Sunday, June 30, 2013

Union Beach 5K (Union Beach, NJ)

It's hard to believe that it's been just over a week since I ran my fifth 5K! Life has been crazy in more ways than one (but that's another post), so I'm just now getting to write the recap for this race!

If it wasn't for Hurricane Sandy back in October, this race probably wouldn't have happened. Union Beach was one of the harder hit areas when the hurricane hit the Jersey Shore, and there are still signs of rebuilding. This race was a fundraiser for hurricane relief, as well as showing that the town (and its people) aren't going anywhere.

As soon as I saw this race on the Jersey Shore Running Club page, I was sold.

Heat and humidity seemed to be the story of the training cycle, and race morning was no exception. I woke up at 7:00 that morning, and the humidity was about 85-90 percent. Nonetheless, I was still going for the PR.

Once I got to the race site, it was the usual walking around, staying loose and hydrated before lining up for the start. I also took a few moments to remember the real reason for the race: Restore the Shore and staying U.B. Strong!

Soon enough, it was lineup time. There were no timing chips, so there was no start mat, just two Jersey Strong flags as the start banners. I stood in about the middle of the pack. This was a BAD idea, and soon enough, I will learn this lesson. There were almost 600 runners, and as a result, a crowded start.

Next thing I knew, we were off! My fifth 5K was underway!

My adrenaline level must have been a little too high at the start. I completed my first mile around 10:25, my fastest mile ever! Again, I started too fast, which seems to be a lesson I never learned, despite having this experience at every race I've done. 

Oh, and on another note, I saw Cassie, my kickboxing instructor, and a Union Beach resident (one of the lucky ones who didn't see much damage to her residence) about a half mile in. "Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf was playing at this point. I wonder if this is supposed to mean ;-)

Anyway, once that fast first mile ended, the humidity started to take its toll on me. My second mile was about two minutes slower than my first, and the thought of a PR was slipping away. At that point, I told myself that no matter what, this was a dream just two years ago, and that no matter what time I finished, it would still be a finish!

My third mile felt a little faster, but still slow. The last stretch of the race was on a (paved) trail, and since it was the end of the race, the trail felt endless, of course.

But soon enough, I found enough strength in me to sprint out the last few yards, and felt great crossing the finish line! I knew I didn't get the PR, but still felt strong, given the humidity that had slapped me in the face that morning. 

I got my official time a few hours later. Since there were no timing chips (my only complaint about this race), everyone had the same start time. From the official start to finish, I came in at 36:47, just about 2:00 short of a PR. If conditions were perfect, I would have gotten it, but given the humidity, I was pleased with that time. I also realized that I'm still rebuilding my running this year as well. 

Overall, this race was amazing. For an inaugural event, it was super organized, which was surprising in a good way. It also amazed me that almost 600 runners came out for this, which shows just how much impact this small town has on the "Restore the Shore" movement. Again, my one complaint was the lack of timing chips. If there were chips, I may have gone further back in the pack, but I made the best of it. The course was fast and flat, so if this race happens again next year, I plan on running it again!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Friend Makin' Mondays: How Do You Celebrate?

It's been awhile since I blogged (busy life, both good and bad, but that's another post), but I saw this Friend Makin' Monday topic, and I just had to post on this one!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

How Do You Celebrate?
1. When is your birthday?  August 7, just less than two months away!
2.  Do you like to celebrate it or do you prefer to keep it quiet? A little of both. I definitely do something around the time of my birthday, but sometimes the day is quiet.  
3. Have you ever had a surprise party?  No, but I would love one. Only problem is people being in the same place during the summer!
4. What sign are you?  Does it represent you well?  I'm a Leo. My sign fits me well. Plus, I love lions!
5.  Do you tell the truth about your age?  Yes, I’m 27, and people are shocked at that (like my 17 and 18 year old co-workers)
6.  Share your best birthday memory. 25 in Atlantic City.
7.  Share a few item that could be on your birthday wishlist.  Kindle Fire HD, gift cards to practically any clothing store in the world, Downton Abbey season 3 DVD, and a Garmin Forerunner.
8.  What is your favorite kind of cake? Oreo or Snickers cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. A VERY rare treat for me.
9.  If you could be anywhere on your next birthday, where would you be? Tough call. Either on the beach or NYC. I'll probably end up at the gym in the morning though at least. ;-)
10.  Do you make a wish when you blow out the candles?  Of course. =)