I found out about this race four weeks ago, when I ran the Spring Into Summer 5K. I took a card with the website, and gave myself a few days to think about it.
Three days later, I had signed up for what would be my third race in a seven week span.
This race turned out to be a different experience than the first two. For one, I wasn't going crazy picking up my bib/timing chip and shirt on race day (Bib was sent about two weeks ago, and I got my shirt yesterday.)
It was also huge! My first race had a few hundred, the second was slightly more, and this one was anticipated to have close to 2500 runners! (I'll have more on that part later in the post.)
Everything this morning was in routine. I woke up at my usual race day time (6:30), ate my Cherrios and skim milk, checked Twitter and Facebook, and I left an hour later.
I got into Red Bank about a half hour before the start. It was a lot of mingling in the general area of the start until race time (8:30). Everyone was kind of scattered until we lined up for the start, which was PACKED. This was how close I was to the start line (indicated by the checkered flag, which I circled in yellow)...
...and this is how far back it goes.
Well, I can't say exactly how far back, but you get the idea.
Among the usual pre-race speeches, they announced that we would be running over Tower Hill. I just thought to myself, "Okay..." (More on that later).
Next thing I knew it, the national anthem was sung, and we were off! My third 5K was under way!
Well, after about 20 seconds. There were so many people that I had to walk to the timing mat. That's right, walk. A lot of people had the same idea, and very few started running until after crossing that mat.
Mile 1 was fast, and even with a walk break or two, I felt strong. I clocked in at 10:30, according to my watch (I think the clock time was 11:15-11:20, but I was going with my watch). I walked through a water station (part of my cup went on me =/), then kept running.
Mile 2 was a little slower, but I still felt strong, clocking in at 22:00 (clock time of 23 something; this mile was a bit of a blur, honestly). Just after that water stop, here came Tower Hill.
I was not anticipating the hill at all, and ended up walking up the hill. Although, I wasn't the only one who did this. It was steep, but it felt shorter than I thought.
After I went up, I pretty much came sprinting down, almost rolling. I ended up slowing down after a bit, since I knew flat road was coming up again.
It was at this point where I knew a PR wasn't possible. The hill slowed me down considerably, and took a lot out of me.
Anyway, after a few more minutes, the race came back on to Broad Street, and the finish line was in sight. I ended up sprinting into the finish (with Chris Brown's "Yeah 3x" playing before I had to take off my headphones). Clock time was 36:44, but my official time was 35:51.04, just less than a minute slower than my PR.
I kind of have mixed emotions about it, since I was going for a PR, but I didn't anticipate running the hill, which I might have known about if I checked out the course beforehand (which I didn't get the chance to do), so I'll take it and be proud of it.
Looking back, I think I'm more upset over not getting a medal (which the registration form said all finishers would get), since they ran out just before I finished. At first, I was upset because I ran too slow to get one, but I got over that kind of quickly. I did have a good, strong race and enjoyed the experience.
Of course, there was the usual post-race spread of food. Foccacia sandwiches, chips, bagels, and probably more. I did get a cup of mango yogurt, but that was still a struggle to eat. I found out I'm one of those runners who can't eat for a few hours after a race.
I think I'm taking a few weeks of of running, since there's no races around here until September, and I kind of want a break. I guarantee this is not the end of my racing journey by a long shot!
Thank you for the love and support again! It means a lot to me!