Wednesday, May 5, 2010

2010 NJ Marathon: The Race Report

Ahhh the race report, there comes a time in every runner/bloggers life when they feel the need to share their experience about some long distance race that no one really cares about. We do this because we secretly think we're more important than everyone else and dream to have someone from some running magazine or something notice this and then throw us copious amounts of money and turn your hero/blogger into the next Dean Karnazes. Well far be it from me to reject such a glorious fate so here I go.

May 2nd 2010, a day that will live in infamy (or maybe just till after the Brooklyn half in 2 weeks.) With temperatures in the mid to low 70's at the start you begin to have a hunch it might be a warm one today. Lining up with me are members of the North Brooklyn Runners A.K.A. NBR. Out of maybe 300 members about 20 had said they were going to run this race out of that 20 there were about eight that remained including first time marathoners Allison, ( designer of our team shirts and pick up truck driver.) Marie (the school teacher who needed a medal to show her class that anything is possible) Christine (jewelry designer and Kombucha bootlegger) and there were the veterans Sherry R., Beverly W., Erin P., Markus and myself who was running because last years race was held in the freezing rain and I demanded retribution and that PR I so rightly deserved.

Like I said weather started out in the low to mid 70's with a cool breeze on the beach and Bruce Springsteen's greatest hits blasting in the background , it felt like it might be a good race after all. So with 'born to run' blasting in the background and some dude dressed as Mini Mouse blasting past me I knew the race had begun.

Now here's my reactions to the first few miles.
Mile 1: “wow I feel great,I only have to do this 25 more times but I'm going out a little too fast better slow down”.
Mile 2:” OK that's it I'm right on pace to reach my projected goal."
Mile 3: "man it's getting hot around here.”
Mile 4: “hmm I'm 30 seconds behind,I can still make it up or just go with this pace and still have a nice. PR”
Mile 5: “Holy crap it's like being inside a clothes dryer!”
Mile 6: “I have to do 2 laps of this and is that a guy passed out on the side of the road or is he taking a quick nap? ”
Mile 7: I hear people cheering me on and it's NBR, and it looked like 20 of them but I think I was hallucinating at that point so it was hard to tell, I picked myself up ran over to them and high 5'd the group and ran off thinking about how crazy it was that they took the train for over two hours to cheer us on. These are seriously nice people who clearly have a warped idea of what fun is.

OK now that I threw any ideas of a PR out the window because it was just too hot to care. I had to run into a friend who was running the half and listening to the weather on her headphones, "it's 88 degrees". Awesome, and did I really need to hear that? Let's face it that's hot for any race not just a marathon and mind you Tuesday night while running it was in the low 40's with a wind chill that made it feel like mid 30's.
With the sight of more runners laid out on the side of the road I thought it would be best to throw in the towel before I became road kill as well. Besides who needs sun poisoning? So I picked it up and decided to run to the halfway point and go to the beach and jump in the water, but not before losing my chatty friend who was slowly making me nuts so I ducked into a Porto potty to lose her. After realizing that 5 gallons of Gatorade in the last hour just sweated out of my pours before it had time to reach my bladder seemed like a sign I was making the right decision by ending this thing.

Then of course it happens (drum roll please) I reached the beach and it was 20 degrees cooler. It was as though someone turned on a giant air conditioner and just like that I felt awesome all over again. I think to myself, "wow, I will finish this thing".... until I came to the halfway point and see that it had taken me 2 hours to get there, my jaw must have dropped, I don't think I did my first half marathon (also in the extreme heat) in 2 hours. So it was a crushing blow to my ego. At that point the whambulance came out and all these tiny little people played their tiny little violins for me then handed me a tissue to wipe my tears and with their tiny little feet gave me a kick in the ass and told me move on. Actually the whambulance was Kristy and she gave me a big kiss and a Probar and after 5 minutes or so, convinced me to keep moving. How could I let her, or the team down for that matter?

And so I went on and about a quarter mile later it got hot again. But I ate my Probar and realized i was more than halfway done. At mile 17 I saw Jennifer from NBR and wondered if she had a stop watch on to call out our splits (no, but she later paced injured Allison for the last 9 miles.) By mile 18 I started thinking about Badwater. In case you don't know Badwater is a 135 mile ultra marathon that runs through Death Valley in July, it can get up 135 degrees. So there I was thinking about this and I started to realize that in the scheme of things this is nothing. Badwater is the distance of 5 marathons in more extreme conditions and I only have another 8 miles to go. No big deal just get in ultra mode and realize time and PR's don't matter today it's just the challenge of the course. Suddenly 18 miles into this I began to lighten up and have fun.

Meanwhile around me people are still dropping like flies, some guy fell right in front of me and people rushed from their homes to give him water and help him out. The 3:50 pacers that sped by me 2 miles previous were in the medical tent up ahead drooling all over themselves. I never did see any other pacers besides the 3:30 (which I was originally following) aside of that all I did see were pace flags on the course left in cones. Also on the side of the road away from the carnage was NBR, Matt handy with orange slices and Chris along another part of the course again cheering me on. Amazing.

By the end at the end Beverly caught up to me we ran together for the last half mile to the sounds of people calling out our names that were printed on out NBR shirts. It made it fun and I'm glad she caught up she also confided that she wanted to quit halfway but she didn't want to let the team down, I agreed. Beverly encouraged me to speed up to the end and so I did, my chip time was 4:20 which put me in the top 25% of finishers Beverly's time was actually 4 minutes faster even though I came through first (she kicked my ass) Markus finished in the top 10. As for that PR "I so rightly deserved" I was 35 minutes slower than last year but they'll be other marathons.

After the race we laughed about the conditions, talked about how awesome the locals were for hosing us down like 1960s protesters and just how great it was that people came down to support us and that the team scattered themselves along the course to cheer us on, we are not the fastest runners on the team (except for Markus) but they treated us like rock stars anyway. Thanks guys.

As a side note I'd like to add the lessons I've learned.
1. It's just another race enjoy the run for what it is.
2. Over doing it makes you road kill
3. Be grateful for all the things that did go right
4. S Caps rock
5. PRs will take care of themselves

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