I can check Half Marathon #5 of 13 off of my list!!
Ever since I volunteered at the merch table for my running club last year, I have wanted to run this race! It is put on by my club to benefit Special Olympics, and this year it will also benefit towns ravaged by Sandy. This year, since I was running, I volunteered at packet pick up on Wednesday night instead of working the merch table the day of the race. It was a lot of fun, and I made sure to tell anyone in my age group to run SLOW. I don't think they took me seriously though! I laid out my #RunforBoston Flat Mama the night before. My running club sent an email out to all the participants asking them to wear blue and yellow, and even distributed ribbons!
The morning of the race, I left super early. I was meeting the Half Fanatics an hour before the race for a photo op and I wanted a good parking spot! I parked at our photo location, which was two blocks from the starting line, and one block from the Finish/Expo site. This race has the Expo the night before *and* the day of the race.
We started 3:30 late. I laughed as we ran though, because we passed all of the walkers doing the 5 mile race. many of them were families there to support the Special Olympics. We seemed so speedy, but they were all walkers, sooooooo not so much! We got to see Colleen's sister Katie, but none of our other friends yet!
The course was different this year. It usually runs on the boardwalk, but this year they couldn't so that due to all of the damage from Sandy. Instead it wound through beach towns around Asbury Park. It was an out and back race, but I guess they couldn't get permission to block all of the streets, because most of the race took place on the shoulder of the road. Yeah, it sucked. I don't blame the directors, they did what they could, but it really did suck. At times, we had to run on the sidewalk, and some of that sidewalk was uneven cobblestone, and there was sand and stone on occasion, and even a huge dumpster lid blocking the way.
We waved to Dave the Trumpeter on the bridge. It is never a race without Dave! LOVE him! We cheered on the winners at mile 5. It was uplifting for us, because in AC we saw the winners at mile 4, and this race it was mile 5. We were making great time! We cheered on our friends as they passed, other Fanatics, *anyone* wearing a Boston finisher jacket, Stephanie from the PbRC (our Disney Running Club). We had a great time! We hit the turnaround at about mile 8, and Colleen stopped to pee. I finally found my friend Cheryl there, and we said hi. She tried to find us at the Start, so I told her about being late.
Right around mile 10 it got ugly. My left knee started to ache on the outside. Colleen showed me a stretch and it helped a little, but every time I started to get back in the groove it hurt again. After 2 miles of stops and starts I urged her to run the last mile in. We saw Dave again right before she left, and he said a lot of people were complaining of knee and calf pain. I am guessing it was the cobblestones and the slope of the road when everyone had to share the shoulder. He yelled "Ice Ice Ice" as I ran on, and played us a jaunty tune. Have I mentioned that I love that guy?
I was never so happy to see the finish up ahead. The last stretch was finally along the boards, and the Convention Center was ahead in all it's beauty. I cried a little. I cried a lot actually. Not so much because of the pain, mostly out of frustration.
Colleen ran up to me for the last bit, put her arm around me, and ran me in. She stepped away so I could cross the mats and get my medal. She really is an amazing friend! I met her on DisBoards last year and we actually met face to face for the first time after Runapalooza last year!
Yeah, those are cupcakes. Divine, wonderful, perfect cupcakes. After the race, the hubs, Colleen, and I went to Confections of a Rock$tar on Cookman Ave in Asbury. These cupcakes are amazing and they all have musical names. (The Red Velvet are called Red Carpet). The cupcake names are written on CDs. It was definitely the perfect end to the race!
My knee no longer hurts, I am hoping it was from the uneven roads, and not an IT Band thing. Time will tell, I guess! I did notice some chafing after the race. A small post inside my thigh from my running shirts rubbing, and a longer spot on my arm from my iPhone strap. I had put it on too tight at first and it mushed my skin up against my tee. Yay. Both spots are less sore today, though, so bonus points there!
I finished in 2:53:27, one minute longer than my worst time to date. Ugly? yes. But I finished, and I am proud!
Have you ever had a disaster of a race like mine?