Old Port Half Marathon Race Recap

I can only hope that this race will go down in my racing history as the worst race of all time. 


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I love Maine, I love the New England charm, the small quaint beach communities … Portland’s art scene, the amazing food and the incredibly kind people.  I’m honestly having the best vacation I have ever taken with my family.

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However, I do not love the Old Port Half Marathon.  I do not love 90 degrees and 80% humidity at 7:30 am.  I do not love the multitude of steep steep hills we had to climb and sharp descents (Oh the decent.  My quads are still crying).  I do not love the lack of water stops and porta potties and the fact that at the finish they were OUT OF WATER entirely.  


Half Marathon water

Ok, rant over.  Had to get that out.  


My rational self knows that there will be bad days in racing.  I just never expected days like this.  


I woke up exhausted from a night of soothing bad toddler dreams.  That’s not unusual, I wasn’t alarmed.  I had my normal pre race breakfast (rice cake, almond butter, 1/2 a banana) and got dressed.  That is when the alarm bell went off … I had forgotten my lucky sports bra.  #epicfail 


I did my best to convince myself that it wasn’t a big deal and got on the road toward the race start.  The parking was really easy, and I was situating my gear/fuel/bib when my stomach began waging war.  It was an ugly slip n slide ride down hill from there.  



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 Photo of said up roaring stomach … 

I was uneasy at the start, didn’t feel confident on my feet and immediately began looking for the next porta potty.  It didn’t show up for 5 miles.  In that 5 miles there were 2 water stops (mile 3 and mile 5 – I am not going to count the one that was beautifully placed at mile .25).  I was almost in tears.  There had been some seriously awful uphills and downhills and I was beyond uncomfortable.  


Sadly that porta potty stop was 1 of 4 for the race.  And the water stops became increasingly less frequent.  I couldn’t hold anything in, and my honey stinger chews made me throw up.  I was a hot mess … and an angry angry beast.  


(photo not included!)


I became so dehydrated over the course that I swelled up and had trouble turning over my legs.  I was worried that I had injured my knees but as it turns out Crohn’s joint pain + some serious dehydration = the disappearance of knee caps. 


I pulled out all of my tricks on this race to get my mental self in gear.  I told myself that I was lucky to be there.  The took photos of the scenery. 


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I talked to the other runners.  I listened to music that makes me happy.  Nothing worked.  It was a suck-fest and there was nothing I could do about it. 


I wanted to quit so badly.  I wanted to sit down and sleep, in an ice bath.  However something about the friends that I had also running the race and the friends that I had watching the race made me keep going.  It was a horrible day for running for everyone, and being in it together made me keep going.  I had no concept of my pace, I had turned off my watch early in the race when I realized that it wasn’t going to say anything I wanted to hear.  The only goal that I would let myself think of was to finish, I made up my mind to make it to that finish line … and by some miracle I did.  


When I saw the finish line it was really blurry, there were spots and my legs were about to give out.  I remember trying to push it and pass the man in front of me.  #epicfail again.  Apparently a dehydrated wreck of a 30 something girl has no hope of passing a limping older man.  


I stumbled directly to the med tent and into the arms of a woman who knew exactly what to do.  she sat me down among the others in my condition and gave me an IV bag of fluids.  20 MInutes later I gave my seat and IV stand up to the next person in need.  In the game of summer heat vs. half marathon runners, the heat won hands down.  The amount of people who were in medical need was ridiculous.  


Half Marathon med tent

The whole thing was pretty dramatic, people collapsing at the finish line, others being thrown in full ice baths to bring their body temps down.  People were collected from the sidelines of the race.  Honestly I feel like it was all a really bad dream.


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 Guess it wasn’t a dream … this was what was reported in the local papers. 

There were redeeming qualities to this race.  Namely the views.  

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And the popsicles they handed out at the finish.  


But don’t get me wrong, there is very little chance I will ever run this one again.  The final straw was when they gave the runners an empty sports bottle at the finish instead of water and pointed them to a large tank of water … which was down the chute and around the corner.  When I arrived at said water tank, it was empty and there were throngs of people around it, tipping it to get every last drop out.  Ridiculous and actually kinda hilarious as I think back on it 🙂 


Oh yes and I will never, ever forget my lucky sports bra.  


Anyone else run a hard race this weekend, or ever?  What do you tell yourself to make it to the finish? 


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10 thoughts on “Old Port Half Marathon Race Recap

  1. Water be everything. And with conditions like that. Just so unacceptable. I am sorry to hear this. in the midst of gorgeous views means nothing when running w/lack of water and bathrooms.

    Now, do you think the physics of the race would have been different if you left the room in the morning with your lucky bra on? 😉
    Christine | Oatmeal Bowl recently posted..Lake Tahoe Marathon Training: Week 5My Profile

  2. Ugh! We did it too! It was equally as terrible! An empty water bottle at the end was just a kick in the junk! Sorry I missed you… 🙂

    1. So bummed I missed you … Although I was a nasty person on Sunday so maybe it’s for the better!

  3. Ugh. I hated this race and don’t plan to run it or recommend it. Actually, I plan to warn people about it! We timed our finish perfectly to coincide with the emptying of the appalling water trough. No water to be found at the end of a race in mid July, on a day when temps had been predicted ALL WEEK to be in the 90’s is terrible and dangerous.
    Oh… Plenty of beer though. Because that will get you back on your feet…. 🙁
    Hope you feel 100% now (and I hope for all of us, that this WAS the worst race ever…)
    Sara recently posted..Old Port Half Marathon. BLAH to the effing BLAH.My Profile

    1. Same here! I wish this would have been a better experience but sadly it was not … What killed me was that there were lines to use the public water fountains on back bay. I mean seriously, what are the race fees for!?

  4. You poor thing!! I can’t believe this, it almost sounds unreal. (I feel awful that you were graciously answering my texts that day…sorry I bothered you!)

  5. The no water at the end is shocking, frightening! You made it though. And not to pressure you to much, but perhaps if you had worn your lucky bra there would have been water for everyone. 😉

    (I have a lucky pair of race earrings now. I forgot them at my last half and realized it at the start line–set the tone for the whole race. Not good. Maybe lucky items are actually unlucky . . . ?)
    debi pasricha recently posted..Chasing SnailsMy Profile

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