Paul Myer #560 – 5:16:49
“The most physical, emotional and spiritual moment of my life.”
Myer’s “Bucket List”
Among the items on my personal “bucket list” is successfully completing a marathon. Some months ago I selected the scenic MDI marathon, a 26.4 mile trek from Bar Harbor to Southwest Harbor, Maine as the venue for the attempt.
Based on my training program I had projected a pace of 4+ mph @ 13.15 minutes/mile and set a goal of finishing in 6 to 6:30 hours. While I substantially improved my training run times, I remained conservative in my goals due to weather, fatigue and the extremely challenging hills and terrain that characterizes the course.
My actual time was beyond my performance expectation, testimony to the physical conditioning benefits of a long and dedicated training program and the ability of a human being to reach deep inside oneself to find the motivation and courage required to accomplish a task. The pristine coastal landscape of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park provided a peaceful and inspirational environment for the demanding physical and emotional task.
As I reflect on my race performance, I cannot explain how I was able to maintain an average sub-12 minute/mile (5 mph) pace. My final mile (11:06:58) was the fifth fastest of the race and I proudly sprinted the final 385 yards in the best Olympian-like tradition. Overall, my fastest mile split was 10:34:09 (Mile 4), the slowest 13:25:40 (Mile 24), and averaged 11:58.
I placed 493 out of the 945 runners starting the race (699 finished) and 7th in my age group.
Keiko and Taro were my biggest fans, cheering me on at every spectator point. And a number of UMaine colleagues joined us to celebrate the accomplishment.