Sunday, May 19, 2013

Superhero half marathon 2013 race review

Donna and I love to rope new people into becoming Pro Oxygen members.  We got some new recruits together and ran the Superhero half marathon in Morristown, NJ in May 2013. We had originally planned to do the Ride to Montauk that weekend.  But they moved the date of the ride to June because of issues with their permits.  Since we had the day free, we decided on the Superhero half. 

Donna decided to convince her friend Lindsay to do her first race.  After a night of a few drinks, we had Lindsay sold on the idea of running and dressing up as superheroes.  A few days later, I asked Donna if Lindsay had run anything before like at least a 5k.  Donna laughed and said "she does not even own sneakers."  But Lindsay seemed determined and Donna had resolved to go with her to get proper sneakers.  Donna also talked her friend John, was lived in the area, into doing the race.  Lindsay roped her friend Bri in as well and we had a super team ready to go. 

We all signed up on via their website  The website had all the relevant information.  Packet pick-up was at the Morristown Running Company.  John picked up all of our packets and t-shirts after work.  The shirts were tech material.

The night before the race: 
John and Jen live in Denville and were very gracious hosts.  They invited everyone to come and sleep at their house the night before the race.  I drove Donna, Lindsay, and Bri out to NJ on Saturday night.  Jen made us a delicious pasta dinner complete with regular and whole wheat pasta, meatballs, and garlic bread.  

We started discussing what everyone was planned on wearing for the race.  My costume was pretty easy.  I just bought some red and yellow spandex.  I had made a Supergirl S by layering the spandex which I applied to my royal blue running top with fusible webbing and double stick fashion tape.  I sewed myself a red circle skirt  out of the red spandex and added a yellow belt.  I also made a red headband and painted the Supergirl symbol on with yellow glitter fabric paint.  To finish the look off, I cut out a red cape and pinned it to my shirt with safety pins.  

My inspiration

Donna decided to be batgirl.  She was not too excited about the costumes at first.  But the day before the race, she got on board and was excited.  She had bought a bunch of craft supplies to whip something together.  However, the batman shirt she had was Dark Knight Batman with a metallic Bat symbol.  She really wanted the old school bright yellow bat symbol to match her belt she had made out of yellow duct tape.  Lindsay was working on an Ironman costume.  She mentioned something about spray painting gold lines on her red shorts in her shower at home but she was not happy with her costume.  Bri had a Supergirl t-shirt.  John did not have a costume.  Us girls decided this was not acceptable.  Clearly, he had to wear something superhero. 

 I asked if there was a Walmart in the area figuring them would have some sort of superhero t-shirts.  Also Donna and I have a superstition about wearing a temporary tattoo to a race.  I did not have any tattoos with me and I figured I could fine some kind of something at Walmart.  Our tradition of wearing tattoos started when Donna and I did the Montauk triathlon.  She did not have time to do much training.  But we stumbled on some temporary tattoos at the Montauk General Store.  She joked that she would be fine if she just wore a tattoo, no need for training.  Since then we always feel better running with a tattoo in place.  

After dinner, we piled in the car and headed to Walmart.  On the hunt for items to spruce up their looks.  Lindsay found  this great t-shirt that could make her a mini-Ironman.

We managed to find several superhero options.  John decided on Green Lantern.  Jen even decided to get herself a Wonder Woman shirt.  Donna was able to find her old school Bat symbol.  I found a great deal on temporary tattoos.  They had packs with 4 sheets worth of tattoos for like $5.  I stocked up and bought a few packs to save for future races.

I had planned to sleep at my parents house so I said good night and headed to their house.  The rest of the gang was apparently up pretty late working on their costumes.   

I meet them at the start of the race.  Parking was on the street so I got there early to find a spot.  I managed to park not too far from the start.  The weather was yucky.  It drizzled to poured most of the day.  We managed to get a few pre-race photos. 

Tats on, ready to go!

The start:
Most people dressed in costume.  There were a lot of Wonder Women, Supermen, Captain Americas and Batmen.  It is a mass start.  It was getting near start time so we figured we should head over to the start line.  All of a sudden people were off and running.  I guess they had some kind of start pistol or horn but we must have missed it.  I am a bit surprised they did not have an announcer or anything.  But we followed the crowd and off we went. 

The course:
The course is a double loop course.  The first loop is a little bit longer than the second.  Around mile 2 the course turns into Loantaka Park.  The path continues until about mile 4.  I liked this part of the course because I like running through the woods but I hate trail running.  The path was paved, so that was perfect for me, but it was little narrow.  The first loop it was a little bit of a tight squeeze in the park but by the second loop it had thinned out.  There were a few small hills and one big hill after coming out of the park.  The problem with a double loop course is that I knew I would have to go back and do that hill again around mile 11.  

Because of the rain and being sweaty, Lindsay and I lost parts of our costumes.  I decided to peel my S off after about 3 miles because it was hanging half off.  Lindsay was losing bits and pieces of her costume as she went along.  But Donna and her got a chuckle out of running by her lost pieces on their second loop around the course.  

Course support:
They had mile markers every mile.  No time clocks.  There was water every 2 miles.  A few of the aid stations had Gatorade.  There were a lot of port-a-pottys at the start and a few on the course but I don't remember where.  All spectators were localized within a mile or start of the start/finish area.  So you got a good cheer at the start, at the halfway point, and at the finish.  But I actually enjoyed selection that was quiet run through the woods.  

John's wife Jen came and cheered us on the whole time.  Considering the fact that it was raining I kind of expected her to drop them off and then just come back 2 hours later for the finish.  But she was a great sport and stood outside with her umbrella the whole time.  She managed to get pictures of us when we came around for the second loop and was waiting for us at the finish line.   What a trooper!

I'm always happy to add some more bling to the collection

John did great for his first race and finished in 2:08:13.  I came in next at 2:16:27.  Donna paced Lindsay and they came in 2:52:58.  Bri did not finish because she had injured her knee before the race. It was really bothering her and she stopped after the first loop.  She was training for a Spartan race and did not want to risk injuring it worse.  

After the race we went back to John and Jen's house and relaxed in their hot tub.  It was a great end to the day.  

I thought I would have done better than I did.  I felt good the whole race.  I probably could have push a little more.  There were no clocks on the course and I did not use tracking.  I think if I had used tracking I would have pushed a bit more.   But it was a fun race.  Great to do it with friends and always more fun in costume.  

The wrap-up:
Pre-race info- B+
Packet pickup- A
Overall organization- B-
Course- B-
Swag/post-race food- C
Medal- B
Theme- A
Surrounding area- N/A