A Matter of Trust: 2019 Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon Race Recap

Girl, where do you think you’re going?
Where do you think you’re going, girl?

-Lady Gaga, “Joanne”

This is just two slow half marathons, I told myself. It’s just a long tempo run was another mind trick. Only ten miles left? Easy. Anything to convince myself that this wasn’t one of the hardest things I had ever fought for in my life. But a little voice inside me kept returning to one word: Trust. Saying it calmed me and kept me focused. I repeated it every so often, whispering it to myself on the exhales. Trust. Trust. Trust.

*****

I signed up for the 2019 New Jersey Marathon on November 10, 2018 (coincidentally, a year to the day of my mother’s death). This was just six days after I ran the NYC Marathon. Talk about a redemption race. It hadn’t even been a whole week since I’d run 26.2 miles and I was ready to plunk down cash to do it all again. Despite the fact that NYC was my first marathon and my goal should not have been more than “have fun and finish!” my performance (4:00:07) had left me somewhat disappointed. I knew as soon as I crossed the finish that I could have run it faster. A fire had been lit under my ass. I would run NYC again, but I didn’t want to wait a year to prove I was capable of more.

But I could wait five months and 18 days.

I had considered other spring marathons, wondering if a short getaway might be a good idea. Ultimately, I decided to save money and stay close to home. The NJ Marathon start was about an hour and a half south of NYC. There was an early morning bus I could take, so no hotel would be necessary. The field wouldn’t be huge and much of the race would be within view of the Atlantic Ocean. Best of all? The course was, for the most part, pancake flat.

I could run this faster. I would run this faster. I paid the registration fee and marked April 28th on my Google cal. I had a date with New Jersey.

As I did for my NYC Marathon recap, I am probably going to write a lot. I am detail-oriented, sometimes to a fault. I have accepted this about myself. I also think details could be helpful for anyone looking to run this race in the future (or hey, even in the past, who’s to say what might happen with time machine technology?). Feel free to skim over any section that doesn’t interest you!

THE PREP

I hope they cannot see
The limitless potential
Living inside of me
To murder everything
I hope they cannot see
I am the great destroyer

-Nine Inch Nails, “The Great Destroyer”

GAINING ENTRY

Entry into the NJ Marathon is much easier than entry into the NYC Marathon. No lottery, no 9+1, no time qualifying standards, no charity requirements. You just sign up. I’m not sure if there’s a cap on runners. I never got any emails about it being near capacity. This year’s race has 2317 finishers – about 5% the size of the NYCM.

Cost breakdown:

Registration fee: $90
Bus from Javits Center to start: $35
Service fee: $9.44
TOTAL RACE COST: $134.44

Additional travel cost: $23 cab from my apartment to the Javits Center (pretty sure he took the long way)

Ride home: free (thanks Alex!)

TRAINING

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I followed a training plan courtesy of my running club, the New York Harriers. I used their Boston Marathon training plan, starting it two weeks after everyone else using it to train for the April 15th Boston Marathon.

In general, here’s what I did: I followed the plan’s specific interval workouts, tempo runs, and long runs. My paces for all of these were determined by my goal finish time. Another three days a week were dedicated to easy runs. These were up to me as far as distance, usually within 5 to 10 miles. I ran these easy runs very easy – much slower than when I trained for NYC. In contrast, I did more interval and tempo runs this time around, and ran those harder than when I trained for NYC. Hard days hard, easy days easy was a big rule I applied to my training this time.

I’m going to write a separate post about how my training for each marathon compared. I keep meticulous records on my running, workouts, paces, amount of sleep, etc., and it’s interesting how the two cycles compare. I guess I learned a bit from training for NYC because I trained better this time around. It wasn’t always perfect, but it was better.

RACE EVE

I wrote a little about this in my week 16 post. The week before the race, I was super diligent about drinking water, and I began drinking water with electrolytes two days before the race. In fact, I made a nerdy little tally and kept it on my fridge.

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I normally eat a ton of vegetables but cut down on these a couple days before the race, and had none the day before the race. I didn’t want to risk having excess food (or gas) in the ol’ gut.

The day before the race was pretty much all starches, eggs, water, Nuun. Breakfast was one cup of brown rice and an egg and two cups of coffee. Lunch was two slices of white toast with butter, potatoes, and two eggs. Dinner was one cup of pasta with a bit of tomato sauce and vegan meat crumbles, and a sweet potato with butter. I made Superhero Muffins that evening and had one after dinner. (My dad was staying over to watch my dog the following day, and I partly wanted to make them so he could have some kind of treat.) No overeating the day before the race this time! No cookies, no sweets, little fiber.

I did not go to bed early enough. Between dishes and dog walking, I didn’t manage my time very well. I wound up getting just under five hours of sleep the night before the race. Fortunately, I’d gotten a good amount of sleep over the course of the week, so this didn’t seem to affect me much.

RACE MORNING

I woke up at 3 am. I planned on leaving at 4:15 to get to the Javits Center by 4:45. I didn’t really need an hour and 15 minutes to get ready, but I wanted time to do some “digestion” yoga so, you know, I could, you know, poop.

I ate breakfast (16 oz. water, one cup coffee, oat bran + fried egg), put on my race clothes, and did some twisty and turny yoga stuff. It was nice to stretch, but it did not do what I wanted it to do. No matter. I had time.

I put on some longer layers over my race outfit and gathered all of my things into a big, clear plastic bag – the only type of bag that would be permitted into the start area. I wore old race shoes and brought my new ones in bag so I could use the old ones for walking around. I brought six Gu gels, a Gu waffle, and a Nuun tablet for my race water bottle. I also brought an ounce of pita chips and an additional Nuun water thermos for the bus ride. Vaseline, check. Sunscreen, check. Race water bottle, nearly left that in the fridge but check.

I got down to the Javits Center at 4:50 and was worried not to see any buses. Was I going to have to literally run around the goddamn Jacob Javits Center to find them? I saw another runner with a clear plastic bag and followed her down a side street on the south side of the center. Buses were due to be on site at 4:30 and leave at 5:00 sharp. I had just made it!

Well, not really. The buses weren’t even there yet and there was a long-ass line.

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Breathe. Relax. I forced myself to take deep breaths to calm my nerves. I hate being late. I tried not to worry. What could I do? Nothing, other than breathe.

A staff member took our tickets and announced that the buses were on their way. He apologized, adding “This has happened before.” I guess that was… good news? Breathe. Relax. 

At 5:03, several huge buses pulled up. The runners quickly boarded each one in an orderly fashion, and by 5:09, my bus was pulling out. Phew! Only nine minutes late. This could have been disastrously worse.

I took an aisle seat next to a woman I never spoke to. She wore tape on her knee and slept the whole time. I only heard her voice once: right before we arrived at Monmouth Park Racetrack, she woke up suddenly and squeaked “Yay!”

On the bus, I slowly ate my small bag of pita chips and drank my thermos of Nuun water. It was still dark out and the interior lights were off. Most people were quiet. The two women on the other side of the aisle talked most of the way, mostly about pace strategy. One of them was running, the other spectating.

I was done eating and drinking by 5:40. I didn’t want to have anything else until right before the race. I used the bus bathroom twice, once to pee and once to poop, hallelujah!!! Thank you, inventor of bus bathrooms!

There were some traffic delays outside the start venue. I finally exited the bus at 6:38. (Yes, I checked my watch every time anything happened.) It was an 8-minute walk from the parking lot to the start village. Some, including knee tape girl, were jogging there. I felt antsy. Race start was 7:30, and I now had less than 45 minutes to collect my bib, pin it on, organize what I was running with and what I was checking, apply Vaseline and sunscreen, check my bag, and pee one more time. And I hadn’t even done any kind of warm up.

The line for packet pickup wasn’t bad. I feel like a lot of runners had arrived late because some of the staffers were clearly agitated, or maybe just impatiently trying to get everyone through on time. There were more than a few thousand runners, as there was a half marathon and a marathon, and all runners would start together.

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I saw my friend and fellow NY Harrier Teresa while I was getting ready – or rather, she spotted my race bib on the ground and recognized the number (it’s a memorable number: 444). We chatted for a couple of minutes but I was so worried about getting all of my shit together that I wish I could have been more relaxed and talked to her more. I felt stressed given how much time I had. I wish the buses had left earlier.

I inhaled my Gu waffle. I’d never had one before, although I’ve had “energy waffles” from other brands. They say nothing new on race day but I trusted my iron stomach which, I’m happy to say, did not let me down.

Getting through security was easy and I soon found myself in another enormous parking lot. It felt so big that it was almost like being on the ocean where the curvature of the Earth prevents you from seeing what’s on the other side. I scanned the horizon for bag check. It was on the other side of the planet. I jogged over, checked my bag, and found the lines for the porta potties.

2019NJM IMG_5453

Damn.

I’d just have to wait. I wanted to pee one more time. I refused to stop during this race. I would have rather peed my pants than destroy my chances at a BQ, and that’s not a joke.

I used this time to do some squats, lunges, and other assorted warm ups. I bobby pinned my stray hairs back without the aid of a mirror. I was wearing a tank top and shorts. I noticed most people were wearing more, and some were even shivering inside heat sheets. Was it cold out? I wasn’t sure. Was I cold? I don’t think so? Honestly, I hadn’t thought about it. Temperature was the last thing on my mind.

I felt ready. If this line took a while and I crossed the start late, fine. My bib was chipped and I would start when I would start. I felt cooler and calmer than I had a half hour ago. This is reflected in this cool, calm selfie.

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One thing I had totally forgotten: makeup! Oh well. Sorry, you’re just going to have to deal with my naked eyelashes for the rest of this post. (Mascara is generally the only makeup I might wear for a race.)

Finally, it was my turn to pee. I did it lightening fast, got out, clipped my belt to my shorts, and jogged to corral 4. It was so crowded a staffer told me to just go to corral 3. So I did, where I squeaked in at the last minute.

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I made small talk with a young woman whose name I forget (green shirt below), posed for a photog, started my playlist, sucked down a Gu, and we were off.

2019NJM start corral XLarge

THE PLAN

It was simple: I wanted to break 3:50. I’m turning 45 in June, and 3:50 is the new Boston qualifying standard for 45-49 women (it’s based on the age you will be on Boston Marathon race day). I thought this would be a good, attainable goal given where I was coming from.

However, I trained as though I wanted to hit 3:45. A 3:45 marathon is an average 8:35 pace, and this is what I trained for. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish in 3:45 – knocking off 15 minutes from a marathon in less than six months is a tall order – but I thought if I aimed for that I’d have a better chance of reaching 3:50. If I only aimed for 3:50, I might miss it.

I was hoping to keep my pace in the 8:35 to 8:45 range at first and then speed up as the race progressed, reaching paces in the 8:20s at the end.

THE RACE

We’re flying high
We’re watching the world pass us by
Never want to come down
Never want to put my feet back down on the ground

-Depeche Mode, “Never Let Me Down Again”

One thing I want to point out: the paces I saw on my Garmin the whole time were a little off. This is because I wound up running 26.5 miles instead of 26.2. I tried my best to take the inner corners and run the straightest tangents possible. I was conscious of all of this and truly thought I was doing a good job. Still, my mileage was off by about 0.2 for most of the race (e.g. when I passed the 10-mile mark, my watch said 10.2). I’ll indicate the paces I saw on my watch in this recap, but in the end, I wound up running slightly slower than what I was seeing.

I broke a rule right out of the gate: my first two miles were my fastest of the race. Not insanely fast, but a hair faster than planned. The first half mile still felt like we were in the parking lot. The next mile or so went around Wolf Hill Recreation Area, and while they were on actual roads, it didn’t feel like we had started the race yet. The course also felt a little crowded, and I was eager to get on the main road, wherever that was.

Still, I felt good and strong. This was a slower pace than the vast majority of races I’ve run, and I knew I’d slow down even more once I got settled in.

MILE 1: 8:28
MILE 2: 8:27

At mile 3, we made a turn onto Port Au Peck Avenue and it finally felt like the race had begun. The next few miles would take us through the borough of Oceanport, a picturesque collection of suburban neighborhoods.

Honestly, I wasn’t too focused on the surrounding scenery. Every so often I glanced around to take note of where I was. There were a few spectators out cheering us on and that was nice. Lots of families. Kids holding out their hands for high fives I refused to return (sorry kids, I love ya but you’re germy). Mostly, I stayed fixated on the course up ahead. I glanced at my watch a lot. I wasn’t buried in it, but it was important to me to stay within a certain pace range and I didn’t want to drift too far.

Somewhere in mile 4, while running along Monmouth Boulevard, I felt a tap on my right shoulder. It was my friend Alex. I’ve known him for over a decade. He would be my ride home, and I assumed it would work out with timing because we both wanted to finish around 3:45. I vented about my stressful morning for a few seconds and then did something I never do during a race: I whipped out my phone and took a couple of selfies while we were running.

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I swear if it had been in a later part of the race, I wouldn’t have done this. But we were only in mile 4 and it still felt early enough to screw around.

I told Alex I was trying to stay around an 8:40 pace for the time being. Alex said he was going to speed up because he wasn’t as “disciplined” as me. He’s also a much more experienced runner with a number of marathons under his belt, so I assumed he might want to run faster than me anyway. I thought maybe I’d catch up to him later. (Spoiler: I did not.)

I struggled to put my phone back in my belt amidst all the Gu packets and had to stop running for 5 seconds in order to do it. But I quickly made up for it, running faster for a stretch as I entered mile 5. I settled back into my marathon pace and kept my eyes fixed ahead. For the most part, I tried staying within an 8:30 to 8:40 pace. If I started to get too fast, I slowed, and if I drifted too slow, I sped up. I might have lost a few seconds in mile 4 with the selfie nonsense. I blame Alex.

MILE 3: 8:33
MILE 4: 8:44
MILE 5: 8:38

I’m not made for giving up
For losing hope
For letting go or being stopped

-Peter Heppner, “I Won’t Give Up”

Last year, I ran a bunch of races without music. While training for New Jersey, I discovered that some music actually made me run faster. I also knew that the NJ course wasn’t the deafening spectator party that the NYC Marathon was, and I wanted a playlist to keep me company.

I only recently discovered Peter Heppner. He was the lead singer of Wolfsheim, a band I was vaguely aware of until I started listening to them more recently, and I’ve since discovered I love both Wolfsheim and Heppner. His music suits me and I regret not finding him sooner in life.

Mile 6 crossed a bridge into the neighborhood of Monmouth Beach. This was a slight incline, one of the only “hills” the course had. I was starting to speed up, drifting into the low 8:20s. I had to force myself to slow down. It’s such a gamble: could I have maintained an 8:20–8:25 pace the whole time? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll find out next time. But I didn’t train for that pace. I did not want to blow this.

As far as fuel, I had a plan: take a sip or two of Nuun water every three miles and a Gu every five miles. Toward the end of the race, I’d Nuun or Gu as I felt the need. I had six Gus with me, probably more than I’d want.

I was so glad I’d decided to train and run with a bottle. There were water and Gatorade stations every mile and I never had to slow down at any of them.

MILE 6: 8:37
MILE 7: 8:30
MILE 8: 8:36

Control, control, control, control
Control, control, control, control
Control, control, control, control
Control, control, control, control
Control, control, control, control

-The Faint, “The Conductor”

For the next few miles, I felt steady and focused. If I ever started to veer off into insecure territory, I would just repeat trust, trust, trust and instantly feel more centered. This actually worked. Words are funny like that.

Miles 9 through 12 would take us through Long Branch – not along the ocean just yet, but closer to it. The neighborhoods still had a suburban feel, but the roads were starting to seem wider. I took more Nuun at mile 9 and another Gu (my third of the day) at mile 10. I was constantly aware of my legs, my form, my pace. My mind didn’t really wander. I just thought about running. I tried staying in the moment, not really allowing myself to think about how much of the race was left.

At this point I should mention Race Screen, because it played a big part in my pacing.

Soon after I ran NYC in 4:00:07, missing my sub 4 dream by eight seconds, I learned that I could have checked the NYC Marathon app during the race for my splits as well as my predicted finish time. I had no idea there was even a way to see a predicted finish time and wondered if knowing it during the race would have kicked me in the ass a bit. I searched the web for a similar app and discovered Race Screen. It’s not an app but a data screen that works with Garmin. If you open the Garmin software on your computer you can indicate the race distance you’re running, sync your watch, and then during the race your watch will take your average pace and show your predicted finish time.

I tested this feature on a 6.5 mile run a few days before the race. Using the easy pace I ran that day, it shows my predicted marathon finish time was about four and a half hours.

Race Screen IMG_5274

So I kept my eye on this field for most of the race. It mostly showed my predicted finish was 3:44 something. Later it would venture into the 3:45 range.

The data field has another important feature that I regrettably did not use: by pressing the Garmin’s lap button as you cross over a distance marker, it will correct the GPS-measured distance to the actual race course distance. In other words, if you press the lap button as you cross the 5 mile mark and your watch thinks you’ve run 5.1 miles, it will correct itself to indicate that you’ve run exactly 5.

Unfortunately, I had not properly tested this feature before the marathon, and was too scared to try it.

I actually had tried it during the Run as One 4M a week earlier. But it hadn’t worked. I didn’t realize this at the time, but I hadn’t yet checked the box in my Garmin app that asked if I wanted to use this feature. Since the 4M race, I had checked the box but hadn’t tested it.

I was afraid of using it for the first time in the race and possibly screwing up the timer. I also wasn’t 100% sure it would correct to the appropriate distance: what if I pressed it when I crossed the 10K mark? Would it correct to 6.2 miles or 6 miles? I was so afraid of messing up my predicted finish that I decided against using this feature at all.

Somewhere in mile 11, the half marathoners – a slightly larger portion of the starting field – peeled off to the left toward their finish, leaving the marathoners to continue running south along Ocean Avenue on what was now a more thinned out course. I lifted my hand to wave as they headed toward the finish, waving to nothing in particular except for maybe the first half of the race. With the halvers gone, it suddenly felt like the marathon was on.

We were now firmly out of the suburbs and the crowds along the sidelines had grown. I was running somewhere between the 3:45 and 3:50 pace groups. I was well aware of the 3:50 group – I’d been running slightly ahead of them for a while. I did not want them to pass me.

In mile 12 or 13, volunteers handed out half bananas. I took one and ran with it for awhile. I wasn’t sure I wanted it but held onto it anyway.

As I crossed over the 13.1 mile mat, I heard voices right behind me. “One fifty-four… perfect. That’s perfect. Right where we want to be.” I glanced back. It was the 3:50 pace group. Damn it, they were right on my tail.

MILE 9: 8:32
MILE 10: 8:40
MILE 11: 8:39
MILE 12: 8:38
MILE 13: 8:43

Go on, take everything
Take everything
I dare you to

-Hole, “Violet”

Unbeknownst to them, I spent the next mile or so racing the 3:50 pace group. Sometimes they’d pull ahead, sometimes they’d fall behind. There were two official pacers and a large group of runners behind them. I decided to use them as a guide – if they started to pull too far ahead of me, I’d do whatever I could to catch them, and preferably pass them altogether.

I didn’t know where the 3:45 pace group was and I wasn’t going to worry about it.

I ate two bites of banana in mile 14 and threw the rest away. I eat bananas all the time but never during a run, and I didn’t want to mess with my fueling too much. I still had plenty of Nuun water and took more sips in mile 9, 12, and 15.

Mile 16 was straight down Ocean Avenue. There was a turnaround point somewhere so the front runners were now making their way up the other side of the road. This is always exciting – I think in just about every race where I’ve experienced this out-and-back type course, the runners around me always cheer for the lead pack. Then they cheer again for the lead woman. I love this part of the “competition.” We know we’re not going to catch them, so we might as well cheer them on. Runners are supportive folk.

Mile 17 partially went around Deal Lake, then back along the road heading south. By mile 18, we were right along the beach in Asbury Park. This was the only part of the course I recognized because I had been here before, years ago. It’s a fun area.

I took another Gu around here. It would be my last. I’ve never wanted to have more than four gels in a run, and today would be no different. I wondered where the turnaround point was. I had forgotten to check. Why hadn’t I checked? That was dumb. I like knowing things.

I grabbed a cup of plain water from a volunteer, the only one I took in the entire race. I wanted a change from the cherry limeade Nuun taste in my mouth.

I looked for Alex coming up the other side and saw him pass, calling his name. I still wasn’t sure where the turnaround was but had a good feeling I was not going to catch up to him. Kudos to Alex.

Finally, I saw it: the turnaround was right after the mile 19 mark. I think it was just an orange cone in the road. I went around it, mentally preparing myself for the last 10K.

MILE 14: 8:42
MILE 15: 8:34
MILE 16: 8:33
MILE 17: 8:28
MILE 18: 8:32
MILE 19: 8:31

Something happened in mile 20. I wouldn’t necessarily say I hit “the wall,” but I slowed about 15 to 20 seconds per mile. This was not good, as I was supposed to do the opposite. I even put on my sunglasses for the first time all day in an effort to change up the feel of my body. I hadn’t really needed the glasses on this overcast day and probably should have just left them at home. Looking at the elevation map, I can see now there was a slight incline in mile 20, but we’re talking maybe 50 feet. No way I can blame the elevation on my slowing down. I think I was just… pooped.

I tried so hard to stay on top of it but I didn’t fare too much better in 21 and 22. I really thought that I would speed up after the turnaround – sometimes seeing the runners on the other side who are behind you is enough to spur you on. It was hard. I took a little more Nuun water. I didn’t want a gel. I just wanted to be done.

MILE 20: 8:51
MILE 21: 8:47
MILE 22: 8:45

Mile 23 started out rough. I passed some kind of medic tent, and saw two empty cots. They looked so inviting. I wanted to lie down. I thought it somewhat cruel to taunt us exhausted runners with those tantalizingly empty cots. How dare they.

At one point, I gave a photog a thumbs up. I did not feel good, but faking it took my mind off the pain for a second or two.

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Some familiar friends soon came up behind me: the 3:50 pace group. Oh, hello again. They were now down to the two official pacers and just two runners. I wondered if the rest of the group had fallen behind or surged ahead. All I knew is that I could not let them pass me.

Then they passed me.

I have never in my life fought so hard to run faster. I gave it all I had on that boardwalk, trying to gain on them. I looked at their foot strikes and cadence, trying to match them. I would not let them go.

Finally, after about three miles of struggling, I caught them. I passed them.

MILE 23: 8:32
MILE 24: 8:33
MILE 25: 8:34

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Pain, will you return it?
I’ll say it again: pain

-Depeche Mode, “Strangelove”

One mile left. Now that I had passed the 3:50 pacers, I’d lost a little momentum. Still, I ran as fast as I could in this final mile but it was no 8:20 pace as planned – far from it. It was drizzling. I’d taken off my sunglasses. I couldn’t wait to stop running. I wanted food. What would I eat? Hmm. Maybe everything.

“Open Your Eyes” by School of Seven Bells started on my randomly shuffled playlist. I associate this song with my college friend Hal who died last October. A couple of years ago, after we had gotten back in touch while I was living in LA, he insisted I listen to this song. I instantly loved it. It’s not an uptempo song one might associate with running fast, but I connect it with him and find it sometimes gives me strength. It started playing right as I was feeling my weakest. I thought of him. It helped.

I could see the finish. A man in a gray shirt to my left ran alongside me. I sped up. He sped up. We both sped up. I think we were racing each other. Is this what I needed the whole time? A rival? He wound up pulling ahead at the end. Fine. Good. I was done.

MILE 26: 8:46
LAST 0.5: 8:15 pace 

I stopped my watch. 3:48:05. Holy shit. I had done it. I broke 3:50.

I BQ’d.

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I had never in my life been so happy to not be running anymore.

I covered my face in my hands and wept for about five seconds. I did it? I did it. I think I was in shock. Someone handed me a medal. I think I said thank you. I pulled myself together and set off for the finishers area.

Open your eyes, love
All alone
Open your eyes, love
Weeping

-School of Seven Bells, “Open Your Eyes”

Volunteers were handing out bags of chips and popcorn. I didn’t want that. I needed food-food. I grabbed a soft pretzel from an open box. I searched the crowd for Alex. I quickly found him and, naturally, I asked him to take my picture. Then we asked someone to take one of us.

2019NJM me and Alex IMG_5430

Like a jerk, Alex had aimed for 3:45 and finished in 3:36:39. Not a PR for him, but impressive given that he doesn’t even have a running blog!

We each went into our respective changing tents and I spent what felt like an hour changing into fresh socks and shoes. My fingers were slightly numb, which was weird because I had never felt cold the entire race. I put on a hoodie but left on my sweaty race clothes. I had no energy to take them off. I texted a few people who had all been tracking me, accepting their congratulations. It was drizzling, so Alex and I decided to head home. Besides, in order to enter the festivities area we’d have to re-check our bags. No thanks. I just wanted to sit down.

We got the shuttle bus back to Monmouth Park Racetrack, eventually found his car, and set out for home. Along the way we stopped at a rest stop and got some lame snacks (for me: water, pretzel chips, hummus, and a BBQ sauce that I swiped from the cashier stand). The building was a cruel three steps above parking lot level. Alex and I grunted our way up and then down them.

We talked about the race in the car, and we also talked about pooping. Runners do this. We like to talk about pooping. We also talked about the audio book Alex wrote, which looks very cool and I am going to download it and everyone else should, too. He eventually dropped me at a bus stop in Astoria and I was home not long after that.

I ate a nice dinner at my aunt’s that night. I felt so happy. Relieved. Lighter. Like a weight had been lifted off me. I’d spent the last five and a half months chasing a big goal, and I had done it. It worked. Everything I had done actually worked. What an amazing feeling that is, when things work. I like it.

I ate extra dessert that night.

OFFICIAL RESULTS:

– Time: 3:48:05
– Pace: 8:42/m
– Age Group: 29/122
– Women: 218/864
– Overall: 811/2317

*****

Race photos courtesy of Marathon Foto.

All of the cherry-picked lyrics in this post are from my NJ Marathon Spotify playlist, which I credit for helping to get me to the finish when I did. A total of 55 songs spanning 4 hours and 7 minutes – a few more than it turns out I needed. I did not include Billy Joel’s “A Matter of Trust.”

9 thoughts on “A Matter of Trust: 2019 Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon Race Recap

  1. Pingback: Run the ‘Run for the Health of It’ 5K on 5.11.19 – My Body Is A Machine

  2. Oh my gosh. I love this post! Congratulations. You did it and you worked so hard. I’m so sorry I missed the last few weeks of your posts. I will post an update later. But I am so thrilled for you. You also nailed the hardest part of the marathon. Dealing with the rough miles later in the race, and mentally pushing them aside, is so necessary. Congrats on a great race!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Caution to the Wind: 2019 Run for the Health of It 5K Race Recap – My Body Is A Machine

  4. Pingback: Is This Hell?: 2019 Popular Brooklyn Half Race Recap – My Body Is A Machine

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