Superhero Half Marathon – 05/17/15

I finally found the time to sit down and recap a race from last May (thanks to the FREEZING temps that make me want to hibernate for the rest of the winter).  I hope you enjoy.

If you know my husband, you know he loves all things pop culture, especially superheroes.  Our anniversary is May 23rd and I was trying to figure out a fun weekend away for us.  Somehow I stumbled across the Superhero Half Marathon in New Jersey.  Sounded neat.  And then I saw that it was the weekend before our anniversary!  PERFECT!  Steven reluctantly agreed (how could he not…again it is a SUPERHERO race).  Since we were already going to be in New Jersey for the race, we decided to also visit the comic book shop from the television show “Comic Book Men”, which is also in New Jersey.  We also decided to spend a day in Philly to explore, but most importantly, to take our pictures in front of the Rocky statue 🙂

This is most likely going to be a long recap, because I am going to recap the whole weekend.  I’ll try to make it as brief as possible.  It has been almost 9 months since the race so some of the details are a bit foggy anyway.

FRIDAY

On Friday, May 15th, we headed to Philly.  We got all into our hotel room and decided to head out to find the Rocky steps and statue.  On our way out of the hotel, we noticed a HUGE dude and Steven realized he was Prince Albert (wrestler).  There was some wrestling even going on in Philly and they were staying at our hotel.  Kinda cool.  He grabbed a quick pic with him.

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Next, we headed downtown.  First stop, Rocky Balboa, of course.

After some photos, we decided to walk around the city for a while.  We found a place to eat (Philly Cheesesteak of course) and then found our way to the Liberty Bell, which had a private ceremony going on.

We walked around for a while longe and then headed back to the van.

We covered well over 6 miles and were tired by the time we got back to the hotel.  We decided to take a dip in the indoor pool while watching the Washington Wizards play in the Conference Semifinals (unfortunately, they lost).

SATURDAY

On Saturday, we got up and headed to Red Bank New Jersey, where “Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash” is located.  This is the comic book store featured in one of the shows we watch.  Red Bank was a cute little town.  We stopped into a smoothie store and decided to have a protein shake and walked around for a bit before heading into the store.

We looked around the shop for a bit.  Steven and I met Walt and it was fun seeing Steven negotiate the price of a Hot Toys Joker with him, like I’ve seen so many do on the show 🙂  They ultimately agreed on a price and Steven left with a new toy “Hot Toys 1/6 Scale Heath Ledger as the Joker from ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ Adult Collectible” for his collection.  Unfortunately, they weren’t filming and none of the other guys were in the store at the time.

We walked around a little bit more and then decided to head to Morristown, NJ to pick up our bibs for the race the next day.  Morristown is another cute little town.  We walked around for a bit and made our way to the race store that was handing out the bibs.  It wasn’t your typical fancy “expo”.  It was just a running store with a table full of bibs and shirts, which was fine by me.  After picking up our bibs, we went and checked into the hotel.  We were both feeling a bit run down from the traveling and walking around.  Steven really wanted to go see Mad Max: Fury Road that evening.  I really had no desire to see it (at all), but I was going to go with him anyway since he agreed to the half marathon.  Fortunately (for me), we were having a horrible time finding parking and by the time we finally found a garage, we were cutting it very close.  Steven likes to be in his seat before the previews start so we decided to can the idea and head back to the room.  The weather started to change and we were under tornado warnings for most of the evening.  I had anxiety all evening about the weather, but was finally able to get some sleep.  The race wasn’t scheduled to start until 8:30 the next morning, so we got to sleep in a little later than we typically do on a race morning.

SUNDAY

Time to get ready for the race!!  Now, since this was a Superhero race, I knew we had to dress up in costume.  Luckily for me, I had dressed up as Mystique (comic book version…no body paint for me!) for Halloween a couple of years ago so I decided to use the costume once again.  I had to slightly modify it, but I was able to use the white dress and skull belt.  I had blue capris and a blue tank top already.  I just had to order a red wig and white cooling gloves and I was ready to go.  Since Mystique has a history with Wolverine, we ordered Steven a cool Wolverine running shirt.  He didn’t want to go much further than that (I wanted to order some claws, at least).

By 7:30, we were ready to go.  The parking for the race was only about a 10 minute drive from the hotel.  This was a small race (less than 1500 in the half marathon) so the parking lot wasn’t crowded and we made our way to the start of the race very easily.  I was a little worried at first as I was not seeing many people in costumes.  Yikes!

But alas, as it got closer to the start time, we were seeing more people dressed up.  Time to head to the start!

I was feeling really good headed into this race.  I had just PR’d with a time of 2:12:07 two weeks prior at the Frederick Running Festival.  Since Steven and I had decided to run this together (we’ve ran the same races before, but never stuck together), I really had a good feeling about this race.  I thought he was going to push me and that I wouldn’t want to disappoint him.  I thought for sure that I was going to walk away with a new PR (Spoiler Alert: I was very wrong).

Miles 1-5: I don’t remember a lot of the specifics about this race.  I remember shortly after starting, I had to ditch the wig.  Steven held onto it for me.  I also remember that I was ALREADY struggling by mile 2.  It was very humid and there were lots of rolling hills!!!  I remember talking briefly with a pacer while running up a hill and her mentioning the humidity.  I can’t remember which group she was pacing, but I know I quickly fell back and never caught up with her again.  Around mile 5, we had looped back to where we started and it was really nice to have some crowd support.

Miles 6-10: Hot, humid, miserable.  Ughh.  This was such a tough race.  I remember telling Steven to go on ahead without me because I was having to take a lot of walk breaks.  Of course, he stayed with me.  I remember us stopping to pet a Bulldog that a spectator had out in her yard as we passed by her house.  Around mile 7 or 8, we entered a park.  It was a really pretty trail and provided some much needed shade, but I was already gassed at that point and just couldn’t get my mojo back.  I was still alternating between running and walking.  I was mentally checked out.  We saw one man down on the ground and had to move out of the way for the ambulance to get through to another runner.  I hope they were okay.  We came back out of the park and were running in direct sunlight once again and then eventually headed back to the trail.

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Miles 11-13.1: The final miles alternated between shady trails and non-shady roads.

See that smile?  It was fake 😉  I couldn’t wait for it to be over at that point.  I was walking a lot.  I remember even at mile 12.5, having to take a break.  I just had nothing left.  We made our way around the final corner and I was SOOO happy to see the finish line.  Thank goodness!!  We finished hand in hand.

We got our medals and then found some water and a bagel.

We noticed they were doing a costume contest right after we finished so of course I had to jump in.  I tried to get my wig back on but it was in pretty bad shape – oops!  Surprisingly, not many people entered the contest.  I won 2nd place!!  Woot woot.

I won a free training session at one of their local gyms so it wasn’t much good to me.  Oh well…it was still nice to win something after being so miserable on the course.

After cooling down a bit, we jumped in the van and made our way home.

All in all, it was a fun anniversary weekend.  I had hoped to walk away with a PR, but it just wasn’t my day.  In fact, it was my worst race to date (up until that point).  My official time was 2:29:03.  My garmin measured the course as 13.22 miles, so these times are slightly off:

Mile 1 – 9:55

Mile 2 – 10:41

Mile 3 – 11:13

Mile 4 – 10:17

Mile 5 – 10:40

Mile 6 – 12:34

Mile 7 – 11:19

Mile 8 – 10:59

Mile 9 – 11:32

Mile 10 – 10:46

Mile 11 – 13:02

Mile 12 – 12:08

Mile 13 – 11:35

Mile .22 – 11:13

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