Yup, I raced where Bruce Springsteen used to play!
And no, he wasn’t in town. 😦
As I mentioned in a previous post, my college buddy lives in NJ and for the 2nd time, I planned a visit around a race.
The race started at 8:30 am. Not knowing the area, I left my friend’s house at 6 am. I arrived in Asbury Park around 7 am and found parking easily in a lot next to:
From there I walked to Convention Center to pick up my bib. And of course, passed many closer places to park. But that was ok.
I had been stalking the weather for the past week. It went from 40 degrees, windy and rain to 75 degrees and sunny. I was giddy with excitement to run in the sunshine along the boardwalk with views of the Atlantic ocean. But as they say “Careful what you wish for.” More about that later.
So when I arrived it was in the 50s, sunny and no wind.
Then I walked to the Berkeley Hotel to meet them. It wasn’t too far away. Kim and I took photos and waited for Jessica.
When it looked like she wouldn’t be coming, we started walking to the start line. And then she called out names.
Kim & Jess headed to the restrooms and I made my way to the start since I had already used them when I was in the Convention Center.
They were about 3000 racers total for the 5k, marathon relay and the half but only about 1600 in the half.
I lined up near the front but not too close and chatted with a couple about races, etc.
As I’ve mentioned, I wasn’t very confident about this race. My training was just not up to par….cold weather, short races on the weekends, vacation in California, etc. Nevertheless, I planned to give it my best shot but also try not to overdo and get injured. (I still have 2 more half marathons to run in the next 2 months.) But of course, I really wanted a good finish time. Who doesn’t?
My usual half marathon plan is to walk through all the water stations which means at least every 2 miles and eat a GU at every 4 miles.
I am not a runner that can run the whole 13.1 miles. I have a problem running 3.1 miles without stopping. I have decent speed (for my age) but I do WALK.
Soon we were off. Starting in the front means everyone is passing you by. But that was fine, I was determined to start slow and keep my pace around 10 minute miles.
As you can see from the map, we left the start and ran for a mile and then ran back to the start before heading north.
By the time the race started, it was in the 60s and probably approaching 70. But it felt warmer because of the sun. Quite a contrast from what I have been running in. It was even warmer than during my Florida half marathon.
After that race where I had blisters for the second half, I have been wearing 2 pairs of socks – one compression and one thin regular. I haven’t had any blisters since.
Well, it didn’t work this time. Before we reached mile 1, I started getting a blister on the ball of my left foot. It was difficult to not run on it and every step made it feel worse. Then, I got a burning pain on the top of my right ankle. Nice.
I was still determined to forget the pain and keep up a decent pace and look at the views. We passed amazing houses and it was lovely.
I also made sure that I kept hydrated. (Maybe I should carry water?) I stopped for water at mile 1 and mile 2 and then we ran along the ocean (but on the road and sidewalks) until around mile 6 where we turned around. (They played Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run – very cool.)
I was trying to stay positive but it is very hard to run when your feet hurt.
I walked again at mile 4 and took a Gu and then again at mile 6. Each mile, I was running (or more like shuffling) slower.
We passed the start and again. I took another Gu. (They actually gave some at the water stop.)
The crowd support was great especially since the rest of the race (miles 8-13) would be run on the boardwalk.
I was looking forward to running on the boardwalk. Well, not anymore. It hurt my feet…a lot!!!
And the craziest part and we did this twice was running through the soft sand for about 6 feet. Everyone was complaining. It was really hard to keep your footing. I and almost everyone had to stop and walk.
I hate to keep whining but I thought I would never get to the mile 11 turn around.
But I did and I took my last Gu at mile 12.
Then I literally dragged myself to the finish, walking more and more often.
I did sprint, at least, through the finish line.
I grabbed my medal and limped around in a daze. (Believe it or not, the TV cameras caught me.)
I took some water (The bananas were already gone) and walked toward the beach. I took off my shoes and socks and ran into the water.
The warm sand felt good but the water was freezing. Ice baths are supposed to help but it made my toes cramp so I left.
The strange part was that I was never out of breath and my legs were never tired during the race. My feet just HURT!!
Now I headed into the Convention Center. There was an expo (the usual stuff). I picked up my race shirt and got some food.
All they had was potato salad, pasta salad and macaroni salad. I had some but it didn’t really hit the spot. What happened to bagels, fruit, etc?
I sat for a while and chatted with a lady who had completed her 2nd half and discussed the race.
Then I decided to drag my achy feet to find something else to eat.
I walked in town a little and then back to the boardwalk and settled for a Nathan’s hot dog and some chocolate milk. I sat on a bench looking at the ocean.
It was so beautiful! I had never run a race on the ocean, so I can check that off my list! (The closest I had gotten was along the Intercoastal in West Palm Beach, Florida.)
I was annoyed with myself that I let the pain get the best of me. I ran a race on a beautiful sunny day (at this point it was in the 80s) and I didn’t enjoy it.
Anyway, here are the gory details:
mile 1 – 9:18
mile 2 – 9:38
mile 3 – 9:26
mile 4 – 9:53
mile 5 – 10:35
mile 6 – 10:40
mile 7 – 10:48
mile 8 – 11:19
mile 9 – 11:30
mile 10 – 11:07
mile 11 – 12:02
mile 12 – 11:43
mile 13 – 11:03
.2 – 8:58
positive splits and the blister/boardwalk blues
I knew after mile 6 that I couldn’t PR so I just stopped trying to run fast through the pain. Running is such a mind game.
So how did I do on my GOALS?
A. PR (finish under 2:09:40) – NO
B. Win an Age Group Award – NO
C. Finish Faster than my previous PR (under 2:18:33 ) – NO
D. Finish under 2 1/2 hours – YES!!!
E. Finish happy & uninjured 🙂 and wearing a medal – Got the Medal.
After my last half marathon, I was on a runner high until… well until this one. I know I have to get past it. It’s only a race and I did run 13.1 miles…
I knew my string of PRs had to end…
Well, at least the rest of the weekend went well. I had a fabulous time with my college buddy and her husband.
Saturday night, we went to a potluck dinner and house concert. The music and food were great.
Sunday morning we went for a long walk around her neighborhood.
Then we drove into NYC and saw a show.
Later that night, her hubby cooked us an amazing dinner.
Yes, Life is good!
Happy Running! Anyone have a race experience similar to mine? How did you get past it?