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Training for Cape May's Ocean Drive Marathon
The Ocean Drive Marathon aka the Jersey Shore Marathon aka the Cape May Marathon alwasy happens at the end of March, which means those of us who wish to participate must begin to plan and train.
By us, I dont mean those who are running.
By us, I mean those of us who stay on the sidelines and offer encouragement to the brave souls who actually choose to run 26.2 miles from Cape May to Sea Isle City without a braying pit bull at their heels.
The point-to-point race starts bright and early in Cape May, in front of Congress Hall, and travels right up the coast, much of it along the Atlantic Ocean, through the Wildwoods, Stone Harbor and Avalon before ending in Sea Isle City.
As an observer, you must plan your strategy:
Are you going to stay in one spot or move along with your runner?
If you choose to move from Cape May to Wildwood to the finish line at Sea Isle City, youll be making your way to the course several times. Make sure you are in shape to drive, then park then walk those blocks.
If, instead you try to pick one observation spot midway (North Wildwood?), you'll be doing a lot of sitting waiting for the runners and, as the day goes on, waiting inbetween runners. Dont put yourself in the position of not having sat that long in years. Be prepared. Practice sitting.
No matter where you'll be, if you plan to stand up to cheer or to dispense refreshments, practice getting out of your chair at least three times, three reps, three days a week before marathon day.
As the big race approaches, cut back on your regimen. Youll need your energy for race day. You might want to get a massage a few days before just to make sure your muscles are up to the challenge.
And don't forget carbo-loading on the day before the race.
A lot of the decisions youll be making in the days before the race are weather-related. Despite your best research, the weather can be mercurial.
Speaking of cheering, prepare a script of encouraging terms: Way to go. Lookin strong. Doing great. Create a list of names. It doesnt matter if you recognize any of the runners.
Try to gauge the age of those that need encouragement.
Shout these names and its likely youll provide someone with the encouragement they need to reach the next town.
If uncomfortable with yelling names, fall back on Looking good, bro and Way to go, girl. The encouragement will be much appreciated.
Visualize race day
See yourself along the course, whether at the starting point in Cape May, midway in North Wildwood or at the finish line in Sea isle City. Equipped with supplies for any contingency. Pacing yourself throughout the day. Staying mentally strong. Listening to what your body is telling you. Youve done the work. You can expect a successful marathon experience.
About Jane Kelly's Marathon experience
Jane Kellys family boasts close to two hundred years of cumulative experience watching others run. Many years ago, her brothers family just happened to move to the starting line of the Boston Marathon. When she says they moved to the starting line, she doesnt mean they moved to the same town or to the same street. You can saunter out their front door and start the race which incidentally no Kelly ever chose to do until 2001 when in a burst of atypical overachievement, her nephew John actually entered and finished -- the race. Generally, however, Kelly family members stay on the sidelines. They are happy to share their experiences to help others make the most of their marathon watching.