NJ Half Recap!

I call this one, "Sunrise over Port-o-Potties"

I call this one, “Sunrise over Port-o-Potties”

As you can see, the weather was glorious on Sunday.

What you can’t see, is that I felt good! You saw my fancy Skirt Sports top and matching arm sleeves (compliments at the start from my fellow runners on the matching – yay!), my bib, etc – I was ready. My pee was clear (obviously a goal of mine every pre-race day- LOL). I had my traditional pre-race dinner of pancakes with bananas. Not sure how that got started, but I enjoy it.

My goal was to have a good race. Ideally, I wanted to seriously get my confidence back after my last half of 2014 (RU Unite Half in April) crashed and burned at a nearly 3 hour finish time, only a month after running a 2:37  that I was quite happy with in VA Beach at Shamrock.

Back to feeling good. I felt good the night prior and the morning of – so that was a great start. My stomach, known to throw IBS fits at me on a regular basis, was not doing that on Sunday. I got into the parking lot super early. It is my nightmare to be stuck in traffic a half hour before a race starts – it makes me a nervous nellie, so I get places early and can just CHILL. Fun fact: I remembered that I had a box cutter in my car from my days working at Yankee Candle and opened my own Port-O-Potty for my first pee stop, because no one else was peeing at 5AM. You’re welcome, those who followed.

One of the best parts about the location is that you can hang out inside Monmouth Park at the start. Its warm, has a real bathroom (until the line gets super long), and it isn’t my dark cold car. So i did that, along with some stretching, for a while.

We got started just a few minutes late,  and since I was in a later corral, I started even later. But again, all good. We were off! The first mile I heard someone say their watch recorded a 10 min mile (the clock said 16) – and I thought, Oh crap! That is WAY too fast for me these days. I should’ve been around 11’s, assuming I’d slow down some along the way. But I just went with it. People were passing me, getting their pace settled, and I saw some pacers go by for marathon times – and all of the pace times were faster than my training runs, so I knew I was still in a good place.

I hit the 10k running UNDER 11:30s! That is awesome for me. I hung around that time until about mile 8, where I saw the 2:30 pacer pass me. I had hoped to be around 2:30 – but as long as I didn’t let the 2:45 pacer pass, I knew I was still okay. I generally felt the way I wanted to – rhythmic, my legs didn’t feel like lead – these are all awesome things. I had some moments between miles 8-10 of “OMG WHERE IS THE NEXT WATER STOP!” – there was one in there, but that was where the miles started to feel long. But again, the weather was perfect. The course had oranges near mile 10, and those were an amazing surprise. They revived me to make it work! Miles 10 and 11 felt good. After mi 11.5, you hit the coast in this race, which means the wind is on you. I was ready for it, since this is a course I’d run 4 other times. However, mile 12 to 13 felt SO LONG! I don’t wear a watch while racing, so I’m not sure what my mile time was, but it felt like forever. I wanted to walk during the mile- but didn’t. I was proud I didn’t walk along the course at all except to take water or eat some jelly beans.

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The short version? Very happy with my race. I proved that my Unite Half in April with a nearly 3 hour finish time WAS a fluke, and that I CAN stay under 12 minute miles still. Will I ever get back to my PR time of 2:25? Probably not, but I’m okay with that. I am perfectly happy staying in the 2:30’s if I can keep that up! Great weather, great course support, didn’t even have to wait more than 10 mins to get on a bus back to my car. Overall – Happy!

Added bonus? Even a few good (stolen) photos! I usually look like a fire-breathing dragon or like I’m dying in my “official” race pics… so these are super for me!

IMG_6896 IMG_6894

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Cheers to everyone who raced this race and others this weekend. Time to enjoy some rest, adult bevies, and ice cream this week.

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