Race Recap: The House Next Door 5K

I participated in the third annual House Next Door Family 5K at Gemini Springs in DeBary. The race benefits The House Next Door charity.

Training & Goals
I'm still slowly (very slowly) easing back into running following a chronic Achilles issue that resulted in a loss of fitness and increase in weight over the last year or so. My knees have been hurting a lot lately so I probably am going to need some help with them. My Achilles still feels weak but it seems that doing the stretching and strengthening exercises keeps the lingering pain away.

I had pretty low expectations for this race. I planned to run/walk at :90/:45 which is what I'd been doing for the last couple of training runs. I've also been working on trying to midfoot to forefoot strike, which my knees like a lot. So I was hoping to do this for the entire race, too.

Race Day: March 7, 2020
I rode my bike over to Gemini Springs on race morning. I was so cold when I left the house that I turned around to fetch a hat and a jacket before setting off again. I got my packet, parked my bike, and then stood around in my hat and three top layers until about 5 minutes before race time. It was about 50°F with 54% humidity and bright sunny skies when the race began at 8AM.


Mile 1: 13:07

The course was a simple out-and-back on the Spring-to-spring trail, part of my local running route when I run from home. This race used the OK-Corral pavilion in the back of the dog park as the start/finish, so we were out on the trail right from the mats.


Mile 2: 12:50
There was one water stop at the turn-around. I felt like I was struggling some but I managed to keep up my intervals, with a slight adjustment for the water stop and turn-around.

Mile 3+: 12:32, 1:30
It was nice to see one of the park's Bald Eagles perched on a utility pole above the path on the way back to the finish line. I was able to keep up my intervals for the whole race. I had a good forefoot strike rhythm going for the first two miles but had to switch it up a bit for the last mile as my feet and calves started to feel tight. Pretty happy with the negative splits even though I'm still so slow.


After the Race

There was an ample spread of fruit and water at the finish line. A few vendors and sponsers were out with promo freebies. Before the award ceremony, a drum corps of youngsters performed for the crowd.

Recommendation
This was a really small race, with just 148 participants. Course support was pretty good, with volunteers spread out on the trail to cheer us on -- unexpected during a race with no need for course pointers. The one water stop was good and ready to serve the runners. I love running the beautiful Spring-to-spring trail. And it's a great local cause. Recommended especially for locals.

Chip time: 39:57 (been keeping it under 40 so far this year when I've tried)
Placement details: 12/23 in AG, 76/148 overall
Race Amenities: Cotton unisex t-shirt, pretty nice custom medal
Cost: $33.75

Report written March 8, 2020

Race Recap: Groovin' at the Grove 2020

This was the second time I participated in this local race that benefits Citrus Grove Elementary School in Deland, Florida. When I ran Groovin' at the Grove in 2016 it was free because it was on my birthday.

Training & Goals
I'm still slowly easing back into running following a chronic Achilles issue that resulted in a loss of fitness and increase in weight over the last year or so. My knees have been hurting a lot lately so I probably am going to need some help with them. My Achilles still feels weak but it seems that doing the stretching and strengthening exercises keeps the lingering pain away.

I haven't been feeling super motivated lately so weekday runs haven't been consistent. I had pretty low expectations for this race. I planned to run|walk at 1:30|:45 which is what I'd been doing for the last couple of training runs. The change from :45|:30 seems to be going alright.

Race Day: February 29, 2020
I left home at around 7AM, giving me plenty of time to get the car parked and pick up my packet and get back to the starting line for the 8AM start. It was about 46°F with 87% humidity and bright sunny skies for the start. Nice running weather.


Mile 1: 13:10

The first mile takes runners from the school grounds through nearby neighborhood streets. On several street corners, local families were out cheering with pom-poms, signs, and music.

Mile 2: 12:53
Most of this mile is a loop around more residential streets.

Mile 3+: 12:43, 1:03
The last mile completes the loop and then rejoins the first part of the course, heading back to the school for the finish line. I was super happy I was able to do my run|walk intervals for the entire race.

After Party
There were several tents set up around the start/finish line and it looked like a pretty good spread for such a small race. I didn't stay after finishing -- I went straight to my car to get home ASAP for other Saturday activities.

Recommendation
Good course with clear direction, fun hometown atmosphere and fine safety support. Recommended for locals looking for a fast and flat course supporting a good cause.

Chip time: 39:49
Placement details: 7/14 in Age Group, 143rd out of 274 finishers
Race Amenities: Unisex cotton t-shirt, goodie bag. No finisher medal.
Cost: $18.00

Report written March 1, 2020

How to Set Your Garmin 235 to Unlimited Run/Walk Intervals

It's very easy to set up your Garmin Forerunner 235 or 230 GPS running watch to alert you to your preferred run/walk intervals. On your watch, the flow is:

Menu > Activity Settings > Alerts

If you haven't set anything up yet, select Add New and then Run/Walk. Follow the prompts to set your preferred time for your running interval and your walking interval. When you have these alerts turned on, your watch will notifiy you when it's time to switch between running and walking. You can have your watch give you a vibration alert, a sound alert, or both.



How to Set Your Interval Alerts to Sound or Vibration or Both

Menu > Settings > System > Sounds

You have a choice regarding how you are notified about your run/walk intervals: via sound or vibration or both. There are three settings to toggle here: Key Tones, Alert Tones, and Vibration. Alert Tones are a kind of "twinkling" sound to indicate each interval change. I have mine set to Vibration only and rarely miss an alert.

The reason I wanted to post this is because I often see runners asking on forums about how to set up more than 99 intervals on their Garmin. They are referring to a different kind of alert, for an interval workout, that is limited to repeating up to 99 times. Garmin lets you create this kind of workout (usually for speed) where you are prompted to run for a certain amount of time or distance and then rest for a time. These workout intervals can be repeated up to 99 times. When using the Alerts feature outlined above, the run/walk notifications will continue for the duration of your run.

Two Disney Resort Fun Runs in One Day!

On Sunday, February 16 I participated in both The Running of Coronado at Coronado Springs and the Topolino Trot at the Riviera Resort.

Since first introducing fun runs at their resorts back in 2017, Walt Disney World now offers at least 7 regular short races at various resort locations each week. These runs are casual events that are walker-friendly with simple routes and fun swag, including "local" treats (beignets from Port Orleans French Quarter, a magdalena from Coronado), custom pins, medals, and more.

In the summer of 2017 I ran two of these early Disney Resort fun runs: the Beignet Dash at Port Orleans: French Quarter, and the Derby Dash at Saratoga Springs. This past Sunday I was able to run two more offerings on the same morning: The Running of Coronado at Coronado Springs, and the Topolino Trot at the new Riviera Resort.

Before I get into my review of these two runs, here is a summary of what fun runs Walt Disney World resorts offer, as of February 2020. The time listed is when the run begins; registration begins 15-30 minutes before the run and the time can vary month to month. Each run costs $15 plus tax. I check the Resort Experience Guides posted by Orlando Parks News for the most recent guides. Call 407-WDW-PLAY for the latest information and to pre-register. Note that the runs do not take place when there are runDisney events. There will be no fun runs from Feburary 21-23 due to Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

Walt Disney World Resort Fun Runs as of 2/17/20

Regatta Run 1.9 miles Yacht & Beach Club Thursday 9AM
Derby Dash Family Fun Run 1.4 miles Saratoga Springs Thursday 8AM
Topolino Trot Fun Run 1.2 miles Riviera Sunday 8:30AM
Beignet Dash Fun Run 1.5 miles Port Orleans French Quarter Sunday 8AM
Southernmost Point Fun Run 1.9 miles Old Key West Wednesday 7:30AM
The Running of Coronado 1.7 miles Coronado Springs Sunday 7AM
Seaside Spirit Fun Run 1.4 miles BoardWalk Friday 9AM


Currently on hold, the All Star Resorts' All-Stars & Icons Fun Run should resume at the end of March, occurring every other Tuesday.

Fort Wilderness and the Polynesian have offered special 5K runs to celebrate holidays in the past. Fort Wilderness has had races on Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving; the Polynesian has offered the Pineapple Dash on July 4th. 

The Running of Coronado at Coronado Springs Resort
Check-in for this race is on the Gran Destino Plaza, behind the new resort tower. The course goes around Lago Dorado and between some of the resort buildings. The course kind of looks like a sideways Mickey head, doesn't it?! Here is the Relive video: Relive the Running of Coronado.


At registration runners receive a blank race bib. We were told to put on any number we wanted. When it came time to run, recreation staff donned cute little bull horn headbands and explained the inspiration behind the theme of the fun run: the Running of the Bulls. The route was well-marked and there were a couple of staff members out on the course to keep everyone moving in the right direction.


At the end of the run we received a commemorative pin and we could pick up a magdalena pastry as a treat at the Barcelona Lounge inside the Gran Destino Tower. Once I was done with this run, it was off to the next one, just down the road.

Topolino Trot at Riviera Resort
Check-in for this race is at the movie lawn outside the new resort. This run is a simple course around Barefoot Bay, mostly through the Caribbean Beach resort which is adjacent to the Riviera.


At registration runners received a nice pre-numbered race bib. We got a course overview and then it was time to run. I got a little bit mixed up when we ran by the lighthouse but I got straightened out myself fairly quickly. There were no directional signs out on the course, but two staff members were out to help us with a couple of turns.



At the end of the run we received a commemorative pin and a shaved ice treat.



These were two cute resort runs from Disney recreation staff and I enjoyed them both. It was fun to get two done on the same day. The Beignet Dash also takes place on Sunday, between these two. Thursday has a pair of runs with the Derby Dash at 8AM followed by the Regatta Run at 9AM, so it may be possible to do multiple fun runs on Thursday, too.

Race Recap: Lap the Track 5K 2020

Following the Beachin' It 5K Saturday afternoon, next up was the Lap the Track race on the famous Daytona Beach International Speedway. Running both races earned finishers a third challenge medal.

Training & Goals
I'm still slowly easing back into running following a chronic Achilles issue that resulted in a loss of fitness and increase in weight over the last year or so.

I didn't know what my plan was for this race. I met up with a couple of girls from my run club and we would maybe run together, but I waffled about being too slow. I ended up staying with one friend for a little while but we split up after taking some fun photos on the course. I figured I might need to walk a bit more, especially on the pedestrian bridge crossing.

Race Day: February 9, 2020
I left home around 5:55AM and had the car parked at One Daytona by about 6:35AM. I had to hustle to the hub to meet up with my club. The plan was to walk over to the start line together for a group photo. I made it to our tent just in time.


Both the half marathon and the 5K start on the race track and finish across the street at One Daytona, a relatively new shopping and dining complex. We walked over a pedestrian bridge to cross International Speedway Boulevard and met close to the start arch for a group photo. The half marathoners took off shortly after 7AM. I watched the lead runners leave the speedway before making my way to the 5K start at around 7:30AM. It was about 55°F with 100% humidity and partly cloudy skies when I started my race.


Mile 1: 13:53

I ran a bit with my friend Christine. We stopped to take a couple of fun photos on the track.

Mile 2: 13:03
The first two+ miles are entirely on the Daytona International Speedway. It's always pretty cool to run in this famous place, even though I have no interest in Nascar.

Mile 3+: 13:29, 2:39
The last mile has runners cross International Speedway Boulevard via the pedestrian bridge. It's no fun and I walked a bunch here.

After Party
This race has a great after party, with unlimited beers for the runners, and vendors with treats like muffins, hoagies, fruit, and more. I stayed for a while to watch half marathon finishers come in.



Recommendation

So, this is tough, because I can't help but think about some amenities that this race no longer provides. The half marathon used to start off with a race car whizzing by on the track, which was pretty thrilling. We used to be able to park in the middle of the track and the races used to finish on the track instead of across the street. Using much of the track area for the start and finish meant runners had access to real toilets instead of porta potties.

Having said all that, the race organizers do a fantastic job of putting everything together. I can only speak of the 5K this year, but course support was great and the after race provisions are very good. The medals this year were better than last year, as were the shirts, though they are still not as nice as the all-over print tech shirts they had in the past. It's overall a great experience, especially if not comparing it to the past. Recommended.

Chip time: 42:57
Placement details: 29/49 in Age Group, 407th overall out of 695 finishers
Race Amenities: Gender-specific tech shirts (mediocre but much better than last year's simple thin cotton shirts that ran small), finisher medal for all, plus bonus medal for completing challenge.
Cost: $51 for both 5K races in the challenge.

Report written February 11, 2020

Team photo (c) Almost There Photography

Race Recap: Beachin' It 5K 2020

Whoa, it's time for the Daytona Beach Half Marathon weekend already?! I ran the half marathon in 2017 for my 3rd fastest 13.1 and again in 2018. Last year they added a new Saturday afternoon beach 5K, which could be added to either (5K or 13.1) Sunday race for a challenge. I ran the Dual 5K challenge last year and again this year.

Training & Goals
Following most of December in a walking boot and another month of PT I am cleared to run, but I need to ease back in as I lost a lot of fitness and gained a lot of weight in the last year.

My knees have been hurting a lot lately so I probably am going to need some help with them. My Achilles still feels weak but it seems that doing the stretching and strengthening exercises keeps the lingering pain away.

For this race I wanted to keep up my regular intervals, which are at 45:30 run:walk, for the entire distance. Since this was a beach run in the middle of a sunny day, I didn't have any thoughts of improving my most recent best time. I also hadn't run since last weekend's races, hoping it might provide my knees a chance to heal.


Race Day: February 8, 2020
Arthur came with me to this race on Saturday afternoon. We parked the car and made the .7 mile walk to the start area. I picked up my packet and we waited for the race to begin at 2PM. It was about 64°F at the start with 54% humidity and bright sunshine.


Mile 1: 12:36

I felt okay. It was nice to run on the beach. The sand was hardpacked and firm, great for running.


Mile 2: 12:39


Mile 3+: 12:43, 1:38
Textbook positive splits but not terrible, I guess. I was pleased at least that I kept up the pace, more or less, without any elongated walking breaks. I don't know which I find more brutal, running in high humidity or direct bright sunlight.


After Party
There were sliders and little beers for runners after the race. Race DJ was there to entertain. Arthur and I had plans to do some birding before dinner so we didn't stay long at all.

Recommendation
This was the second year for the Beachin' It 5K and I think the organizers did a great job once again. Recommended, as a stand-alone or as part of a 2-day challenge. I'll have more to say about tomorrow's main event in my next post.

Chip time: 39:31
Placement details: 21/42 in Age Group; 263rd out of 475 finishers
Race Amenities: Gender-specific tech shirts (mediocre but much better than last year's simple thin cotton shirts that ran small), finisher medal for all
Cost: $51 for both 5K races in the challenge.


Report written February 10, 2020


Branded photos (c) Almost There Photography