Spring Lake 5 2011

This morning was the Spring Lake 5--one of, if not the largest 5 mile races.  I don't know how many people were officially there--but it felt like a million and they were all in front of me--walking or Jeff Gallowaying their way through the 5 miles.

I knew I would not be able to run this race for time.  Last year, I was so amazed at the number of runners and the fact that I did not break free from "the pack" until mile 4, I expected this year to be no different.  This is not a race for speed.  It is an event--a start of the summer event for friends and family.  So Conor and I decided to run it together.  He has not run a strong 5 since the 1/2 marathon, but I was not worried.  I knew it would be crowded and HOT/HUMID so we could keep it slow.  Little did I realize how slow we would have to keep it.

Last year the crowd was overwhelming and that was on a rainy day.  It had down poured the whole morning prior to race start and drizzled through the race--which was perfect because it was a hot day.  This year there was no rain and the subsequently everyone showed up (or at least it looked like they did).

When we got to the beach, it was foggy and cool--PERFECT.  However, the sun quickly started burning off the cool fog and by race time it was sunny and hot.  We saw some friends--I am always amazed at running into people in large crowds.  It was nice to see so many people we knew. 

I told Conor about how this is the largest race and prepped him for the running crowd.  I also told him he would see more red-headed people here then any place else.  The redheads were out in full force (me included) and everyone had their Irish on. 

We checked out the preparations pre-race after of course I found used the porta potties:
Lots of cold drinks on ice

The volunteers and race organizers had everything ready

More and more post race snacks

Jersey Shore Road Runners were out in full force

This juice company and Jersey Mike's were "in the house"

Look at all those bagels

Water ready and waiting
We had some time to kill so we picked up our beach badges and locker stuff.  It was so nice to be able to use the bathrooms in the locker area--they were clean and NO ONE else was there--best kept secret (shhhhh don't tell anyone, I want to have this advantage again next year).

We took some photos together to kill the time:

Then Conor and I got into what we thought was a good position--not immediately up in front, but pretty darn close.  This race is sooooo crowded and I did not want him to trip and fall.  What we didn't realize is that there were 100s of people in front of us.

We did our best to run steady, but we were unable to maintain a regular pace and were forced into 10:30 - 11 minute miles.  At one point after mile one at the park, we were able to run in the grass on the side of the road, but we never broke free of the "masses".  I made Con stop at every water station to get a couple of sips of H2O.  The water was COLD and we poured a glass on ourselves at each stop.

The firetrucks with their hoses of COLD water were much appreciated.  We ran through, drenching ourselves, at each one.  Thank you, Spring Lake Fire Company.

At 3.5 miles, I wanted to RUN.  Con was losing steam.  He was tired but I knew he still had "it" stored up.  He did not trust himself and really wanted to walk (we took a walk break at mile 3 already, so I really did not want to stop).  I tried to talk him into pushing it--but he just couldn't.  It was not until 4.5 miles with the finish line in sight that he let go and when he lets go--I usually can't keep up, but I stayed with him--still no finishing line crossing photo (one day---I would love a photo of us finishing together).

Here we are post race:

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