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Race Recap: Riverside Dash 5K 2019

Posted in Race Reports

This was my 3rd year participating in the Riverside Dash. You can see my previous reports here: Riverside Dash 5K 2017 and Riverside Dash 15K 2018. This year I did the 5K. The course for the 5K goes along the river front in Sanford and then through streets of downtown before returning to Fort Mellon Park. It's a very nice course.

Training & Goals
I felt okay after last weekend's races at Disney. My Achilles still doesn't feel right and I'm starting to wonder if that might be my new normal and I need to buck up and start running again and stop eating everything in sight. Anyway. No particular goals for this morning. Finish upright, don't die.

Race Day: April 14, 2019
I had picked up my packet ahead of time and the race is really close to home so I didn't have to leave too early. I found a good parking spot a few blocks from the start/finish area. I brought along my Oofos to change into after the race and my shirt, which was a bit on the small side, to exchange after the race. Bag check was smooth and easy. Soon the 15K runners took off and 10 minutes later it was time for us 5K participants. It was a warm 75°F with 89% humidity at the start. Fortunately the skies were cloudy so we didn't have any scorching sun to deal with along with the heat and humidity.

Relive 'Morning Run'

Mile 1: 12:44
The race starts at Fort Mellon Park and takes runners along the lakefront on Seminole Boulevard before turning back along 1st Street into downtown Sanford. Once I started moving I felt a lot of annoying little aches in my legs and knees. Took it easy with slow 2:1 run:walk intervals.

Mile 2: 13:00
This part of the race takes runners briefly along the lakefront at the marina and Veterans Memorial Park before turning back into downtown Sanford. There were at least 3 water stops before we finished mile 2, and I think we hit at least two more (on the out-and-back portion) on the course. I walked all of them -- the heat and humidity really got to me. My legs started to warm up but I felt like my heart was racing.

Mile 3+: 14:10, 2:09
The last mile had us on 1st Street once more, now running back the way we came, headed to the start/finish at Fort Mellon Park. I switched to a 1:2 run:walk interval because I was feeling extremely winded. Yeah, that will happen with no training.

After Party
I didn't stick around too long after the race. Like last year, a nice breakfast buffet was offered to runners, but I wasn't hungry. I did have a beer and spin the wheel at a couple of vendor booths before heading home.

This race is a regional favorite for the scenic courses for both the 5K and the 15K, great support, and generous after party. This year the medals were particularly nice and a soft cotton shirt was offered instead of tech (I like when races change this up from year to year). I continue to highly recommend this event.

Chip time: 41:57
Placement details: 23/39 in age group; 319 out of 501 finishers
Race Amenities: Nice gender-specific soft cotton shirt, nice finisher medals for all, nice fresh food and beer spread after the race
Cost: $33.50

Report written April 14, 2019

Amy running downtown photo (c) Almost There Photography

Race Recap: Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon 2019

Yay, it's time for my 4th consecutive Star Wars Half Marathon at Disney World! You can read my previous race reports here: 2016 Dark Side Half Marathon; 2017 Dark Side Half Marathon; 2018 Dark Side Half Marathon. This year's race weekend was rebranded as the Rival Run, with runners choosing to run for the Dark Side or the Light Side upon registration.

For this race I ran in a simple kit with a REBEL hat and an old Light Side "Run Like a Rebel" runDisney tech shirt with a trusty old SparkleSkirt.

Training & Goals
Still struggling with an achy Achilles, I took almost three full weeks off from running prior to the 5K on Friday. I fully expected to walk much of the weekend and had fears and doubts about completing the half marathon. I was very glad to have a middle corral (D of H) for an extra buffer but I expected to be unable to stop for many or any photo ops. The usual Disney race goal for me is to have as much fun as possible, and that was still the main focus, despite my fears.

Race Day: April 7, 2019
I woke up before my alarm for the third day in a row. Arthur and I left home at 3:33AM.

First World Problem Update: On this day I would be running with the third device in three days. First, for the 5K, I had an old iPod Touch with a front-facing camera only, after finding my daily driver iPhone 6S had completely died. For the 10K I ran with my old iPhone 4. My new iPhone 7 arrived Saturday afternoon and I had a few hours to play around with it before going to bed Saturday night. I didn't have a protective case for it but the battery case I had bought to save my iPhone 6S fits the 7 so I used that.

On the drive down we passed a terrible accident with a jackknifed semi truck twisted around on the side of the road so we had a bit of delay. We had the car parked at Epcot by 4:56AM. Arthur walked with me towards the buses before kissing me goodbye and wishing me good luck. At the start area I used a portapotty and got into my corral with time to spare.

The course was very similar to the previous three Dark Side races.

It was about 70°F with 100% humidity when I started the race at 5:46AM.

Mile 1, 2, 3, 4: 14:03, 14:37, 14:28, 14:53
I didn't really know what was going to happen in this race. I wanted to be able to stop for photo ops but I was worried about finishing in time. For these early miles I stopped to snap the photo ops that were set up just to have a record. I saw Rey, the Emperor's chair, Ewoks, and the trash compactor before reaching Animal Kingdom just after mile 4. I also stopped at each mile marker (at Disney, I always do). For these miles I did a slow 2:1 run:walk interval, to save my energy but bank a little time if I could.

Mile 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10: 16:34, 16:10, 16:07, 16:31, 16:23, 16:31
I was feeling alright but my legs were pretty heavy at the halfway point. Makes sense, since I didn't train at all and had extremely low miles for the last several months. I slowed down further, knowing I had the buffer of a few corrals and the early 14-15 minute miles at the start. I switched to a slow and easy 1:2 run:walk interval most of this part. Outside of Animal Kingdom I stopped for some photos with the 501st that was out there.

Arthur was waiting to see me in the Animal Kingdom parking lot, close to the Hoth Wampa photo op. I stopped for a selfie and a hug with Arthur but skipped Hoth. After leaving World Drive and crossing over at Buena Vista Drive runners could look back on the course as we went over the bridge. There was still a sea of runners behind us with no balloon ladies (effectively the last pacers before the course closes down and runners are removed from the course) in sight.

I think everyone with that view on the bridge breathed a sigh of relief, me included. I felt a lot more relaxed about taking photos and taking my time for the remaining four or so miles of the race.

Mile 11, 12, 13+: 18:04, 17:04, 18:08, 9:05
My legs were feeling really heavy. For this part of the race I was mostly walking, with sporadic little bursts of jogging here and there when course congestion allowed (and when there were photographers on the course). Entering Hollywood Studios there was another group of 501st around the Fantasmic queue and I stopped for some more photos. I saw Arthur again inside Hollywood Studios on Sunset Boulevard and again shortly just outside of the park.

There were fewer spectators than usual through the Boardwalk area, and that was a little bit of a bummer. The spectators that were there were awesome though, and put a smile on my face that stayed plastered there until I reached the finish line.

Like last year, I made a quick pit stop at Joffrey's in Epcot to purchase a fruity iced adult beverage to enjoy for the last mile of the race. It was super yummy.

It was pretty crowded at the last 501st area after leaving Epcot. I took a few photos but didn't linger too long as I knew Arthur was waiting for me. I was so extremely happy to cross that finish line! I learned what it meant when runners say "sure, you can finish a half marathon with little or no training, but it won't be pretty". My legs were not happy with me but I got it done and (hopefully, ha!) learned my lesson.

I saw Arthur just after the finish line and he handed me my 10K and 5K medals so I could take a finisher photo with all of them. Then we met up and he gave me my Oofos sandals to change into. We waited in the short line for K-2SO so I could have one more medal photo. I got a celebratory beer as well before heading back to the car.

After a quick change of clothes and a yummy late breakfast at Centertown Market at Caribbean Beach we headed to Magic Kingdom and Epcot for the rest of the day. Walking was very slow but good for recovery!

Chip time: 3:38:31
Placement details: 648/772 in Age Group; 10856 out of 12113 finishers
Race Amenities: Tech shirt, finisher medal and challenge medal, all that Disney good stuff
Cost: $357.11 (the cost for the Rival Run Challenge which includes the 10K and the Half Marathon; about $42 more than last year)

Report written April 12, 2019

Race Recap: Star Wars Rival Run 10K 2019

Yay, it's 10K day during Star Wars race weekend! You can read my previous Dark Side 10K reports here: 2017 Dark Side 10K; 2018 Dark Side 10K. I missed running the inaugural 10K (and challenge) and that's a big regret. I wonder what my bib will look like next year when I run the challenge as a half marathon legacy runner?

For this race I ran as C-3PO. I had a C-3PO Mickey ears hat, InkNBurn tech shirt, gold SparkleLight skirt over a pair of shorts, and one red arm sleeve to represent the droid as seen in The Force Awakens.

The 10K course was quite different this year, with no running in Hollywood Studios or around the Boardwalk area and a lot more running in and around Epcot.

Training & Goals
Still struggling with an achy Achilles, I took almost three full weeks off from running prior to the 5K on the previous day. I fully expected to walk much of the weekend and had fears and doubts about completing the half marathon. The usual Disney race goal for me is to have as much fun as possible, and that was still the main focus.

Race Day: April 6, 2019
I woke up before my alarm again, at 2:55AM. I left home at 3:30AM and had the car parked by 4:25AM.

First World Problem Update: Yesterday I had found my iPhone 6S doing its best brick impression. A visit to the Apple Store confirmed the device was dead. Arthur and I weren't sure what I should do, but we ended up ordering an iPhone 7 for me. It would arrive Saturday afternoon. For the 10K I left the iPod Touch at home and brought along my old iPhone 4 so I could have a front- and rear-facing camera. Spoiler: the front-facing camera on this old device is terrible. Also, we had returned my parent's car and picked up our rental (Jeep Compass) after dropping off our damaged Prius.

Anyway, after parking the car I got on a bus and arrived at the starting area with time to leave my sweatshirt at bag check and get into corral B just in time -- corral A was already closed.

It was about 66°F with 94% humidity by the time I started at 5:43AM.

Mile 1, 2, 3: 22:15, 14:20, 18:46
About a half mile into the race was a new photo op with Rey. She was great, talking to all the costumed runners in character. Towards the end of mile 1 on World Drive there were a bunch of 501st characters out. This was a new spot and it was really dark with a few harsh lights shining on some of the characters. At the end of mile 3 Disney had Stormtroopers out for photos.

Mile 4, 5, 6+: 16:23, 16:37, 15:51, 9:22
There weren't a lot of official Disney characters out on the course. I may have missed some, but I only noticed Ezra and Sabine just outside Epcot and then Darth Maul in World Showcase. Just after mile 6 the 501st was out again in full force between exiting Epcot and heading to the finish line.

I picked up my medal and retrieved my checked sweatshirt and then headed straight home to await the arrival of my new phone and rest up for the half marathon on Sunday.

Chip time: 1:53:28
Placement details: 648/772 in Age Group; 10856/12113 overall
Race Amenities:
Nice tech shirt, finisher medal for all, magical 10K course.
Cost: $357.11 (the cost for the Rival Run Challenge which includes the 10K and the Half Marathon; about $42 more than last year)

Report written April 10, 2019

Race Recap: Star Wars Rival Run 5K 2019

Yay, it's Star Wars race weekend at Disney World! I've run this weekend for the past three years. You can read my reports about previous 5K races here: 2016 Dark Side 5K (my first runDisney event); 2017 Dark Side 5K; 2018 Dark Side 5K. This year the race series was rebranded as the Rival Run, but it will always be the Dark Side to me!

I had so much fun running the 5K last year as a Star Trek: Discovery officer that I decided to go Trek for the 5K again this year. I wore a classic-style yellow science officer uniform.

Training & Goals
Still struggling with an achy Achilles, I took almost three full weeks off from running. I fully expected to walk much of the weekend and had fears and doubts about completing the half marathon. The usual Disney race goal for me is to have as much fun as possible, and that was still the main focus.

Race Day: April 5, 2019
For the 5K I aimed to arrive as early as possible to knock out the photo ops for the weekend. My alarm was set for 2AM, but I woke up on my own at 1:50AM. I went to get my iPhone 6S from the charging station and it was completely dead. PANIC!

First World Problem Alert: I had been having battery drain issues with my phone for about two weeks. I got a battery case that I hoped would get me through the weekend until I had a chance to go to the Apple Store. It had performed well for the few days I had it before the morning of the 5K, but now the phone was completely dead; even when plugged in it wasn't getting any power. What to do? I want to take photos! I want to be able to text Arthur if I have to! I want to be navigate in case of traffic! Eek! I ran upstairs and got an old iPod Touch that had a front-facing camera. I figured that was better than nothing. I still had the faint hope the iPhone might wake up in the meantime.

In addition to this little phone problem, Arthur and I had suffered a rear-end collision on I-4 in our Prius on Sunday night. We borrowed my parent's car for a few days so we didn't have to drive the disabled Prius too much. I left home in my parent's car at around 2:17AM. I was parked by 3:15AM and got in line to get into the pre-race area, which opened up at 3:30AM. It was neat to see all of the photo ops and pre-race area deserted for a minute before everyone else started arriving.

There were 7 photo ops set up; Ewoks and K-2S0 were new so I got in line for those first. I also got my photo with BB-8, Kylo Ren, Darth Vader, and Boba Fett. I skipped Jabba the Hutt.

Soon it was time to get into the corral. I was in A for the 5K and got in around 5AM. We started shuffling towards the start and watched the announcers as they entertained us before it was time to run. At around 5:25AM they seemed to be acting a little off, going to the DJ playing music in a way that seemed a little bit unplanned. The wheelchair atheletes usually start a minute or two before the runners, but by 5:30AM we were still watching a psychedelic screen of kalidescope images playing to a Star Wars mixtape with no word of the race starting for anyone. Someone in the corral mentioned having seen lightning in the distance. Clouds were visible in the distance but the weather where we were seemed perfect. Let's go!

A few minutes later it was announced to a confused crowd that there were electrical storms in the area and the start area was to be evacuated. Runners lined up to get into nearby buses, but they filled up quickly. We were advised to go to our cars if possible, or to the entrance of Epcot. I headed to Epcot (I couldn't go to the car without having a smart device to follow race updates). I was under shelter when it suddenly started raining very hard. Race participants started streaming in, and we crammed together to make space for everyone. Time passed with no announcement. Some participants left.

By 6:30AM I was certain the race wouldn't go forward and I was surprised there was no announcement yet. At around 7AM we were told that the course was being evaluated and if all was good, we would still be running. Wheelchair athletes were escorted out and the rest of us followed. We would basically be starting our race upon arrival; there were no corrals and no wave starts. Once I arrived at the starting area it was a long, slow, crowded walk to the start line.

It was about 64°F at the start with steady light rain. Just before I reached the start line there was a scary loud cracking lightning bolt about a mile away that made everyone jump and question runDisney's decision. That ended up being the last lighting and thunder of the day.

Mile 1: 16:03
I figured I'd be walking most of the race anyway, so I didn't really mind the constant course congestion that resulted from the entire field starting at once. The emperor's chair was out as a photo op as we got into Epcot around Test Track.

Mile 2: 18:18
There was one water stop, and those poor volunteers were having a much longer day than they could have anticipated. In the rain, no less. Disney didn't have any characters out in the rain.

The Rest: 20:14
Leaving Epcot I was delighted to see the 501st out for photo ops. I guessed the rain would have kept them inside but they were out there, taking pictures with everyone and cheering us on with smiles and encouragement.

Because of the delay, the course was shortened. The official course had us going through both sides of Future World but after we left World Showcase we just headed out of the park. My Garmin gave me 2.75 miles but I think the consensus I heard from fellow runners was about 2.45 miles.

Though I was walking for most of the race, I started to jog at the end. There were cast members out telling us to slow down as we approached the mat -- it was wet and slippery I guess. A lot of folks were not happy to be told to slow down at the finish line. It was kind of funny.

The rain let up eventually, but I'm not sure if any of the characters were out after the race. It was very late, after all. I went to change clothes and then drove up to the Apple Store to get my iPhone checked out. The outcome wasn't good, but that's another sad First World Problem story for another day.

Race Amenities: Cotton t-shirt, medal for all, magical rainy course through Epcot.
Cost: $90.61 (about the same as last year)

Report written April 10, 2019

Race Recap: First Annual Leprechaun 5K Beer Run 2019

Posted in Race Reports

Another local small race! The course for this race benefitting the Enterprise Museum was similar to that of the Enterprise Spooktacular 5k back in October.

Training & Goals
The usual. Still injured! My goals haven't changed for the last few races: work on my running gait; come in under 40 minutes; keep up my run:walk ratio of 2:1.

Race Day: March 16, 2019
This is another race that's very close to home. I had picked up my packet ahead of time. I biked over to the Enterprise museum Saturday morning and secured my bike. Soon it was time to run, but our start was delayed a bit as they marked the course. Luckily it was overcast and not hot at a pleasant 66°F at the start with a sticky 100% humidity.

Relive 'Morning Run'

Mile 1: 12:08
I started running my usual intervals. During my first walk break I bumped into Karen, a WVR teammamte. We decided to run together. We started out on the local trail before turning into neighborhoods of Enterprise and running along Lake Monroe for a bit.

Mile 2: 12:11
Karen pushed me on the run intervals!

Mile 3+: 12:05, 1:18
It was a gun start with a chip finish. I ended with my fastest 5K time since September.

After Party
Each runner received two beer tickets at the end so the atmosphere at the after party was pretty laid back. There were also bananas, oranges, crackers, granola bars, and bagels. Soda and water was offered as well. The age group awards were given out and the raffle winner were announced.

It's a small one! The course was well-marked and staffed with volunteers to keep runners safe from traffic. Free beer at the end with plenty of other treats available. I'll run this again. Recommended.

Chip time: 37:43
Placement details:
9/15 in Age Group, 67 out of 119 total finishers
Race Amenities:
Unisex tech shirt and small finisher medal for all. Free beer!

Report written March 16, 2019

Medal and running photos with Karen (c) Bill VanHorn; finish line video screenshot & group photo provided by race