Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Running Back to Back Half Marathons, Part 1

Wow, what a crazy weekend I had! Last year at about this time, two of my favorite half marathons, usually a week apart, scheduled this year's races for the same weekend! What a dilemma...... or not! My friend Eileen and I decided to run them both.
Makes perfect sense, right? I just ran Dopey in January, 48.6 miles in 4 days, so what's 26.2 in two days? Easy peasy, right? Only problem? I didn't really train for back to back half marathons. Oooops.

Anyway, I got up Saturday morning and got dressed for race #1. I was super excited for RunAPalooza, because the course was supposed to improve over last year. Now, let me pause for a moment to assure you that the race course from last year was NOT the directors' fault. Totally Superstorm Sandy's fault. This race is supposed to run along the boardwalk in Asbury Park. A simple out and back. Last year, the boardwalk was nowhere near being done, so they altered the course. This meant a lot of sidewalk running, and sharing half of the roadway with the faster runners that were on their way back. At mile 10, I tweaked my knee and walked the rest of the race. I blame the up and downs of the sidewalk/roadway/sidewalk/roadway of the course. This year's course was an improvement, but not 100% fixed, although next year should be back to normal!
But I digress!
Another reason I was excited was my tutu. I know, I wear them all the time. This tutu was special though, because my buddy Bryce, from I Run For Michael, sent it to me. He picked the colors himself! Bryce is 3. He is the light of my life and I adore running for him!
Half Fanatic Group Photo with Tilly

before the race with Eileen and CarolAnn
 We all started the race together, along with my friend Lisa, but we quickly separated. Eileen and CarolAnn are far speedier than me! Lisa was playing it safe because she was running the next day as well. Smart smart girl. I was somewhere in the middle of them. It had started out rainy, but while we were inside staying warm, the sun came out and it ended up being a beautiful day!
 The course started in the street, and stayed that way for the first half. There were less turns than last year, which was awesome. I did commit a huge race sin, and ate a Luna Bar beforehand. Why is this a sin? I have never eaten one before a race, I usually eat BelVita cookies. I love Luna Bars, but this one sat in my stomach like a lump and by mile four I was nauseous! I never felt like vomiting, but oh my heck did I want to! That heavy feeling lasted four miles, but you would never know it from my times!
My half marathons this year have been pretty big train wrecks, so this was amazing for me! I was cruising! The weather was fine, we got back onto the boardwalk and the change of surface was energizing! (The pic above was from somewhere around mile 10). My only complaint was that there was some twisting and turning on the boardwalk and the faster runners were not staying on their side. It made the turns difficult and I started to slow down. This was at about mile 8 or 9. I saw Dave the Trumpeter at about mile 10, and he complimented me on my outfit and played me a jaunty tune, and I continued on. I was approaching the final turn around and looking forward to heading back.
This is also the spot where I saw Eileen on her way back. She said the wind was killing her, and I started to fret a bit. I also noted that my time was still pretty good, I was way on track for a course PR (last year I finished in 2:53) and I could even slow down a bit. I also realized that I still had to do this again. On Sunday. :::::insert screeching tires sounds here::::: I totally slowed down at the turn and didn't worry about the wind too much!
Just as I saw that we were closing in on the finish line, some evil volunteer told me to turn left! Left? The finish line was right there! Right there!
Oh well, time to stop and smell the roses take some pictures.
Ocean Grove Meeting Hall

Tentless Tent Houses in Ocean Grove

last little bridge we crossed before we got back onto the boardwalk
 I made the final turn to the boardwalk, and saw some High School friends who had finished before me. I stopped for some hugs and high fives, and then continued on my way. My Garmin time was 2:39 but my official time was 2:41, a 12 minute course PR! Holy heck! If I had pushed myself, I would have been right back to where I was last year! What a relief! I am glad that I held back, though! I needed to save some gas for tomorrow!
I took some pics and looked for my friends. They.were.nowhere. So unlike them, but I finally figured out where I had to go for my race tee and food (like 6 blocks away, no lie, maybe more! UGH) and as I moved in that direction, there they were, at the turn, wondering where I was! We must have just missed each other!
beach view from the finish area

decorated bench on the boardwalk

my medal, with a running Tilly on it!
 I changed my clothes in the back seat of my car, and then Eileen and I headed to the expo for Race #2! After lunch at a local mall, we headed back to Asbury Park where we were staying at the Berkeley Hotel, so we could finally shower!
please excuse us, we just ran 13.1

left side view from the room

right side view from the room

race swag, I bought a sparkly orange headband. You know, because I don't have one.
 After showers, Gigi from Running on Candy arrived just in time to have dinner! We walked a few blocks to Porta Pizza and met our friends Colleen and Raul. Porta Pizza has amazing pizzas and homemade pastas, and you all sit on these crazy long picnic tables. It was a very crazy place!
Our waitress accidentally spilled my Sprite. In.my.purse. My Dopey Dooney and Bourke purse.
For real.
I kept my cool, though, and we teased her about it a bit during the dinner, but she totally made it up to us later. Gigi and I both ordered Bob Ross Pasta. OMG. You know who Bob Ross is, right?
If you ever saw his show, you will know that my pasta had lots of Happy Little Peas everywhere, and the Sprite was not a mistake, it was a Happy Accident. Yeah, we pretty much never let that go all night long. Honestly, though, it was amazing and I must eat it again! The waitress comped us all of our drinks and brought us a free Nutella Dessert Pizza at the end. Sprite? What Sprite?
pasta carbonara with panchetta and happy little peas

I will continue this tomorrow! But let me leave you with some fun pics....

This photo was taken for an article on NJ.com

This photo was taken for an article on Examiner.com
Yeah. I'm famous!

Have you ever run a race that you didn't properly train for?


  1. Congrats on an awesome finish time! Also, running back-to-back half marathons = totally badass. WTG! Glad you got such a gorgeous day for the race, and it sounds like the course was improved over last year (I didn't love it, either)! Love your tutu! :)

    1. the course was about 50% improved and next year I am hoping for 100%!