This weekend, I ran the Ocean City Half Marathon and was finally - FINALLY - able to bring Emily down the shore with me. This was a shot from Sunday morning as I took her on a walk before the race. Yes, I know I'm breaking the law. No dogs allowed on the boardwalk, ever, except for the Doo Dah Parade. But this is October down the shore when the tourists are mostly locals, and the rules are relaxed a bit. No one said a word about Emily, except that she was a cute dog (which she obviously is).
The race went much better than I expected. I gave my boyfriend the Garmin GPS watch and told him to go - he's becoming an excellent runner, and is faster than me, so I wanted him to give a new PR (person record, in runners terms) a shot.
I was surprised by the race, too. For a second year event, it was well organized. My only quibbles were small:
1. The race starts on the boardwalk by the Music Pier and goes south over the Longport Bridge and back. No one was really there to direct the runners on which side to run, so it was a little confusing as people started to turn around and go back over the bridge. Some volunteers directing runners could help.
2. Some aid stations had plastic, not paper cups. Paper cups are preferred because you can compress them and make them easier to drink out of of while running. Some aid stations also had people shouting that they had Gatorade when it was actually that tan knock off stuff that's gross. Don't say it's Gatorade if it's not.
3. The boardwalk wasn't shut down, which I understand, but a few volunteers to keep bikers from knocking into runners could have helped. I saw a few bikers on the north end of the boardwalk who cut off runners and didn't care. Not good.
4. Some of the mile posts were missing. For those of us who were running without GPS watches, this would have helped.
Like, I said, very small quibbles, and I'm sure the race will get better - and more popular - each year.
For me, it was a fantastic race because I beat my PR by over three minutes. This is a HUGE deal because that PR came before I got hurt, and I never though I'd be able to beat it again. My official time was 1:49:55, so I also broke the 1:50 mark - another milestone I never though I'd achieve. I think not having the Garmin helped with this, and even though some runners might not have liked this, having no time clocks on the course helped too. I had NO IDEA how fast I was running, and might have been tempted to slow myself down if I did now. Awesome, awesome day.
Another reason to like this race: it felt like a town effort. Lots of local volunteers and businesses pitched in. Where else are going to see this in the finisher's area?
And this, too.
Any race that ends with free Mack & Mancos gets two thumbs up. And yes I know that my boyfriend is photobombing the picture. I should have expected that.
After we'd showered, we took Emily onto the beach. The water was exceptionally warm, and the sun came out just in time.
She ran herself ragged - literally. She snoozed the entire way home. And maybe I did, too (wasn't driving!)