Travels in Maine

When I originally started this blog, I had intended it to be about running, fitness AND traveling! Because I want to run a race in every state, I wanted to write about my adventures in those states. I have since gotten off track, but I would like to share with you all a little bit about my most recent travels!

Maine in a Nutshell:

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If I had to describe Maine in one word I would choose: Beautiful! If I was allowed to use more than one word: Maine is absolutely gorgeous and incredible! The landscape is breathtaking even when it’s cloudy and foggy. The colors are fantastic: 50 shades of GREEN, would be what a book on Maine would be called.  There are millions of reflective bodies of water: bordering the land, in the land, running through the land! It’s oh so wonderful! The buildings are rich with history and grace that make them beautiful all in their own. Like it says on their license plates: Maine really is the vacationland! (Disclaimer: I still would never trade my Colorado for anything. Maine and Colorado are two different types of pretty; incomparable in my opinion, and I would choose Colorado, hands down, without thought).

I spent about a week on vacation, the last two days of my vacation were driving through New Hampshire and Vermont. I really didn’t get to see much of New Hampshire through the rain. It looked pretty similar to Maine, which is still wonderful.  I did drive through the White Mountain National Park and had heard it was very pretty; there was signs for waterfall hikes that I would like to check out in the future.

On Saturday, May 18th, I flew into Portland, Maine. My flight was…fine…I think. I slept for most of it since it was a 6am flight from Denver. I arrived, got my rental car and drove off into the sunset. Ok, not really, but you get the idea. It all went pretty smooth. The first weekend, I did the Sugarloaf 15K. Once I was finished with that race, I made my way back to a town called Freeport, which is just north of Portland. Along the way, I passed through historic looking towns, admiring the buildings until I randomly found a restaurant I wanted to stop and eat at. I made a good choice eating at the Sunset Grille in the town of Belgrade Lakes; I couldn’t point to it on a map, even if you asked me too. I had my first taste of the sea food in Maine and indulged in a Crab Roll. MMMMMmmm..

DSCN3507Anyway, Freeport is where my friend and her fiancé were staying, at a friend of theirs’ old victorian house. They offered me room and board for a few days, which I greatly appreciated.

That is NOT a beer on the boat. ;)

That is NOT a beer on the boat. 😉

That night, I was taken on a boat ride in the bay AND I got to drive the boat!

The following day was the last day of freedom before I was required by the bride; I was the maid of honor after all. So I took my last free day to take my rental car up northeast to Acadia National Park, on Mount Desert Island (often pronounced Dessert).  I was told this was the place to see and I will agree with that statement. It was unbelievably pretty…and that’s saying something because it was raining, cloudy and foggy the whole day. I really want to go back and see this place when it’s sunny and bright out!

 

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Acadia National Park is a three and half hour drive from Portland.  I would assume the drive is just as pretty as the rest of the state, but it rained the entire way, so I couldn’t see much out the windows (are you getting the picture that there was a lot of rain on my trip??). I drove up and around, through Bangor (please reserve your jokes) and into the park. The lady at the visitor’s center was super helpful, said she was sorry it was rainy, but pointed me in a good tour route. I figure this map on the left with the numbers was the best way to show you around Acadia national Park. I think what I liked best about the whole island was that people actually lived there – It was just amazingly pretty, and just seemed like a wonderful, story book place to live. I’d live there too, if I could.

DSCN32521. Southwest Harbor: Here you will see the weather that I dealt with my entire day. But never-the-less, I still had fun. And it was all still really pretty.

DSCN32622. After quickly jumping out of my car to take a pic of the harbor, I drove down to the south most point of the Island to check out the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. I’ve always liked lighthouses….well, I’ve always liked pictures of light houses, since I had never seen one in person. I think they’re really cool. So, I finally got to check one out up close and personal. (I did get closer than what this picture shows).

DSCN32773. Next on my stop was Echo Lake. Normally, the lake is open for swimming and playing on the beach, but this day, I was the only one brave enough to venture out into the mist. I could totally picture having a fun beach day here, very cosy area.

DSCN33194. If you follow around on the map, I next stopped at the Sand Beach, another place people usually have fun in the sun with the ocean as their pool. No one was taking a dip in the water today, but the views were still gorgeous. There was a cute couple watching me take selfies on the beach and offered to take my picture in exchange for me taking their’s.

DSCN33745. If you guys ever go to Acadia, you have to stop by Thunder Hole.  This place was recommended by two friends of mine that grew up in the state. With a low tide, the water comes rushing into a pocket formed by the rocks and creates a loud, thundering noise (hence the name). Just beware, this is the touristy spot, so it was pretty crowded. A nice paved path leads right down to the “hole” and there was a ton of people, even on this cloudy day. I’m more the type of person that likes to stay off the beaten path were there’s less travelers.

DSCN33916. Otter point. This is a a 110 ft cliff on a little peninsula off the island. Supposedly, it’s to be one of the best views of the park. Check this webpage out to see what it looks like on a good day.

DSCN34067. Next on my journey was Jordan Pond. The fog elicted some pretty cool pictures of this area. It gave it a creepy, spooky feel, but I really liked it. Must be all the scary movies I watch. The forest had fog dripping in and out and the pond looked like something out of the Lord of the Rings.  I think there’s some trails that run around this area, but I chose not to venture too far being by myself and because of the fog.

DSCN34188. Something fun to do in the future would be to take the carriage ride they have here. It runs from the Jordon Pond House (which I didn’t go in, but they have a little restaurant) and loops up through to forest to this area called the Bubble Pond. This was a cute little pond with picnic tables to lunch at and a classy bridge that the carriage goes over. It’s called bubble pond because you’re supposed to be able to see the two Bubble Mountains, North and South Bubble. I was told that was a really good area to hike around, but I elected not to stop at the mountains because I knew I wouldn’t see anything. DSCN3424

9. Ah, Cadilliac Mountains! Breath taking views of the surrounding island and ocean! Oh wait. I can’t see anything. Cadilliac Mountain 1500 feet above sea level and is the FIRST place in the United States to see the sunrise (from Oct. 7th to March 6th, of course, ya know the whole tilted axis of the earth thing) and you’re supposed to be able to see everything all around from the ocean, mainland, the City nearby… This is a  picture to show you what I was SUPPOSED to be looking at and what I ACTUALLY saw. Oh well, at least the drive up and down the mountain was fun!!

DSCN343910. The drive up and down brought curvy, fast roads that left some fun views of the island (once out of the fog) and the rock with waterfalls along side the road. After leaving the mountain, I decided to head “home.” If I had more time or had company, I would have probably stopped to eat in the sea side town of Bar Harbor which is supposed to have good restaurants and shops.

My favorite picture from the park

My favorite picture from the park

On my way back, I took the long way home, closer to the coast, to check out some light houses:

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The rest of the week pretty much all involved wedding stuff. I got my first look at Peak’s Island on Tuesday when the bride to be had to take some stuff over and the couple had their last meeting with the wedding planners. Pretty classy that my friends were getting married on an island. It was beautiful venue! We followed up with sushi at local joint called Sushi Sappuro. MMMMMMmmm……. it was good!

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Wednesday commenced the bachelorette party festivities. Before meeting up with the rest of the ladies, my friend Steph and her fiance took me to see the most photographed light house.

That's me and my friend, Steph, the bride.

That’s me and my friend, Steph, the bride.

Yes, I am a dork!

Yes, I am a dork!

DSCN3560We started the bachelorette party off with a Lucky Catch lobster cruise! It was a blast!! I highly recommend doing something like this if you ever get the chance. Basically, we had a private tour on the Lucky Catch Boat and they took us out in the harbor, off the coast of Portland, to pull up lobster traps, check to see if there was any good lobsters to keep and then re-bait the traps. I know what you’re thinking…A lobster catch at a bachelorette party??! The bride loves the show the “Deadliest Catch” and we thought she would love to do something like this. Sure enough, she had a blast, as did the rest of us.DSCN3556

We cleaned up from the lobster smell and headed out for dinner at a restuarant called the White Cap Grill. Very delicious! And then we hit the town! I made a scavenger hunt of things we had to find, take pictures of or do. Everyone seemed to enjoy crossing things off the list. I wont shouldn’t show you any of those pictures….there MAY have been drinking, a lot of drinking, involved…maybe….

The next morning was a rough one. From that morning on out I felt like I was on a boat. At first, I thought it was just the hangover. But actually, this vertigo feeling lasted for about a month after my vacation as well. Has that ever happened to anyone??? I think it was from all the traveling…from being in a car, literally on boats, up and down elevators, planes, running….. It gave me prolonged vertigo. I actually had it a little when running my marathon, but I didn’t write about it, cause I knew it would be confusing, and it didn’t bother me too much during the race…maybe because I was concentrating on, ya know, running the race.

Anyway, that morning, we drug our butts out of bed for the bridal brunch. I forget where we had breakfast at, but it was delicious as well. In fact, I didn’t have one bad meal while I was out there!

After delicious nom noms, the rest of the ladies went to have their toes or nails painted or some kind of girly stuff like that. I went on a little walk about around Portland. I had some coffee at a local coffee joint, looked at some of the old buildings and shopped wished I could buy things at the local stores.

DSCN3601Being the day before the wedding, we all needed to get to the island at some point. I decided to catch an early Ferry to Peak’s Island. I happened to get on the ferry with the men of the bridal party and final got to meet the groomsmen. Once over there, I quickly changed, plugged in my ear phones and laced up my tennis shoes. I FINALLY was able to get a run in; i.e. it finally wasn’t actively raining. Oh, it was foggy and misty, but it didn’t rain until the end of my run.

Peak’s Island has a road that goes all the way around, making it about 3.5 miles around. I wont talk about the run too much, I would like to do a seperate blog post – it was definiely one of my most favorite runs I have ever been on; like something out of the special “Rave Run” section of Runner’s World.

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I’m definitely jealous of the Islands habitants. Meanwhile, the ladies got back from their girly outings and we all met up for the Rehersal and Dinner. Here, it was truely time for me to demonstrate my maid of honor duties. To be truthful, I was super nervous…I’m not very good at stuff like this. I’m not very girly, I rarely even wear dresses, and I’m not the biggest fan of weddings (don’t ask – I’m not against marriage by any means, but I just don’t like weddings).  However, it’s a very huge honor to be asked to be someone’s maid of honor. I felt bad becasue I wasn’t able to help much living in a different state and not having much time due to school and work. Oh well, it is what it is, right?

Most of us turned in early that night, but being a night owl, I stayed up and chatted with some of the other wedding party people. I eventually went to bed. The next morning was…..great….! Yeah! I can tell you I learned a lot about girly things. Did you know there’s a spray that once you’re done with your makeup, you spray your face to make your makeup stay longer? It’s true. Weird, huh?

I can clean up nice! And I do occasionally wear dresses....

I can clean up nice! And proof of me in a dress….

All the ladies crowded into the “spa” while we got ready. It was a loooooong process. Shesh! I was one of the THE first lady ready. So I just helped out where I was needed, checked if the bride needed anything, and took pictures of my glammed up self.

Finally it was time! Funny thing about weddings; so much time and preparation for such a short event.

It unfortunately rained during the ceremony, so it was moved inside; but it was still very elegant. Dinner was served under the tent with beautiful chinese lanterns draping down the ceiling. Once we finished eating, we all danced away the night! Sorta. We had to be done by a certain time to catch the last ferry back to Portland. Now, THAT was a sight to see! Everyone in fancy dresses hauling luggage down the hill, in the rain, boarding the ferry. We caught a shuttle back to the hotel and then hit the town! YES, in our bridesmaid dress and the bride in her gown! I thought it was brilliant and fun. When else am I going to wear that dress!? I paid for it (most of it) I might as well get the most out of it! We hit up a few local pubs and then finished at a bar with dancing.

We felt pretty special – the couple hired photographers from their town, so basically, they were ours for the weekend; it was like we had our own poporatzi while we walked from bar to bar. Probably the only time I’ll ever feel that important!

The next morning, feeling like I was on a boat still with my vertigo, I woke up pretty early and made my journey to Vermont…and you pretty much know the story from there. (If you don’t, you can read it here, here and here).

steph's wedding

Sugarloaf 15K

sugarloaf mountain symbolBefore my marathon and before that wedding I went to, back at the begginning of my vacation, I did a little  race called the Sugarloaf Marathon and 15K.

I haven’t had a chance to recap that race, but I did check off Maine from my list of states!

Sugarloaf Resort

Sugarloaf Resort

In fact, I liked this event so much, that if I decide to run a full marathon in every state, I may return back to run this one.

After I arrived in Portland, Maine, I immediately rented my car and took off north for the Sugarloaf Ski Resort. Being an avid snowboarder here in Colorado, I was super curious what the resorts were like on the east coast. It was a pretty drive, I loved the scenery! It was actually sunny on my first day in Maine, it just rained all the rest of my vacation.

DSCN3231I made it to the Resort in time to pick up my packet. I wandered the grounds a little, trying to imagine what it was like filled with snow. After talking to some locals, they said they really loved skiing at Sugarloaf, but it’s probably nothing compared to Colorado! I still want to try it someday.

Since I didn’t really want to deal with the hassle of finding somewhere to eat, I just elected to pay for the pasta dinner that they had put on for the runners. It actually wasn’t very good, to be completely honest, but at least there was chocolate cake for dessert! I sat at a table by myself and was then joined by another lone runner. We talked all about where we were from (he was also a 50 state runner, but I forget how many he had left) from Seattle I believe, and he traveled A LOT.

The drive to my hotel

The drive to my hotel

He told me some interesting tips on cheaper flights, and car rentals (i.e. Costco members can get super cheap car rentals). What I remember talking to him the most about was why I was out here by myself. I told him, “Well, if I waited for people to join me, I would never do anything.” He shook his head to agree and then told me that I was very brave and inspiring for traveling and doing most of these races by myself.

I wished him luck then went on my way to find my hotel. I did NOT stay at the recommended place, as it was well over $100. I found a nearby place called the Spillover Motel. It was actually pretty decent and was only a 10 – 15 minute drive to where I needed to be in the morning. This cute motel was run and owned by a little old lady….and the best part: Breakfast was provided!!! (Breakfast being included needs to be a must have for race travels).

Oh yeah, Harry Potter while preparing for the next day!

Oh yeah, Harry Potter while preparing for the next day!

After getting my outfit prepared for the next day (while watching Harry Potter on TV, mind you), then foam rolling (I found a cute little travel foam roller at my local running store), I hopped online to check my email, then tucked myself into bed.

I woke up the next morning feel super ready for the day! I didn’t have to worry about gathering all my stuff up, I just changed into racing clothes and made my way there, but not before stopping in the kitchen to grab some breakfast. I loaded up on a bagel and coffee while listening to other runners who were also staying there talk about the events at Boston. (Remember, this was about two months ago, so Boston was still fresh in everyone’s minds). Actually, a pair of  guys eating breakfast and story telling had run Boston this year. While they were finished with the race when the bombs went off, one of their friends was really close and even witnessed one of the horrific injuries. I was dumbfounded and couldn’t believe how close and personal they were to it.

I shook off the thought, and wished them all luck (they were all doing the full). I finished my bagel, and drove back to the place I picked up my packet. There was a shuttle there taking runners to their respective race starts.  From here, we were above the elevation of where the 15K course actually was, and you could see the low lying fog that we were all going to be running in. I hopped on the appropriate bus and did what I always do, chatted to the person next to me about running! I could talk for hours and hours about

Morning fog...that never went away

Morning fog…that never went away

running. One of the reasons I like this blog so much!

Once we got to the race start, we were greeted with the chilly, misty air. Not really knowing what to do with myself,  I aimed for the “warming bus.” I debated with the lady I sat next to on what we should wear to run in. I opted for my shorts with my omni-heat long sleeve and my most recent race shirt (It was the Dino Half that had just been a week or two previous).

After taking off my warm sweats, putting on body glide (it was looking to be a humid race), and getting out my Ipod, I finally got off the warm bus, dropped off my bag and went to use the port-o-pooty one more time….only to find horribly long lines! “Ten minutes until start time!” was announced from the bullhorns. I looked ahead; there was no way I was going to get to go. I opted to just run! Sorry if this is TMI, but I had already peed earlier, I am just a “nervous peer” when it comes to pre race. It’s usually all in my head. I dashed out of line just in time to hear the 1 minute warning. PHEW!

I re-tied my shoes (like always), and we were off! I didn’t even have to pee until I got to the end (see, it’s all in my head). There’s not much to report from the actual run itself. It was a great temperature, although it was misty the whole time. Not raining, just foggy/misty/humid stuff. Which left me pretty sweaty. I would have been cold if I had stopped running.

DSCN3237The course was almost all downhill, a total of 300 feet elevation change. Something weird happened with this race though. The whole time running, I felt like I was running uphill. It wasn’t hard by any means, but the way the trees and the road looked with the tiny bit of hills here and there left me with almost a vertigo type of feeling, like I was going uphill the whole time. Has this happened to anyone before??

I made good time, with an average pace of 8:27. Which means I beat my last 15K time (from the Tiger Trot I did last year in Kansas) by about 4 minutes! My total time was 1:18:41 (previous 15K was 1:22:29). I never really know how to pace myself or what to make out of races that are weird distances. So take from that time what you may.

After crossing the finish line and stopped running, I grabbed my race bag to call my mom (like always) and realized how freakin’ cold I was!!! It’s crazy how just a little bit of moisture in the air, mixed with sweat  and no activity can make you feel like you’re in a freezer.

I went back to the finish area to grab a space blanket and immediately huddled under it. I asked some nearby people to take my picture to capture the pathetic moment.

DSCN3239Soon after, my nose led my next half hour. Yes, I did say my nose. What I was smelling was homemade, hot chicken noodle soup. It was delicious! After eating my share of soup and drinking Chocolate Milk (have I told you how much I love chocolate milk after a race and how good it is for you??!) I found the buses and made by way back to my car.

The aftermath: I actually wasn’t that sore or anything from this race. I made sure to take a hot shower when I returned to my hotel and stretched afterwards. The only bad thing I had was a bloody toe. I stupidly forgot to cut my toenails and one nail dug into another toe. Silly me.

Things I liked about the Sugarloaf 15K:

-It was a pretty typical, by the book race for me. Everything went smoothly from the pre race routine, post race routine, nutrition, running, and bodily stuff (like aches and pains).

-The bibs had our names on them!! This is the first race that I had ever seen this! I thought it was awesome! My marathon also had our names on the bib. When did they start doing this!?

IMG_20130519_141345-Beautiful course! It may have been foggy, but it was through the trees, along side the road. There was a lot of traffic, but they were all going super slow for the race (they were all bumper to bumper, sucks to be stuck in that!).

Things I didn’t like:

-not enough porto-potties! The nervous pee-r in me did not like this one bit!

-There was only one bad moment during this entire event. When I went back to grab my space blanket, I was pretty out of it from being cold and just having run. I didn’t even noticed a line (there was only a few people waiting) and stepped up to grab a blanket. I asked the lady handing them out if I could have one and she yelled at me to get in the back of the line! She completely embarrassed me, but none of the other runners care, nor did they even noticed. I went to the back and when it was finally my turn, I apologized and let her know that I had no idea there was a line since people were walking all over. That was the only thing I didn’t like at all.

More Information:

Sugarloaf Marathon Website

Tuesday Newsday is BACK!

I know you all missed Tuesday Newsdays….I’m bringing it back to life because….(drum roll please….)….I picked another marathon to train for and have begun training!!!!!!

AND, it’s going to be out of state! Woot woot! I’m also announcing something else that I might do that’s pretty crazy. But first things first:

This May, I will already have to be in Maine to serve as one of my best friend’s Maid of Honor. I’m pretty honored (no pun intended) to be chosen even if I do have a million and a half anti-marriage jokes. However, I’m super happy for this couple because I know they are going last, are perfect for each other, and are the definition of how relationships should be.

Anyway, Since I will already have to take off time from work and school, I figured I might as well take just a couple more days and do a race (…or two 😉 while I’m out there).

So, I decided to just make it a full, and my FIRST, marathon!!! There’s a few reasons I decided to pick a marathon. 1) I’m ready to just go for it! 2) For my Racing the States project, I initially didn’t care about the distance of the race; now, however, I’m really enjoying the half marathon length, and think it would be cool to have a medal from every state. Obviously, if I’m in a state for something and there’s no halfs – or fulls – available, I’ll pick something less, but like I said, I really like the idea of having a medal from each state. And 3) Around the time that I’m out there, there isn’t too many race options. The race I picked has a marathon and an 15k option…strange combo, I think. So, why not go with the full marathon!?

Alright…the crazy part…..I THINK I’m going to do another marathon the following weekend as well………….

I’ll let that sink in for a little bit  longer……………………………

Here, you can look at this pretty picture I took on a run last week while you let that info sink in.

Here's a pretty picture taken on one of my runs to look at while to take that info in

This is my regular run lake all frozen over for the winter.

I know, I know! It’s pretty insane in general to do two marathons in a week, especially for it being my first two, but here’s the crazy thought process: I’m going to be in Maine already…and there’s a few other little states nearby, right? I might as well knock of TWO States while I’m on vacation, right!? But there’s no sane combo. I’m out there the weekends of  May 18th/19th and the 25th/26th…I’ve tried every combo I could find. I’ve landed on doing a marathon in Maine the weekend before, and one in Vermont the weekend after the wedding. There’s not any good races in New Hampshire that whole week anyway!

If I chose a race in Vermont the weekend before, there wouldn’t be a good race to choose for after and vise versa (unless there’s anyone that lives out there that has more race info than I’m finding on runningintheusa.com, please let me know…half marathon distance preferred).

Here’s my justification of this insanity: 1) I’ve already gone through a majority of a training plan not that long ago. I learned what to do and not to do for the most part. 2) I have new shoes. 3) My goal is just to finish. I’m not trying to kill myself and BQ my first time out; I’m not that awesome. And 4) Call this the jealousy factor, but a friend of mine that I got into running is soon starting a marathon training plan (without taking the step to a half first) and I’m going to be pretty upset if she completes a marathon before me. That’s pretty rude thinking, huh? But I try to be an honest person, and that’s how I feel. Would something like this bother anyone else? Running is my thing out of all my friend/family/people I know, and I absolutely LOVE that I have sparked someone else’s interest in the wonderful sport, but running is the only thing I have, that I’m good at, and that’s all mine…if that makes sense. Although reason #4 is a only a small factor; I was already thinking about this marathon before this friend told me she was running one as well. (Hopefully I didn’t create too much drama with that statement, but like I said, I do like to be honest and not keep things bottled up).

Well….with that said….

Let me have it! What are your opinions??? The race I’m doing in Maine has a 15k race too…should I just shoot for the marathon the weekend after the wedding and do a small race before (and just not have a medal/half or full in that state), just so I don’t, ya know, kill myself or something?? Or just go for it!? (Side note: both races are relatively cheap for marathons..and I already have to fly out there…the only thing I might add is potentially a rental car). (Side note number two: I’m really leaning towards just going for it!)

I’ll be training for a marathon no matter what decision I make – whether it’s one or two. I starting thinking about all of this at just about 18 weeks out, so I took that as a sign to officially start training. There are a few things I’m going to do different this time, especially if I do decided to do both:

1. Count correctly. Remember how I was off by like 3 weeks last time?? Yeah, not happening again. I’ve already counted, and recounted about 500 times.

2. Foam roll more! Literally, like, every day! Especially that damn IT band (aka the Tensor Fascia Latae muscle…..yep, learned that in school!) This should hopefully prevent and knee pain and just help me my recover time in general.

3. Ice more! And stop being a pansy about it. I should start ice bathing after those long runs. We’ll see if I actually can – especially during the winter; after my foot injury a few months ago, I tried to ice bathe it, and I couldn’t even last 5 seconds. No joke. I remember in high school when I sprained my ankle, I was had to hold it in ice water for 5 minutes straight. I must have been tougher back then.

4. Massage the bottom of my feet more. By this I mean, use the ol’ tennis ball or lacrosse ball on the bottom of my feet to prevent any injuries that may arise (again). I just bought some lacrosse balls from work and tried it last night…it felt amazing!!

So, there you have it! You may be thinking I’m crazy (I’m curious what my Mom will say!). After I hear what people say, I’ll announce the races I plan on doing later this week. Let me know what you all think. I THINK two marathons is doable, with the right mind set and training efficiently. After all, I am in Personal Training school…what better training and information can you get!?

you actually give money?