When life throws you lemons, make lemonade? Well, only when the weather and your GI tract cooperate…
Today was the Newport Liberty Half Marathon. I’ve got two races this fall in my effort to reach that sub 2 goal, and this was the first. I really really had hoped I’d get there with this race so that I could enjoy the Hartford half later next month.
But from the get-go, the stars were not aligning. First, this race has a reputation for being boring and long. And in fact, when I finished, my garmin showed 13.55. The course itself runs through Jersey City (not the historic district which is great, but rather the more sterile business area known as Newport) and then into Liberty State Park.
Liberty State Park is a fabulous park. There’s a science center and acres of paths. Which aren’t all that wide and made for some crowded running. Apparently it’s tough to come up with 13 miles in Jersey City, so the course serpentines you through almost the entirety of the park. And that, my friends, is tedious. Not a lot of fan support. And aside from the Statue of Liberty (which you get a great view of prior to entering the park), there’s not much to look at.
Anyways, I’m not sure how much you’ve heard about our Northeast weather this summer, but basically it’s been beautiful. Yeah, there’ve been some hot and sticky days, but not weeks upon weeks of heat and humidity as in years past. And September has been nearly flawless with its weather. Mornings are crisp. Daytimes are sunny and just barely warm. Nights are lovely, verging on sweater weather. Except for today. Today I woke up for the race and realized that I didn’t give my typical “brrrr, chilly morning” shudder. In fact, it was sorta warm.
Heading downstairs, I looked at my phone. 65F. 88% humidity. 30% chance of thunder. I stepped outside to get the paper, and immediately thought “oh god, I hope it thunders.”
Temps were about 70F at the start. The humidity hadn’t lessened at all. No thunder. There was cloud cover, though. Miles 1-3 I was supposed to be at 28:30–I started a little fast and got through them in 27:15. Miles 4-6 I was supposed to up my pace to 9:10/minute, and I did, coming in at the 6 mile mark at 55:15 (goal was 55:30). Mile six was 9:10, and there it fell apart.
I took some gatorade and sports beans at mile 6, and by mile 7, my tummy was unhappy. So much so that I puked somewhere on the grass between miles 7 and 8. Not a lot, but enough to make my mouth icky for a long long time. It’s at this point, too, that we’re just snaking through this park in an almost ridiculous fashion. I slowed down. A lot.
Miles 7-10: 10:13 pace. Lots of walking here. The sun decided to make an appearance, too, and after one turn, it was like hitting a brick wall of heat and chewy air.
Miles 11-13.1: 9:50 pace. More walking. Nausea settling somewhat, though, and the end is in sight. The course also hugged the water at this point (and the clouds made a comeback) so it felt slightly cooler.
Miles 13.1-13.55: 9:49 pace. I passed 3 people in that last 1/4 mile heading into the chute.
I HATE RACES THAT RUN SO LONG. This is a USATF race, so it’s been measured and measured and measured, but still somehow, everyone was mentioning the length. Of course, on a race course with over 37 turns, there are bound to be tangent issues, but really, nearly a half-mile long? In fact, there were spectators standing in a spot with balloons yelling: “Here is the real finish line” and you could hear everyone’s watches beeping in confirmation. But no, there was still .45 miles left to go.
This was a tough race, following a tough two weeks with Thing 2. My head wasn’t completely in the game, and most likely to reach that sub 2 I needed perfect running conditions. That’s not what we got. That being said, my official time was 2:11:32, which is still a decent finish considering the vomit stop and walking.
Oh, and I got a blister. My 2nd ever.
I’m looking forward to Hartford. That race has a stellar reputation for course, and being Connecticut in October, the weather should be more to my liking. And I’ve got a few weeks to get back into my game.
(the statue of liberty as seen from mile 7-ish, right before the puke episode. She is in no way responsible for that)