Well, life has officially gotten back to crazy again and I’m all sorts of discombobulated. I’m in class three nights a week and busy doing homework most of the others, so sadly catching up on my running life is going to get preeeeeetty boring for the next few weeks! However, I’m going to sneak in my Spring Lake 5 recap quickly here.
The Spring Lake 5 is one of my favorite races every year (note, previous recaps here – 2016, 2015). I can’t even really explain why, because the race itself is a total hot mess. It is a TON of racers (10, 181 finishers recorded this year), but it is pretty well run as far as it can be for a race not run by a professional group. Heck, they probably ARE professional anyway because they’ve been doing it 41 years, so likely longer than most of the big companies out there anyhow. What I mean by hot mess is not that packet pickup is messy (its not, its well-orchestrated) or anything – just that there are tons of runners and you’re usually tripping over them 90% of the race.
Also, folks don’t really seed themselves well in this race. I always sort myself further to the front than you’d think, because there are so many walkers and people to trip over or run around that if you sort yourself TOO far back, you’ll be completely clogged up for a long time. I never go into this race thinking it’ll be a PR. Its simply too congested at the “normal runner” part of the pack. I’m not sure what it would be like to run it as an elite all the way at the front, I’d imagine that would be quite a bit better. But yea, hot mess-ness. None the less, I LOVE this race. There is just something about running five miles in a beach town with 10,000 of my best running friends on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend that says “HELLO SUMMER” to me!
This year’s weather was eons better than last year’s. Some years have been HOT as hell (last year), others have been rainy and cold (my first year at this race), and others, like this year, have been pretty darn okay. There were points at which it got a little warm, but there are water stops at every mile and fire departments out with hoses. At no point did I feel the kind of hot where death seems certain. In fact, I only walked at the water stops! Zero walk-breaks needed this year. My A goal for this race was to have every mile’s pace UNDER 11 minute miles. I honestly wasn’t sure if I could or would. When I race, I race by feel – I don’t stalk my watch. I felt pretty good going out, battling the crowds, but had placed myself pretty well as most of the folks around me seemed to be moving at the same pace that I was.
I cruised past the first water stop but during miles 2 and 3 the sun was beating down a bit, as the clouds had moved away. I stopped at the water stops for each of the rest – 2, 3, and 4 – AND weaved my way into two hoses for a little cool down. At one of the water stops I even poured some water on my head, which I never do, but it felt like the right decision at the time. Miles 4 and 5 started to get tough, but not in a bad way. They got to that feeling of “this is hard but I think I can keep going” that I’m really starting to get used to. I was worried in the last mile that I’d really need to stop and walk a little, but I didn’t! I will say that the sun sucked a little bit of my “kick” out of me: usually my last mile is pretty quick in races, as I’m HIGHLY motivated to finish… but this race, it was all I could do to keep moving at a similar pace. No kick today, but hey, still got that medal at the end!
AND even better? I found that, upon review, I’d MET my goal of all under 11 minute miles! My official time was 54:27 – Check out these splits:
Hooray! I felt really good about this. I knew Spring Lake would be the last race of the summer that I really wanted to “race” and set a goal for – so I was elated to meet that goal.
Afterward, mom and I crashed on the grass with our Jersey Mike’s subs, Honest Tea, bagels, and other various snacks. This race may be huge but they don’t disappoint in swag (tshirt, pint glass, race calendar) and snacks. Every year the medal seems to be higher quality, as well, which is so nice.
It was a great start to the holiday weekend, as it always is. I look forward to seeing the Spring Lake Five again next year!