Name of the race: Lobster Run 5K
Where: Asbury Park, NJ
Date: April 16, 2017
Time: 9:00 am (actual start was 9:15 am)
Distance: 3.1 miles
Terrain: Flat boardwalk, out-and-back route
Entry fee: $40 with breakfast buffet ($30 for 5K only)
Swag: Cotton t shirt & video of you crossing the finish line
Post-race Food: None outside of the paid breakfast buffet
Buffet: Rolls, Greek yogurt with fruit, fruit salad, French toast, lobster asparagus strata, home fries, bacon, Canadian bacon, juice, coffee, and tea
Performance: Overall: 24/361; Gender: 9/220; Age (35-39): 2/25
Weather: 54 degrees, 58% humidity, wind 9 mph (headwind on the way out)
I love lobster, so I wanted to do this race when I read about it. I even had plans to dress up like a lobster if I had time to make a costume (that never happened). At the inaugural Lobster Run, they actually served LOBSTER at the post-race buffet, so I was really eager for this race. Sadly there was no steamed lobster at the buffet this year. Instead there were only tiny bits of lobster in the strata this. This year’s buffet was a severe downgrade from last year’s.
Ben and I thought about driving down Friday night to Asbury Park, a charming little seaside town by the Jersey shore, but this plan didn’t work out. We woke up early, had some coffee, and then drove down. The drive was pleasant and we were looking forward to enjoying some seashore time with Bandit.
The interesting thing about this race is that there’s no official fixed start time. Originally we were told that we were allowed to do the 5K anytime between 9-10 am. Seriously. The timing people thought it would be fun to have a changing leader board. Unlike most races where gun time is what determines overall awards, they wanted to use chip time. They wanted the slower runners to start first and the faster runners to start later, so you didn’t know who the leaders were and so that different people would have the fun of being the “leader” for a short period of time. Well, if you know runners, you know this doesn’t work out at all. Ben thought this was a terrible idea because he didn’t want the slow runners creating congestion for the faster runners to fight through. I didn’t think congestion was going to be that much of a problem because it was a small field, but I still thought this wasn’t the best idea.
So at first, the website said to start anytime between 9 and 10 am. Then they requested us to start no later than 9:30 am. Then the day before, they asked us to start between 9 and 9:15 am. The morning of, we were told that we were starting the race between 9:15 and 9:30 am.
Although we were told that faster runners should start later, it didn’t work out that way. A big group of fast runners took off at the start.
I asked Ben to pace me, which he did with Bandit. Bandit was super excited about racing. She barked at me and everyone else around her to run faster. She’s such a trashbarker.
The course was a simple out and back on a lovely boardwalk. It was nice to just run straight and focus on my pace and nothing else. There was a bit of a headwind on the way out, so it was a relief at the turnaround point because now I had a tailwind.
I was averaging just faster than a 7:30 pace. I felt fine running the first mile, but was starting to feel tired at the start of the second mile. For the final mile, I was really tired and in pain, but I kept focusing on Ben who was running slightly ahead of me. Bandit thought we were going too slowly for running, so she walked along at a brisk pace. Sometimes my dog is an A-hole.
I was really happy to see the finish line and the finish clock. I didn’t know what my final time would be because I started several seconds after the first group of runners. I thought I would finish around 23:30.
Imagine my surprise when I looked at my Garmin and saw that I set a new PR! 23:01! I’ve been working on getting faster at the 5K distance and run a sub-23. So close! If I had known I was so close, I would have suffered a bit more in order to go under 23 minutes. Ah well, next time! My time was also good enough for a 2nd place age group award.
We ate our breakfast outdoors under a mild spring sun. I was disappointed by the dismally small bits of lobster we had in our breakfast, especially since last year people got to have whole lobster. A live band started to play some music, which put everyone into a festive mood.
After breakfast, I picked up my medal and then we walked along the beach with Bandit. Until Memorial Day, the beach is open to dogs. Bandit loved running on the beach. She was careful to stay out of the waves because she hates water, but she had a blast romping on the sand. She had the biggest grin on her face and gave us a look that clearly communicated that she thought the beach was amazing. After our long walk on the beach, we headed back to our car for the drive home. Bandit was absolutely pooped and konked out on the backseat.
We had a fun day at Asbury Park. While the 5K was nicely organized, the ever-changing start time was confusing. Also I would recommend that in the future to stop being cute with the changing leaderboard and to simply let all the runners start by letting the fast runners go out first. I also wouldn’t advertise the breakfast buffet as a lobster breakfast buffet because there wasn’t much lobster in the strata. It was more like lobster-flavored strata than lobster strata. I expected more lobster, so I was disappointed in the breakfast. Had my expectations been lower, I would have been okay with breakfast.
I liked the race and thought it was a fun one to do. If you’re local to the area, I would say it’s a good one to do, but it’s not really worth the 90 minute drive that I did to get there. So I’ll probably skip this next year, unless they promise that there’ll be a lobster boil.