Okay, I’ve gotten a little flack for not staying up to date with my race reports (Hi Bruno!) sooooo it’s time for me to spend some time catching up. and I have THREE half marathon recaps to share. Three. Whoops. So, since I’ve gotta keep it chronological (it’s more fun that way) lets head back to mid April. My first half marathon of 2015 and #18 total. And my first time on a reality TV show. Or at least signing a release for one…
My dad and I were looking for a race in a neighboring state (there are many options since we are in Pennsylvania). We were getting the itch to run before the Pittsburgh half at the beginning of May so we took a look in New Jersey and found a well reviewed race along the Jersey Shore in Asbury Park, NJ.
The race was on Saturday so we left around lunch time on Friday to make the 4.5 hour trek to the shore. Packet pickup was right along the shore in Asbury Park and was a breeze. It also gave us a chance to check out where to park the morning of the race since it was in the same place.
The Race Director had posted on facebook a few days prior that there would be a TV show filming at the expo and during the race. There was also plenty of guessing on facebook about what TV show it was… Real Housewives? A Jersey Shore spin off? I didn’t really think much of it to be honest. When we went to the expo there were signs up everywhere saying that by being at the location you were agreeing to be represented on TV. My dad and I were walking around and I stopped at the Gu booth to get some free packets of Gu blocks (yes, seriously, totally complete packets for free!) and as I turned around I saw a camera crew right behind me with lights, a boom mic, everything. I quickly ducked out of the way and hoped I hadn’t actually got in the shot. As I walked back towards my dad there was a tap on my shoulder and a guy from the film crew asked me to sign a release and take a photo holding it since I was in their shot. Oops. I asked what show they were from and they said they were filming for a show called Human Resources. I had been joking with my friends that I planned to avoid any potential camera crews at all costs and then accidentally ended up in their shot anyhow. Figures. 🙂
My dad and I stayed in a hotel about 20 minutes away so after (mis)navigating a multi-lane traffic circle we grabbed dinner and headed to the hotel to relax and sleep.
The next morning the race didn’t start until 8:30 so we actually got to sleep in a bit, eat breakfast, and head out. Parking was free and right near the race start/finish, right along the boardwalk. We parked right next to The Stone Pony – the bar where Sprinsteen aparently got his start.
Before the race we hung out and chatted with a few other runners – including a fellow Half Fanatic. She actually snapped a photo of me for the facebook page. This was actually my first race wearing my fanatics gear and I picked a good one. There were so many other fanatics on the course and it was awesome to cheer each other on!
We also ended up in the background of another part of the filming for Human Resources. No release form needed this time though.
Right around 8:30 the race started. The temperature was in the mid 50s and got up to about the low 70s if I remember right. There was also very little shade and so honestly from about 9:30 on it felt warmer than what I was used to.
The course is flat and close to the ocean, and comprised mostly of a bunch of out and backs. This can be fun because you see the other runners a LOT so I got to wave to my dad a lot. But can also be a bit demotivating when you are heading out and watching people head back in. Around mile 9 we actually passed the finish line, and had to keep going past it. That was a bit rough mentally.
I felt great for probably the first 8 miles. I stuck to my tried and true 3/1 run/walk intervals. I felt like I was able to push myself appropriately on the runs and recover some on the walks. I said hi to a ton of fanatics and looked at the ocean and just took it all in. It was very scenic.
What I didn’t anticipate was how it would feel to run on the boardwalk itself.
New Jersey is still recovering from Hurricaine Sandy. As a result, different parts of the Asbury Park boardwalk are different materials. The first stretch of boardwalk was wood, and it was old so it was a bit warped. I had to watch to make sure I didn’t trip on anything uneven.
Another area had synthetic wood planks that were laid diagonally. I was shocked to realized that it made me feel dizzy to run on this. That coupled with the increasing sun and temperatures and the fact that my fueling got out of whack (completely my fault, I wasn’t paying attention to when I needed to Gu) made the last 4 miles or so feel really really rough.
That is the photo of someone ready to be done and over that finish line!
I finished in 3:04:08 – not a time I am particularly proud of, but despite that I can tell I am getting stronger. A year or two ago I probably would have finished even slower given the conditions.
My dad and I snapped a photo at the end.
Major kudos for this race providing FREE race photos! What an awesome perk!!!
So all in all, not the start to my Half Marathons this season that I was hoping for since I had PRed a week before at the Hershey 10k. But it was fun to run along the Jersey Shore and check NJ off the list. The race overall was very well organized and a good course if you like something flat.