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May 6 / Jane

The New Jersey Marathon 2013

Well, I’ve done it!  26.2 miles!  The 26 at 26 complete.  Yesterday, I ran my first full marathon, the New Jersey Marathon at the Shore.  It’s pretty crazy that I’ve been training since the ball dropped on January 1, 2013 for this day and it’s now come and gone.  What a crazy experience.

I woke at 4:30am well-rested (much to my surprise, I usually toss and turn the night before a big race), made my breakfast, packed up last minute items and got dropped off at the start by 6:30am (Alex went on to park near the finish).  At the start, I watched friends, Issy and Dan, begin the half marathon, then met up with fellow marathoners inside the expo area.  It was cloudy, chilly and windy at the start.  It was rough losing my throwaway sweats once in the corral, but I warmed up quickly once the gun went off (and I mean gun figuratively, since it began at a horse race park, it was actually a bugle & bullhorn siren).

Seen on my way into Monmouth Raceway

Seen on my way into Monmouth Raceway

In the starting chute

In the starting chute

Off and running I felt pretty good, I was well hydrated and fueled, my clothes were comfortable, I was “in the zone.”  I first saw Alex at mile 6, where he waited in a turn with other spectators and police.  Then he rode up to me again at the water stop at mile 8 and biked with me until we passed the finish area where Issy and Dan were waiting having completed the half marathon.  The race started down Ocean Ave and around a waterway at mile 11, where I fell in with the 4:25 pace group (I’d started ahead of them and planned to finish ahead).  I came across the half point at 2:11, a minute behind where I wanted to be, but still good.  But I was slowing down…

Mile 6

Feeling good at mile 6

Mile 8

By mile 15 I’d fallen behind the 4:25 pace group, and it was pretty much downhill for me from there.  My parents were cheering loudly at mile 16; mom even ran with me to the next water stop (just a couple hundred feet), but I was hurting by then.  I was just feeling sore, my hips and feet.  The race continued down Ocean Ave, through downtown Asbury Park, past a live band and cheering crowds, around another waterway, and into the turnaround city of Ocean Grove, where another friend was cheering on the street.  We turned around and headed back through the shore towns (straight shot this time, no detours around lakes or into neighborhoods).

Mile 16 and my family waiting for me further on

Mile 16 and my family waiting for me further on

I met Alex and my parents again at mile 20, walked through a water station with mom and jogged off to the finish with Alex riding along side.  Other than some soreness I was good, but sluggish!  I just couldn’t push past it, and I can’t determine if it was mental or physical, both, who knows?  By mile 23 I wanted to pick it up, 5k left, finish strong, but I only slowed.  I was into a 12min mile pace by the end.  How ridiculous.  I just wanted to be done.  My parents were cheering at mile 26, Issy and Dan had stayed to watch me finish and were cheering in the finish chute.  I crossed the line and stopped my watch, 4:43:17.  Ugh.

I hobbled through the chute, grabbed a water, banana and granola bar; met up with Issy and Dan, then reconnected with my family.  We took some pictures in the finish area, but it was cooling down fast for me and we headed home shortly after.  Most of the celebrations in the finish area had ended since the half marathoners were finished and done hours ago and most marathoners through as well.  The promised bands along the finish route were packed up and gone by then I was finished too.  Oh well.

I did it, 26.2!!

I did it, 26.2!!

Friends and family <3

Friends and family <3

Alex and I, my #1 fan <3

My #1 Fan <3

My official time is 4:43:07, much slower than I was anticipating.  My goal was under 4:30, I was aiming for 4:20.  I thought if I was feeling really good I could even run 4:15.  I wasn’t really expecting to run over 4:30, I mean I did everything right.  Followed my training plan, ate well, hydrated and slept well (and not just in the days leading up to the race).  I felt mentally ready to run 26.2, but it just didn’t translate.  It was a little disappointing.

But 26.2 is so different than anything I’ve run before, so much different.  I went from racing 5k to 10k to 15k to half marathon….  Then double that?  Yeah, I doubled it and I only walked through the water stops.  So what, I didn’t meet my goal time, I ran a full marathon and I can do it again.  Actually, I feel somewhat compelled to.  It honestly wasn’t that bad.  And now that I know what to expect…  Watch out!

It took me awhile to get to that realization.  I mean, I accomplished something many people will never even dream of: I ran a full marathon.  And I think I can run it again, faster.

I am so thankful to all my friends and family who supported me.  Everyone has been so encouraging, during my training and leading up to the race.  Thank you to everyone who followed the race updates and congratulated me afterwards.  It has really put it all into perspective and I’m so proud to have made you proud!  And, I promise next time the updates will come quicker.  😉

New Jersey Marathon Finisher!!

New Jersey Marathon Finisher!!

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