This weekend was the family reunion in Maine . We do this every summer but this year was my parent’s 60th wedding anniversary and their great-grand daughter’s 1st birthday.
We spent Saturday enjoying each others company and feasting all day. We started with steamed clams and mussels and then went to the freshest Alaska Salmon we’ve ever had. Caught and flash frozen within hours and then carried from Alaska by my Niece. My brother-in-law and my Niece’s boyfriend expertly prepared, grilled and poached the salmon.
My mother made her white sauce which she loves on poached salmon. I had a piece of grilled and poached without the sauce. While the grilled was tasty, poached had the full unadulterated salmon flavor.
Shortly after the salmon feast the lobsters started going into the pot. My brother-in-law had perhaps the largest pot I’ve seen in a non-commercial kitchen. It must have held 20 lobsters at a time, easily. As the lobsters came out of the pot, we all settled in at the table on the deck or the huge kitchen table. As everyone tucked into their first lobsters, the second wave of steaming crustaceans landed on our tables. The butter was hot and the lobster was sweet.
The lobster feast continued for over an hour with a seemingly endless supply of lobster. By the time we were all done everyone had had their fill. And there were still lobsters on the table and in the pot.
We had some great New Zealand wines including Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc, a very nice Riesling and a local Sauvignon Blanc. Throughout the weekend we enjoyed a variety of Sam Adam’s Ales and an IPA and “Levitation” Ale from Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido, CA. My sister-in-law gave me some Stone Mountain IPA at Christmas and I’ve added it to my rotation of beverages ever since. Great flavor in these ales.
This past week was the 65th Annual Maine Lobster Fest in Rockland, Maine. The event opened on August 1st at 7AM with tours of the US Coast Guard Station Rockland and an Art Show on Maine Street. Rockland and the area have a vibrant art scene. The final event of the day was the 2012 Sea Goddess Coronation. A few years ago my niece Kim won. Members of the US Coast Guard and US Navy escorted the Sea Goddess and her court for the evening.
Throughout the week there is Lobster, Blueberry pancake breakfasts, Art shows and things for the kids to do. They have fun (crazy) events like a blind fold row-boat race and “The Great International Lobster Crate Race” . People pay $3 to see how many floating lobster crates they can run across before they fall into the harbor. I’ve seen it on TV before and none of those “Reality” shows have any thing quite like it. I saw some pretty big boys in line to sign up for it. The Crate Race went from 7AM to 4PM Sunday. I didn’t get to see their race because I was there for my own race.
Maine Lobster Festival 10K
At 7AM I headed for Rockland to pick up my number for the Maine Lobster Festival 10K Road Race. It is a small town race with about 250 to 300 runners each year. Before the start I spoke with local people and tourists from all over the country. It wasn’t as well-organized as some races I’ve been to but the over all experience was very good. I’d give the race organizers a “B”. They had plenty of people on the course to guide us and plenty of cold water at the finish. But, people were a little confused about where the start was and no one was there to tell us.
The course passed The Samoset Resort and that was where our first water stop was. They had one of those McDonald’s coolers that’s about 2 feet deep. The stop was well manned but they were using those little cups that you get tartar or cocktail sauce in. Each cup held about one gulp of water. As the group I was running with converged on the bucket we all dipped our little cups into the water several times to get the ice-cold water that we needed. No one seemed the least bit concerned with anyone else’s germs. It never crossed my mind until later in the day. It was hot and humid and we were thirsty!
They had two other water stops with regular sized cups and plenty of water. Thank God! When the sun shone through the clouds the heat and humidity baked out of the tar roads and roasted us. I guess we got a feel for what a lobster goes through!
The USS San Antonio was in port for The Festival and a group of US Marines ran with us. There were about 12 of them, they started the race in formation, and I think marching. As the race progressed they broke ranks and it was every man for himself. They did start behind me and probably marched a mile or so. Even with their slower start, I am still proud to say that only two of those fine young men finished in front of me. I dueled it out with the two of them for a mile or so, but I’m injured and they are twenty-something. Ego had to give in to reality!
My BAA 5K shirt had been damp the entire race. At the last water stop most of the water landed on my shirt and not in my mouth. Now my shirt was drenched and major chaffing ensued. After a half-mile or so I looked down and saw blood.
I knew at this distance (10K) with this shirt that chaffing was a possibility but I was hoping. So reluctantly, as we turned off of Maverick Street onto Birch Street in Rockland, I took off my hat and peeled off my drenched shirt. My apologies to the good people of Rockland and assembled tourists for the show I then provided for the rest of the run. My big white belly full of lobster and white wine bouncing down the street. I still think it was less horrifying than seeing blood on a bright yellow shirt.
As I came into the finish area I held my balled up shirt against my chest so the photographer and time-keeper and could see my number. The race director still had to ask me what my number was. I managed to get through the short finishing area and grabbed a bottle of ice-cold water. As I drove home that night I realized the tub they used for the water was one of those huge containers they use to ship iced seafood in. The thing probably held a ton of cod at a time. The water was ice-cold and the tub must have been new and unused.
I managed to come in at 55:00 and at an 8:53 pace. Not to bad for an injured guy who had not run at all in five days!
I wondered around the finish area for 10 minutes or so and clapped as runners came in. I grabbed another bottle of water and a banana and moved towards the street. All this time I had been walking around with my shirt stuffed into the side of my shorts. I must have been a spectacle as I’m no Olympic athlete. For what ever reason it didn’t bother me one bit. It was after a race after all.
I drove back to my Sister’s home, took a shower and grabbed a Stone Mountain “Levitation” Ale at about 10:30 in the morning. It was a race day after all. My brother-in-law made a salmon and corn chowder and a lobster and corn chowder. I had a bowl of each and another ale. We finished the meal off with more chocolate and white cake from The Brown Bag bakery.
With full bellies and heavy hearts, we left the clan and headed home.