Race Report: Coombs/Douglass Bayfront Run

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!

The first of many of these shirts for me. In 7 years I will have one for every day of the week.

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!

Hello runners, let’s do this! Well, once we get going that is. Not much to do yet, we are just standing around sweating so far. But soon! Soon we will do this!

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!”.

Yet another example of how pretty our corner of the world is.

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.

Halfway home!

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).

Nice, right?!

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.

The FAA Tech Center Runners accept a token of appreciation from race organizers.

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!

Come to mama!

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?

4 Comments

Filed under Race Reports

4 responses to “Race Report: Coombs/Douglass Bayfront Run

  1. Kashi, you took photos during your tempo run/training race! Love it! You are starting out your training cycle on such a positive note… see? Good things! I just feel it! 🙂 I can totally relate to that “sea of hot bodies” photo. Let me add the following adjectives: rank and stank. While waiting for the Firecracker 5k to start this past July, I thought I was going to pass out. We were all standing there, packed like sardines, dripping on each other… it was gross. It’s one things to exchange sweat after a race, but before…. ack! LOL! Can I eat right after running… yep. I would say that within 4 to 5 minutes of finishing up my run, I had a juicy peach and a handful of walnuts in my stomach… both consumed while stretching. I don’t waste any time! LOL! At the right HR, I could probably eat a burger while running… come to think of it, I’ve eaten a lot of interesting things during half iron events. I rarely get intestinal cramps during a run; if I get them, it’s usually after either a very hot or a very hard run… sometimes they come on immediately afterwards, sometimes it takes ten to fifteen minutes. I “think” these cramps are more to due some intestinal ischemia, as opposed to food. Keeping cool… it’s pretty much 80F with 98% humidity at o’dark thirty down here and I don’t think ever truly feel “cool.” Keeping my HR down helps (I tend to reach for the HRM more in the summer months to help with this) as does running with just a sport’s bra and no tank– and this takes A LOT of courage on my part b/c my stomach is not my best feature– but it’s worth it. When I was training for my half irons during the summer, I used to shove chunks of ice (or even small ice packs) down my bra and into the liner of my shorts; however, I was doing a lot of these runs later in the morning as transitions runs and it is wicked hot by then (unsafe). With training for stand-alone races, I can get the runs done earlier and seem to be able to forgo the ice packs. Oh my, that was long winded! LOL!

    • I am so jealous that you can handle eating so soon after running! I always miss out on the post race refreshments cause unless it is water, it ain’t happening! Sometimes if they have stuff in bags or whole pieces of fruit, I will nab some for later 🙂 Even during the ultra, I did not stray too far from the straight and narrow – running type fuel (GU, etc), honey, animal crackers and watermelon were favs – i could not even handle swedish fish! ugh!

  2. Linda Kisiel

    Sounds like a great race. Yes, I would love to run it next year. I’ve never run a 5-miler. Great run, Chris. I can’t eat after a run right away, then it’e usually a big bowl of Kashi cereal with blueberries or peaches. To keep cool, I drink, drink and then drink. It cuts some of my time but that’s how i get through the summer runs. I also keep a towel in the car to wipe my face and eyes.

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