My goal for the NJ Marathon was to break 3:20. Given the flat course and racing weather, conditions were perfect. Race strategy was to run the first half in 1:40 and negative split the second half. When I signed up for NJM I was still recovering from my knee surgery and seeded myself in a conservative 3:40 start corral. Starting back in corral B may have presented a bigger hurdle than I initially thought. Passing runners and settling into a rhythm took more effort than I wanted to at such an early point in the race. Not sure what it was but I got a side stitch early on at about mile 2 of the race. I have been able to run through those in training before and also was able to for the next 3 miles or so when it subsided.
Nutrition plan was perfect. I kept taking fluids in at every aid station and drinks from my fuel belt. I also took 3 meta salt tablets every hour during the race. I carried 4 gels but didn’t take any as I was using EFS shots instead with water. EFS products have such a high level of electrolytes in comparison to gels that this was a better option for me given my sweat rate.
Anh saw me off at the start and I was also able to see her at mile 2 before she took the shuttle to the finish.
I was seeded with the 3:40 pace group. During the race I was able to pass, 3:40, 3:30, 3:25 pacers and settle in a comfortable pace for the first half.
Pass mile 13.1 I began to feel really energized, especially after a quick pee break. I was able to take more nutrition and let loose. For some reason I felt that this new found boost of energy was a reason to push the pace. For the next 3 miles I was flying on the course. Picking off and passing runners like it was a 10K. This careless maneuver would haunt me later in the race.
About mile 21 my pace had to be curbed due to chest pains. I have discussed those pains with my cardiologist before. After stress tests and wearing a holter monitor at home, he concluded that those are a result of muscle fatigue. Regardless I would not take any chances given the stories and statistics in endurance sports. I slowed by pace down to about a 8ish minute / mile., kept taking in fluids and monitoring my body for the next 5 miles to the finish.
Given the nature of the course being flat and beautiful racing weather, cramps were not an issue for me.
At mile 25 I dug as much as I could to stay sub 3:25 on the day. Just kept my head down and leaned forward to save as much as I could for the finish.
Anh was waiting for me at the finish with the most welcoming smile I could wish for.
All in all a great day of racing in New Jersey.
2012 NJM Medal