Sunday, April 21, 2013

Rutgers Unite Half Marathon and 8K

As I wrote earlier in the week, I had absolutely no intention of running the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon or the 8K. It starts at 8 AM on Sunday morning. I've just resumed training for the Dumbo Double Dare coming up at the end of the summer. It wasn't on my radar.

Then the bombing took place at the Boston Marathon. I suddenly wanted to connect with the running community by doing a race.

Meanwhile on FaceBook. I read about other friends running the Rutgers race. Most were doing the half marathon, but my training buddy Sharon was doing the 8K. I did the math. 8K=4.97 miles. THAT I could do, and do well.

Sharon graciously saved me a drive to Rutgers on Saturday and picked up my race packet. I returned the favor and drove her to and from the race today. I picked her up in West Windsor at 6:30 AM. We parked in the familiar parking lot on College Avenue -- the same one we used for our SCILS classes when we were earning our MLIS degrees. 

We miraculously caught the shuttle bus to the starting area, thus sparing ourselves a 20 minute walk to the start. I saw the Bronc for the first time and had Sharon snap my picture with him. The half marathon started at 8. Us 8K runners started 15 minutes later. My goal was to finish before the first half marathoner crossed the line (same finish line). My second goal was to finish in under an hour. I made the latter goal, but not the former one. Darn super fast runners!

The race took place over the Rutgers New Brunswick campuses. As a grad student, all but one of my on-line classes was in SCILS (School of Communication Information and Literary Services), with one held in a different building, and the rest online. I never made it to the other campuses. This race was a nice tour of the area.

Unlike most of my races lately, I only took this one mid-course, and that was within the first mile. We started at the Rutgers Stadium on Busch Campus. Ran past Johnson Park. Over the Raritan River to Buccleaugh Park (a couple of hills here). Up another hill and we were at the College Avenue building. Before I knew it, we were passing SCILS and the finish line was within sight.

For the most part I kept with my training and ran 3 minutes and walked 2. A couple of hills made me walk an extra 40 seconds. Not bad at all. 

I heard my name announced as I was crossing the finish line! What a great feeling. I finished with a smile and easily bumped into Sharon who finished nearly 4 minutes before I did.

I finished at 57:09.6 -- a PR for the 8K distance since it was my first 8K, and nearly 3 minutes faster than my only 5 miler. By mile 4.5 I was lapped by the first half marathoner. Right after I crossed the finish line i heard the their half  marathoner was about to cross. I feel great about it!

The post-race food was the best I've seen -- or maybe that is since the half marathoners hadn't finished yet, I was ahead of the crowd instead of behind them and there was lots of well-organized food left. We had pasta salad, cookies, fruit, water, Coke, and a delicious yogurt parfait. The snacks got me through the car ride from Sharon's house to mine. 

Before the race, Gabrielle, Sharon and I decided to wear our Sparkle Skirts. Sharon's friend Stacey also wore her skirt. Unlike Disney races, the Sparkle Skirt made us stand out. I had lots of comments from the crowd about my skirt. It was fun! Since I registered so late, I did not have my name on the bib, but I was still cheered on because of the skirt and pony tail holder.

I wore blue and yellow in honor of Boston. Sharon was wearing Rutgers Colors. Someone from the Trenton Half Marathon saw me in my Trenton Half shirt and took our picture for their FaceBook page.

Sharon gave me a lovely pom pom pony tail holder so I was sporting some Rutgers scarlet.

I'm glad I did it. There was awesome crowd support along the route. I saw at least 4 bands in our 5 miles (not sure if there were more for the half marathon crowd). Several water stops, even though it was cool enough we didn't need it. 

Starting temp: 40 and breezy. Ending temp: 48 and breezy.

It was sunny. :) 

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