So this past Sunday I headed down to the Jersey Shore to run the NJ Half Marathon. The weeks leading up to the race we were having pretty good weather in NY, so I had my cute little shorts and tank top ready to go for the race. That plan went right out the window because it was cool and rainy out. I woke up at the crack of dawn race morning. Well actually before the crack of dawn since it was 3:30am. The race started at 7:30am so we wanted to give ourselves enough time to get from NY to NJ and get settled in for the race. Being that it was so early traffic was non existent so we had a nice ride down to the shore.
The race start was at Monmouth Park Racetrack; like literally inside the park. We got there pretty much at the start of the race, so I had to hustle to get to the trucks to check my bag before they pulled off. I should have packed a full change of clothes, but I just had a shirt, and my umbrella inside the bag which I was so happy that I packed it because I really needed it after the race!
This race had a stagger start, and I thought it was pretty slow going. I mostly race in NY and most of our races have a lot of people. I didn’t think this race was particularly that large and the stagger start was really not needed. It just left us more time to play around and take pictures!
I was feeling pretty good the first 5 miles of the race. A little too good because although it was raining and cool I was hot. I unzipped my jacket some which was a mistake because as it started to rain more my shirt underneath my jacket became wet, and I started to get cold. I almost took my jacket off because I was so hot, but I was happy that I didn’t. So I kept a pretty good pace up until the 50 minute mark when I stopped to take in nutrition. At this point I walked a little while I ate and drank.
As you can see, as the race goes on, my splits increase. I felt fine endurance wise, but from mile 6 on I was cold, and my feet were soggy so my natural reaction was just to slow down. I started taking it easy and taking in gatorade at every water stop. I will say although there were people around me the entire race it was very lonely out there, and quiet. I don’t think I’ve been at a more quieter race before. The course was pretty basic. Mostly through residential neighborhoods, so other than the occasional view of mini mansion it was a pretty boring course. It was virtually flat except for 2 overpasses, so if you are looking to PR or try to BQ this marathon is the perfect place to do it.
My official race time was 02:21:52. Not the time I wanted, but considering my lack of training I’m pretty happy with it. Post race there was lots to grab. They gave out towels, water, gatorade, pretzels, and my favorite salt water taffy. The one thing they were missing was foil. It was wet and cold out there, and some people were in shorts and tanks, so something to wrap up in would have been nice. I looked at the images of last years race and it looked sunny and warm, so I’m sure having foil was not on the race directors radar this year.
Would I recommend this race? Yes and no. Yes because it is a flat course and if you are looking to set a record this is the place to do it. The medal is nice, and there are good post race refreshments. No because it just wasn’t all that fun for me. The water stations were not predictable but pretty random. Who reads the athlete guide right? I’m so use to having the option of liquids every mile that when it isn’t there it annoys me. The post race shuttle location was horrible. It was at least half a mile, maybe more from the finishline. Then once the bus dropped us off back at the start we had to walk another half a mile back to our car. For those that just ran a marathon that is a lot of walking, and painful at that. The Race Directors really need to work on those logistics.
Until next time!