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Race Recap: Team RWB Freedom 4 Mile Beach Run 2018

Posted in Race Reports

The Team RWB Freedom 4 Mile Beach Run is a beach race sponsored by Halifax Health that benefits Team RWB, a military veteran support group.

Goals
Well, when I ran the 2017 Team RWB 4 Miler, I mentioned I wasn't a fan of off-road running. This is still true, but I signed up again anyway, apparently. In my defense, I really like racing, and races are hard to come by during the summer. And beach isn't the same as trail. Plus a lot of club-mates would be there. Plus the miles would count towards a summer challenge I am doing with the club. I had aimed to take the race easy, but the sand was very nicely packed down after recent rains, so I made a last-minute decision to race. I knew I wouldn't PR but I would run the best I could.

Race Day: July 1, 2018
Left early, arrived early, got my packet and waited a bit in the car in my sweet, sweet close by parking spot. Hung out with club mates and watched the sun rise over the ocean. It was about 73°F with 94% humidity and bright sunshine at the start of the race. Planes in formation flew over us and then it was time to run on the beach!

Mile 1: 10:41
There was just a bit of semi-loose sand going through the start/finish arch, and then we were on nice packed sand. I felt good. I was running with a pair of (Goodr running) sunglasses on for the first time and they fogged up pretty fast. That was a bummer. I stashed them in my pocket for the rest of the run.

Mile 2: 10:29
I ran my old race intervals, 4m30s:30s and sped-walked the 3 water stations. Pleased with my pace. I almost missed a photographer when I was looking down and hating my life during a walk interval. I looked up and cursed and started laughing and running. Nailed it!

Mile 3: 10:48
After the turnaround we were into the sun. I was glad I had my visor but dang I wish I could run with the sunglasses on.

Mile 4: 10:43
I tried to turn it up at the end. The soft sand through the finish line was a little bit tricky. I was really, really happy with my pace and official finish time of 42:36, 24 seconds faster than last year.

After the Race
Cold wet towels at the finish line, woo hoo! Water, bananas, and other treats were offered to runners as well. I took some water and cooled off with a towel and went back to watch the rest of the runners come in. Then I changed out of my shoes into flipflops and waded into the cool ocean. Aah.

Recommendation
The race was well-organized. The water stops at each mile were very well-staffed for this hot summertime beach race. It's a great cause. Recommended.

Chip time: 42:36
Placement details: 5th of 17 in Age Group, 113rd overall out of 253 finishers
Race Amenities: Tank top, finisher medal for all
Cost:
$28.50

Report written July 4, 2018

Team and running photos (c) Almost There Photography

Race Recap: Remarkable River 10K 2018

Posted in Race Reports

The Remarkable River Run is three race series that takes place in Port Orange, Florida. The first event is a 5K in March, followed by a 10K in June, and a 15K in September. I ran the 10K this year; I also ran the Remarkable River 10K in 2016. The racing series benefits the non-profit Building Remarkable Communities charity, a Volusia county group that works to eradicate domestic violence.

Training & Goals
I had been doing some practice runs with different pace groups during club runs with West Volusia Runners. I normally run intervals, running for four minutes and then walking for one. I had done 3-4 miles with the (approximately) 11:25 (minutes per mile), 12:00, and 12:55 groups. After running intervals for so long, it's tough for me to run straight through. Having pacers is awesome and I felt pretty proud after I completed each training run. Since I'm not in PR shape I thought I would try running this 6 mile race with a pace group. I joined the 12:55 pacers. This was to be the club team pacers' first race and they were excited and nervous. Besides the pacers, there was a big turnout from the club in general.

Race Day: June 10, 2018
With a 6:30AM start, I had to leave home early to make it to Port Orange in time. Parking was easy. My club friends collected and secured my bib and shirt in a safe spot so I didn't have to wait in line. When it was time to run, I got in line with my pace group. It was 72° with 100% humidity and sunny skies at start time.

Mile 1: 12:53
There were five of us at the start, I think. Three pacers (Candace and two others who were running a different pace than their usual, Diane and Mary), me, and another Amy. I think we picked up and dropped runners as the race went on but I'm not sure. The pace was spot on right from the beginning.

Mile 2: 12:51
Great pace! Feeling good. Happy to run with others.

Mile 3: 12:53
GPS watches aren't always 100% accurate or in sync with each other. Overall our pace was great throughout the run.

Mile 4: 13:01

Mile 5: 12:48

Mile 6+: 12:42, 2:17
For the last .2 or so I ran ahead of the pacers to the finish line. I was so happy to have run the six miles straight through!

After the Race
Well, the pacers all had tales of triumph and success. I think all of the pace groups were pleased with their performance and they all had at least one person in their group get a PR (the other Amy in our group got a Personal Record!).

Aunt Catfish provides runners with a filling breakfast buffet and other treats were on offer. A few stands from local businesses and races were on hand with freebies and info. Race DJ was there to entertain the crowd as well. Good stuff.

Recommendation
This is a well-run race series. The management company that handles the races has changed a couple of times in the last few years but it continues to run smoothly despite the changes. The course is a simple out-and-back along the Halifax River and through local neighborhoods. Course support and traffic control and safety were all top notch. Highly recommended. The progression of the series from 5K to 10K and 15K make a great supplement to a training plan for a fall half marathon like Lighthouse Loop, also in Port Orange.

Chip time: 1:19:16
Placement details: 10th of 18 in Age Group, 178th overall out of 246 finishers
Race Amenities: Cotton t-shirt, finisher medal for all
Cost: $39.50

Report written July 4, 2018

All photos except pace sign (c) Almost There Photography

Local Race Recap: DBK 5K 2018

Posted in Race Reports

The DBK 5K is sponsored by a local contracting company. The 2018 race was the 4th annual; I ran this one previously in 2016.

Training & Goals
I was finally starting to feel like my injury was behind me following my fall and suspected fractured/bruised rib(s) at Colt Creek on April 14th. For the prior six or so weeks I hadn't been running much except for a few races I had signed up for. I had one slow three mile run the Tuesday before race day and I felt no pain or discomfort around my ribs for the first time since my fall. I meant to take this race easy.

Race Day: May 19, 2018
Too lazy to bike over to the race like last time, I drove the short distance to DBK, where the race starts and finishes. It was about 73°F with 100% humidity and cloudy skies at race time.

Mile 1: 11:14
The starting mat was kind of small and narrow so it took a while for everyone to cross the start. The street was wide though so runners could spread out right away. We left the main street and headed onto residential roads for most of the race. I just plugged along with my usual 4:1 intervals. I was feeling pretty good, though the humidity was stifling.

Mile 2: 11:26
More running through neighborhood streets. Still feeling pretty good and typically sweating a lot.

Mile 3: 10:30
Well, my Garmin gave me a short race, just 2.95 miles. I wasn't going for a PR so I don't really mind but I feel bad for anyone who was. Shortly into the third mile I saw an age group foe (not really) running ahead of me, taking irregular walking breaks. I tried to catch up with her, and it shows in my pace for this split, about 11:05. I didn't catch her but I finished with a better time, as she crossed the start line well ahead of me. Mwahaha!

After the Race
Beer, popcorn, and snacks all around! A big water slide! Face painting! Bouncing beach balls! This race has a fun small town family atmosphere.

Recommendation
Pretty good for a small local race. The t-shirt is probably my least favorite ever and the medal is okay. The short course was a bummer and also strange as I think this race has run the same route before. Excellent course support with two water stops and law enforcement out to keep the roads safe for runners. The price is fair though and the after party is very good, especially for a local race.

Chip time: 33:03 for ~2.95 miles
Placement details: 5 of 21 in Age Group, 134th overall out of 380 finishers
Race Amenities: Soft cotton t-shirt, finisher medal for all, beer included in post-race snacks
Cost: $28

Report written May 24, 2018

Group & finisher photo (c) Almost There Photography

Race Recap: Run 4 Life 2018

Posted in Race Reports

The Run 4 Life 4 Miler is a charity run through the tree-covered roads of historic old Enterprise, Florida. Runners also race along the shore of Lake Monroe. The race starts and finishes at the Florida United Methodist Children's Home (FUMCH). The run raises awareness and money for local suicide prevention and mental health programs. I ran this race for the first time last year.

Training & Goals
I was still in injured runner mode following my fall and suspected fractured/bruised rib(s) at Colt Creek on April 14th. So training was a whole lotta nothing. I had one short 2 mile run the Tuesday before the race, after having not run at all for over two weeks. I felt a little bit of discomfort during the run and my rib was bothering me a bit for the rest of the day. It didn't hurt but the fact that I could still feel the injury after such a short, easy effort was discouraging to me. So I meant to take the 4 miler easy.

Race Day: May 12, 2018
I elected to drive to the race, a short distance from home. Humidity felt high and I was feeling lazy (last year I biked to the race). I found my running club -- it wasn't hard because West Volusia Runners were about 90 strong and we had matching purple shirts.

Soon it was time to run. It was 70°F and overcast with 88% humidity at the start.

Mile 1: 10:55
What the heck? This is not an easy or nice and slow pace for me these days. I was feeling good though. Ugh.

Mile 2: 10:46
Faster? Great. Aaaand then my rib / chest started to bother me. I could feel the injury with every deep breath and it made me so upset.

Mile 3: 14:16
At the turnaround I started walking, with a few running intervals (I basically went from a 4:1 run:walk to 1:4 for the second half). And pretending to run for photos.

Mile 4: 13:33
More discomfort and huge discouragement. Ugh.

After the Race
I got some water but skipped the offered snacks (bananas and munchkins). Feeling bummed, I didn't stay too long.

Recommendation
This is a very good, well-organized race. The huge turn out from our club was great. The water stop we hit twice and course support were all very good. It's a great cause and a pretty route. I'm sure I'll run this again, hopefully for a PR.

Chip time: 49:21
Placement details: 91th of 175 females; 158 out of 270 overall finishers
Race Amenities: Nice cotton t-shirt, swag bag, finisher medal for all
Cost: $0 (I won entry via a club raffle)

Report written May 16, 2018
Photos (c) Almost There Photography

Race Recap: Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon 2018

Right on, it's Dark Side Half Marathon time! This was my third year participating in the Dark Side races and my third Dark Side Half. Since I ran the 10K the day prior, I was in for the Challenge and would be getting an additional medal.

I had also signed up for Disney's money-grab Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon, offered as a sort of substitute for the Light Side race of Disneyland (all Disneyland runs are suspended due to construction at the parks and surroundings). Running the virtual plus the Dark Side Half meant I was also in for the Kessel Run Challenge -- and another medal. Yeah, Disney finally got me to do a virtual race.

I ran the virtual on March 31st, the last day in the race window. I completed my miles in and around Gemini Springs, running some of the grass trails as well as the paved multi-use path, including a run over the new safe path over the St. John's along 17-92. I was lucky with an overcast and relatively cool day.

Okay, back to the Dark Side Half. I ran this race as Jedi Master Yoda. My kit was extremely basic, with a licensed Yoda baseball cap and a tan Sparkle Skirt. I wore a thift shop brown tech shirt and for Yoda's Jedi robe I cut up a tan thrift shop tech shirt and trimmed it with dollar store ribbon attached with Res Q mending tape.

The course was very similar to last year's Dark Side course. Pandora was added in Animal Kingdom and we took the other way around Crescent Lake.

Training & Goals
Training was a whole lotta nothing for this weekend. All of my runs in April have been races! And after my fall and suspected fractured/bruised rib(s) at Colt Creek on the 14th, I was going to take it really easy.

Race Day: April 22, 2018
Arthur came along. He dropped me off at Epcot and I hopped on a bus to the TTC for the start. I had a huge drop bag that had a change of clothes and shoes, plus my 5K, 10K, and virtual medals. We weren't sure if Arthur would meet me at the finish line or not.

After dropping my bag, I got into my corral and snuck as far up to the front as I could. It was about 72°F at the start with 83% humidity. It was overcast and remained cloudy for the entire morning. That kept temperatures low and humidity high.

Mile 1, 2, 3, 4: 12:17, 12:40, 12:15, 12:10
These miles took us from the TTC / Magic Kingdom parking lot out along Bear Island Road to Animal Kingdom. I usually snap quick pictures of the photo ops and entertainment as I pass by but I didn't feel like it for this race. Almost from the start my chest / rib was bothering me. They had the fun Battle of Endor segement like last year, this time with a fire effect enhancing the battle ambiance. That was cool. There was also a Darth Vader segment of road with red lights and the Imperial March and heavy breathing.

Mile 5: 19:15
We ran through Animal Kingdom, hitting Pandora for the first time in a Dark Side race.

Mile 6, 7, 8, 9, 10: 17:20, 17:43, 13:31, 16:04, 17:17
Just out of Animal Kindgom there were some 501sties backstage. Photo time!

Arthur was spectating in the Animal Kingdom parking lot. It's always great to see him on a race course. He was close to the Hoth photo op and of course I had to stop for that once more, it's my favorite.

I stopped to have photos with Sabine & Ezra and Darth Maul before reaching Hollywood Studios.

Mile 11, 12, 13+: 20:57, 16:27, 21:16, 16:15*
We entered Hollywood Studios to be greeted by a bunch of 501sties. 

The speeder bikes were out between Hollywood Studios and Boardwalk. The line was short so I stopped. I always skip this one because there are two speeders and I feel a little bit sad to take this photo alone. I also stopped for Chewie for a change.

I was running in Epcot after 9AM so the park was open. Between World Showcase and Future World I saw that a Joffery's coffee kiosk was open. I made a pit stop to get a frozen adult beverage. I finally remembered to get myself a treat for that last mile.

Just as we left Epcot, before the finish line, was the last group of 501st characters. These guys make the races so much fun. I can't wait to see them again next year.

After the Race
Arthur met me at the finish area. After a couple of finisher photos, a look at the merch tent, and a big celebratory beer, I went to change my clothes. We spent the rest of the day at Animal Kingdom for the park's anniversary (with a bonus visit to Epcot to see Lonestar's Garden Rocks concert).

Chip time: 3:45:20
Placement details:
823rd of 922 in Age Group, 14132nd overall out of 15089 finishers
Race Amenities:
Women's short sleeve tech tee, Captain Phasma medal, usual Disney goodness
Cost:
$315.13 for the 10K and half marathon challenge plus $69 for the virtual & Kessel Run Challenge

*With all the bobbing and weaving of a runDisney race, my GPS usually ends up going significantly over the race distance. For this 13.1 mile race my Garmin gave me 13.7 miles.

Report written April 29, 2018