Celebration Half Marathon Recap

The Celebration Marathon & Half Marathon, otherwise known as the race I almost didn’t run, was on Sunday. As I discussed here, I was freaking out because of a nagging IT Band issue that forced me to miss running most of January (I could run but the pain had me running with a slight limp which is very strange.) Ultimately, I decided that trying my best and walking if necessary, is a fine way to start a race.

On Sunday, I woke up at 4 AM and did the normal coffee/dicking around on the internet trying to wake up thing. I was not exaggerating about being nervous and did not sleep all well. After being sufficiently caffeinated, I ate a light breakfast and changed my clothes five times. It was a foggy cool 56 degrees and I could not decide whether to wear capris and a t-shirt or shorts and a tank. Preferring to err on the side of being cold, the shorts won.

I thought parking might be an issue for this race because the race start was in the downtown area and there is not a ton of parking. The residents tend to take up a lot of the street parking, so I knew that would be tough. I decided to park at Celebration Health, which is usually where I park for long runs, and walk the mile to the start. The good, I was able to use an actual bathroom before the race. The bad, I walk a mile much slower than I run it and I arrived at the start when they were singing the National Anthem. I attempted to squeeze myself into the starting corral but it was tight (plus moving during the anthem seems to be something people frown upon.) I eventually worked my way to the middle of the start and we were off.

My plan was to run at a comfortable pace and walk if I needed to. Luckily, it was cold enough that my leg started to feel slightly numb, which I think really helped with the pain. Celebration is such a beautiful place to run and I enjoyed looking at the houses and the pretty trees. (If you want to see what I mean, check out the course video found here.)

Around mile 7, I started to hurt and took more regular walk breaks. By around mile 11, I was done and watching my Garmin every 30 seconds hoping the miles were going faster than they seemed.

Celebration Half Split Times

As you can see, I had a tiny little bit of gas left to pull myself over the timing mat. I stuffed my face with some awesome food (garlic knots and a delicious muffin.) Wandered around the finish area for a bit to cool down and look for anyone I knew. (I did see a friend from the Lakeland Runner’s Club which was awesome.) Then I realized that I had to walk the mile back to my car but decided if I made it, would stop at Starbucks on the way home.

Official time 2:21:13. Not my best but not my worst. For the amount of training I missed and my wonky leg, I did much better than I expected.

So in a nut shell…

The Good:

Loved the medal.

Celebration Half Marathon Marathon Medal

Loved the shirt.

Celebration Marathon Half Marathon Race Shirt

Great food.

Race support was excellent. Lots of water stops with great volunteers.

Beautiful course.

Great price.

The Bad:

I had to hunt for my water after finishing the race.

Would prefer timing clocks throughout the course.

There was a delay in getting the times posted.

For an inaugural race, the good far outweighed the bad. The race is showing a lot of savvy by allowing people to give constructive criticism on their Facebook page. I know the race directors care about responses because I ran into one on the hike back to my car. He asked about my experience and took a few notes about the minor criticisms I had.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed running the Celebration Half Marathon and plan on running it again.

The Last PR Of 2013

My last race of 2013 combined a few things I love running, libraries, and dogs. (The race includes a 5K, kids runs, and a race with your dogs.) The Jingle Bell Classic replaced the Shamrock Walk And Run. The new race added a 10K which was perfect because my 10K PR is so old, that running at an easy pace, I knew I would be faster.

The race took place in Winter Haven, Florida, which is a quick 15 minutes from my house. The parking was perfect and there was no traffic to speak of. The course is an out and back that takes you around Lake Silver.

JIngle Bell Classic 10K Course

I live in the land of many lakes and always enjoy water views on any run.

The weather was a perfect and I felt great the entire time.

Things I Loved About The Jingle Bell Classic

$35 entry fee

Proceeds benefit the Winter Haven Library

Long sleeved tech shirt with this guy on it

Jingle Bell Classic 10K Mascot

Race started with a Fiat done up like a reindeer

Close to my house

The only thing I can say that I didn’t love about this race is that somewhere just before mile five, a volunteer shouted that I was almost there just two miles to go. I looked at my watch hoping that he was wrong. (He was thankfully.)

JIngle Bell Classic 10K Splits

I have to share my splits because I never see numbers like this. This race is the ultimate confidence booster. It really makes me feel that the past six months of training has made a difference. For awhile, I thought I would never get faster but I have. I am still on the slow end of the scale but the difference between now and where I was a year ago, is vast. So lesson learned, hard work actually pays off.

My official time is 58:10 which means I obviously have Ninja-like skills at stopping my Garmin. I also came in second in my age group, which will probably never happen again, so I will enjoy it.

I Might Be Getting Faster Or The 5K I Ran On No Sleep

I recently ran the last race of my favorite 5K race series, The Watermelon 5K Series, put on by the Lakeland Runner’s Club. (I previously wrote about races one/two and three.) It is a wonderful series that helps keep me motivated through the sweltering Florida summer and is like $30 for four races if you register early.

Even though I feel faster lately (this is completely due to some breakthroughs with my new running group), leading up to Watermelon 5K Race four was not ideal. Months earlier, I bought tickets to see The Killers at Hard Rock Live. Very exciting, but of course it was the night before the last race. My friend and I stayed for the entire concert. I didn’t drink at all, which was a first for me (not because I’m some huge drunk but because I do like a few beers at a concert). After the second encore, we decided to leave but there was a torrential downpour. I mean it was biblical. (Also it was truly hilarious to watch quite a few inebriated people staring out the doors and trying to decide what to do.) Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal but Hard Rock Live is located in Universal City Walk. That means we had to walk about two miles in the pouring rain to the parking garage. So we ran. (I am kind of glad that I was sober, would have been much more annoyed about this after a few.)

I got home around midnight and promptly passed out. (The concert was awesome and they played every song you would want to hear.) Somehow, I was able to wake up at 4 AM and got my butt out the door. I am not someone who does well with little-to-no sleep but I paid for the race and was going to run it (unless I slept through my alarm which I thought might happen.)

So the plan going into this race was to finish. Not die. Not pass out. Not fall asleep on my feet. So, it was a success there. Somehow, maybe it was the lack of sleep, I ran my fastest 5K ever.

Watermelon 5K Race Four Splits

Official time 30:43.

Watermelon 5K Race Four 2013 Finish

Not sure how I seemed to finish with no other people.

I loved that they took free commemorative photo’s of participants after the race was over.

Watermelon Number Four 2013 DinaRuns Picture

For running the series, I did get this awesome woman specific tech shirt.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K 2013 Shirt

This is my second year running the Watermelon 5K Series and it is starting to mark the end of summer. Until next year, it was fun huffing and puffing my way around Lake Hollingsworth.

A Tale Of Two Races

It was so hard not to type Tail in the subject line of this post. This post is, sadly, not about this guy.

Tail Cat Stares At You

It is about running, which I have been doing some of lately.

Running in the Florida summer is tough. I never have any luck getting up before the sun to run (mainly because I am afraid of running in the dark alone and also because it is really early) so I tend to run after work in the sweltering heat and on the treadmill on the gym. Keeping the motivation high, I need to have something to aim for. Luckily, the Lakeland Runner’s Club has the same idea.

Lakeland-Runners-Club-Watermelon-5K-2013_

Lakeland Runner’s Club Watermelon 5K Race One

This series takes place around the beautiful Lake Hollingsworth area in Lakeland. Amazing houses, water views, and all kinds of ducks. It is such a treat to run in the area.

Lake Hollingsworth Lakeland Florida

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This race started like pretty much all races in Florida, hot and humid. Luckily, the 7 AM start is just when the sun starts to come up. The race route is mostly on the path that goes all the way around the lake (there is a little road running at the race start.) It can make parts of the race a little congested but I am usually able to get around people if needed.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Garmin Map Race 1 2013

Sadly, the same cramps that plagued me last year, happened again during this race. This lead to a few walk breaks (so I could breath) and missing my sub-30 minute goal.

Splits Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Race 1 2013

My official time chip time is 32.39. Not my fastest by far but a starting point to get my time down over the course of the series.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Race 1 2013

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Lakeland Runner’s Club Watermelon 5K Race Two

I made great time and parking was a breeze. (The more often I run this race, the better I get at deciding which side streets are the best to park on.) I did have to choose between warming-up and using the bathroom (the bathroom won.)

Having learned my lesson from Race One, I started this one in 9 minute mile area. What a difference that made! It seems obvious but starting near people who run your pace makes so much more sense. Especially in a race where people run with strollers and dogs.

Lakeland Runner's Club Watermelon Run #2 2013

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Number 2 Splits 2013

Again, there were a few walk breaks but it helps prevent cramping. I am happy to say that race was faster than race number one, so at least the numbers are going in the right direction.

My official chip time is 30:55 which is just so close to a sub-30 that I hope race number three I can get there.

Dina Runs Lakeland Runner's Club Watermelon 5K Run 2

(Photo taken from the Lakeland Runner’s Club Facebook group)

The Race Where I May Have Peed Myself

This is my second time running the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon (Gasparilla Distance Classic 2012). I love this race so much.I plan on clearing an annual spot on my calendar to run it every year. The weather this year was hot (even for Florida) and humid (even for Florida). I knew going into this race that it would be very difficult under those conditions for me to reach my A goal (2.14) but I paid my money and was going to enjoy it if it killed me.

Race day started off smoothly. I woke up on time, avoiding consuming any contaminated tap water, and was out the door only slightly later than I planned. I made it to the starting line with little fuss (anytime I don’t end up driving around in circles is a small victory). The police did an excellent job directing the traffic and making it easy to get into the closest parking garage.

The Gasparilla Half Marathon started in two waves, red which was for those with estimated finish times less than two hours (not me) and yellow with those estimated time above two hours (definitely me). The start was staggered by ten minutes. My not getting lost and having zero issues finding parking, I was able to get into the corral 30 minutes before the race started. I used the bathroom first and then stood around waiting. In hindsight, this was a huge mistake. I have the worlds smallest bladder. Under cooler, less humid conditions, I can drink a minimal amount of water while running a half marathon and feel fine. Sadly, the weather and my bladder were not on the same page and using the bathroom 30 minutes before the start was not a good idea.

I should have pushed my way closer to the front of the yellow corral because I was caught on the first bridge where there were so many people, it forced everyone to walk. It is a crazy sea of people where the walking pace was much slower than my normal, everyday walking pace. Not much you can do though.

The more I ran, the hotter I got, the more water I drank, the more I needed to pee. It really started to become tragic around mile seven. I started to forlornly stare at each passing porta potty (there was one at every water stop, which was every mile) and imagine myself stopping. I should have stopped but didn’t because the last time I stopped to pee in a race I lost seven minutes. At this point, I still believed I could make my goal and knew that the delay would be detrimental.

Around mile ten, the full bladder was starting to slow me down. I still did not stop and I think it may be because the pee was moving to my brain. I finally crossed the finish line, grimacing, hot, and with super wet shorts. I am a pretty heavy sweater but I was dripping. Then it hit me, did I pee myself? I still had to go when I crossed the finish line but I felt like people were staring at me. So the jury is out on whether it was actually pee but just the fact that it might have been is making me blush just typing this.

Bladder trouble aside, the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon is a great race. The volunteers were excellent (I loved the kids at the end of the race who cheered their hearts out). The spectators have the best signs and the views of the bay are amazing. Plus,  there is the medal.

Gasparilla 2013 Half Marathon Medal

I sadly did not make my goal.

Gasparilla 2013 Half Marathon Official Time

It is a half marathon PR by 34 seconds.

Gasparilla 2013 Half Marathon Splits

I am pretty sure that if the weather had proved less hot and humid, my time would have been closer to my goal. There is always next year.

Do you stop and use the bathroom while racing or try to hold it?

Second Annual Margarita Run 5K

For the second year in a row, I ran the Margarita Run in Haines City, Florida. This race is down the street from my house and benefits Haines City Main Street. Haines City Main Street Inc.. is a group whose’ purpose is to revitalize downtown Haines City. I happen to live in Haines City, so I have a vested interest in the downtown being revitalized. (For example, can there be a place in which to buy coffee that is not a fast food restaurant?)

I was also lucky to meet-up with a great group of activists and dedicated campaign workers. Karen Welzel is running for the Florida House of Representatives in District 41 against John Wood. Karen came out to this event to show her local spirit and meet with future constituents. It was great to have people to hang out with before the race and I also got this nifty t-shirt.

Karen Welzel campaign t-shirt

This race was insanely hot. It started at 5PM when it was 90 degrees with very high humidity. The course is pretty hilly (for Florida) and has zero shade so I knew this would not be one for the record books.

The race started with a lack of bang because the starting pistol would not fire. I felt really bad for the guy who was meant to fire it because it just would not work. After four failed attempts, he went with “ready, set, go.” I don’t know if it was the lack of pistol excitement or the temperature and humidity, but I definitely took the first mile too fast. I felt good running it and thought I might be able to sustain the 9:14 pace. Turns out I am not able to maintain that pace. Sadly the too fast start made me feel like a wilted flower later in the race.

It started to get ugly on each successively more gnarly hill and I started to take regular walk breaks. Like last year, many of the runners missed a turn and ended up coming it at 2.82 miles instead of 3.10. I really did not mind because it is such a new race that benefits charity. I will give the organizers the benefit of the doubt that they can sort it out for next year.

My splits were all over the place. I think it was too hot to really race.

Margarita 5K Haines City DinaRuns

The race director did announce that everyone would get free entries into an upcoming race in November to make up for the miss-hap. That race actually takes place in a park where I run weekly. It has a paved one mile loop which would make it impossible to make a wrong turn.

Even with the wrong turn snafu and the complicated race layout, I really enjoyed the Margarita 5K. The race is local and the money benefits a great cause. I loved that the race allowed me to mix my politics with running. Plus there was free pizza and a vendor selling cupcakes.

Cupcakes Haines City Margarita Run

Cupcakes and smoothies from Cakes 4 the Memories. J picked up two for us to share (red velvet and margarita) and both were delicious. I recommend stopping by this bakery if you are in Haines City.

All sweaty and smiley after the race.

Margarita 5K Haines City Dinaruns

There were campaign signs around the vendor area.

Karen Welzel Sign Margarita Run Haines City Florida

Have you ever run a race that had course issues? Do you give them another chance or never run it again?

Quest For A Sub-30 Minute 5K Race Number Four

The last race in my summer’s quest for sub-30 Minute 5K, is done. I really enjoyed the series put on by the Lakeland Runners Club. The races were well-organized and the volunteers were excellent. To read about the other races in this series, please see Race One, Race Two, and Race Three.

Running all four races, I earned this snazzy t-shirt.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Series 2012 Shirt

$30 for four 5K’s and a t-shirt, this series is such a good value.

The race took place around Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland, Florida. I really need to make an effort to run there more often because it is a beautiful area. The path around the lake has views of gorgeous homes, Florida Southern College (with their many Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings), and tons of birds. It is worth the drive to Lakeland if you are looking for a place to run in Central Florida.

The weather was clear but as humid as every August day is in Florida. This race I actually remembered to bring my sunglasses, so I could see when the sun was coming up. No major issues but I did have some slight cramping again. I am starting to think the cramping is caused by the humidity. My pace felt comfortable, so it was not that I was running too fast.

Splits:

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Number 4 Splits

I am pleased with how even they are. They need to be a little bit faster for a sub-30 but I am getting there.

My strong finish and Garmin adjustment. (I like how this picture makes me look like I’m flying.)

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Race Number 4 DinaRuns

Clock Time: 32:39

Chip Time: 32:18

This was the final race of the series and I was not able to run a sub-30 minute 5K. Even though I did not make my goal, I learned a lot training for a shorter distance. I did more speed training and tempo running than I ever have before.This has led to an increase in speed. Being a fairly new runner, learning how I feel and react to different types of training helps me learn what works best for me. Seeing the results of these training runs lets me know that I can get faster and my running can improve. I just have to put the work in.

This summer I was able to bring my 5K PR from 35:24 to 31:21. It is not a sub-30 but I’ll take it.

Gasparilla Distance Classic 2012 Race Report

Saturday night I attended a charity dinner and left super early.

Polk County DEC Obama King Fundraiser

I had a small speaking part which was scary and awesome at the same time. I really need to get better at public speaking because my heart nearly beats out of my chest at the thought of it.

Polk County Obama King Fundraiser Program

I went straight from the event to my Mom’s house which is about a 20 minute drive from the race start.

I attempted to fall asleep but it was still pretty early and couldn’t sleep until 10:30. The weather was really loud and stormy plus I kept waking up assuming I slept through my alarm. Anytime I sleep in a room where I can’t see the time, this always happens.

My alarm did go off at 3 AM and I got up for coffee and breakfast. The wind was howling so loud that my Mom got up to check if I was still going.

I got into Tampa and the parking garage with no incident. I guess I was lost enough on Saturday, so Sunday went smoothly. As soon as I got out of my car in the garage, it started to rain. It was raining really hard and in combination with the wind, it was raining sideways. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I hung back in the parking garage to see if I could wait it out. It was starting to get late and I wasn’t sure how long the walk to the start would take me, so I decided to suck it up and get wet.

After getting drenched and of course my shoes were wet because of all the puddles, I made it into the convention center where most people were waiting. I actually ran into Carissa, which was nice because I had someone to talk to while we waited. Finally, the march over to the start began but it was still rainy and windy. I had on shorts and a tank top, so I was nearly frozen. It only got colder waiting in the last corral but at least the rain stopped.

As the race started, it was pretty congested. There were also a lot of puddles that people kept avoiding. The race begins with a fairly narrow bridge over to Davis Island that was a huge bottleneck. The good part was the bridge had to prevent people from going out too fast because people were squished together and there was no way around. The bad part is that there was definitely time lost trying to get over it.

After the bridge, people started to spread out. The run through Davis Island was relatively uneventful but it was cold and pretty windy.

Gasparilla 2012 Half Marathon Course

Crossing one more bridge, this time much less crowded, onto Bayshore was a nice change. The homes and water views on this road are just beautiful. I may have been fantasizing what it would be like to live in one of those houses and wake up to Bay views everyday, through most of the race.

At around mile seven, I needed to pee. I was making good time and every porta potty had a decent line. I decided that I would not stop unless I felt like I would burst. Around mile 11, I was at bursting point but it seemed crazy to stop so close to the finish line. I assumed there would be porta potties close to the finish. Of course, I had to go through a gauntlet of food vendors to get there. I ended up going in the convention center and nearly running (hobbling) up the stairs to the bathroom.

My pace throughout the race felt comfortable minus the crazy wind whipping me in the face. I did end up walking for a minute or two around mile 10 because of a massive stomach cramp. Slowing down for a few minutes pretty much made it go away.

Gasparilla 2012 Half Marathon Splits

I am surprised with my splits. My goal pace was 12:10 with a finish time of 2:39:29. I noticed early on that it felt comfortable to run a bit faster. I think the main difference besides typical race adrenaline was the weather. I ran the vast majority of my training runs after work when it was still quite hot out. Running in the dark with massive winds felt good. I was confident that my training was solid and was really prepared. These two factors made a big difference.

My official time was 2:31:38 which is a PR by 15 minutes and beat my goal time by eight minutes. I am so happy to see such an improvement because it can feel like you are working so hard but not improving. (I get like that at the end of a training cycle. Did I do enough? What about this run I missed? So much second guessing.) It gives me confidence that even though I am on the slow side, that with the right amount of training and effort, I can get faster. Being a slow runner is difficult mentally because many of the training runs, especially long runs, can take a huge chunk of your Saturday. For me, 14 miles is a three-hour process and that can be a lot of time to dedicate regularly. (I can’t even imagine marathon training at my pace. Would need to continue to be unemployed to do it.)

The Good

Organizers did a great job with terrible weather.

We started on time even though the weather was crappy.

Water stops were plentiful and the volunteers were very prepared.

Bad ass medal.

Gasparilla Half Marathon Medal 2012 Tampa

(So freaking cool.)

Little traffic congestion entering or leaving the race. (As someone who often gets lost, I appreciate this more than I can express.)

The Bad

Need to do a staggered start. The way runners were broken down was over/under a two-hour finish time. There was supposed to be a five-minute start time difference between the first and second corral. This did not do enough to help with the slow down crossing the bridge to Davis Island.

Bathrooms closer to the finish line. I cannot be the only person who crossed the finish line feeling like they were going to pee on themselves.

I really enjoyed the Gasparilla Distance Classic and can see why it is so popular in Central Florida. Will definitely be running this one next year.

Women’s Half Marathon St. Pete

This weekend was a whirlwind. It started on Friday, which I took off from work because I was supposed to see Breaking Dawn at midnight, but it worked out anyway because I needed to pick-up my race packet.

Packet pick-up and the Race Expo were held at the very fancy and beautiful Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club.

Vinoy Renaissance Hotel St. Pete

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The hotel is huge but the race did a great job with signs directing you to the packet/t-shirt pick-up and eventually the Expo.

Race Packet Pick-up St. Pete Women's Half

I grabbed my packet, swag bag, and did a quick loop through the Expo. There were lots of great vendors but I really do not have any money to spend and wanted to beat the traffic on the way home.

The bag is pretty nice and I will definitely put it in my rotation of reusable shopping bags.

Women's Half Marathon Swag Bag

Tail liked it too.

Women's Half Marathon St. Pete Bag and Cat

My race bib and one of the Bondi Bands I bought at the Expo. I love how this race prints your first name on your bib. (In case you are unable to read it, it says “I belong to a drinking club with a running problem.”)

Bondi Band and Race Bib

The goodies in the bag minus the Women’s Running magazine that I already started to read.

Women's Half Marathon St. Pete Goodies

The t-shirt is very nice and made by Born Fit. I will definitely use this shirt to run in.

Women's Half Marathon St. Pete T-Shirt

Saturday, after my Democratic Women’s Club meeting, I headed to my Mom’s in Tampa. Sleeping there cut my driving time down by an hour. We watched TV (I finally got her to watch Once Upon A Time, which I knew she would like.) I attempted to go to sleep at eight but it was more like nine. I tripled checked my alarms after Thursday’s incident, and planned to get up at 3:30. I woke up without incident and had lots of coffee and a light breakfast.

My stomach was not doing great, which it never does when I am super nervous, but I managed to get out of the house only 20 minutes later than planned. There was no traffic until I got off the highway in St. Pete and then it was monstrous. At 6:30, I was still in line to get into the parking garage and the race started at 7. It took me 15 minutes to park, five to walk to the porta-potties (I really had to go), and I got to my corral as the air horn went off. Not ideal but at least I was always going to start towards the back, so there was no time lost.

The first mile or so was super crowded which worked since I had not had a chance to warm up, it was nice to stick to a slow pace. My plan was to maintain about a 11 minute/mile pace which is comfortable for me. I did take one bathroom break around mile seven but only lost two minutes waiting and could not have run one more minute with a full bladder.

Race Highlights:

Beautiful Course: Gorgeous houses and water views. I kept thinking, can you imagine living here in this beautiful place?

Tropicana Field: Getting to run through Tropicana Field (where the Tampa Bay Rays play) was really cool. It was towards the end of the race and running on Astro Turf is an experience. This is reason enough to run the race, how many people can say they ran a lap around a MLB field? (I also found my self touching one of the green walls because I was always curious if they are padded. My conclusion is if you run into one trying to catch a ball, it must really hurt.)

Crowd Support: Great signs and lots of cheering. Having the names on the bibs let people cheer for you by name. My favorite signs were a series that were staked within 20 feet of each other and were to a runner names Laura. They told her how much they hated to miss the race but that she was going to do great. The final sign in the series promised her a foot massage when she got home. How cute is that?

Water Stops: They were all well manned and had plenty of volunteers. My favorite was a 70’s themed stop (sponsored by a local running club) they had a VW Van and were decked out in disco duds (including wigs.)

Cool Medal: Really unique and perfectly represents the race location.

Women's_Half_Marathon_St._Pete_2011_Medal

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Race Lowlights:

Lost My Car: This is completely my fault, and sadly not the first time this has happened to me. All the rushing to get to the race before it started, I did not pay attention to where I parked. I ended up walking around for two hours checking every parking garage within a three-mile radius of the start. Not my finest hour by a long shot.

Heat: It was pretty hot for November (even in Florida). I am so glad I was convinced to wear my Fuel Belt. Having access to the extra water was essential.

I finished the race in 2:46:09. I am happy with the time because I really was focusing on finishing and if pressed for a time goal, would have said 2:45. It leaves me with lots of room for improvement and I cannot wait to run another Half.

Florida Hospital Celebration Health 10K

I decided to use this race as the last long run of my Half Marathon training. As someone who mostly runs alone, it is so nice to run with other people and to run a route that is planned out by someone else. It took place in Celebration which is one of my favorite places in Central Florida and a place where I run regularly. (Celebration Runs)

One mistake I made was eating out really late on Saturday. J and I went to Dave & Busters in Orlando. It opened recently and I have never been to one. So we played games for an hour and sat down to eat around nine.

Dina Dave & Busters

J Dave & Busters

Then we ate this.

Dave & Busters Spinach Dip

And this.

Dave & Busters

Plus a little bit of this.

Sam Seasonal Dave & Busters

The food was fine for bar type food but it sat in my stomach like a rock. So not the recipe for a successful early morning run. At least I had fun (and won lots of tickets beating J at trivia.)

I woke up early early the next morning (around 4:45 which is only a little bit earlier than I wake up everyday for work.) Celebration is pretty close to my house, so there was not any traffic issues and the parking went very smoothly. After a short walk from my car, where of course I forgot my sunglasses and did not have time to get them, I picked up my race packet and was able to use the bathroom. The porta potty situation was crazy, so I went inside the hospital to go.

The weather was brisk (for Florida) but I was comfortable in my shorts and t-shirt when we started to move. The course was beautiful and there was a decent amount of crowd support. It included many cute kids with cute dogs.

My goal for this race was to not puke up the rock of food and beer that was still in my stomach and to relax into a steady pace. I am not fast and know I need to maintain a comfortable pace for the Half next week. This race, I was really able to do that. I never surged with the crowd and my pace was very consistent. I also did not take any walk breaks until after the 5K mark which was a first.

The Positives:

Great course

Great cause

Easy parking

Very well organized (The Track Shack races always are.)

Bag check (This is the first one I have seen at a 5/10 K. Great idea and I wish I had known, I would have kept my camera in it to take some pictures.)

Did not puke

Perfect weather (in the 60’s)

The Cons:

Not enough porta potties

Two water stops which might have been worse had it been a hot day

After the race I stopped at the sports medicine booth provided by Florida Hospital. I have had a slight pain in my left leg the past few weeks which is making me limp a little. It makes running a bit uncomfortable at first but starts to feel better as I continue to move. Yoga seemed to help it but I was worried that it could be a more serious injury. It turns out to be some tenderness in my IT Band. A stretch was recommended, to do before and after runs. I was also told to hold off on any serious strength training this week to make sure I am strong for my race on Sunday. This news that my injury was just muscle soreness is such a relief. I will continue to stretch, do Yoga, and foam roll to work it out this week.

My race results:

Clock Time: 1:09:47

Chip Time: 1:08:53

Pace: 11:05.1

It was a lot of fun and I would defiantly run this race again. Maybe next year I will do the distance dare and run the 5K too.