Monday, May 6, 2013

Victory! New Jersey Half Marathon Anniversary race report

In case you've missed the million times I've mentioned it in this blog, the New Jersey Marathon is very, very special to me. It's the half marathon that started my running life and I consider this race to be one of those dates that I look forward to every year.

This year was no exception, except - I was not very trained and a little concerned over that.

No matter. I decided a few days ago that I was going into this race with joy. This race was going to be extra special because a whole bunch of my friends from Moms In Motion were going to be running. A few were doing the relay and a few were doing their first 13.1 races. One of the Moms going for her first half was Rox.

Hot Mammas: Me, Rox, Coach Dana, Monica, Jen and Kerry at the Expo
I decided to pace Rox in this race. It was her first half marathon and poor girl had only ran 4.5 miles up to this point in her running life. (Her own training got derailed because of illness and other life stuff that comes up.) So, I figured that she could use a little friendly support and I could use a little friendly support with all of my non-training nonsense. I had no doubt Rox would cover the miles even if her training was lacking. She is one tough chick.

We got to the site early - before 5 AM! This year things threatened to be backed up because of added security but truthfully, everything was very smooth and the race was extremely well-run as always.

I'm so glad Rox and I ran it together. The first few miles flew by as we chatted, danced/run, thanked spectators and chuckled over some creative signs. We walked, hydrated and kept our pace around 12:20 for most of the early miles just to make sure we'd be OK by the end. Several times I'd look down at my garmin and we'd be in the ten's or eleven's and I had to pull us back as to not 'over-do' it. Those early miles felt great.

Right around mile 6 we saw my "running angel" Alison. I used to work with her years ago and she is a Team in Training coach. I seem to always see her just when I need to at random half marathons. I even saw her in San Diego during a very rough patch during my full marathon and she was a gift sent from heaven then. The second time I saw her on the course yesterday she got her fellow Team and Training coach friends on the sidelines to cheer me on as I ran by and that was awesome. I love seeing her out there!

By mile ten my troubles started. The cramping started, in spite of gels, salt tablets, hydrating, magnesium supplements leading up to the day, lots of walking and stretching. I was OK enough for miles 10 and 11 but mile 12 was really tough and both legs were seizing. Now Rox was really helping me! It was a bit humbling because I felt like I was holding back this girl who had only ever run 4.5 miles as a long run. This was my 11th half and I had even covered 26.2 once! I should not be the one falling apart right now. I stretched, walked when I had to and was fortunate enough that she was by my side. I told her to go on. She refused. She said "We start together, we finish together." Her goal was to do this thing under 3 hours. And if it weren't for me having to stretch out my cramping muscles, we would've made it but we did it in 3:03. Rox was awesome and I was so happy to be by her side as we crossed the finish line.

The Moms ready to get in motion!!
I am learning that some people can half train for a half and be OK. I cannot. No amount of slowing down or popping salt pills will ever take the place of banking the miles and building up the distance gradually for me.

Still smiling
In any case. All in all it was a beautiful day. I had a blast. I loved hanging out with my Moms in Motion  friends and the bling this year was particularly beautiful.

The middle flips - side one 
And the other side of the medal:

I also LOVED that I thanked the race on their website and they personally responded to me. It's just a nice touch:

Is there a race that is very sentimental to you?

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