Thursday, August 25, 2016

Asbury Park Sheehan Classic (Asbury Park, NJ)

It's been almost two weeks since #AP2TheLights, and I finally have time to recap it all! Well, that, and it took me over a week to process all the emotions. 

The Asbury Park Sheehan Classic was the first leg of this crazy adventure on August 13.

The race theme is tye-dye, but we all know I don't do anything by the book. ;-)

My friend Carol was awesome and let me ride down to Asbury with her that morning. Well, she's awesome for doing this with me anyway, but this made her double awesome. ;-) We left my house at 7:30, and got to Asbury about a half hour later. We picked up our shirts (Tye-dye for the win!), put them back in her car, went to the restroom in a hotel (Yay for a "real" bathroom), and made it to the start line pretty much right after the gun went off.

Oh yeah, did I mention that this was the hottest day of the year? Well, it was. Temps were well into the 80's, with heat index in the 90's. The forecast was high in the low to mid 90's, with heat index well into the triple digits. At that point, I decided all time goals were going out the window. The focus was to enjoy the race, take pics, and have enough left in the tank for the Twin Lights Run that night.

Carol and I split up at the start. She's a MUCH faster runner than me, and I didn't want to hold her back. I wasn't going for speed, but endurance, especially with the heat. I got a pre-race selfie, but had no time to post it that day, so you get a blog-sclusive. ;-)

It was hot already. This was going to be a rough 3.1, but that's what you get for running in August...

The course is a double loop, with a boardwalk finish. If it's one thing I did NOT focus on it was loop training. Can we say "Ugh?" Anyway, after I hit the start mat (which was almost 2:00 after the gun went off), I started my Garmin and it was go time at last!

My plan was to run as I felt comfortable, take pictures, enjoy the course, and finish in the upright position. I still went out a little too fast, with a first mile of 11:02. I should have paced it a little better, especially with the heat, but oh well. Live and (maybe) learn.

I did not negative split this race at all, as I was taking pictures and soaking it all in. Literally and figuratively. There were more people with hoses out than I've ever seen at a race, and there were water stops about every half mile. I took advantage of all of them, plus I was running with my Nathan handheld. I trained with it in the heat, so I learned my lesson from Union Beach, and raced with it. 

The first loop was done, and I saw chalk drawings from Lululemon in Shrewsbury, along with a "WTF? Where's the finish?" On the hottest day of the year, along with the double loop, I'm pretty sure this was the consensus. (Unfortunately, I did not get a pic of this. Fail.)

I hit my second mile in 12:28. This was where I started to pull back, partially because of the heat, but also because I knew I had another race to run in nine-ish hours. I just kept moving, knowing it would be over soon.

After a few more pics on the second loop, it was time to give it all I had to finish, Third mile was done in 13:14, which wasn't too bad given the picture stops and the heat kicking my butt. I still managed to pull out a sprint to the finish, and had the last tenth and change at 1:12. Race #1 of the day was done! My Garmin had me at 37:55 for 3.14 miles, but that had a lot to do with weaving in and out for the first half mile or so. Still, I was happy with that. I was WAY off a PR, but I wasn't in this to break any land records or anything. I had a good race given the conditions, and enjoyed the course. Loops aren't as bad as you think they are at first, plus the scenery was awesome!

Some of the musicians on the course. I was running at different points with one earbud so I could soak it all in!

 I tried to get a selfie with The Stone Pony Summer Stage, but it didn't happen. Next race, I guess. ;-)

After I got my medal and some water, I found Carol, who killed it and finished about 10 minutes ahead of me (I told you she was fast!), got a picture together (not the best), and made our way back to her car so we could head home and get ready for race #2: the Twin Lights Twilight Run!

One down, one to go! =)

The most awesome race shirt and bib ever! 

 Closeup of the finisher's medal!

I got my official time a few hours later. It was actually two seconds faster than my Garmin. I came in at 37:53 (12:12/mile). Not too bad given how hot it was and how many times I slowed down or stopped for pics. It's not always about MAKING good time, it's about HAVING a good time. It may have been hot, but I actually enjoyed this race!

Overall, I would give this race a 10 out of 10. It was super organized, awesome shirts, finisher's medals, and some of the best course support I've ever seen, both with volunteers and spectators. Plus, the course is flat, which is a plus! I will be back in 2017 for sure! 

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