Sunday, July 12, 2015

2015 Avalon 5 Miler Race Report

Saturday, July 11th was the date of my first foot race in 3 months, the 35th annual Avalon 5 Miler. Back on April 10th - 11th I ran the Atlanta Ragnar Trail Run. The following month, on Sunday, May 3rd I swam the 1 mile distance in the Swim Across America (SAA) charity event in Lake Spivey. The swim event wasn't really a race for me since I hadn't trained, but I did do my best and it was timed. The Ragnar trail run was also timed and I had trained albeit halfheartedly. Before the April and May events my only race in recent history was the Lake Spivey Road Race 15K way back in November 2014. Since May my time has been divided among honey-do's, work and our new puppy Luke. Luke has helped fill the void left after our dog Max died from cancer.


Now it's time to start thinking about my fitness again. My running buddy Scott from Salt Lake City, Utah and I registered on race day for the Avalon 5 Miler in Avalon, New Jersey. The race was only 30 miles from our hotel in Egg Harbor where we are staying while attending a training class for work. Scott and I arrived in Avalon at around 7:20 a.m., just prior to the scheduled race start time of 8 a.m. We missed the online registration deadline but the race-day registration was quick and easy. Registration was located inside a gym next to a large free parking lot. Both were along the beach just off of the boardwalk.

Me and Scott with our new cotton race t-shirts
A course map which was printed on an 8.5" by 11" piece of paper was posted on the door to the gym. Inside the gym volunteers performed all the tasks involved with race registration. The race accommodations were perfect. There was plenty of room to stretch and warm-up. The out and back course itself was paved, except for the last 1/2 of a mile on the wooden boardwalk, which was wide, easy to follow, and fast. There were a few vehicles on the open course but nothing to worry about. A police car led the way for the winner and there were plenty of water-only stations on the route.  I got a cup of water from one of three little girl volunteers at one of the stations.  She was probably 3 years old and a real cutie.

The gym/community center


T-shirts and day-of-race registration


Course map

Avalon Avenue where the race started

Some homes along the course 

The boardwalk where the race finished

I suppose my results were good considering that I didn't train, didn't taper, and had only ran 11.2 miles in the 3 months prior to the race and those miles were accomplished on the Thursday and Friday before this race. My race day preparation was nil. I got little sleep, about 6 hours, and had no breakfast or gels. I did stretch a bit. That has to count for something.
After two training runs on Thursday and Friday and being seriously destroyed on both occasions by Scott, I was able to pull out a win on Saturday, sort of. I started out fast, about a 7:00 minute/mile pace, and proceeded to successfully complete a full compliment of positive splits. Of course, this is less desirable to the preferred negative split yet, in this case, it was effective enough to finish in 44th place overall - right in front of Scott. He had me in his sights and, if the course had been a little longer he might have passed me. Alas, Scott finished in 45th place. Age-groups were in 10 year increments.  Neither of us placed in our division. I placed 8th in the 50 to 59 age-group and Scott placed 8th in the 40 to 49 age-group. Timing was done with pull tabs. There were no chips or timing mats.  

Results board - 1 through 87

Results board - 88 through 174

Overall, this was a fun race and a good distraction for the weekend. The weather was perfect though the humidity at the shore is higher than I'm used to. The field was good for a local race. There were a couple more than the 174 runners listed on the results board, but not many.

The best place on-line to find out about the race is on the Avalon Five Miler Facebook page or the website for the charity for which the race proceeds benefit, Contact Cape-Atlantic .

I had an epiphany while I was running. I realize that I haven't been training much recently and that's okay. However, if I plan to qualify for Kona, and I do, then my future races will have to result in me dominating the field. I'll need to constantly place in the top 5% or higher. This race put me in the top 25% range of finishers. Losing a little weight wouldn't hurt either. I should probably lose about 15 lbs to be really competitive. I've got lots of work to do.

I had to include two pictures of a cool looking V10 Audi R8 parked near the race start/finish and a picture of a skull dongle where one might typically find something else dangling.

Thanks for reading.