A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I headed north to hike Splitrock Reservoir in Rockaway Township in North Jersey. We narrowed it down to a few hikes, but the Splitrock Reservoir won out. We usually use the Alltrails App to find what we are looking for. The hike itself was supposed to be about 11 miles, but we think we might have cut off a mile or so. We heard Splitrock Reservoir was a beautiful hike, so we decided to drive up.
There is about 20 spots to in the parking area and parking lot. After starting the hike, you actually turn left onto Split Rock Road and walk over a dam to get to the beginning of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference trail. While the hike starts on a dirt road, you quickly exit and get onto the Splitrock Reservoir trail system.
Splitrock Reservoir is rocky with elevation change almost every step. You don’t have a lot of steep climbs, but you are either climbing or descending nearly every step. There were also water crossings, and they’ve added rope to help you across.
Before our hike at Splitrock Reservoir, it hadn’t rained much, so the water level was high. About 5 minutes into our walk, it started torrentially downpouring. We thought it would clear up, but it didn’t. It was a soggy but enjoyable hike. In case you wondered, I used the Hoka Midi Speedgoat which kept my feet dry the entire time.
Several factors made Splitrock Reservoir a challenging hike:
While it was challenging, we did both enjoy ourselves.
Can you tell it’s raining on the Splitrock Reservoir?
Last week was an interesting week of training for me. Towards the end of the week, I didn’t feel great and for a number of reasons I skipped racing.
7.5 miles easy
60 minutes easy
60 minutes easy
Workout: 3X8 min intervals with 2 mins recovery
60 minutes easy
80 minutes Easy with a friend
6X800s (splits ranged between 3:01-3:06)
This workout didn’t go as well as I would have liked. I didn’t feel good the entire day. The track ended up being closed that morning, so I had to do the workout on the road. Generally, I like to do that more, but, I was hoping to get on the track. Some of the 800s were up minor hills, into the wind or with a tailwind. It was more similar to an actual race but lacked consistency.
3X8 minute intervals with 2-minute break (6:23 pace)
6:23 is my PR half marathon pace from Carlsbad and this workout definitely tested me. I can’t say I felt great, but I was able to make the intervals. Feeling bad and making intervals is a lot better than feeling good and not so I’m pleased with how the workout went.
The rest of the mileage was easy. Instead of racing the Loop Run (one of my favorite low-key races), I ran with my fellow spouse Katie on Sunday.
Next week the plan is to taper for the Dallas half marathon. I’m hoping to be around 1:24 and my workouts have shown on a perfect day, I could be. Judging by the weather of my racing during the last year perfect days are not on my horizon. I’ll be happy with a more successful race than the Philly half.
Last Saturday I ran the base half marathon which was also called the “Beat 539 half marathon”. The full marathon runs along Route 539 and if you have to run faster than 5 hours for 19 miles.
The full is USATF certified, and on a good weather day, it’s a fast course (minimal wind, blocked road, flat). Since there were several races that weekend: (Atlantic City as well as the Perfect 10 Miler), all of the races had a small turnout. There were about 200 people who ran the half marathon and 100 that ran the full.
My dad came up as well last weekend to visit. Together we drove to Lakehurst base for the start of the half. Since it was on base, the entire car was searched back to front. (Even though we were both military). When we got there, we headed to the fitness center where the other runners were. Around 7:30, everyone headed outside. I had no idea why and by the time I knew it, we were the only ones in the building.
I didn’t want to head outside, but I also didn’t want to be the only ones inside. It was pouring rain, 40 degrees and windy. Once I went outside, I realized everyone was walking close to a mile (yes a mile) to the start line.
After getting to the start line in the pouring rain, the race was postponed. There was flooding along the course due to the storm and the race director informed us there were sections that were completely flooded over. By 8:30, I was freezing, miserable and not even wanting to run. For those who don’t know, I don’t run well in the rain. I would rather run when it’s 100 degrees than when it’s 40 degrees and rainy.
Unfortunately this year alone I’ve run Shamrock half marathon, Broad Street 10 miler and this race in the pouring 40-degree rain. So life is trying to make me love the rain. Due to my luck, I bought a Gortex jacket and haven’t looked back.
To the race: once we started at 8:41, I was cold and miserable. I wasn’t warmed up, and I didn’t feel good. My goal was to run 6:40-6:50 the first half and try and hammer down after that. Due to weather, I wouldn’t be disappointed if that didn’t happen.
I felt stiff during the first two miles. My legs were tired; I was shivering, and I was just trying to warm up. I was running in a pack of about four people. There was one male leader ahead followed by my pack. The course went through a few rolling hills, and I ran a 6:40 then 6:43.
Around mile 3, I found myself with one other male. We were running alone with the first male way far ahead. It was the last time I would run with anyone. Around mile 4 I left him and ran the entire race all by myself. That’s what happens with small races, though.
From mile 4-6, we were running on a couple different runways and roads. It was a lot of side wind and not much view. It was boring, lonely and honestly mentally challenging. There were no spectators except several military personal passing out water every other mile.
I noticed cones going in the opposite direction, and I was excited. It meant that there was an out and back portion and I would get to see other runners. Out and back courses typically motivate me and seeing other runners motivate me too. I’m a talkative runner and people cheer for me; I cheer for them too. Out and back courses generally pump me up.
As I headed around mile 6, we entered a soft muddy ground. I assumed this would be the portion that was flooded over and caused the delayed start. The next mile was muddy were soft. My feet sunk in but it wasn’t flooded (yet). Then I saw the flooded section. There was no way around it, and I just closed my eyes, cursed about 20 vulgar words under my breath and charged straight through. It was about ankle deep.
There was another flooded section, and I charged through that too. After that, I mentally regrouped. I hit the halfway point in 43:40.
My A goal at the halfway was to drop the hammer and negative split the race.
My B goal was to maintain the same pace and be under 1:28.
My C goal was to finish because and not have a situation like Shamrock earlier this year. As you can see, that race haunts me.
And then for me, the race began. The second half of the race went by much faster than the first. I ran mile 7 in 6:16 and I began feeling confident. I felt as if I had finally warmed up. Mile 8 and 9 were both at 6:16 too. Since I was running the race entirely by myself, there isn’t a lot to say. I could see the overall male about 30 seconds in front of me. I wanted to catch him!
During mile 11, we rounded a turn, and I could see the finish line. Since the base is open (Lakehurst is a flight base so there are very few trees and you can see for miles), I could see the finish line 2 miles away.
The finish line is at the moment of the famous Hindenburg disaster. Before the race, I actually did not realize that happened in New Jersey. The blimp hanger is huge (over 300 feet tall and 900 in length), so you can see that for a lot of the race.
It felt like we were almost done, but anyone running a half marathon can tell you, 2 miles is a long way. I guess I was overly motivated and ran a 6:07 11th mile.
As we rounded a turn into mile 12, it hit me. It began hailing, and there was a significant headwind. It was blowing me backward as I tried to progress forwards. Except mile 16 at the NYCM, it was one of the hardest miles I’ve run. It was windy, hailing and I could see the finish line. It just wasn’t coming any closer.
My effort was still high but due to the wind, I ran the last mile in 6:40. Finally, I crossed the finish in 1:25.29. I quickly grabbed warmed clothing and changed afterward.
After racing Runners World 5k and Half last weekend, I wasn’t expecting to be faster. With the weather, I got everything I wanted out of the race. If you are looking for a flat, fast marathon, I recommend it.
Questions for you: Rain: Love it or hate it? What is the smallest race you’ve run? How about the biggest?
I think the Run from the Sun half in Watertown, NY was a little smaller but this is one of the smallest halves I’ve run.
During training runs, if the conditions are too miserable like sleet, ice, or torrential downpours, I’ll run inside on the treadmill or rest. However when it comes to race time, either you race, or you don’t. Thinking Out Loud, I do have a few favorite products that I like to use. These are all personal products I use and I’m not getting paid to promote any of them.
Key Factors to Running in the Rain:
Tighter fitting clothing. The clothing won’t get “as heavy” during a run.
No cotton. With cotton anything you will chafe and blister, and it will be painful.
My favorite hat is the Shamrock half marathon, and my favorite visor is a Headsweat brand visor with my work store logo on it. I struggle with migraines if a hat/headband is too tight. Before 2016, I never realized how much hats help.
When running, I prefer a tight fitting and seamless top. The less chafing, the better.
As I mentioned, this jacket is worth the cost. It’s my most expensive piece of rain gear and my single favorite piece of rain gear. It kept me dry in the downpour of Broad Street. I believe if I wasn’t wearing the Gortex jacket, my race would have gone differently.
I prefer spandex bottoms because they don’t hold too much moisture. I also prefer spandex that doesn’t become see-through in the rain. So far the Saucony Bullet shorts and capris as well as the Lululemon running shorts. They are thick enough, when it rains nothing is exposed.
Last week, I mentioned using thinner socks while running. Why? Your feet are probably going to get wet regardless of how thick your socks are. Thinner socks aren’t going to hold as much water and lay against your feet.
As long as you don’t use a cotton sock, you are significantly less prone to blisters but using a thinner sock reduces that risk even more.
As I mentioned, I do prefer the CEP low cut compression socks. You can see CEP compression and socks on 99% of my race photos…
Other Helpful Items:
Bodyglide: To be honest, you can never have enough body glide.
I received these products from RockNBlog at no cost. However, I’m not being paid to review them.
Pack it Sport, Wet Dry Bag, and Shoe Holder:
I’m not sure if RockNRoll knew the Weather was going to be disgusting for Spring Racing, but the EagleCreek lockers have come in handy. The bags themselves are antimicrobial; odor controlled, water repellent and machine washable. At both Shamrock and Broad Street, I immediately threw my running shoes into the shoe locker and my wet clothes into the Pack-It Sport.
It kept them away from my dry clothes and away from me. I recommend these to anyone. I’ll probably take mine to the beach this summer too.
Quick Packing List for a Rainy Race:
Tight fitting seamless top
Tight fitting bottoms
2 Pairs of thin socks
Plastic bag to put cell phone in
Bag to Put Items in
Full dry outfit: Sweatshirt, top, bottoms, socks, and shoes. Don’t forget underwear!
Last weekend I was supposed to race 2 miles in the open water. My dad and I have done this race the last four years and Matt joined last year. As you can see from the title, I didn’t swim.
After waking up in the morning on Saturday, I saw it was pouring rain. I thought it was summer time and I’m going to be swimming in the water anyways so it really didn’t matter. As long as it wasn’t thundering or lightening they weren’t going to cancel the swim. Dad, Matt and I went to the ferry station got marked up (I was lucky number 7) and boarded the ferry. By the point of being of the ferry I was already pretty drenched. My clothes (including rain jacket) were soaken wet. My core temperature had dropped a little bit and I wasn’t warming up. If anything I was continuing to get colder.
The swim itself goes 1 mile out into the Long Island Sound and then 1 back. You get into some deeper, colder and more choppy water out into the Sound.
I was bundled up but poor packing on my part was also an issue. I had known it was pouring rain (my two eyes showed me that) and thought a rain coat and sweats would have sufficed. IThough even both of those were not enough as the rain had soaked through my cotton sweats and I could have used a sweatshirt under my rain coat to protect me from the wind. Maybe if I had had appropriate and rain pants and had been able to stay warm I could have done this race. The wind blowing directly onto the island made the temperatures feel colder (though it allowed huge negative splits for the racers…both Matt and dad had great races).
At 8:20 (with a race start of 8:30), I made the executive decision not to swim. I was shivering before entering the water and being cold before a swim race for me, is like being thirsty before a road race. Nothing good can come out of it.
Was there a possibility I would warm up during the race and all would be fine? Yes. Was there a possibility that I could come out of the 2 mile swim, half delusional and hypothermic as I did 3 years ago? Yes and that is something I never want to repeat in my life.
Preblogging world I did this race three years ago and came out hypothermic. The conditions were similar and I had thought nothing of it. My body and core never warmed back up despite swimming two miles. I had come out of the water unable to talk, half delusional and was immediately assisted into the medical tent. I really don’t know how I finished the race or the next series of events. What I do know is that I layed in the 90 degree sun with the medics for about an hour before warming up enough to be able to talk coherent sentences.
I don’t need to write a novel about how serious hypothermia is and I will never regret not doing this swim. Am I bummed? Yes of course but I don’t regret it. I could have easily decided to risk it made it a mile out, gotten so cold that my body shut down. Would I regret being in the water then? Honestly this isn’t a big deal for me. Many people DNS races for various reasons and I’m not going to cry and whine about it.
What could I have done differently?
Wind breaker and hoodie underneath a rain jacket to protect myself even more from the rain and wind. Even then I’m not sure I would have been able to maintain a high even core temperature to start the race.
I’m upset, sure, but I know I made the right decision and I can’t live my life worrying about individual races.
Questions for you:
Have you DNS a race before?
Obviously this race but there was a road race a couple of years ago that I didn’t do as well. My legs were feeling very injury prone and I had no interest in risking it.