So yesterday I ran marathon #2 at the Jersey shore. I really didn’t talk much about my training this time around because I didn’t want to set any expectations. I knew I was getting better at distance running and this training cycle was far better than the one for NYC…but for some reason I felt like keeping quiet about my progress.
To say that yesterday was the perfect day for marathon running was be an understatement….it was freakin fabulous! Mid 50s at the start with cloudy skies for most of the race; I think the sun came out around mile 20. I was stressing about what to wear but ultimately decided on shorts and a tshirt which was totally fine. But I’m getting ahead of myself…..let me start from the beginning.
Yesterday started with a 5am wake up call, had my coffee and forced down a banana and some water! Got in my car around 6 and headed to the start area. The half marathon ( which has about 12k participants) was set to start at 6:50 and the full was set to start at 8. I arrived to the start just as the half marathoners were underway and there were so many runners that we’re stuck in traffic that were literally running to the start line (I was so glad I got there early). After meeting up with Amy and Sandra (who was our paparazzi) and getting organized for our race, it was time to head to the start.
Amy and I before heading over to gear check.
Apparently there was supposed to be a staggered corral start but no one notified the starter of this and we all set off together. In my head I wanted to be somewhere around 4:15 to 4:25 so I decided to stick with the 4:25 pace group for the first two miles and reevaluate from there. In hindsight I should’ve stuck with them but the pace felt so slow and I wasn’t jiving with anyone in the group so I started to pull ahead.
I was happily cruising along at a 9:45 pace, no music, just enjoying the scenery. The first 6 miles were pretty quiet; there were some people out but it wasn’t anything crazy. I decided to wear one of my team DetermiNation shirts for two reasons, 1) I knew that there were 40 other teammates on the course and I wanted to be available to anyone that needed encouragement and 2) the coaches and cheer teams go nuts for us so the extra boost is always welcome :). Around mile 7 I saw Sandra for the first time as well as our head coach for DetermiNation (Ramon) who went NUTS yelling for me…..such an awesome feeling and just the lift I needed. Not two seconds later do I hear my friend from the gym call my name as she’s running up behind me! She started with the marathoners but because of a wonky ankle only decided to run the half. We ran together and chatted for about three miles and then she pulled ahead. I wound up running those miles at a 9:30 pace and needed to reel myself back under control to avoid early burn out!
Right before mile 7
Up next was the half way point and we ran through the center of Long Branch…..this was a busy section for the half marathoners but most of the crowds were cleared out because the half was over by the time we ran through it. There was a band playing and it was more crowded than the prior miles and this was where for a quick minute I was like, “crap, I’m only half way done?!?!” but I quickly shook that thought from my head and kept on trucking.
Coming up to the halfway point and feeling good 🙂
After making it through the halfway point, I tried to put my headphones in and listen to some music but I just wasn’t feeling it. In fact, it was actually giving me anxiety for some odd reason so I pulled the headphones off and just ran along in peace and quiet. I dunno, but in NYC the crowds and noise were actually very overwhelming for me and it seemed like when I tried to listen to music this time it brought back all those feelings and I quickly needed to shake them off. By mile 16 things started to feel tougher for me and my pace slowed to 10:00/10:15 (which I was still fine with) this is also where things went bad mentally for me in NYC so I was desperately trying to stay upbeat and positive.
Starting to get slower….
In order to stay positive, I started to break the race out into segments. For instance, once I passed mile 16 I told myself to just get to 18 and re-evaluate how you are feeling. At the 18 mile water stop I walked through (like at all stops) and said that the next goal would be mile 19.5 where I would hopefully see my mom and husband. My pace had slowed even more to the 10:45 range now and on the way to the turn around at 19.5 I saw Amy running and yelled to her then I made it to the turn and my mom was right there! At first I didn’t see her and I started to get discouraged that maybe she didn’t make it over there — but then I yelled “MOM!” and she started waving. At this point I needed a quick stretch so I pulled off to the side by my mom and talked for about 30 secs while I stretched. She said that my husband couldn’t get to the turn around and he would meet me closer to the finish. I needed that little mental and physical break and it renewed me to keep pressing onward to the finish. I kissed my mom goodbye and she yelled, “you are doing so good and you have a great time” (I was probably at 3:15 at this point) and still ahead of the 4:25 pace group that I left at mile 1.
Around mile 21 things started getting REALLY tough and my pace had slowed significantly. It’s also around this point that the 4:25ers caught up to me (DAMN!) and I tried hard to hang on but just couldn’t do it. I let them go and once again re-evaluated my position. I had to keep reminding myself that even though I was tired and hungry and getting stiff – I was still doing MUCH better than I had in NYC and I should be proud no matter what. My goals no longer were broken out by miles but rather by landmarks — like, “okay run to that street sign and if you need to stop after that it’s okay”. I also kept chanting “the more you run, the faster you’re done!” in my head. I played these games with myself until mile 25 when I saw my husband. WHOO HOO what a great surprise. He walked with me for about 2 min (course was on the boardwalk and not blocked off to pedestrians) he said, “you got this!” and I took off again and said I’d call him when I was done.
With less than a mile to go, I came up to a guy that was hurting and struggling to finish. I introduced myself to him and we said we were going to get each other to the finish. We did a quick walk break and said we were going to run together to the end…and that’s what we did! With the finish line in site I looked at my watch and said to him that if we kicked it into high gear we could come in under 4:40 — so we sprinted to the end (cheering each other the whole time) and crossed the line at 4:39:36. What a great way to end the race! We high-fived each other, grabbed our medals and went to find our friends.
So happy to be done!
After meeting up with Amy and Sandra we went to a sunny patch of grass and just hung out and enjoyed the post race glory. After changing, we went back up to the boardwalk for a pic together.
I learned alot about myself and my training this time around. Since this post has already gotten long enough, I’ll save those reflections for another day! Marathon #2 is in the books and um…..marathon #3 is already registered for LOL! NJ Marathon 2013 here I come (what can I say, it was a great race and the blitz price that was advertised today was a no-brainer!)