Throw Back Thursday: Beach2Beacon Race Recap 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014
Saving the Best for Last. . . For Now: Beach2Beacon Race Recap
 

  
The views of Portland Headlight, off the rocky coast of Cape Elizabeth, Maine are always stunningly breathtaking! This lighthouse is one reason for the name of my blog. Portland Headlight epitomizes my love for Maine. I feel my heart wrapped around every nook and crevice of this lighthouse that sits perched on the edge of big rocks, overlooking Casco Bay, which leads out to the vast Atlantic Ocean.

 For the third year in a row I have been lucky enough to get through registration for Beach2Beacon. Beach2Beacon is in its 17th year as one of the world’s most prestiges road races. The BEACH2BEACONwebsite has a great description of the road race and the story behind its organizer, Joan Benoit Samuelson. The registration for this 10k race takes place online in March. The first day of registration is reserved for Cape Elizabeth residents. The second day of registration opens up to the world at 7:00am Eastern standard time. I wait at my keyboard with fingers poised and credit card ready! Registration is a “race” in and of itself! Within mere seconds of registration opening, it fills to capacity in less than 5 minutes! 

Training for Beach2Beacon

 My training leading up to this year’s Beach2Beacon was a struggle. I’d been plagued with plantar fasciitis for all of March and April. May through July, I was training and even running races, but still dealing with lingering stiffness in my right foot/achilles and heel. Leading into August, I truly debated driving up to Maine for the third time this summer and running this race. I love the scenic Beach2Beacon course, but it is challenging. There are some rolling hills and then an incline in mile 5 leading to the finish line. In the end, my heart won and I made my final summer trip up to Maine for the summer to run this race. I was also excited and thankful to be running this race again with my great running friend Lisa, from LisaRunsforCupcakes

 On Friday I drove up to Maine from Maryland with my faithful and sweet golden retriever, Airiel. She was my buddy for this quick weekend trip. Hours before packet pick up at Cape Elizabeth high school, we hung out Portland Headlight. Airiel and I soaked up the warm sun, salty ocean air and gorgeous views. 

 

Airiel, my Golden, enjoying the view from Fort Williams Park

 
 Despite a line at 2:15pm at Cape high school, for the packet pick up which started at 2:30pm on Friday afternoon, the line went smoothly once the doors opened. While waiting in line for my race packet and bib, I spotted and met Jennifer from
http://www.runningwiththegirls.com It’s so much fun to meet up with fellow bloggers!

The night before the race Airiel and I headed back to the hotel to get a good night’s rest. Beach2 Beacon has an 8:10am start time for the point to point race. However, with nearly 6,000 runners, it’s imperative to get parking and then the school bus shuttles to the start line in route 77 in Cape Elizabeth. 

I prepared for my morning breakfast and hydration that night.  I really love the BeetElite crystallized beet shot powder that you mix into your water bottle! It’s a great boost of long lasting energy!

Running Beach2Beacon is a “Coming Home” race for me. It’s a race that has me running roads and scenic coastline that I grew up in and around for a good part of my life. 

Race Morning

 On race morning I arrived early, 6:00am early, at Cape Elizabeth high school to park my truck. I texted Lisa to see where she was parking. I was also lucky enough to be catching up with one of my dearest childhood friends who was running his first 10k! Surprisingly, race morning was chilly, slightly misty and overcast. I hung out in my truck with the heat on in Maine on August 2nd! I eventually caught up with Lisa and we sat in her car until deciding to catch the shuttle over to the start around 6:40am.

Lisa and I hanging out on route 77 with approximately 6,000 other runners! There were plenty of porta potties lining the start area! Beach2Beacon volunteers were also stationed at tables giving out coffee and bagels!

Me and my dear childhood friend! We’ve kept in touch for a long time! Many summers were spent hanging out in Old Orchard Beach!
The race didn’t start until 8:10am. Lisa, Aaron and I got to chat and warm up a little before the race. 

 

Hanging with Lisa before the race!

  

My friend, Aaron, since grade school!

 We eventually made our way to the self seed section of the 8:00 minute to 9:00 minute pace section. During this time and during the introduction of race directors and elite runners such as Shalane Flanagan and Meb Keflezighi and race founder Joan Benoit, I should have started my Garmin GPS! I didn’t realize that the significant cloud cover would give me issues! Lisa and I are good at pacing each other and we were shooting for an average pace of 8:21.

Each year, I forget to get a picture of the Beach2Beacon start line that is painted in color across route 77. 

Off and Running!

So, just as the gun goes off at 8:10am, I realize that my Garmin GPS watch is not working! Thankfully I’m running side-by-side with Lisa and keeping pace with her. My own watch didn’t kick in until half way into mile 1, just passed the entrance to Crescent Beach state park. My watch was .5 off the entire rest of the race. Lisa and I paced each other until 3.5 miles. Then, I went on ahead of her and during this time, I decided to turn in my ru keeper app on my phone. I turned on the app at the mile 4 marker. I wanted the last 2.2 miles to be accurate. {Run Keeper Picture of Last 2.26 Miles Below} 

 

Running along the Atlantic Ocean! gorgeous views of Casco Bay !

 
 It was during this time that I also thought it would be fun to take a few pictures! I am not usually a runner who takes pictures during races. Of course, miles 4,5, and 6.2 are the hilliest, but most scenic part of the race! The views of the ocean along mile 5 are stunning!

Cape Elizabeth residents really come out out cheer on and encourage runners! I also love the partnership of police from the surrounding Maine Towns! The Cape Elizabeth fire department hangs the America flag overhead of runners. Such beautiful patriotic pride! 

  
 Coastal scenes from mile 5 going into mile 6.2

More stunning views on mile 5, before a hilly road that leads into the entrance of Fort William Park and Portland Headlight. 

   
 

Runners should save some heart and leg power for about the last 1.5 miles. It’s a hilly climb to the finish!

I captured this picture of my favorite lighthouse as I ran up to the hilly, grassy finish line! The skies were overcast and a light rain was falling, but this view never gets old.

For the 3rd year in a row, at the age of 39, I ran with my heart and my legs followed. My heart lies here, at this lighthouse, off this rocky perch high above the ocean. Even now, as I type these words, I can faintly here the call of the fog horn. No other race matters more to me than this race. Beach2Beacon with its sense of community, the largest, most epic road race in Maine, symbolizes all that I love about Maine. Each year this race captures my heart.

To read more technical details about The Race, course route and elevation map go here HERE

Update: I’m running B2B again, for the 4th time, on August 1st, 2015! 

What is your most picturesque race that has captured your heart? Are you running Beach2Beacon this year? 

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