As I look back on an awesome year of racing, I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to run in some of the most beautiful parts of the world. Some of my favorites were the Tokyo Marathon, The Miami Marathon, The Big Sur Marathon, The Toronto Goodlife Fitness Marathon, and the Great Cranberry Island 50K. I feel like each of those races deserves a proper blog post with photos, so I’ll post about some of them in the next few weeks in reverse chronological order.
My next three big races are the Sea Wheeze (aka the Lululemon Half Marathon) this weekend in Vancouver, the Beast of Burden Summer 100, and the Ragnar Relay Washington, DC. I’m pretty nervous about the 100-miler. Who goes out and runs 100 miles for fun? I feel mentally prepared but I feel like my body (namely my feet) may betray me. The longest I’ve ever run is 76.1 miles in 24 hours for the Stroehmann Back on my Feet 20in24 race, and I’ve done some other ultras since then. In the meantime, I am looking forward to spending this weekend with my west coast friend (and sorority sister) Amy, just being girly and geeking out to the plethora of Lululemon Athletica products that will surely be waiting for us at the expo. Oh, and the inevitable foodie-ing before and after the race shall be epic.
Here goes my first race recap:
Marathon #27 (Ultra #7): The Great Cranberry Island 50K—Cranberry Isles, Maine (Part 1)
Getting to the starting line of this race was a special journey. It all started with my friend Jackie, who ran this race last year on the same day my friends Steve, Michelle and I ran the 20in24 Lone Ranger race. She had rented a house with some other members of the Marathon Maniacs club on this remote island off the coast of Mount Desert Island and took the most spectacular jumping photos. She also mentioned that there was a whole boiled lobster and a belt buckle for every finisher. I was sold.
The 2012 edition of the race held a lottery because of its growing popularity—I entered the lottery in December and was informed in February that I was in. Hooray! I knew this was going to be unlike any other race I’ve run. The only thing nagging me was that I had monster back-to-back weekends of racing ultras. I had to do the 24-hour race in Philly again (with the goal of running 59 miles) and then bookend that with an additional 31 miles on a hilly, out-and-back course seven days later. Yes, I am young and foolish. I somehow convinced myself that was a good idea. I managed to finish 59.1 miles in 17:24 for the 20in24 race on 7/14/12, and bowed out early due to aching metatarsals that changed my running form. I had to save my feet for the 50K, and it turned out to be a good decision.
Jackie and her friend Caitlin showed up at the crack of dawn to pick up myself and Becky from Becky’s apartment. It is a 9-hour drive from NYC to Bar Harbor, ME, but we stopped for lobster rolls in Portland, ME. Eating good food was our top priority and it was definitely worth the hour we stopped. I had the biggest lobster roll of my life from Fisherman’s Grill. It looked like a typical crab shack but had nearly perfect reviews on Yelp. We were not disappointed. I got the combo, which included the roll and a delicious, creamy bowl of clam chowder. Now I know why this place is featured in Adam Richman’s book (of Man vs. Food fame)!
This is why I run.
Next, we stopped at Cranberry Island Kitchen for some yummy whoopee pies, lobster cookies, and Moxie soda. I liked the lemon flavored whoopee with lime crème filling.
Our next stop was Acadia National Park, which I was super excited about. We took many, many jumping pictures.
We also got to see a mock-up of the Great Cranberry Island 2-mile road where we’d be running back and forth 16 times.
Our group met up with Paul, Talisa, Steven and Benny, and we dipped our feet in the ice-cold Atlantic Ocean at Sand Beach (yes, original name, I know). We did the 20-mile drive, including a stop at Cadillac Mountain to watch the late afternoon sunlight fade. We had dinner at West Street Café in Bar Harbor—I had the spicy pasta puttanesca with shrimp, lobster bisque, and blueberry soda!
We rented the Red House on Great Cranberry Island. There are no hotels nor bed and breakfasts on the island, so some locals rent out their houses for the summer season. There was also rustic camping but since I am a buffet for mosquitoes, I was glad not to be camping out. The entire island is only two miles long by one mile wide, and it is a special place where all the locals know each other. There is no police department and no hospital, just a volunteer fire department, one gift shop, a general store and two cafes. Imagine that!! On the morning of the race, Benny and I got up early to walk around and picked up our race packets. We met up in the morning with some of our house mates, including Dave, Amanda, and Pascal. We saw the welcome banner hanging over the dock and grabbed breakfast sandwiches at the Great Cranberry General Store. The race packets were awesome, including a Nike gray tech shirt, our lobster dinner tickets, and personalized race bibs. We also got a glimpse of the beautiful lobster claw medal we would be running for! Stay tuned for part two…
Wow we’re really here!