2015 New Jersey Half Marathon Recap

On Sunday morning (4/26) I ran my 5th NJ Marathon/Half event! It was my first half marathon (2009) and first full marathon (2011) and is close to where I grew up so I think of it as a special race so there was no doubt that I wanted it to be my first goal race postpartum.

I went to the expo with Jennie on the way down to my parents’ house. Afterwards I spent the day with my family. My sister cooked an awesome pasta and eggplant parm dinner. She is AMAZING. It was nice to relax and spend time with my family. My niece and Jennie play so well together!

nj half marathon 2015 expo

After Jennie went to bed (she slept at my parents’ house, Fizz stayed with his mom, who was running her first half!) I went to the hotel (BEST DECISION EVER, it was less than a 1/4 mile from the start of the race). I put out my race outfit and watched bridesmaids with my friend Staci. I got a solid night sleep and we were both up and ready to go at 4:45 AM. The hotel had a free continental breakfast so I had a few cups of coffee and an English muffin with peanut butter and jelly (my usual). After I ate, I started sweating through my sweatshirt because I was nervous and decided to write a motivational quote on my arm.

motivational quotes on arm nj half 2015

All though my training went relatively well, I didn’t feel ready for my goal (to PR, < 1:42:42) but I decided to go for it anyway. I trained as hard as I could. I missed some workouts and I nailed some workouts. Unfortunately, I was hella nervous and not very confident. I was/am exhausted from working, being a mom and training at odd hours of the day (yes I am aware than tons of women also do this) and honestly I didn’t want to do it again anytime soon.

Anyway, Abby gave me a plan, I wrote the 5k splits on my hand and knew that it would be hard work but I also thought that it was attainable. I was prepared to give it all that I had.

My husband dropped off my MIL at our hotel and the three of us jogged to the start. A lot of women from my running group were racing so we met up for a picture!

MRTT Union County NJ Half Marathon 2015

photo c/o Erin of MRTT

After the picture I said my goodbyes and good lucks and started a warmup. I ran slowly for about 10 minutes and then did a few sets of high knees and butt kicks and finished with some strides. I made it back to the corral just in time for the national anthem and the start.

The first four miles were uneventful. I stayed behind the marathon pacers that were running a 8:00 goal pace (looking at my splits after the race I realized they were running a bit faster). I did notice that even though I felt good, I was having trouble finding a smooth stride. It felt like work right from the beginning (which was worrisome). Splits: (1) 8:26 (2) 8:12 (3) 7:50 (4) 7:48

Around the 5th mile, my iPod died. I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me. I normally run with my phone but it bothers me during races because it is so big. This time I dug out my iPod shuffle and put 3 hours of awesome music on it and loved how small it was and that it could clip to my shorts. I guess it was too old to hold a charge or I didn’t charge it long enough. Either way, I was upset that it crapped out so early. That was the beginning of my demise in the race. Not long after, my knee started to hurt and I had to mentally pick myself up and talk myself off the ledge every few minutes for the next 5 miles. I knew my family would be somewhere around the 10th mile marker so I focused on that. I finally saw them and ran over to give Jennie a kiss and to get my phone from my husband so I could have some music for the rest of the race. Splits: (5) 7:49 (6) 7:34 (7) 7:32 (8) 7:39 (9) 7:38 (10) 7:58

NJ Half 2015 mile 10

2015 nj half marathon baby cheerleaders

BEST cheerleaders!

Despite feeling pretty awful, I was still on track of where I wanted to be. Abby told me that for the final 5k that I should pretend I just started the 5k race and to find another gear and hang on till the end. I tried and tried and tried but I had nothing left and the wind was coming directly at my face (it always does off the ocean, every single year, so I was prepared for it to happen again). I kept telling my legs to speed up but they slowed down. The last 3 miles were a ride on the pain train. I kept wanting to stop but knew I would feel worse so I kept running. Splits (11) 8:15 (12) 8:20 (13) 9:02

NJ Half 2015 mile 13

How I felt caught on camera.

With about a quarter-mile left I saw my family again (and the finish line!!!) so I ran over for another kiss, handed off my phone (which felt like I was carrying a cinder block) and shuffled off to the finish. I put a pep in my step (it was everything I had at the moment) to get myself in under 1:46.

2015 nj half marathon

I’m still not sure of my official time. My results are showing the gun time = chip time which is incorrect. I put a request in to have it looked at but it may never resolve. It’s not on the top of my worry list.

2015 NJ Half splits

NJ Marathon wrong results

I spent the entire day complaining about my finish (sorry friends). It’s ok to be disappointed and upset to not reach a goal and to not have a race go as planned or expected.

I had so many questions for myself. Did I not train enough? Did I overtrain? Did I not do enough speedwork/long runs/strength? Was it because my hormones were messed up from stopping nursing or getting my period for the first time in 3+ years (3 days before the race)? Was it my nutrition? I drove myself crazy thinking about what possibly could have gone wrong to fuck up a race when the conditions were PICTURE PERFECT.

It’s been a couple of days and I have calmed down a bit and am more rational about the outcome. 1. I was not in shape or ready for the time I had in my head. 2. I had a bad day. IT HAPPENS. It’s happened to me before and it will happen again.

I received an awesome text from my friend Katie that put things into perspective…

text from katie

She’s right. I should be proud. I’ve come a long way from where I was just a few months ago and about a light years worth of improvement from just a few months postpartum.

I immediately thought I needed to try again, that I wouldn’t let one bad day get me down. I’m signed up for the Brooklyn Half on May 16. I asked Abby what I needed to do to be ready by then (rest, recover, strength train and a pacer for the last 5k) and we talked about what lacked during this training cycle (QUALITY long runs). I decided I would go for it.

Then I realized my knee is probably injured and that I don’t actually WANT to run another half in 3 weeks. I have a bruised ego. I will eventually get over it. I am smart enough to not let that propel me into another injury and another bad race.

So what’s next?

Conquer the subway stairs everyday (so sore). Physical therapy. Yoga. Some spring and summer speed with shorter distance races (hopefully). Maybe a fall half marathon.

Thank you to everyone who reached out and showed your support during training, before the race and afterwards. Thank you to the ladies of my running group (and my friend Stephanie) who ran with me in the early mornings and late nights. Thank you to my family who came to cheer. It means so very much to me!!!

nj half 2015 finish line

Finally, CONGRATULATIONS to my MIL, Ruth, who kicked ass during her first half marathon and is going to continue her training as Michele’s cadet for the Saucony 26strong project at the Chicago Marathon in October! I AM SO PROUD.

2015 NJ Half marathon celebration

So many feelings

Hi! I know it’s been a while. While I admit I am someone who loves to hear myself talk, I didn’t have much to say.

After a 5 or 6 week buildup and 11 weeks of training, I have officially made it to the taper. I have all of the usual thoughts and feelings: I’m tired but ready. I’m scared but confident.

Wait, am I ready? I’m not sure. I haven’t discussed a race plan/strategy/realistic goal just yet with Abby but I don’t quite feel that I am in PR shape. I know how I felt a couple of years ago (when I was arguably in the best shape of my life) and it is not how I feel right now.

The last few weeks of running have been sort of rough. To be quite honest, I have been really down about my job situation and it has put a damper on most days (and most runs). Jennie is changing every day and becoming so fun and even though I didn’t think it was possible, I miss her even more now during the day than I did when she was a teeny baby! She is starting to communicate and doing things to make me laugh and I think about it all day (and smile and cry). Generally running helps when I feel down but lately it feels lackluster.

I missed a few workouts during the last 2 weeks of training and my knee has been hurting more than it hasn’t. I also had some great runs, where the pace felt effortless and there was no hint of pain (which adds to my uncertainty of how I will feel on race day).

4/6/15-4/12/15 (Week 10 of NJ Half Training)

M: 8 mi run (9:10 avg), 10 min hip strength, 30 min body strength

T: 30 min yoga

W: 4.2 mi run (9:30 avg)

Th: off

F: 7 mi run (2 mi warmup, 4 mi at race pace, 1 mi cooldown)

This was a fantastic run. I went out after Jennie went to bed (cool Friday night right?) and the temps were perfect and the pace felt easy.

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S: 10.25 mi run (9:23 avg, with stroller)

Su: 60 min yoga, 10 min hips strength

Totals: 29.45 mi run, 50 min strength, 90 min yoga

Overall it was an ok week. My long run was not supposed to be with the stroller but it happens and I had to take her and I ended up feeling really uncomfortable because of my knee. The pain did not go away and after my run on Monday (the following week) I knew I had to take a substantial amount of days off in order to get to the starting line healthy.  I went to New Orleans for a bachelorette party (4/17-4/20) so taking off was simple :) I had a blast and spending time with my girlfriends helped clear my mind a bit!

nolalita

4/13/15-4/19/15 (Week 11 of NJ Half Training)

M: 6 mi run (9:15 avg)

T: off

W: 10 min hip strength

Th: 30 min spin, 30 min strength

F: 75 min hot power yoga

S: off

Su: 3 mi run (9:30 avg), 10 min hip strength

Totals: 9 mi run, 50 min strength, 75 min yoga

I guess it’s time so soak up my training and think about a race strategy! I’ll report back (with a better attitude, I promise).

And just like that, it’s over

Everyone talks about milestones.

Hearing the heartbeat for the first time, finding out the gender, reaching full term, giving birth, first latch, first night at home, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, first tooth, first solid foods, first word, walking and they go on and on and on.

I didn’t read much about another (now very) significant and emotional and intense milestone: the last time I would breastfeed (this baby).

baby jennie fizz nursing

On Tuesday night (4/7), Jennie nursed for the last time. 12 months and 18 days.

I didn’t have strong views on breastfeeding when I was pregnant. I figured I would give it a try to see how it would go. There were many ups (the beautiful connection with my baby) and downs (nursing strikes, pumping at work) along the way but it turned out to be something I truly loved and appreciated and I feel lucky I was able to do it.

Bottom line, I am really sad. I wasn’t ready and I am having a hard time accepting that it is over. She wasn’t showing any signs of stopping so it was very abrupt and surprising when she didn’t want to nurse! I am as emotional as I was when I was pregnant and during the weeks after giving birth. My hormones are wild and my boobs hurt and my body feels out of whack (which is affecting my running).

I said I would let her wean herself and I did. She must have decided that she was a big girl as soon as she turned one! Thanks for the memories, it’s been an honor baby girl!

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