Race Recap: Woodbridge Run for Pizza

Last night I ran 4 miles through the streets of Woodbridge, New Jersey for the Woodbridge Run for Pizza.

Even though I hate racing in the summer because I can never perform to what I know is my full capability, it was sort of a big deal because it was the first race that I’d be running with the new man in my life. :)


In its fourth year, the race began near Town Hall in Woodbridge with approximately 250 runners. It was, of course, still hot and humid by the start time of 7pm. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m really not a huge fan of night races. I’m a morning person, period, and the majority of my training runs take place in the morning or early afternoon…by, say, 3pm, I’m usually done for the day, mentally and physically!


My plan for this race was to a.) have fun and b.) keep up with Todd for as long as I could. Let me just take this moment to mention that he is pretty much a newbie to the sport of running, and yet he is already ridiculously FAST. I’m trying to teach him the many intricacies of the running lifestyle — I finally got him to invest in a pair of REAL running sneakers this past weekend! — because he’s so good at it already. I can’t wait to see what this guy is capable of doing! Best of all, I know he’s going to end up just as addicted to running/racing as I am. Who knows, perhaps we even have a future runDisney addict in our midst? :)

We ran the first mile together around an 8-minute/mile pace, which is pretty fast for me but usually doable in a 5K…in the fall or winter. I definitely haven’t run that fast all summer! I’ve never raced with anyone before, and I have to say, it was kind of fun. I then gave him full permission to take off and leave me in his dust, while I slowed down to about a 9-minute pace for the second mile. Attempting to talk to Todd while running the first mile totally threw off my breathing, so I was panting like a dog, but I was able to recover pretty quickly once I kept my mouth shut. (Something that’s not always easy for me to do, ha!)

As per usual, my overzealous start began to catch up with me in the latter half of the race. I know myself enough to know that positive splits generally seem to work well for me in shorter races, but I think I need to work on striking a better balance on just how quickly to go out in the beginning. The course contained two pretty serious hills, and while I made it over the first one without too much trouble, the second one appeared right near the end of the third mile, and pretty much killed me. I made it my goal to try to maintain around a 9:15/9:30 pace from that point on and just have fun. As the only runner rocking a Sparkle Skirt (and, of course, my neon pink Pro Compression socks), it made it nice and easy not to take myself too seriously. :)

As I finished the second half of the final mile, I was hit by a wave of nausea that really wasn’t pleasant. I’m still not sure what caused it, but I’d say the fact that I’m not used to running at night — with everything I’ve eaten all day sitting on my stomach — probably had a lot to do with it. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to me when I attempt to run 13.1 miles at 10pm in November at Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon! Let’s face it…I’m probably going to die.

My finish time was 36:51. (Todd’s was 32:57…I HATE him!) It’s certainly not my best for a 4-miler by any means, but given the 80-degree temperatures and the fact that it was a night race and a hilly course — and that my finish time for the 4-miler I ran on July 4th was 38:38 — I was just fine with it. I then proceeded to drench myself in an open fire hydrant near the finish line…which was a godsend.

A man who appreciates my love for the "thumbs up" photo...score!

A man who appreciates my love for the “thumbs up” photo…score!

As you may have inferred from the title of the race, there was, in fact, a post-race pizza party at a nearby park, which was quite enjoyable. The race’s food-type amenities included juice boxes (which, I’m sorry, were delicious), water, yogurt, and lots and lots of pizza. Woodbridge hosts concerts in the park every Wednesday night in the summer, so there was also a band playing. There were vendors left over from the afternoon farmers’ market, so you could also choose to nosh on farm-fresh goodies like pickles or booze it up with craft beers.



While we were enjoying our much-deserved post-race pig-out session, I heard the awards ceremony going on in the background, but wasn’t paying any attention. I figured with an average of a 9:15/mile pace, I didn’t stand a chance…I really never do! So you can imagine my surprise when I randomly heard my name called for the 25-29 women’s age category! I believe I muttered an expletive out of pure shock and then ran to collect my prize…only to find out that the volunteers were handing out medals to pretty much anyone who happened to be standing around. The names were being called in rapid-fire succession and the volunteers couldn’t keep up with the swarm of runners circling them.

One of the women (who, sorry to say, was unbelievably snotty), thrust the second place finisher’s medal into my hands, but I KNEW that couldn’t be right. I very rarely earn a prize and usually, it’s for third place and/or by default due to the “no duplicate awards” rule. After awaiting confirmation of my actual place — which was, in fact, third — I went to return the medal for the one that belonged to me…and discovered that it had been mistakenly given to someone else. The second place 25-29 women snatched the medal out of my hand, and I was pretty much told, “sorry, yours is gone.” Of course, this angered me greatly, so I spoke with someone from Runner’s High, the local running store that sponsored the race, and they promised to re-plate one of the unclaimed medals with my age group and place for me to pick up at the store.

The guy was nice about the mix-up and all, but I was still really aggravated by the way the “awards ceremony” was handled. I’ve run my fair share of races — from races with 200 runners to those exceeding 2,000 runners — and have never seen anything like it. You can’t have that many awards (the age group awards were five-deep) and call the names so quickly and not expect for people to go home with a medal that doesn’t belong to them. Really not cool…especially for someone like me, who NEVER places! It’s kind of a big deal, and the whole reason many runners slap down a $30 race entry fee in the first place (because, don’t forget, we all can choose to run for FREE), so to be that disorganized and not even care about people getting the appropriate prize is more than a little ridiculous.

Anyway, I returned to Todd, who was quite possibly more excited about my placing (even sans a medal) than I was because he’s pretty much the sweetest guy ever. Then we went to Rita’s…which made me forget all about the medal mishap (almost).

Our next race is the Westfield 5K and Pizza Extravaganza, which also just so happens to be a pizza race (obviously). It’s a (very hilly!) 5K race that I notoriously bomb every year. It was my very first 5K back in 2011, and I ran a 33:03, and then an insane heat wave created the ideal circumstances for me to struggle through a 29:16 finish time last year.

But, it’s all good. When it comes to racing in the summer, I’m in it for the fun. And the food. :)

Have you ever run a pizza race? Or any other summer race with special treats at the end? :)






  1. Congrats on placing – such a bummer about the awards confusion though. At least you will eventually get it!

    I am totally in your boat with a man who just started running and already runs faster. I trained for MONTHS for my first 5K which my boyfriend ran with me. It was also his first 5K and he trained for about a week. I ran it in 42 minutes and he ran it in 24 minutes *sigh*. He then promptly “retired” from running saying he hated it and doubted he could ever beat his 24 min 5K again lol.

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you! I was definitely disappointed (and mad!) but, what are you gonna do, right?

      Haha, aw, that’s too funny! He shouldn’t “retire,” sounds like he could be awesome! I definitely feel your pain, though! I’ve been running for two years, and had to train RIDICULOUSLY HARD just to be able to run my current pace…and this guy shows up and blows me out of the water without even trying. NOT FAIR AT ALL! Haha.

  2. Love your skirt! I have never tried the “food challenge” races, though Lexington does put on a Krispy Kreme 5k!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks, Lori! I have to say, it definitely helps push me through those last few miles when I’m thinking about whatever tasty treat awaits me at the finish line! :)

  3. First, congrats on winning!!!! SO sorry about the mix up, that truly sucks!
    Second, I am so bummed! I was totally gonna run that race! The hubs works in Woodbridge, but he didn’t want to stay late to wait for me, so I didn’t sign up! We could have been the only 2 wearing Sparkle Skirts! LOVE the pics, btw, and hope to see you at a race soon!

    • Jennifer says:

      Awww, man! That would have been SO awesome! I’m sure it would have been extremely easy to spot each other, haha. We’ll DEFINITELY have to see each other at a race soon!

  4. Felix Olivo says:

    Jennifer…I was just searching results for the race on Wed and stumbled upon your page…I must say that it is refreshing to find someone that has become so passionate about running…I think you are doing great things and it’s good to see someone enjoying the ups and downs of what we endure as a running community and get to share it with a supportive and participating love interest…I do agree that the awards ceremony was poor at best…it happens sometimes, but don’t let that steal your joy! Good job!


    • Jennifer says:

      Hi Felix! Thanks so much for reading, and for your kind words. Appreciate it! Honestly, I am beyond thrilled to be part of the running community…and, of course, to have found someone who loves running as much as I do. :) While I was definitely disappointed by the awards ceremony, I’m always happy just to be participating! It was still a lot of fun — hope you had an awesome race! :-D

      • Cool…keep it going and stay healthy! I was fortunate enough to win the race…it was unexpected, so I was content! :)

        • Jennifer says:

          Not gonna lie, I totally looked up your results by your first name after I posted my reply to you…and was, like, HOLY CRAP! You are wicked fast, WAY TO GO. Congrats on winning the race! I’ll never, EVER be able to run the way you can, but it’s still totally inspiring! :)

          • Felix Olivo says:

            Thank you Jennifer! Glad I can inspire you…however you are more of an inspiration! Running is tough…and you have a good attitude towards it…keep it fun!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks, Felix! That’s really nice of you to say, I appreciate it! :)

  5. I’ve never done a pizza run, but only because I haven’t noticed one around my area! If there ever is one though, I am SO there.

    Great job on your time, and you and your new guy look absolutely adorable together :)

    • Jennifer says:

      It’s a LOT of fun, you should keep an eye out! It’s definitely motivating to know there will be goodies waiting for you at the finish line, haha. :)

      Aw, thanks so much! We’ve been getting that a lot. ;)

  6. Whoah-that sounds ridiculous about the prizes. I am glad you talked to them and it sounds incredibly unorganized. The woman who was rude was probably completely stressed out about how disorganized it was, but she should have been sympathetic to you! I am so mad just thinking about it. Anyway, at least they had pizza and sounds like it was awesome otherwise :)

    • Jennifer says:

      FOR SURE. I could tell she was totally stressed. But, for real, she was MEAN…totally snapped at me and a bunch of other runners who were trying to claim their medals (the Runner’s High people are telling me that mine should be ready by tomorrow, but at this point, I’m sort of over it, you know?). The race itself was fine, and the pizza was good, but the awards ceremony was complete chaos. I’d probably run it again (just for the food, HA) but I’d never recommend it to anyone who is looking to place…totally ridiculous!

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