Monday, May 6, 2013

NJ Marathon and the Long Branch Half

The Half Marathon Weekend really started for me on Friday, when Eileen and I  visited the Expo. On Saturday, the teenie and I volunteered at the Expo to benefit the Cancer Concern Center. We were hoping to be able to hand out bibs, it was so much fun last year! We started out at bib pickup.....
Don't we look cute in our Volunteer shirts? They are tech shirts! I get to add another running shirt to the pile, but Morgan's got wrecked by an errant staple sticking out of the table! Booo! We were only at that table for a couple of minutes and then we were sent over to the Bib Lookup Table.
This was fun, everyone was very nice, and they needed their bib number in order to pick it up, so a lot of people who didn't print their waiver early came to our table! My friend Colleen joined us at the end, and Volunteered some of her time as well!
On the way out, I posed at the Starting line....
I would be there the next morning, but I wanted a pic there. Good thing! Wait til you hear why!
After we got back, I laid out my Flat Mama, and went to bed nice and early, because it would be an early start!

It was no problem getting up early the next morning. The hubs had a Dirt Bike Enduro Race in Delaware that same day, and he was getting up as well. I got dressed and was out the door by 5:30. Sans GPS watch. I plugged it in the night before, but it didn't charge. Some part of the plug must have been loose.  I also received  a text from Eileen.  She was already there and said traffic was starting to get bad.  A sign of the things to come? You decide!
I set out for Monmouth Park Racetrack, and got pretty close with no problem. I knew which lane to get into, being close by my whole life, and was bopping along happily when I hit the traffic! I was 10 minutes away, but it would take me over an  hour to get there. Late. I called the hubs and he calmed me down, but I hated that I was starting this race stressed out. I also hated that I wouldn't be running any part of the race with Colleen and Eileen! UGH!
I finally parked the car, stopped at the Porta Potty (where a very nice marathoner let me cut her in line and gave me toilet paper) and got to the start. The race started at 6:50 and it was now 7:05. Luckily it was chip timed, so my clock didn't start until I crossed the timing ramp. I would spend the rest of the race subtracting 16 minutes to figure out my official time, since I didn't have my watch. I ran almost an entire mile with out seeing more than 3 people. I was so mad at myself, but making good time. At mile two, I realized that starting late wasn't so bad after all. A little perspective, served up in the form of a wheel chair racer struggling to get to the top of the hill. I slowed my pace to run alongside her and cheer her to the top. I also realized during the second mile that I had forgotten to pin my Boston bib on the back of my shirt. But what I did have, was the names of people who passed or were fighting Cancer pinned to my belt. More perspective for me!
By mile three, I was starting to catch up with runners, and was feeling better. The spectators were amazing! They were everywhere, cheering, playing music, clapping. I LOVE this race for that! At mile 5, we crossed a small bridge, and this is where the first photographers were. Something to be said for being at the back of the pack: I got my pic taken by 5 of them. There were not that many people around me, so I didn't have to fight for their attention!
Around mile six, I caught up with Lisa from the Half Fanatics! I was so excited! I had missed the photo op (that I had set up) and Facebooked her from the traffic to let her know. She was so glad to see that I had been able to run the race, so we chatted a bit, and actually caught up with more HFs, who were wearing the cutest green skirts, and Zombie shirts. After we all chatted, I ran ahead. My pace was amazing for the first 8 miles or so! I was on fire! 
At mile 9, the Marathoners, who started about an hour after I did, caught up. They were so FAST, accompanied by police motorcycles, and it was so uplifting to see. It definitely helped me keep going! I was definitely starting to feel fatigued, and wondering if I had gone out too fast. There was a PR in my future though, and when I hit mile 10, and the time said 2:04 (which for me was 1:48) I was shocked. I always hit mile 10 just under 2 hours, and to have such a cushion? PR for sure! I had gone into this race just wanting to beat last year's time of 2:35:12 and to be this close to an overall PR was just amazing to me! What a great end to the day!
But NO. Mile 11.5 my knee started to ache again. My last Half, it started at mile 10 and I limped the last 3 miles. I was determined to run the whole race, and I pushed and pushed. At mile 12.5 I just had to stop and walk. This was when Lisa passed me. I started to run again, in pain, crying, to cross that finish line. As I approached, and started doing the math in my head, I realized that I would not get an overall PR but I was going to beat last year's time! I beat my 3 minutes. Exactly 3 minutes.
I actually stopped to cry a little after I finished. I collected my medal. Cried. Stretched. Cried. I was so happy that  I beat last year's time. I didn't even care about the missed PR overall. I did what I set out to do. After the morning from Hell and a very lonely race.
I found Lisa and we posed for our pic. Some very nice 20 somethings took it for us. They were adorable men, and joked with us old ladies while they took it. I wanted to pinch their cute cheeks!
As I searched for the busses that took us back to the start, a nice man asked to borrow my phone. He had lost his friends and didn't have a phone, had been wandering around for 40 minutes. I lent it to him, sad that no one else had lent him their phone. As I continued my search for the bus, I was feeling even better. Sore knee, sore arch, aching back. I didn't care! On the bus, I took the pic of my medal for my collage.
It was a long ride, and I noticed my bib had a barcode on it. To get your results. SO cool! I had to upload the scanner app, but once I did, this is what I got.
Cool, huh?
Overall, a great day! The race had great security, great volunteers, water stops were full of water and happy volunteers. We got soft pretzels, bananas, and taffy at the finish along with a bottled water. 
Best sign: May the Course Be With You
Being the day after May the 4th, I appreciated this one a lot! 

What is your favorite race sign?

16 comments:

  1. Wow, great job!! Sorry about the knee pain- sounds like you were on track for a big pr. Glad you had such a good race experience!

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  2. Congrats on the PR after everything!!! Great job - and what a fun time it sounds like you had!!

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  3. Congrats on running a great race after a stressful start!

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  4. Congrats Kim after a tough start. I can't imagine starting late at a race, I would get so stressed out. You handled it really well. Hope the knee feels better today.

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    1. thank you! the knee is better today, but my arch aches, I think from having my one shoe laced too tight, I problem I have had before! Yikes!

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  5. Congrats on beating last year's time, and sorry about your knee pain...good for you for fighting through it, though -- you are AWESOME. I completely hear you on the stressful start to the morning...I had a similar experience, but managed to break into my corral at the LAST. POSSIBLE. SECOND. as the race was starting. The traffic was absolutely insane...I was really frustrated. But, silver lining...I bet you'll get some awesome photos from Marathonfoto! ;-D

    Sorry I didn't get to see you at the expo! I was looking around at packet pick-up, so this explains why I couldn't find you. Hope to catch you at Superhero! :)

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    1. sorry we missed each other! Sorry you were stressed at the start too, I heard that from several people! Next year I am leaving WAY early! Hope to see you at SuperHero!

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  6. Congrats! It was a great race.Hope your knee is feeling better.Favorite sign from yesterday- Are those gels in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

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    1. OMG I loved that sign! There were so many great ones!

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  7. Congrats on your PR! I am sure next year you will do an overall PR!

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    1. thanks Alicia! The sign up is this morning for a discounted registration! I am sick enough to sign up a full year early lol

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  8. I just registered for next year!!!!!!

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    1. woohooo me too! I signed up for Runapalooza as well! Back to back Halfs! I am officially nuts!

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