Monday, October 3, 2011

OCNJ Half Marathon Race Recap

This is what I doodled a few days before the race. I was determined to finish under 2:30:00 and dreamed of finishing under 2:25:00 but I knew it was a reach.

Official Race Time 2:21:23. Average pace 10:48 min/mile

That's right, 3 minutes and 37 seconds faster than my REACH goal!  I'm thrilled with how everything went to say the least. Four and a half months after my first half marathon, I took 25 minutes and 25 seconds off my race time. That's 1 minute 56 seconds faster PER MILE!

I'm amazed, proud, shocked, and excited about it all. I'm really learning what it means to push a in race. A few weeks before the race, I found this popular running calculator where you put in a recent race time and it calculates what your approximate race times should  for other distances. I put in my recent 5K time and quickly said yeah right! when I saw the estimated half marathon time of 2:20:54. What?! A pace of 10:46 for a half marathon? That's so far from where I'm at. I even relayed this story to Kristie while we were running the race. Well, apparently I was wrong! I was just seconds off that pace and less than a minute from that time.

Another way to look at it is that last March (less than seven months ago), I ran a 5K in 33:58. I wasn't thrilled with the time but it was 30 seconds faster than the 5K before it. Well, that works out to a pace of 10:55. I ran a half marathon at a pace 9 seconds faster than my fastest 5K pace from just half a year ago. For those of you non-runners out there, your half marathon pace is usually a good bit slower than your 5K pace because it's much farther.

Okay, now that I'm done obsessing about the time, let me just say, it was a great race!  For a small race with about 300 people running the half, it was well organized, great spectators, good food, and lots of water stops. I had a total blast running it. We ran out from the boardwalk to the Longport Bridge (only hill in the race) which we went over and back. It was a breathtaking view. After that it was around part of town heading back to the boardwalk.

I hit a porta-potty at some construction site on the side of the rode (after asking the police officer directing the race route if it was okay) somewhere in the 6th mile. We passed my mom and sister on the boardwalk not long after that which was comical because my mom was taking pictures, my sister was trying to get out of way, and I was trying to get my honey stingers from her.

From there we went down the boardwalk. The boardwalk was not closed, but at this point it didn't bother. It was only in the last mile that I was ready to kick some butts of people that would not get out of my way and might have cursed under my breath at some guy on a bike who nearly took me out.

We got off the boardwalk at the end and went a bit out before heading back. All the water stops were great, but the Ocean City High School Field Hockey team was the best by far! They were so many of them and they kept the energy up!  We passed Paula heading out the other way who took a fun video of us. We were at mile 10-11, and I was still feeling great. I mean, I was tired, but compared to the Super Hero half when I was stopping constantly to try to stretch my legs and find it in me to run the rest, I was on top of the world. I was in a great mood. Some good songs came on from my playlist and I was even singing! (I ran with one earbud in and it was a perfect combo of music and being able to talk to people and take in the race atmosphere).

We got back on the boardwalk for the home stretch. I was pushing hard and hurting. I told Kristie I didn't have a whole lot left to give as far as a final push. At this point, my music totally and completely failed me. When making my playlist, I didn't know where my final push would be so I just threw some stuff on there. The last mile I listened to:
 Rascal Flatts - Still Feels Good
Rascal Flatts - Secret Smile
The Police - Every Little Thing She Does is Magic

It was awful. Every time a song ended, I was begging in my head for something good to come on to get me through and each time I was totally let down. It made it feel like slow motion, but I had no time to mess with it find better songs. Lesson learned - better engineer my playlist. 

The last half mile came up and Kristie yelled at me a bunch to keep up with her knowing I was too winded to swear at her, except I did swear when that bike almost killed me, but that was at the bike not her. We sprinted into the finish, and I made it!  The last push was not as strong or as long as it usually is for me, at least I don't think it was, but I think it's because I ran harder steadily during the whole race which is better! My last mile was still my fastest with a 9:30.

I quickly went to work scarfing calories, gatorade, and chocolate milk to try to avoid getting as seriously sick as I have been after my long runs. With soft pretzels, sticky buns, chocolate milk, gatorade and water, I was good to go for a little while. Combined with my increased fueling during the race this helped me avoid getting sick and I actually felt really good all day besides my legs aching like mad.

It was a great race. It was FUN. I ran hard (my max heart rate on my Garmin might have been 205, oops). I raced well. And I was smiling when it was all done!

A few thank yous...

Thank you to Kristie for being an awesome friend and coach! She chit chatted with me while the first six miles flew by. Seriously, one spectator yelled at us for making him feel bad as we were not only running but gabbing up a storm while doing so! She carried my last packet of honey stingers that we grabbed from my sister at the halfway point and dosed them out to me on schedule. And she pushed me the last half mile even though I didn't have much of a push left.

Thank you to Paula for sharing her running wisdom and support over the past few months and for cheering me on during my training. It was so great to meet you and take some fabulous pictures together! You continue to be an inspiration as you keep smiling and keep moving!

Thank you to my fabulous in-laws, Mom, Dad, and Sara for not only hosting Kristie, Paula, and I, serving us a fabulous pasta dinner, and watching my kids Sunday morning!  You guys are the best.

And thank you to my mom and sister who drove down just to see the race, carried all of gear around, cheered their heads off, took a billion pictures, and made sure I had the stuff I needed to not pass out post-race. They were so awesome!


  1. Amazing Jamie, your time is incredible. Your story is great, inspirational! Well done Wonder Woman!

  2. YAY JAMIE!! that is a GREAT time!!

  3. Congrats to you!! What a fantastic job.

  4. So, so proud of you, Jamie! You are doing wonderful things for yourself! Like Yve said, now YOU are the inspiration!

  5. Fantastic Race!!!! So awesome that you had a huge PR and had fun while getting it done! Congrats :)

  6. Wonderful post! Awesome time! So proud of you. YOU are definitely an inspiration. Glad you had such a great support team in your corner.


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