I was excited to run the Belmar 5 all month. The plan was to get a gauge of where my fitness was. I was ready and prepared until last Tuesday when I got a stomach bug.
As I said yesterday, I’m not usually a runner with stomach issues but last week I felt like I got drop kicked in the stomach. I took both days off from running but even stretching my legs out on Friday didn’t feel great. I knew I would have to change my expectations and goals for racing but it still didn’t take the sting away.
I got to the race around 7:15. Since I was unfamiliar with the area of Belmar I wanted to get there extra early. I arrived with plenty of time to spare. I did a 2-mile warm up, dropped my bag off and headed to the start.
The weather was hot and muggy. It’s July, it’s on the shore and the sun was out. It’s not like the weather was a surprise. The majority of the race course was on the boardwalk so it was flat but with no shade.
The race started a few minutes behind schedule. Once the race began I realized I had started too far back again. I had made a conscious effort to get towards the front but I guess I didn’t start far enough forward.
During the first mile I passed a lot if people. It was very motivating because I was passing people but I didn’t feel my best. I knew I could gut out a five-mile race but that was my limit. Anymore miles and my stomach would have said no thanks. I hit the first mile in 6:27.
The second mile headed along the shore with the direction of the wind. I felt good but it was because we were going the same direction as the wind. I hit the second mile in 6:27. I was actually shocked with how fast I was running and how many people I was passing. My stomach was holding up well too! I thought I might be able to still reach my goal of 32:30.
As the race began to turn and go around a lake, I realized why I felt so good in the beginning. The wind began hitting us in the face. Luckily I was near people and could see I was not the only one struggling. I hit the third mile in 6:48. I felt awful, I looked awful and I was defeated.
The fourth mile went back on the shore and was going the opposite direction as mile 2. The wind continued to hit us. Running on any boardwalk can result in lots of wind. Instead of focusing on the wind, I had my eyes set on a pack of four females about 30 yards in front of me. I wasn’t getting any closer to them but they weren’t getting any further. The fourth mile was uneventful and I ran it in 6:47.
At the beginning of the fifth mile a man was calling out places of women. I was surprised when he said I was number 14. I was expecting somewhere in the top 30 but not that low. When I heard I was 14, I decided to make it my goal to be in the top 10. There were four women not to far in front of me.
The last mile was in the neighborhoods with almost no wind. It was flat with minimal turns. I continued to pick people off and ultimately found myself battling for 10th at the final stretch. I sprinted as hard as I could to the end. My last mile was my fastest and I finished it in 6:24.
I finished the Belmar 5 in 33:04 and 10th women overall. It was a little bit off my goal but due to my stomach and the wind I’m satisfied. It was a great experience for me to get more familiar with Belmar as well. I’ll be returning there for the Belmar Chase 5k on August 22.
Questions for you:
Do you like running along the Boardwalk?
Would you consider yourself to have a “stomach of steel” or can you only eat certain things?
Honestly, I can normally eat about 1-2 hours before a run and feel fine.