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Half Marathon In The Books and What I Learned

Watching the weather the past couple of days I was not sure how today would play out. At one point they were calling for 70% chance of showers at the marathon site.

But I got up at 5:30 this morning hoping for some good news – and I got it.  The report was reduced to about 20% chance of showers AFTER noon.

So I skipped the coffee, had a breakfast of a banana and some peanut butter and lots of water and got on the road. Jersey City is over an hour away and wanted to get there before 7:30.  I have not been to J.C. in probably 15 years so who knows if I would have a problem finding where i needed to go.

Got there in plenty of time and picked up my bib and t-shirt and then waited. Took a few pics…

Before the race- the registration area.


Another shot of the registration area.


Some nice looking boats down here...
Would love to own this one 🙂


Another nice boat.
You can see the new tower going up in the background...

When it got close to start time I did some stretching and prepared myself mentally for more than 2 hours of running. Just to be clear, I only had one goal for today – to finish. Time was not a factor at all.

So the time comes…

A quick shot of the crowd waiting to go.

You’ll notice signs for starting. It is based on your pace. I am lined up between the 9 and 10 minute mile signs. I am not all that fast 🙂 But I am excited.

Finally, the gun sounds (which is actually a horn, but what’s the difference?).

Now, I won’t write down every detail from the run. I have a few more pics from different spots on the run, then i will talk about what I learned today.

Entrance to Liberty State Park (about mile 4)
Statue of Liberty. This is around the half way point (give or take).
It's hard to make out but that is Ellis Island in the foreground.
Better shot of the tower construction.
And, the finish line 🙂

I finished the run at about 2:28 (that is gun time and approximate as of this writing). Not the worlds greatest pace, but I finished.  And I can tell you – my knees and my right calf were KILLING me.

When I ran my last training run the Sunday before this run, I did 12 miles easily and when I was done I felt like I could run 5 or 6 more miles.  But here, my gas tank ran dangerously low at about the half way point.

So what was so different?

Here’s what I learned.

– All my training has been done on a paved, flat bicycle path.  Running on the roads has all kinds of challenges (potholes, pits, uneven, etc.)

– The path I train on is roughly 80% shaded. I don’t think we had ANY shade in the entire 13.1 miles 🙂

– My long training runs were all cooler days. Run times of those average 55 degrees. Today start time temp was about 70.

– More humidity today than I had on my training runs. Was NOT used to that. I believe this was the biggest reason for my gas tank running low so early…

– Running on my path is peaceful and with very few people or obstacles. Running in the middle of a pack of other runners presents challenges too, such as getting around slower runners, faster runners vying to get around you, having to sprint occasionally, smells of other runners, car exhaust, food from restaurants…

In other words, a lot of distractions that caused me to lose focus and concentration. I enjoy the quiet of my path with just my music and my thoughts… no such luxury today.

I’m not complaining. I simply now realize that I need to change some of my preparation before my next half marathon. I need some road work, a few hills, other people, etc.

All in all I think it was a great experience for me. Next week I will get back to my regular running routine. I am thinking seriously of another half marathon in 2 weeks. I am undecided right now – we’ll see how I recoup…

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