Posts Tagged by personal record

Long Branch Half Marathon Race Recap

01 LB Half_RecapHalf marathon number 5…complete!  This was a great race for many reasons…perfect weather, familiar area, flat course, great spectators…a winner!

Since I’m used to running Disney races where my alarm is set for 2:45 am, the 4:30 am wake up call was a nice change.  I never sleep well before races so once the alarm went off I was wide awake.  We were staying at my Dad’s house that night and the queen sized bed is always a little tight for B and I as well.  Once you get used to a king, everything else feels cramped 😉

I got up and did my usual pre-race routine: brush teeth, wash face, KT Tape, Body Glide, get dressed, Blister Block, put shoes on, good to go.  I headed  downstairs to make my pre-race meal of a whole wheat bagel thin with almond butter & banana and a cup of green tea.  My Dad was nice enough to get up early to drop me off for the race.  We chatted a bit while I ate and headed out the door just after 5:30 am.

The starting line was at Monmouth Park, which is where the Expo was held the day before.  It’s only about 15 minutes from my Dad’s house, but we expected there to be traffic getting there and we were right.  There were funneling all of the cars into the parking lot across from the track, but we kept going and my Dad dropped me off at the end of the road leading in.  I walked from there and was surprised by how cold and windy is was.  50 degrees is perfect for racing, but that wind was tough.

Thankfully the grandstand was open, so I headed straight in there to keep warm.  Seemed like many of the other runners had the same idea.

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I stretched for a bit to warm up my legs and then decided to use a real bathroom before heading outside to the corrals.  The line for the women’s room was very long, but rumors were stirring that there were other less crowded bathrooms upstairs.  Well there was a line there, but then there were more rumors about another bathroom further down with no line.  So a few of us headed around the corner and then down an escalator to find a bathroom that alas had no line!  The whole area was deserted with only the remnants for the Kentucky Derby the night before.

03 LB Half_Track204 LB Half_Track3I noticed that some of the race horse were out exercising, so I decided to head out to catch a glimpse.  What beautiful animals!!  Such a peaceful way to start the morning before a big race.

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It was about 6:30 am, so I decided to head outside to get in my corral.  The race was starting in about 15 minutes and I couldn’t believe how many people were still hanging around inside or on a very long line for the bathroom.  The port-a-john lines were even worse outside!

07 LB Half_Bathroom Line

Volunteers were yelling at everyone who had a clear bag to check that the trucks were just about to leave for the finish line area and that they had to rush!  It was a bit chaotic.  I’m surprised there weren’t any announcements inside letting people know what time it was and that they had to get a move on to check their bags.

Back Check Trucks

Back Check Trucks

Start Corrals

Start Corrals

I was in Corral E, the last corral, so I started heading toward the back.  Volunteers were checking bib numbers at the entrance to C, but when I got to D no one was there and people were just filing in.  I know it’s not right to do that, but I REALLY was nervous about starting in the last corral so I took the advantage when I saw it.  But I wasn’t the only one who had that idea, people were even hopping over the barricades!

011 LB Half_Corral JumpingOnce I was in the corral, the start was only about 5 minutes away.  Things seemed to be moving very quickly!  I guess I’m just used to Disney races with everything very far apart and having to stand around a lot, but I actually really enjoyed having everything close by!  Before I knew it, the announcer was counting down the wheelchair competitors and then the elite runners in A.  Since we were at a racetrack, it was only fitting that each corral was sent off by the opening bugle horn for horse races…pretty cool.  And then what else would be playing for a race on the Jersey Shore, but “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen…so perfect!

010 LB Half_Corrals2012 LB Half_Start013 LB Half_AnnouncersAnd before I knew it, I was running my 5th half marathon!!  There was a small hill within the first half mile, but for the most part the course was flat…very flat which was great!

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The first few miles were tough as they usually are for me.  My legs aren’t warmed up and every stride feels strained, but just after mile 2 I got into the groove.  My goal for the day was to finish in 2:45 and when I started, I was positioned perfectly between the 2:30 and 2:45 pacers.  My average pace was 12:20 and I was keeping a 2/1 run walk ratio….right on track to finish in 2:45.  But surprise surprise…my GI system had other plans.  A pit stop was in my immediate future.

The lines for the port-a-john’s were long and I was so concerned about time that I just kept pushing through hoping that the next group had a shorter line.  No luck.  That was until I saw a few women standing off to the side of the road…in someone’s driveway.  The house was having construction done and there was a port-a-john there…probably for the workers.  Genius!  So I hopped on line.  I feel kind of bad for the owners of the house and the construction company, but this was getting to be an emergency so I had to do it.  However I did see the 2:45 pacer pass by while I was waiting…boooo.

015 LB Half_BathroomThis pit stop was just before mile 4, so I figured I had plenty of time to make up some ground.  But that 5 minutes is hard to make up!  I think this part of the course was my favorite.  It was through the town of Oceanport, which has some seriously cute houses and tree lined streets.  This was the first area where we encounterd spectators out on the course…it was so cool how people were just sitting in their driveways cheering us on.  I’m always so humbled by that.

We crossed our first bridge in around mile 5.5 and headed into Long Branch.  The skies were starting to clear and it was turning into a beautiful day.

016 LB Half_Mile 5_5019 LB Half_Mile6 BridgeHere is where we encountered some of the homes that were very badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy.  It’s still so incredibly sad to see the devastation that was caused even more than 6 months after the storm.

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But in true Jersey fashion, the storm didn’t damage spirits and even more spectators were out.  Many were even having full on parties outside their house, complete with music and Bloody Mary’s!

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The NJ Marathon began at 8:00 am and ran the same course as we did until the split at 11.5 miles.  When I came up on mile 8, the announcements began that the leader would be approaching soon and we should stay to our right.  I also noticed the mile marker signs and the time clocks had been changed to reflect the marathon runners.  I can’t event imagine in my wildest dreams running that fast!

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At 8.5, I heard a car behind me and someone yelling on a bullhorn to move to the right.  This was the first time I had run in conjunction with a full marathon, so I was excited to see the elite runners pass by.  Man were they moving!

022 LB Half_Pace Car023 LB Half_Marathon Leader

These runners were passing by at twice my pace having full conversations.  Mind boggling to a slow runner like me, but very cool to see!

024 LB Half_Sarah

Mile 9…slow and steady 🙂

I knew we were getting close to the split and to the final 1.5 miles along the ocean that I was  looking forward to.  I was actually feeling really good and trying to make up some of the time that I lost from the pit stop.  The marathoners took off to the right down Ocean Avenue for the loooooong stretch to Asbury Park and back and I was so thankful I wasn’t going that way!

025 LB Half_Split1026 LB Half_Split2I on the other hand headed straight across Ocean Avenue and turned left towards the finish line…woohoo!

027 LB Half_11_5Yes, running along the water is gorgeous to look at, but when there is an insane wind coming off the water, it makes it VERY difficult to keep up your pace.  I always say it reminds me of being in one of those endless pools where the water just keeps rushing at you while you swim, but you aren’t actually moving.  I knew at this point there was no way I was going to make my 2:45 goal so I just settled in and did the best I could.  But I did have my best marathon time EVER! 😉

028 LB Half_Best Full Time

As we came upon Pier Village in Long Branch, there were a ton of spectators out along with bands and other entertainment.  A great way to stay occupied for that last mile.  I could see the Ocean Place Resort (where B & I got married) in the distance and knew the finish line was close.  So I took off to finish strong…it felt great!!

029 LB Half_Ocean PlaceSadly my family got stuck in traffic and weren’t able to be there when I finished 🙁  But I did finish incredibly strong and love that final stretch.  All of the memories of my wedding day came flooding back and I couldn’t help but smile 🙂  I crossed the finish line with a PR and my hand over my heart to honor the Boston Marathon runners and spectators.

LB Half_Finisher2LB Half_Finisher!

I may not have met my goal of finishing in 2:45, but I did cut 8 minutes off my last PR at the Virginia Wine Country Half, so I’ll take it!

030 LB Half_Time031 LB Half_MedalSince the wind was so strong, it was a little chilly after the race and I was sad to see that they didn’t have any mylar  blankets available.  So I headed to the food tent to keep warm until my family arrived with my clothes.  Not only did we get bananas and water, but there were soft pretzels as far as the eye could see!

032 LB Half_PretzelsHonestly, they weren’t very good but I was so hungry I ate that whole thing.  B and my Dad arrived with flip-flops and a sweatshirt not too long after I finished, which was very much needed.  To my surprise, B was carrying all of my clothes instead of the backpack I had packed him and my stepmom wasn’t there.  Apparently, they weren’t letting bags of any kind (even purses!) anywhere near the finish line area.  This is understandable after the Boston tragedy  but I wish the area was communicated better before the race.  There were MANY people complaining about how the police and security were treating the spectators and it was sadly another hindrance for people not getting to watch the finish.

We headed back to the car so I could properly change and then headed back to Pier Village to watch the marathoners come in and grab a bite to eat.  I chose tacos…big surprise there!

033 LB Half_Marathoner034 LB Half_TacoI was also able to meet up with my best friend from high school who came down to cheer me on.  She too got stuck at a security check point with her purse so we had to stand around outside the restricted area.  We chatted for about 45 minutes and it was like no time had past.  What a great end to my hometown race!

Overall, I loved this race.  The course was great and it was all run so smoothly.  I think I will definitely be back next year…who’s with me?? 

RAD Reads and Weekly Review: February 17, 2013

Was this week insanely busy for anyone else?!?  It’s been really nice to relax a bit this weekend to catch up on my blog reading and some projects that I’m working on.  B and I celebrated the end of the week by having a really fun date night on Friday at our favorite restaurant Caseus in New Haven.  Cheese boards, crispy pork belly, peanut butter whipped cream…does it get any better?!?  We always look forward to this indulgence 🙂


I also need to briefly talk about the Beyonce documentary that aired on HBO last night.  I’ve never been a huge Beyonce fan.  I’ve appreciated her music, her talent, and all of the silly dances my girlfriends and I have done to Independent Women back in the day.  But damn girl…you are UH-MAZING.  She is inspiring, strong and beautiful – everything we should strive to be.  If I even had a fraction of her strength and drive I could do amazing things…or maybe I do…maybe we all do!!  Who run the world?  GIRLS!

Damn Girl!

Damn Girl!

Seriously…if you get a chance to watch this documentary do it, it’s insanely inspiring.  Speaking of serious girl power, Princess Weekend is coming up!  There was TONS of Princess Half Marathon Weekend info on RAD this week to get you (and me) pumped up.  Get everything you will need to know for the weekend, plus info on the Tower of Terror 10-Miler and a killer chocolate chili recipe!

Now onto some RAD Reads from this week!

Running & Fitness Posts
Running with Sass has some great tips for treadmill running without losing your mind.  I need these because I hate treadmill running!

Mommy Run Fast shares the top 10 things she loves about running, plus a few things her readers love as well.

Journey of a Dreamer is checking in on her CrossFit Endurance Half Marathon Training…I need to seriously pick up this training regimin.

Westford Mommy talks about the importance of sodium while running.  This is something a lot of people overlook.

Disney Posts
This Happy Place Blog and Mouse on the Mind did a really fun “joint” post about their ideal girls day in the parks!  Make sure to read both Estelle’s and Melissa’s posts…they both sound super fun to me.

The Disney Hipsters found 4 brilliant covers of my favorite song from my favorite movie, Everybody Wants to Be a Cat from the Aristocats.  I mean really, who wouldn’t want to be a cat??

Food Fitness Fantasy takes a look at Carousel of Progress in how she loves it, it’s perfect, now it needs to change.  Something all of us uber-Disney geeks deal with.

Weekly Review
My wish came true and we did dead lift testing this week in CrossFit.  Um, hello 210# PR!!  I’m beyond excited about this since it’s my first lift over 200#.  It’s kind of hard to believe that I did my first dead lift only 6 months ago.  It was 63# and it was hard!  This is clear proof of what hard work can do and it’s awesome.

I’ve had 2 people tell me that I look like I’ve lost a lot of weight this week, which has been surprising.  I know that my body has been changing, but this is the first time that someone else (2 people!) has noticed it.  The funny thing is that I haven’t actually lost weight, but everything is just tighter…I’ll take that over weight loss any day.

Photo Source

Photo Source

Here’s my full week of workouts and to see my full WODs, head over to my page on dailymile.

Sunday: 1 hour snow shoveling
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: CrossFit – 1 hour – Dead lifts, hang power cleans & push ups + 1:02 min plank
Wednesday: 33 sec plank (booo)
Thursday: CrossFit – 1 hour – Amraps of KB swings, push press, rope slams & db burpees
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 1:06 min plank + 30 air squats & 20 girly pushups

Oh and if I haven’t said it enough, Princess Weekend is THIS WEEK!  It’s the one year anniversary of my first half marathon and I couldn’t be more excited.  This week I announced that I will be having a RAD Princess Meet Up.  It’s part celebration for my one year anniversary, but mainly it’s to get to know all of you who have been so supportive of me this year.  So if you’re in the area, please come hang out at the Margarita Bar in Downtown Disney at noon on Saturday, February 23rd.  You can RSVP here or just show up that day.  The more the merrier!

DTD RAD Meetup

RAD Reads and Weekly Review: June 3, 2012

I am seriously surprised I am actually functioning.  This has been one of the most exhausting weeks I’ve had in a VERY long time.  I’m not sure why I took my vacation before this week and not after.  Mental note to take vacations AFTER hectic weeks in the future.  I’ve fallen behind on my posts this week and I even missed my Friday Feast, but don’t worry, I’m now back to a normal schedule.  There will be a very photo rich post on Tutto Gusto on the upcoming Friday Feast, which I hope will make up for the last food cravings last week.  

I haven’t had much time to catch up on my favorite blogs this week and my Google Reader is now at a number that makes me uncomfortable, but I did find a few RAD Reads in the time I had.  Check them out!

Running Posts
Running Jennie gives a great recap of the Toronto Women’s Half Marathon.  You might not have met your goal, but you still had a GREAT time and should be very proud!  I know I am!

Running the Castle provides some tips on how to have safe fun in the sun while running in the summer months.

Disney Posts
The Disney Food Blog shares some news about the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.  There will be a much needed Vegan booth, a new Florida booth showcasing local foods and VIP Chef Walking Tours, which I am SUPER excited about!

Zannaland features a fantastic interview with Ashley Eckstein on Star Wars Weekends and her clothing line Her Universe.

James from This Happy Place Blog recaps his first trip to Walt Disney World in 1994.  You can just feel the excitement in this post and it also includes a TON of vintage pics including Horizons, Journey Into Imagination, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea!

Parkeology pays tribute to Snow White’s Scary Adventures, which sadly closed this week.  You will be missed…

Weekly Review
A hectic week = little exercise.  But I did manage to get this…

Half marathon #2 is done and I killed it!  Yesterday I completed the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon and had a fantastic experience!  I had set out with a goal of finishing in under 3 hours and I finished in 2:59:17!  I’m still in a bit of shock that I actually did this AND acheived my goal given my lack of training lately.

Here’s the rest of my week in training:
Sunday: Rest
Monday: Spinning – 1 hour
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Schlepping boxes and lots of walking prepping for conference
Thursday: Walking around Foxwoods – had to be at least 2 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon – 13.1 miles

I’m going to rest my legs for a few days and my plan is to pick up my training again on Wednesday.  I may go for a walk tomorrow to work out some of this lactic acid because I’m pretty sore.  The calf compression sleeves really helped, but my quads are still screaming!

I’ll be writing a full race recap this week so keep an eye out for that.  I also can’t wait to share my experience running with Team Challenge for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.  It has been life changing and truly inspirational.

Any tips for faster recovery after a half marathon?