Location: Portland, Maine
Half: Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon
Date: June 22, 2019
Finish Time: 1:34
Who’d I travel with? Mom
Pre-run meal? Ahi tuna and asparagus (yummmmmm).
From West Coast to East:
From one coast to another; states 23 and 24 took me from from Seattle, Washington all the way to Portland, Maine. I had never been that far East before, and Portland seemed like the perfect place to experience this part of the coast.
My mom had booked an air B&B for us months ahead of time, so luckily I wasn’t in charge of the planning (seriously, that’s a positive for everyone involved). We were getting in late, but had received instructions for how to get into the air b&b once we arrived. Before our arrival we stopped at the store for a few essentials: wine, pizza, chips, candy. Next stop: the place we would call home for the weekend…or so we thought. As we walked up to the apartment building we quickly noticed a man who was standing outside the door. As we got closer, the smell of skunk became very strong… strong enough to realize it wasn’t an actual skunk that we were smelling, but weed – clearly we had forgotten that Portland, Maine had legalized weed (I swear not all of my half marathon trips involve places with pot).
So. Back to the story. Here was a random man standing outside the place we were supposed to be renting, and he was smoking weed. That was the current situation.
“Hey, do you know where we enter the door code to get into this place?” my mom asked as we approached. He looked a bit confused (or maybe just high), but he moved a few steps over to reveal the pad of numbers on the door. My mom entered the code and made small talk with this man, who said, “my wife and I are staying upstairs,” as he casually followed us inside. YES. HE FOLLOWED US INSIDE. What the fuck was going on? It took me a few moments to realize that HE WAS LITERALLY STAYING IN THE SAME FREAKING APARTMENT AS US. My mom’s face had gone completely pale as she realized that we were evidently supposed to be bunking with this random couple for the weekend – sharing a living room, kitchen, and bathroom. As soon as he retreated upstairs into his room, my mom started to panic (thankfully she’s on top of things, because I was more worried about making the pizza than fixing this situation). Unfortunately it was past midnight by this point, and nobody was renting out rooms for that night (since it was actually the following day already). She finally found a website that was made for this sort of thing (who knew?) and contacted every available room. As soon as my pizza was done (yes, I made her wait for the pizza to finish cooking), we were off – off to our ACTUAL home for the weekend…. Or so we thought.
We immediately turned in for the night, waiting to check out the surroundings until morning came. And when morning did come, it came with an absolutely unbelievable view of the coast. Our morning consisted of some one on one, heart to heart, conversation as we walked barefoot along the beach of Maine. As our morning walk came to an end, we discussed the fact that this hotel didn’t have the same room available that night. And just like that, we were off to our third home of the weekend. THE MOST PERFECT PLACE. Literally. Everything on these trips must happen for a reason, because this was unreal.
After some breakfast, we finally pulled up to our THIRD home for the weekend. Literally. So much had been packed into this trip. But back to our third home. It was UNREAL. A home on the coast of Maine. Sitting right along the rocky shoreline (which I didn’t even know existed). We settled in and then took a walk to explore the coast. I have never seen, or known, that rocks like these existed. Huge slabs of layered rocks were stacked along the entire coast, it was like a beach and a mountain packed into a 10-foot shoreline. Walking along the beach was more like rock climbing or hiking than a simple stroll. It was magical. Something that you have to see to understand or realize the beauty of – and I was lucky enough to be here, with the person I loved most, taking all of it in. After our walk we explored more of the land – picking up my race packet in town, scoping out the scene downtown in Portland, trying my FIRST LOBSTER ROLL, seeing the Portland Headlight Lighthouse, and eventually grabbing dinner at a local place with AMAZING Ahi Tuna. We turned in early, ready for a LONG day after my race.
It was cool, but bright and sunny, on the morning of the race. The race itself ended up being much, much, larger than I had anticipated. And with WAY better scenery than they had advertised. Seriously. If people knew what that race course looked like, it’d be even bigger than it was. The race was amazing. The entire 13 miles was along the coast as you ran past sailboats, ship ports, and parks/inlets. People lined the streets during parts of the race, cheering on everyone running. I hadn’t expected to do that great, since I hadn’t really been training too hard, and I had secretly been a bit nervous about my finish times ever since I blew my personal record out of the water in Louisiana (getting a 1:33). However, as I finished the race I saw the time on the clock: 1:34. WHAT. HOW DID I DO THIS AGAIN?! I guess I was honestly getting a little better each and every time.
My mom scooped me into a huge hug while congratulating me, and also while simultaneously handing me a donut (thanks mom, you’re the real MVP). After a quick shower and some post-race maintenance & hydration, we were ready for our day on the town (I know, it sounds like bad news already). First, we went to a little outdoor patio bar called the Thirsty Pig – which had strong mimosas, a spot in the sun, unique hot dog combinations, and trivial pursuit: the perfect combination. Next, we stopped at Liquid Riot Brewery – a place right on the port of Portland with a huge outdoor patio right up against the harbor. There we had some food, a unique (and awesome) alcoholic ice cream trio, and, of course, a few Moscow mules: another perfect pitstop. We made a few more stops in our day-long adventure of Portland – some alley-way bars and bites of food and a seaside crab shack (I think, the alcoholic ice cream had gotten to me a bit by then. In true Darla and Amy fashion, we topped off our night with some more, non-alcoholic, ice cream.
When we got back to the house after our long day of adventure, we decided to go for one last walk along the shore to soak up the picture-perfect shore that we never would have known existed out here on the Northeast coast. We walked along as my mom yelled at me for being too careless on the wet, slippery, rocks whilst also being slightly drunk still. Turns out that moms truly are always right. A few seconds after I brushed off her warning, I found myself belly up on the rocks, nursing a long cut that ran down my back, legs, and hands. Eventually, we had to go back to the house and turn in for the night. Maine had been unbelievable and unforgettable, and I even had the battle wounds to prove it.