This year’s Spring Lake 5 miler was one thing, first and foremost:
My body is just not acclimated to the heat yet. It feels like we jumped into July/Aug temps here in NJ! I love summer, so I love the warmth, my body just isn’t quite ready to run in it yet.
The race was in the mid-to-high 70’s by the time it started promptly at 8:30. I always get there early because it is a huge race (12,500 people!) and I want to park decently close and not worry about port-o-potties and such. So we sat/walked around in the hot sun for an hour prior to the start, which I’m sure didn’t help. My mom and BFF were with me this time, so that was wonderful.
I am deeply regretful that I didn’t pay the extra $5 to get a tech shirt – in the past couple of years that I’ve done it, this race’s shirts have been boring white. Of course, this year, they were an AWESOME GREEN!! Dang it. Totally would’ve worn that tech shirt! Instead I got cotton, which will be a sleep shirt, along with the zillions of others. However, I should note that the swag from this race is always fun: you get your shirt, a calendar that starts/end in MAY and has all of the local Jersey races already on it, and a pint glass. I use my last 4 Spring Lake pint glasses all the time. This one, the 40th anniversary, had cute little pink accents. Loved it! We also got a reusable bag for the special anniversary! Fun stuff. Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the swag. Sorry!
The race itself is big and the actual running part is kind of messy because of the sheer number of people. This year, for the first time, they attempted to “corral” people by putting up suggestions of paces – no physical barriers, just signs. I can’t say it worked well, but the crowd was no worse than any other year.
I go into this race knowing it probably won’t be a PR. Since I am not “Elite” and don’t stay up at the front, I just know that I’ll be surrounded by people the whole race. This year felt particularly trafficky (I guess the sunshine brought everyone out??) – in the past it has seemed to clear up a bit by mile 3, but this year stayed pretty congested. None the less, it didn’t affect my pace or ability to move through folks. I passed people when I needed to… which as a result of the heat, wasn’t very often! LOL.
This race is just pure fun: it’s busy, but the skill levels of runners are all over: the “once a year” runners, the casual runners like me, the clubs, all the way up to the fasties. The neighborhood crowd support is just the BEST in Spring Lake: everyone comes out on their lawns and cheers, some folks even run their hose and spray everyone! That felt AMAZING this year. Added bonus, this year they added bands along the course! That was a nice surprise.
Even though the crowds are large, the race organizers know their shiz. They are efficient with packet pickup, and there is plenty of water (4 stops) along the course, and volunteers all over. In addition, you get a great medal at the end and lots of food/drink: water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, bagels, fruit snacks, granola bars, and Jersey Mike’s subs, to name a few! A word to the wise: before the race starts, my friends and I always pick a meeting spot for the end. It is easy to get lost in the sea of people after heading down the long row of food/drink/medals.
You can get a wonderful look at what this day truly looks like via all of the awesome pics they post on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/The-Spring-Lake-Five-Mile-Run-176781792415711/?fref=ts
The heat definitely slowed my paces more than I would have liked, but I would proud that I kept my overall pace per mile under 12’s.
Not ideal, but perfectly fine for me. My not-even-6mos-post-baby BFF hung with me the whole time (and was talking in non-gasping sentences, so I’m pretty sure she could have gone faster!), so I had the best company to keep me from walking. All in all, I love this race simply for the atmosphere and fun, and will continue to sign up for it 🙂
These two beers were perfect post-race treats once I was out and BBQing later in the day:
Terrapin Maggie’s Peach Farmhouse Ale – light, refreshing, chuggable. Just enough peach flavor to not taste fake!
Southern Tier 3 Citrus Peel Out – grapefruity and AMAZING. Seriously. This is my new favorite summer beer. Just watch out for the at ABV though… comes in at a surprising 8.5%, so take it easy on the chug.
My Bib count for 2016 is growing fast!
This coming Sunday I have Stomp the Monster 5k as well. Hoping the weather will cooperate and I can pull out some high 10s per mile. The course is flat, but is largely in the sun if it is a hot day. We’ll see!
PS! Happy Global Running Day! Hope you have time to get out and pound the pavement!