New Jersey Marathon Recap Part 1: All the Pre-Race things!

This is officially the longest I have ever taken to get a race recap up. I blame life. Things have been a little strange over here between work, craziness in Baltimore, and some personal things going on (which I will get into at some later date when things are a little more stable) and from the bottom of my heart I would like to thank everyone who has sent me an email, Facebook or text checking in on us. Betty and I are fine. The events that have been shown on television are mostly occurring about a 10-15 minute drive from our house so I personally have felt pretty safe, but I have some friends who haven’t been quite so lucky. Hopefully everything will be restored to some sort of normalcy soon.

All that said, imagine my shock when I arrived to my hotel in Asbury Park, NJ last Saturday, turned on CNN and Baltimore was all over the news. Pretty unsettling for sure.

Anyway I started writing this recap with the intention of getting it all in to one post, but by the time I started talking about the moron who pulled the fire bell at my hotel the night before the race, I realized that I should probably spare everyone the novel and split it up over a couple days.

Up until pretty much the last minute I still wasn’t sure if the New Jersey Marathon was going to happen for me. After a few well-placed rest days I finally made the decision to go for it with absolutely no time goal in mind although it would have been nice to pull of something similar to Bob Potts last year. I’ll just tell you right now…that did NOT happen. Not anywhere close. And I’m fine with it.

The Expo


The Expo for the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon & Half Marathon was held at the Monmouth Park racetrack. Despite the fact that New Jersey won’t let you make a left turn pretty much anywhere (WHY IS THAT!?!) I was able to locate the venue easily and picking up my bib was a breeze.


Hey look! My real name! I should have gotten “Salt” on the bib.

The premium was a little bit on the bland side and didn’t even mention anything about a marathon at all, so I purchased an extra shirt, a magnet which I am now proudly displaying on the Fiat and some strawberry Shot Bloks. The Expo was probably pretty small by most larger marathon standards (definitely way smaller than Baltimore), but it was well-organized and they had pretty much everything I would have needed at that point.


I made my way to Asbury Park where my hotel was located about 6 miles from the starting line and right across the street from a boardwalk area. Shortly after I got myself organized I went out for a short run to get my legs acclimated since I hadn’t been out much in the past couple weeks at all. The weather was a bit breezy, but beautiful and this run felt spectacular.


I had never run at a beach before and it was awesome.

Then I showered and as has apparently become my tradition for my pre-marathon meal, I found myself a local Olive Garden and proceeded to completely destroy some bread sticks. I even ordered the same thing that I did last year before Potts, whch hilariously enough was the last time I was even in an Olive Garden. This was at around 4:30pm which admittedly was a bit early for dinner, but I was starving after the long, toll-filled drive up.

The hotel I stayed in was nice enough; the room was huge and the bed was comfy, but when I stopped back in briefly after dinner I noticed a strange and familiar odor from the side of the room where a locked door was likely adjoining the room next door.

Someone was most definitely getting as high as a kite in that room.

And I started to get a little concerned that if they continued what they were doing, I was going to be high as a kite as well. There was a wedding being held in the hotel  as well and I’m assuming it was some of those guests having a good time. Either way I debated on getting my room switched, but ultimately didn’t because that was the last I smelled of Cheech and Chong next door.

I rounded out the rest of the evening with a stroll up and down the boardwalk checking out some of the buildings that still bore the scars of Hurricane Sandy.


I even stopped into a Mexican restaurant for a (half) a beer. Then it was back to home base to try and relax. First it was time to organize Flat Salt.


See those gloves there? I went to put them on the next morning and I had grabbed TWO FREAKING LEFT GLOVES when I was packing. So I didn’t use the gloves.

Then I took a bubble bath, put on my pajamas and was about to climb into bed when right around 9:00 pm all the fire alarms in the building started to blare. And they needed all of us to clear out.


I BLAME YOU, CHEECH AND CHONG!! But seriously it was probably some dumb drunk wedding guest. I hung out on the curb with another girl who was running the marathon the next day complaining about how we really should be asleep right then. As if I was going to get any sleep anyway.

At least I had Ella to keep me company.


My sweet Betty sent her to Jersey with me to bring me good luck. Isn’t she the best?

And this concludes part 1! Coming up tomorrow…the stuff you really care about! (Including meeting Charissa!!!)

I hope everyone had an epic weekend filled with fun and beautiful weather and if you raced (because I know a LOT of people did!) I hope it was awesome!




67 thoughts on “New Jersey Marathon Recap Part 1: All the Pre-Race things!

  1. Annie at says:

    Ahh! At least the fire alarm was at 9PM rather than 2AM – it could have been worse. The beach looks gorgeous! Where did you stay? I was in Asbury last summer for a wedding and I stayed at the Berkeley. Matt and I ended up missing the post-wedding transportation back to the hotel and had to walk 2 miles up the boardwalk/beach (I was in heels & then eventually barefoot, ouch!) to get back to Asbury. The boardwalk area was really cool to see though. 🙂

  2. afastpacedlife says:

    I’m really glad that you and your family are safe and away from the danger in Baltimore.

    I remember seeing a tweet or Instagram about your having to get up in the middle of the night. 😦 Unfortunate, but at least everyone in the hotel was safe and it was a false alarm. When I lived in the dorms many years ago, I remember having to clear out when the alarms were pulled and a few times it was right before I had a final.

    Betty is the sweetest and the greatest.

  3. Mar on the Run! says:

    I’m dying over Cheech and Chong!! lmao. I had one of those in my townhouse complex many weeks ago but luckily after one time (and one complaint) no issues since. I too am an Olive Garden fan pre-run. I’ve gone a couple of times – you guessed it – at the beach! looking forward to part 2 of your recap!! 🙂 thinking of you in Baltimore.

  4. allisonfiorini says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. Pot and a fire alarm all in one night? I can’t wait to hear part 2!! In the fall, a friend and I went to Rhode Island for a Half Ironman and there was a dog barking until like 2am – in a hotel that didn’t allow pets. It was THE WORST night’s sleep ever but ended up being a great race. I hope your story has a similar ending. Looking forward to hearing about the race!!! Sounds like you had a great attitude about everything so far!!!

  5. Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles says:

    First Cheech and Chong then a fire alarm, I would have been less than thrilled, but you handled it well!! And running on the beach is amazing, I wish we lived near a beach, I like to run along the Boston harbor in the mornings and its great, but the beach would be awesome!! I am glad you are safe with all the craziness going on, that is truly scary and sad! Have a great week my friend and I can’t wait to read part 2! xo

    • runsaltrun says:

      I wish I lived near a beach too! Well lived near a beach again because I used to in California. I could always run past the nasty harbor here if I wanted to. 🙂

  6. klregan says:

    Haha! It’s always fun to be next to a room that’s partying it up, especially the night before a race. Sorry that you didn’t get much sleep! At least you have a good story to tell.

    I’m glad to hear you and your fam are ok, given all the craziness in Baltimore. Be safe, dude!

  7. SuzLyfe says:

    Reminds me of the midnight/3 AM fire alarms in dorms. Like WTF first of all.
    Second of all, I lived in a single, had a really heavy door, a sound machine, and a lofted bed: thus not only did I sleep through it (I was a very good sleeper at the time) but nobody checked to make sure that I got out. So I think I only actually participated in 1 or 2 of the night time alarms hahahaha

    • runsaltrun says:

      They used to do them overnight for us in the dorms too! Never did I ever sleep through them though. I kind of wish I had. I’m glad it wasn’t a real emergency and no one forgot about you!

  8. sarahdudek80 says:

    What an adventure! Between the aromas and the alarm you had quite a night going on. This race and the festivities does sound like a ton of fun though. But no left turns? That is odd. And the not being able to pump your own gas is an odd one too!

  9. FLRunnerBoy says:

    Nice post Salt! And once again I’m so glad all of you are safe and we’re far enough away from the danger zone

  10. Sam @ The Running Graduate says:

    Olive Garden sounds like theee best pre-race meal. I know where I’ll be going before the Baltimore 10!
    It definitely sounds like you had quite the night. I can’t believe someone was stupid (or drunk/high) enough to pull the alarm. I can’t wait to read your race recap!
    It’s great that you live a little ways away from the city. I was so sad to see all of the turmoil going on down there on the TV.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Those breadsticks. I could eat them every day. It’s probably good that there isn’t an Olive Garden too close to my house!

      Thank you, friend. It has been total craziness here, but they lifted the curfew over the weekend so hopefully things will be cool from here on out!

  11. charissarunning says:

    I love that Betty sent you Ella for luck 😀
    Funny thing is I went to Olive Garden last year for my pre-race dinner!! Carb-loading at its finest ❤
    Can't wait to read more about your whole entire experience and I'm glad you and Betty are doing well and safe. All that Baltimore stuff has been crazy.

    • runsaltrun says:

      She is the sweetest girl ever. ❤
      It has definitely been beyond nuts here and I'm glad things seem to be back to normal now. It was so crazy watching it all go down on CNN from NJ!

  12. Nora @ 2 Generations Running says:

    Well that’s definitely an interesting start to your marathon weekend! I’m glad you and your family are safe, I’ve definitely been thinking about you with everything in the news. Glad things are beginning to settle down…

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thank you. I’m happy that I wasn’t near enough to the action to be directly affected, but it has been a real hard time for some people I know. I’m just glad things have calmed down.

  13. Chaitali says:

    Aw man… I’ve read a couple recaps this past week about a fire alarm being pulled the night before a race 😦 Don’t they know runners need to sleep, or at least pretend to sleep !?! I’m glad you’re all doing well and I look forward to hearing how the race went.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I’m sure whoever did it did not care at all about anyone having to run a race the next day. Real cool, right?? Ugh I hope to never have that experience again!

  14. Jessica @ VEGGIE RUNNING MOMMA says:

    sounds like an eventful time with everything that went on. lol
    can’t wait to hear the rest of your recap than 🙂

  15. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine says:

    Ugh I would have been so mad if someone pulled the fire alarm the night before a marathon! How inconsiderate! I was in NY last Saturday and started getting all these text alerts from the University of Maryland about how they wanted everyone to shelter in place. Considering I have lived around the block from there 2 weeks before, it was really unsettling.

  16. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes says:

    Such a bummer about the fire alarm! I would have been so pissed. I love running at the beach, I need to do it way more often! Can’t wait to read the rest!

  17. Sun says:

    Olive Garden breadsticks sound like the perfect pre-marathon fuel to me! I can’t believe someone pulled the fire alarm right as you were getting ready to sleep. What luck the night before the marathon 😦 Looking forward to reading about how the race went!

  18. Change of Pace says:

    So cute that Betty sent her doll along with you! And bummer about the fire alarm!
    Lol- if we’re somewhere there is an Olive Garden, we always eat it the night before the race, too!!

  19. Jennifer says:

    Oh my gosh – I had a Cheech and Chong (and company) in the hotel next door for the Philly Half – glad it cleared out! So sweet your Betty sent along the doll.

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