usual pre race routines. I mean pizza and cake the night before a big race? But you all did so amazing! And Tina’s words advice totally hit the spot. I can’t wait to use it all in myself when I’m back up and running. Congrats on a fantastic job!!!!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..45 Minute Treadmill HikeMy Profile

  3. Congratulations on a great race, Laura! Races with heavy legs are tough. Not only that, for me, it seems to be a real mental struggle when the heavy legs don’t go away after a few miles.

    It sounds like you all had a great time at the retreat!!

    • Hmmm, maybe!! I think it will be touch with 9 miles the day before but maybe I should make the half my goal, rather than the 10k? I just pulled the course elevation map up to think it through- ha!!
      Laura recently posted..Maine Half MarathonMy Profile

  4. You rocked it!!! So exciting and I love how you powered through those last 3 miles at 7 minute pace. I truly believe having babies make women stronger, faster runners!! I see it time and time again.
    Great job!! Really impressive 🙂
    Natalie recently posted..My Shoe Dilemma!My Profile

  5. Congrats on a great race and being so close to a PR, especially when you didn’t expect to run that fast. It sounds like the whole retreat was pretty amazing and I bet running in Maine was beautiful. Powering through the last few miles of a half is a good feeling because by then so many people hit the wall.

    I don’t really taper for races because I mostly race short distances. I have a few half marathons coming up so I’d really like to learn how to taper for them.
    Amy Lauren recently posted..Weekly Rundown: Sept 28 – Oct 4My Profile

  6. Way to go! I’m in awe! 🙂 You are an amazing runner.

    Mid-may is the Maine Coast half/full marathon. It’s actually super close to where we stayed last weekend! I heard it’s super flat and fast…lots of PRs made on that course. I am eyeing up that one for sure!!!
    jen recently posted..FITfamily BOSUStrong Week! Are your ready?My Profile

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