Well, it’s all over. It’s funny how you prep for something that literally is done in (hopefully) 5 hours. Months and months of sweat, tears, pain, long runs, short runs, speedwork, early mornings, rain and freezing temps all wrapped up into one nice little package. It’s over. I can put this training cycle to rest. I learned a lot about me and this process, and considering I am only three years in and four marathons deep, it’s still going to be a learning process. I am coming to terms that not every race is going to go how I would like. That just like training runs, there are good ones and bad ones, and really, you don’t know what you will get. But it’s important to try, and keep going!
This weekend was both good and bad, in the sense that i had an absolute blast. The shore was gorgeous, and our hotel was super cute, with this adorable little tiki bar right on the water. Maureen and Marie joined me for this, with Marie running the half and maureen spectating (errrrr….practically running the marathon..) We probably only spent about ten minutes at the expo. Not long at all. They ran out of safety pins which of course I forgot to pack, figuring they’d have an abundance. They said they would have them at the start but there was no way I was playing that game. We made a CVS run. Of course I got in a jumping shot. I actually didn’t buy anything (good for my wallet!) because I wasn’t terribly thrilled with anything. Plus, I have more shirts than I know what to do with! We enjoyed mocktails on the deck, (well maureen got to indulge in a margarita, and then had dinner in this adorable restaurant with friends Saturday night. I am pretty sure I ate the biggest piece of chicken parm I have ever laid eyes on. And I finished it all. LOL foam rolling and bed were early.
Race morning we got there early, and had plenty of time to arrange our selves which pretty much meant using the port a potty 90 times. There weren’t many, which was a little annoying, and people didn’t quite know how to make lines. I really was feeling good and ready for this race. Paces were in my garmin and I was all set. Ran into a few friends, snapped some pictures and was set to corral up. As SOON as we corralled of course I had to go to the bathroom again, and also felt like my throats was very dry. The temp was perfect, but humidity was a little on the high side. They started us by corrals and there was about a minute delay in each. Which saved me later on. Once we started, about the first mile I jumped in a port a potty so I wouldn’t have to stress over it figured better now than later. I thought I was holding my paces really nice and for the first half camenin at about 2:06, pace 9:40, which was right where i needed to be. The first half of the course was boring. Very residential, almost like a training run though neighborhoods. Some people out, but not extensive. There were a few points on the course the crowds were higher. Saw maureen at mile 8, she asked if I needed her, I said no, I was feeling good. The first half had a ton of turns, not a straight course at all, I tried my best to run the tangents but sometimes it got hard. Not a lot of crowding so that was a plus. At mile 11 we split off and the half marathoners went one way and we kept going. That was a little unnerving, and I thought the second half of the course was an out and back. It was, but woof. One of the roughteat out and backs I have seen. Around mile 14 I started to lose it. Just, kind of hot (the sun had come out miles 10-12 is and there was no shade. My face was so burnt!!
I had texted maureen and said i needed some help. She was running to hit mile 22, but I knew I needed her before that so she was coming up the course trying to find me. Luckily I was doing a slow run/walk type shuffle thing so, she caught me around 17?
I got to watch the finishers pass, and I don’t get how they make it look so effortless 🙂 right around mile 17, you circle around this lake, and I was like perfect! Then we trot back down and cut in. Nope. You had to do all these twists and turns again and get up on the boardwalk, which SUCKED. Really hurt, did NOT like running on that. AT ALL. I think that aggravated my plantar, but I will say that didn’t act up till mile 24 or so. I complained about that later 🙂 he other thing I didn’t like about this course was every time you thought you were turning around, there was another trust and then and a giant section you had to finish!! I wasn’t a fan, and I just wanted OFF the boardwalk. You then had to go back DOWN the residential strip between miles 14-17, which again, played with me mentally. Once you cut into the short for the final mile and a half…it was nicer. You were on the water, it was cool, and the boardwalk was MUCH nicer. It didn’t hurt as bad. I didn’t even pay attention in Asbury Park because I just wanted off. Very little crowd support, just random chunks here and there, although Harlem Runs was down from NYC and it was SO nice to see familiar faces. Dashing Whippets and some front runners were also down, so, yay. Some guy around mile 24 saw me walking and told me to “pick it up” and the look I gave him would’ve killed instantly had that been possible. You sir, are clearly not a runner.
Maureen pulled me through this second half. Without her, I might be passed out on the side of the road. Okay, maybe not but she did try and keep me moving when I just wanted to sit. I think she ran about 18 miles. Yipes. That is a GOOD friend. Lisanne jumped in with me for the last half a mile and I just sprinted that last half because I just wanted it over. I came in at 4:37 and pretty much bawled, which was NOT a PR, not anywhere close to what I wanted. However my official time was 4:34 something which WAS a 30 second PR, although STILL not what I wanted. Thank god for my friend.
Finish was very easy to maneuver. Easy to get recovery bags (which I forgot to take as I was so miserable and just wanted to get out) and picking up my bag literally took five seconds. The temp by the water had cooled majorly, and I was almost cold.
As soon as I found friends I bawled. Loud obnoxious messy crying. This was technically the second race that I was so on point with training that had not gone the way I wanted.
Thank god for my mini cheer squad though. They were the best. We all went to coney waffle after, which I had been talking about for weeks! This was amazing. I can’t even remember what it was called, but it made my day 🙂 Cotton candy ice cream, loads of cotton candy, and a million treats all mixed over a cotton candy milkshake. (Which, for the record, wasn’t as good as the rest of the treat.)
We headed to get some lunch before heading back into the city! This was the only medal picture of me I got, because I certainly didn’t want any of me in tears.
After 24 hours to process, I woke up today actually feeling great! Nothing really is sore…(we will check that again tomororw) except my foot which was excruciating. I got up to go to the bathroom last night and couldn’t even walk. I don’t know what aggravated it, but, I wish I had crutches.
Mentally, it took a toll. I spoke to amanda last night which helped. Also, I realized that even blowing up, I still came in under my PR. Not by much at ALL, but, imagine had I NOT blown up? I would’ve CRUSHED this race.
I have to come to terms that like training runs, there will be good and bad races. And the problem with the marathon is it isn’t like a 5k where you just can run one every weekend if you want. I have to recover and then get back into the work. I am laser focused on my training, and like Amanda said, I have a million snapshots of my times and paces to confirm that. This race didn’t define me, nor will I let it. I sucked. It’s ok. I’ll suck again some other time, but for now, I’m going to take the week off to heal and recover, and I am going to jump right back in. The Brooklyn half is next, so that’s my focus. Hoping I feel good enough to really race.
I made the decision to not race NYC this year. I signed up for the wineglass half with friends, and I think I am going to run the full, and then pace Lisanne in NYC, so the stress is totally off of me, which I think will do wonders for me and that course 🙂 plus, wineglass seems to be more my kind of course. Small downhill, with a pretty straight road down. No boardwalk, no million twists and turns, and while the weather still could be warm, I have a feeling it’s just going to be a gorgeous race!
I am happy with my choice, and ready to start my next training cycle! Here we go again! 🙂
Did anyone else run NJ? What were your thoughts and feelings?