2013 Cape Cod Marathon race recap
@ 35,000 feet
It wasn't Boston by a long shot, but I needed Massachusetts for my 50 States marathon quest. While Boston remains elusive, I know I can get there. I decided to knock off Massachusetts by participating in the 2013 Cape Cod marathon. I had always wanted to visit Cape Cod and it was the perfect opportunity to do so. By finishing Massachusetts this year, I have cleared all of New England and that feels real nice. A perfect weekend escape for tourists and vacationers alike, Cape Cod provides an excellent opportunity to hang out and enjoy what life's really about. Most of Cape Cod is in nearby Hyannis with the tail of the Cape, while I decided to put roots in Falmouth for majority of my time. Falmouth itself is a quaint little town and it's about 1 1/2 hour drive from either Boston or Providence RI. It was cheaper for me to fly into Providence, so I booked it there soon after signing up for the marathon and started planning the logistics. It's always exciting to travel and pick up a new state and having Massachusetts in my crosshairs was great and exciting to be able to run a marathon again.
Race weekend started on a Thursday night with a nice red eye out of Honolulu. With connections in Seattle and Minneapolis-St Paul, I arrived on time in Providence. It was already dark out when I checked out my rental car and drove across state lines into Massachusetts via I-95 and the I-195. Eventually southbound on MA-28, which happens to be pretty much the main drag in and out of Falmouth. After picking up dinner along the way, I found my hotel, where I was room sharing with another fellow Maniac at the Falmouth Inn for Friday night only. I was to jump hotels and room with another Maniac for the other two nights of my stay. It was nice to be able to sleep (or try to) after 13 hour of air travel and 1 1/2 hours of driving. I tried to do an ice bath on Friday night, but as unlucky as I was, the bath tub plug in the room was broken. That was disheartening, so I just soaked my feet in the bucket for 10 minutes each and see what would happen on race day. Better than nothing, I suppose.
Saturday morning was an early start for me. Since my room share Maniac friend was participating in the Clam Chowder challenge (similar to the Goofy Challenge), he was up at about 5:00am getting ready to knock out the half marathon slated to start at 7:30am. I offered to drive him to the start, as I was going to be off anyway looking for breakfast and sightseeing in Plymouth later in the morning after picking up packets nearby. I parked the car nearby the race start and took in the half marathon start and the festivities. I reminded myself that I needed to be ready for the marathon the next day and this was motivation. Once they were off, I went to breakfast. After an expensive breakfast at a popular eatery where the half marathon start was, I hung around till packet pick up opened up at the nearby Lawrence School. The actual packet pick up / expo was held inside the school's gymnasium. Thought that was cute. A few local area vendors that sold running related stuff, which was basically it. They even were screening race t-shirts too! For an additional charge, you can get different pre printed one along with the race logo on the back. I opted for the long sleeve free one.
I drove to Plymouth thereafter and met up with 2 maniacs from South Dakota.At a local restaurant with live music. Thanks again for lunch! It was great to see you both again and hang out finally instead of just meet and greet at a race. After looking around Plymouth for more touristy things to see, I ended up driving to Boston Logan Airport to pick up my roomie for Saturday and Sunday night. He arrived early, so that caught me off guard. After a short stint in Boston and all of that traffic going into Boston, we headed back south as quickly and safely as we could. We arrived back in Falmouth around 7pm, but not before my iPhone incident, where the thing dropped in-between the seats and we were trying our hardest to get it out after checking into the hotel - the Admiralty Inn & Suites in Teaticket. Ultimately after what was 15 minutes of panic on my part, it was ultimately retrieved, but found small scratches on it. Not noticeable until you see it with the light. All good though. Once that was done and over with, we ended up going to a pizza place nearby the hotel and shared 2 large pizzas. They goofed on the order. We should've gotten a XL one, but whatever. Score! We saved half of a large for later eating and bagged my side order of fries also. I ended up eating it as pre race food. Lord knows how that turned out.
We retired to the room after that, as it as about 8:15pm and needed to wind down for race day the next morning. I was doing the early start, whereas my maniac friend was doing the regular start. They don't advertise the early start, but it's there for those who take more than 6 hours to complete the course. Must've had a pretty good 6.5 hours of good sleep before waking up at 4am to start the day. I laid in bed till about 6am in and out of consciousness. Couldn't believe I had to go do a marathon today. I guess normal folk don't do these things that often and travel. I would like to be normal one time and go somewhere and be lazy for once. I'll save that one for another trip - probably another lifetime for sure. I rolled out of bed finally at 6am and drove to the prescribed parking area at the Middle School, which was about less than 0.25 miles from the marathon start line. It was a quiet morning, even at 6am on a late fall New England Sunday. I actually liked it.
Race day temperatures were in the upper 30's at the start and gradually warmed up into the mid 50's by mid day. I met my fellow early start compatriots at 6:25am, along with the race director Matt. Since the timing chip will mess up our results, we would have to have it manually adjusted due to us starting early. We just need to tell the timing peeps at the finish line we started early. So, he ripped off our timing chips, so he personally knew also who was starting early. Hoping he didn't throw them away. That would royally suck!! The rain started to gently fall and we early starters of 10 strong marched into the darkness of the early morning. Sunrise wasn't till 1/2 hour later, so I just kept to the pack, just so I knew I was going. Some of the early start pack were famous marathoners, including Carol Dillinger aka "Warrior Marathon Runner" on facebook, logging 272 marathons, Frank Burducci, Jim Simpson, owner of 1,000+ marathons, and Mike from Maine, who has run multiple 100 milers, did Badwater, and ran 4x 50 states so far. Compared to them, I'm totally a newborn maniac!
The first two miles were literally in the dark. Strolling through suburban Falmouth was cool and we all talked about random crap and I started taking photos in the early going. The course was marked with blue "CCM" on the road as well as yellow "marathon course" signage as well. Once it got lighter at mile 3, I started to get warm and didn't want to walk anymore. I wanted to run, so I broke away from the pack and blazed a trail for myself. Another early starter friend whom recognized me from previous races, but not a maniac, but also collecting states, started to give chase and we just started to pace each other to keep it interesting. Miles 4-5 was of ocean front. So gorgeous! Took a few photos here before moving on. The majority of the rest of the course up until miles 24-25 was basically residential areas of North and West Falmouth. Quite a nice place to live in, but quite a way from a major metropolitan city & airport. And so, we both moved with a purpose: encouraging each other along and making it interesting. We picked up mile markers in the early going and we were up to 8 miles. Just after mile 8, I had a bathroom pitstop. Must be the copious amounts of bacon, i wondered.
No portapotties too. When you gotta go, you gotta go! After that, I caught up to Myrna, my pacer 50 stater friend at mile 9. After 3 miles, we saw Mike from Maine catch up to us and we kept pace with him for a good 4-5 miles before I gave back some pace. It was at mile 12 where we saw the lead pack of marathoners wiz on by. Mile 13.1 did not have a timing point, but did have a race clock ticking away. We celebrated half way, as we snaked through the lazy residential section of north Falmouth before venturing westward in the next 2-3 miles to the western section of West Falmouth. Most of the course was open to traffic, as mentioned before, so it was interesting to dodge traffic randomly along the course. I pushed when I could and pulled back when I did, but more so than not, the hills did humble me - just like New Hampshire & Maine did. All I was going was a single and that made me feel better.
Just a single. My legs grew increasingly weary, but this is the part where I need to keep pushing when things started to hurt. Never backing down from a fight at all, I chose to complete this journey and see it end happily, no matter how or where it does. Just need to keep pushing no matter what my pace was. Didn't matter. Forward relentlessness mattered the most. It's what happened in my 1st marathon, my 25th, my 50th, and now 63rd. The game plan was always the same really: move and get to the finish line. Can't get a time recorded without getting there. Miles 14-16 was just that. Intervals and trying to chase and pace Myrna. She told me she was 60 years old and had 30 marathons + 27 states to her credit. I was floored. Didn't look like it at all. Maybe marathons do reverse the aging process to some degrees while give you that active lifestyle you need. From miles 17-20 were more of the same, quiet residential roads that promised us hope that we will finish this race with some peace of mind. At mile 21, I met up with a dude who's not a maniac, but had done 195 marathons, but all in New England area. Thought that was cool. We talked for a bit and he wanted to run Honolulu someday. We parted ways thereafter and still amazingly caught up with Myrna till about 23. At mile 22, we saw ocean front again along with the fabled lighthouses that span all over the New England region. Took some photos there before moving on.
There were some fabulous hills in the 2nd half, but amazed myself at how much I did push on those hills when I could've just whatevered and came in well over 7 hours. Thank goodness that I took some initiative with my race and made it my own. The sun came out at mile 22 and I kind of slowed down, but still managed to do some sort of intervals. I lost Myrna at mile 24.5, but I kept shuffling. The 1.25 mile route along the coast late in the race was very cool and different from the residential stuff we had for majority of the course. Eventually, we turned left and into a residential subdivision for the final 2 miles. As soon as I saw more buildings and mile 26 in the distance, I knew that I was on Main Street. I did a short interval before stopping to a walk in disgust. I was spent in my mind, but once I started to believe, I kicked it up again and the surround bystanders roared with excitement. Thought that was pretty sweet. I kept the momentum after that. Another bystander told me "200 yards to the finish!" And I just kept on to keep it going. It was one of those moments that just time just stood still in the balance. It was ran toward that finish line and just sprinted like I needed this real badly.
Within 25 feet of the finish line, the finish line announcer announced my finish and where I was from. I heard a pretty sizable applause after that, so I acknowledged that by putting my hand up in triumph as I crossed that finish line. I finished another marathon and can cross off Massachusetts off the list of states I need to do. Once crossing the line, I told the timer peeps that I was an early starter and I hope that I will be properly be reflected in the official results. The finish line clock read 4:48:XX, but add 2 hours for starting early. Indeed, this journey has more challenges than I could count, but of course, blessed and grateful that I am on this magical and amazing journey. Once collecting myself and my sanity, I got my finisher's medal and a bottle of water. Funny how they did not have finish line food, but come to find out later, all the faster marathoners cleaned it out. And so, I stood around, cooled down, and waited for my early start peeps to finish. I waited as long as 2pm, which was a 7 1/2 hour finish, but they didn't show up yet. I couldn't wait, so I headed back to the rental car and drove to Starbucks for a drink before heading back to the hotel. Once at the hotel, I was denied use of the outdoor pool, but the indoor pool was heated. Our room was just a shower stall, so I could not do an ice bath at all on this trip. I guess I'll do it when I get back home to Honolulu.
The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing with my maniac friend, whom finished his race at 3:45. It was nice to see him along the course - about mile 18-19, I believe. We ended up going to a liquor store to buy a 6 pack (bottles) before dinner and he ended up drinking 4 1/2 bottles and I did just 1 1/2. It was nice having beer after a race. Haven't done that in a while. We ended up having dinner with my roomie's new friend, who happens to be a 50 state finisher, but not a maniac, from what I remember. And I invited Myrna and she brought her friend. We ended up going to a seafood place, but it was a deep fried fast food place. Ended up pretty good after all. It was cheaper than that of a fresh seafood place anyway. Hidden gem in Falmouth. After a night of new friends and celebrating accomplishments for a job well done for all, we parted ways and settled in for a good night's sleep. I woke up the next morning at 4:30am and made the drive back to Providence, filled the gas on the rental car, and returned it before catching my flight out of there and back to Honolulu.
This was a whirlwind weekend that was simply awesome!! After knocking off 3 in 8 days earlier in the month on the east coast, I had 2 weeks to recover and be ready for the next one on the east coast. Heck the last two are east coast states, so I need to be ready - physically and mentally for the challenge that awaited before me. They've been paid for months ago and I just was waiting for that day to board the plane and step on that start line and give it a go. One life to do all things possible and here I was trying. Trying hard as best as I could at the moment. Another state kicked off the "to do" list and I'm in single digit territory now! Like passing mile 17 of marathon or mile 41 of a 50 mile race, picking up state 41 this weekend feels wonderful as I look at my remaining states as a testament to what lays ahead and how far I have come in this journey.
I still don't know how I do it - flying across the country from Hawaii and knocking off a marathon or two, then flying back. One thing's for sure. Determination and passion is there, as well as an iron will to succeed when the odds are not in your favor. Quitting was never an option for me and to be able to find success here in distance running makes me happy and feel like each finish line I cross only fuels the fire to do more.
2013 Cape Cod Marathon
Chip time: 6:48:XX