Adventures in Maine Running: Eastern Promenade + Back Cove

Happy Labor Day everyone! I hope you had a great one. I just got back from Maine, and while I miss both lobsters and my friend Lindsay, I’m really happy to be back. There’s a lot on the horizon for September, and I’m anxious to get this month started.

Unlike everyone else in the world, I am NOT anxious for boots, sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes. I would be very happy to wear sundresses and Jack Rogers all year round…but alas, I live in New York, where that is not really an option.

I AM excited, however, for fall running and for the humidity to drop.

I was hoping that’d be the case in Maine, but it was still humid as hell.

Also gorgeous as hell.


Although I truly love my West Side Highway path to death and still think it’s gorgeous, I get bored and sometimes need to take a new lover. WSH, please forgive me.

The staff at the Portland Regency Hotel, where we stayed, was incredibly helpful with everything else, so I asked them if they had a running map and THEY DID! They gave me a map that showed the Eastern Prom(enade) and Back Cove. I’m generally fairly map-illiterate, but it looked pretty easy: run down to the water, run to the end of the path and look for the next path. Even I could do that. I folded up the map, stuck it in my skirt and set off.

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See? Super easy. So easy even a blond who missed the day in school we learned how to read maps can do it. I knew the Eastern Prom part was about 2-2.5 miles and the Back Cove part 3.75ish, so my rough plan was to run to the Back Cove and either do two loops and walk back from there; or do one, add another mile or so and then turn around. Although the cove was gorgeous, I knew the second I got there I would not run two loops. I’m not one to really thrive on repetition in running – out and back routes bore me to death, and running the same out-and-back is a sometimes-cause of waning motivation.

Jess had assigned me 10 miles on the hilliest course I could find with the last 3 miles at marathon goal pace. Well, this course wasn’t super-hilly, but for a waterfront course, it did have a surprising amount of small hills. My mom was waiting for me back in the hotel room, so I wasn’t down for driving to run.

About halfway around the cove, I found myself comparing it to my NYC paths. I hadn’t yet seen a water fountain, and I hadn’t seen bathrooms. I also hadn’t seen many people out and the path was packed gravel, not the asphalt I’m used to running on. It was slightly softer, but not that much more difficult to run on, just different. It should be noted that about two seconds after I thought I hadn’t seen any water fountains, I found one and then saw several more. It was really humid, and I was going through the water in my Camelbak handheld pretty quickly.

I’ve been running more with music lately, so I popped in one earbud and took a Gu (Lemon sublime – not so sublime) around mile 6 and rocked out the next 4 miles. 1.5 more at the 9:45ish pace I’d been keeping, and the last 3 around marathon goal pace (9:02, 8:58, 8:49.)

The last 3 miles were a great confidence booster for a stepback week run, and I went back to the hotel happy and sweaty and ready to eat lobster.

More Maine adventures to come!

What’s the best place you’ve ever run on vacation? Are you also slightly map illiterate like me? What’s a confidence-boosting run for you?

15 comments on “Adventures in Maine Running: Eastern Promenade + Back Cove

  1. Jen

    Best run was in Hawaii! So how do you like your water bottle? What is the shortest run you use it on? I struggle to find fountains and it is still hot! I need more water I am just slowing down and too thirsty. I have had great luck with your recommendations!

  2. Jill C.

    Oh, gosh. I’m completely map-illiterate! What would I do if I lived in the time when we relied on an Atlas? I remember my parents using an atlas (had to get a new one each year) whenever we would travel. They looked like foreign language books to me πŸ™‚

  3. Mandi | No Apathy Allowed

    Looks beautiful! I love running on vacation, it’s such a great way to feel like a local rather than a tourist. I just got back from a long weekend in Helsinki, where I went running along the water and LOVED it. Good luck with your training!

  4. Kristi

    I love Maine. I think I had lobster everyday while I was there and it was so good. I thought the weather was pretty beautiful when we went in the summer. Kind of hot days, but cool nights. I loved it.

  5. Kiersten

    Public bathrooms and water fountains are seriously lacking here in Maine. There is one porta-pottie at back cove where you ran, but it is pretty gross. However, the natural beauty and lack of traffic totally makes up for it!

    My favorite vacation runs where in Ghana. It was miserably hot and the air pollution made it difficult, but I made friends with 3 local guys who ran with me every morning. We bonded over running and still stay in touch on Facebook.

  6. Ashley

    I was actually in New York this weekend, staying in Hudson. I also expected the humidity to be down and at least have cool morning weather to run in, but BOY was I wrong!
    Didn’t stop me from loving the East coast, though πŸ™‚

  7. Gianna

    I love Maine but haven’t been back in years.

    I think one of my favorite runs was San Francisco – all I wanted to do was run to the Golden Gate and it was probably the most joyous 13.5 miles – weather perfection, amazing views and exploring a new city on foot. Can’t get better than that!

  8. Beckett @ Birchwood Pie

    I had a blast on vacay this year on the Outer Banks, running the loop from my hotel to the Hatteras Lighthouse and then I “staycated” over the holiday weekend by visiting several area trails for runs and hikes. Yes, map illiterate here, especially when running.

  9. Courtney

    I travel to Portland a couple times a year for work and think it’s such a cute town! In fact, I’ll be there next week and may duplicate your route! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  10. Jenna (@urbanfitopia)

    I just got back from Pennsylvania and loved running in the country! I hear you about map reading. When I was in trying to ride some of the bike course for Timberman Ironman 70.3, I kept missing the turns. I was really grateful for the race volunteers during race day.

  11. Catie

    I’m not so much map illiterate as I am map ADDish. I get bored with the route I plan out and then I’m like, “Oooh! That tree over there looks pretty, I should run by it!” And then I get lost.

    Hands down the prettiest place I’ve ever ran is Paradise Island, Bahamas. I also loved running in Seattle last spring with my friend that lives there. In all honesty though, I think where I run is pretty gorgeous. Most people think Kansas is ugly, but give me a dirt road, some fields of wheat and a sunrise and I’m happy!

  12. Cassie

    The best place I’ve ever ran on vacation was recently on the trails at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. I’ve also done a lot of beautiful runs in Hawaii, but I love trail running.


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