RR in a nutshell: Pleased as punch!
RR out of the nutshell:
I heard about this race through my friend Melissa, who ran it last year. It was appealing to me for a few reasons: it’s a 5-miler (a distance you don’t find too often), it was very reasonably priced ($20 race day reg! I felt like I was time traveling back 10 yrs, it was wonderful!) and, most important of all, last year’s race shirt featured a Piping Plover on it! I did not know if the shirt would remain the same this year, but it was definitely work a looksie to find out!
Race morning I walked around the house complaining about how hot it was going to be (August apparently needed a text book August day for its Wiki entry or something, because hellloooo hot and humid!) and contemplated just running on my own, since I prefer to run about 2 hrs earlier than the advertised 830 am start. But then I realized that there would be no possibility of a plover shirt if I ran alone and since misery loves company, I figured I’d better join the festivities so we could all suffer together, as God intended.
I made the short drive over to the Town Bank Fire Hall in Lower Township and could tell by the organization of the registration tables that these people knew their stuff. I am a stickler for organized races – I will literally swear off races that I think were executed poorly (with a very dramatic “Good day, sir. I said, good day!” in an English accent. I just think that makes it the most believable, you know?) but will be a friend for life to races that do! It’s a tough skill to master and I am very much impressed by RD’s who do it, not matter the size of the field. This race felt like a well oiled machine, and that gave me my first glimmer of hope that this could be a fun morning, and not just a suffer fest. The second glimmer was more of a “halleluiah, shoot sunbeams from the sky!” when, despite it being only 10 minutes to the state, the volunteers still had small PLOVER shirts!!!!!! Yahoo!!!! Now I knew for sure that come what may, this race was instantly put on the Kashi race rotation. A plover shirt every year? Yes, please!
Buoyed by plover love, I stepped to the starting line of the race. If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to stand among a sea of hot bodies before a run, see the picture below. Cozy!
Within minutes, the gun went off and so did we! They had a great turnout, despite the conditions, which again speaks for the reputation of this race (loyal racers are always a good sign). We made our way through about a half mile of shaded, neighborhood streets. So far, so good!
We popped out of the neighborhood and started on the out and back portion that would make up the majority of the course along Beach Drive. We were greeted with awesome views of the bay and a stiff breeze! I had decided prior to the race that I would treat this as my tempo run for the week. I had not time goals in mind, just wanted to give a good effort and gauge my fitness at this point in my marathon training. As we hit the wind, I alternated thoughts of “thank you, wind gods/pressure gradient force” (hey, whatever your beliefs are is a-ok by me!) and “the way back is gonna be brutal so better make hay now!”.
There were some awesome spectators out on the course. Granted, this was not the Chicago marathon, but when you have locals with hoses and adorable toddlers handing out water, it literally feels like the same thing. Thank you, water-bearing family! You guys were the best!
Next came the dreaded turn around point at the ferry terminal.
As expected, it was not pretty! As I was running back towards the runners who had not yet made the turn, I felt like a frail old lady seeing vivacious teenagers and wanting to yell, “Enjoy it! Enjoy it while it lasts!”. This, however, would have taken more energy than I had to spare, so I turned up the GaGa and got to work. I was more than halfway, but feeling the effects of the humidity and a faster pace than I was used to. But this is where I highly suggest ultra training to everyone – it just provides such a good yardstick by which to compare everything else! So instead of thinking “ugh, 2.3 miles to go!”, I thought “whew, thank god it’s only 2.3! Remember that 26 miler training run where you started feeling terrible at mile 8 and had to say to yourself ‘ only 18 miles to go!’?. So the moral of the story is to take 6 months out of your life to train for an ultra and then these lil races will feel like nothing! You are welcome in advance for such solid training advice 🙂
I got too tired and sweaty to take any pics on the way back, so just imagine this next part – I ran under 2 hoses, doused 3 cups of cold water (well done race organizers!) on my head, drank a few tiny sips since my tummy was not impressed, and hauled some ass (relative ass, that is, not Olympic-style ass) to the finish line, where I happily chugged the cold water that was presented to me immediately leaving the chute (again, love these volunteers!). 41:40 was the official time and Garmy said I ran my miles progressively faster, starting with an 8:45 and inching my way down to a 7:47. After months of no speedwork, I’ll take that, thank you Garmy!
After I cooled down a bit (meaning my face went from purple to red), I headed inside to check out the spread. Yes, in addition to all the other great aspects of the race, they also had fruit, coffee, pancakes and sausage after! Plus fantastic raffle prizes (like Lucky Bones and spa gift certificates).
I can’t eat right after running, but I wanted to stay and be social anyway, so I found a chatty table with an empty chair and proceeded to have a great conversation with a running club from Pomona, called the FAA Tech Center Runners as I unabashedly dripped sweat all over the place. Normally I would be quite abashed in this situation, but considering nearly everyone around me was in the same predicament (body.must.cool.down) I felt just fine about it.
After having my fill of conversation, I ended my time north of the canal by hitting the farmer’s market at the ferry terminal and scooping up some peaches, apricots, blueberries and the most incredible cherries ever (for real, GD and I took a group vote and it was unanimous). Awesome way to replenish what was lost during the race!
I definitely recommend this race for anyone who:
a) loves running
b) loves plovers
c) loves pancake flat courses
d) loves pancakes
Thanks to all the volunteers and folks who put on a great event. Job well done, can’t wait til next year!
Have you ever run this race? Wanna run it together next year?
(PS if 5 miles is too long, they also have a 2 mile run/walk option!)
Can you eat right after running?
What is your trick for keeping cool when it steams up?