13th Annual NJ Marathon

Second marathon is done and in the books. It was a great morning – I headed over to Long Branch early and got to the host hotel before 6:00am. I thought I was early but immediately saw Joyrun and her husband who already had a spot staked out. I was hoping to meet up with some RunnersWorld online folks but once the crowds rolled in it did get a little crazy. I did manage to bump into RbbMoose from RWOL who finished in an impressive 4th place overall. I was hoping to catch some of his speedy karma (didn’t happen). I also got a chance to meet with some of my pacing buds from last year, as well as fellow bloggers Flyers26, Shoreturtle, & Mr. & Mrs. Ted.

JoyRun & JoyHusband

Colleen & Dana (4:15 pacers)

My confidence took a hit this training cycle once a minor IT injury cropped up around week 14 of my training. I ended up changing up my race goals to:

(1) Sub 4 hours
(2) Sub 4:15 (can’t let Colleen, Dana & Jack catch up to me)
(3) Sub 4:27 (last year)

I figured I would start off with the 4:00 hr pace group (9:09 pace) and then pick it up closer to a 3:50 (8:48) pace after the first 8 miles. That sounded like a great plan, but the 4:00 hour guys started off running closer to an 8:30 pace, something I was hoping to push in the second half of the race. I backed off of them after the first few miles because I realized they were going too fast, and waited until closer to the half to pick them off (they were definitely cruising too fast and wasted a lot of the 4 hour folks).

I ended up meeting up with T.Lee & RW_Strider from RWOL somewhere around mile 16. They recognized me by the trademark ugly yellow RoadRunner Sports hat (I was going to ditch it after this race, but that thing is key for races, I think I will hang on to it). They were looking great, and I felt the cramps coming on and knew a fade was imminent. Mrs. Progman and the kiddos came out and surprised me at mile 17 and snapped a couple of cool pictures.

T.Lee & RW_Strider (and me getting ready to high five my daughter)

Kiddos with signs of support

I knew I was crashing but made every effort to push it beyond where I had problems last year. I hate the 20 mile mark of the marathon – I’m starting to think I should just train to run the fastest 20 miles possible and then plan on limping in the last 6.2. It didn’t help that the bulk of the rain fell in the last hour of the race which made it a little ugly. I ended up with a 4:11:25 Garmin time, still waiting on the official results.

I love the NJ Marathon, but desperately need another marathon to run. I feel like I know every inch of this course by heart, and know the exact street corner where I’m going to start feeling it. That combined with the double loop and I need something new. At the very least I have the Asbury Park Marathon in October – I may try to fit another Fall marathon in there somewhere.

RW_Strider & T.Lee post race

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