I woke up at 5:40 am and got changed. I had all my things together so I easily got out the door by 6 am. I stopped at the store for a banana and then Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. I had a 30 min drive to the race, so I finished my banana and most of the latte on the way. I decided to park across the main street to get out faster. I had picked up my shirt and number on Friday so I wouldn’t have to walk back to my car. I pinned the number to my shirt. I decided to wear my Team runDisney shirt this time since another member would be running the race. I never did meet them. I gathered my sunglasses, new sweat band, cell phone, water bottle, and the rest of my latte. The crosswalks on the main road were nice. The walk to the chip area was a good warm up. I had no trouble getting my chip once I found the area. It was a nice shopping center area with lots of benches. I finished off my latte and attached my chip to my shoe. I decide to wander around and try to find the start. I did find the Port-o-Potties and decided to make use of them. Apparently, they made several changes to the races this year. There is a 5k and 15k. I walked to where I thought the start would be.
I ran into one of my old co-workers. We chatted and he warned me about the rolling hills. He would go on to finished 10th place in the 15k. We finally got directed to the correct start area. I had my pre-race picture taken. Then, I spotted Nicki. She’s the lady I have been talking to and ate with at the Hit the Brixx. I made sure to remember her name this time. We made our way towards the back of the pack. The races were supposed to start 5 minutes apart, but during the pre-race announcements, we found out we would start at the same time. 15k would cross over the first street to the opposite side while 5k would stay on the right. We worked our way further to the back and right just in time for the start.
Soon we were off. We walked to the starting matt and then I immediately started intervals. We ran out of the parking area, down the side street, and across the main street. The area at the entrance of the main street was a little tricky with the 5k people trying to get in between the 15k people running across the road. Soon we saw a water station. It wasn’t even close to Mile 1 yet. From looking at the map, I knew this was actually the entrance to the park we run around. The water station is meant for the exiting of the park just after Mile 2. The park was nice and we passed several people who stopped at the various bathrooms. We hit Mile 1 just after entering the park. We were at a 12 min/ mile pace. Shortly before we got to the exit of the park, Nicki said she needed an extra walk break and she’d see me at the finish. I wished her well and headed to the water stop. I did grab a cup and drink some. We were back on the main road at this point. The whole course was rolling hills. We passed Mile 3 on this road. Just before we turned off the main road, I saw my friend coming back on the other side. He shouted encouragement to me.
At Mile 3.5 we turned into the neighborhood roads. The houses here are mostly huge and beautiful. Looking at the houses and sometimes seeing the lake between them kept my mind off what I was doing. There were several turns and at least one volunteer at each turn. They did a fairly good job with traffic. I only had a car one time get really close to me. There were a few people out watching and cheering and the people at the water stops and the volunteers were great. I had my first GU about 40 minutes in and finished it before Mile 4. I was starting to get sweaty, but still feeling okay. Mile 4 was hard because it’s when my body starts asking me if we’re done yet. I just kept following my intervals and eventually it was better again. We passed Mile 5 and the next water stop in the neighborhood. Then we were back on the main street. At this point, it was a twisty road so I didn’t even realize it was the main road. Mile 6 was on this stretch. Then we made a short detour off the main road. It was just 2 turn, but the second road to get back on the main one was a killer. It was shorter, but pretty steep. I had to dig deep for that one. There was a water stop shortly after turning back on the main road. I had walked a little extra at the top of the hill. I decided to walk through the water stop and pour some water on the back and head. It did wonders. Oh, and my new sweat band kept it all out of my eyes.
The main road at this point is relatively straight. It’s still small rolling hills, though. I had my second GU just after Mile 7. I could only see one other person in front of me. She turned into a neighborhood just before Mile 8. The volunteers at the intersection weren’t pointing that way and the cones kept going straight. I asked to make sure we went straight and told them the runner ahead of me went the wrong way. Because of me, they chased after her to correct her. I didn’t see the outcome because I kept running. About Mile 8, I started seeing runners that had finished already running the reverse course. I knew I was getting close. Not too long after the park entrance, we turned into a neighborhood again. I knew this was right before the end and should bring us out in the shopping center area for the finish. One lady passed me in this stretch which worked out for me. Three turns from the end, we encountered a small intersection with no volunteer or signage. The lady turned right to check it out. I hung back and pulled the map up on the phone. I actually confused myself trying to figure it out. She came back and said they told her to go the other way. So, we turned left and went down a hill. Just before we got to the end of the block, we heard people calling us back because we should have gone straight. Back up the hill we went. During this time, several people passed me. Soon, we were coming out of the neighborhood around a corner to the finish. I gave it all I had and finished in 2:02:21. What I didn’t realize was that Nicki had caught me during my misadventure and finished just behind me.
I didn’t know there was a time limit for the race. Apparently, the time limit was 2:15:00. We got our post-race goodies and hung out for a while. We did run into the lady that had made the first wrong turn. She was going to complain because it affected her time. I don’t understand how she thought it was a turn, but to each his own. They never posted our official results on the board. We’re getting used to that now. I was able to get it from the web site later. We headed out and said we’d see each other in 2 weeks for the Rocktoberfest Half.
Overall, this was a good race. With that one exception, the race was well marked and had plenty of volunteers and water. The hills were a bit difficult. The area is nice, though.