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Race Recap: Ocean City Half Marathon

Race Recap: Ocean City Half Marathon

Hey, all! I promise I’ll have New York City Marathon training updates up here soon (but just know that, for the most part, it’s all good news for once). :)

In the meantime, I did want to share our latest racing adventure: the Ocean City Half Marathon! Otherwise known as that time we ran 5 miles before a half marathon…for a total of 18 miles! :)

We arrived in Ocean City on Saturday afternoon and checked into our hotel: the Flanders Hotel. It was actually pretty swanky compared to our usual choice of lodgings, and it was all vintage-y and historical. Kind of creepy in the lobby (not gonna lie), but also pretty cool, especially since all of the rooms are suites so we could easily prepare our favorite pre-race breakfast of cereal and the like.

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Ocean City is a cute little beach town, so we strolled around the local downtown area and we I did some shopping, walked up and down the boardwalk, etc. We also grabbed our bibs and shirts at the local running store so we wouldn’t have to worry about it on race morning.

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We stuffed our faces with pizza for an early dinner, and hit the hay by 9:30pm. Because that’s how we party animals roll on a Saturday night.

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The plan was to knock out a quick 5 miles before the half marathon started at 8:30am. We typically BARELY make it to the starting line on time for any given race, so I knew it would be a challenge…but I really, REALLY didn’t want to have to run 18 miles around the local park again to cross this particular training run off the calendar. I was desperate for some new scenery and a different long run experience for a change. So, it was worth a shot, right?

Well, surprisingly enough, the alarm was blaring by 6am and we were out the door and running by 7:15am. We took it slow and steady. It was easy to navigate the area because basically all of the streets ran parallel to the boardwalk. We did, of course, get some confused looks from fellow runners, and questions like, “Did we miss the start of the race?” and “Aren’t you running in the wrong direction?” Ha. Ha. ;)

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We had just enough time to take gels/blocks and duck into our hotel for a quick potty break before lining up for the race. The temperatures were still pretty cool (in the 60s), but the wind was pretty strong that morning, so I worried a little bit about having to run against it. I also worried about how I’d feel once it started to heat up, because the sun was out and I knew it would probably feel pretty warm towards the end of the race, when I’d be struggling the most.

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Oh, and the other small little detail I was worried about that morning? I woke up with MASSIVE cramps. Because, yes, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, that special time of the month always chooses THE most inopportune times to pay me a little visit. I had popped some Tylenol earlier that morning, and hoped it would help me survive until the end of the race.

Meanwhile, of course my iPod decided to die on me (despite the fact that I SWEAR it was fully charged) within the first mile of the race, so Todd let me use his and he listened to music on his phone. Bless him. But, I swear, this kind of crap only seems to happen to me!

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The first few miles take you over a pretty steep bridge, which I didn’t care for…but there were some awesome views. I figured it was PERFECT practice for crossing that Verrazzano next month! :)

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In those first couple of miles, I actually felt pretty good..my legs were a little tired, of course, but I felt like I had plenty of steam in the tank.

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Gotta love bridges…

We were running around a comfy 10:30ish pace, which I thought was excellent given our tired legs, the warmer temperatures, and the fact that I was dealing with womanly issues all morning.IMG_5903

The middle portion of the race took us through town. For a small race, there were actually a decent amount of volunteers out to cheer us on, and ample water/Gatorade stops, which I appreciated. It was definitely well organized…another thing I appreciate in a race!

The course would take us back to the boardwalk for a bit, where we stopped for a bathroom break. I loved that there were plenty of options for “real” bathrooms, if you didn’t want to have to pay a visit to a port-a-potty.

The final portion of the race is an out-and-back…which I generally hate. The wind felt like it was kicking up, and it was behind us for a little while while we ran through town. But then after the turnaround, I knew we had about a 5K left until the finish line, and we were fighting the winds the whole way. Meanwhile, my stomach started to hurt, so I did my best to ignore it…but I could feel the fatigue setting in, and I was crampy and tired of running and my legs were starting to feel ridiculously heavy. UGGGGGGGGH.

I would NOT, however, let myself succumb to negative thoughts (as is my usual M.O.). I really, REALLY needed this run to go well, if for nothing else than to keep my confidence high for our final 20-miler (which is this weekend…*gulp*). This is always the point in the marathon training plan where I tend to fall apart and start doubting myself, so I did everything I could to keep it together.

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Photo credit: Chessiephoto.com

We both plodded along. It felt like it took FOREVER to get back to the boardwalk and power through those last couple of miles, and our pace had slowed to closer to an 11ish. But I was soooo happy to see the finish line up ahead.

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Photo credit: Chessiephoto.com

Turns out, the course may have been a little short…because we crossed the finish line with EXACTLY 18 miles on our Garmins, and a finish time just under 2:30 — not nearly our best racing time, of course, but it wasn’t half bad for a training run!

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Afterwards, it was time to collect our much-deserved medals (which are actually pretty nice!) and stuff our faces. And after 18 miles, I was NOT. EVEN. SORRY. I have to say, it was one of THE BEST post-race spreads we’ve ever seen…with bagels and donuts and scones and caramel popcorn and granola bars and various beverages and…best of all…PIZZA!!!

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We took some pictures and tried to re-hydrate before heading back to the hotel to change and check-out. I was delighted to discover that my legs didn’t feel like they were going to fall off, as is typically the case after a long run.

I actually felt…dare I say it…pretty good! (SAYWHAT?!)

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I was very, very much looking forward to some beach time…even though it was CRAZY WINDY right by the water. If only it had felt that chilly during the race.IMG_5952 (1)

I didn’t even care…we had earned some R&R.

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Would I add extra miles to a half marathon again? HELL YES. I know it would be hard to do for a lot of races, but since we were able to snag a hotel room within a half-mile from the starting line, and the local town was safe and easy to navigate, it worked out perfectly.

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18 miles in the books!

It wasn’t easy, don’t get me wrong, but with the support of cheering volunteers and being surrounded by hundreds of fellow runners at any given time, those final 13 miles of our training run went by a heck of a lot faster than when we run around the neighborhood for 3 or 4 hours.

Best of all, finishing the half marathon feeling strong did EXACTLY what I had hoped it would do: boost my confidence for these final weeks of training for NYCM! Honestly, I can’t believe we haven’t been doing this all along! :)

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 How do you incorporate races into your training plan?

Comments

  1. Way to go! I usually just swap weekends, this was ingenius!

    • Thanks, Kim! We often do that, too, but since we’re getting soooo close to the race (and I didn’t want to have to do the 18- and 20-milers back to back, haha), we figured it was worth a shot!

  2. way to go! I am doing my final training run this weekend at the Long Beach Marathon! the idea of going 23-26 miles in the neighborhood did not sound fun (especially because it’ll be in the 90s!) so we will see how my race goes this weekend before NYCM!!!

    • Ahhh, so exciting! THE 90s?!?! No bueno! You’re a rockstar. After that, NYCM will feel like a breeze! Have an AWESOME race! :)

  3. i applaud you for being disciplined enough to actually get those miles in! i once tried to do a few miles before a 5k, but once i got to the trail, i told myself to wait until after the race…and well, of course that didn’t happen. hopefully you feel just as great after NYC!

    • Thanks, Brittney! Trust me, it wasn’t easy…but I knew that forcing myself to get those 5 miles in was better than the alternative. I’m SO bored with running around my local area that I was willing to do pretty much anything, lol.

  4. Yay! Glad it worked out okay for you guys! I really wanted to come down for the weekend of the Atlantic City Marathon but there is no packet pick up day of for the race I wanted to run :( I have yet to run a race that gives pizza at the end! That would be perfect!

    • Thanks, Meranda! UGH, I hate when races don’t offer same-day pickup! But I will tell you that there is NOTHING like pizza at the end of the race. Even when it’s kind of cold/not so fresh, it still tastes amazing. lol

  5. YEAH!!! So glad that you decided to tack on the miles before the half and that you felt on top of the world after completing 18. Now you can start your 20-miler full of confidence! GO GET IT!

  6. You little overachiever running before the race even starts ; ) I actually think that’s a brilliant and fun way to get in some training runs!

  7. Great job on another strong race! And kudos to you for getting those 5 miles in before the start of the race. I’d be so afraid of making it to the start line on time by adding extra mileage pre-race.

    • Thanks, Kathryn! Oh, believe me, I was worried about that, too. We had to get up super, SUPER early, which is never fun!

  8. Yes!! Glad the 5 miles before the half worked out for you! That picture of Todd on the beach chair cracked me up. When I was running before the Bird in Hand Half, another girl said…”oh boy…we are THOSE people who run before a LONG race” haha :)

    • Thanks, Jenny! Haha, I knew it would be the perfect picture to capture our post-race conditions, lol. Too funny, I never thought I’d be one of “those” people, believe me! :)

  9. I know this post was from almost a year ago but I was googling race recaps of the OCNJ half because I decided to run it (tomorrow) to train for a full I have in October. I too plan on adding miles onto the race (I’m hoping to do a 22 mile) and I’m glad I found your post! Great job and inspirational! :)

Mentioned Elsewhere:

  1. [...] the full 26.2 in two weeks. I assumed we’d finish close to 2:30, which was our finish time in the recent Ocean City Half Marathon (granted, we ran 5 additional miles that morning and it was ridiculously windy, so I hoped we might [...]

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