Today is the first day of a 16 week training plan targeting the Philadelphia Marathon on November 23rd. Ironically, as is often the case, it is technically a rest day, since most training plans are usually based on a long run happening Sunday. With that thought in mind, Sunday morning I hit Bodman Park in Middletown, the holy land of the Jersey Shore Running Club marathoning community. I was optimistically shooting for a 5:30am start Sunday, which means getting out of bed around 4:45 – 4:50am. Actual starting time was closer to 5:45am – not too bad, a little more realistic, although it probably kept me from running a couple of extra miles. I was the first runner out of the clubhouse Sunday, although there were a few people starting to show up to do 20 miles at 6:00am (obviously the people doing the September and October marathons).
I ended up knocking out 11 miles before I had to bail out. Weather was almost perfect Sunday morning for running – I show 68 degrees on my computer but it felt cooler than that and the humidity was bearable for a change. I gave Stephen King’s audio book “NightShift” a try – nothing better than Stephen King when running through the woods by yourself in the early morning dimness. Some of his stuff leaves me cold though, and this was one of them – I suppose I should have given it a pre-screening. I was 3 1/2 miles in before I even got past his long winded prologue, so that kind of killed it for me.
Local non-runners look at me in bewilderment when I say that the JSRC does it’s long runs out of Bodman Park. If you didn’t know any better, Bodman Park is nothing more than a baseball field in a little recreational area bordering Middletown and Red Bank. However, it sits on the edge of the Navesink river and is adjacent to Hartshorne & Huber woods. Besides providing ample wooded trails to run on and scenic ocean views, it also provides hills – lots of hills. Excellent stimulus for the hills of the Philadelphia marathon. Below is the elevation chart for what I did on Sunday (that hill at 2.5 miles is by far one of the ugliest).
So I felt great Sunday morning and was anxious to bang out a couple more miles, but I had to double time it down to the Sea Girt 5k. We had a couple of friends running the race, and we were planning on having our kids run the kid’s races afterwards. I ran the 5k last year and it was nice but way too crowded for me. I had no desire to do it again this year but the organizers do a good job of providing stuff for the kids to do, including the races. This is the first 5k I have ever gone to where I actually watched the leaders come in (very cool, the winner logged a 15:43). The 5k started at 8:30am, so by the time people were finishing it had warmed up quite a bit (certainly a lot hotter than it was when I was suffering through “NightShift”). Our kids ended up running closer to 10:30am – a little annoying when the temperature is climbing and the race advertised a 10:00am start for the kids, but they made up for it by providing ice cream cones at the finish line. A nice way to kick off a marathon training cycle.