It was my slowest time running it yet.
It was probably the most grateful I’ve been to run and finish it yet.
If I’m being completely honest, grief killed any motivation I had for training this summer. Some days, it was a miracle I made it to work and through the day.
But that change of seasons I feared so much has helped me move forward so much, too, and I’ve gotten some motivation and energy back in these past few weeks and have been picking my running back up, slowly. I’m signed up for the marathon, and although I weighed deferring my entry until next year, I decided that I would regret not running the marathon more than I would regret running it, even if I have a crappy race.
So, I signed up for this race in the hopes of it being an excellent confidence boost (I have been doing some 8-10 mile runs over the past few weeks) and giving me some forward momentum I needed in my training.
Dori lives in Jersey City and also loves this race, so earlier this week, I asked her if she was planning on running it. She said she was, and it would be part of a longer run for her, ao we discussed running together.
I’ve had logistics issues with getting there before, mostly related to my own poor planning, so I looked up the PATH schedule approximately 10 times between Saturday night and Sunday morning to make sure I’d get there with enough time to not feel rushed. I took a 7:12 train for an 8:30 start and arrived around 7:30ish. Once I checked my bag (the bag check is slightly off-site, which is a little weird) and got back to the main race area, I had about 45 minutes before race start, which was a perfect amount of time to grab my bib and meet up with Dori and her friends Amelia and Danielle and hit the bathroom lines. We walked over to the start, and had about 15 minutes in the corrals, which felt perfect.
Know what didn’t feel perfect? The weather. I believe it was about 70 degrees when I woke up, with 85% humidity. SWEET. Just the kind of race conditions everyone wants. I put on a Lulu skirt and a tech tee and in my sleepy haze thought “this probably isn’t a good idea to wear a t-shirt in the humidity,” recalling the chafe-fest of Grete’s Gallop in 2013 in similar conditions.
Another quick note on gear: Altra sent me the Torin 3.0s to test, and I’m loving them more than I ever expected. I’ve tried Altras several times in the past and could never get behind them, but I’m really digging both the extra cushioning and the zero-drop these days. I’d tried Hokas last year, which are sort of similar and did not feel the same way. Bombas also sent me some socks for my training, and I still believe they are some bomb-ass socks. Also HOLY CRAP: Dori and all of her friends AND another friend on Saturday were all wearing this magical Lulu sports bra THAT HAS A PHONE POCKET IN THE BACK. THIS IS GENIUS, and although I need another sports bra like I need a hole in the head, I don’t have any that can hold my phone, so…
Oh right, you want to know about the actual race and how I did?
The race starts out in downtown Jersey City (it’s been crazy to watch the city change since I first ran this race 7 years ago), spends the middle miles (4.5 – 9ish) in Liberty State Park and then winds its way back downtown. One of the things I love most about this race is that it feels like an awesome combination of both city + scenic, which almost makes it feel like two races. You run the city streets, and you also run through a pretty park with sweeping views of Manhattan, all in the same race.
It’s also blissfully flat and relatively small, compared to a lot of the other NYC-area races, and…a lot of the other races I run. It’s about 3,000 people, but even on a patch entering Liberty State Park where the road narrows, it never really feels congested.
[I took this photo nearly 3 hours after finishing and it was still this hazy, so you can only imagine how gross it was while we were running.]
Dori said she wanted to run about 10 minute miles, and I told her that sounded PERFECT to me, given the humidity and my under training. I’d say for about the first 6-7 miles, we were running an average of 9:30 pace, but as it got hotter and I got more fatigued, I kept asking for more walk breaks. I’d estimate between miles 7-12, we probably walked about :30 each mile. All I wanted to do was finish safely and honestly, relatively comfortably. I wasn’t PRing, I had nothing to prove other than finishing.
Given the weather conditions and my personal conditions, I net felt pretty ok most of the race, and certainly better than I anticipated feeling!!
I’m so thankful Dori and I ran together, and I’m so so thankful I ran and completed this race. I’m not going to lie, my DNF from Brooklyn Half and dropping down to the 10K from the half at the Falling Leaves race last year have stuck with me more than I’m proud to admit. They make me scared I can’t do hard things. But I can.
On the PATH, I saw a girl looking at motivational quotes on her phone before the race, and this one stuck with me.
I used to weigh 200 pounds. I lost 50 pounds. I’ve run so many races I never thought I would. I have come so far.
This year, I faced the greatest fear of my life: losing my mom. I had no idea how I would handle it, and I feared so much what my life would be like afterwards. I hurt every single day and miss her so much, but I’m here and I’m doing better than I ever thought I could, in honesty.
We crossed in 2:13:35, far off from a PR for either of us, but the best effort we had in us yesterday, and that’s all I can ask for right now.
Afterwards, we went to Kitchen Step for brunch and HOLY BREAKFAST BURRITO FOOD HEAVEN.
After THAT, I was going to my cousin’s to celebrate her birthday, so I took the PATH to Hoboken and had a weird amount of time, so booked “gym time” on ClassPass (if you sign up with that link, we BOTH get $40!) at Crunch in Hoboken and got a shower. Whew. (Was also pleasantly surprised at how nice their showers were!)
And then I took yet another train out to Ridgewood for my dad to pick me up. It’s still so emotional taking that Hoboken – Ridgewood train after doing it for so long while my mom was sick and knowing I was going home to a scary situation or leaving a scary situation, but being #endorphinwasted sure as hell helped yesterday, and I’m really happy to say I actually felt HAPPY, not just ok, for the first time in a long time.
Yesterday was a good day. (Or maybe I’m just still exhausted from my tour of NJ Transit, unclear.)