Race Recap: Superhero Half Marathon 2014

I’m finally here with a recap of the Superhero Half Marathon! And here’s a bit of shameless self-promotion: the article I wrote about the race for the local newspaper, you know, in case you wanted some more information about the event or something like that. :)

First, a little background. I ran this race last year in the POURING RAIN, and it was pretty miserable. But this year, race organizers promised a brand-new course, and the weather forecast just so happened to be damn near perfect (albeit, slightly too warm for my liking), so I thought it would be a good time.


Plus, we had some fabulous costumes — I’m obsessed with the minions from Despicable Me, and since everyone runs this race dressed as Batman or Super Woman, I thought we’d go with something a little different!

Or, I should say, Todd’s mom tried something a little different. She’s the mastermind behind many of my recent race costumes, and I gotta give her props! Although, I DID cut out the circles for the eyes… :-)

Another piece of information you should probably know?

I didn’t train for this race. Like, at all.

Since running marathon #2 back in March, I’m not going to lie to you guys…I’ve taken a bit of an extended running hiatus. Does that mean I’m sitting on my rear in front of the television every day? No. I’m still staying active — I’m being consistent with my martial arts classes at least 2-3 times per week, I’m cycling at least once or twice a week, and I am lacing up my sneakers and logging a few miles here and there — but, as many of you know, when it comes to running I have been BURNT OUT.

With no major races in my sights until Disneyland at the end of August, and the official start of my New York City Marathon training not set to begin until July, I’ve given myself permission to scale back and let my body (and, even more importantly, my mind) fully and completely recover after an endless string of half marathons with Todd last fall and then months of insane Dopey Challenge training and then running yet another marathon less than eight weeks after my first.

So, long story short, if I’m going to be perfectly honest, the longest I had run in the month prior to this particular half marathon? Five miles. No long runs, no tempo runs, no speedwork, no nothing. Since running a fairly disastrous April Fools Half Marathon and my slowest half to date, the Rutgers Half Marathon, in April, I got in a few short 3-4 mile runs here and there, one or two 5-milers, and that was about it.

Am I proud of it? No. Am I recommending it? No. But since this was a PURELY “for fun” race, and both Todd and I have just about had it when it comes to training plans, I’m the first to admit that I let myself slack off. I knew the race wouldn’t be pretty, and I was prepared to take full responsibility for that and just hope for the best.

We picked up our packets at the Morristown Running Company the day before, so we were all set to head straight to the starting line on race morning. Parking was easy, but as per usual, we were running a few minutes behind schedule (biggest issue in our relationship: I’m a slob and he’s chronically late, haha) so we only had a few minutes to hit the port-a-potties and rush to the starting line.

Fortunately, Kim from Barking Mad About Running spotted us, so we got to meet up with her again and chat for a few minutes. (And then I stole her picture…hope she doesn’t mind!) :)


The race began at the park a few minutes late, so it all worked out. When they let us go, the swarms of some 3,000 runners made it damn near impossible to go out too fast, which is my usual M.O. Not that I was gunning for a PR or anything, as you know. We settled into a comfortable 10:30 pace, which is where we remained for the majority of the race, and I focused on just taking it easy and getting through the 13.1 miles ahead of me.

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I have to say, I was initially excited about the new course. Last year’s had a KILLER hill (not even remotely exaggerating…paramedics were stationed at the top, haha), and it was a pretty boring double loop, so I figured it couldn’t be any worse than that.

Well…this year’s course was flatter overall (still plenty of “rolling” hills), but the last half of the race pretty much took us through the woods. No joke. It was a long trail through another park, and there were no spectators whatsoever. Water stations were decent (other than the fact that they couldn’t quite fill the cups quickly enough), and I did appreciate the shade because the sun was out and temperatures were rising fast, but it was almost a little creepy (and boring) to be running with all of my fellow costumed runners through a shady trail for 7+ miles. The early miles were pretty much all residential, and Chatham/Morristown/Madison is a really nice area, but I still wouldn’t call it the most exciting course in the world.

As far as how I held up…I honestly felt completely fine up until about mile 8 or 9. My overall pace has slowed significantly, and I have to fight to break a 10-minute mile these days, but other than that I was surprised by how well I was holding up giving my lack of consistent running and any recent long training runs. I won’t lie and say we didn’t stop for a few walk breaks towards the end, which is very much unlike me in a race, but I didn’t feel a whole lot of difference in terms of my stamina.

The way my body felt physically, though, was a bit of a different story. By the last 5K my legs decided to pretty much shut down. No surprises there. Everything started to tighten up, my legs felt heavy and dead, and putting one foot in front of the other become a struggle.

But I did the best I could, and finally the finish line was in sight. It was another 2:30ish finish for us, which I know isn’t bad at all and I’m definitely not complaining, but it is still a pretty far cry from how I used to perform in half marathons.


We collected our medals and wandered around looking for post-race food, which was across the field under a gazebo. We enjoyed the usual fare — bagels, bananas, granola bars, etc. — and hung around for the costume contest. Figured it was worth a shot. :)

Had to do it...minions love BANANAS!!! :)

Had to do it…minions love BANANAS!!! :)

As it turns out, the costume contest consisted of race organizers calling up anyone who was still around after the awards ceremony — not a whole lot of people, I might add — and then they judged our costumes right then and there. There were 5 prizes, and we won 4th and 5th place, behind an Iron Man-themed couple and what was by far the most elaborate costume of the race — a She-Ra, complete with a horse and everything! Here are some pictures of the contest winners and other costumes on nj.com, including one or two of yours truly. :)

Our prize? A coupon for a free 30-minute massage. Now that’s what I’m talking about!


At the end of the day, I wasn’t happy that I went into this race so poorly trained, but I was satisfied with how I performed given the circumstances. I took it as yet another reminder that I AM strong, and it gave me hope that even though I’ve had to let myself take a bit of a break from training, that I haven’t completely lost everything I’ve worked for.

A half marathon is NO JOKE, and since I seem to no longer have the mental capacity to participate in so many races back-to-back, I am considering this the final race in our running streak. I think Todd and I both got a little overzealous and signed up for WAY too many races in the past year, and I feel I’m paying the price with how much I’ve struggled over the past couple of months.

We’ve decided to be a lot more selective with our races moving forward, and I’m slowly but surely trying get back into a running groove again. When it comes time to train for NYCM, I want to pour everything I have into what I know is going to be an AMAZING experience (and, you know, break a 5-hour marathon), so I want to be sure I’m fully ready to take on the challenge.

Have you ever run a race when you weren’t properly trained?




  1. Congrats on winning the contest! Woohooooo! SO great to see you again :)

  2. You guys looks absolutely great. Even though you say it wasn’t your best race, I think it was definitely worth showing up too seeing as you got a free massage from it. How cool is that! I looked up those pictures because I thought that lady ran with a real horse. I can’t believe that one guy ran with a speedo! Also, #14, is she suppose to be Beetle juice? Now that I wrote that, i’m thinking maybe she was the Joker. That might make more sense, right?

  3. Those costumes are seriously the best – you two look so cute in them!

    Congrats on finishing another half, especially with no real training behind it!!!

  4. The costumes are SO FUN and just fantastic!! Todd’s mom is very talented creating so many of y’all’s costumes!

    It’s so easy to get over zealous in signing up for all the races!! Especially when there are so many great ones from which to choose and you can get the best deals when you register so early in advance. But you never know how you’ll feel come race day. Enjoy your summer of easy running before the training starts! You’ll be coming back stronger than ever!

  5. The shirts look awesome! I love the minions and think they make the movies.

  6. Free massages? Now, that’s a prize! Y’all’s costumes are too cute.

  7. You and Todd are too cute! And you did amazing, given that you didn’t feel that you were prepared for the race. I think its very easy to go race crazy and just start signing up for them, especially since there’s so many great races to choose from! Choosing to scale back is probably going to be easier said than done!

  8. Congrats! I LOVE your costumes. I’ve definitely gone into races under trained. It’s never ideal, but it happens. Sounds like you made the best of it!

  9. I have definitely run a race, or 2, or my last 4 half marathons with nothing but CrossFit as my training, and they were not pretty. But great job on making it through! A half marathon is NO joke, but you’re workouts (even non-running) aren’t either so it balances out. Great job and great costumes! :)

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