OCNJ Half Marathon Race Recap!

by Her Happy Balance on October 7, 2015

Hi, friends – happy hump day! Today I’m checking in with a recap of the half marathon I ran recently in Ocean City, New Jersey. This race just seemed like fate! I had 13 miles on my schedule for that week and it also happened to fall on the weekend that the pope was wrecking havoc in Philadelphia. So I took myself on a little pope-cation down the shore to run a race!

Ocean City, NJ Half Marathon Race


I went into this race viewing it as just another training run for me. I didn’t plan a taper week before it – I had run 8 miles on Wednesday and 5 miles on Friday leading up to the Sunday race. I did, however, do a lot of baking that weekend and carb-loaded on some cookies 😉 Apparently white chocolate and cranberry cookies make for some excellent running fuel!

OCNJ Half Marathon outfit

Flat Leslee was all ready to go the night before! {You can find most of my race day gear on my recent running must-haves post.}  One of the perks of doing a race on a small island is being able to drive from home to the race location in 10 minutes or less. I set my alarm for 6:55am and planned on leaving the house around 7:30am to get a good parking spot. Parking was free before 8am, and the race was slated to start at 8:30, so it was good motivation to arrive at the location early. I had half of a Kashi Pumpkin Spice Flax Bar as some pre-race fuel about 2 hours before and was all ready to go. My entourage of supporters tagged along to watch me take off from the starting line.

OCNJ Half family photo

The race course was pretty familiar to me. If you are knowledgeable of the Ocean City area, you’ll know that runners tend to enjoy going over the new 9th street bridges. So we started by racing up and over one of the two 9th street bridges, then came back down, went out into the gardens and followed the boardwalk and beach from start to 36th street. It was an out and back course and we ended at the Music Pier right around 9th street.

2015 OCNJ Half Marathon course

The weather was cool in the low 70s with lots of wind. The wind was super helpful on the first portion of the run, but I had to run back into it for the last 3 miles or so. There were plentiful water and Gatorade stations throughout the course, manned by very enthusiastic volunteers. While there weren’t a ton of sideline supporters, seeing the ones that were out there was really fun and encouraging. About 3 or 4 miles in I knew I was aiming for a PR kind of day. Most of my miles were kept in the 10 minute mile range with a couple in the 11 minute range.

OCNJ Half Marathon

I crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 24 minutes and change! The RnR Philadelphia Half Marathon {my first half!} I completed almost exactly one year ago with a 2 hour 43 minute finishing time. Needless to say, I was pretty stoked to have cut that time down a bit. I was also pleasantly surprised as my recent long runs have been averaging much slower speeds. I guess I owe the good time to the cool weather, mostly flat course, and adrenaline!

Running in OCNJ Half

{Race Photo – crazy race hair, don’t care!}

The finish line swag was incredible. Seriously, I have never seen a race give out SO much amazing stuff before! I was greeted with my medal, a cool, wet towel, water, and a keepsake water bottle as I meandered down the finish line shoot. Then I stood in line for my post-race refreshments and found so many of my boardwalk faves! Johnson’s popcorn, popsicles, Dot’s donuts, scones, fresh oranges, Wawa fruit drinks, Philadelphia soft pretzels, two different types of board walk pizza and a goodie bag filled with granola bars, Shriver’s salt water taffy, and a banana were waiting for me. I literally couldn’t hold all of the food and had to pass on the pastries. It was such a nice treat to have such a vast selection of refreshment options at the finish. I should also note that the volunteers gave out Hammer gels along the race course, I nabbed one but didn’t end up needing it…more fuel for later!

OCNJ half post-race refreshments

I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed this race! I think ~1500 people signed up for the half and ~1100 actually completed it, so it was on the smaller size. There was also a 5k and non-competitive 10 mile walk/run option. The volunteers were awesome and so enthusiastic. The route had some great beach and water views. And you could tell that the race organizers really put a lot of time and effort into ensuring it was a success. I definitely want to sign up for the OCNJ Half Marathon again next year!!

OCNJ Half Marathon

Best post-race snack you received?
Favorite competitive distance?
Do you like to travel for races? Or do you prefer to stick to local events?

Comments on this entry are closed.

Jessie October 7, 2015 at 5:40 am

Big congratulations on hitting a new PR. What an exciting day. I may not comment often, but you’ve come so far within the past year. You should be incredibly proud of all the accomplishments you’ve achieved. Keep shining!

Her Happy Balance October 7, 2015 at 8:33 am

What a sweet post! Thank you so much, Jessie! I’ve kind of cut down on my commenting too just because of time, but I’ve been following along with your beautiful girls, also 🙂

Becky @ Olives n Wine October 7, 2015 at 8:00 am

Holy moly on cutting down your time – That’s incredible! I kinda like smaller races. They seem less chaotic and bit more friendly to me 🙂 And best post-race snack? A frozen, chocolate covered banana – so good!

Her Happy Balance October 7, 2015 at 8:35 am

I think I agree with you! It was much more relaxing to roll out of bed and go to the starting line instead of waking up super early, trucking into the city, parking, waiting around forever, running, trekking back home, etc.

Heather @Fit n Cookies October 7, 2015 at 8:28 am

Woo for a PR! It must have been those cookies for carb loading 😉 That’s my kind of carb load! haha That’s so exciting to have a great race like that! You are seriously such an inspiration for all you’ve accomplished this past year!

Her Happy Balance October 7, 2015 at 8:37 am

The magic is in the cookies! It must have been considering how fast they disappeared lol! And thank you so much, Heather!! I really appreciate your encouragement 🙂

Sarah @ Sweet Miles October 7, 2015 at 9:20 am

Good job girl!!!! So was that a PR then?! Woohoo if it was!!

Her Happy Balance October 7, 2015 at 10:52 am

It most definitely was!! 🙂

heather October 7, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Way to go on a new PR. Hard work pays off. I love awesome goodies at the finish line, but that is incredible. I really do not eat food at the end of the race, the smell makes me nauseous. Great race review.

Her Happy Balance October 8, 2015 at 10:21 am

Thanks, Heather!! And yeah, I feel ya – after really long runs I experience some food aversion but the half distance doesn’t bother me much.

Dana April 25, 2016 at 11:00 am

This is only making me more excited ( and still a tad nervous) for my first half! I’m going to follow the same training plan as best as I can. I’ve been feeling in a running/mile rut more recently so I’m looking forward to following a new structure and to see where it takes me. Hope to see you there!

Her Happy Balance April 28, 2016 at 11:17 am

YAY – I was so excited to see you signed up for this race! I had such a positive experience with it. I think they are considering changing up the course a little bit for this year, but in general OCNJ is pretty flat so it’s a great run. It’s also a smaller race which is really fun. Good luck with the training. Try to get in a run over the 9th street bridge for practice if you can.

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