Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Joy Running

Think I run a lot? That's nothing compared to Joy of runjoy.blogspot.com. She is one shore running momma. Here's what she has to say about finding time to hit the road, marathoning, and best run routes down the shore.

1. How long have you lived down the shore?
We moved into the area in 2003. My husband and I lived in South Philly, but we didn’t want to raise our kids in the city. His parents are nearby and he’s spent most of his summers in Ocean City, so it became the logical choice to move down here.

2. When did you start running and why?
I worked with someone who was a marathoner and she introduced me to running in 1998. I’d been running on and off since then, but after I had my first child, it became more regular. I started off by taking my son for a walk with our jogging stroller on the Ocean City boardwalk and, inevitably, he’d start fussing after a little while. I started running again just to get home faster and haven’t stopped since.

Also, my husband knew a lot of the staff at the Aquatic & Fitness Center – they’re involved with a lot of the local races, so I got sucked into those as well. My first long race that I trained for was the 2007 Broad Street Run.

3. How do you fit running into your daily schedule?
I usually have to wait until the kids are in school – there’s a lot of household business that I should be doing at that time, but I’d rather run instead.

4. What's your favorite shore run route?
Depends on how I’m feeling and how far I want to go. For runs less than 8 miles, I’ll hit the OC boardwalk. For my longer runs, I like to go to the Atlantic County park (off Rte 50 in Estell Manor). The park has an out-and-back route just shy of 4 miles that heads into the woods, then loop around the park that’s a little over 2 miles.

5. Most challenging?
When I want to add hillwork, I tack the Longport Bridge to my OC boardwalk run – that usually gets my legs nice and tired. Dodging the bikes & surreys on the OC boards during the season is in itself a good challenge too.

6. Prettiest?
Running through the Lester MacNamara hunting preserve (off Rte 631) is very scenic. It can get buggy in the summertime, but otherwise it’s peaceful & beautiful.

7. I've been talking with a lot of people about shore races this summer. What are your favorites -- in summer and not?
My favorite shore races have been the Labor Day 5-Mile in Ocean City (out and back on the beach starting at 23rd Street) and the Trail of Two Cities 5K in November.

Last year’s Labor Day 5-Mile was during high tide, so that was pretty brutal. It’s still a lot of fun and they have a mile fun run for the kids also. I missed the Trail of Two Cities last year, but am planning on doing it this year. Given it’s on the reconstructed 9th Street causeway, the new elevation should be interesting.

I know I’m missing a lot of shore races – there seems to be a 5k or 10k available practically every weekend in the summertime, which is great. I have this site (http://www.njshorerun.com/home) bookmarked so I can hopefully make some of these this year.

8. Tell us about what it's like to run a marathon.
I distinctly remember thinking at the start of both my marathons (Philadelphia 2008 & New Jersey 2009) that it was going to be a loooonnnnggg day – it’s not a good mindset to have. Someone has said that running a marathon is more mental than physical – I think that’s definitely true. You can get physically ready in the course of 4 to 5 months, but the mental aspect of it has been more challenging for me.

There’s lot of thought that goes into the race. Unlike a 5k where you can just line up and go, the distance of 26.2 merits a lot more considerations, especially when it comes to fueling and hydration. Along with getting your legs physically ready for the distance, the purpose of the long runs is also so you can work those details out for yourselves. Strategies that work for one runner won’t necessarily work for another.

Both times, I hit a point around mile 21 where I was done – I’d get sick and tired of putting one foot in front of the other and keeping that forward momentum felt like an insurmountable challenge. I was in a lot of pain by that point in Philadelphia, but in Long Branch, my legs weren’t in pain (just tired and heavy). Again, it was more mental.

Fortunately in Long Branch, it was raining throughout the second half. I honestly think my time would’ve been slower had it not been raining - the thought of getting into some warm dry clothes as soon as possible was what kept me moving.

Running a marathon is an exhilarating experience – I’ve developed a newfound respect for what I can do. Sure, there are points along the course where I question WHY I’d ever sign up for such a thing, and honestly believe that I would NEVER EVER do it again. But like childbirth, you forget the pain and just remember the accomplishment.

9. And what did you think of this year's Ocean Drive 10 Miler?
I like this race a lot. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a big event with the huge expo, timing chips & all that, but it’s a well-organized and well-supported event. This year’s winds were much better than last year’s, so I probably could’ve pushed the pace a little faster. There’s not always a lot of crowd support along the course, but for someone used to running alone, it’s actually a good thing. If the winds were less of a variable, I’d consider doing their full marathon at one point.

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Mel-2nd Chances said...

great interview :)

Xenia said...

Ditto Mel's comment. :)

Marcy said...

Awesome interview! ;D ;D

FLYERS26 said...

Great interview!
Joy Rocks!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...


Kristin said...

Haha, I love that you started running to get home quicker with a fussy kid!

You've been such an inspiration for me, glad to see that others think the same thing :)

M2Marathon said...

Good stuff! (I started running faster for same kids-in-stroller reason1)

I Run for Fun said...

Great interview! Go Joy!