New Jersey Marathon 2017: Race Recap

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the New Jersey marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Just a few days ago I finished my second marathon! It was an amazing day and I’m still on an emotional high from it. The weather worked out perfectly and it was an all around wonderful day. Spoiler alert: Goals were crushed.

Race day eve: The night before, my boyfriend and I enjoyed a dinner at Olive Garden, played some mini golf and billiards, then settled into our hotel. Harry Potter was on tv all night, which was great – however, the partiers throughout our hotel were not. I didn’t fall asleep until 1 and I woke up around 5.

Pre-race: By reading other runners’ recaps,  I knew that traffic has been an issue at this race in the past. I arrived at the Monmouth Park race track just after 6 (for a 7:30 start) with plenty of time to use the porta johns (there were plenty), and wait. I started the morning a tad grumpy due to my lack of sleep. Checking my bag and getting settled into my corral (7, the last one) was painless. The race started right on time, and I crossed the start about 10 minutes later.

Miles 1-5 brought us on a long loop through neighborhoods around Monmouth Park. My plan was to run in the 12:00/mi range for the first 5, but I ended up being a little faster. I spent a lot of time on my phone trying to figure out tracking. The AthLinks app wasn’t working for my mom, so I turned on MapMyRun (I’m glad I paid for the MVP plan!). My heart rate stayed reasonably low, and after a couple of miles I was able to run with plenty of room around me. Splits: 11:21, :38, :51, :48, :47

Miles 6-10 – “mighty, strong, powerful”. I upped my intervals from 60:30 to 90:30 as I hit mile 5. I contemplated waiting, but my goals weren’t going to be met by me sitting back. These miles brought us closer to the water and through some nice neighborhoods with people cheering on couches that they brought outside to sit on. I felt great during these miles, despite a dull ache in my left ITB that almost sent me into a panic. This was eventually settled by finding the right place on the road to run. I lost about 90 seconds during a potty stop at mile 8, but aside from that, these 5 miles were pretty uneventful and (mostly) below goal pace. The best part? There was a girl singing potty songs outside the porta johns! Splits:  11:17, :18, :22, 12:23 (potty break), 11:08.

Miles 11-15 – “this is NOT Marine Corps (Marathon)”: I mentally faded a bit during these miles, especially 11-13. The half marathoners turned off, leaving the course much emptier. I struggled with remembering that this is where I started to lose it during Marine Corps, especially with my knee still bothering me a bit. I wasn’t really paying attention to my watch, but if I had been, I would have seen that it felt hard to run because I was running faster than goal pace. I kept repeating out loud “This is NOT Marine Corps!” and it really helped me keep going. I came out of it when I hit 15, and knew it was time for the last of “four 5-milers”. Splits: 11:10, :19, 10:58, 11:01, 10:43.

654052_254665995_XLarge.jpg

Miles 16-20 – “You’re doing this!” – As soon as I hit 15 miles, I started processing that a sub 5:00 was very possible if I kept running as well as I was. I was entertained by beautiful seaside houses and before I knew it I passed the 5:05 pace group, which started about 1:30 before I did. Next was Asbury Park, which was not nearly as nice as I had imagined. However, I was on cloud nine. I started passing people left and right. I also started feeling pretty hot, and dumped water over my head every 1-1.5 miles. I struggled a bit around mile 19, wondering when the turnaround would hit. Once I turned around, my quads started burning and I started to truly feel fatigued. Splits: 11:02, 10:57, 11:20, 10:52, 11:24.

654052_254720869_XLarge.jpg

Miles 21-26.2 (or 26.49): The miles north were riddled with challenges. I definitely hit a sort of wall. Around mile 22.5, 2.5 miles of side stitches began. I struggled so much during miles 22-25. People around me were having a rough time, and I started to feel like them (although I was still passing them all). At mile 24.5 (I think), the 5:05 pacers passed me. Oh no, I’ve lost my sub-5:00. At one point they got to be almost out of my view. I decreased my intervals to 75:30 and pushed forward. Around the 25 mile marker, my cramps subsided, but my legs were still dead. I turned off my interval timer and decided to do what I could. I caught up to, and passed, the 5:05 pacers! While I realized the sub 5 wasn’t happening, I was going to fight for a 5:05. The last mile or so is a blur of me looking for Jake and wondering where the finish was (my watch had been about .2 miles ahead all race long). As soon as I saw the chute, and Jake, I gave as much as I could. I just remember the announcer saying “Look at her smile! She is so exhilarated!” Yes, yes I was. Splits: 11:15, :44, 12:19, :19, :43, 11:26, 5:17 (.49)

654052_254829561_XLarge

Final time: 5:03:43. I met my C, B, and A goals and set a PR by 28:32. I can’t say that I “couldn’t believe it”, because I could. I trained hard, was in great shape, believed in myself, and executed my race plan pretty well. I had the race that was truly for me, and despite having a 5 at the beginning of my time, I couldn’t be happier.

Post race: I made my way through the chute pretty quickly, getting boxed water (why boxed?), gatorade, and a snack box. I skipped the photo station, which I regret, as I decided to buy my pictures. Reuniting with my boyfriend and getting my bag was painless, however the fact that you couldn’t bring bags into the finish festival just created a hassle that I wasn’t up to. I changed out of my shoes, ate some potato chips that I had packed in my checked bag, and left pretty quickly. I felt great, but I was ready to go get some FOOD. Jake kept asking me if I felt good and said I “looked like I was in a lot of pain”, but I really was just so happy that I couldn’t do anything but smile and laugh. It wasn’t until after food and a nap when my body caught up with my emotions!

Swag: The medal is absolutely beautiful! It is a spinner with beautiful colors. I love that all of the towns the course runs through is on the back as well. The marathoners received a long-sleeved shirt that matched the medal (the half-ers got a tee that matched their medal).

IMG_0504

 

Overall, this race was wonderful. The course support and volunteers were amazing. The course was mostly beautiful, aside from Asbury Park (which also smelled) and a stretch in Long Branch. The course was virtually flat, with only 2-3 gentle inclines over bridges. You also can’t beat boardwalk miles and a beach finish.

While the field was mostly half-marathoners, I actually liked that the course emptied out. It allowed me to focus on my run more. I also loved the out and back. Seeing the marathoners coming back was really motivating and kept me moving. I could also see how much time I had gained on those who I had passed!

Just a few days out, most soreness has subsided, aside from some quad stiffness. I’m already yearning to run another 26.2. I love the training and the pain that comes after mile 20, along with the pride that comes with meeting your goals. I’m not running until Sunday at the earliest, but I’m ready to get back to the grind. While the Goofy Challenge is the next marathon I have on my schedule at this time, I’m contemplating an October/November marathon as part of my prep.

IMG_0475

Read my review of the race on Bibrave and review your races to help other runners choose which ones to run!

 

NJ Marathon Training Week 18: Race Week

I seriously can’t believe that the marathon (and April) is/are already over! April was seriously a whirlwind and Sunday was amazing. I can’t wait to share it with you all tomorrow (I need to decide if I’m buying my pictures!). I was worried that my taper wasn’t “restful” enough, but I think that it ended up being just right.

ndnj marathon trainingwk 17 (1)

Monday: #restday

Tuesday: Girls on the Run –  1.17 (ish) miles. We ended up doing the workout indoors and my watch was on treadmill mode. It was about 6/8 walking and 2/8 running. But it worked for taper.

Wednesday: 3.1 miles easy around the neighborhood.

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 9.40.42 PM

Thursday: Girls on the run – 1.28 miles. It was HOT but one thing is for sure, I love running with those girls/students!

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 2 miles easy. It wasn’t as “easy” as it should have been, seeing it was almost 70 degrees and 99% humidity! I’m NOT ready for Summer running yet. Bring back Spring!

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 9.41.00 PM

Sunday: 26.49 miles. I’ll share more tomorrow, but it was as wonderful as 26.2 (+some) could be.18157622_10155281422646983_5880693262203025622_n

Week 18 total: 34.04 miles

On Monday morning I was crazy and along with entering the 2018 London Marathon lottery, I was looking up fall marathons. I also said on Monday that I wanted to run, although I couldn’t sit on the the toilet without hanging on to the walls/door knob, bathtub, etc. I’m still so on a high.

 

NJ Marathon: Goals and Race Prep!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the New Jersey marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Everything for the last 4 months has been about this race. I’m so ready for Sunday! I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few days trying to think of realistic goals…

I’ve been so emotional over the past two days. This marathon is just for me. In October, I ran side by side with someone and it greatly changed my experience. I made the mistake of not taping both of my knees and my ITB locked up. I adjusted and proudly finished, but it wasn’t what I imagined after a great training cycle.

Outfit: There will be a “Flat Sam”, but help me pick my skirt! Seriously – I can’t decide!

Race plan: 60:30 run/walk intervals, around a 12:00/mi pace for the first 5 miles, to make sure I don’t go out too fast. After 5 miles, I’ll switch to 90:30 run/walk intervals. Typically my “easy” pace with 90:30 intervals is around an 11:30. I plan to hold this until half-way, when I’ll speed up to a pace I feel I can hold. Every one of my long runs was a negative split, and I’m gunning for that again. I feel so confident after two-three hours now. Plus, I’ve promised myself that if I run a negative split, I’m buying myself this….

Vibes_grande
Image credit: Sarah Marie Design Studio

Time goals: In my heart, I truly think I can, and want to go after a sub 5:00:00. However, the fear of hitting “the wall” and failing pushes me back (I didn’t really hit a “wall” in my first 26.2). However, if it is an absolutely perfect day, I think I have the ability to do it. I know with my whole being that I have a 5:15 in me – none of my long runs (60:30 intervals) have been with slower than a 12:00/mi avg, and I’ll be running 90:30 intervals instead of 60:30 for a majority of the race.

C Goal: PR (current PR: 5:32:17)

B Goal: 5:15:00

A Goal: 5:10:00

A+ Goal: Anything with a 4 in front of it!

3103b2619cb3d73334c1667d6f74c81c

While I have races planned for the summer, I’m already struggling with thinking that my next marathon isn’t until the Goofy Challenge in January 2018! I really do love training for a marathon – the long runs are my only time I let myself “slow down” (HA!) during the week.

But really, I’m just hoping for a fun, successful, positive race experience come Sunday. I’m excited for a little road trip out of town, and to explore a new place. And for extreme bagels and blackjack on Monday. #allthebagels

If you’ve run multiple marathons, how did your time differ between races 1 and 2?

Skirt advice, anyone?

 

 

NJ Marathon Training: Week 17

The first week of my taper for the NJ Marathon is done, and now comes the worst part. The week of so little running before the whole shebang. The week of incessantly checking the weather. Days of making packing lists. I’m so excited that Marathon Week is here, but I’m not ready for it to be (almost) over!

ndnj marathon trainingwk 17

Monday: 13.5 miles (counted in Week 16‘s mileage).

Tuesday5 miles of recovery – a steady progression run. I planned to keep all of my miles in the 12’s, but the last two snuck into the 11’s. It was a perfect day for a run.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 11.37.42 PM

Wednesday: Rest – I was supposed to go to yoga after school, but I went to meet our new roommate before seeing Boston! (So many feels!!)

Thursday: 3.1 miles steady and easy around my neighborhood. It’s crazy how about a year ago, the hills near my place killed me, and now they don’t phase me at all.

Friday: Rest day

Saturday: 6 miles. I planned for 8, but randomly met someone on the trail and ran with her. It was a great change of pace. We ran a bit faster than I planned, which had me doing 4 MGP miles. I felt great after and don’t think the harder effort run really affected my taper much.

Sunday: 3.1 miles at the Columbia 5K. Seeing as I didn’t personally take a single picture, there won’t be a recap aside from this: I indulged too much the night before, almost didn’t go/run, kept it slow for the first 2.5 miles, then felt good enough for a hard effort to the finish. Despite the headache, it was a good confidence booster to keep my cool at the starting line of a race.

17966089_10155260169026983_8904875045326320012_o
When iCloud and Google Photos aren’t working, you get a post-run picture.

Week 17 mileage: 17.2 (30.7 M-F if you count Monday – which “week wise” I put in Week 17).

Seeing as how I still racked up a good amount of miles last week, this week is really going to be painful before Sunday. My plans are 2-3 miles on Tuesday, yoga at work on Wednesday, and 2-3 miles on Friday morning. I’m looking forward to sleeping in more during the mornings but I already dread how antsy I’ll feel in a few days. Nonetheless, I’m feeling great, and I can’t wait to share my goals for this race!

What are some of your taper tips and tricks?

Marathon Training Must-Haves

This Winter/early Spring, I definitely had my go-to’s during my training runs – before during and after. This routine helped me be less anxious and more confident when hitting the roads.

Before

Pre-run fuel: Generation UCan – I started drinking about one scoop of this with 8ish ounces of water last summer. I can drink it right before a run and it fuels me without causing cramps. I can’t imagine going back to running longer distances without it!

Sport shield: Similar to Body Glide, this clear liquid rolls on wherever you need to help with chafing and blisters. My lower back is a rough spot for me, so I make sure to apply it before every long run!

During

NutritionGu has been a go-to of mine for a couple of years, and now I’ve added Clif Shot Blocks into the mix to add some variety. Both are typically easy on the stomach, keep providing energy, and aren’t completely disgusting.

Balega socks: Out of all of my different running apparel, these socks are always on. I’ve mostly phased out my Pro Compression socks while running, but I still wear the sleeves. Balega recently released a sock with compression and I can’t wait to try it!

Hoka One One Arahi: I’ve been wearing the Clifton’s for about a year, and still wear them for some runs. For long runs I’ve completely switched to the Arahi that I got at Rock N Roll DC. I love the support it gives me while also having the cushioning.

Hydration essentials: I’ve been running with a Nathan Hydration pack for a while, but for the marathon I’ll be using this Amphipod handheld bottle. I love my pack, but it was very hot during the MCM. This is the third 16-20 oz. handheld I’ve tried, and I absolutely love it. My phone fits in the pocket and I forget it’s there!

After

Potato Chips and Sugar Wafers: I’m not kidding you, keep sugar wafers in the car for after your longest training runs. I DARE YOU. They help me get to lunch without completely bottoming out. Potato chips are salty and fatty and delicious. A bag of Utz chips will be in my gear check bag for the New Jersey Marathon!

Ultimate recovery: Bath bombs (from Lush) and epsom salts in a warm both, my Roll Recovery torture device, and a nice nap help me rejuvenate after a long run. Unlike my last training cycle, I’m pretty dead after my long runs and I can’t function until after I have a short nap.

Slurpees/Icees: These have simply been my go-to lately, whenever. Having one after my 20 miler last weekend was THE BEST.

New Jersey Marathon Training: Week 16 + Monday

Week 16 of training is complete and there are now just 12 days between me and my second marathon! Watching the Boston Marathon yesterday was so inspiring. While I am nowhere near chasing a BQ, I am chasing my own unicorn and can’t wait to have my turn to get to the starting line!

For my first week of tapering, I took the mileage down a bit, but not too much. Most of my runs felt great, aside from the very end of my long run.

Monday: This was the first rest day in a while that I was emotionally/mentally dying to get out for a run! But alas, I was good

Tuesday: 1.7 mi. Anxiety plagued me all day, to the point where I almost bailed on Girls on the Run. I ended up being with girls who were walking more, but it felt great when I was able to motivate them to try to run more. I’m happy I went, but I missed a run after due to prepping for my mom’s visit.

Wednesday: 5.14 mi at an easy pace. It felt so wonderful to run a few minutes later and not have to wear my headlamp!

A fresh pair of Balegas makes for a great run!

Thursday: 4.26 mi. I planned for them to be at marathon pace, but it ended up being a strong progression run with my fastest “training run” pace of this cycle.

Friday: rest day

Saturday: 5 miles super easy (avg. HR – 140). I was bored stiff, but I knew I needed to keep this run easy!

Sunday: Rest day — I planned to run but Jake and I were out late and I really just wanted to be home with him and make breakfast. Sooooo after I drank my UCan I just went back to bed. Whoops.

+1 Monday:   13.5 miles. I am on Spring Break through today, so I had Monday to run! I felt great until mile 12, when I started feeling horrible. I bonked for the first time in a long while, and I’m not quite sure what went wrong. My run turned from 15 miles into 13.5 and I felt so relieved when I got back to Jake’s without passing out/vomming.

Because my phone won’t upload my skyline photo you get this…

Weekly (+Monday) Total: 29.6 mi

This week I’ll be dropping the miles even more, and I know I’ll start to go a little crazy! I’m starting to think more about my concrete goals, and finding it in myself to believe that I can achieve them. I signed up for a 5K, as my friend is an ambassador. The participant list and expected finish times is posted, and there’s only one other girl in my age group at this time with a similar “expected time”. So I’m very tempted to race-race even though it’s just a week out from my race. We’ll see what happens!

New Jersey Marathon Training: Week 15

After 20 miles on Sunday morning, I am now in the taper zone! I don’t remember feeling this excited during my last training cycle. However, these next three weeks are stacked. I’m behind on paperwork at work (LOL I’m always behind on paperwork), my mom is visiting, and I need to apply for (summer/new) jobs. So, the taper is hitting at a great time and our trip to the Jersey Shore will be a nice little reward for getting through it all.

ndnj marathon trainingwk 15

My “peak” week wasn’t perfect, with an unplanned rest day due to some elevated anxiety. All in all, it was decent.

Monday: Rest dayyyy

Tuesday: 4.5 miles super easy/easy in the morning, 1.5 miles at Girls on the Run.

Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 9.26.02 PM.png
One day. Two skirts. Love.

Wednesday: Impromptu rest day spent researching trips for the day after school ends….

Thursday: 7 miles of a speed workout. 1 mi wu (60:30), 5 mi of intervals – 2 x 9:00 mi/range, 1 x 8:00 mi/range, 1 easy (90:30), then 1 mi cd (90:30).

Friday: Rest day. Jake and I walked about 3 miles at night to check out Light City!

17800310_10155206599721983_7915857843895032586_n

Saturday: 7 miles running – .7 miles to the race and 6.3 for the Sole of the City 10K. There may not be a race recap for this one so here it is – ran 5ish miles slow and was out of my mind bored, sped up and ran my last mile in 8:00 and passed at least 150 people. #seeyabye (yes I tried to count). Fun course, though! Ended up walking another 3ish miles that morning.

17861680_10209846058728033_5913747246356416692_n
Congrats to Beth on her PR (on a long course)! Also love seeing AK and UT!

Sunday: 20 miles. Not my greatest 20 miler, which sucked because I looked forward to it all week. I struggled with quickly rising heat (40 degree difference from start to finish), and a lot of self doubt. I fought a headache the entire way and spent the last 5 miles telling myself I wasn’t going to pass out. Nevertheless, I got it done.

Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 9.26.18 PM

Weekly miles: 40.2

Training miles so far: 386.28. While training isn’t completely bummed yet, I’m already self-conscious about my mileage this time around is so much lower than for Marine Corps, and I’ve seriously slacked with NP this winter as well. While fast race times and long run paces make me feel confidence that I am in shape enough to succeed come race day, I hope my body will perform at its best.

Now it’s time to peel back a bit and take care of my body (and mind) as race day approaches!

What’s your next race? Any taper tips? This is only my second “real” taper.

I’m linking up with Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC for her Training Recap linkup. Check out how other runners are training this Spring!