It's been almost a week since this race, and I'm just now writing the recap! You would think that since it was an awesome race, I would have done it right away. Whatever. At least it's getting done.
It was in this particular race last year that I wound up with a personal worst, but learned that this whole running thing is about more than making good time. This particular race was about showing that a small town is stronger than a storm. Even though it was a PW for me, I knew that I would be back because it was an amazing event.
Sure enough, I found myself registering for this race a few days after I ran an awesome race in Middletown on May 17.
I picked up my race bib and shirt the night before so I could get Flat Tracy ready as much as possible. Plus, it saves time on race day! I got my bib and there was one thing that made me excited: TIMING CHIP!!
Lack of timing chips was my one complaint about last year's race, and this year, we would be chip timed! For those who are unfamiliar with race speak, chips mean that the runners get timed based on when they cross a mat, instead of just a clock. This wouldn't be perfect (more on that later), but at the time, I was relieved!
As usual, I laid out Flat Tracy the night before, mostly to show what I would be wearing, to make it easier for any of my friends who happened to be spectating (none this year). As you can tell, the Sparkle Athletic skirt stayed! After my then PR in May, I wasn't racing without that! I chose purple for the rest of the outfit, mostly because I loved the shirt that I picked out.
This race started at 9:00, but I still had to be up at 6:30, so I would have time to eat and such before leaving around 8, since the race site was about 15-20 minutes away. I won't bore you with all my ritual crap, since you've seen it all before. Before I knew it, I was on my way to race!
Once I was in the area, I had to park a few minutes from the start, since street parking in Union Beach is really limited. I managed to find a spot in a lot about three minutes down the road, and walked over. Different experience than in the past, but hey, first time for everything?
As usual, after I got to the site, it was all about staying loose until race start. I walked over to the start and noticed that there was no start mat, just one at the finish. Not perfect chip timing, but it would have to do. Again, this was more than they had last year, so it was something.
Unlike my May race, time before start seemed to FLY! It was at that point that I decided that I was going for the personal. Conditions were perfect, and I knew that as long as my body was cooperative, it was possible. I just had to stick to my strategy of running when I felt comfortable, since that's how I trained, and I wasn't sure if the humidity would end up kicking in later (BTW, it didn't).
Soon enough, we lined up, all the usual pre-race speeches were made, and at promptly 9:00, we were off! My seventh 5K was under way!
Despite another 600+ person race, I didn't find start crowding to be an issue this year. I was a little more in the front than I would have liked, but I would manage. I think this may have been an advantage later on, so I worked with it.
I found the adrenaline kicking in, and running a little more than I wanted in the beginning. After previous races where I went out too fast, I reeled it in a little, and hit my first mile in about 10:40 (Endomondo was a little off, so I didn't rely too heavily on it). Exactly what I was aiming for. At this pace, I would PR for sure!
Well...you all know I STILL haven't learned my lesson, and completed the second mile about a minute slower than the first. I always have trouble with the second miles of a race. Probably because the adrenaline kicks in at start, and picks back up with about a mile to go. Strange.
Anyway, this is an exclusive to my blog, as I was a little hesitant to post on Instagram. Here's my failed attempt at a mid-race selfie (clear sign that Dani is a friend of mine...haha). Damn headphone wire got in the way. Would have been perfect otherwise. =P
I knew I had to dig deep in the last mile if I wanted to PR. I wound up doing a minute of walking, minute of running cycle. This seemed to work perfectly. I finished the third mile a few seconds faster than the second. It wound up being a SPRINT to the finish, and next thing I knew it, I had crossed the finish line! #7 was in the books!
After I crossed the finish, I immediately stopped my Endomondo (which strangely decided I was playing baseball; explains why I was off a bit) and Polar. App had a time of 34:35, Polar had 34:39. I knew I either had the personal or was about five seconds slower. Either way, I wasn't disappointed. I had a solid race and felt awesome!
Once my timing devices were off, I grabbed a bottle of water and granola bar, and kept walking to keep loose and cool down. Calf and shin pain were not an issue, since I wore my Zensah sleeves again, and it paid off. Note to self: EVERY run requires them, training or race!
Since the race was chip timed, results came back fast. I scanned them, and saw my official time was 34:36.13 (11:09/mile). PR by 3 seconds! I was shocked, but in a good way! It was close, but it's still a personal!
I hung around for a little bit, watching the kiddie races and just soaking in the atmosphere. I also was able to get a post-race pic, since I couldn't get one before.
After I left the race, I immediately went for a chocolate chip bagel (my newest fav post-race meal) and my iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts. Chocolate milk would come later.
Overall, this has become one of my favorite races. Perfect atmosphere, flat course, and now chip timing! I have no complaints other than the lack of timing mat at the start. Still, for only the second running, it was awesome! As long as this race keeps going on, I'll be back!