Running and Training: the Maine Marathon
Rain did not dampen the spirits of those participating in the 2011 Maine Marathon in Portland on Oct. 2, and many Colby students were among the 3,500 athletes who ran in either the marathon, half-marathon or relay races.
Though the weather was less than ideal for marathon runner Katie Selin ’12, who said she prefers it to be “60 and sunny” for her long runs, she finished the 26.2 miles with a smile. This was the first marathon for Selin, who had previously run in three half-marathons in addition to some shorter races.
“I decided to run [the full marathon] this summer when I was working at a law firm. There was a lot of sitting at desks and running seemed like a good counterpoint to that,” Selin said.
Michael Brophy ’12 also cited his summer job in Los Angeles as sparking his decision to run the full marathon. “When I got to L.A., I didn’t know what to do with myself and I didn’t know anyone,” he said. “I figured running was a good hobby for someone with a lot a free time and not a lot of money, because you can eat as much pasta as you want and you don’t need a gym membership. So I just started running and kept going.”
But it wasn’t quite that simple. For both Selin and Brophy, Sunday’s race was the culmination of months of hard work. Both followed intense training regimens and worked up to 20-mile runs in preparation for the big day. “It definitely cuts back on the partying a little bit,” said Brophy.
Selin planned her long runs for Thursday afternoons, “before the weekend festivities begin,” she said. “I’m not sure if I could do all my training while being at school,” she said, explaining that, while on the Hill, she usually has large amounts of work and little free time.
Although Brophy’s busy schedule at the College kept him from stressing about the marathon, he also admitted that he was afraid that training for such a long race while at school would be a challenge. “I was fortunate that I was ahead of [training] over the summer, so [when I got to the Hill I got] to taper it,” Brophy said.
Weeks of practice caused both Brophy and Selin to discover certain running rituals. Brophy said that he prefers to “battle” his thoughts rather than listen to music while he runs. “I hesitate to use the word ‘meditative’ because I think that oversells it,” Brophy said. “But [running without music] is nice. You just get to hang out and think, which you don’t always get a lot of chance to do.”
According to Selin, running with an iPod is simply “too much of a hassle on long runs.” But she has her own routines. On Sunday, Selin raced in her favorite running uniform. “I run with a nerdy water belt thing and wear the same sparkly headband,” Selin said.
Not all students in the race ran the full, marathon, however, as the event offered both a half marathon and a relay option. Jessica Blais ’12 ran the marathon relay for the “Aqua Mules,” a group comprised of members of the Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Teams.
In the relay, the full marathon is divided into four legs, each of distances ranging from 5.2 to 8.8 miles. To train, Blais, who said she had “been running and swimming a decent amount” this summer, added four and five mile runs to her usual routine to “get some distance in.” On training days, Blais made sure to eat something small before her run and hydrate “like crazy” after. “I run in the morning as a good way to start off my day and wake up,” Blais said, “and [I] always listen to music.”
Blais, a first-time competitive runner, enjoyed her marathon experience. “It made running a lot more enjoyable knowing you were in great company. I loved the marathon atmosphere,” Blais said. “It was also a great team building opportunity for the swim team.”
Selin, who thought Sunday’s race was “easier than expected,” would like to continue her competitive racing career, perhaps even by participating in the Sugarloaf Marathon this spring. “I’m going to take a week off and then keep running,” Selin said.
Before training for the Maine Marathon, the farthest Brophy had ever run was six miles. Now, his next goal is to participate in either the Spartan Run, an obstacle racing challenge or the Escape From Alcatraz triathlon. “I’ve got the bug,” he said.