Monday, May 9, 2016

New Jersey Marathon Recap

 Hey friends!! It's been one week and one morning since I ran the New Jersey marathon, my 4th marathon! It was also really special because there were so many of my Nark Running Strategies teammates running both the half and full marathon! I love being a part of this amazing group of people!!  There were also a good amount of my Oiselle teammates racing too!!! Sadly I didn't make either group pictures because my mental state on the morning of a marathon is panicked and I like to get into my corral 3 hours before the race. Kidding.  I am just so focused on the task ahead of me, I can't worry or divert my attention to anything else, thus missing photo opps.  Sad face.

ANYWAYS, this race was weird for me.  I was super prepared, but never really got that excited.  It was the same feeling I had leading up to the NYC half.  I don't know if it was nerves getting the best of me or what, but I never got too excited.  My training was great, but I felt like I could've given more.  There was so much going on in the past few months that running often felt like a side note and that was frustrating.  I got most of my miles in, but when I had to miss one, I beat myself up over it.  I realized it wasn't necessarily the training that I was frustrating about missing, but just running in general.  I digress.

Back to marathon weekend.  Hubs and I headed to NJ earlyish Saturday morning and got to the expo around noon.  It was a pretty small expo, which is nice sometimes so I don't spend all my money and got my bib right away.
then met up with some of my tribe. 


We then headed straight to our hotel to relax.  I checked the weather for the millionth time and decided it would officially be rainy and windy race day. Weather never really bothers me much since it's something I have zero control over. 

If you follow me on IG, you know that 3 days before the marathon and tripped and fell while running and busted me knee.
It was hurting a lot and even kind of difficult to walk because it was right on my knee cap. 

 We headed to a little Italian/Mediterranean place for dinner and I got my pre-marathon ritual dinner of grilled chicken and potatoes.  I don't normally, but I also had 1 glass of Rose.  As soon as we were finished we headed back to our room, I laid out everything I would need for breakfast and drinks in the morning and got flat Erin ready to rock. 

I'm not sure what time I asleep, but my alarm went off at 4:50 and I popped out of bed!  Immediately I drank 1 full bottle of water while I was waiting for the coffee to brew.  Race morning breakfast is usually 2 hours before the race starts.  I had 1 cup of black coffee, a bottle of Nuun & a plain bagel with powdered peanut butter (to cut down on fat).  I got dressed and before I knew it Allison was texting saying they were on their way! We were parked and in the bathrooms by 6:10.  We hung out inside for about a half hour and then headed back outside to use the bathrooms again and drop our gear.  

At about this time, it started to rain.  It wasn't cold out at all, but the rain was making it chilly at the start.  We hugged, said our goodbyes and went to our assigned corrals.  For some reason I started to panic about the pacing my coach had given me and decided I'd run with the 3:25 pace group.  I don't know why in that moment I couldn't remember anything my coach had told me and I really have no clue why in that moment I started doubting myself. So I hopped over the barrier separating me from that pace group and took off with them.  I regret this a lot. 

Miles 1-5 (7:55, 7:26, 7:41, 7:40, 7:46)
 As soon as we started running I got this weird sensation all down my right side.  At first it felt like it was asleep and then my leg just cramped up horribly.  I tried to just focus on my form and ignore it, but it was the kind of annoying pain that was just there punching you in the face.  SUPER annoying.  By mile 3 I seriously considered dropping out because I couldn't imagine keeping this up for 23 more miles.  At mile 4 I took 2 salt pills and at mile 5 I took my first honey stinger gel.  By that time I realized the cramp had completely went away and I was feeling good!  My stomach was a bit 'off' from mile 5 on, but nothing too horrible.  

Miles 6-12 (7:44, 7:48, 7:42, 7:45, 7:49, 7:48, 7:46)
I don't really remember much of what goes on in my head while I'm running.  Mainly a lot of math and calculations that I never end up figuring out.  At mile 8 I realllllly had to go to the bathroom and probably would've just peed my pants honestly, but it wasn't raining that hard yet so I made the stop at mile 9.  Since I was still obsessing about running with the pace group and caught back up to them pretty quickly.  There are about 1,001 turns on this course.  I really thought I was running the tangents pretty well, and it couldn't been all the puddle dodging I was doing that made this an extra long race for me.  It was windy, but running through a lot of neighborhoods helped with the wind.  Unfortunately, the crowd support wasn't that big considering it was raining the entire morning. By mile 11, I didn't feel like running with the pace group anymore, so I dropped them and fell back a little and concentrated on my race.  I took another gel at mile 10. 

Miles 13-19 (7:48, 7:47, 7:47, 7:55, 7:40, 7:44, 7:37)
My stomach was still feeling pretty off, but I was able to push it from my head and I was really feeling pretty awesome during these miles.  The 3:25 pace group wasn't that far ahead of me and I felt confident I'd be able to catch them and pass them towards the end.  During this section there's also a lot of chances to pass teammates and friends and I saw a couple out there and that made me really happy!! This is also the part of the course when you head back towards the ocean and I could feel the wind and rain picking up.  There were never many people around me during this time either, usually 2-3 people a little ahead of me and no one really passed me that  I can remember. Between 18-19 I was passing a lot of the people that had been in the 3:25 pace group (although I never did catch the pacers). My hands were the only things that ever really felt cold.  By mile 19 I was having trouble gripping things. I took 2 more gels, on at 15 and one at 19. 

Miles 20-26.2 ( 7:37, 7:40, 7:52, 8:01, 7:55, 7:51, 7:37) 
At this point, you are running along the boardwalk and wind and rain are whipping at you from the ocean right by your side.  My legs felt wrecked after mile 20 because the boardwalk was warped and slippery.  As soon as I came off both of my quads cramped so bad.  I REALLY wanted to stop. Miles 21-25 are on this looooong straightaway and I was dreading it.  My legs were hurting so bad.  My pace was slowly dropping and at mile 24 I took out my salt pills and fumbled for a good 2 minutes to get the bag open because my hands were frozen.  I ripped it open with my teeth just as I passed the last water station.  The last 2 miles bring you back on the boardwalk again and the wind was INSANE.  I just kept repeating to myself that I had this and that I was so close and also that I was badass.  I crossed the finish line 3:26:06.  A 3 1/2 minute PR and I was so happy to be done! 

I was happy and proud of myself for sticking through a mentally hard race.  I was even happier for my Nark Running Strategies teammates who had some pretty amazing performances.  A couple BQ's, huge PR's and amazing 1st marathons. (Also my BRF/running wife Allison ran with her fiance Mike for his 1st marathon.  She had a KILLER marathon in Boston just 13 days before and had an awesome race pacing Mike! She's a machine) Seeing their smiling faces was enough for me!! Tyler found me right away and we headed back to our hotel so I could shower.  I didn't even bother trying to brush my hair.
Rain hair don't care.
I am very excited with how far I've come in just the past year since I started working with a coach, This was my 2nd year running the NJ marathon and I shaved 11 minutes of my time from the previous year.  I'm stronger and getting so much faster.   I'm really really excited for some things coming up and can't wait to get back with my tribe and train this summer for our fall races.  

Thanks for stopping by friendz!! LOVE YA!

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