NJ Half Marathon Race Recap

Hi friends!

The NJ Half marathon was yesterday morning.  We lucked out with slightly cooler weather, after hitting the temps in the 80’s both Friday and Saturday!

The race: I have a lot of good things to say about this race: the logistics were really well organized, the corrals were perfect, it started on time, shuttle buses were running efficiently (for my family as spectators and for us afterwards) and every things seemed to go very smoothly.

Personally, I had a decent race.  I was hoping to break 1:33 and that didn’t happen, but I know that I gave what I had in the moment, so I’m happy with that.

Taper: I tapered less for this race than I have in the past, with 6 Friday, 12 last Saturday, 4 recovery on Sunday, 8 Monday and a rest day Tuesday.  Wednesday I did 6 with 10 x 30 second strides and then 4 Friday and another shake out run Saturday.

Overall, I felt ready to run.

The night before: I talked the whole family into joining me, so we stayed with a friend in the area and got dinner and ice cream on the boardwalk Saturday night (I went easy on the ice cream– not an ideal food the night before a race!)

Sleeping was rough as the four of us shared a room, and I think I accidentally gave baby J caffeine (the girls split one of the Bai mango drinks at dinner which contains coffeefruit… oops).  Poor girl was WIDE AWAKE for hours past her bedtime, happily chatting and singing.  L crashed a little later than normal, but was out and not bothered by her sister.  I went in around 9:30 to try to sleep and couldn’t ignore J’s babbling so we finally moved her pack and play to the (very large) bathroom!!  And eventually we all settled down.

Race day: I got dropped off at the start and met up with my friend Nerissa who had my bib and was also running.  We did a brief warm up together… coach Tia had me do a 1.5 warm up with 90 seconds at tempo and some drills.  It wasn’t long before we were off!

The miles ticked by… it was a pretty flat course, with only a few bridges or rolling hills but nothing major.  I got into a good rhythm from the start, miles 1-5: 7:04, 7:02, 7:01, 7:00, 7:01

Mile six had a bridge and I was started to feel a little fatigue but then got back on track.  Miles 6-9: 7:08, 7:04, 6:58, 6:58

I was surprised to see some familiar faces along the course! A coach I know from our local Fleet Feet, Ashley from Running Bun, friends who run with a local Montclair group, and two of my clients cheering. My Instagram friend Martina_NYC screamed my name and sent me a few photos too- although I didn’t see her and was so confused!  I also got to see my husband and girls around mile 10, which helped, as I was getting warm and starting to struggle.

The last 5k was tough.  My race plan called for me to pick it up to whatever I had less, working my way down to 6:50’s and even 6:40’s but I did not have it in me.  I was remembering mental training tips, and reminded myself that when you think you’re done you always have another gear.  I kept saying, ‘find that gear’ and ‘shift gears’ and I think it kept me fighting, but I never actually shifted!

The final stretch was down the boardwalk 1.6 miles and straight into the wind.  That was rough! I held on and thought I was increasing my pace, but numbers don’t lie! I was actually slowing down, until I hit mile 13 and tried to “sprint” to the finish.

Miles 10-13: 7:07, 7:03, 7:09, 7:16 and final .3 at 6:56 pace for a 1:33:56 finish.

I saw the girls again at the finish and was so happy to cross that finish line!

L came with me for most of my 1 mile cool down jog.

It’s funny, I originally signed up for this race after I got into the NYC half thinking that would be a tough course to run well on, when I actually ran slower today on a flat course! But I gave it what I had and am proud of that.  I also learned I was first in my age group!

And now spring race season is coming to a close.  I have some 5ks and shorter races this summer, but my shin was a little achy post race so I think my body is telling me this is a good time to step away from running for a couple of weeks and recover well before increasing my intensity again.

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes and the congrats!! It was a fun racing weekend.

Do you race better on flat courses or rolling hills?

Do you tend to have an additional gear at the end of a race?

30 thoughts on “NJ Half Marathon Race Recap

  1. Great job! I prefer a flat course but I think I race pretty well on rolling hills because I really take advantage of the downhill. Sometimes I have another gear at the end but it usually depends on how the rest of the race went.
    Congrats! Now rest up and take care of that shin!
    Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted..Springtime Is For RunningMy Profile

    • Thanks, Lisa! I think I still prefer flat too but it’s been awhile since I’m run a course so flat and my muscles tired out more than I expected! Thankfully the shin felt much better Monday morning so I’m still going to rest this week but am glad it’s nothing major.
      Laura recently posted..NJ Half Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

  2. Great job Laura! What’s with the wind in the home stretch?!? We have a few races here where that always happens. It’s like the RD knows that and laughs at us. I prefer a rolling course for the variety. Flat tires out my legs sooner.
    Angela @ happy fit mama recently posted..Last Week’s WorkoutsMy Profile

    • Thank you! Ugh- wind at the end is the worst. It’s so hard to watch that pace slip away when you’re working so hard! But I do feel like I gave it all I had, so I’m happy with that.
      Laura recently posted..NJ Half Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

  3. I’ve run the NJ race before and I remember it was so windy at the end when I ran too. I have found that flatter courses fatigue my legs more and they get tired faster. I also don’t find the NJ course to be the fastest race course I’ve run but I still enjoyed it.
    Hollie recently posted..The “I Didn’t Workout” Training PostMy Profile

    • It’s strange- I wasn’t expecting that, but my legs definitely felt more fatigued. Although I was more sore after NYC with the hills and not sore this time, so that’s an advantage. But ugh, that wind!!
      Laura recently posted..NJ Half Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

  4. OMG too funny about baby J and the accidental caffeine!! One of the boys spilled my coffee a few weeks ago and the dog started lapping at it and I was like NOOOOOOO!!!
    Congrats on the race and at least thinking about shifting gears 🙂 I’ve done that and you’re body is like “nope, not happening” but you were there mentally so that’s something! And 1st in your age group is fantastic!!!
    Allie recently posted..The Rundown – Searching for the Joy in My JourneyMy Profile

  5. you still ran a terrific race! I did the Jersey full in 2010 and I don’t know if the course is still the same, but I felt like the course was mentally challenging. I don’t know why – it just wasn’t energizing (and we had to do two loops.. plus it was 80 degrees and sunny..) Perhaps I was so used to running in nyc with central park and the fun, rolling hills. But still – I think you did really well! Also I have the same boardwalk piccy – it’s a good one ;))

    • Thanks, Angela- after being stuck at 1:35 for so long, it’s nice to have two break through races!

      Two loops would be brutal! The course is a little different now. But I agree, it’s more mentally challenging than something like NYC with so much to look at!
      Laura recently posted..NJ Half Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

  6. I found your blog through Jen. Great race! I look forward to following your journey 🙂

    Rolling hills for me! I can take advantage of the downhills – plus, it breaks up the race mentally for me.

  7. Congrats Laura! And first in your age group! I’ve thought about running the NJ Half and it sounds like a nice race. While I think I prefer flat I know I run better when there’s a bit of rolling hills – but nothing too crazy haha!

  8. Wow, super impressive. I’m new here so I find this very inspiring. About that gear – the body doesn’t lie. I’ve had races when I expected to kick at a very specific time and I remember it wasn’t there. The key thing you said was you gave it your very best and that is great. I’m hard core on sleep overall as it is so key to being ready. Awesome job. Thanks for writing this blog.

  9. I love all the pics that your friend took of you running! First in your age group is awesome – congrats! I think the more we race, the more we learn. I feel like I am always learning something about my body and mind during a race. Nice job and sounds like your new coach is a great fit!! xo
    Natalie recently posted..Boston Marathon 2017: Race RecapMy Profile

    • It’s so true- we’re always learning!! I’m definitely enjoying having a coach. It’s so nice to not to think about my training for the week, and just do what’s written down. Congrats again to you on your marathon!! Looking forward to chasing big fall goals with you!
      Laura recently posted..NJ Half Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

  10. That’s still a fabulous time! You were so consistent! How nice the whole crew came to cheer you on. I rarely have anything left to pick it up in the late miles. Maybe in the final mile I do. Like you said, it’s mental. Congrats!
    Marcia recently posted..Race Cheaters: What Are They Thinking?My Profile

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