Mount Desert Island Marathon

Mount Desert Island Marathon

by Bob H.

When I signed up to do the Mount Desert Island marathon, I had not begun training with Experience Triathlon, had not met Coach Joe and had not thought about the consequences of running a marathon five weeks after doing an Ironman. I gave NO thought to MDI while training for Ironman Wisconsin, but almost immediately after finishing, began to think, “What have I gotten myself into?”

Of course, I couldn’t let on that I was having doubts, and I couldn’t very well drop out after talking my best friend and another of our buddies into giving up New York and coming up to Bar Harbor. So Coach Joe and I devised a walk/run plan for the marathon that would hopefully bring me to the finish in one piece.

Mission accomplished!!

Pat and I had a great drive to Maine and the Bar Harbor area is so beautiful, especially during “leaf season.” I had a great week of build-up prior to the race and felt ready on race day! The only problem was the hills, which I had not thought about until about two days before the race. I read something that said runners could expect times about 20-45 minutes slower than normal. We drove parts of the course Saturday and it didn’t seem too bad. Still… I was slightly concerned.

We went to bed Saturday night with the temperature about 45 degrees and awoke to temperatures about 48 and rain. It didn’t rain the entire way, only about for about 25.5 miles. It didn’t rain hard, but it was consistent. The wind wasn’t always bad, but it blew almost the entire time.

The first mile was mostly downhill then we started to climb. The first climb was about two miles long then the course was mostly rolling hills to about mile seven. At that point, we left the road and ran along a paved trail (like the river trail in Naperville, only MUCH more beautiful) until mile nine. We rejoined the road then and ran along the coast, going up and down hills until about 10.5 miles.

At this point we turned inland for awhile and I saw Pat at mile 11.5 and she got my attention by yelling out, “GO ET!!” I stopped for a quick chat and continued into the small town of Northeast Harbor. Did I say small? The roadway was not much wider than the trail, but everyone was very supportive and cheering loud!

We reached the halfway point just after Northeast Harbor and, about 14.5 miles in, I started feeling poorly. This was not the same “feeling poorly” I felt most of the summer. I felt like I was coming down with a cold or the flu as I was running along. My throat was scratchy and I ached all over. I did some extra walking over the next mile or so and started feeling better. By 16 miles, I was beyond that rough patch and feeling good once again.

At 18 miles, I got another big lift when I saw Pat again. Other than leaving my gloves in a porta-potty, this was the best part of the run! Pat was able to drive by my side while I ran, taking pictures of me running with a smile on my face! The course split away from the driving route at about 20 miles, so I did not see Pat again until the finish line.

It was at 20 miles that the wind and rain were the worst. We turned directly into the wind… while running uphill… into a driving rain… after 20 miles… with little or no fan support… with six miles to go! Luckily, none of us were alone as we worked toward the finish and the time and miles slipped past. The course trended uphill to the 25 mile point after which there was a 1.2 mile downhill to the finish line in Southwest Harbor.

This was a great run in a great area of our country! I am so glad we were able to do it and I was able to get through unscathed. Thanks to Pat for supporting me in these endeavors! Without her, none of this would mean anything! Thanks to Coach Joe for keeping me from hurting myself and getting me to the start (and finish) line. And thanks to everyone in the ET family for their support and enthusiasm, especially Kevin and Jim for keeping me honest on our long runs, bikes and swims. The only goal I didn’t reach was I did not get to see a live moose. We saw a few moose statues, but it just wasn’t the same.

 

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  • Way to get it done Bob!! So glad this went ok for you. Can’t even imagine being out there in the rain for the entire marathon. Looks like an amazing event with the fall colors. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Jim R

    Bob, a huge congratulations on your “mission accomplished” and showing that mental toughness we all know you have, well done my friend.. Also, I had no idea that Maine had a Desert 🙂

  • Drew Repoza

    Mount Desert Island sounds like too much terrain for only a marathon distance! Unless that was supposed to be “Dessert”, which you have to admit would be pretty awesome. Great job completing that marathon in such conditions, after barely having time to recover from your Ironman race! Too bad the moose didn’t want to come out and socialize!

  • Sarah F

    Too bad they didn’t put any moose on the loose at mile 20…that hill might not have seemed so bad if you were busy trying to outrun them! 😉 Sounds like a phenomenal experience, in an amazing/beautiful part of the country! Congratulations on completing yet another successful marathon–so inspiring!!