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.

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.