Peaks Island Road Race

The Peak's Island 5 miler is one of my favorite summer races. Unfortunately I've been unable to run it the past couple years because it conflicted with Tri for a Cure. So this year, I was extra excited to be able to do it again.

I biked the few miles from my house to the ferry terminal so I didn't have to deal with parking.

Good morning ferry boat

Part of what makes this event so special is the fact that it is on an island. It is a quick 15 minute ride from downtown Portland, but that 15 minutes on the water makes me feel like I am really getting away from the real world.

Another thing I love about this race is that it is small and low key. We were off the boat and had our numbers and shirts in no time. We took the 8:30 ferry and the race didn't start until 10:30, so we had some time to sit and chill and enjoy the views. In past years it was HOT on race day, but this year we got perfect running weather- in the 60's with clouds. In fact it got cloudier as we got towards race time. 

I haven't been doing any specific training since my marathon in Morocco. I've been running 3-4 times a week, with one speed session, and doing 20-25 miles a week. So I really had no expectations going into the race. I knew I wouldn't beat my PR of 37 minutes for this race, and was just hoping to keep my time under 45 minutes. 

I watched the kids' race (so cute!) and then lined up at the start. I was with a few friends, but we all decided to run our own races, so I slapped on my i-pod. The race starts on a slight uphill and then we quickly make a right hand turn and run down a hill. The first couple miles are along the water on the back side of the island. It is my favorite part of the course because there is always a nice sea breeze and the views are spectacular. 

I decided to just run at a comfortably hard pace. I mean if I paid for a race, I wanted to push myself a little, but I also wasn't prepared to really suffer in order to get an amazing time. I hit my first mile at 7:55 and my second in 8:13.

Around mile 2.5, we turned towards the middle of the island and went up the longest hill of the course. This slowed me down a bit and my third mile was 8:27. Because the road around the perimeter of the island isn't a full 5 miles, they have us do a little loop down and back between miles 3 and 4. It is nice to see the fast runners at the very front of the back and to get to wave to the runners behind you. However, this section also contains the steepest hill, so my 4th mile was my slowest at 8:27. 

In the last mile I just tried to stay strong and keep my body relaxed. The last half mile is straight down the main street of the island and I really picked it up here, thanks to the crowd support. I finished strong, but didn't go all out, with a last mile of 8:15. 

 I'm really pleased with my time of 41:47 (clock time). For some reason they didn't get my chip time, but my Garmin gave me a time of 41:15. Either way, I'm happy!

After the race they have free Shipyard beer at the Peak's Island Inn. Even though it wasn't a super hot day, that beer was goooooood.

After the race we headed across the street to get some lunch. I chowed down on a haddock sandwich with onion rings (omg I just recently rediscovered my love for onion rings and can't get enough) with views of Portland and Casco Bay. We didn't quite make the 1;45 boat, so we went for a nice walk after lunch admiring all the cute little cottages and gorgeous gardens. It is almost pretty enough out there to make dealing with the ferry all time worth it to live there. 

Today reminded me why I keep doing this race year after year. It's a fun race and a fun day!

What races do you do year after year? Why?