Independence Series: New Jersey
May 7, 2016
Temp: low 40s and cloudy
What I wore: hat,tank top, half zip, Skirt Sports Happy Girl skirt,
Features Compression socks, and my new Altra Paradigms
This race was not on my radar until Shoo’s soccer season messed up all of my planned races for April and May. Clinton, NJ is a four hour drive and the race was on a Saturday, so it was my “last ditch” option to get in a New Jersey race this spring. I had mixed feelings when I decided that I needed to do this race. After all, I love Mainly Marathons, but the logistics were a bit daunting. But, I committed, and I did it.
Friday was a rainy day here. I made a rookie mistake and waited until after my kids came home from school to leave for the race. Rain + Friday + Rush Hour? Yeah, that turned my 4 hour drive into a 6 hour one, with most of the extra time happening within 50 miles of my house. I will admit that if the traffic had not looked as bad in the opposite direction, I would have likely turned around. I also considered stopping at my boss’ house and crashing there overnight. But I persevered and finally made it to Clinton at a little after 8:30pm.
I never sleep much the night before a race, but some lovely Mainly Marathons friends offered me space in their hotel room, so I was at least able to relax indoors before the race. (Had that not worked, I was planning to sleep in my Pilot in the Walmart parking lot. Yeah, I know.)
This race involved a lot of rookie “mistakes”. I didn’t eat my PB&J, I didn’t drink much coffee, my body didn’t do its “business” beforehand, I ran the first 3 miles too fast, I wore a nearly brand new pair of shoes of a different style than I normally wore… All of these added up to me being physically spent at the start of the last lap. I was nauseous, tired, and dealing with a caffeine headache and still had almost two miles to go. But this was a Mainly Marathons race, so all those things were balanced by their awesomeness. I ate a part of a quesadilla as I headed out on my last lap and one of my close buddies from the group ran with me through the first quarter of that lap. And then darn near every single person cheered me as I headed into the home stretch. My body may have been empty, but my heart was full.
My drive home went much smoother, though there may have been a lot of singing to 80s music on the drive to help keep me awake. I made it safely and celebrated my 24th state with a yummy beer!
- The course did not have any really big hills. Just a couple of little ones that kept things interesting.
- I love the people at Mainly Marathons. It’s so awesome to show up at a race and receive tons of hugs from the organizers and runners I knew from past events.
- It was great to meet some new people and see two MRTT friends that I’d talked to about MM show up and run two marathons.
- The food. Always the food.
- The Coke that I drank at the finish line that got rid of my headache.
- My awesome friends who let me crash in their hotel room.
- Running in shoes that were untested. They were awesome, until they weren’t (review tomorrow).
- It was a weird temp. I kept second guessing myself on the long sleeve shirt and ended up a hot sweaty mess.
- Nearly giving the park maintenance dudes a show as I was changing in my car when they drove by. Oops.
- This course runs long – I really didn’t need that extra half mile.
- The drive there. It was awful. Between the traffic and the rain, it was completely a white knuckle drive.
- Getting out of the car after 4 hours of driving immediately after I finished the race. I wasn’t sure I could walk to my front door.
Would I do it again?
I love Mainly Marathons and some day I will likely run the whole Independence Series, but I doubt I will ever run this race as a stand alone again. That said, it’s a decent course and I love these races, so never say never.
24 states (plus DC) done on my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states! 13 of 23 states done in my journey to Mercury!