Thursday, November 24, 2016

Rook Run 5K (Long Branch, NJ)

First off, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I am so thankful for all of you for checking out my little slice of the interwebs and for all of your love and support these last five years!

Has it really been two months since I last blogged? Has it really been two months since the epicness of #Keyport2Rook went down? Guess that's what happens when you get a promotion at work and a sinus infection. Oh well. 

Anyway, if you haven't already read my KeyportFest 5K recap or just want a refresher, go and check it out. I'll wait for you. ;-)

Are we good now? Good. =) 

Here's how part 2 of #Keyport2Rook went down.

After leaving Keyport, I hopped on the Parkway and went down to Long Branch to check in for the Rook Run. I wanted to check in early, since race day check-in always takes FOREVER, and with a race of 2500+ people registered, any time I could spare before race day would be a plus.

Check-in was at the Rook Coffee roastery in Long Branch, and was really fast. All you had to do was show your bib if you got it in the mail, which I did since I registered in April, for your swag bag. They also sent out a ticket which you had to turn in for your shirt. I was in and out in about 15 minutes. Win!

 Checking in at Rook HQ!

The rest of Saturday was spent refueling and recovering to get ready for Sunday's race. I already had the experience of a double race day, so doing two in two days was easy peasy. I did lay out my flat runner on Saturday night, and it was almost exactly the same as last year's Rook Run, except that I was in neon green instead of orange. 

This race had a late start (10:00 a.m.), so I got to sleep in until about 8:30. I wasn't nervous at all for this race, since I got the PR the day before in Keyport. The goal was just to have fun and finish. Not going to lie, the thought of PR'ing again had crossed my mind, but it would be a wait and see.

Unlike Saturday, Sunday was sunny and warm. It was cool at first, but warmed up really quickly. Total opposite of Saturday. I wasn't sure of how the wind would be, but was ready for just about anything.

Except for the crowding. I knew this was a race of 2500+, but it was just a fight to get to anywhere in the start area. I knew that this race had a start mat, so my time wouldn't officially start until I hit the mat, but it was just a struggle making my way around that area. I wound up in the middle of the pack. MISTAKE! I did spot my friend Regina though, we wished each other luck, and that was all we saw of each other that day.

There was a countdown to the start on the race clock, but other than that, there was no fanfare. Just lots of people. 

Soon enough, we were off! Time to close out #Keyport2Rook!

The course was totally different from last year's Rook Run, since the boardwalk in Long Branch was completed. It was almost the exact same course as the New Jersey Marathon 5K I ran back in April. A very narrow out-and-back. So no matter where you were on the course, unless you were in the super front of the pack, there were people all around you. 

I was attempting a PR again, but as a result of all the crowding, it wasn't going to happen. My first mile was at 11:18, and at that point, I knew I needed to go back to my original goal of finishing with a smile and having a blast.

After I let go of the PR attempt, I just soaked up all the energy of what made the Rook Run so awesome. Plus the ocean views didn't hurt either. ;-)

In a crowd of 2500 or so, "thinning out" is not a thing either. In smaller races, I can usually bank on faster runners breaking away early, and get into my groove. Not so much in this race. I positive split and big at that. My second mile was at 11:59, partially as a result of the crowds, partially because I was starting to feel the effects of running a second race in just over 24 hours. I probably should have done some type of mini-streak before this weekend. Live and learn, I guess.

I kept weaving in and out of crowds, and had a third mile of 12:15. I gave it whatever I had left and crossed the finish with a clock time of 38:10. The Garmin had me at 36:30 for 3.12 miles. Just under 2:00 off Saturday's PR, but still under 12:00/mile pace. Not too shabby for my second race of the weekend with huge crowds at that!

After I crossed the finish, I got some water and checked out the sponsor tents. They gave away quite a bit off stuff, and had some cool demos as well.

Oh, and I got a selfie with Rook co-owner Holly Migliaccio! We chatted very briefly, but it was so cool to see her. She is the nicest person ever, and I thank her very much for making Rook Coffee happen. ;-) 

I did get my official chip time before I left, and I came in at 36:25, which had me at a pace of about 11:40. I was very happy with that. #Keyport2Rook ROCKED!

Before I went home, I HAD to go to a Rook Coffee shop and get a big coffee, because after the Rook Run, how else are you supposed to do it? ;-)

If it's one thing I took away from the Rook Run, it's that running is not always about the time on the clock, but always about the time on the course. If you're not enjoying it, then even a PR isn't worth it. I made the most of my time on both courses that weekend, and that was what made it so awesome. I got the PR I was chasing, and once again, proved to myself that I am stronger than I think I am. I would gladly do another multi-race weekend again, but would streak a bit before doing it, and not attempt a PR in both races. Just try to make it the best I can that weekend.

Have you done a multi-race weekend? #Keyport2Rook was my second (both this year and ever)!