Monday, May 21, 2012

Superhero Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, May 20
Morristown, NJ
Half Marathon #62
State #48
Weather - Sunny and hot

Left with very few choices when it came to a New Jersey race, we managed to come across this smaller race, heading into its third year. The superhero half marathon? How could we not?? This was a race we were REALLY looking forward to. My original outfit was picked out before Halloween. So yes, we planned REALLY far in advance for this one. We settled on Wonder Woman "costumes" and had everything completely planned more than 6 months in advance. As we got closer to the date, we somehow managed to talk Elizabeth into joining us (YAY).

We arrived at the airport with barely enough time to catch our flight. Until we realized it was delayed 25 minutes. Sigh. Without going into too much detail, it was a pretty annoying flight. I managed to doze off for an hour, which should have made the flight go faster. Only it didn't, because this was like a party bus only NOT FUN. LOUDEST FLIGHT OF MY LIFE. There were kids jumping on seats and screaming. The seat belt light was on and yet half the plane was wandering around. So annoying. We landed and then... no gate available. We were stuck on the tarmac for 30 minutes. Those out of control kids? STILL LOUD. STILL JUMPING ON SEATS. Something is WRONG with those parents.

By the time we get off the plane, poor Elizabeth has already been at the airport for an hour and a half. She had gone ahead and rented the car to save us some time, so we headed right out. We were staying only about 15 minutes from the airport, and we actually didn't get lost. We managed to stumble upon an Applebees on our way there. Coincidence?? I enjoyed my blackened chicken penne, spicy queso, and a chocolate mousse shooter. Delicious. While trying to find somewhere to buy some bottled water, we found a Target. Which happened to be in the same parking lot as our hotel. Again, coincidence? We picked up fluids and Elizabeth got some bagels for the morning, and around 7:00 we went to Ramada to check in.

Even though we made our reservations in December for a room with two queen beds, they were "out." And when L tried to show the guy our reservation confirmation, he just argued with her. Me, being confrontational by nature, asks HOW DO YOU GIVE AWAY A PAID RESERVATION? Only to be told, "I'm not helping YOU." I guess I really irritate people. But really, we paid for this SIX MONTHS AGO. Anyway, I suggest two singles for what we had already paid. Done deal. We head upstairs to get settled, then Elizabeth came over to our room to chat until bed. I love talking running with fellow bloggers/friends. So fun. Before we know it, it is 10:00, and it's time for bed.

Race Day

The race started late (8:30???), so we were able to sleep in until 6:30. I woke up before 6 by the sun and was SURE we had overslept. I was shocked that I still had 45 minutes to sleep. We got ready, headed out, and drove the 15 minutes to the race start. The lots were already getting full, so we parked illegally on the road long enough to get our bibs and commemorative capes. You read that right. A cape. In addition to the most awesome themed race ever, we were attempting to get into the "Guiness Book of World Records" for the most superheroes in one place at one time. So if you were too lazy to get a costume, you could get by with the race cape. Who should we run into while getting our bibs? Rose!! My friend from Greece that we ran with in DC and Baltimore. The only annoying thing about the race was that the race shirts were "first come first serve." They started packet pick up a WEEK ago, and us being from out of state, there was nothing smaller than a men's medium by the time we got there. Again, not sure why we pay and register SIX months in advance if we can't get what we ordered. Anyway. We ran our stuff back to the car, then had to re-park up the street so we wouldn't get a ticket.

We had about an hour until the race started. Most of that was using the bathroom and taking TONS of pictures and looking at all the awesome costumes. As well as wondering what was wrong with the people that were NOT wearing costumes. Not sure why anyone would pick this particular race if they didn't want to partake in the fun.

L, Elizabeth, Me, Rose, Liz
L, Elizabeth, Me
L and I were going to make one last trip to the bathroom, but the lines were way too long. We headed over to the start about 10 minutes early and stood there chatting. We were somewhere in the middle of tons of people:

The race starts and I realize I did NOT start my watch. Crap. By the time I got signal, we were pretty much the last people across the line. Seriously. The course is a double loop and thankfully, much more of it was in the shade than we expected. L had misplaced her iPod, and I offered to join her in silence. My first music-free race EVER. The first mile or so was through a nice residential area.

Batman looked HOT. FULL costume included fake muscles
Around mile 1.8, we entered a really pretty wooded area. The paved bike path was only wide enough for about 3 runners at a time. Turns out that most people running this race were running with other people, and it was congested and crowded and pretty much impossible to pass people. It was almost warmer in this section even though it was shaded because there was pretty much no air movement.

Capes everywhere!
We exited the trail somewhere after mile 3, then we were on the hottest part of the course. No shade at all! Just before we got to mile 4, there was a HUGE hill. L and I were determined to run up it. Most people were walking, even this early in the race. Our reward at the top was an aid station. YAY! We had a flat, slight downhill section, then another decent hill heading toward mile 5. Right before the last aid station there was another pretty steep incline, but it was shorter, and again, a nice aid station at the top.

Annoying thing during this section was the woman with a double stroller that was running. One of the very adamant rules was NO STROLLERS. We called her out on it, and she gave the response was "at the last minute I couldn't get a babysitter." I'm sorry. You just don't run then. This was not the widest course, especially the bike path section. I'll admit, she was a badass, but she should have been disqualified. Anyway. We headed back towards where we started in order to begin our second loop.

I was getting pretty hot by now. As awesome as we looked, the shirts are made out of COTTON and did not breathe at all. SO HOT! The course had thinned out quite a bit, and thankfully, it was not nearly as crowded when we entered the bike path the next time. The huge hill was much harder the second time around, but we still did not walk. I got some obnoxious leg cramps after mile 10, but thankfully the downhill fixed it a bit and I didn't have to walk. The stupid woman with the double stroller passed us again(!!) and as much as I wanted to, we weren't fast enough to catch her.

I felt AWESOME the last mile. For once, finally, it felt easy and fun. We spent a while deciding if we were going to do an awesome finishing move. It was more crowded than we expected heading into the finish line, so we decided to just do a leap instead of a cartwheel or jump.

We crossed the line, then grabbed some water before looking for Elizabeth. She had run an awesome race, finishing in around 1:49. Superhero, for sure! We walked back to the car, unable to wait for Rose and Liz to finish because we had to drive back to our hotel, shower, and check out by noon.

Bib #1113
Official Time - 2:14:00
Official Pace - 10:23
Overall Place - 796/1237
Gender Place - 422/730
Divison Place - 137/231
Garmin Time - 2:13:58
Garmin Distance - 13.24 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:07
Mile 1 - 9:20
Mile 2 - 9:58
Mile 3 - 10:05
Mile 4 - 10:46
Mile 5 - 10:17
Mile 6 - 10:01
Mile 7 - 10:02
Mile 8 - 9:54
Mile 9 - 10:18
Mile 10 - 9:55
Mile 11 - 11:11 (11 in 11:11? What are the odds??)
Mile 12 - 10:29
Mile 13 - 9:32
Mile 13.1ish - 8:53

Me and Elizabeth - even our socks have capes!
Finisher ensemble!

We checked out about a minute late, then headed to Smashburger for our post-race burger. It was DELICIOUS.

I should probably admit that I was wearing the cape. I mean, I normally wear the race shirt, but it was so big and frumpy, so I didn't want to. The cape was FUN. And Elizabeth and L were good sports about not being embarrassed. Someone did come up to me and congratulate me on running. Ha.

Elizabeth's flight was a few hours before ours, but we didn't see the point in making two trips, so we decided to just all go together. We were leaving out of different terminals, so we said our goodbyes shortly after dropping off the rental car.

After getting our boarding pass, we realize our flight has already been delayed. Annoying. By the time we get on the plane and get off the ground (we finally depart the gate and there are more than a dozen planes ahead of us), we are an HOUR late.

While playing around on my phone, I see results are already up for the race. Only I can't find mine... I can find Elizabeth's. And L's. But not mine. I send a quick email to the race director, giving my bib number, and saying I started and finished with L, and how could I get an official time? Then I realize:

Yep. I'm an idiot. In the chaos of parking and everything, I put on the WRONG shoe tag. You know, the one with instructions and NOT a timing chip. D'oh. Luckily, I was emailed this morning that they found me in the "back-up" timing system (I'm assuming via finisher picture) and I was given an official time. Lesson learned. 60+ races later and I am *still* not a professional. Oops.

Thoughts on this race:
  • 8:30 is WAY too late a start time. At least an hour earlier would have been fantastic.
  • I think the first come, first serve policy on picking up shirts is ridiculous. If you order based on what people register with, why are those shirts not "saved" for people? This irritates me.
  • The cape was way cool, and only $10. I wore it up until I got on the plane. (True)
  • Aid stations were spaced well, but gatorade at the halfway point would have been great.
  • Crowd support was decent - where the course was accessible.
  • SUPER FUN. I love a themed race. I don't care that I was wearing the hottest shirt in the universe, it was so fun to run in, and it was fun to watch everyone else in their costumes too.
  • Not crazy about the post-race festivities - gatorade and bottled water instead of little cups would have been nice.
  • Enforce the no stroller policy. Way too crowded for strollers.
  • The course is really nice. I barely noticed I didn't have my music.
Overall, this was a great race. I would definitely recommend it!


  1. Bahahaha, that timing chip accident is so funny. I'm glad they had a back up plan.

    What a great race, I wish I was doing it for NJ. Our NJ race in October starts at 10am, holy late race, Wonder Woman!

  2. You were right over the border where I was running the Brooklyn Half. They started the race an hour earlier (7:00 AM) due to the heat.

    Congrats on your finish!

  3. What a fun race. I love your costumes!!!

  4. LOVE this :):) had SOO much fun with yall. how in the world did we not notice the shoe thing-especially after that guy still had his on his bib and asked! damn! glad they found you though!

  5. you know since I'm deemed the 'forgetful one' I have to comment on the chip timing. Yes it happens to the best of us.

    I was wondering how your shirts were going to work for you being cotton--- i might have had a heat stroke.

    excellent recap and outfits!

  6. So. Freaking. Cool.

  7. LOVE the costumes!!!! Awesome

  8. Ugh, that flight sounds so miserable.

    You are so awesome! State #48??!?! I can't even wrap my head around that. Congrats on another awesome race!

  9. A race cape as the t-shirt? That is the most awesomest race shwag ever.

  10. Too bad our paths didn't cross, seems like you got a good taste of NJ attitude. Congratulations on State 48!

  11. Oh my goodness! I just found your blog. I'm so excited that you have 2 more races till you reach 50!

    I've got an upcoming mud run where I'll be Wonderwoman...I feel like it's silly to put effort into a costume that will likely be ruined by mud, but I can't stop myself! I love costumes!


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