I highly recommend this race. Small, great location, and well supported. I registered early for $50 and I know someone who registered two days ago for $60. We recieved a long sleeve tech tee, a visor and a medal for crossing the finish line. My enjoyment was definitely enhanced by the presence of friends but it is a great race even if I had been there alone.
11 of us met for dinner on Saturday evening. We chose Italian. That seemed appropriate for a pre- race meal. We had 6 pm reservations which allowed for some down time back at the hotel before sleep. Both Dave and I had been up early on Saturday (5:30) - he for hockey, me for Phillyfit - so we were lights out by 9:30. The hotel had breakfast at 6 which was perfect. We had a leisurely breakfast and at 7:30 drove to OC for the 9 am start. Very civilized.
So I'll cut to the end now and tell you that I did not best my time from the RNR two weeks ago. Frankly that was a longshot but I needed to go into the race thinking I could - thinking positively - or I might not have started let alone finish. I did best my time from last year and I do not appear to be injured as I was last year. All good things.
Best of all - I BEAT THE BRIDGE - soundly!! Deep breath at the bottom, then focused on keeping my shoulders and neck loose, back straight (not hunched), one foot in front of the other. I looked up once or twice but mostly focused on spots a few feet in front of me (the small field was significantly spread out by now). I concentrated on my breathing. Taking deep breaths not letting myself get caught up in a cycle of somewhat panicky short breaths that I sometimes do on hills. I noticed that tendency during our group hill workouts this summer. Those hill workouts were key to beating this bridge. At the top I let gravity take me down and then - after a half mile out and half mile back - did the same thing again to get back to Ocean City.
Shortly after that I passed mile 5 and I was more tired than I wanted to be at that point. I knew then this race was going to be about finishing or maybe beating last year's time. I just didn't have enough in me. Considering my allergy issues and related fatigue of the past two weeks I was ok with it though.
I stuck with my water stop plan up to the boardwalk and then started my gym boss at 2 and 1's. Funny thing, I never saw the 6 or 7 mile markers. The next one I saw was 8. That was kind of nice :). I stuck with 2 and 1's past the 11 mile marker and back on the boardwalk. At the end of the boardwalk we went into the streets for about 3 miles and finished on the boardwalk in front of the music pier.
Back on the boardwalk I was going to try to run to the fishing pier (about 14 th street ) take a walk break and then run to the end ( 9 th street ). I couldn't hold my run portions though and ended up with some very uneven intervals. My legs felt ok, I just didn't feel like I had any energy.
But I BEAT THE BRIDGE and I finished so I am very happy.
I was second to last of our group to finish and as is Phillyfit style everyone who had finished before me was there to cheer! It's very emotional. As I approached the finish chute, their cheers encourged me into a burst of speed. There was another runner just in front. We had been leap frogging most of the way. Somebody said, " You can take her" so I did. I felt a little bad about that but I guess all's fair in the end of a race.
Another neat thing about having so many friends running ahead of me. Most of us were wearing green Phillyfit " No Whining " shirts. I have to confess that I wasn't wearing mine when i arrived at the race. I had brought two shirts and at the last minute last night I pinned my bib to the other one. When I arrived and saw all the shirts, I went back to the car and changed. I'm really glad I did. As I approached the music pier the first time some spectators yelled " Go No Whining! You can do it!" I was shocked. They were facing me still when they said that. They had not seen the back of my shirt! Then I realized they must have seen the others in our group. The color this year really does stand out. These folks recognized it I guess and knew I was with the others and knew what the shirt said. . It was a very cool moment!