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Run for the Woods 2019 12K Race Recap

Posted in Race Reports

I signed up for another trail run, Seminole State Forest -- Run for the Woods, even though I don't really like running trails and I broke a rib on my last trail race. What's wrong with me? Anyway, money raised from these races (a 5K and half marathon were also available) is used for facility and park improvements.

Training & Goals
[Cue the usual of late] My right Achilles tendon is still bothering me so I haven't been running very much. This race was walker friendly though so I thought I'd give it a try. Trail running should be gentler on my injury as well. No goal in mind, though I thought I'd finish in about 2 hours.

Race Day: February 3, 2019
I had to pick up my packet the morning of, but since Seminole State Forest is close to home I didn't have to leave crazy early. Friendly volunteers helped guide everyone to parking. Packet pickup was easy and efficient. I knew it would probably be wet on the course so I wore old shoes. We had an informative pre-race briefing before we were let loose on the trails.

It was 63°F at the start with 100% humidity. It was foggy, misty, and overcast.

Relive 'Morning Run'

Mile 1, 2: 13:01, 14:09
The early miles were mostly single-track so I kept pace and took shorter walking breaks when I could move to the side. There were a couple of wet spots that we could avoid by stepping around. All three distances started out on the same course and everything was extremely well marked and clear. Arrows and colored ribbons or tape showed the way. No chance of getting lost (even me!). Awesome.

Mile 3, 4, 5: 20:23, 19:40, 19:38
Water, water everywhere! Plus mud. Walking, sloshing, slipping, fretting! I guess looking back it was a little bit fun but at the time I was just hating life and cursing myself for ever registering. Racing usually makes me feel like a kid but this kind of running makes me feel like an old lady because I'm constantly worrying about falling down or losing a shoe in the muck.

Mile 6, 7+: 17:42, 15:27, 4:01
Mostly dry but I was over it! I mean the trail and the park are beautiful but I have to stop getting this runner's amnesia that lets me sign up for more trail races. Halp?

After Party
Free beer for all runners! Snacks and treats, green chili, PBJs, and more. Better than average food and beverage spread. There were also fun booths from local nature groups, the Central Florida Zoo, and government natural resources agencies. The Avian Reconditioning Center brought a couple of education birds and the Orianne Society brought along a pair of Indigo Snakes. Definitely my kind of vendor action.

Volunteers were incredibly friendly and helpful. The event organization was smooth from start to finish. The courses were marked to perfection. Great swag. Highly recommended for trail run fans. Ugh, how much do you want to bet I'll be there next year? Pls send help.

Chip time: 2:03:38
Placement details:
45/71 female participants; 82/110 overall
Race Amenities:
Very nice soft unisex shirt, nice medal, great food spread and free beer

Report written February 10, 2019

Finisher photo (c) Almost There Photography

Race Recap: MeStrong 5K 2019

Posted in Race Reports

The MeStrong 5K in Deland, Florida, is a huge small town race put on by a local cancer charity and fund-raising group. 2019 was the fifth running of this race that grows larger each year; in 2019 they had over 5,000 registrants! This is a really great charity group; you can learn more about MeStrong here.

The popular race goes through the streets of and around downtown Deland. The 3.1 mile course is lined with spectators and the 2019 line-up had 48 (!!!) different cheer zones. Local businesses and student organizations from Stetson University cheer the runners along with live bands and other groups.

Arthur joined me for this race! We walked the course with countless others -- we were in a huge sea of people!

Race Day: February 2, 2019
I had picked up our packets the day before so all we had to do race morning was find a parking spot. I hopped in for the group photo with my run club West Volusia Runners and then Arthur and I made our way to the back of the start area.

It was 63°F at the start with 94% humidity. Rain and possible thunderstorms were predicted for the morning but held off. It was gloomy but we stayed dry!

Mile 1: 15:33
We started near the back but ended up walking a lot faster than many fellow back-of-the-packers. There was a lot of bobbing and weaving, even among the walkers.

Mile 2: 15:52
The on-course entertainment kept us smiling the whole time.

Mile 3+: 15:21, 2:03
Electric energy down the finish chute! What fun!

After Party
MeStrong takes over downtown Deland with sponsor booths and food and drink vendors. A lot of shops and restaurants opened early for the runners. The after party is legendary! Arthur and I had plans for the day so we unfortunately did not stay too long.

Excellent race organization. Fun on-course entertainment and great after party. Highly recommended.

Chip time: 48:39
Placement details:
48/300 in AG; 2192/4248 overall
Race Amenities:
Nice cotton race shirt (no finisher medals), great after party
Cost: $38.25

Report written February 10, 2019

MeStrong branded photos (c) Almost There Photography

Race Recap: Shark Bite 5K 2019

Posted in Race Reports

The fourth annual Shark Bite Half Marathon and 5K took place on January 20, 2019. This fun and popular event happens in the shark bite capital of the world, New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The charity Girls on the Run Volusia County is associated with the race.

Training & Goals
My right Achilles tendon is still bothering me so I haven't been running very much. While running the tendon isn't painful. The pain sets in later and lasts a couple of days, depending on how much I ran. My endurance has taken a huge hit with the lack of regular cardio. Shortly before race day I traded my half marathon bib with another runner's 5K bib. I hoped to complete the 5K in under 40 minutes.

Race Day: January 20, 2019
I left home around 5:45AM and managed to find a parking spot about a half mile from the start line. I hung out by our club's tent until it was time to run. After a quick group photo I got my bib and shirt from my trade partner and the half marathoners were off at 7:30AM. When the 5K started 10 minutes later it was a cool 59°F with partly cloudy skies. As the morning continued the sky cleared and the wind started howling. It was brutal for parts of the half marathon. Luckily for all the predicted rain passed through the area before the races started.

Mile 1: 12:19
I've been running 2:1 intervals so that's what I started off with. I felt okay.

Mile 2: 12:09
Geesh, I started feeling extra winded pretty fast. I kept up my run:walk at 2:1 through mile 2.

Mile 3+: 13:02, 1:20
Super winded, super high heart rate. I switched to 1:2 for the last mile, feeling completely exhausted. Ugh.

After Party
Legendary! Have a local craft beer in your new finisher's pint glass! Enjoy a slice of piping hot pizza! Ride the mechanical shark! I had fun cheering the half marathoners as they came in, including so many WVR members and the club's amazing team of pacers.

Great swag and a smooth operation. You can't ask for more. Highly recommended.

Chip time: 38:48
Race Amenities: Swag: huge finisher medal, pint glass, and super soft casual t-shirt for all finishers of both races; finisher hat for top 10% half marathon runners; free race photos. All this plus an after party including beer, pizza, vendors and a mechanical shark
$55.06 (discounted price for half marathon)

edited finisher certificate (my name in place of the bib owner's)

Report written January 22, 2019

Group and professional race photos (c) Almost There Photography

Race Recap: 2018 Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation 10K

Posted in Race Reports

The inaugural Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation Half Marathon was announced earlier this year. The race boasted a one-of-a-kind course around historic space launch facilities that are normally not open to the public. The beneficiary would be the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundataion, and the finish line would be right beside the iconic 150-year-old structure. I signed up right away. Later, a 10K option was added, and boy, am I glad it was. Still suffering from some Achilles issues, I dropped down to the 10K race day morning.

The usual goal lately applied here once more: to finish and not further injure myself. I knew there would be a lot of walking.

Race Day: November 11, 2018
It was made clear that security would be tight for this race, which took place on Cape Canaveral Air Force Base property. I aimed to arrive early, especially since runners had to be shuttled from the parking lot to the start line. I left home around 4AM and had the car parked by 5:30AM. I had no problems but I know several runners who arrived later than me were stuck getting into the parking lot. The start of the race was eventually delayed due to the backup. We had a nice sunrise while we waited.

It was 72°F at the start with sunny skies and about 83% humidity.

Mile 1: 12:19
I knew the course would take us to old spaceflight locations but I was not sure exactly what we'd see or experience. I aimed to take it easy and not worry about stopping for photos or if I wasn't feeling great. There wasn't a lot to see during the first mile, which took us out along Phillips Parkway. The road is named after the Director of NASA during the Apollo Missions, Samuel C. Phillips.

Mile 2: 12:32
We took a right turn onto Pier Road, heading east. Here we passed some administrative buildings in current use and we were not allowed to take photographs of them.

Mile 3: 17:17
Shortly into this mile we passed the old Launch Complex 25, used for several missile test launches from 1959 to 1979. Now we were starting to see some interesting things, and I took my time to look around and take photos. Before turning left onto an unnamed service road, we ran up a small hill, used as a rocket camera tracking mound, for some ocean views and first our peek at Launch Complexes 5 and 6 to the northwest. We could see a rocket in the distance. Besides this hill the race was entirely flat.

Mile 4: 18:18
We ran right by Launch Complexes 5 and 6. LC-5 and LC-6 were both used to launch Jupiter, Juno, and Redstone rockets in the 1950s and early 1960s. They are no longer used. A Mercury Redstone rocket stands on the site. Lots of runners stopped to take pictures.

We took a right turn onto Museum Circle, which looped around the Air Force Space and Missle Museum, on old Launch Complex 26. This museum is accessible to the public via NASA bus tours only. Running around the site, we saw lots of artifacts outside, including a Delta IV Common Booster Core (CBC), a Titan I, and various Gantry and Blockhouse buildings.

Mile 5: 15:05
We headed out onto IRBM (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missle) Road. This was a long straight piece with little shade. We could see some more old defunct launch pad complexes in the distance (LC-17, LC-18, LC-31, LC-32). We turned left onto Flight Control Road.

Mile 6+: 18:06, 4:28
The final mile took us down Flight Control Road before turning right onto Lighthouse Road, heading for the lighthouse. We passed some storage buildings used to keep wreckage of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

The 10K ran the same course as the first part of the half marathon; 10K runners walked another kilometer to the main finish line party where the half marathon ended. We were treated to this fun quote from Neil Armstrong after we got our medals.

After Party
There was a lot going on after the race. Water, bananas, pizza and beer were on offer. The lighthouse was open for tours. And another awesome treat: Hangar C was open. Completed in 1954, Hangar C is one of the oldest structures on Canaveral Air Force Station property. It is the oldest surviving structure. It was originally used for missile assembly, but today it is a museum warehouse. It sits close to the lighthouse.

Inside Hangar C are various restored rockets, drones, and missile-related equipment. Dr. Wenher von Braun had an office in the building in the mid 1950s. 

I am all about races in unique places. All of the old rockets and buildings and space history were very cool. I was hurting a bit in the second half so while I was disappointed to not run the half marathon, I knew I made the right choice. This was a well-run race in a seemingly difficult location. There were fine amenities and treats after the race. I enjoyed it a lot and I hope it will continue because I would love to run the half. Highly recommended.

Chip time: 1:37:59
Placement details: 233 out of 343 women; 353 overall out of 500 finishers
Race Amenities:
Long sleeve tech shirt and medal for all
Cost: $87.95 (I had paid for the half; this includes $7.95 processing fee)

Report written November 25, 2018

Final Notes: 2018 TCS New York City Marathon

Posted on 10 November 2018 in Race Reports

My second marathon, the world's biggest marathon, is in the books! At first I was a bit bummed about my slow time but now I'm feeling proud to have finished and very grateful I did not hurt myself or aggravate my injury.

I started the race with 53,120 others. And 52,812 of us finished! That's an astounding 99.4% finish rate. The 2018 New York City Marathon was a record-breaker.

Here's a video from New York's ABC affiliate of the finish line from the first finishers until the six hour mark. I cross at around 7:39:36 on the video's clock time.

After meeting up with Arthur in the family reunion area, we walked back to our hotel so I could freshen up. Arthur found a pub just two blocks away where we could get some food and beer. The bad news was it was on the second floor. Going up was fine. Going down was fine, too, but I had to go backwards. Arthur laughed at me.

We were so, so lucky with the weather on race day. It rained all morning on Monday. We took a long walk, checking out some more city sights and getting in some nice slow recovery walking miles. I felt good. We checked out the dismantling of the finish line in Central Park. We had a look at the extremely long line to get into the Marathon Pavilion and noped out. Arthur took some photos of me with my medal.

I hadn't found anything at the Expo that I really had to have, besides the visor I got, but I was feeling a little sad for not having a souvenir shirt. We walked into a running store on the way back to the hotel and I saw a shirt I kind of liked. Arthur asked if I saw the back -- OMG I love it!

My Garmin running watch sent my race data to Strava, who sent it to Relive, who made this fun video (named "Lunch Run" LOL) showing the route:

Relive 'Lunch Run'

Speaking of Strava, they made a little summary video of the race and training. I don't think the numbers are right, including my start time being two hours off, but it's a cute little video summary, I guess.

Back home, I took it extremely easy, with no running. I didn't carry my medal around all week but I did bring it to my volunteer shift at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey to show it to my buddy Trouble the Bald Eagle.

Here's one last look at my stats (the final finisher numbers and my placement are still considered to be unofficial, so there is a discrepancy between the final number of finishers mentioned in the Runner's World article and the graphic below).