A Simple Running Log

June 21, 2010

Training for 6/21/10

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 3:19 pm

This morning was weight training and a 7.5-mile bike ride. They’re pouring the concrete for our garage floor today, so our yard is now a construction site.

Saturday morning I got up bright and early (4:15 a.m.) for the 5-mile boardwalk race in Ocean City. I had no idea how big the race was going to be. I figured there would be a lot of runners, since they offered packet pick-up the day before, as well as the morning of, and it was chip-timed.

We were supposed to park in the inlet parking lot. TK and I got there just after 6 a.m. There were about 10 cars in the entire lot, one of which belonged to TK’s sister Kari. The three of us walked down to the boardwalk arch to pick up our race packets.

Despite the lack of cars in the parking lot, I was still expecting some kind of a crowd when we got to the arch, which was also the starting line. We almost walked right past the registration table because it was simply a card table with two volunteers standing behind it. It took three seconds to get our packets and race shirts.

OK, so it was still early. I thought maybe a lot of runners had just stayed in one of the hotels along the boardwalk, or had picked up their packets the day before. We walked back to the car, attached our race bibs and timing chips, deposited our new shirts and walked back to the starting area.

Still empty at 6:30 a.m., half an hour before the start. TK and Kari did some stretching while I did a short warm-up run. A few more runners wandered in over the next 30 minutes, but it was a surprisingly small crowd. (Later, when the results were posted, I found out there were fewer than 100 runners and walkers.)

It turned out the small field was a very good thing. The boardwalk was not closed to the public. The public was out in force, and it wasn’t very observant. So we all spent just about the entire five miles dodging bleary-eyed high school graduates on Senior Week, idiots in those 4-passenger bicycle carts or the recumbent bikes and a ton of people just wandering around, totally oblivious to the runners with numbers pinned to the front of their shirts and the cones marking off the course.

There were few enough runners that we could spread out and weave through everyone, but if that event gets big (this was only the second year) they might have to think about closing off part of the boardwalk for an hour and a half.

But that just added to the whole thing. There was a lot to like about this race. It started at the arch and headed south toward the inlet. We made a left into the parking lot and ran up the ramp to the pier where the Ferris wheel stands, then looped around, ran down the pier and got back on the boardwalk. We ran all the way to the end of the boardwalk and then turned around and ran all the way back down to the inlet.

For this reason, I think they should rename the race The Ocean City “I Had No Idea The Boardwalk Was This Freaking Long” 5-Mile Race.

The boardwalk itself was a strange running surface. The boards were uneven and flexed with every footfall.

Anyway, I really wanted to beat my time from the 5-mile race three weeks ago, just to prove to myself I’m getting faster. It was pretty tough to gauge how fast I was running my miles, because there were absolutely NO mile markers. I remembered from the race information that there was a water stop supposedly at the 1.5-mile point. There’s no way that was only 1.5 miles. When we hit that station, I looked at my watch and, if that really had been 1.5 miles, I would have been way behind my time from three weeks ago.

Anyway, after the turnaround, I just kept my eye on the Ferris wheel as an idea of how much farther I had to run. I closed in on the finish, which some jerk had placed at the top of a ramp (I didn’t even know that ramp was there at the end of the boardwalk.) As I sprinted up toward the finish line, I remembered to glance at the race clock.

42:17. I immediately broke out into a smile. My previous time was 44:34. That’s good progress for three weeks, I think. My average mile pace was 30 seconds faster than last time.

This is why I run these races. Clark once told me one of the best feelings, in his opinion, is hitting a baseball. That’s what the finish line of a race feels like to me. Especially a finish line when you set a new PR and all that work you put in is justified.

Chopping that much time off my 5-mile race was very encouraging. It just pushes me to keep running and keep getting faster.

TK and Kari finished the race, and TK also ran it faster than she ran the 5-mile race three weeks ago (Kari didn’t run that one.) TK and I then headed up Coastal Highway, found some free parking and spent the rest of the day on the beach. It was a perfect beach day.

All in all, a successful day. Yesterday was a rest day. I cleaned my car inside and out and spent some time at my parents’ house, as it was Father’s Day.

And today is the first day of summer! It’s officially upon us, my favorite time of the year.

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