Sunday, May 2, 2010

Long Branch Half

So, the Long Branch Half...You know how this was supposed to be my big post-injury sub-2hr half marathon?

It was not.
For starters, my training has not been amazing. I've probably done half of what I was supposed to. Still, given my performance at Austin in Jan., I thought I could hit 2:05, maybe even sneak in at 2. I mean rugby is speedwork in essence, right? (humor me.)

But today, it was 89 degrees in Long Branch. For serious. On May 2. I just checked and its currently 82 degrees, plus a mild heat index. Did I mention today is May 2? And this is Long Branch, NJ? Not Long Branch, uh...Texas or Arizona, or anywhere where it isn't weird to have 3 weekends in the upper 80s by early May?

I stuck with my friend aiming for 2 hours for the first three miles, then told her to go ahead. By mile 3 and minute 27, I was completely soaked, and in my irrational running state, was having serious issues figuring out how to wipe my face in a sleeveless tank with a race number stuck to the front (this is possible by using the neck instead of the bottom or the non-existent sleeve, in case you're stuck on the solution).  Since this race started, for some reason I can't discern, at 9 am instead of 7 am like every other half marathon, it was already at least 80. I started doing 4:30 of running and 30 seconds of walking, and kept this up until mile 7. Between 6 and 7, I seriously considered dropping out. I mean a DNF isn't as bad as a really embarrassing time, right? I can tell the medics I feel nauseous. I can fake an ankle sprain. I can skip the medics, blame the pain from my old back injury that sometimes flares up running, and just walk back to the start area and meet Princess Charming and our friends' baby.

OK, except I couldn't figure out to save my life which way the start was (this is a loop course and I am directionally less than gifted and see above about irrationality while running).

So on I plodded. Around mile 8, I started seeing people in various degrees of nausea and passed-out-ed-ness (is there a better word for that?) on the side of the road, getting various levels of medical attention. So, I decided to finish. My contemplating a DNF has now turned into a You're Going to Be Tough and Finish mindset. OKkkkaaay.

I did 4 min/30 sec (to 1, maybe 1.5 minute) run/walks for the remainder. MAN it was hot. Many thanks for the Long Branch/Oceanport/wherever else we ran residents who put out sprinklers. I AIMED for those things. And the water stops, oh the water stops. This course was surprisingly well staffed - and had quite a bit of fan cheering, especially for a moderately sized race that is primarily residential - and the aid stations were great. Gaterade (yuck), water, bananas twice, oranges. I took two waters at each stop, drank one, and dumped the other down my back in a semi-futile effort to keep my core temperature down (hey, ten years of rugby taught me a few things). The oranges were awesome, and the sport beans I brought were a salty godsend since I don't like sports drinks.

The last mile and a half or so, thank the heavens, is along the ocean. I ran on the boardwalk since I saw no reason to be a foot further from the coooool ocean breeze than I needed to be. That was awesome, and I felt SO much better with the wind off the 60ish (maybe!) water! My only compliant (in things that can be changed) about this race is the huge banner telling you Half Finishers Left/Marathoners Right (its a loop course, they go on) wasn't super clear. I guess I said something about FINISH AHEAD but I didn't see it. I stopped, then wondered where the medal people were..and why no one else stopped! Anyway, I finished and my watch time was 2:18 and change, slightly faster than when Princess Charming and I run-walked this course last year in MUCH better (albeit quite wet) conditions.  I felt better about this when I found out my friends finished about 15 minutes off their expected times too....but am still a little annoyed with myself. Sort of.
Yes, I am wearing a long sleeved tee....the cool breeze was COLD when my sweat dried + I was dehydrated!
And yes, the medal is as boring as it looks.

And my parents took us out to lunch, so that was nice too!


  1. Congrats, Emily!! I can't even imagine running in 89 degree weather, so I am impressed! You have now motivated me to get up to run in the morning.

  2. Congrats Em - sorry it wasn't redemption but 2:18 in 82 degree weather is awesome!

  3. Congrats Em!! Still a HUGE feat! ::side-eyes my own running shoes:: hmmmmmm!

  4. Congrats!! And you look really good for just having run a half marathon in that crazy heat!