I’m going to keep this short since I’ve already reported on this race, and it’s a little overdue anyway. As always, The Newport Half Marathon in Jersey City was great!
Chris and I carbed up with a big pasta dinner the night before, and I set my alarm for 5:30 the next morning and hit the hay. After some coffee and a Luna bar, we were out the door by 7 for the 8:30 start. We got to Jersey City in no time, parked and headed to registration to get our numbers. Easy peasy.
The weather was perfect. There was a slight chill in the air, but the previous night’s rain had passed, and it wasn’t so cold that we were freezing. We started right on time and just talked for the first three miles. Around 3.5 this older man ran up beside us and asked if he could run with us because we were “tortoises too!” Hah! There’s no really polite way to say no even though that’s what I wanted to do, so he ran with us until about mile 10. I’m glad though because he had some pretty interesting stories to tell. He is 73 and has run marathons all over the world including Tokyo and his upcoming marathon in Buenos Aires! We chatted about his childhood in Poland and career as a teacher.
Meanwhile, my body was not doing so great. My right hamstring that had bothered me in the week leading up to the race was painful from start to finish. Around mile 6, my knees started to feel painful, and I knew it was going to be a long race. By mile 9, everything hurt and I was contemplating telling Chris to run on without me. I was doing mental calculations on how easily I could make it to the finish from where we were. Right then, our new friend Alex, totally unaware of my inner drama, said, “You’re a really strong runner. You look effortless.” That was all I needed to snap me out of my funk. I didn’t feel strong, but in that moment I knew I could finish, and I was grateful for that.
At the next water stop I took the two Advil I’d brought with me, something I’ve never done before, finished the rest of my Chomps and prayed my stomach would tolerate it. Luckily, it did, and I think, while still in pain, the Advil helped.
By mile 10, Alex urged us to push past him and finish strong, so we said our goodbyes and powered through. Chris was doing so great, but my right IT band was rubbing painfully against my knee with each step. I should have stopped especially given my prior IT band strain on the opposite side, but we were right in the thick of my favorite part of the course, out of the park and running through our old neighborhood. There was no stopping me then. We turned onto the waterfront esplanade, and I knew we were so close. I focused on the gorgeous views and some motivation from Chris and just kept my head up.
We saw Judy rounding the bend to the finish straightaway and got to chat with her as we rounded out the last half mile. Debbie, Mike and their friend Meg were cheering at the finish line, and that was just what I needed to push it out and finish strong.
The finisher’s chute had water, bananas, full sized bagels and chips. I took a little of everything then went to pick up my shirt. Everything was run so smoothly especially considering the race cost $50 even for same day registration.
We found Debbie and hung around for a bit before we started to get chilly. We got in the car, and, after a little traffic, were on the road back down to Cranford for a well deserved burger and fries.
Overall, the race was an A+ and the perfect way to say goodbye to distance running for a while. It wasn’t my fastest, but it was the kind of race day I’d take 10 times out of 10. While painful, it never felt impossible or like work, and I got to spend 2 hours (2:27:13) outside in the most perfect weather in my favorite city with the guy I love.
As for what’s next, I’m not really sure. I haven’t run at all since the race, and I’m not too concerned about it. I’d like to try Crossfit or some other weight training program to get in shape for the wedding, but I’m not in too much of a rush. This summer went by in a blur, and I’m looking forward to savoring fall. I have no doubt I’ll continue to run, but I’m happy to let my Garmin sit idle for a while as we both recover.