Packet Pick Up
The packet pick up was a block away from our hotel. They were super strict that no bags were allowed in the packet pick up area. It really is strange. A lot of people must not have gotten the memo, i.e. the email they sent two days before warning that bags were not allowed. That even included hydration packs. Crazy strict! It was quick and efficient packet pick up. There really wasn’t a packet, just your bib and shirt. The shirts are long sleeve and kind of nice. After we picked up our stuff we headed back to the hotel to relax since the start was still an hour away. I picked an awesome hotel.
The start line was literally out the hotel front door. The 12+ minute mile flag (corral) was 20 feet from the hotel. It was awesome. I got in the starting chute and waited and waited and waited. The start was at least 5 minutes late. Not cool when it was already 75 degrees outside and 150% humidity. Haha.
After the national anthem and some words from various people including the mayor of Jersey City who was also running, we were off. The first couple miles took us to a warehouse area of town. Not that awesome. When I reached the half a mile mark, the front of the pack was already come back and closing in on mile 2. Crazy fast!
When I finally reached mile 2 we were back in front of the hotel. This part of town looks new. It is very nice area with tall pretty buildings. This was really the only area that had crowd support. After that it was a long straight run with not much support. And really for how hot it was, there were not enough water stops. I’m so happy I had my water belt with me. I would not have survived without. The first 5 miles were on par with my running lately. The first two miles were 12:30, miles 3-5 were around 13:00-13:30. So I was happy with that. My pace was well under what I had predicted considering the heat and humidity. The first 5 miles were not all the scenic so I’m glad I got through them fast-ish.
The best part of this race, as far as scenery goes, is the middle section. We entered Liberty State Park around Mile 5 and ran 4 miles in the park itself. There wasn’t much for shade, it was non-existent but the views of the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island were cool. Almost everybody around me stop to take pictures of Lady Liberty. Granted she had our back to us, but it was still cool. Miles 6-9 were slower than I had hoped but between stopping for selfies with Lady Liberty and pictures of Ellis Island slowed me down. And of course it was just getting hotter and hotter. My times 14:05, 14:44, 14:51 and 15:32. Ugh. I knew then this was not going to be my day. On a positive note, I was still under my predicted pace. So that was good.
During the end of mile 9 I met a guy from New Hampshire. He had trained 10 newbie runners for this half marathon. He was hanging out at the back because his last runner was just in front of me. She was struggling but he didn’t want to cause her any anxiety so he kept his distance. We got to talking and he is running the Twin Cities Marathon this weekend. He had no clue what to expect so I gave him a graphic description of the course, what to expect as far as weather and crowd support. We talked about logistics about whether he should rent a car or use public transportation. I love bragging up the Twin Cities so this was fun. When we got to 10 he stopped because we were gaining on his girl. So I bid him good bye and started mile 11. That walked must have really helped me because I came back really strong on Mile 11. And had another 14 minute mile. Woo Hoo! But my legs were dune by mile 12 and mile 13 I was just trying to maintain a decent pace. Both miles were around 16:20. I had a friendly bike cop hanging out with me during mile 12. These miles were nice because we could see the Manhattan skyline. But the sun came out so it was just brutal. We ran along the river and I wanted to jump in and screw the race. But I pressed on and finally came in at 3:11:58.
What went wrong?
Well the heat and humidity are top reason I didn’t do well. Also, I had to stop three times for their light rail trains…yep the cops made runners stop for the trains! I’m sure the elites did not have to stop but us slow, non-important runners had to stop. Crazy! Finally, this race was very flat with no noticeable hills. I realized that all my “flat” half marathon times have been terrible: Grand Forks, Vegas, Oshkosh, Chicago and now Newport. My hilly halfs have been better races and we are talking about 5-20 minutes faster. I don’t like uphills, but what goes up usually comes down and I love downhills. Who would have thought that I’m a hilly girl. :)