I was once competed but now I’m a runner! After finishing my last season of competitive running, I moved as fast as I could from it. I went full in on basketball, football, and hockey enjoying the benefits of my endurance gains from running without wanting credit running. But as my professional career progressed my ability to participate in these sports declined and well my waistline increased, sadly. Over the past few years I have tried to run again since its one activity that can be done alone and provide some balance with an outlet. Again life had become an impediment where I had too choose between things like school, work, travel, family, and friends. Recently I had moved away from my friends, family for a new job in the process I was also dumped. I finally just had time and all I could do was think about everything that was bad, why I failed as a boyfriend, why I am scared to make friends, why work isn’t feeling fulfilling, why I don’t own a house, or married, how I’ve failed as an adult. Then one day I saw my running shoes and I laced up. After years of trying to avoid it, running found me. That first day I went out for just 30 minutes maybe covering only 2-2.5 miles. Afterwards I just felt happy, I finally had some control over something after months of just being slammed by everyone else. I was so happy that moment I just cried, and that’s not my normal thing but it felt so good. I’d like to say this began me running everyday 4-8 miles but that wasn’t the case. I found a balance of running when I could, when the mood was right, when I could be outside preferably. It gave me somewhere to be, it gave me a reason to explore my new home. I haven’t focused on time but the experience. Part of building this website was to enjoy and share the experience.
(SOURCE: New Jersey Marathon 2014)
As I progressed in my running with a new outlook I thought why not try something new a Half-Marathon. So now I started to filter though all the upcoming events and it hit me, The Long Branch Half Marathon / New Jersey Marathon. Someone I hold in high regard spoke about her enjoyment of the event in the past and had singed up for the 2014 edition. I realized I could support her, and see her reach her goals in person by running this event. After 3 years of supporting my pursuit of an MBA, a new job, being there for me when the transition became tough, I wanted to return all she had given me. So I signed up and asked my friend and blog contributor Marvelous Matt to also sign up. I was very excited to surprise and support her!!!
(SOURCE: New Jersey Marathon 2014)
After the excitement of signing up wore off then the reality hit me, I am now financially committed to running 13.1 miles more then 20K over 3 miles longer then my longest previous race when I was fit. I started to panic, I started to sweat, so I was like let me look at the map, pictured above, and then I saw the topo and realized this is real. So I started to think its not that bad, look they have Gatorade, I have Matt but realized he wouldn’t care me. So it was a go, lets see how it turns out.
(SOURCE: New Jersey Marathon 2014 – Matt, runCoast2Coast contributor, powering through, showing the form that makes him a superstar)
(SOURCE: New Jersey Marathon 2014 – Sachi, runcoast2coast contributor realizing there is another half mile left)
(SOURCE: New Jersey Marathon 2014 – Runbest supertsar Heather in the zone like a running shark)
(SOURCE: New Jersey Marathon 2014 – Runbest member Denise finishing strong)
As the photos show both blog contributors and all team members of RUNBEST participated and almost all looked strong through the end. For 3 members it was their first half-marathon and it showed with the excitement at the finish resulting in 3 P.Rs! The experienced runner Heather who had previously run this half-marathon P.Red by over 20 minutes and improved by 40 minutes from her last run. She also rocked “Oregon Track Club” showing that you can be a duck everywhere.
(SOURCE: New Jersey Marathon 2014 – runCoast2Coast contributors displaying Hardware)
(SOURCE: New Jersey Marathon 2014 – Runbest members and their cohorts!)
As the post race photos show everyone was excited and happy completing for many a first half-marathon and for Heather a new P.R. in an event that means a lot to her. I was very excited and happy being there to witness her joy of a P.R. supporting her through her journey, and finally giving back the support she gave me. I felt just as excited for finishing the event, as I felt for her P.R., for Matt finishing it, and for Denise finishing it. It was a completely different experience then running in college, highschool, road events like Midland, or NYRRC or team relays like Hood to Coast. The feelings have not washed out yet, and I still feel a high from the excitement!
(SOURCE: New Jersey Marathon 2014 – former members of “Rainbows in the Dark” running team)
I cannot express how much I enjoyed this experience and journey. It gives me great excitement and trepidation to run another half marathon or event because its hard to duplicate that experience. I did however run the next day after the race to stretch out the legs. I plan to run again soon and now see attainable goals, so remember RUNBEST!