Half marathons, port-a-johns and Jamaica Mon!

I’m so behind in getting this recap done because life has been a whirlwind since I ran my race on October 30th. There’s been Halloween, a trip to Jamaica and now prep for an 8 year old’s birthday that I haven’t had a minute to sit down and really think and write about how I did. Oh and then there’s that election that went on that has everybody up in arms which maybe some could use a distraction from. So here goes…..

I left my house in the dark at 6:15 a.m. on race morning (5:30 alarm on a Sunday is always fun) and cruised out to Patchogue mentally prepping myself for what I was about to do. I was able to get in the first parking lot that was open to runners and jump on a shuttle pretty quickly. I was somewhat nervous but had the mindset that there was nothing else I could do at this point and I just needed to run to the best of my ability taking into consideration the training I had put in. I had planned on starting out at my normal, comfortable pace of about 9:30 and would see what my body could handle. The weather was absolutely perfect for an October morning and after getting off of the shuttle and walking to the start area, the excitement was starting to set in. I took care of business, i.e. bag check, bathroom stop, stretching and equipment check only to realize that I had left my car with my glasses on (mistake #1) and then left my fuel (sport beans) in my bag that I checked (mistake #2). I rectified both issues and it worried me a little that I would be thrown off my game and not all mentally there but I let it go and headed up to the start line. I settled in with the 9:00 minute pace corral and waited for all of the opening speakers to finish up until they finally sent us on our way. It didn’t take long to be able to separate from the crowd because it’s a pretty broad start as you head out on Main Street coming up on to Montauk Highway. The route is an in and out straight shot down Montauk Highway with the marathoners continuing on and the halfers turning around in the St. Joseph’s campus. So it’s not that exciting or scenic for that matter but it’s not very hilly and just a nice run through some cute little Suffolk towns. The first 9 miles I felt great!! I was keeping a pretty consistent pace, wasn’t feeling tired, legs felt good and everything was coming together to bring me to possibly a 2 hour half and if I pushed it a sub-2 hour, which would have been incredible! But I have fueling issues. I thought I had found something that worked but I didn’t test it enough so the last couple of miles took a turn for the worst. I don’t know what it is, obviously since it happened again, but the energy beans I had been taking started to cause some discomfort. I’ll be as discreet as I can but lets put it this way, I needed to go and I needed to go quick. Of course when that is the case there isn’t a bathroom in sight. But I finally found one of the fantastic port-a-johns they provide on race courses and decided my dignity and being able to say I’ve never crapped myself during a run were really important. Some people not so much. So I stopped and did what I had to do in what felt like a 90 degree inferno and then went on my way. It wasn’t pretty and it screwed up the rest of my run. Once I stop moving those legs it’s hard for me to maintain momentum and get back into the groove that I was in. My legs starting cramping and tightening up so from that point on which was about mile 10 I had to do some run/walk intervals. I was highly disappointed and realized that a sub-2:00 hour half was now out of reach but I told myself it’s fine and that I’m not going to be able to run every 13 miles straight through without stopping or without some sort of struggle. And my fueling was my struggle this time. But considering that I had made a pit stop and couldn’t find that groove afterwards I still finished at 2:11 which is pretty darn good. And crossing the finish line is always as meaningful no matter your time because it means you finished.  I got my medal, got some food, walked around a bit, got my beer and took some pictures. I will say this race has a great street festival to hang out at when you’re done but I didn’t have much of a crowd with me that day so me and my #1 fan decided to head home. I made the most of the beautiful day and finally hit my bed at about 5:00 and took a good, well-deserved 2 hour nap. I was pretty sore and tired but who wouldn’t be after that. It’s the greatest pain I’ve ever felt, besides child birth. The next couple days were so busy and then I packed myself up and headed to Jamaica (my review of Jamaica coming soon) that I really didn’t get in a recovery run. I did a quick  1 1/2 miles with a throbbing headache my first morning in Jamaica but that’s it since then. I mentally checked out of life and really went on vacation. I drank, ate, danced and had a blast for 5 days. But it’s back to reality. So I’m looking forward to running, training for more runs, doing some shorter fun runs, probably another half and keeping my sights set on the BIG ONE!!

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