Hope you have all had as amazing a weekend as I have! I this post is going to be 3 words short of an Epic Novel. Hope I don’t put you to sleep.

It started Friday afternoon at work with a craving for a warm chocolate chip cookie. After A hysterical request on FaceBook for some ideas of where to get one, I remembered that we have this great Farmer’s Market right outside of my office building (for a few more weeks at least) with a booth from Meredith’s Bread in Kingston, NY. Bingo! I bought a package of 4, put them in the microwave for 10 seconds and I was in heaven. I ate all 4 like a mad woman. My boss later told me he was waiting for me to offer him one. Oops! My bad!

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Friday continued to get even better. I packed up the car with the doodle, an overnight bag and the running gear I would need for the following day and headed to my brother and sister-in-law’s house. We went (along with my niece) to Smash Burger for dinner. It was my first time! 3 words: I’ll Be Back!! Fried pickles???!!!! Hello!! YUM-to the-MEEEE!!! And then we had some gelato.

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Maybe not the best pre-race dinner decisions, but hey, I was just going to be running for fun on Saturday….or so I thought (more on that shortly).

Saturday morning I headed out about 6am to Trenton, NJ. Parked the car at one of the designated lots (so easy) and walked a few short blocks to the starting area by 7:30am. It was cold but sunny and there really wasn’t much wind making it more comfortable than I had anticipated. I didn’t even take my throwaway sweatshirt or gloves and at the last minute swapped out my winter hat for just a baseball cap. Within a few minutes I met up with Jane and her group.

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Jane and Sally. Just like the book.

Jane's great group of friends

Jane’s great group of friends

Her hubby and some other guys from her running group were running the 10K and the girls were all running the half.

Jane’s goal was to break 2 hours. Mine was to just finish. After finishing the NYC Marathon just 6 days prior, having that groin tweak and a new hamstring tightness that showed up Friday evening (which i noticed somewhere between the cookie and the fried pickles therefore not really caring) I knew I wasn’t prepared to push it. But this is where I prove time and time again that running is so much more about the heart and the mind than it is about the legs. I freaking PR’d!!!!! I mean I KILLED IT!!! 

I started out the first few miles just smiling and enjoying the lovely course. I even broke out the iPhone and started snapping pics around mile 4 and continued to snap until about mile 7.

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we crossed 2 bridges and covered 2 states—New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

During this time I’d notice my watch splits were all sub 10. But I wasn’t really thinking PR. Just that maybe my watch lost satellite or something and it wasn’t accurate. At mile 7 I looked at the elapsed time, did the math and realized it WAS accurate. Something in my head clicked over to PR land. It was going to be my final race of the year, my 17th race overall, 11th half marathon and how cool that I could possibly PR. And so I started to push. My timing of that decision was pretty crappy because we hit the one large hill of the course right at 7.5! But I pushed and pushed and before you knew it we were back to a nice flat stretch before bringing it home (literally) as we ran the warning track of the Trenton Thunder’s ballpark before finishing at home base.

I saw Jane (who rocked a 1:57 PR and made her goal of breaking 2 hours) in the stadium. She ran along side me, took these cute shots and we exchanged happy words of PRs!

a few yards from the finish line. Loved my new running tights but man my legs are quite "stocky"!

a few yards from the finish line. Loved my new running tights but man my legs are quite “stocky”!!!

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My official time was 2:07:54 (a 1:24 PR from the Little Rock Half back in March). And I think the main reason for this amazing time was that I FINALLY got to listen to my perfectly crafted marathon playlist that I didn’t get to listen to last weekend. I’m going to rename it PR-Playlist now!

speed sisters

speed sisters

We waited for the rest of the group to finish, grabbed some water and pretzels (I think soft pretzels should be standard at every race finish!) took a group finish pic and then headed to the after party at a bar near the stadium. We had our first celebratory “warm up” beer and chips here which were included with the race registration before driving a short ways away to a local tavern called the Firkin Tavern for the “main event” beer and meal.

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the finishers!

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I heart soft pretzels. That is all.

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Steak Quesadillas and a Sam Adams! Celebrate good times c’mon!

Jane surprised me with a belated birthday gift! Some bubbly and homemade applesauce! So cool! I LOVE homemade stuff.

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One of my favorite things since becoming a runner is meeting so many new friends who have fit right in that I can’t imagine my life not knowing them. Jane is one of those friends. I’m really looking forward to our long run training through the winter and early spring months of 2014 in preparation for the NJ Marathon on April 27th.

Two funny coincidences happened too. The first was that Jane, who was running the half and her husband who was running the 10k (which started about 15 min. later) ended up running together at one point on the course when the routes converged. Soulmates!

The other coincidence is that I took a photo on one of the bridges along the course not realizing the girl in pink was Jane’s friend Isabella who I met after the race was over. When I was showing Jane my photos she realized it was Isabella. How funny!

foreshadowing

Hi Isabella! Nice to meet you 2 hours before I met you. LOL!

Runner’s world mentioned in this article that there would be a 5 year old boy running the Trenton Half. I was alarmed at first to be honest. 5 seems a bit young to run that far of a distance. But I was fortunate to watch little Anthony and his mom finish (holding hands until the very last second where she let him finish first) and I have to say I could see for myself that he was a natural. I still don’t think it should become commonplace for 5 year olds to do this but I won’t be so quick to judge next time. Congratulations Anthony for finishing in 2:22 and being the youngest to complete a half. (Not sure that’s official but the announcer said it.)

After an amazing day with my freak PR I headed back to my brother and sister-in-law’s Saturday late afternoon and we all went out for dinner again. This time it was sushi and boy did we have a good laugh-fest. Let’s just say my niece and I were rapping about Japanese food. Come on and rock me with your beef negemaki….then my sister in law joined the fun singing (to the beat of Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby) Rice Rice Baby!! I’m blessed to have the support of my family! If it weren’t for them, Duncan wouldn’t have had anyone to watch him and I would have had to dart home after the race and miss out on the fun at the Firkin Tavern.

And now that my great weekend has come to a close, so has my running season. A season that basically started in the beginning of January and never let up. I’m going to take 6 weeks “off” (with no structured routine at least) and ramp back up after New Years. I will surely find other ways to Sweat Out the Small Stuff so that I stay sane and I’ll surely be blogging as well.

In the meantime I’ll be letting my strained groin and hamstring muscles heal by doing a lot of this for a few days…

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Double the doodle. Duncan in front and my furry niece Casey at my feet.

Question: Do you have an “off-season”? What is your favorite meal post-race or hard workout?

1 Comment

  1. What an amazing day!! Many congrats again on your half PR just 6 DAYS after the NYC Marathon!! You are awesome! I’m so happy you came and ran Trenton with me! I’m looking forward to our NJM training runs…. They’ll be here before we know it! =)

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