Sunday, May 1, 2016

NJM 5K (Long Branch, NJ)

Confession: I am not a fan of afternoon races. I was thisclose to backing out of this one when they announced the time switch from 8:30 in the morning to 3:00 in the afternoon. 

However, I decided to suck it up and run anyway since I figured there's a first time for everything. 

Yesterday seemed to DRAG until it was time for me to get dressed and head to the race site in the afternoon. I decided on a yellow theme for my outfit, since I found neon yellow sleeves at the marathon expo on Friday. I knew I wanted to be in a tank, since once I got going I wouldn't want long sleeves (temperature was around 60). 

I got to the race site around 2, in time to see the end of the kids' races, which was the best part. All the kids with their medals were so cute! Can't wait until I get to do that kind of stuff with my nephew! I'll have a little running buddy soon enough! 

Anyway, even when I was down there, time seemed to DRAG until it was time to line up for the race. They had sort of a corral system in place, but it was self-seeding. I lined up with the 10:01-12:00 group, since that's what I run anyway. I wasn't going for a PR, since this was the first race of the year, but I figured about 35:00 would be a good finish. However, I knew that if I finished at a pace below 12:00/mile, then it was a good race.

The sun and wind were not doing my selfie game any favors, so this start line shot is about as good as you're going to get. ;-) 

One thing that this race taught me (for about the millionth time) is NOT to go out too fast. I did that, and hit a half mile in just over five minutes. I had to reel it in a bit, and ended up with 11:20 for my first mile. Perfect. I was well within my goal pace and having a good time.

I was running when I felt comfortable, walking when I needed, but did not stop moving once. I told myself that this was for real and every second counted. This was not a goal race, but I knew that I wanted to still have a solid outing. Oh, and enjoy the ocean views. Isn't that the point of a race along the ocean? ;-)

Another thing about this course I was not a fan of was the out-and-back part. Runners coming at you one way or another and that messes with my head a bit. I hit the water station right at 1.5 and picked the pace back up. Still, I was positive splitting, and hit the second mile at 11:36. Still within my goal pace, but made me realize that I went out too fast. Again.

Most races I am mentally spent by the time I hit the third mile, but I just kept telling myself "Keep moving forward." I ended up with a 12:14 third mile, but still felt solid. At this point, I took out my headphones and just soaked it in. I wanted to end on a positive note, and I did just that.

I pulled back a bit to save it for the end, and had a 1:04 for the final tenth mile! I crossed the finish and race #15 was in the books! 

I didn't stop my Garmin right away, so that had me at 36:13 for 3.13 miles (I started pretty much the moment I crossed the start mat), with a pace of 11:35. I hit my goal pace, so I was more than happy with that!

After I stopped my watch, I got my medal and a water, then stuck around to watch the later runners come in. I believe that the last finishers should have as much support as the earlier ones, so I cheered them in too! 

Before I left, I looked up my official results. I had a time of 36:10, with a pace of 11:39. I was still happy with that, since I had a solid race and accomplished my goal. 

Once I got back to my car, I got a better picture with my medal and the bracelets I chose to wear yesterday. 

Overall, I enjoyed this race. Running through Pier Village and along the ocean is one of my favorite things, and I got both, plus a medal in one race. The only thing that I would like is for them to move this race back to the morning, as it seems to be a better time for a race. Still, I will be back next year! I already paid for it, so I better be back! ;-)

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