Here is a report on the Island to Island half marathon. This is a point to point race from Ocean City to Assateague Island. This race has been on my bucket list for some time now.
We went down Friday night and hit packet pickup. It was held at Francis Scott Key Motel in West Ocean City. This is a very nice motel.
Anyway, we pick up our items and meet up with Pams sister Wanda and her Husband Dennis. Dennis was the one responsible for getting involved in running in the first place. We talked about our plans for race day and then said our good nights.
We got up at 5 and started to get ready. Wanda and Dennis showed up at 5:40 and off we went. We stopped off and picked up some coffee and something small for breakfast. We make our way down to the inlet parking lot. Not very many people were there yet. We park and started to go through our pre-race routine. and then we saw it. Sunrise. It was unbelievable. Watching the sun come up over the ocean. What a scene.
Dennis and I continued with our own pre-race warm ups and then decided to make our way to the start. They made some announcements and did their thank yous of all of the sponsors etc. They sang the National Anthem and then we were off.
We ran around the parking lot and then on the boardwalk. This was a bit weird for me. I have walked the boardwalk many times in the past but never ran on it. It took a bit of an adjustment, but I was able to get into a groove. We head down the boardwalk for a bit and then we make a left and head straight for the Rt 50 bridge. This is one of the two bridges on the course. So aside from the bridges this course is flat.
Well before you know it, we are at mile marker 3. The aide stations were plentiful, however there was very little crowd support. As we were running on some major roads it was not very easy to have the streets lined with cheering spectators. We did make a detour and run in a small neighborhood where some people were out cheering us on. This was almost at mile 4 where I got a very bad side stitch and had to stop, walk a bit and stretch out my side. Up until then I was feeling very good, almost great. This is also where the 1:50 pacer went by me. I was a little upset but knew that it was still ok. I knew that I would start moving again so that I could make it under 2 hours. And so I started to get moving again. I did have my garmin on but was not looking at it. Trying to learn to run by feel, anyway more on that later.
I started getting into my groove again, and like I said there was very very little crowd support out there. It actaully helped me a little to try to focus more on my running then on the crowds. So, there really is not much else to say but I did get another side stitch between mile marker 10 and 11 and had to walk it out a little more. I started to move with determination that I needed to finish before the 2 hour mark. At around the 11 mile mark we make a turn toward Assateague Island, and there it is. Like a monster on the horizon. The Verrazano Bridge that takes you into Assateague. I envisioned myself flying over and down the other side. Well it was a pretty picture, inside my head. I did make it over and started on my way down the other side. I was hoping that the finish line would have been in sight, but it was not. Mile 12 was on the crest of the bridge so we still had a mile to go. I was hoping that the downhill was going to allow me to pick up speed and cruse into the finish line. Not so much.
Well within that last mile, it was a very narrow path. It was a bit difficult that we had to dodge other runners but we also had to dodge horse droppings as well. I heard behind me somebody giving encouragement to "Nicole". I could tell that she was giving it all. He kept on saying that we are almost there and that the finish line was right around the corner. I felt myself fading, when he came up close enough for me to look back and see him. He was the 1:55 pacer. Well I was not letting him, or Nicole, pass me. I picked up the pace and finish I did. 1:55:39. Yes a new PR for me. This is equal to just under an 8:50 pace.
After downloading and looking at my data, I know why I got a stitch in my side between mile 3 and 4. Mile 1: 8:15 pace Mile 2: 8:16 pace Mile 3: 8:18 pace. I was just going out a little too quick. Something to keep in mind next time.
Well now for some other news. Pam and Alex ran the 5k. They started at the same place we did and went on an out and back course on the boardwalk. This was Alexs first 5k. She did not do much training at all. She finished in 30:09. this was good enough for 4th in her age group, out of 11. Pam finished a second in front of Alex. They both had a great time, and there is talk about doing this race again next year. Pam is even asking about half marathon training programs.
Oh, I forgot to mention that my brother in law place 2nd in his age group. He also got a PR.
We all had a great time and hope that we can do this one again next year. If we do I will try very hard to do what I did at the Rock and Roll in DC. I am very happy with both times, but the RNR race I ran at a more consistant pace than the OC one. Next goal.......1:45