This past Sunday I ran one of my favorite half marathons ever! I ran it last year for the first time with my mom and it was her half marathon debut.
I’ve written about it on here before, but Ocean City, NJ is literally one of my favorite places in the world. Last week when my friend suggested we leave Philly for the weekend (Pope weekend), I jumped at the opportunity to go back to the beach and run this race. My scheduled mileage for Sunday was only 12 miles so I figured one more wouldn’t kill me.
Sunday morning came and my friends Brandy, Kim and I all set off for Ocean City bright and early. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sun was shining and it was a cool 66 degrees. Unfortunately, the winds were rather strong which I knew would make things difficult during the second half of the race. That being said, we were all up to the challenge.
Shortly after arriving in Ocean City, we headed up to the boardwalk to pick up our race packets when I ran into my friend Tim. It always amazes me the people you manage to run into at races. He was supposed to have done a competitive swim in the ocean that day which was cancelled because of the winds and current. Instead, he decided to run the 10 miler. After talking for a few minutes, we went to get our bibs.
Funnily enough, when we were in line, there was a man ahead of us who was picking up his packet for the “10k”. The woman behind the table informed him that there was no 10k, but a half marathon, 10 miler and 5k. The man kept insisting that he signed up for the 10k. He finally resigned himself to the fact that he had signed up for the 10 miler, thinking it was the same thing as a 10k….whoops. Poor guy.
Several people from my run club were also taking on OC. We ran into Annika, her boyfriend Mark, and Angela before race time. Mark won a half marathon a few weeks back and was hoping to repeat and win some possible prize money.
The race kicked off at 8:30. We started off of the boardwalk on 9th street for anyone who is familiar with Ocean City. We had our asses handed to us almost immediately as our first two miles were spent conquering hills on the 9th street bridge to Somers Point. Once those first few miles were over, everything was relatively easy. We ran back over the bridge to the very beginning of the island, weaving our way in and out through neighborhoods. I managed to keep around a 9:00-9:30 pace for the most part. Around mile 6, we ran back onto the boardwalk which is hands down, my favorite place to run. The boardwalk itself is 2.5 miles in length. The breeze felt AMAZING, but it was strong and I knew the headwinds would be a bitch on the way back.
Around mile 7, Mark ran past me on the way back, about 1.5 miles from the finish, right behind the guy in first place. It was amazing for me to see, as he didn’t look the least bit tired. Once I got off the boardwalk, I saw another friend from run club who cheered me on, which gave me all the motivation I needed.
However, around mile 10, it all went downhill. This was the turnaround point where we had to run straight into the wind. What was a nice breeze before was now near impossible to navigate. My lungs were burning and I struggled to breathe. Around this time, my foot, which has been feeling fine and I was able to do 21 miles on successfully, felt like it was on fire. All of a sudden, I felt a sharp, fiery pain that was similar to what happened last time around when this happened several weeks ago. I had to stop around 11.5 and walk a bit. However, that hurt more than running, so I jogged (literally), very slowly to the finish for a final time of 2:05:57. I tried not to beat myself up. It wasn’t even close to my worst time, but it was not my best either. That, and the fact that I have been nursing whatever injury this is, with the strong winds on top of it would insure that most people wouldn’t have their best race.
I found Kim and we went to get some post-race grub. When I say this race has THE BEST post race food, I mean THE BEST. Water ice, pizza, donuts, salt water taffies, popcorn, soft pretzels, etc. I was in absolute heaven. We met up with the rest of the group for some team pictures before heading off to watch the Eagles game.
Overall, it was another fantastic experience. Aside from my foot, this race has it all. Great swag, even better food, beautiful scenery. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a beach race.
As for my foot. Due to insurance complications (what exactly IS the point of paying for health insurance if visits are still unaffordable?!), I haven’t been able to get to the doctor’s and I am back to square one. The pain is excruciating and once again, I am facing that fact that after five months of hard work, I may not be able to run Chicago in 11 days. I feel like I have been on an emotional roller coaster. I dealt with this several weeks ago when it began, rested it and did my own conservative therapy. I made it through 21 miles with no problem, getting my hopes up. I made it through last week running with no problem. Then BOOM- here we go again. I’m trying to simply take it one day at a time. I’ll be taking a week off again. I can’t put any weight on my foot whatsoever. I have compression tape wrapped around my foot for support and have been elevating and icing while at work to help. I have no problem dealing with injury as it is par for the course for a runner. I think what is so disheartening is that I’ve worked so hard and sacrificed so much that is just simply sucks for this to happen so last minute.
I just have to keep remembering that whatever is meant to be will be.