February Review

February was a really good running month for me on many fronts. 2018 has started well. I’m excited to run my first race of 2018 in March.

The only negative to February was not running in a race. Last year, I ran the Pre-Game 4 Miler in Morristown. I really enjoyed the race and was hoping to run it again this year. Unfortunately, they couldn’t host the race this year, so I was didn’t end up running any races.

Training went very well. I stayed exactly on schedule with my United NYC Half Marathon and New Jersey Half Marathon training. I ran 105.42 miles in February. The weather was nice for a decent of amount of the month so I was able to run outside more this February.

I continued on course with lifting and core work. I lifted 12 days and did core work another 10 days. My goals is to keep this going through the year. I’m feeling and seeing the benefits of it.

I tested out a bunch of cool and awesome products in February including the new Aftershokz Trekz Air, Brilliant Reflective Tape, and Detach Coconut+. All great products that I have enjoyed using and definitely recommend to others.

I signed up for a couple more big races for 2018. The first one is the Rock N Roll Dublin Half Marathon in August. I will be running the 5K and then the half the next day. My wife will be running the 5K as well. Race registration, hotel reservation, and flights are booked. We are excited beyond belief and can’t wait to go.

I gave a lot of thought to running a marathon recently. I decided to enter my name into the NYC Marathon drawing and decided I would let fate decide whether it was time to take the leap. Well, February ended on a great note as I was selected to run the 2018 New York City Marathon in November. I couldn’t believe. I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m so excited and realize I’m very fortunate to be selected. There were over 105,000 entries and only 15,500 selected. To be one of them, is truly an honor.

The New York City Half Marathon is just 13 days away and The New Jersey Half Marathon is right around the corner, at the end of April. I’m feeling really good for the NYC Half. I’m starting to come up with a plan to pick up on my training after the race for The New Jersey Half Marathon. I’ve been researching a few options and will come up with something shortly.

How did your running go in February? Any races? Any races coming up in March? Leave me a comment and let me know.

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REVIEW: Brilliant Reflective Strips

Disclaimer: I received a multi-color assortment pack of Brilliant Reflective Strips to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Be BRIGHT! Be SMART! Be BRILLIANT

The most important part of every run is to ensure you finish safe. Slower times, injuries, bad efforts happen. You can move on from them. Not being seen and having something unfortunate happen, you can not. It’s critical for runners, walkers, cyclists, dog walkers, or anyone out on the roads, make sure they are being seen by others out on the road, especially cars.

I’m always looking for products that will help me be seen when running. When I was offered an opportunity to test out Brilliant Reflective Strips, I knew it was something I wanted to try. I hadn’t used them before but have heard lots of runners rave about the reflective strips.

I was provided two packs of the iron on reflective strips and two packs of the stick on strips.  Each pack of Brilliant Reflective Strips includes a few different sizes or pre-cut strips. The strips are made from 3M Scotchlite Reflective Material.

The iron on reflective strips were really easy to put on my gear. Honestly, I haven’t used an iron in years. And by years, I mean pre-kids, probably pre-marriage. :o)

I was a little nervous about ironing them on, since it was so long since I’ve done it, but after applying the first strip and seeing how simple it was, I was happy. Read what setting is best for the gear you’re applying it to, but in many cases for me it was a low setting. The process only takes a couple of minutes.

The stick on strips are simple. You simply cut them to size, peel off the back and stick them right on to your gear. I’ve used the stick on reflective strips on my running shoes, winter hats, gloves, and bike helmet. They are great for backpacks, bicycles, scooters, wagons, etc. If you have a dog, these are perfect for a dog leash.

Here’s my favorite thing about Brilliant Reflective Strips. They literally have allowed me to run in some of my favorite gear that was either dark colors or had zero reflective qualities on them. My two favorite running pants, that I wear a lot in the winter, are black. Nothing reflective on the back of them. Talk about not being a smart option when running in the dark.

They have also allowed me to save a lot of money. Instead of having to go out and buy new reflective gear, I have turned my favorite running clothes into reflective gear. Plus, a lot of the “reflective” gear out there just isn’t bright enough to me. I added some Brilliant Reflective Strips to clothing that already had a reflective logo or item on it. I want to be seen as early and easily as possible.

I plead for all of you runners, walkers, cyclists, etc. out there, whenever you are out there, make sure you are being seen. I highly recommend the Brilliant Reflective Strips. They shine bright and allow you to light yourself up. Add these to your safety gear. Even if you use lights, blinkers, etc, it never hurts to add more. Stand out. Be seen. Be smart. Be Brilliant!

Use code “BRP25” for 25% OFF Multi/Assortment Packs at .

Is safety on your mind when you run? I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment or any questions you may have.

Make sure you check out and follow Runspirational on:
Facebook:  @Runspirational
Instagram:  @berunspirational
Twitter:  @Runspirational

Check out what other BibRave Pros are saying about Brilliant Reflective Strips:

Andrea          Corey          Ben          Alastair          Lindsey          Lissa

Check out Brilliant Reflective on:
Twitter: @Brilliant_Safe
Instagram: @brilliant_reflective
Facebook: @BrilliantReflective

Join the weekly fun of #bibchat on Twitter every Tuesday evening at 9:00 pm EST! Come join the conversation and meet other great runners and BibRave Pros. 

#BibChat #BeBrilliant #BibRavePro #runspirational #BeRunspirational

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REVIEW: Detach Coconut+

Disclaimer: I received Detach Coconut+ to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

As many of you know, I sweat a lot when I run so I’m always looking for ways to  improve my hydration. It’s something I’m continuously working on until I am able to finish a half marathon without feeling the effects of dehydration.

When the opportunity came up to test out Detach Coconut+, I jumped at the opportunity. I had never used it before so I wanted to see if this was a product I could incorporate into my half marathon training and races. The only thing I was worried about was if I would like the taste as I’m not a huge fan of coconut. I figured it was still worth a shot and I’m glad I did take the chance.

What is Detach Coconut+? It is an organic coconut water core with added purified sea salt for improved hydration. Next they added coconut nectar and honey for a low glycemic energy boost. Then, they added a proprietary blend of protein building blocks for an endurance, muscle, and mental boost you can actually feel. It has a light refreshing citrus flavor with no “fake” sweeteners. Ellie-Ade is the new of the flavor which is a naturally flavored Lemon/Lime with just the right hint of coconut. The drinks are certified paleo, low GI and gluten-free. Plus, each bottle is of Detach Coconut+ is only 60 calories.

Detach has done a great job of delivering a delicious taste and they are spot on with saying it is “Coconut Water Evolved”. As I stated earlier, I’m not a huge fan of coconut so I was a bit worried about how I’d feel about the taste of it. Well, I was amazed at how much I loved the taste. Honestly, if you didn’t tell me it was coconut water, I would have no idea. The citrus flavoring is not overpowering either. It’s seriously the perfect blend. Detach has done an excellent job on the blend and their three years of work paid off.

The other thing I love about Detach Coconut+ is that they market it as “Your Smart Pre-Activity Choice”. Above I mentioned the endurance, muscle, and mental boost. Well it is legit. I’ve felt it each time I’ve drank one of these prior to my runs or work out. It’s probably the thing I’ve loved the most about this product. It’s totally helped me put in a better effort during the work outs I’ve drank it prior.

They also recommend that you use it during work outs. I tested this out on longer runs and again, it delivered. You don’t get a nasty after taste and you feel that boost in energy again.

I definitely recommend you try out Detach Coconut+. Just so you know, I’ve liked it so much, I’m in the process of buying five cases of it to stock up for the next few half marathons. It’s a product I’m going to continue to use.

Are you working on your hydration? Would love to hear your experiences. Leave a comment or any questions you may have.

Make sure you check out and follow Runspirational on:
Facebook:  @Runspirational
Instagram:  @berunspirational
Twitter:  @Runspirational

Check out what other BibRave Pros are saying about Detach Coconut+:

Amy P          Corey          Lindsey          Meredith         

Check out Detach on:
Twitter: @drinkdetach
Instagram: @drinkdetach
Facebook: @drinkdetach

Join the weekly fun of #bibchat on Twitter every Tuesday evening at 9:00 pm EST! Come join the conversation and meet other great runners and BibRave Pros. 

#BibChat #drinkdetach #getdetach #getahabit #BibRavePro #runspirational #BeRunspirational

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REVIEW: AfterShokz Trekz Air

Disclaimer: I received AfterShokz Trekz Air Wireless Headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review , find and write race reviews!
Use discount “TRUCKER” for a bonus trucker hat with purchase of the AfterShokz Trekz Air at http://bibrave.aftershokz.com/.
AfterShokz Trekz Air Review
So I’m going to just get it out there and let everyone hear it, I LOVE the AfterShokz Trekz Air wireless headphones.Not only can you hear me say that, but thanks to these spectacular wireless headphones that use bone conduction technology, I can run and work out with “open ears”. These allow me to listen to my music AND hear everything around me including cars approaching on the road and others working out in the gym around me.

These are a game changer. They have made my runs so much safer out on the roads. I honestly wasn’t sure how they would work but have been amazed at how fantastic they’ve been. It’s the only way to run now outside. It’s given me more peace-of-mind. No more surprises of a car, cyclist, or even fellow runner whizzing by. It allows me to be prepared and to stay safe as I train.

The sound quality is fantastic. Their redesigned bone conduction technology improved bass and dynamic sound range. I was amazed at how it sounds. I was worried that people around me would hear my music better than I could. Nope, not the case. I see no difference with hearing my music than I would with in-ear headphones. The only difference is I can now hear around me too.

The battery life has been wonderful. They play 6 hours continuously. I’ve found myself having to charge them once every 5-6 days, so it’s basically once a workout week for me. So convenient.

They are sweat proof and water resistant. They are not waterproof, so don’t jump in the pool with them on. As you probably know, I sweat a lot and have had issues with wireless headphones in the past that have said they are “sweat proof”. The Trekz Air have been battle tested and have not failed. Plus, say goodbye to having sweat get caught in between your ear bud and ear canal. I used to hate that and it would happen to move more than you could imagine. With these being over-the-year, it’s something I don’t have to worry about anymore.

You might be asking, how do they differ from the Trekz Titanium. Both are amazing over-the-ear wireless headphones. Both use bone conduction technology to provide a safer experience. Well, AfterShokz took the popular Trekz Titanium model and made a version which is 20% lighter, more organic in design and have used titanium everywhere possible to make sure that they fit more securely but also sound better too!

They weren’t kidding. You can definitely tell the difference in weight. The Trekz Air are so light, it feels like you’re wearing next to nothing. It truly is a light-as-air feeling.  They also don’t move at all.
If you look back at a video I posted on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll notice they don’t budge. What a relief! With the headphones going OVER your ear, not only can you hear around you but when you turn your head to see, you don’t have to worry about your headphones moving or an earbud dislodging. It’s another way they make your runs and work outs in the gym safer. No more adjusting or quickly reacting to catching an ear bud. No wires either. Nothing to get caught on while lifting or running.
Here are the features and specs for the AfterShokz Trekz Air:
Features
  • Bone conduction technology delivers music through your cheekbones, ensuring ears remain completely open to hear ambient sounds
  • A 20% lighter build than its counterpart
  • A new organic design delivers increased comfort
  • Complete wraparound titanium design provides a flexible fit for unnoticeable all-day comfort and stability
  • OpenFit™ design ensures maximum situational awareness and comfort during long-term wear
  • PremiumPitch+™ guarantees a premium audio experience, including wide dynamic range and rich bass
  • Bluetooth® v4.2 connectivity and convenient multipoint pairing
  • LeakSlayer™ technology significantly reduces natural sound leakage
  • IP55 certified to repel sweat, dust and moisture, from workouts to wicked weather
  • Enjoy six hours of continuous music + calls on a single charge
  • EQ presets boost bass and reduce vibration on the go
  • Dual noise canceling microphones exclude surrounding noise, effectively enhancing speech
  • Audrey Says™ voice prompts guide users through power, pair, play and talk
  • Hassle-free 2-year warranty

Specs

  • Speaker type: bone conduction transducers
  • Frequency response: 20Hz~20KHz
  • Sensitivity: 100 ± 3dB
  • Microphone: -40dB ± 3dB
  • Bluetooth version: v4.2
  • Compatible profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP
  • Wireless range: 33 ft (10m)
  • Battery: rechargeable lithium ion
  • Continuous play: 6 hours
  • Standby time: 20 days
  • Charge in: 2 hours
  • Weight: 1.06 oz (30g)

In conclusion, the AfterShokz Trekz Air are well worth the retail price of $179.95. I am totally impressed with them all around. They are the perfect wireless headphones for running and working out. I highly recommend them.

Don’t forget to order your’s at 

If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you.

Make sure you check out and follow Runspirational on :
Facebook:  @Runspirational
Instagram:  @berunspirational
Twitter:  @Runspirational

Check out what other BibRave Pros are saying about AfterShokz Trekz Air:

Amy W          Corey          Vanessa          Alastair          Renee          Jenna          Jessica

Join the weekly fun of #bibchat on Twitter every Tuesday evening at 9:00 pm EST! Come join the conversation and meet other great runners and BibRave Pros. 

#BibChat #BeOpen #aftershokz #BibRavePro #runspirational #BeRunspirational

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SweatX Sport Detergent & Odor Eliminator

Disclaimer: I received a 45 FL OZ bottle of Sweat X Sport Detergent and a 8 FL OZ bottle of Sweat X Sport Odor Eliminator Spray to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Use discount code “BibRave15” for 15% off your purchase at https://sweatxsport.com/shop/

GET THE FUNK OUT OF HERE!

Colder temperatures equal more layers when I go for my runs outside. One Saturday morning in late November, I went for a long run. I bundled up and put on a green sweatshirt that I’ve enjoyed running in over the past couple of years. When I got home, the first thing out of my wife’s mouth was ‘wow, you stink’.

The funny, or maybe gross, part was during my run I started to smell an unpleasant funk. I knew it was the sweatshirt. I had noticed that it had started to smell the past few runs. I just figured there wasn’t much I could do about it. I mean, I would wash it, sometimes, was it twice before using it. Well, something finally changed.

That something was Sweat X Sport Xtreme Sportwear Detergent.

When I was presented the opportunity to test out Sweat X Sport as a BibRave Pro, I quickly put my name in. I knew I needed to try this out and was hopeful I’d be selected. Thankfully, I was.

As I eagerly awaited my package of Sweat X Sport Xtreme Sportswear Detergent and Xtreme Odor Eliminator Spray, I read up on what it did.

  • Specially formulated, high-performance laundry cleaning solution that removes embedded foul odors (think months-long sweat)
  • Designed to lift and remove difficult stains like grass, clay, mud, & blood
  • Can be used on ALL TYPES OF FABRICS
  • Can be used across all types of washing machines
  • Nanovasice Technology restores fabric performance
  • Exfoliates sweat beads, oils, and residue trapped in fabrics
  • Eliminates sweat related funk & odor from technical fabrics and activewear
  • The Xtreme Odor Eliminator Spray eliminates nasty stench & odors on athletic pads & equipment, shoes, helmets, gym bags, gloves, shin guards, clothing, etc.

So how did it work? I put SweatX Sport Xtreme Sportswear Detergent to work right away as I had a large pile of sweaty running clothes that were funking up my laundry room. Included in the dirty laundry was that green sweatshirt.

The directions called for one capful (1 fluid oz.) for standard size loads and two capfuls (2 fluid oz.) for large or heavily soiled loads.

The Smell of Victory scent of the detergent and spray is very nice. It is definitely not overpowering at all. It’s a very refreshing smell and you have to love the name of it.

When the washer was done, I pulled out my running gear and could already smell how fresh and clean they were. I put everything into the dryer and waited for the end result. When I pulled everything out, it all smelled so good. No more funk or nasty odors. No more worrying about stinking it up.

Just to make sure though, I brought that stinky green sweatshirt to my wife to smell. She just looked at me and was like ‘OMG, it worked. This is fantastic.’ Sweat X Sport had won us both over in one wash.

At this point, I hadn’t used the Odor Eliminator Spray. With it being so cold in New Jersey, I knew I had plenty of gear to use it on. I have been spraying my sneakers with them, gloves, hats, and gym bag. It’s given each of them new life. This is seriously the perfect product for people that workout.

I sweat a lot, so these pieces of gear, particularly my sneakers and bag, that I don’t throw in the laundry after each use or at all, are given new life. No need to stink anymore. The spray works well and gives everything a fresh scent. It’s so easy too. All you do is lightly spray the item and let it dry in an open ventilated area. So easy.

My workout gear is thankful. I’m thankful. My wife and kids are thankful. Noses everywhere are thankful that Sweat X Sport gets the funk out.

Try it out. You can save 15% off your purchase by using discount code “BibRave15” at https://sweatxsport.com/shop/.

If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you.

Make sure you check out and follow Runspirational on :
Facebook:  @Runspirational
Instagram:  @berunspirational
Twitter:  @Runspirational

Check out what other BibRave Pros are saying about Sweat X Sport:

Lindsey       Amy       Preston       Barbara       Connie       Melissa       Kim       Amanda      Sara       Kim       Jenn       Amy       Bridget       Dyenna       Ralph       Vanessa       Jeannie     Stephanie       Mary

Join the weekly fun of #bibchat on Twitter every Tuesday evening at 9:00 pm EST! Come join the conversation and meet other great runners and BibRave Pros. 

#BibChat #sweatx #xtheodor #BibRavePro

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Year In Review – 2017

We are four days into 2018, but it’s been a little busy these past few weeks around the Runspirational household. Thanks to the “Bomb Cyclone” I have a few moments to write my year in review for 2017. Here are my thoughts on year.

Total Races – 11 races consisting of 3 half marathons, 1 10-miler, 1 8K, 1 4-miler, 5 5Ks.

Proudest Personal Accomplishment – Finishing my first half marathon ever, The New Jersey Half Marathon, and beating my goal of running it in under 2 hours by finishing in 1:58:00. It’s amazing what motivation can help you attain.

Best Performance – I’d say the Garden State 10 Miler. I’d never run a race over 4 miles (and that was just a month prior). I felt strong throughout the race. I used it as a test run for the half marathon I was training for.  I ended up finishing in 1:27:17 for an 8:43 mile pace.

Favorite Race – Ashenfelter 8K Classic on Thanksgiving morning. This race will always be special to me. This year, I felt strong throughout the race. I PRd the course finishing in 42:36 (8:34 pace), beating last year’s PR by 1:59. With training for the half marathons, I kind of forgot how to pace myself in an 8K (4.98 miles), but in the end ran a smart race.

Best Race Moment – The Verona Labor Day Classic. I ran the 1-mile race first with my daughter and her best friend. It was their first race ever and so much fun to run with them. Followed it up with the 5K race that my wife and friend ran in too. It was the first race my wife and I both ran.

Favorite New Product – The Garmin Forerunner 935 watch.  I received it for Christmas from my wife and kids. Yes, they spoiled me. I’m still learning about the watch, but I love this thing. All of the data is incredible.

Favorite Course Scenery – Newport Liberty Half Marathon. You can’t beat running while enjoying views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Freedom Tower. Talk about inspiration and motivation.

Worst Performance – Definitely the Newport Liberty Half Marathon. It was such a horrible, humid day to race in September. I tried staying hydrated as best I could. Just didn’t have it that day, but it was ok considering the course scenery.

Toughest Race – I’d say the SuperHero Halloween Half Marathon. The course featured a bunch of tough inclines, especially in the last mile of the race. I really enjoyed the course but it was definitely the most challenging one of the year.

Fastest Race Pace – I ran an 8:07 pace in the C-WC Run for Education 5K. It’s the second fastest I’ve ever run a 5K. The fastest 5K ever was in this same race, back in 2015, when I race it at a 7:59 pace.

How Did That Happen – Easily, this goes to winning my age group at the MSDA Meghan Doyle ’05K run. I can always say this happened once, if it never happens again. The best part was the race was on my birthday. What a gift.

Best Race Day Sign – This one goes to the lady along The New Jersey Half Marathon course that had the sign saying “Great Stamina. Stop By Later.” A good laugh during a race helps with the nerves.

Favorite Race Outfit – This one goes to the guy who looked like Forrest Gump during the SuperHero Halloween Half Marathon.

Favorite Finish Area – The Trinity Reindeer Run 5K. Love this race. Great crowd towards the end of the race for a 5K. Plenty of food, water, coffee. Games for the kids, local companies. Plus, they have a Holiday Boutique inside the gym of the Church and free pictures with Santa Claus. Such a joy to run this 5K.

Favorite Training Program – The Hal Higdon program I used for The New Jersey Half Marathon. It had me prepared and the training load seems right for me. I’m using it again for the United NYC Half Marathon.

Happy That I – Bought and started Runspirational.com and started my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram profiles. Also thrilled to have found the BibRave community and participated in a lot of the weekly BibChats. What a great group of people. I’ve met so many wonderful people this year through running.

2017 was a great year. Here is to an even better and healthy 2018. Time to break some PRs.

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Runspirational Reflections 11/10/17

Enjoy your runs this weekend!

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Runspirational Reflections 11/2/17

Welcome to the newest edition of “Runspirational Reflections”.  Just some quick thoughts. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

  1. I have been updating the Runspirational Instagram account daily now. I’d love for you to follow me on there @berunspirational Check it out. Meeting lots of new runners from around the world, which is very cool.
  2. As the weather has truly turned to Fall weather, I feel my runs have been getting better and better. My pace has been getting faster on a lot of runs, especially out of the gate. I’ve been very pleased with my progress.
  3. Yesterday, I had to run with a long sleeve compression shirt and a long sleeve pull over along with gloves as it was pretty cold. Today though was the perfect running weather. I was out in just a t-shirt. Amazing the temperature swings we can have.
  4. I plan on starting to break in my two new pairs of Asics Gel Nimbus 18s. I really need to replace two of my running shoes. Make sure you never wait too long to get new shoes.
  5. Hopefully, you got a chance to read my review on the Super Hero Half Marathon. If not, check it out here.
  6. I’m looking forward to the Ashenfelter 8K on Thanksgiving morning. Love that race and right now I’m focusing on hopefully beating my race PR again this year.
  7. To anyone running the NYC Marathon this weekend, GOOD LUCK! Enjoy it. I wish you all success. I’m looking forward to catching some of it on TV. I’m cheering for you all. You are so #runspirational.

QUESTIONS FOR YOU

  • Have you ever run the NYC Marathon?
  • What is the next race on your schedule?
  • How often do you change out your running sneakers?
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Super Hero Halloween Half Marathon ’17 Recap

I ran the Super Hero Halloween Half Marathon on Saturday, October 21st. I really enjoyed this race. Here is a race recap from this well organized and interesting course.

Unlike most half marathons, this one took place on a Saturday morning and started at 10:00 am, a little later than normal. It was really nice to have a later start time as I only live about 20-25 minutes from Morristown. I was able to wake up at my normal time and not be rushed at all. Originally, I planned to leave around 8:00 am for the race but ended up walking out of the door around 8:30. I figured it would take around a half hour to get there and parked so no big deal at all. All I had to do was get my flipbelt ready with fuel, drink a Gatorade, stretch, and do a short warm up job, so I still had plenty of time. It actually worked out better that I left then or else I would’ve just been standing around.

This race starts right off of South Street, which is where a lot of stores, bars, and restaurants are. There is a parking garage two blocks away which I think is very convenient. Super Hero Racing uses the same site for the Pre-Game 4 Miler so I felt at ease with the pre-race logistics.

This half marathon was five weeks after I ran the Newport Liberty Half Marathon. After the Newport Liberty Half, I decided I had five weeks to really push myself while I was training. I wasn’t happy with how my training went prior to the Newport Liberty Half. I know five weeks wasn’t going to get me back to challenge my time at The New Jersey Half Marathon, but I knew if I worked hard I could chip away at the time. I felt the five weeks included a lot of great runs. Honestly, I felt good about almost all of them. I was running a lot faster paces then I was leading into the Newport Liberty Half.

I didn’t get a great night of sleep two nights prior but I got a pretty good one the night before.

I decided to take off the two days prior to the half marathon this time. On Thursday, I did a lot of walking but nothing else. Tried to get off my feet when I could. Friday, besides a field trip to a farm with my daughter’s class, I was able to get off my feet. I hydrated well on Friday and Saturday prior to the race.

The weather was great for this race. Couldn’t ask for it to be better. Right around 70 degrees and humidity was low around 25-30%. Beautiful blue skies and sunny.

This race has pacers. I decided to slot myself in the corral near the 2:00 pacer. I listened to some of his advice prior to the start. After running an over 2:11 half five weeks prior, I wasn’t expecting to run at 2:00 but decided I would use him to pace the first few miles of the race.

The race started and it’s a bit congested in the beginning. There were about My800 runners in the race but the first three streets are a little tight in the beginning. I knew once we hit the main rode it would thin out. I just went with the pace of the pack until then.

When you hit the main road, it’s a gradual incline. I knew what to expect as the Pre-Game 4 Miler has you running in the opposite direction for this part of the race. It’s always interesting to run the opposite way.

I felt pretty good getting out of the gate and taking on the incline. My legs felt fresh. You then hit a pretty steep downhill, where you can get speed. I’ve been letting myself going on these, not holding back. I feel like I run them faster by doing this and actually catch my breathe. I knew that was important as a big hill was on the horizon.

I hit the steep incline and told myself to run it. Pass people. Go for it. Don’t kill myself but don’t take it easy. It’s early in the race, I let’s get through this one. I think it would’ve messed with me more mentally if it was a training run but I was amped up at this point and what I was a little nervous about turned into a mental boost once I hit the top.

The good thing was I knew there was another downhill coming up. Again, just let myself loose for it. I passed another pack of runners figuring, hey, if it feels good and you’re not killing yourself, go for it.

At this point, you’re about 2 1/2 miles into the race and hit about a 2 1/2 mile stretch (from miles 2 1/2 – 5) that you end up running the opposite way starting a little bit after mile 9. You run up an incline, which is for the overpass over Rt. 287, and then hit the decline of the overpass on the other side.

The roads at this point are all closed, so you basically have four lanes of road to run over.

Right before mile 4, you pass through the area that they use for the relay transition area. There are a lot of people cheering on at this point which was great. It does get a little tight in this area as you have lots of relay runners waiting to go, people crossing the street, and fans that are in the road.

You then run through a few winding roads with beautiful homes. I was still very close with the 2:00 pacer as I hit mile 5 and thought to myself, wow, who knows maybe I can go for it today. Just keep running the best you can.

Right after mile 5, you turn into Loantaka Brook Reservation, so it’s a paved park trail with lots of twists and turns. I had never run this part and couldn’t drive it two days before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I don’t know why but I was expecting it to be more flat. Lots of ups and downs it seemed.

Due to all of the quick twists and turns, along with it being all woods around, I couldn’t see the pacer anymore. I had no idea how far ahead he was from me. I kept within pace of the runners I could see a few yards ahead of me though and figured that would be good for my pace.

Just after mile 6, I decided to eat my Honey Stinger energy chews. Well, not sure why, but I totally coughed at one point and a piece of one of them went down the wrong way. All I thought was, oh great, I’m going to end up puking from a chew, not from the run. Drank some more Gatorade but coughed here and there for about two to three minutes from it. I slowed up a little just to make sure I was okay during that period.

While I was running through the woods, I kept thinking to myself I should stop and pee. I made the error of using the porta potty too early prior to the race and when the race started I had to go. I was about an hour into the run at this point and throughout it, was like I really have to go. I didn’t want to be that guy though that relieved myself along the course, so I kept running. I figured next time I see a porta potty, I’ll decide if I have to go. Right around 7 1/2 miles in, there was one porta potty. I decided I would stop to use. That was until, I swear, the one lady about 10 yards ahead of me, decided to veer off and use it. I was like what are the odds. The immediate person in front of me lol. At that point, I said just keep going. I’m not going to stop and wait.

As you just pass mile 8, you turn back onto Woodland Avenue and at this point you are sharing the road with traffic. Most of it is an incline. You run on the shoulder of the road. For the amount of runners in the race, I was pleasantly surprised at the decent amount of runners around me at this point.

Just past mile 9, you start running that part of the course that you run the opposite way. You turn back into the neighborhood, off the busy road, so you feel a little bit safer with more space.

You hit the relay transition area again and I was a little surprised at the amount of people that were still there. I just assumed it would thin out once the transitions were all completed. It was nice to hearing all of the cheers again at this point. A good pick me up.

A little bit after mile 11, I knew the steep incline for the 287 overpass was coming up. All of the sudden, I felt this cramp hit my lower left calf/achilles area. I was like no, not now. I have two miles to go, I’m happy with my time and pace. I slowed up because I knew with the incline coming up this might be an issue. All of the sudden I felt a cramp in my right leg, same area. Then one in my lower thigh on my left leg. I kept telling myself, one and half miles to go. Just finish. Just finish. No matter what the time, just finish.

This is where the course gets interesting. It’s a lot of hills/inclines at this point. Everything is up. You don’t get any downhills. I didn’t realize it prior to the race. I haven’t run a race where you’re basically running up a hill for the lasts one and half miles. It was interesting.

I got through them all and I knew I was close. My legs would get a quick cramp that would go away quickly and I just kept mentally strong telling myself you’re right there. Just finish it.

People were cheering along the sidewalks so I knew the turn was close. When I hit the final turn, normally I sprint as hard as I can to finish. On this day, I was worried if I tried to sprint I’d cramp so I did pick up my pace but made sure I was running through the finish.

I put up three fingers to note my third half marathon and was pretty proud when I saw the time. I finished in 2:06:38 for a 9:39 pace. I ran exactly 5 minutes faster than the Newport Liberty Half Marathon. Considering that was a pancake flat course and this had lots of hills, I was really proud of this run. I knew minus the cramping, I could have run cut some time off of this race but I was still very happy with it. Nothing beats when you are just proud of what you accomplished. Sure, it wasn’t a PR, or even close to a PR, but I was very proud of myself.

I got my awesome medal right after finishing and immediately went to the porta potty. I joked that it was harder to go the 50 yards to them then it was to run the race.

Once I was done, I went straight to the Gatorade and water tables. I drank a lot to rehydrate. I had run with a water bottle that had 32 ounces of water in it and drank a few cups at the aid stations on the course. I just seem to sweat like none other. Still working on this.

I went over to cheer on other runners as they finished. Saw some really cool costumes during this race. Lots of super heroes, a bunch of guys dressed up as bananas, and one guy as Forrest Gump. I don’t think I could ever run in a costume but give props to all those that do. It is fun. 

The race was definitely well organized, the course was nice and I thought a good challenging. I was happy with my performance. Overall, I think it was a great race and I will definitely look at running this one again next year.

 

Questions for you:

  • Have you ever run in a costume?
  • Do you prefer flat courses or courses with hills?
  • Do you prefer larger or smaller fields of participants?
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Here We Go Again!

Sometimes, all it takes is a price increase to make you take that leap and sign up for a race. 

That is exactly what happened to me two nights ago. After discussing it with my wife, I signed up to run the 2018 New Jersey Half Marathon on April 29th.

After completing The New Jersey Half Marathon this past April, I promised myself I would come back to see how much I could improve over one year. Run the same race and course and use it as motivation for my training. 

I liked this course. I’ll forever love this race because it was my first. It’s six and a half months, but hey, if you know you want to run, sign up and save some money. Plus, I feel like the more races I sign up for, the more it will hold me accountable. It’ll keep me training. I won’t rev up my training for this event until after the new year, but I have other races with varying distances from now until 2018.

I think I’ll probably sign up for another half marathon in March or run the Garden State 10 Miler again. I’ll start looking to see what makes sense. I think I’m going to try and throw my name into the NYC Half Marathon. I want to research it more though. If not that race, maybe Atlantic City or possibly West Point. I was looking at the half marathon in Montclair, but $130 is a bit stiff of a price at this point. We’ll see.

It seems crazy to sign up for something that is over a half year away but I’m going to make this my top race of 2018. I love knowing what I did last year to give me that extra motivation for training over the cold, winter months. So, here’s to great training in the months ahead and cracking 1:58:00 in Long Branch on April 29th.

Here we go again! 

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