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LongBranchBeach

LongBranchBeach

Pic: The concrete boardwalk at Long Branch, NJ which was part of the route

The New Jersey Full Marathon, which I finished on May 2 ‘10, was the most difficult marathon I have ever run, and I am glad I could finish it.

It is a scenic route in parts and is a two-loop and mostly flat course with an oceanfront start and finish. Running through Long Branch and the adjacent communities of Monmouth Beach and Oceanfront, the Atlantic Ocean provides a uniquely inspiring backdrop to strenuous physical effort – and makes your achievement feel powerful and momentous when you finish.

The runners numbered 10,000 people and the event consisted of full-marathon, half-marathon and team relays. I ran the full-marathon which was completed by 1386 people, of which 810 were men.

It was by no means an easy run, not just for me but for many others too. There was a large number of dropouts due to the surprisingly hot and searing 90s (F) heat that day. Several ended up requiring medical help on the route. Not even water sprayed with garden hoses on the runners by helpful house owners on the route provide much relief.

And disappointingly enough, there was no food after the race, just bananas which were just not enough.

Am glad I could complete this difficult run. More so, because I had practiced very little due to my India trip and a very cold winter in NY this past season which prevented me from running much outdoors.

Its two weeks since the marathon and I am not yet fully recovered. However, I plan to get back to training from this weekend for the NYC Marathon I am running this year.

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I have been a Saucony shoes fan, having run my last two full marathons (Marine Corps and Chicago) in them. But those were past their prime and it was time for a change of footgear for my coming marathons.

So off I went to Jack Rabbits Sports Store in Manhattan, NY and got my strides tested on their fancy equipment.  Mary, their very helpful store manager, studied my strides and suggested I switch to Asics as they had better arch support and cushioning compared to the Saucony I had on.

I felt the Asics was a bit heavier than the Saucony, but gave me more cushioning. I liked the feel and so let her persuade me and bought these shoes.

After all, she should know for she is running the 2010 Boston Marathon next Monday April 19th! I was probably in awe of her, but nevertheless, I felt she knew what she was talking about.

If you are thinking of any form of long distance running, please go to a similar  sports store and have your strides tested. It is free and well worth it. Do not buy your running shoes based on how good they are in the shop window. You need a shoe that’s right for you, not just something that you think may look nice on you, something that helps in your running, not just a show-off.

So, now here I am, breaking in my new Asics and the New Jersey and New York Marathons I intend to run this year seem that much more comfortable.

 

 

I am happy to report that I successfully completed the Breast Cancer Virtual Half Marathon. Here is a record of the day:

I had the feeling it was going to be an exciting day ahead when I woke up at 5 am on the cold February morning, just a couple of days after the snow blizzard had hit New York and New Jersey. The Galloway NYC group was scheduled to assemble at around 7 am at Central Park, NY. The cold seeped into me when I stepped out of my home—the temperature was around 20 F (minus 6 Celsius) and I also had to make allowances for the erratic weekend train schedules.

I reached Central Park a little before 7 am and joined other fellow half and full marathoners. The race started immediately thereafter and the first thing that I noticed when I hit the route was that the snow melts from the previous day had now become slippery black ice and there were still several patches of uncleared snow on the route. It was not going to be an easy run but I was determined to finish the race safely without any slips or falls.

The route took us through West Side Manhattan where we had to stop for traffic and watch out for slippery spots on the pavement. I was wearing my waterbelt but the water was by now icy cold. I kept sipping nevertheless to avoid dehydration. Midway during the run, the water had frozen, something I realized a little too late when my mouth filled with chunks of ice when I tried to drink the water. My immediate impulse was to spit it out but I swallowed nevertheless, not wanting to do it in public.

I slipped on the ice a couple of times en route, but luckily regained my balance. We finished again at Central Park, and were cheered by the Asst. Director of Team Galloway who took our pictures and video and handed around pretty little pink medals: pink for breast cancer awareness. I am happy I finished the race safe and injury free, rather than take risks by focusing on the time. Am glad I ran for a good cause and did my mite for breast cancer cure and care.

Team Galloway

 

 

 

 

 

I am running the above race tomorrow morning at New York City. This annual race actually takes place at Florida. Interestingly (and fortunately) for people like me, the organizers have provided the option for runners interested in this cause to be able to run in their own neighborhood, or anywhere they choose. The virtual full and half marathon results will be added to the existing full and half marathon events taking place in Jacksonville Beach, Florida on February 21, 2010. Thousands of runners and fans are expected to gather there this year and 100% of the entry fee would be donated to breast cancer research at Mayo Clinic and Care for Women with Breast Cancer.

How does a Virtual Race Work?

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