D and I just returned from an awesome 2 days on Mt. Desert Island, aka: pretty much the best place on earth. Normally, we hike on the island, but since I'm never hiking again, we ran both days. Both runs were awesome, but way too short. I wouldn't suggest going to MDI to run, when you're tapering. It's frustrating because both days I wanted to do more. Chock it up to another reason to go back. The other reason for this trip was to get a look at the MDI Marathon course, and spend a weekend on MDI and actually have fun...since marathon weekend isn't likely to be "fun."
We hit the road at about 7:30. I wasn't feeling all that frisky, after an evening of libations with the Trail Monsters at Novare Res. I only had 2 beers*, but things were still a bit hazy. The haze cleared along the way thanks to coffee, an egg sammich and a pumpkin donut from Dunkin' Donuts. We arrived at the Jordan Pond House shortly before 10:30 and headed out on the 12-mile "Around the Mountain" Loop on the carriage roads. The carriage roads are awesome for running. You feel speedy like you're on a road, but it's soft like a trail. Our guide book listed this route as "difficult" with an estimated time of 4 hours...on a bike!!! I have no idea who this book was written for, but we've hiked faster than 3mph. The book must be written for all the "less than trim" people we saw getting off the leaf peeper buses: the tourist cattle. "Moo!" Anywho, this loop was an amazing run. There was a fair amount of climbing, but you hardly notice it with the grade. We essentially circled Sargent Mountain. The weather was perfect: high 50's, sunny, and the views were stellar. We need to get a tiny, lightweight camera for runs like this: it was just incredible. The foliage is just starting to pop on the island, so that didn't hurt either. We didn't see a ton of people, but it wasn't dead quiet either. We knew when we were nearing a parking lot because the "traffic" increased exponentially. Of course, each time we saw people waddling along, D picked up the pace a bit. Show off. We returned to Jordan Pond and closed out the loop in 1:43 and change. Top 5 all time runs, perhaps. It was awesome. From a marathon training perspective, it was our last "long" run before the marathon, and we both felt great. In fact, it felt easy.
We stretched at the car and changed. In all our trips to MDI (we've gone at least once a year for the past 10), we've never done the legendary lunch at the Jordan Pond House. The timing worked out great, so we decided to try the world famous popovers. Eh, they were fine. Lunch was quite tasty, though. It's pricey, but you're paying for the experience and the view. Worth it.
Next, we drove to Bar Harbor to take care of the business portion of this trip: preview the marathon course. I'm not going into right now; I'll say more in my official MDI preview post. I will say that I swore a lot, and we ate some of the donuts left over from our stop in the morning.
The course tour worked out perfectly because we finished in Southwest Harbor, which is where we were staying. As I mentioned in my previous post, we had a reservation at the Claremont, a gift from D's boss. The Claremont is quite nice. It's not exactly our style, but it was nice. It reminded us a lot of the Balsams. It's not a well done or as over the top as the Balsams, but it has the same Dirty Dancing feel to it.
We checked it to our room, showered, wandered around the property, and then headed back into Bar Harbor to go to one of, if not, our favorite restaurant: Cafe This Way. I had the quail special. I'd never had quail before...it was super tasty. After dinner, we wandered around Bar Harbor laughed at the tourists, strolled through a couple tourist traps, and I picked up a six-pack of Bar Harbor Brewing Cadillac Mountain Stout. (I'm drinking one right now...it's pretty solid. I'd highly recommend it.)
Breakfast was included in our stay at the Claremont, so we downed the cheddar and broccoli quiche and waffles and headed back to the carriage roads. We picked out a short 4.5 mile loop that took us up Paradise hill, which offered great views of Frenchman's Bay. It was a bit chillier today, but still just about perfect for running. Despite it being Monday, it was busy on the carriage roads. Well, not busy further out, but busy around the major trailheads. There was a bike tour of about 2 dozen people heading out when we finished. Glad we missed that. Actually, crossing paths with bikers on the carriage roads can be a bit unsettling. 90%+ of the bikers have rented bikes in Bar Harbor, and they aren't entirely comfortable. You can see it on their faces as they head towards you. That's actually how we saw pretty much all the cyclists—head on; only one pair of bikers passed us both days. Anyway, today's run was just as awesome. Way too short, but it was beautiful. We both felt great. We finished off the last of the donuts at the car.
A quick stop at the very tasty Spot Grill in Bar Harbor for lunch, and we were on the road. We took the scenic route home—Route 1. Nice ride through the coast. All in all a really great two days.
PF Factor: I realized that I forgot the PF Factor in my last post. Well, let's go with 1. For the two days in Bar Harbor, Sunday = 1, Monday = .5. I felt it for about 2 minutes during our run on Sunday, but then it went away and felt fine. Barely noticeable on Monday. The taper is coming at the right time, so I'm not worried about it for the marathon. I have been using my massage ball and daily vitamin I.
*Full disclosure: Each beer was a liter of their special Octoberfest offering. Yeah, a liter...in a big glass mug. It doubled as upper body work.