Race Recap: Wildwood Half Marathon

So, here I am, recapping a race that happened almost a month ago. For shame. :(

Soooooo sorry, again, for being such a bad blogger, guys! Things are settling down now so I’ll be back to my normal posting schedule — and I’m catching up on all the goings-on with YOU, I swear! Puppy parenthood has been a fun (but huge!) adjustment, but we’re getting into a normal routine now. Miles is doing great with his training and is especially loving our weekend run/walks in the park. (Thanks for all the tips of doggie-friendly running gear, BTW…I’ve already invested in a couple of your suggestions and it’s working out great!)

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Anyway, the Wildwood Half Marathon was intended to be our last “big race” of the season. And, by “big race,” I mean a distance over, say, 6 miles, because I know myself well enough to know that once those temperatures reached 70 degrees, I wouldn’t be doing a whole lot of running. I also knew going into this one that I was NOT attempting a PR, and that depending on the weather conditions/how I felt that day, the plan was to do the best I could. No pressure.

Todd and I drove to Wildwood early on Saturday morning, and made a stop at the Cape May County Zoo along the way. Since apparently it’s sort of our thing to check out the local zoo anytime we go on a race-cation.

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Packet pick-up was on the boardwalk, and basically consisted of a couple of tables with bibs and quite possibly some of the ugliest, worst quality race shirts (only available in men’s sizing, no less) that I’ve seen thus far, haha.

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We carbed it up on pasta at Little Italy, which was pretty damn good, and then spent the rest of the afternoon/evening walking on the boardwalk.

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The next morning’s forecast called for rain, which I was COMPLETELY fine with. It was already approaching 70 degrees by the time we were waking to the starting line at the Wildwood Convention Center, and seeing as how I was already sweating from the humidity during our leisurely stroll, I knew I was in for a real treat. As per our usual M.O., we slipped into the starting area within seconds before the race began.

From the very first mile, I knew it wasn’t going to be my day. Although I was very, VERY thankful that it was a little drizzly and overcast, it was still SO HUMID. Plus, I was having some sort of tummy issues that morning and I was hoping that they would just go the hell away so I could run this race (spoiler alert: they didn’t).

Todd and I planned to run our own race this time around. He and I both knew that I wasn’t going to be performing well that morning, and I knew he wanted to see what he could do. We stuck together for the first few miles but then somehow lost each other before we reached the boardwalk.

The course was an out-and-back…it took us through a residential area of Wildwood and onto the boardwalk, through some more residential areas, and then back to the starting area. I liked running on the boardwalk and seeing the ocean, and the course was nice and flat, which is always a plus for me…but, I have to say, I found the race to be a snooze-fest. Though the race itself was very well-organized and there were a lot more volunteers than I would have guessed, there was very little in the way of spectators.

After the first water stop offered only small cups of lukewarm water, I panicked about not having access to enough water (or Gatorade/Powerade) on such a humid morning. So when one of the boardwalk businesses (I think it was a kettle corn joint?) kindly handed out full-size water bottles, I grabbed it and carried it for a couple of miles so I knew that at least I’d have it as a back-up. Luckily, though, the remaining water stops were more plentiful, and included Gatorade, so I ditched the water bottle.

By mile 5, I was already sooooooo over it. Try as I might, I couldn’t push my pace faster than a 10:15/10:30 at any given time, and towards the end, it was getting harder just to keep it under 11. I remembered that it was just a few short weeks ago that I was successfully racing at a 9-minute mile in The Love Run, and here I was plodding along at a pace that was so much slower for me. I knew Todd was doing great, since he’s the type of runner who doesn’t seem to have any trouble holding his usual pace in any weather conditions. We spotted each other after he made the halfway turnaround, so that lifted my spirits a little bit, but I still just wanted to be DONE.

In addition to the humidity and the sheer boredom/frustration I was experiencing that morning, my stomach was also giving me some trouble. No idea why. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say I had to take a mid-race pit-stop, which is something I very rarely do. I was happy that there seemed to be a whole lot more port-a-potties than the New Jersey Marathon, though (which is pretty pathetic, might I add).

In the last couple of miles, my walks through water stops were getting longer and longer. I just didn’t have any oomph. I felt hot and drained and unmotivated and just sick to death of running, and that’s when I knew that signing up for a half marathon so soon after a marathon was definitely a mistake. My body seems to bounce back just fine after a marathon, but mentally, it seems to take WEEKS for me to get back to a point where I genuinely WANT to run.

Finally, we were back on the boardwalk, and even though I felt as though I was trudging through molasses, I kept on going. Mainly because I wanted it to be over with. It had started to rain on-and-off in the second part of the race, and that helped cool me off a bit, but I was just so…bored.

My finish time? Let’s just say I barely broke 2:30. And, again, just weeks prior to this race, I ran a 2:04 in Philadelphia. Oh, how the mighty have fallen, haha.

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Todd was waiting for me at the finish line — he managed to finish in 2:04, so he had quite a long wait, haha — and we got our little goodie bag with a “soft” pretzel, cookie, fruit cup, and other assorted snack items.

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We sat around to listen to the band that was playing for a few minutes. But then I just wanted to get out of there. Honestly, the highlight of this race for me was that it was my first distance running event wearing my new SparkleSkirt, and since it DID. NOT. BUDGE., it has officially earned my seal of approval! I’m so happy to have found something a little cooler that I can wear to run on these hot, humid days. (I won’t, however, be attempting the Sparkle Athletic/SparkleSkirt combo look again…it was real, real annoying).

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Remember how I said the race shirt was disappointing? Well, when I crossed the finish line (finally), I had something else to be disappointed about. While it was a cute design, the medal was practically microscopic compared to what we’re used to. Definitely not worth 2+ hours of mental and physical frustration, I’ll tell you that much!

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We took a few pictures, of course, and then headed back to the room to change and check-out. Then we got to do that I REALLY wanted to do that weekend, which was go to the beach.

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Of course, it wasn’t all that sunny, and the beach was DESERTED, but we didn’t care!

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I had a grand old time reading my puppy training books (we were supposed to pick up Miles the next night!) and relaxing on an empty beach. Later on, we had pizza, chilled on the boardwalk (and had my favorite Polish Water Ice!), and eventually headed home.

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Moral of the story? I’m done with running right now. Until New York City Marathon training ramps up next month, I’m focusing on Taekwondo and just keeping some sort of baseline level of running ability with 2-3 short runs a week. I haven’t run longer than 4 miles since Wildwood. I’m just so burnt out…and my body seems to be BEGGING me for a break.

It has been so hot and gross and miserable, and my heart just isn’t in it right now. This has happened before, so instead of panicking about it, I know I just need a mental/physical time-out before I throw myself back into yet another round of marathon training. I plan to take the next few weeks nice and easy and will hopefully be ready and rarin’ to go when it comes time to train for what I consider to be the second most exciting marathon in the world (after Disney, of course). ;)

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Have you ever (voluntarily!) taken a hiatus from running?

Do you scale back your training in the summer months (or am I the only whiny baby who can’t stand the heat)?

Meet Miles!

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