Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New Jersey Marathon race report: Part 1.

The marathon has come and gone and let me tell you: It was great. Great!

The weekend was terrific. We left Saturday morning from Bridget's house, where we packed oodles of junk food and overstuffed suitcases into Melissa's car:

Janis, me, Melissa
The New Jersey Marathon was Bridget's and Janis' first marathon and they (like the rest of us) were super excited!

Bridget, me, Janis -- just before we packed up the car and took off!

Along with four others, we had rented a house in New Jersey and I'm so glad we did. It was much nicer to have a house for the two nights we were down there than a hotel room.

The drive to Jersey was fine, but the traffic around the Expo was crazy. We stopped anyway so we'd know where to go in the morning. And so we could show off our truly geeky sides:

Here I am with Bridget and Melissa, bringing out our inner-geeks at the start line on Saturday.

After settling in at the house, we enjoyed our carbo-loading pasta dinner, thanks to Gail.

We were a bunch of keyed-up, nervous runners, let me tell you. I, for one, was slightly nuts and I don't think I was alone. We were excited for the race!

Soon enough it was bedtime and after a fitful night's sleep it was time to wake up and get going. We had to leave the house at 5:45 to get to the start, so my plan was to wake up around 4:30, shower and get ready. Yeah, that plan went awry because there was no hot water on Sunday morning. That pretty much rotted big time. So, no pre-marathon shower for this runner!

There was, however, a nice treat for all of us. Our friend, Tami, her husband and her baby showed up late Saturday night and stayed at the house. I hadn't seen them when they arrived but I was so happy to see Tami at 5 a.m.!

The other nice treat was that the weather was perfect and the forecast for the day was just what you want when running a marathon. Well, except for the humidity. But we won't get into that right now.

So, anyway, it was soon time to head to the marathon. The traffic was nuts but we had plenty of time. We made it with time to spare, found the porta-potties, waited around a little, bid each other good luck and lined up!

I was in corral B and I went straight for the 3:45 pacer. I fully believed I could run 3:45. I wanted to run 3:45. I went for 3:45.

I chatted with the pacer and he said he was going to start conservatively and then pick up the pace after the first couple of miles. Excellent! That was exactly what I wanted to do so I felt it would be a good fit. I wanted to run slightly slower than the 8:35 pace I needed -- maybe 8:40 or so -- for the first two or three miles and then settle in to just under 8:35. My hope was that I could hold a fairly steady pace for most of the marathon.

As we waited for the starting gun, I told myself I could do it. Over and over. You've done the training. You've put in the hard work. You've got this. Go run 3:45. You can do it. It is going to hurt, but it is going to be worth it. You can do it!

The gun went off and so did we.

Cruising. I stayed right with the pace group and was feeling good. The first three miles felt so smooth but I heard people grumbling that the pacer was going too fast. And he was. But I stayed with him anyway -- dumb move and totally my fault.

Mile 1: 8:31
Mile 2: 8:24
Mile 3: 8:25

The course for the first 10 miles or so zigzags all over the place and there were tons of twists and turns:

But it was nice enough. We were running through residential neighborhoods and I was feeling great. I kept thinking that the pace group was going a tad too fast but I didn't want to lose the group. I really wanted to stay with them, so I did. I held the pace and stayed with the group.

Mile 4: 8:23
Mile 5: 8:26
Mile 6: 8:13
Mile 7: 8:32
Mile 8: 8:31
Mile 9: 8:30
Mile 10: 8:21

After mile 10, I got into a weird mental place. I was feeling the pace a little but, more than that, I was just worried about being able to hold it for the next 16 miles. I didn't want to explode and have to drop out. Looking back, that was silly. I wasn't going to explode. I wasn't going to drop out. But I worried.

Right around mile 11, though, I saw Melissa's husband and daughter and they gave me a nice boost. I kept hanging with the pace group.

Mile 11: 8:30

But then I started to drop back. The pace group was just a little ahead of me at first, and then I started to really lose them.

Mile 12: 8:36
Mile 13: 8:50

I went through the half marathon in 1:51:39 -- the 3:45 pacer had gone through in 1:51:02.

I could still see the group and decided that if I was going to hang on and really try for that 3:45, I needed to catch up with the group. So I picked up the pace and tried my best to catch the group.

Mile 14: 8:22

And that, my friends, is where this story takes a break. I have a lot to say about this marathon so you'll have to come back tomorrow to read the rest :-)

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice


RW said...

tease! i'm holding my breathe!!!

Marlene said...

Aghhh you tease! :) Although I have done the same thing many times myself, so I can't complain too much.

Looking forward to finding out how your day played out!

Bill Fine said...

Great report so far, Felice........can't wait to see how it all turned out. Of course, judging from your opening, I'm guessing it turned out really well! Bring on the 2nd half!!!

Lisa@RunWiki said...

I'm dying to know how the second half went! More more!

macnic said...

Good lord, woman! Finish the story!

Quix said...

Argh! I hate cliffhangers! I'm hoping all went well and you got a huge PR! :)

Jen Feeny said...

You tease!!! Gah!!!

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