Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Jersey Marathon Race Report!

The gold star in the middle spins around!
Cause and effect.  It is the law of physics that says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It is the one that says that I now have to be at least 500 feet away from Kevin Costner because SOMEONE decided that FedExing myself to his house was “too intrusive” and “an invasion of privacy”. (I mean, I wasn’t going to do anything bad, just maybe some snuggles and watching him sleep!?!?)  Unfortunately, that is also the one that says that if you don’t train for a marathon like you’re supposed to, you’re not going to have a good race on race day.  Well, I didn’t train like I was supposed to, and my race day was TOUGH:

Time: 3:30:36 (Garmin distance was 26.6 because there were a billion turns)
Pace: 8:02
Place: 1866/2114 (This is somewhat confusing as a guy w/ a 4:08 got 1603rd and a girl with a 6:17 got 1604th, emailed Race Director to confirm)
AG Pace: 143/163 (Again, seems very suspect)

Like I said in my last post, the lead up to this race wasn’t ideal. At all.  For various reasons, (new job, new house, among a few others) I was running essentially half the miles that I should be running for the build up to a key marathon.

The New Jersey Marathon is billed as a super flat course with traditionally good weather that is a frequent Boston Qualifier attempt.  I had originally signed up thinking that it would be a good race to take a crack at a sub 3, but I knew that would be very difficult by mid Feb when I started my new job and laughed uncontrollably and peed my pants a little bit in late March whenever anyone asked me about my goals for the race.

But, undertrained or not, I refused to not start (DNS) the race. I had done that a few weeks before at the Tobacco Road marathon and wasn’t going to do it to a trip that I had already planned. So, I packed up my woefully underused running clothes and headed to the east coast… where they call pop “soda”, everyone stays up later than I could dream of, and jaywalking in front of a taxi while drinking a Starbucks and taking a selfie hashtag “ChillingWithMyBesties” is not only normal, it is encouraged!!!  Wait, I think that last one is true…..right??

Since I was all out of spray tanner I knew some people in NYC, I stayed there before/after the race instead of actually in New Jersey.  I’m sure that NJ had lots of fun things to see, but NYC just had more.  Seriously, NJ. It isn’t you, it is me. I know that everyone says that you have a “good personality” and “are a sweetheart”, but NYC called and whispered things into my ear that we could do that I’m pretty sure are illegal in 38 states – and I just couldn’t pass it up.

Anyway, before I knew it, I was on a 5hr plane ride blowing my nose every 5 minutes and wondering if the airplane pressure was going to explode my head.  I had a cold - kind of a bad cold. Something that is more than important to mention in this race report.

NYC visiting!
Regardless of my cold or my poor training, I wasn't about to waste a trip to NYC or completely ruin my chances at a good race before I even started. So, I kept the sightseeing and walking pretty low key the day before the race, only checking out the 9/11 memorial and Wall Street.  I had been to both 10 or so years go, but I had never seen the finished memorial nor the new One World Trade building.

I went with Layla who each shared our own "where were when" stories. I was eating Froot Loops in my college apartment watching the Today Show. They cut in live and I watched the 2nd plane hit in real time.

The memorial

Looking up through the only tree to survive the bombing at the new building.  Essentially I'm an artist now.

After plenty of walking for the day before a marathon and more than enough FRANTIC searching for a public bathroom (churches, coffee shops, etc all were targets), I made the call to head back to the hotel and rest before the big day.

Race Day!
I slept good enough the night before all things considered but woke up with a super tight chest and a light cough. Not exactly the feeling that you'd like to have just before you're set to run a marathon under trained.

Either way, the race coordinated a double decker metro train from Penn Station in NYC to the race start that was essentially the best thing ever. An exciting cab ride to Penn Station including cops rolling up on a bunch of kids in Times Square (at 4am) only to have them SPRINTING away and a quick train ride, and we were at the start.

Get your game face on. It is time to go to Jersey.

The start of the race was at a horse racing track which not only offered plenty of warm places to stay, but also the smell of hopes and dreams being wasted "on the ponies".  It also offered the chance to meet up with two internet buddies!

Hollie Fueled by LOLZ and I before her half marathon!

Amelia @ Entirely Amelia and I before both of our marathons!

Sunscreen pic because cancer is bad, mmm kayyy?
Hmmm, lots of duck-face selfies in this race report....

Anyway, you know the pre-race drill. Pin on bib, wait wait poop poop poop, line up, sing song, fire gun, run.

Mile 1-6.5: My goodness I love running in races! Yes!!!  Everyone clap for MEEEE!!!
Do you remember that post that I wrote a few days ago on how to run a marathon when you are under trained? Yeah, I think we all saw THIS coming... Didn't follow it at all. :( When I should have been running 7:30s, I was running closer to 7:15 with even a few 7:10s thrown in for good measure. While I was running, I said to myself out loud: "This is a terrible idea, I should really slow down", but I was feeling good and chugging along, so I decided to roll with it.

The course for the first few miles was really pretty.  It wound through a residential area with somewhat minimal spectators, but with a few homeowners out cheering us along. What I didn't know at the time was that it also mostly guarded us from the wind that was lurking around a number of the corners.

Mile 6.5-13.1: What the hell am I doing following this pace group?! 
I went through the half in 1:35:55 or around a 7:17ish pace. That is 3:12 marathon pace. Sitting down and writing this on my computer screen seems like one of those times where you tell people about how the time the dog bit you on the crotch. The story starts out with spilling bacon grease on your pants, followed by forgetting to feed the dog.... everyone you tell the story to knows that the next part of the story is that Fido chomps down on your baby maker.... but while you were trying to soak up the bacon grease with his favorite chew toy you just didn't realize what you were setting yourself up for.

Anyway, my thought process at the time was that the 3:10 pace group was big and was able to block me from the ever increasing wind.  I'd tuck behind a few of them and the running felt so much easier.  Surely, this would make up for the fact that I was mostly clocking in 7:10 miles at this point.  Right?!?!  Wrong, VERY wrong.

Mile 13.1-20: Oh crap, I really should have been drinking more water.
I still felt pretty good at the half, though the wind was starting to get annoying.  My pace dropped to 7:20ish per mile 13-15, but all seemed to be going to plan.  The only issue was that my chest was starting to get tight and every time I tried to take a deep breath I would cough.  Not fun.

The other facepalm moment while I was running was when I realized that I had only drank 20oz of water by mile 15. I always run with a water bottle of some sort because drinking out of a cup of water while running seems to me like what waterboarding would feel like. Normally over the course of a marathon I’ll drink a pretty easily distributed 80 oz of water or so.  Not so for this one. I had probably drank an oz per mile – not NEARLY enough. So, around mile 17 I walked through an aid station and refilled it, which lead to coughing, which sort of started the pain spiral.

Mile 20-26.2:  **cough cough** Where did this wind come from, the depths of hell? **cough cough** 
By mile 20, my legs felt like they had ran maybe 23 miles (but not trashed), but my lungs were burning and I was drinking water like a college student on Saturday morning. Essentially the next 6 miles were a mixture of 9 and 10 minute miles. At first it was “walk through the aid stations” which were every mile on the half mile.  Then it was “walk every 5 min”.  After that, I went into that dark space that we sometimes go to where you try to bribe your way out of the situation “seriously, if I could just run I’d totally give up beer for a month!”  Thankfully, I did NOT continue to run because I think we both know that the beer wager was a bit more than I had in my coffers to give.

You don’t run the second half of the marathon 18 minutes slower than the first without walking a LOT of the race, and that is exactly what I did.

Oh sure you can take my pic.... 
[under breath] No way I'm buying THESE after that race...

After I finished, I grabbed my check bag and started on the “0.7 mile walk” to the train station.  My lungs hurt so bad, but my legs felt like I had ran a hard 20miler. Bummer.  Anyway, I’m thinking the walk was closer to 1.5 miles which meant that Layla and I ended up running the last 0.5 miles to catch the train – else we would have had to wait an additional hour.  So, essentially what I am saying is that I ran an Ultra Marathon.  I’m not saying I’m a bad ass, but I’m just throwing that Ultra Marathon title out there. Epic.

Shortly after this pic was taken, some NYC fancy pants said "Ugh, tourists" as she walked by.  Nevermind that it was in front of a hotel.... in times square.... and I was wearing running shorts.... Haters gotta hate

Of course, after PLENTY of pissing and moaning about the race result, I hitched up my big girl pants and bitched just a little bit more. But after THAT complaining session, I changed and we headed out to check out what NYC had to offer.  The next 1.5 days were spent visiting Rockefeller Center, Central Park, and the MET, among a few other smaller things.  (Read: I'm going to dump a bunch of pics here because I want to be done)

Top of the rock! (Rockefeller Center)

Times Square at night. No prostitutes or drug dealers in sight :(

Citi-Bike selfie for the win!!! (Recall my NYC Marathon citi-bike selfie)

Central park in the spring. Pretty sure this can't be beat

Check it out!!!!
He has an awesome coat-rack hook on his crotch to store his coat when he is in the suit of armor!

This is what $50+ million worth of painting looks like. Appreciating art is hard.

I'm not saying that I'm good at art, but... well...

So good at art

Post Race thoughts:
I really had a fun time running the marathon. But, I would be lying if I said that I was happy with my result. Suffice to say that this race has lit a bit of a fire under my ass (just like the herpies did).  Quite frankly, I’m tired of running races that are over a minute per mile slower than my PR. I ran a 1:24 half marathon in January, so I know that I have speed lurking in my legs, I just need to put in the time on the roads to make sure that they still have anything left at mile 20.

So, while my schedule and new job makes things a bit interesting, I should be able to do a bit more now that things have calmed down a bit. I WANT to do more. A few more long runs here, a little bit of cross training there, should hopefully be the catalyst that I need to get over the hump.

Honestly, I've said that before, but hopefully this time I can make it stick!


Jen said...

First off, sorry you had a bad race.

But honestly I think that's just karma for not giving me the heads up that you were doing that race and so close.

I'm kidding.

But just saying'

I ran the half but signed up for the full next year. ;) said...

Nice job finishing the race in those conditions. I think a lot of people didn't have the greatest race on Sunday.

Also there were so many turns in the half, I can only imagine how the full was...I am loling at all the comments on the facebook page and how the page itself responded back.

It was great to meet you! Do you have anymore east coast races planned?

Sue's Ramblings said...

Hey that's still a great time!!!! And most importantly, you had fun - both running and visiting NYC/NJ.

Amelia Gapin said...

"This is a terrible idea, I should really slow down"

We all know how this goes!

Anyway, I don't blame you for staying in NY, I would have done the same. NJ is an awesome place, but it's not super exciting for a visit. The shore is nice, but it's about a month too early for that.

Julie D said...

Not bad -- I know the whole "job kills your running life" syndrome. Let's hope we can both climb out of that.

Also, your NY pictures are getting me all revved up for my trip in a few weeks!!

Jamoosh said...


ThaMessenjah said...

Go CYCLONES!!!!!!!! Proud ISU grad here!!! :)

Congrats on the tough race!!

HalfCrazed Runner said...

Great job! Love running in south Jersey - it's so flat. I'm glad you had good weather - probably the only weekend that it didn't rain here - and the City is no fun in the rain!

T-Rex Runner said...

Blehhhhhh I'm so sad that you got to do a blogger meetup with Hollie without me! I'm not so sad that I did not have to run a marathon with crazy winds. There's some really epic selfies in this post, so at least you have that to be happy about. Hopefully things will calm down soon and you can run as fast as you know you can!

Unknown said...

Reading your report and looking at your training summary, I'm not sure that it was the low mileage that really did you in. It sounds more like 1) the cold screwed you up and 2) you psyched yourself out of it by feeling that you were undertrained.

Sure, most people can't run a 3:30 with that kind of mileage, and a sub-3 PR would probably have been out of the question, but you have a solid base of years of running to draw upon. And to add to that, your LT and VO2 max are pretty high right now, as evidenced by your recent half-marathon PRs and the fast training runs you posted. I bet if you hadn't had the cold, a sub 3:20 would have been obtainable.

Anyway, get some base work in. Instead of having a glass of wine before bed, lace up and do a 2-mile job. Don't worry so much about whether you hit a 20-mile training run or not. Weekly volume is better than maximum distance at your stage of the game.

paullamb said...

Love yer posts. Just sayin' -- your "poor" performance on this marathon would be a BQ for me.

Chad ontheNorthCoast said...

I like how your "tough, out of shape, slow" marathon time is nearly an hour fast than my best time. Bum!

Still...great race report...I guess. ;-)

CTP SEO said...

When i was in high school i love track and field and later on i preferred to join in long distance and i joined in some marathon although i didn't won but i love it.

I will try to convince gustav to take a shot on these kind of photos -