Race Recap: The New Jersey Marathon (Running in Relentless Rain!)

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I just ran my 44th marathon and collected my 35th state in my 50 state goal.

The New Jersey coast is beautiful, unfortunately it rained the entire 26.2 miles and I was underdressed (I was trying to be minimalistic in my packing).

I have never been so cold during a race!

Other than that, it was a great marathon. Here’s my recap . . .

The New Jersey Marathon

12377654_1056357647747728_4324986805671961590_oThe 20th annual Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon was held on May 1, 2016 in Longbranch, NJ. This marathon gets good reviews in regard to its course, organization and fans.

Pre-Race Expo

The race sent out good pre-race emails and communication. I drove 5.5 hours from Northern PA where my family lives to Oceanport, NJ.

The expo was held at Monmouth Park Racetrack (which opened in 1870) for a few hours on Friday afternoon and evening and all day Saturday. Or you could pay extra to get race day packet pick up. They also offered race deferment if you couldn’t run the event you signed up for this year.

It was a medium sized expo with a good number of vendors. I talked to Katie and David at the Generation UCAN booth and got a sample of the cinnamon bar and the new Chocolate energy flavor.

Saying hello to Katie at the Generation Ucan booth.

Saying hello to Katie at the Generation Ucan booth.

I also met up with MTA listener Stephen Banderfield who was pacing the 4:40 group. He’s a hard core runner who had just finished a 100 miler a couple weeks back. If you saw him at the race he was easy to spot with his psychedelic running outfit.

MTA listener Stephen Banderfield

MTA listener Stephen Banderfield

Race Morning

The race started at 7:30 am and they recommended that you get there early to avoid traffic congestion and to get through security. Since I purchased a $5 parking pass I parked in the Monmouth Park lot. It was then a quarter mile walk to the starting area.

You could only bring the clear plastic bag from the expo through security and they didn’t allow any bags in the finishing area either. Fortunately the lines moved briskly.

The pre-race set up was well organized and you could wait inside the main building or in a large open area with a good supply of port-o-pots. The lines were very short for these (which always gets high marks in my book). They also had a table of water set out for runners and offered a drop bag option for gear that you would want post-race.

The race corrals were well controlled with volunteers and there was a wave start with a horse racing bugle call before every wave. Even though the half and full marathon started together there wasn’t any course congestion and the pack of runners got thinner after the half marathon split off just before mile 12.

The Course

The course was a flat point to point course with just a couple overpasses which technically couldn’t qualify as hills. It went through beautiful neighborhoods and there were many spring flowers and trees in bloom.

There was a long out and back section with a lot of twists and turns from miles 17-21. We ran by The Stone Pony in Asbury Park which is a historic music club known for launching the careers of some famous musicians. We also ran through a building that was built on the boardwalk.

During much of the final miles you can see and hear the ocean. This is the first marathon that I’ve seen a dead crab out on the course. The race finishes on the Long Branch Boardwalk with beautiful ocean views. The time limit was 3:15 for the half marathon and 6:30 for the marathon.

Aid Stations

The aid stations were located every 1.5 miles and were well stocked with water and sports drink. Three aid stations were had energy gels and bananas. The volunteers were all friendly and encouraging which really helped since the weather was dismal and there weren’t a lot of spectators out. They did have some DJ’s out playing music at various intervals. I fueled with my usual two servings of Ucan before the race and two that I carried in a small hand-held bottle.


Finish Line and My Experience

IMG_1428The Weather
The weather was in the high 40’s at the start of the race with a light misting rain. Unfortunately I was not well dressed for the conditions even though I did have a throw away shirt which I wore until mile 5 (I spent the rest of the race cursing myself for not tying it around my waist).

My hands were cold and numb by midway through the race and my arms and legs were red with cold as I was wearing a singlet and running skirt (again, poor planning on my part). I was envious of all the people who were wearing gloves, jackets and anything that looked warm. I even eyed some of the throw away gear on the ground a few times but didn’t pick it up because it was soaking wet.

The rain stayed light to moderate for most of the race and there were some very windy sections, especially in the later miles by the ocean. I kept thinking that on a slightly nicer day that I would be loving the course.

This song kept me going.

My Goals
My main goals going into the race were to finish, not anger my touchy hamstring and have fun. I think I accomplished about 1.5 of those goals.

My hamstring was hurting by mile 20 but it was so cold that I tried to limit my walking intervals for fear that I would freeze in place.

I distracted myself by observing people and seeing runners who were worse off than I was (including some getting into the ambulance, several men with bloody nipples, and one unfortunate woman with a code brown). A DJ was playing a song around mile 23 which I found to be a bit ironic. The chorus said something about “what to do when the love is gone.”

My finish time was 4:33:10 for my 44th marathon and 35th state.

Total number of runners:

  • Marathon= 1,952
  • Half= 4,018
  • relay= 142
  • 5k= 407
  • Robert Dennis, age 30 of NJ, was the male winner in 2:33:16. In the women’s race, Greta Sieve, age 28 of NJ, was the winner in 2:53:06.



Trying to Get Warm
There wasn’t a very impressive spread of post-race food by the time I got there. I saw sports drink, water in these cool boxes, bananas, soft pretzels (which were hard and cold), squeeze packets of fruit/protein, salt water taffy and some bars that were gone by the time I got there. I was wishing for something warm to eat or drink. They didn’t have any heat sheets either which was a bummer as I was desperate to get warm. The medal was really nice with a spinner.

There was a changing tent for women and one for men. It felt good to get in some dry and warm clothes but my fingers were so frozen I had a hard time untying my shoes and getting into my compression pants and hoodie.

I met up with Anna and Maria post race- they came out from NYC to cheer me on despite the dismal day. Anna is a coaching client of mine who had originally signed up for the race but ended up deferring.

Massages were available post-race and there were vendors with other food options for sale. I didn’t really check any of this out because it continued to rain and I was very motivated to get back to my car and be warm and dry. There was about a half mile walk from the finish line to the shuttle buses. By the time I got on the bus and then from the bus to my car it felt like I had done a lot of post-race walking. I then had the 5.5 hour drive back to my sister’s house and of course it rained the whole way.

With my coaching client Anna Miyaji after the marathon.

With my coaching client Anna Miyaji after the marathon.

Running in the Rain

It helps to be prepared with more outfit options for varying weather conditions. If you’re traveling to a race it is important to bring more running gear in case of a weather change.

  • With arm sleeves you can easily modify the warmth of your outfit and compression socks or sleeves can help with leg warmth.
  • A thin pair of gloves can go a long way to keeping your hands warm (and you can even hang on to them if you’re unsure whether you’ll need them later)
  • Wear layers! Throw away clothes are a must and a black garbage bag can help keep you warm up until the start. You can always tie the long-sleeve shirt around your waist if you’re unsure if you’ll need it again during the race. I saw some people who wore their garbage bags or rain ponchos the entire race.
  • Wear a hat or visor to keep rain out of your eyes.
  • Wear well fitting and tested running clothes.
  • Extra wetness can be a recipe for more chaffing so apply extra anti-chafe ointment (Body Glide or the equivalent). I saw several guys with bloody nipples probably due to the cold and rain.

28 Responses to Race Recap: The New Jersey Marathon (Running in Relentless Rain!)

  1. Shawn Behrle May 13, 2016 at 8:58 am #

    I loved the song at end of this episode. Could you please tell me the title and who sings it?

    • Angie Spencer May 13, 2016 at 9:03 am #

      The song is “It’s Not Over Yet” by for King & Country 🙂

      • Mitch Goldstein May 14, 2016 at 6:49 am #

        Thanks. I also liked the song and I’m getting it. I can see that sticking in my head.

  2. Deena Rocco May 13, 2016 at 4:09 pm #

    Angie – way to hang in there with the weather! My buddy did it too and he was very cold also. I use UCAN as well.I take 2 or 3 scoops before the marathon, but have not figured out how to refuel with it during the marathon. What do you do? I do carry water on a fuel belt. The hammers gel don’t alway set right in my stomach later on during the marathon. Thank you!

    • Angie Spencer May 14, 2016 at 10:42 am #

      Hi Deena! I’m glad your buddy survived the cold wet weather too. For my race fueling I carry a small 8oz bottle with 2 servings mixed in water. Then I take 2oz at miles 5, 10, 15 and 20. You could probably put your concentrated UCAN on the fuel belt. Good luck!

      • Patty July 29, 2016 at 10:08 pm #

        I’m exploring using GenUCAN for my marathon training currently. Do you mean 2 servings from the tub or 2 envelopes? I really need to nail down my fueling before NYC Marathon! 🙂

        • Trevor Spencer July 30, 2016 at 9:16 pm #

          Hi Patty! 1 packet = 1.5 scoops from the tub approximately.

  3. Misty May 14, 2016 at 6:54 am #

    Where did you find that Marathon Map!?

    Love your podcasts and I always hope to see you one day at a race!

  4. FJD03 May 14, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    Ran NJ Half Marathon (2X) and full Marathon last year. Trying to get back to running after injury plagued year.

    Hope to get back there next year!!

    • Trevor Spencer May 14, 2016 at 10:36 am #

      Thanks for the comment! We hope you get back in action soon.

  5. Tom Porter May 14, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    Being cold is one of the most miserable feelings. Luckily, I have never run a marathon in a cold rain. Congratulation on surviving a marathon under tough conditions. I use the race expo to buy any gear that I need for the race that I didn’t pack. Unfortuately it sounds like race conditions changed too quickly to anticipate.

    • Angie Spencer May 14, 2016 at 11:56 am #

      Thanks Tom! At the next expo if there’s even a hint of rain I’ll be there buying up all the warm gear 🙂

  6. Deanna P May 14, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

    Congrats on the race! I just recently started listening and reading this blog-just love it. Thank you for the motivation as I am on the journey to 50 marathons/50 states as well! This was 18th marathon (4th time running this race). Agree with you that It was so frickin’ cold and post race food-HUGE disappointment. Finished in 4:45 and was happy with that time considering the dismal conditions and that I do a spring run for distance not pace. Next marathon Marine Corps in October and look forward to following the MTA for improving performance.

    • Trevor Spencer May 14, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

      Thanks Deanna, it’s great to have you on board!

  7. Dawn May 14, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

    Angie – I could relate to your experience that day. I also run, but that same day I was in NYC participating in a 40 mile bike ride called the Five Burroughs Ride. It was a fantastic experience, but the weather made it more challenging. The first twenty miles was not too bad, but the second half was wet and cold. I finished without too much complaining and was thankful not to have fallen on the wet roads. I feel like I can tolerate any weather now on a run or a ride.

    • Angie Spencer May 14, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

      Congrats on completing that 40 mile bike ride recently! Cold windy weather seems even more intense when you’re on a bike. But things like that do raise the bar of your endurance. Keep up the great work!

  8. Howard Elakman May 14, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

    The most important thing to remember in a marathon is that water on the outside does NOT equal water on the inside. To many people get dehydrated running a wet marathon.

    • Trevor Spencer May 14, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

      That’s a really great point!

  9. Brian M May 14, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    Congrats on completing 35 states Angie!! Your map is filling up nicely!! The NJ marathon was my first half in 2011 and my first full in 2012! A course that’s dear to me because I have summered in that part of the Jersey shore since childhood!! I still do!! I run that race every year and would’ve loved and felt privileged to meet you! This is the first year that I missed because I was away for Passover vacation. My luck!! The course is amazing with ocean breezes and small town quaint homes ,and of course the famed Stone pony!! It’s definitely a different race in the sunshine. Come back and do it again some day!!!!

    • Angie Spencer May 14, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

      Thanks Brian. It’s awesome to hear that the race has some great memories due to the fact that it was your first half marathon and marathon. The course really goes along some very beautiful areas. Maybe we’ll meet up there some time in the future or at another race 🙂

  10. Ray H. May 14, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

    Hello Angie and Trevor,

    I have listened to the MTA podcast for the past 1.5 years and like the great work you have put together. A thumb up to both you and Trevor.

    I was in the NJ marathon as well. It was my 2nd marathon and I PR about 30 mins (My first marathon was the NYC Marathon last year on Nov, the goal was… to finished 26.2 miles, and not try to run fast).

    The NJ Marathon was a fun experience but also a brutal one. I couldn’t imagine running in the rain for almost 5 hours and like you said it was windy and freeze. The good thing was that I could still finish the race.

    The most pity moment during the race was my phone suddenly died at mile 25.xth, I took a picture of every mile mark (1, 2, 3…25.), and therefore I couldn’t snapshot the last precious moment in the race (Thanks to Apple…).

    The post race was even funnier, I stood in front of a fancy restaurant near the finish line and begging people so that I could use their phone to contact my wife who was suppose to meet me at the post-race area, but it turned out her phone died too (went straight to voicemail…). Thank you to Apple Again… Luckily, we found each other after 15 minutes of random search in the rainy and freezing day. What an experience!!!

    My sister-in-law ran her marathon debut in this race too. She surely got hooked, and she is going to do the NYC marathon this year. More races for her.

    As of me, I just started my training for the upcoming Chicago Marathon, and looking for another PR on Oct 9th.

    • Angie Spencer May 14, 2016 at 3:26 pm #

      Hi Ray, Congratulations on finishing your 2nd marathon in New Jersey and for the great PR. You certainly endured some challenges with both the weather and your phone situation. If you’re like me you were wondering if you’d ever be dry again 🙂 All the best with your training for Chicago!

  11. Andrew (FitRegularGuy) May 17, 2016 at 10:24 am #

    I live in the area and have now run the NJM twice. It’s a reasonably well-organized race, but I have a huge issue with the level of security. It’s unwarranted and makes life difficult.

    By “launching the careers of some famous musicians,” you mean BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN!

    IMO, there were a pretty good number of spectators considering the weather. Have to hand it to them.

    • Angie Spencer May 17, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

      Hi Andrew, You’ve definitely got more first hand experience with the logistics at NJM than I do. I guess I can’t fault races for being cautious (maybe even overly so) after the Boston bombings. However, I did think not allowing any bags in the finishing area was a little excessive. I’m always very impressed by spectators out in inclement weather (and the fortitude of the volunteers who have to stand there too). Regarding the Stone Pony I also heard that Bon Jovi’s career was launched there too.

  12. Carol May 20, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

    Never heard that song, so it’s going straight onto my play list. Not that I listen to music much any more when running, but on the odd times I do.

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