Race Report: Beach to Beacon 10K

The Beach to Beacon is Maine’s largest road race with over 7000 runners registered. It is a premier race that began 15 years ago by Olympian Joan Benoit Samuelson, who won the first gold medal in the Women’s Marathon event at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. The race attracts a slew of elite runners from around the world. This year’s race was won by two Kenyans – Stanley Biwott in 28:00 and Margaret Wangari-Mariuki in 31:52. The course starts in Cape Elizabeth by Crescent Beach, heads down Route 77, bears right onto Old Ocean House Rd, back onto Route 77, and then the final stretch down a hilly Shore Rd to Fort Williams Park.

The race opens for registration in March and literally sells out within minutes. I tried to get into the race a few years back when I was moonlighting as a “runner,” but failed. Probably a good thing though. This year I was ready to go at 7am with my credit card in hand and my “fast” typing skills. The registration day happened to fall this year on Bike Shop Boy’s 30th birthday and he just loves to run (that’s sarcasm if you can’t pick that up). And, of course, me being the total ass that I am, thought it would be really funny to sign him up to for the race. I sent him a text later along the lines of: “Happy birthday old man! Guess what? You’re running the B2B in August! You can thank me later :-)”

I totally had visions in my head of him chasing me around with a pedal wrench….

But, he was actually kind of excited to run the race. Apparently he has always wanted to run the race. Fast forward to June. Now, Bike Shop Boy claims to not be a runner. He doesn’t like it, but he’s really quite fast when he does it. Bastard. So, I decided that he was actually going to train for this race, since I paid the $45 for him to do the damn race! I spent quite a bit of time coming up with his training plan based on previous races race paces he has done and his current hectic work schedule. I wasn’t worried that he wouldn’t finish the race. He has an extremely good cardiovascular fitness from living riding his bike all the time. I was more or less worried about his feet since he has had plantar fasciitis in the past. So I sent him the plan and he told me he was really going to follow it. I believe he actually promised me he would… yeah, totally should have seen that one coming…

Anyway, let’s fast forward to race day. Saturday was hot and humid, but totally bearable if you have been training in the heat and raced smart. I was a bit nervous about the race going into it because I honestly wasn’t sure if I could hit my coach’s rather aggressive pace plan for me. I have never run a 10K before or the B2B race course before so this was a completely new experience. Bike Shop Boy and I got there early and sat around for a bit. I had to hit the porta-potties about a half an hour before the start, which took forever. So, we didn’t really get a good warm up in, which I think would have helped my legs a bit during the run. We lined up in the 8 minute mile corral where my coach told me to line up. It wasn’t pleasant being cramped up like a can of sardines waiting over 20 minutes for the gun to go out. I’m claustrophobic, he was cranky.

Finally the gun went off, but it took us over a minute to cross the start line. The beginning of the course starts with a downgrade and then flattens out for a while. My Garmin was hitting in the 7’s so I knew we had to back off. Bike Shop Boy and I decided pre-race that we would run together or at least until he wanted to take off. It worked out nicely. I kept him from going out too fast and then blowing up later in the race and he kept me motivated to run faster. The first mile was fast, but I felt like I was running in slow motion. People around us kept passing us, but we ended up passing many of them again later around mile 5. We kept chugging along and then made the turn onto Old Ocean House Rd. I completely forgot we ran down this road so I was a bit worried about what the road may bring. I hadn’t been on this road for a very long time so I couldn’t remember the conditions. Things were good. At the end of the road is a small climb back onto Route 77 and then onto Shore Rd. We hit the half way point around here.

I made sure to take at least one cup of water at every aid station. A little water in the mouth and the rest over the head to cool my body off. Some people were nice enough to set up a hose and sprayer to run under. I made sure to hit everyone I could to keep my body cool as possible. I ran through every aid station too! That’s pretty good for me. I have yet to master the whole run and drink at the same time. Usually it ends up my nose. Shore Rd has some lovely little climbs during mile 5. On the last climb Bike Shop Boy saw someone and just shot off and up the hill. I let him go and just trudged along at my own pace. This was by far my slowest mile, but my coach said it’s every one’s slowest mile so don’t worry about it.

Race Mile Splits

Finally we turned into the entrance of Fort Williams took a sharp right, up a little steep hill and then around the barracks and screaming spectators towards the finish. My coach told me to wait till I hit the mile 6 marker to kick it up. I hit that sign and picked up my pace. Within two hundreds I found even more of a kick for an awesome sprint finish! It felt so good to be done and completely satisfied with the race. I hit every target mile pace my coach gave me and finished in a great time. If you would have asked me if I could have run the pace I did even a few months ago, I would have laughed in your face! Overall time was 52:05.6 for a 8:24/mile average. I finished 94 out of 421 in my 25-29 age group (Top 22%) and 1857 out of 6106 finishers (Top 30%). Bike Shop Boy finished 51:20 for a 8:16/mile pace. After the race the truth came out. He only ran once before the race. I was rather impressed he managed a superb time for no run training, but I was a bit annoyed because I spent so much time and effort making a reasonable training plan for him.

~ Happy Training!