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?