First let me congratulate Jamie for her awesome PR (20+ MINUTES) at this race. She trained well, she ran well and I'm so proud of and excited for her. I think a marathon may be in her future some day :)
My weekend started with Phillyfit's Saturday miles. I did not run. I was just there. Kristie came over about 4ish and we headed down to OC. We chatted the whole way and before I knew it we were on route 9 heading into Marmora. With Kristie navigating we worked our way to Jamie's in-laws house. I wrote the house number down as 13 but it was actually 31. There was no 13 which was a bit disconcerting at first. Then I remembered she told me what was on the mailbox and that helped us get straightened out.
This was the first time I met Jamie in person and I was also introduced to her two adorable children, Ben and Elijah. Jamie's father in law had prepared an awesome pasta dinner for us. It was an early night. Everyone was in bed by 9:00 p.m. I slept better than I thought I would being in a strange place. Guess I was just that tired.
Our alarm went off at 6 am. We got dressed, ate breafkast said good bye to the boys and other family members and off we went. None of us wanted to be late so we were heading out the door at 7:15 for the 12 minute ride to 9th and Central. The race started at 9:00 am. This proved to be a very good plan as one of us forgot the inserts for her shoes so we stopped at the local CVS where the clerk was very accomodating and lent scissors for the trimming of the inserts right in the middle of the store.
We arrived with plenthy of time to spare. The race started on the street at 9th and the Boardwalk. Most runners waited inside the music pier where it was warm. We started about 9:08.
I had hopes of keeping Jamie company for this race. I gave up on keeping up with Jamie and Kristie (who did a great job of coaching her) after about 1/2 mile. I was disappointed but sort of ok. I decided to do 3 and 1's with fellow fitters Marjorie and John and Marjorie's friend Irene. I lost them after we came back over the Longport bridge. Then I lost me. I almost quit. I started scheming to convince Kristie to take my Philly Half bib for November. I was going to do this on the ride home. (She would never have taken it by the way). I was even trying to figure out how I was going to hide from everyone after the race. Yeah, I was in a bad place. I was so depressed about not being able to keep with others. I felt stupid for trying and like a slug for not doing it. Even though I knew I couldn't. John and Marjorie are faster than I am. Jamie had a determined goal and didn't want to do run/walk. I knew all this but I still beat myself up for about 3 miles. Finally, I came around. It took a lot of figurative finger shaking at myself but I did come around. I realized that when I race, I have to do my own thing. I have to make no plans to keep with anyone. If they happen to run alongside me, fine, but I can't make 'plans' to run with anyone. In training it's different but in races I have to be in my own head. So that's what I will do. I can still meet people before and after but run in my own head. I'm proud of myself for getting myself out of that negative thinking.
The running on the boardwalk was awesome. If I had quit I wouldn't get to do that. It was one of the things that got me coming back around to sanity. I LOVED running on the boardwalk. We did about 3-4 miles on the boardwalk. It was not closed. This may have bothered some but I liked it. I'm pretty sure those were my best miles of the race. I felt special and strong. Dorky, yes but hey I am what I am.
The volunteers were awesome. The OCNJ field hockey team were everywhere in their red shirts and with their loud cheers. They really kept me (and others) going. The police were awesome too. I like to thank the volunteers and police in a race. It's a thankless job they do standing there all day. Usually, they acknowledge the thanks but it's not very enthusiastic and neither is their participation. The OCNJ police were the nicest and most enthuisastic group. The didn't just stand there they cheered you on. One saved me from going the wrong way and he did so nicely. I stopped to record Kristie and Jamie coming the other way and didn't realize that the route turned the corner there. Oops. The cop very politely set me straight.
The end of the race was cool! Jamie and Kristie called out to me as I approached and the lady with the megaphone yelled my name after they did. A nice boost! All finishers got a winter hat that said OCNJ Half Marathon on it. I have to admit to initially being disappointed when I heard that there was no medal. However, the hat is awesome and I will wear it.
The post race food was very good too. Lots of water, jucie, iced tea, scones, cinnamon buns and more. Including Philly soft pretzels which were not available at the Philly Rock N Roll race. AND where else can you run a half marathon and get awesome Mack N Manko's pizza after :)
Post race I took my shoes off and waded into the ocean. Had it been warmer I would have jumped in but it really was cold. We took a lot of beach pictures then headed back to Jamie's inlaws to change. Kristie and I went back up to the boardwalk for a bit before driving home.
I recommend this race. The atmosphere is awesome. After all it's in Ocean City, NJ one of my favorite places. It was well organized and the support was great. I'm giving serious thought to doing it again. And next time I'll rock it.