I’m on a stay-cation this week and spending as much time as possible away from my computer (since I spend so many hours at it during the work week) – so this race recap will be all you hear from me this week!
Stomp the Monster 5k is a race in Marlboro, NJ that raises money for cancer patients and their families. I have run this race twice before, and knew what to expect.
Packet pickup was available the day before as well as race morning, and since the race is only about a half hour from my home, I stopped in the day prior to get my packet. Of course, it didn’t hurt that thunderstorms were predicted, so if I wanted to bail on Sunday morning, at least I’d have my t-shirt. Race swag included a brightly colored dri-fit, a cute pink mug, and a drawstring bag full of coupons.
As I mentioned, thunderstorms were predicted for Sunday, so I woke up not really sure what I’d get into. It rained on the drive down, but was dry in Marlboro. There is ample parking for this race, and they set up a fun little festival area for adults and kiddos – inflatables, beer garden, the works. They started the morning with a series of kids’ races, as well. The atmosphere is fun and family-oriented. The race results list just over 900 participants, so I would say that this is a mid-sized race.
One minor complaint – this race starts late – 10:30 – which is a little weird for a June race. Maybe in April that’s a little more predictably cool, but in June? I’d have loved to see an 8:30 here, especially with the humidity we’ve been having and a course that is largely unshaded.
The real rain magically held out, and the weather ended up being overcast but humid, in the mid-60s, with a breeze and a few little sprinkles during the race. The course itself is pretty flat, but kind of boring out and back. It basically just takes you from the Marlboro Rec Center, through some local residential streets, and back up. There was one water stop at mile 1.5. Not too many folks came out on their lawns to cheer, but the atmosphere near the Rec center (start and finish) was great – lots of families, etc cheering for their loved ones.
I ran an unexpectedly good race! I had to jostle a little bit at the start, due to a lot of walkers clogging up the chute, but was able to clear myself some space by the first half mile. This race attracts all levels of runner (probably more toward the casual runner, which I like!) as well as walkers, so that is to be expected. I was very curious to see how I felt, since this was my first truly short race in a while, and the weather was darn good for June. I was hoping that all of my long running (racing the Half, 10k, and 5 miler in May!) would lead to a decent 5k time.
I felt strong the first half of the race, and was surprised to see my paces were easily under 11 minute miles. I wouldn’t say that it felt easy, but it didn’t feel awful. By the half way mark, I felt the humidity a bit and stopped to take a sip of water. I don’t usually drink during a 5k, but all of a sudden felt kind of sticky. Then, honestly, I figured that I would fade a little in the last half, but could slip in under 11 min/miles average because I’d banked a little time. Much to my surprise, I had a great last mile! Look at those splits!!
Yea baby! I felt like I was slowing down but in fact I was not at all. The last quarter mile I pushed as hard as I could, and based upon my Garmin time, totally crushed it at 10:09 average pace. Unfortunately, there was no chip time (just gun time) in the official results, so I guess that is what it is – it took me a little over a minute to cross the start line based on the difference in time from Garmin/Gun time. Fun fact: this race provided “finisher videos” – here’s a screen shot of me about to cross the line (and finally remembering to get ready to stop my watch for once!).
I am incredibly happy with my results! I’ve been feeling a little down about my times the last couple of months, along with not taking off my usual 5 to 10 half marathon pounds, feeling a little heavy. This makes me feel like I will be able to get my 5k time down around 30 by working hard this summer through the heat. Then, come September, when the cool racing weather is back, see some 30’s again. It is been a long time, but this is motivation that I can get closer to that mark again. Mayyyybe even motivation to start doing some “real” training like speed work or hills… hmmm… we shall see.
Oh! And I can’t forget – at the end there was a plethora of awesome waiting for us: Jersey Mike’s subs, fruit leather, water, Snapple, a whole stand of fruit from Whole Foods, a FREE beer garden, the kids games/inflatables, AND free ice cream sandwiches or bomb pops! Super fun stuff. Definitely a fun day, even though this day ended up being a little grey.
See you all after my stay-cation has ended. I plan to log a lot of miles on my sneakers, my bike, and with the top down in the convertible, and of course…. enjoy an adult beverage or two to close out most nights. See you on the flip side!