Hello Summer! Every year for the last 40 years the Spring Lake 5 has been the official kick off race of summer along the Jersey Shore!
This race consists of a beautiful 5 mile run throughout the beautiful Jersey Shore town of Spring Lake, NJ. Every year, thousands & thousands of runners come out to take part in this race; which sells out within hours every year. This year; I had the honor of running this race for the 2nd time! With nearly 12,000 runners this year; this years race was a little different! This race is known for being extremely crowded; although this year there were pace times set up at the starting line so runners could start the race based on predicted finish time. Last year; I finished in 38:37 (7:44/mile); so I stood between the 8:00/mile & 7:00/mile pace sign – secretly hoping to beat last years time! There was no question that this year was significantly warmer, sunnier and most humid! I knew it was going to be a challenge in the heat, but I was determined!! Before the race; I ran into a few friends – we wished one another good luck, the Star Spangled Banner was sung, the traditional Spring Lake 5 photo was taken of the sea of 12,000 runners & we were off! This year; like last year was very crowded at the start. It was a struggle trying to find a comfortable pace from the get go! By .5 miles I still hadn’t found my pace; I was in a large crowd running a 9:18/mile pace. Once the roads finally opened up; I found myself trying to make up time getting to a pace that felt comfortable. I managed to move quick enough after the half mile mark to run the first mile in 7:47! I felt good, but I worried that pushing so hard like that for the second portion of mile 1 may hurt me later in this race! I kept moving; with pure determination! It was extremely hot & humid so I made sure to grab some water at every water stop – sip & pour water over my head! I ran through every sprinkler I saw as well! The crowds were amazing; even in the heat they were out there cheering & encouraging us with big smiles on their faces!! I held strong through miles 2, 3 and 4 hitting in the low 7:30’s & mid 7:40’s knowing that if I could finish this race strong – this girl would have herself a shiny new PR!!! I stayed confident; contained grabbing water at each water stop to stay hydrated & as cool as I could in these warm conditions!
Around mile 4.5; I saw the finish line! I was determined – I thought “a fast finish & I’ve got this!” I kicked it into high gear only about .2 miles into that sprint my body said ‘no’! I was sweating, my legs felt heavy (as if I was running through quick sand), my head was hurting and at that moment my only thought was just get to the finish line! I focused on that finish line & just ran! That last. 3 miles were the slow/scary miles – I didn’t know what was happening but I knew the heat had gotten to me. After crossing the finish line; I was immediately asked if I was ok, handed a bottle of water to drink & tended to by the very kind volunteers! Despite what happened; I ran pretty well.
After the race I grabbed some of the many refreshments that this race provided including; Gatorade, chocolate milk, fruit snacks, granola bars, bananas, bagels and the best part Jersey Mikes sub’s for all runners!!! I met up with my hubby (so thankful for his constant love and support) before meeting up with some friends that also ran!
Many runners chatted about how hot/humid the race was; I overhead one guy next to me say ‘now I know why I gave up running for golf!’ I met up with friends & fellow runners; Michelle, Jen and Eileen! We chatted for a bit & took some pics before we heading home to continue our day with family; for me it was heading off to Memorial Day weekend BBQ’s.
After the race; my head was still pounding so I continued drinking water & Gatorade throughout the day!! I ended up finishing in 39:18 (7:51/mile) just 41 seconds off from a PR! Overall missing my PR did not matter to me; I was so thankful that everything was alright & I was able to cross the finish line safely despite how I was feeling! Running – racing in the heat/humidity is a challenge in itself! It is so important to stay hydrated & to listen to any signals your body is giving you! Spring Lake 5; I will be back again next year!
Praying for some clouds, cooler temperatures & lower humidity!! I have never been a warm weather runner; I’ll take cold weather running any day! 10 degrees? Yes, please! Anyone else with me? Despite what happened; this race did not disappoint; I earned my 50th medal!
Overall it was a fantastic day! Although I am hoping for some Gatorade at the water stops next year!
Next up NYRR Women’s Mini 10K Central Park!!
Do you enjoy summer racing? How do you stay cool during summer races? Has anything similar ever happened to you? Do you all out race during summer events or take a step back? Please share!
Thank you as always for following my journey! Mere @meretherunner14