Monday, May 05, 2008

The New Jersey Marathon

I’ll spare you the suspense and cut right to the chase. I ran a new personal best of 3:27:42 an average pace of 7:55 per mile. I finished 169th out of 1700 finishers.

While absolutely delighted with this result this race was not about the numbers…

When my son was born in October I took a two-month, sleep-deprived, hiatus from running. So signing up for the New Jersey Marathon was my way of kicking myself in the pants. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t permanently regress into a non-runner. Obviously I had a time goal in mind, but, I did this particular race for the training regiment more so than the thrill of crossing the finish line.

I have only praise to heap onto The New Jersey Marathon. The race was well organized and well executed. The course was flat, fast and interesting. The community support and volunteers were abundant and enthusiastic. The one minor complaint I have is the race website... it’s amateurish, not very navigable and doesn’t do the race justice.

Weather was a major concern for me going into this race. The conditions the night prior were cold and very windy. The forecast called for thunderstorms on race day. Thankfully conditions were much friendlier when the starting gun went off – cool, overcast and dry with the exception of fog.

The starting chute was as humane as I’ve experienced and I was able to line up toward the front along side runners of comparable ability.

I clicked off mile one in 8:20 (inclusive of a quick biologically necessary pit stop). Mile two fell in 7:30. Knowing I was setting myself up for an Icarian fall I eased up for mile three and settled into a more sustainable pace of about 7:50/mile.

Normally, I’d have kept better track of my splits but my watch battery died on race day morning. My trustworthy Timex training partner exhausted its last electrons while sounding my 4:00am wake up call. Literally, the watch flat-lined to wake me up.

It was around Mile 18 that I began to fatigue. I was okay from a cardiovascular point of view but was waning mentally and my legs were feeling some pain. I was also carrying a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders (personal note: incorporate upper body strength training moving forward). My poor mood was exacerbated when a group of three runners I’d passed at mile sixteen caught up to and then passed me at mile twenty-one.

At this point I connected with a runner doing his last leg of a relay (The NJ Marathon consists of a marathon, a half-marathon and a multi person marathon relay). His fresh legs and positive conversation helped lift me from despondency and carry me to mile twenty-five and a big finishing kick.

Ultimately the New Jersey Marathon was a giganterrifenormous reaffirmation of my commitment to running and a healthy lifestyle.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Jared, LuAnn, Jessica, Eamonn, Susie, Joe and Sharon. Thank you all for coming to the race and cheering me on. Your being there helped me pull me through to the finish line.

A big sweaty hug to Salena for her support, tolerance and love.

Early in the race and feeling good.

Hitting my stride

The three I passed at 16

The big finish

An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
Sir Isaac Newton


Morrissey said...

congrats on your PR and even better after your 2 month hiatus. Just one note; you made a good point on how important it is to incorporate upper body strength training moving helps!

Yvonne said...

what a great race report. it's no easy thing to come back from a hiatus, and to achieve what you've achieved in that timeframe with all your competing demands is amazing. i love the quote too - i take it, and some of the things you said to heart, as i've been struggling really really hard to avoid staying 'at rest', or becoming a non runner.

but this isn't about me, it's about you! so i'll say again, congrats!!! hope you celebrate(d) in style.

see you soon hopefully :)

nyflygirl said...

this was a long time coming. congrats on the PR!!

the_ubster said...


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your pr Josh, I knew you could do it!

Mark MacLeod said...

Really great job!

DebbieJRT said...

fantastic comeback! Congrats on the new PR.

chelle said...

A PR is a beautiful thing. Personally, I think you have a lot more of them in you.

Long sleeves...interesting choice. Would you have gone with that if you had it to do again? I guess being a guy, you could always just take the shirt off!

I so agree on the upper body strength....I think my back and shoulders are recovering more slowly than my legs from my race!

JustRun said...


See, I told you, no devil, no angel, no monkey!


Uptown Girl said...

YES! Congrats on the sparkly new PR:)

Deene said...

Congrats on the new PR! good job!

Josh said...

Morrissey Thanks Man. I've already started doing push ups. :)

Yvonne Thanks Yvonne. I appreciate your comments and totally understand where you're coming from. You've overcome so much to get back on the road! Keep up the good work!

NYFlyGirl Thanks. Feels real good.

Ubster Thanks Bro!

Suzanne Thanks for your support and for joining me on that long training run!

Mark Thanks for the kind words, Mr. Geek!

Debbie Thanks!

Chelle Thanks for the vote of confidence! We shall see just how many more PR's I have in me. I did run a negative split though...

The long sleeves turned out to be a decent way to go. There were parts of the race where I was a touch warm but in others there was a cool breeze.

Maybe someday I'll be able to hang with you on some of those long runs you do.

JustRun Thanks for flickin' that lil' devil off my back!

Uptown Yes! Sparkly and New! Thanks!

Deene Thanks Deene!

Anonymous said...

Hey super-man, you hammered this one...i'm so happy for you.

Diana Pittet said...

Yes, many congratulations, Josh! So impressive and inspiring!

You, Salena, and wee Jackson must come to the Leo party this summer, to return to the Jersey shore, your place of triumph!

Just12Finish said...

Awesome - congrats!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry for my belated post.
Congratulations on your amazing PR marathon. I was up at Harriman State Park this weekend for a training ride. Just so happen the half ironman was taking place and I thought of you. If I'm not mistaken you did this race last year. Well all I have to say hands up on doing that Harriman bike course 4x. That is one HILLY course.

All the best to you and continue your journey with amazing races.
I know you got many PRs in you.

Starshine said...

Congrats on your race!

We missed you at the reunion, but I'm glad to know you're a blogger! I am too!