Spring Lake 5 – Race Recap

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! 😎

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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;Β  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!

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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/scaryΒ 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.

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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!

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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!’ Β 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 Β 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!

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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!

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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!! Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β  Β Β 

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

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