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May 1 / Jane

The New Jersey Marathon 2014 – Part 2

Part 1: Pre-Race
Part 2: Race Day

My alarm went off at 4am and I forced myself to eat breakfast. By 5:30am, Alex and I were on the road, giving ourselves plenty of time with last year’s traffic jam in mind. The parking situation was significantly better this year when Alex dropped me off, and I was walking into the staging area by 6:15am. The half marathon went off at 6:45am and Sally and her friend, Mitch, arrived a bit after 7am. About 7:40am, we dropped off our gear bags and headed to our respective corrals. I introduced myself to the 4:25 pacers and waited for the unique bugle call signaling the start of the race. 8:05am I was off and running.

I stayed with the 4:25 pace group for exactly 1 mile. Oops? By the time I realized it, I was so far ahead, it was mile 3. I was feeling good and thought maybe Mom was right, I could beat 4:25. And then I saw mile marker 4: it’s another 22.2 more to the finish. But I’d fallen into a nice groove, 9:50-ish pace. I saw Alex at mile 6. He goes “where is your group?” -“I’m ahead of them!” “Well, slow down, don’t go out too fast.” -“But, I feel great!”

Jane crossed 10K at 09:06 Split: 01:01:59 Pace: 09:59 min/mi

Then I met Pat. We started chatting and apparently I sped up a bit then, averaging more like 9:35-40. It still felt comfortable and it was nice to have company. I saw Alex again at mile 8, all smiles. Pat and I ran through Long Branch and past the split with the half, up Ocean Ave. Just before the half he stopped to use a port-o-potty and I continued to the halfway point.

Somewhere near mile 5, Pat is actually the gentleman to the right (Bib# 639).  Photo Credit: MarathonFoto.Com

Somewhere near mile 5, Pat is actually the gentleman to the right (Bib# 639). Photo Credit: MarathonFoto.com

Jane crossed 13.1 at 10:13 Split: 02:09:10 Pace: 09:52 min/mi

Dad was waiting for me at mile 15. I grabbed my PB&J sandwich and a quick hug, conveyed how good I felt, and moved on up the long slow uphill that is Ocean Ave in Deal. By the time I got to the top of the hill, Pat had passed me. By mile 16, I was getting a little sore. At mile 17, I looked back over Deal Lake and spotted the 4:25 pace group. By mile 18, they’d passed me and I walked through my first water stop.

Jane crossed 30K at 11:13 Split: 03:09:09 Pace: 10:09 min/mi

The turnaround in Ocean Grove came right after 30k. In the 19th mile, I saw Sally heading into the turnaround, ahead of the 4:40 pace group she planned to run with. She looked AMAZING and signaled to me that my pace group was just ahead of me. I tried to convey I was hurting, but I’m sure that didn’t need much effort: I was running slower than a 11min pace now.

The race headed onto the Asbury Park Boardwalk and through the Old Casino. I’d say, starting here, right before mile 20, the best spectators on the course appeared. Every time you needed a push, one or two would be there, cheering on every runner (or walker at this point), offering words of encouragement and support. I fell into a run/walk pattern back around Deal Lake and onto Ocean Ave. I kept thinking to myself this would not be my last marathon, but this would be it for awhile: make it count. But my body was not made for this… Clearly 26.2mi is too much for me, I should just stick with the half… Enjoy the marathon? What am I, crazy? And where the heck is Alex?

Alex was rucking around the course and had planned to run the last 4-5 miles with me. I passed mile 21 and found him and Dad at mile 22. When I got to them I was miserable. Alex was too: he’d worn a 40lb backpack all morning, covering over 7 miles, and had massive blisters on both feet. He ran me to a water station, then I sent him back with Dad to meet me at the finish and managed the final stretch solo. At this rate, Sally would be coming up behind me in no time.

Around mile 23, thumbs up, I'm almost done!

Around mile 23, thumbs up, I’m almost done! Photo Credit: MarathonFoto.com

Jane crossed 40K at 12:30 Split: 04:25:40 Pace: 10:42 min/mi

I turned off Ocean Ave towards the shore and battled a crazy headwind the final mile and a half. After mile 25, I heard the sound I was desperately waiting for: “JANE!” Sally had caught up to me! I could not be happier. I didn’t want to slow her down, but I also didn’t want to lose her. It was so encouraging to have her with me. We crossed the finish together, arms overhead. It was awesome.

After mile 25, Sally ran into me! Photo Credit: MarathonFoto.com

After mile 25, Sally ran into me! Photo Credit: MarathonFoto.com

See Jane and Sally FINISH! Photo Credit: MarathonFoto.com

See Jane and Sally FINISH! Photo Credit: MarathonFoto.com

Jane crossed Finish at 12:45 Split: 04:40:29 Pace: 10:43 min/mi

Sally and I took some photos in the chute, then I hobbled my way to the food tent and gear check. I was in desperate need of ice for my knee but there was none to be had and no one with any clue where to obtain some (really NJM?). Sally ran into the VIP area and filled her gear bag with ice for me. Then we reunited with Dad and Alex and took some celebratory photos.

On the boardwalk after the finish.

On the boardwalk after the finish.

Some of my biggest fans, Alex and Dad.

Some of my biggest fans, Alex and Dad.

No one was very hungry at this point, so we headed home, determined to do lunch later. Alex and I ended up at our neighborhood Red Robin for a [veggie]burger and beer. It was exactly what I wanted.

Part 3: Post-Race Reflection

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