Race Recap, Running

Rutgers Unite Half Marathon 2018 Race Recap

Hi friends! As I said on Monday’s post, here is my race recap from Sunday. Enjoy πŸ™‚

Of all the nights that it was just me home last weekend, Bailey ended up throwing up at 1:36 am on Sunday morning. So my good night’s sleep was a little sleepless going into the race. Not a huge deal at all but I woke up extremely tired and just wanted to sleep. I knew I couldn’t so I got up and moving and my stomach started to hurt. And it wasn’t nerves since getting my typical pre long run breakfast of peanut butter toast down was a very slow process. But it all happened and then it was off to Rutgers.

Rutgers Unite Half Marathon 2018 Starting Line

I opted to park near the finish line and take the shuttle over to the start. Maybe it was because I went to Rutgers so I knew where to park but I found it super easy to find a good spot. Either way getting the shuttle was super quick and it got to the start fairly quick. Once the bus dropped us off, it was maybe a quarter mile walk to the start line. I shed my sweatshirt and was COLD so I opted to keep on my old windbreaker. The weather was not ideal. The temperature started around 47 degrees and got colder as the day went on.

I ran into the corral and tried to get towards the 2:00 pacer but it was hard so I started behind the 2:30 pacer. Not that it really mattered to me since I wasn’t going to rely on a pacer but it was a little annoying. The race started exactly at 8 am which I appreciated and we were off. I’m not sure how many people ran the race but it was crowded at the start so my first mile was a 9:27 minute mile.

Mile 2 included and overpass which wasn’t too bad. I felt like I was getting into a groove and was staying around a 9 – 9:10 minute pace which was part of my plan. Then the wind came. It wasn’t just a little wind either but strong gusts. I just tried to maintain my pace and push through which was a little disheartening when I saw my pace creep up into high 9 minute miles. But I kept with it and tried to get under 9 minute when the wind wasn’t there.

Rutgers Half 2018 4

Once complaint I had about the race was that my watch never lapped for the mile at the mile markers the race had set up. My watch always lapped early so I think the course was long. I had ideas on the range of times I should be at miles 3, 7 and 10 in order to achieve my goal of finishing in under 2 miles. When my watch lapped the 3rd mile, I wasn’t at the mile marker so I wasn’t sure if I should base my goal on my watch mileage or the mile markers. Since it was only mile 3 I didn’t mind too much at that point.


We ran around the Livingston campus from miles 2 – 6 and the wind was prevalent throughout those miles. My body starting warming up so I threw the gloves I had on off since my hands were starting to get really warm. There was no out and back points on this part of the course which I appreciated and it helped my mental running game. I crossed the 7 mile marker around the time I needed to be there in order to finish between 1:55 and 1:58. Then we started going back to the Busch campus and ended up going back to the start line. I loved passing the start since music was playing and the song that was on helped to pump me up. Less than 6 miles to go at that point!

Once we went across the start line in the other direction, the wind picked up again. I was still feeling really strong and just kept my pace under 9 minutes when there was no wind. We went along Route 18 on the pedestrian bridge then ran down to a park. This is where my mental game started to suffer. The course at this point was a fairly long out and back in a park. Okay maybe it wasn’t that long but it felt long. We ran past the 11 mile marker which was on the other side of the course and I saw a bunch of people running in the opposite direction towards the finish. But it got me going a little bit since it meant I was close to the 10th mile and had just over 5k to go. My legs started to feel heavy at this point as well.

The entire race, I planned on picking up the pace at mile 11 and keeping it under 8:40 minutes paces for the last 2.1 miles. But that didn’t happen. With the discrepancy between my watch miles and the race mile markers, I wasn’t sure if I would break 2 hours. Mentally this sucked. Then the wind picked up so I was running into it as we went through the turn around and were on the way to the mile marker. It slowed me down for sure since at that point I was over 11 miles into the race (since my watch was always ahead of the mile markers) and the wind hit me hard. I started thinking about all of the speed workouts where I absolutely crushed the paces I was given and the long runs I did. Thinking back, there was only one run in this training cycle that was horrible. Honestly I got upset. I thought my hard work was going to go all out the window.

Rutgers Half 2018 1

Shortly after 11 miles, I decided to put my watch on the clock screen. Every time I glanced at my pace I just felt discouraged. I kept telling myself that all I had to do was keep running and I would finish under 2:05 if I just kept moving. Would it have been the time I trained for? No but I still would have been okay with it, although I’m sure I would’ve been upset initially. Around 12.25 to 12.5 miles in, I decided to check my time. I saw I was at 1 hour and 54 minutes. I said if I could pick up the pace then I would make my goal. My legs didn’t want to move faster but I knew I’d be more upset if I didn’t try.

So I picked up the pace. It was hard at this point. My legs were tired and I wasn’t 100% positive in my ability to finish in under 2 hours. But I kept going. Clearly I pushed because I thought I was going to throw up in the straight away to the finish. My mind just told me that I can throw up once I gross the finish line and I’m not missing my goal because I got sick in the last little bit of the race.

Rutgers Half 2018 5
The clock is based on the gun time so I was anxiously checking my watch.

The entire last quarter mile or so was a guess if I would make it. I crossed the finish and my watch gave me a time of 1:59:45. My parents and Alex were all tracking me and texted me congratulations. I was happy but I asked them what my official time was. It was 1:59:45. I did it! I finished in under 2 hours! I was so happy I could have cried except I was so tired that I couldn’t even do it.

After crossing the finishing line I just put my hands on my knees and tried to catch my breath. When running stopped, my body got so cold. I believe the feels like was in the 30s at that point. I grabbed my medal and two water bottles and kept walking. They were giving away foil heat blankets. Had it not been windy, I think this would’ve helped more than it actually did. Luckily I had a sweatshirt in my gear check bag so I put it on and then pinned the blanket around me. You guys, my fingers were freezing! I was mad I threw my gloves off mid race and wished I had kept them on.

Overall it was a good race with some strong winds. My biggest complaint was that I think it was longer than 13.1 miles. My watch said I ran 13.32 miles. I kept to the inside of curves and tried to run in the center of the course the entire time. Going a little over a set distance makes sense but almost an entire quarter mile longer? Seems like a long course to me. If I went by the miles on my watch then the half marathon time would have been 1:57:49.

Rutgers Unite Half Marathon 2018 Finisher Picture

The thing that went well was that I didn’t give up. I pushed even when my legs were tired and my mind was telling me I would fail. Yes I gave into those negative thoughts a bit but I didn’t give into my legs. I took a break from checking on my pace and just focused on running. That helped combat the negative thoughts and I think it part of the reason I achieved my goal. My fueling was on point. Like in my long runs, I took one every 30 minutes so I ended up having 3 with water throughout the course.

Chip stats: 13.1 miles in 1:59:45 for a 9:06 minute pace.
Watch stats: 13.32 miles in 1:59:45 for a 8:59 minute pace.
I was 57th out of 180 for my age group, 240th out of 1022 females and 822nd overall with 2432 runners.

Question of the day: Have you ever run a half marathon?

26 thoughts on “Rutgers Unite Half Marathon 2018 Race Recap”

    1. Thanks Deborah! I get running a little farther on a race but it just felt like the course in general was long. Oh well though! I can’t complain too much since I hit my goal which I’m really happy about.


  1. Congrats on the sub 2! I know and miss that great feeling of accomplishing a race goal and I’m very happy for you.

    I have some unfinished business with some big (to me) milestones when I get healthy.


  2. Woohoo! Awesome job! Two things I hate: my watch not lining up with the course mile markers and wind. Sorry you experienced both in one race! This race will be good motivation in the future. I once ran a half in the snow and now I always tell myself if I did that, then I can do anything!


  3. MAJOR CONGRATS!!!! Oh my gooodness, you look so strong in these pictures, and athletic cute for sure. I always look like a trainwreck in my race pics. Hahhaha. So proud of you! Aren’t races the best?! I’ve ran three halves. Most recently was last year in Sausalito- such a beautiful race if you are ever looking for one in CA. ❀


    1. Aw thank you so much Mackenzie!! I tried to hide my “I’m dying” face when I saw a photographer πŸ˜‰ I love the feeling of racing so much! I want to try doing some runcatations as all the cool Instagramers do. I’ll definitely check that one out!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, amazing job on your half, Maureen! It sounds like it was tough mentally and physically (as any half would be… it’s 13.1 miles of running!!) but you pushed through strong and did amazing! Love all the pictures and I’m so happy for you!! Seriously, this is a huge accomplishment!


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