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!

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