Monday, March 31, 2008

The Boardwalk, a Race, and one Stuffed Blue Pig

As mentioned before, I ran the Ocean Drive 10 miler on Sunday. So of course I had to spend the weekend down the shore.

On Saturday, I started off in Ocean City at Sun Rose Words & Music, which is the first store that will be selling my book. Now that I have a physical copy, I could show the owners, which prompted us to finalize the details of when I would be signing (May 3 at 10am). I also stopped in a few more Ocean City shops and showed off the book, all to enthusiastic thumbs up (granted, it helped that those shops I stopped at were in the book, but felt good).

I also saw what I knew was going to happen: A few places I wrote about had closed (moreso in Stone Harbor than Ocean City). I know I did my best to make the book as up to date as I could, but I couldn't help but mutter when I saw a place had closed or changed its name or even swapped shops with another store.

After making my way down Asbury Avenue, it was up to the boardwalk where I found a crowd for a cold March morning. Don't let that sun fool you -- it was quite chilly.

That didn't stop some people from going into the water.

They said they were doing it to celebrate "my niece's wedding," according the guy in the red and white shorts. He said they're not going to make it an annual tradition. I have no doubt that they will -- they looked like they were having a good time. But that's not exactly my idea of fun.

The drink of the day was of course coffee, or some sort of hot caffeinated drink, most from the Ocean City Coffee Co.

I also had a chance to see the boardwalk construction first hand:

Not much to look at, I'm afraid, but it looks better than the worn down boards, and at least it's not rain forest wood.

After having lunch at the Chatterbox, I made my way down Ocean Drive, stopping at few spots until I got to the Ocean Drive Marathon in Wildwood. Then it was onto Cape May to visit with a few people who helped me with the book, and for dinner at the Blue Pig Tavern were I had the "Marathoner Marinara" special and conversation with a gaggle of Cape May locals. They were very fun, and all marveled at my decision to run 10 miles the next day (and my ability to stop after one...okay, two glasses of wine).

I didn't sleep very well Saturday night. I don't think it has as much to do about staying in a strange place as running 10 miles the next morning. I've never run 10 miles. My longest run had been seven. I was to do eight miles last weekend, but got sick. Still, I figured if I could get to the seven mile marker, it was just a 5K after that.

The morning of the race was cold, but not freezing. I didn't feel like I needed to run in long pants, though many runners did. I stayed inside until about 15 minutes before the start, and then joined the crowd. I'm chatty at longer runs sometimes, and I met people from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, many running the race for the first time.

And then we were off. Even though it was cold, and incredibly windy (estimated 15 mph winds, all in your face), it's a beautiful race. I've driven from Cape May to Wildwood plenty of times, but you can't take in the beauty of the waterways in a car like you can on foot, even if you are blazing by at six miles per hour.

I did fine through Cape May and into Wildwood. I started out slow, but by mile five, started passing people. I had seen two guys in Yankees t-shirts zip to the lead at the start line, and I ribbed them a bit when I passed them by. They started to walk leading up onto the Wildwood boardwalk, which is when I picked up the pace.

I thought a lot about my book through the course. I passed places I'd written about, ran over streets and boardwalk I had researched under the hot August sun. By mile marker eight, I was almost at a spring. By mile marker nine, the wind blew my hat off, but there I was no way I was turning around. I started to feel sick when I saw the finish line, and my mom and sister screaming for me. That's when I kicked everything I had left into my legs and crossed the finish line.

Thought at this moment: "GET OUT OF THE WAY, LADY!"

Thought at this moment: "Mom, really? I think I might be sick, and you want to take my picture? And how do you work this blanket thing anyway?"

I soon got myself some water, two bananas and a bagel, thanked the women who brought my hat to me, stretched out, and got in the car to have breakfast at Dock Mike's in Cape May. That's when the shakes started. I ran for almost 1:40 and had no idea how cold it was because I was running, but once I stopped, it hit me. I was working on my calves while waiting for my food (pancakes with extra whipped cream because of the race -- thanks friendly waitress).

I hobbled around Cape May after that until my sister put me in the car and drove me to La Costa for the awards ceremony. No better way to carb up than with beer. And I wasn't the only one.

I also got to meet Benjamin Orlock of the Down the Shore with Jen series in person. I didn't have a picture when I posted our Q&A on the blog, so here's one:

I slipped in and out of a doze on the way home, and couldn't wait to take a nice warm shower once I got my dog and made it back to my house. Am I glad I ran the race? Absolutely. Am I still sore? You bet. I think it'll hurt worse tomorrow. Good thing I have no meetings scheduled!

The full race results, for the 10 miler, the marathon, and the 5k, are here. I would like to do a marathon someday, but I don't think it'll be this one. It's just too windy.

On a completely different note: Ever since I first toured Congress Hall while researching my book, I've wanted one of the silly stuffed pigs they sold in the gift shop. So after I finished the race, I bought one:

Apparently, someone else has taken a shine to it:

Emily stared at the pig for a half hour. When I woke up this morning, she woke up, too, and she made a lurch for the pig. I think I might have to switch it from my "book a week" shelf to something higher lest Emily get a hold of it and try to find bacon.

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Trish Ryan said...

Congratulations! That is awesome!
As someone who's big running dream is to someday complete a 5k without passing out, I am so excited and impressed that you did this...and in MARCH, when it was windy & cold. You're a superstar :)

Nadine said...

You'll be running a marathon in no time! Congratulations - that is so wonderful! And keep the space blanket - it works wonders after long runs in all sorts of weather. But don't keep it balled up - then it will start to smell funny. See all the cool things you learn from being a runner!

Abra said...

Congratulations! Hate the shakes, but getting them is validating in a weird way because you know you've pushed yourself.

Sounds like a beautiful run. I feel like I can't do a 5K race until I'm training at 10 miles while you just dive into a 10 mile race! Your confidence is inspiring.

And thanks for the shoe recommendation. I bought my first pair of Mizunos on Saturday and love running in them.

Jen A. Miller said...

Thanks, guys! And Abra, I'm glad you like the shoes!