Beach to Beacon 2015

Beach to Beacon is one of Maine's biggest and most prestigious races. Every year thousands flock to Cape Elizabeth to run the 10k, including some of the best elite runners in the world. Last year Meb ran! As a Maine runner, I really wanted to run the race and see what all the hype is about!

Unfortunately, we were in New Zealand on the day of race registration. The race sells out in minutes, so I figured I was out of luck. But then just last week, my husband was able to get me a bib through his job. Yeah!!

Although this is only a 10k, it feels like a major marathon. The expo is good, there is a separate night of kids' races, the t-shirts are really nice, and the post race festivities are awesome.

However since the population of the town basically doubles on race weekend, the traffic can be atrocious. Luckily, I got to avoid all that thanks to a bike valet put on by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. I had a nice little 4 mile ride to warm up my legs and then handed my bike off for safe keeping!

I hopped on a shuttle to the start and ended up having about 45 minutes before the race started. I said hello to my husband, who was stationed at the start for security, hit up the bathrooms, and then stretched out a bit. 

Since I just found out last week I was running, I didn't have time to do any specific training for the race. Last week at the Peaks Island race my strategy was just to go out hard and try to hold on. I knew however, that wouldn't work in this race. First it was a good 25 degrees warmer and there are some really punishing hills in the last 2 miles. I needed to be more conservative. Plus I made some poor life choices yesterday by eating a bunch of greasy Chinese food, followed by a Dairy Queen Blizzard, followed by a few beers. So my stomach wasn't in the best shape. I told everyone I just wanted to run under an hour, but really I was hoping to run about 9 minute miles. 

I made my way up to the 9:00 pace and planned to start there. However, 5 minutes before the start I really needed to go to the bathroom one more time. So I wormed my way back to an opening and made a pit stop in the woods. There was no way that I was going to be able to make it back through the crowds in the corral, so I start quite a way back close to the 10:00 pace mark.

The first couple miles were a little frustrating because I was doing a lot of weaving around people. It was also the hottest part of the course because we were in the direct sun with no breeze. Given this, I was really happy to click off my first couple miles at an 8:40 pace.

I kept pushing at that moderately hard effort and the miles kept going by. I was working, but I also felt strong and good. I decided to just switch my Garmin screen to the clock, because I didn't want to worry about my pace. I just wanted to run as fast as I could. 

A little more than half-way the course turns right onto Shore Rd. There is a nice long downhill and we were in the shade. I was passing a lot of people. Around 4.5 we hit the hills, but I was still feeling good. I ran strong up the first couple and then a little less strong up the 3rd, but knowing that I had less than a mile to go made me feel better. I was very tempted by the bacon at the "Beach to Bacon" water stop, but I refrained! As we turned into Fort Williams Park, I saw my husband and that gave me a little extra lift to get up the last hill. Once I was up, I pushed it as hard as I could for the last bit around the back of the park and to the finish by the lighthouse. 

My official chip time was 54:19, so I came well under my secret goal of a 9 min pace! I was 126th out of 559 in my age group and 2251 out of 7,000 overall. Not a bad race for someone who hates the heat!

the infamous beacon. Otherwise known as Portland Head Light
Then I staggered up a hill to the post race festivities. I grabbed water and a bunch of fun swag. So much swag that I couldn't carry it all and I was dropping stuff everywhere. I was a mess! The post race food was perfect for a hot day- watermelon, yogurt with fresh blueberries, and chocolate milk!

My only poor decision was waiting in line for more than hour for a 5 minute massage. Oh well! However, I more than made up for that time waiting in line on my way home. I retrieved my bike from the valet, looking at huge lines of peoples waiting for shuttles back to the parking lots. Then I flew right by the bumper to bumper traffic waiting to get out of the fort, and the whole way down Shore Road. Love it!

Overall, I was really impressed with this race. It's really neat to have such a big, well organized, event right in my back yard!

Then I spent the rest of the day at the beach. So for me, it was Beach to Beacon to Beach!

Did you race this weekend? Is there a famous race near you that you've never done?


  1. Fantastic job! Isn't it great to not pay attention to your watch pace and just GO?! :)

    That is so cool you could use the bike valet!!! How did you find out about it?

    I just realized a local blogger I know was at this, too!


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