Sugarloaf 15K Race Review

Yesterday I ran my very first 15K race. It was here in Maine, in the beautiful Sugarloaf Mountain area ofCarrabassett Valley.  The Marathon runs at the same time as the 15K, so it brings a whole bunch of business to an area that see’s more in the winter than the summer.

I waited too long to book a hotel in Carrabassett Valley, so we had to stay in Rangeley which is almost an hour away. That wasn’t so much of an issue on Saturday when we were going down. But after I picked up my bib and swagbag, and we took off for our hotel, we realized that we were going to be driving through a heavily populated moose area at 5am the next day. 🙁
The drive Sunday morning was ok, but there were spots where the fog was fairly thick, and we had to keep our eyes peeled for moose. Luckily we didn’t see any. Hubby dropped me off at the bus loading area at 6am, and I was taken by bus to the starting line up the road. Lucky for me, Carrie from Maine Mom on the Run spotted me on the bus and we got to meet and chat the whole time. It was great having someone I knew from online to be with and spend some time with. I also finally got to meet someone who lives up where I am from originally, CaratunkGirl, Mandy.  She’s so full of spunk and fun, I can see where she has tons of energy to put into the races that she participates in. Was so great to finally meet and talk with her!It was sooo cold.. about 34*, and most people were in shorts and tanks or running shirts, and were all moving around to keep warm. I had gone to the Goodwill store the day before and got a heavy sweatshirt, and had planned to leave it at the start, as it would just get picked up and donated. I ended up wearing it until almost half a mile, then it was so heavy, that I had to ditch it.

The Sugarloaf 15K is the last portion of the marathon route. The nice part about it, is that the 15K is all downhill. From start to finish, there is a gradual decline, and it wasnt too steep to cause issues for me. I had worried about it a bit, since I hadnt seen it, but I was happy when we drove over it and saw how nice it really was. My strategy for the race was to finish in under 2 hours. I know, for most of you, that’s a really slow time.. but I am still working on the run/walk thing and trying to get my self back to all running. I was doing great last summer, but lost some endurance for a couple of different reasons. Now I am fighting my way back, but I am being smart about it, so as not to get injured along the way.
Coach Caleb gave me a choice of how many minutes I wanted to run/walk, and I opted to set my watch for 3/1, because I knew that I would probably run more anyway. I found my groove pretty early on, and spotted another woman who was running the same pace as me. We ended up doing the race together, and I was even able to chat while running! I bet some of you are laughing, but I have never run with anyone else before, and the thought of talking while running didnt really appeal to me. I found that it actually was fun, and it helped to pass the time away. We settled into an easy conversation, and kept each other motivated. Lynn from Concord NH, you are my hero! Thank you so much for sticking with me till the end. I think we did pretty well!
As I mentioned above, I finished in less than 2 hours, which is what I wanted to do. This gives me a baseline to start improving from. Since I hired Coach Caleb to plan my workouts, I have noticed a big increase in my ability to run faster and more upright with very little slouching, and my breathing has become much more manageable. I do have my “mantra’s” that I repeat over and over again, and those help me to stay focused. I switch back and forth between “Mez-a-ma-shii” and  “I am bonk proof”.
All in all, I would have to say that Sugarloaf is my favorite race so far. I am now going to start working towards a half marathon, and I really want to be running all of it, with very little walking. I know I can do it, with Caleb’s direction. I have lots of work to do this summer and I’m looking forward to it!
This article was originally posted by Louise Cunningham on

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