I woke up to very dark, very windy weather on race day and I knew that it was going to be a tough one. I guess I can be thankful that the rain held out the entire time but last night I said to my husband, “I’m not sure which was worse; the downpours and hills of my first half marathon or the ridiculous wind today”. I just keep telling myself that I’m working out all the weather kinks now so that it’s perfect running conditions on November 6th for NYC.
I decided to make myself a pb and honey sandwich for breakfast along with my coffee. Normally I just do one piece of toast with pb beforehand and eat some beans or chomps during the race – but today I decided to try a bigger breakfast and I think it worked out well. I only reached for one powerbar energy blast during the race and didn’t feel hungry or depleted the whole time so I think this will be a standard breakfast going forward. Also the last two times I experienced some “crampage” after eating the chomps/beans while running so I’m going to rethink my fueling during the race (perhaps maybe just gatorade instead).
Anyway…I also was having some outfit issues as I wasn’t sure how the wind was going to be. Off the ocean and I was guaranteed to be freezing (since ocean temps are barely out of the 40s right now), off shore and I could be too hot if I dressed in too many layers. I decided on my trusty running capris, nike combat tee and a wind breaker. I also threw my gloves in my bag for good measure and I’m SO GLAD that I did. I will also say that my post race bag was perfectly packed with ample choices of clothes to change into, different shoes, towel, etc. (definitely getting better at that!)
I made it to Asbury Park around 7:45 a.m. (45 min before the start) got out of my car and was immediately hit with a super strong onshore wind (meaning blowing off the ocean with a bit of a northerly feel to it). I’m talking so strong that as I was helping a few running club members carry boxes to the convention hall, the wind was practically taking the box out of my hands! I was also teeth chattering cold and so afraid that I had under dressed. As a “thank you” for helping carry a box, one of the ladies gave me a knit running hat which came in VERY handy for the race! After two bathroom stops (I pee ALOT when I’m nervous) and a quick stretch out, I decided to brave the wind and head outside to the starting line.
The course had two options: an out and back loop from Asbury to Sea Girt OR a three loop “out and back” between Asbury and Avon. I decided on the one loop course because I’ve run it before I knew what to expect AND I knew that I would get board running up and down the boardwalk in the 3 looper. Now that I look back, I think boredom would’ve been better as I wouldn’t have had to face the headwind in one big chunk.
At 8:30 the gun sounded and we were off! I made sure to keep a conservative pace in the first couple of miles to get my body warmed up. I didn’t feel tight and I was happily cruising along (music free!) with all of the other runners. The wind was definitely blowing hard but it felt like it was a bit behind me too. So even though I was getting hit from the side, I felt the push as well. The entire race was along the boardwalk and I was hoping that would encourage some more crowd support. Unfortunately due to the bleak conditions, the boardwalk was like a ghost town 😦
First half I was feeling good 🙂 I felt I was keeping a good pace and I hit the turn around at exactly 1 hour — (holy heck could I actually come in at two hours or less?) — INSERT NASTY HEADWIND. Oh.My.God. the headwind…..it was brutal 😦 I was running a full minute to minute and a half longer each mile on the return. IT SUCKED. Sucked to the point where I actually had to stop and take a few walk breaks (which now I regret because I could’ve totally beaten my instant PR had I pushed a little harder). Sucked so much that my windbreaker was flapping around like a flag and my hat nearly was blown off my head on several occasions. I will be honest, by mile 10 my head got to me and I started to doubt myself. Battling that wind was terrible and it totally messed with me to the point where I just wanted to BE DONE. It was amazing because just an hour before I was feeling great and now it was a struggle to put one foot in front of the other. With 1/4 mile to go, I could hear the crowds at the finish line and I ran as fast as my legs could take me through to the end. I crossed the line at 2:10:32:88 (official chip time). I’m happy with that result and annoyed that if I just pushed beyond those head games, I could’ve been smiling with a new PR. Oh well….there’s always next time.
Source: JSRC website
I took my hat off as I was coming down the boardwalk so I could get a semi-decent picture LOL!
SWAG – It was good. Each participant was given a long sleeved tech shirt and a finishers medal.
If you’re wondering why the people on the shirt (and the medal) have weird faces. It’s actually the logo from WonderBar (a popular bar in Asbury Park and sort of an iconic image).
As an added bonus, if you picked your bib/shirt up on Friday night, we were also given a second shirt.
The relay was the second part of “RunAPalooza” — it was a marathon relay from Seaside Heights to Asbury Park. These shirts are dated “08” but still nice nonetheless and I’ll definitely wear it lounging around the house!
OH and if it were a gorgeous day, this would’ve been my view the entire race:
Instead I had to look at nasty gray skies and a very angry looking ocean….all while cursing that wind!
Okay well this is getting very long winded – PUN intended! Time to go find another half marathon to run. I’m thinking the Super Hero Half Marathon on May 15th. With a name like that — it’s gotta be cool!