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NJ Marathon

(courtesy: NJ Marathon Blog)

A little after New Year’s Eve celebration confetti cleared I was greeted by a message in my inbox saying 100 Days until the 2015 edition of the New Jersey Shore Marathon and Half Marathon. I sat there with yellow snot pouring out of my nose at rate akin to Niagara Falls and thinking I need to get back to training.

The previous edition (2014) was part of the reason this blog was created between my collaborator Mad Dog Matt Parallel Parayil and me. A way to motivate each other, a way to share ideas, tips, and way to stay focused on the race. He did a better job then I did, however. Lets revisit this experience in all its splendor.

Most of my training for the 2014 edition was a mixture of winter hibernation (aka beer drinking) and elliptical machines.  Most of my desire to run the race revolved around watching my friends do it and being there to see Heather run a new P.R.  The prior year we had dated and during that time we talked about running etc., but never did it, so I never really saw her race, I wanted to see it once. I also again wanted to see my friends Denise, and Matt reach new milestones.

Unlike most people I didn’t take the race as seriously, or think it would provide a sense of accomplishment because of my level of fitness and running accomplishments I had achieved as a younger lad.

When race weekend arrived I started to feel that nervousness and those butterflies I would feel before a big meet or big road race. The feeling was awesome, and it had been so long since I felt that feeling, it was strange and amazing.

I didn’t know what to expect at the race, I had no training run longer then 5 miles, no game plan other then remain relaxed and enjoy the event. While making sure to cheer Heather, while avoiding her, and make sure Matt finishes.

The start felt amazing and what I thought was controlled resulted in a sub 8:35 mile which was not ideal but both Matt and I felt good so we went with and started a steady stream of 8:20 miles.  This worked and we were running well under our expected goal/predicated results of 2 hours and 15 minutes for the whole thing.  Around mile 9 though, I just become spent. At this point my lack of racing at this distance, or running in my current level of fitness at this point caught up with me. As a young buck little water and no food wouldn’t be an issue but this time I felt like someone took my legs and filled them with concrete.

I saw Matt and the glorious yoga pant ladies continue to pull away while I felt like I was standing in the middle of a bog awaiting an onslaught of hellfire from some George R.R. Romero shit.  Instead it was just a road a little aways from the beach. At this time I started think why couldn’t I suffer the cold to go further then 5 miles or brave the wind at least one day.

I continued to move forward and hopes of sub 1:55 half marathon wilted away like a dudes hopes of marrying Taylor Swift when they realized living in their parents basement was a non-starter. Around mile 12 is when it happen I saw the little engine that was Heather pass me with her tunnel vision as she headed to a strong finish. For a second I thought try attach to that hip and follow her to a strong finish but my legs didn’t agree so we continued to move ahead alone.

As we hit the final mile along the beach with the crowd, the glorious son…. and Holy Hell what is that… its the fucking Jersey Shore Wind… it was literally the breathe of might Poseidon himself.  My concrete legs were pushed back like pebbles. At this moment I’m like why did I do this, why was I blessed with such incredible height, why couldnt’ I be short like these midgets around me who were cutting through the wind like little human sharks.  I continued chugging home thinking at least its only a half mile away, and there my long sleeve t shirt remains.

instead of each step feeling like it was brining me closer to the end somehow Beelzebub insured with his wind I was moving backwards.  Finally the race did finish with a slow final few miles causing me to just miss breaking 2 hours and falling about a minute behind Matt and almost 3 minutes behind the Heather Express.  I did surprise myself in two ways first how much I enjoyed the experience with its resulting euphoria, and the time I ran with little training.

So when I saw the email stating a 100 Days, I perked up. I have been training this winter and prior to the bought of the Osaka Flu… i call it this because I had sushi prior to the flu.  I had hit 22 miles in 3 days and ran them relatively easy. I also started to lift regularly two things not done the last time. This time there is a plan, no more winging it, my intent is not to just participate but to run it.

As many people have moved past resolutions into creating New Year’s goals, I would implore you to do the same and make the NJ Shore Half Marathon a goal. Its a great event, a good size, good people, fun activities, and just something that helps a part of the state to continue recovering from Super Storm Sandy. If this becomes one of your goals or not, I wish you a happy new year and please give me some shoulder room if you see me on the road…

100 Days till Sachi storms the shore!! RUNBEST!