Monday, September 29, 2014

Ocean City 5K (OCNJ)

 When Don signed up for the 2014 MS City to the Shore ride, I decided to join him at the halfway point in Ocean City, NJ. Ashley made plans with a friend,so it was date night.

We walked about 6-7 miles around Ocean City, mostly up and down the boardwalk, talking pictures and enjoying the perfect Indian Summer evening. After riding 100 miles, Don enjoyed the chance to stretch his legs.

As serendipity would have it, I noticed a guy carrying a plastic bag with a race bib and a t-shirt inside of it. I asked him if there was a race tomorrow. He said there would be a half marathon the next day. I asked if there were shorter distances (I wasn't mentally or physically ready to do a half marathon the next day, plus there was the issue of checking out of the hotel room by 11 AM -- a challenge with a 9 AM race start).

This would be a short story if his answer was no, or that they were sold out. Instead he told me to go to the Sneaker Shop on Asbury to sign up. In addition to the half marathon there was a non-competitive 10 miler (new that year, I'm guessing there were no prizes for that one) and a 5K. My plan had been to run 5K after Don left for the second leg of the ride, so for $25 I got a t-shirt, a medal, and a group of people to run with. Otherwise, I would have been running on a crowded boardwalk against the flow of traffic and wishing I was racing.

There have been two other times when I should have run a race, but didn't because I found out about it too late or did not have my running gear with me. The first time was in Osaka, Japan in June 2013. The second time was in Portland, Oregon in June 2014. In Osaka I saw them setting up for the race, but my sneakers, etc. were in Tokyo. In Portland, I searched for a weekend race on Friday night, 15 minutes after a race started down the hill from our hotel. I was extra excited that this time I found out about the race in time and I was prepared.

The race itself was easy peasy -- 1.55 miles south on the boardwalk, turn around, 1.55 miles back to the finish line. My time was much better than the 5K I ran in the Pole Farm the day before. The race was a bit warmer than should be at 9 AM in late September in New Jersey (60 degrees, with very little breeze). The sun was shining. People were happy.

Speaking of people, it felt like A LOT of people. Looking at their website, though, there were only 366 in the 5K, 921 in the half marathon, and only 52 for the 10 miler. Looking at the results, I would have placed and possibly won my age group. Again, they said it was non-competitive, so I suspect that means no separate awards.

There was also a separate category for those who did the first leg of the MS Ride then did the half marathon. They would then need a ride back to Cherry Hill to get their cars as the start time for the ride back was before 8 AM.

Next time I should pack a sparkle skirt "just in case." 

Super excited this included a really nice medal!

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