Monday, November 19, 2012

The New York / New Jersey Challenge

I ran 5k yesterday, 3.1 miles.  It was the longest I had run since my injury 6 months ago May 2012.  In fact, my last "real" run before my injury was the Ocean Medical Center 5k, where I PR'd at 23:48.31, or 7:40 pace.

Yesterday I was much slower, at 10:23 pace, barely shuffling along at times I felt, but I could not be happier!  I'm back!  I'm running!  And it feels great.
But I have to be much smarter, and I'm doing my best to be careful, listening to my body, planning ahead, and not doing too much at one time, and not accelerating either my pace or my mileage too fast ... at least that's the plan.

Because of my injury, I missed several races ... the most important of which was the Atlantic City Half Marathon, this October 2012.

I was there this year, as I had had the hotel booked and everything, but I was a spectator.  It was initially to be my first Half Marathon, (officially anyway, I have run a 2:04 half marathon in training), and although I was disappointed in not being able to run, by the time I was standing at the finish line watching everyone go by, I was ok with it, and at that moment I knew I would be back.

Running had to be put on hold for a couple of weeks at least ... as Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey Shore pretty bad ...

It hit very close to home.  My own immediate family and home were out of power, heat, and hot water for more than a week, but we were the lucky ones.  Many of our friends and coworkers lost their homes.  It has been almost a month since the storm hit.  The effects and the damage will last a long time, but the Jersey Shore is rebuilding.  At a time like this running seems almost inconsequential ... strange that I started this whole running thing by running up and down the boardwalk, and my regular route eventually became running down to Point Pleasant Beach, up and down the boardwalk, and back home.  Now much of that route is wiped out, as you can see from the above videos.

I am now, as I mentioned, starting to run slowly, and I did find a short place to run close to home.  I like the idea of running towards a goal ... and yes my ultimate goal, and the purpose of this blog, is still to run the Goofy Challenge (marathon and a half 39.3 challenge) in Walt Disney World January 2014.  To get there I did set a couple of goals along the way ...

I spent a couple of days looking to racing calendars (check out running in the usa) and racing schedules to find at least one half marathon and one full marathon that I can train for and run before training for the Goofy.  My idea is to do a half in february or march 2013, on the way to training for a spring marathon.  I did find a spring marathon, the New Jersey Marathon!  Which is perfect as it's a spring marathon, and happens to be right here on the Jersey Shore. After a lot of considerations with my own work schedule and everything, I looked at some half marathons : the Red Rock Half Marathon in Las Vegas, the Rock n Roll Mardis Gras Half Marathon, even the Williamsburg Half Marathon.  Those would be destination races I guess ... there is the E. Murray Todd half marathon here in new jersey also, but it looks small (field wise) and hilly.  At this point for my first real half marathon, I want something somewhat festive, and big, and especially after an injury, I want it to be flat if possible.

Then by chance I saw a link for something called the New York / New Jersey Challenge, and immediately I knew I found what I was looking for.  Basically if you run the Allstate 13.1 Marathon (in Flushing Meadow, NY):

AND you run the New Jersey Marathon,

then you have completed the NY / NJ Challenge and to boot you get a third medal ...

AWESOME.  This is perfect for so many reasons.  The 13.1 Marathon is close by in NYC, right on target in March 2013, with training for the May 2013 NJ Marathon, which is right here on the Jersey Shore, and the NY/NJ Challenge might just a preview of the Goofy Challenge!

I'm so excited.  For my training, I'm following my own modified version of Hal Higdon's Novice 1 Marathon training program.  It's written as an 18 week gradually progressive program with 3 maintenance runs during the week, and I long run each weekend with a "step back" in mileage every 3rd weekend.  I'm modifying it to make it longer, for even more gradual acceleration, and may even skip one of the 3 mid week runs for more rest time.  We'll see how it goes.

But it's going.  Yes!

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