Saturday, June 7, 2014

Maitland Public Library 5k Race Recap

Today, I headed over to Maitland for the Maitland Public Library 5k! With it being a small race (only 145 participants) traffic wasn't a problem and parking was a breeze.  Apparently the restrooms in the park were under construction so facilities were limited, but I did hear this was one on the course that was available. It was a chip timed race that seemed to be using a different type of tracking then I've become used to. The chip on the bib was no thicker than a sticker and instead of running over a mat, they had some sort of scanner that you ran over that reminded me of going through an e-pass on the highway. (If only I could run as fast as I drive!)

The race began at 8am and I could already feel the humid air growing sticky.  What I like about smaller races us that you don't waste the first half mile or so just struggling against the pack to get room to run.  I felt good as I started running but that only lasted for a few minutes. Before I knew it, my shin started to hurt and the annoyance of it slowed me down.

The beautiful houses and scenic neighborhoods of the course were able to keep my mind off of it.  Before I knew it, I was at one of the two water stops along the course and boy was I happy.  The sun was growing stronger with every step I took. The race course doubled back to the road by the lake and ended with a bit of an uphill climb.  It became hard for me to breathe at a few points in the race which just made matters worse.  In no time I saw the finish line ahead and sprinted as fast as I could! After nearly running over the girl who was trying to throw a water bottle at me, I finished at 41:06.  Not bad for shin splints and problems breathing!

Overall, it was a pleasant small town 5k that was chip timed and offered a soft unisex shirt.  With the past theme of "dress like your favorite literary character" it was a great excuse to dress up as The Three Blind Mice and wear a tutu! I only wish that mile markers were placed on the course and that the volunteers along the course seemed more interested in what was going on.  One was even sitting down reading a book! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Arden Park 5K Run n’ Bark Festival

I always love finding an inexpensive race that is also close to home!  For once, procrastinating paid off (literally!) because the race was offering a special of $5 if you registered over Memorial Day weekend.  After those pesky internet fees, the registration fee was only $17 and change.  Such a steal!  The race encouraged you to bring your dog as you walked or ran the 5k with proceeds to benefit Canine Companions for Independence.

 This small local race started with an easy packet pickup located in the park area of the Arden Park neighborhood.  The best part about this was the runner's dream: REAL BATHROOMS.  There's something about not having to use a porta potty that just puts a pep in your step.  The actual 5k took place on the West Orange Trail located just across the street and was an out and back course.  The race organizers even had the Ocoee Police on sight to assist with traffic as runners and their dogs crossed the street.
  The race was very scenic -there was even a horseback rider who wandered on the course from the nearby horse trail!  Since it was such a hot and humid  day, the canopies the trees created was very appreciated.  The water stations could use some improvement as there was only one around the .4/2.75 mile station and around the 2 mile mark.  They did have a dog bowl full of water at these stations, which I'm sure the dog owners appreciated.  I was dying of thirst and it wasn't until that first water station at the half way point that I was able to pick up my pace a bit.

I only like dogs if they are my own, so running with so many dogs everywhere was quite a challenge.  The morning started off with a dog jumping on me and the owner not even apologizing or trying to get the dog off of me.  Luckily, during the race I didn't have too many problems with the dogs on the course since it was a smaller race.  It did give me the extra push along the race-I was being chased by dogs after all!  As I approached the finish line I could hear my mom ringing that cowbell loud and proud, letting me know the end was near!  I did my signature move of sprinting my way to the finish line and passing people along the way.  Just like that and I had another 5k in the books!

I'll never understand why races always try to hand you a bottle of water right at the finish line or why race photos always turn out so horrible.  I finished with a time of 40:09 according to my Nike app (since it wasn't a chip timed race).  I'm just glad I didn't overheat due to the Florida summer temperature and lack of water!

Overall it was a great race that I would do again.  After the 5k they had some booths set up, my favorite being the Juice Bar of Winter Garden that provided samples of their energy bars.  I can't wait to go buy some of my own-so delicious!  Canine Companions for Independence also had a lot of their dogs both running the course and afterwards.  It is always so endearing to see reminders of the cause that benefits from the race entries while you are running.  They even had one of their puppy training sessions take place after the race!

Update: The race organizers sent an email saying the race was able to raise $1,974.73 for Canine Companions for Independence!