The Winter Park Road Race was my first 10K. This was also my first larger race -- the capacity was 3700 runners! This race was done in conjunction with a 2-mile race; participants could opt to race both and earn a "Distance Dare" extra challenge medal. Maybe next year!
This was the 39th running of this race, which benefits local youth charities. At the race expo Arthur and I noticed a local celebrity, one of our NBC affiliate meteorologists (Eric Burris), milling about. Later on social media I saw other personalitities from the same news team (Angela Taylor & Stewart Moore) also ran in the race.
The course for this race was advertised as featuring "slight inclines, tree canopied roads, historic homes and views of Chain of Lakes." It was a great route! We did run over some brick streets which proved a bit tricky on the footing.
Training & Goals In preparation for this race, I started having slightly longer runs during my weekly training runs, building up to 10K. I hoped to finish this race in under 1:15.
Race Day: March 12, 2016 While Winter Park isn't terribly far from home, this was the furthest I'd traveled for a race (about 24 miles). Arthur went with me and we struggled a bit to find a parking place, first spinning around a parking garage before giving up and finding a tight spot on the street. A small group of runners saw us craning our necks and offered to scoot their car a bit to make room for us to squeeze in.
The expo area was pretty big, with vendors and local businesses at various stands. I exchanged my shirt for a different size and had a last pit stop at the porta-potties before kissing Arthur goodbye and getting ready at the starting area. It was a steamy 68° at race time.
The starting area was super crowded! Runners piled up on the street and spilled out onto the sidewalks. I ended up behind the line (corral) for walkers and tried to scoot forward among the masses as the time drew near. Once the race began it took me a good two minutes before I crossed the starting mats.
Mile 1: 10:45 I spent the first 2+ miles bobbing and weaving between slower runners, which was a very strange feeling! Of course, there were a lot of walkers in the mix too. And I was getting passed myself. For several blocks I and other passers would hop onto the sidewalk in order to pass walkers who took up space on the roadway. After about 2 and a half miles I was able to remain mostly to the road.
Mile 2: 10:19 At various spots during the race, local residents were out to watch us run and give encouragement. At some point a spectator offered free high fives so I took one to power up. Later (not sure which mile at this point) we ascended a hill but we were assured by spectators that Florida doesn't have hills. Unfortunately his mind tricks didn't really help.
Mile 3: 10:50 There were porta-potties in two spots during the race, but I'm not sure any of them were specifically for us. First (again not sure of the mile locations of these) there were a couple standing near a home construction site. Runners were lined up to use them! Later we passed a few set up at a local park, which I also saw being used by runners.
Mile 4: 10:51 The course took us past Lake Maitland, where we could see we were not the only ones racing that day. Teams of rowers were propelling their boats across a marked trail on the water.
Mile 5: 11:12 During this mile we passed the third and final water stop. I didn't take any but made sure to thank the volunteers. I didn't see any trash bins so I think they must have been busy after the race picking up after everyone.
Mile 6+: 11:27, 4:03* Spectators increased as we approached the finish line in downtown Winter Park. It was really encouraging to see everyone cheering us on, including plenty of folks who had finished the race and already had their medals. I heard the emcee calling out names ahead of me, and then when I crossed the finish line I heard my name! That was funny and unexpected! I knew from my Garmin that I had accomplished my time goal; once the times were posted I was happy to see my official chip time was well under 1:15.
I got my medal and then lined up to pick up my finisher's beer glass (oh yeah!) and complementary sport towel (woot woot). I found Arthur and got in line for my free beer (yum!). We milled around the expo for a bit and then I scored another beer ticket from a non-drinking runner so we hung around the expo area a bit longer. I picked up some other free swag like hair ties, pink sunglasses, rice crispy treats, and of course the obligatory post-race banana.
Cooled down and a bit sloshed, we headed to the car to drop off all the goodies and I changed out of my sweaty race duds. Winter Park's weekly market was worth a look so we walked back to the center of town and got ourselves some tasty quiche for a late breakfast. It was a great morning with a fun race that I look forward to running again!
Chip time: 1:08:27 (new distance = PR) Placement details: 128th of 310 in age, 1478th overall out of 3139 finishers Race Amenities: Swag included a short sleeve ladies tech shirt, a finisher medal for all, a nice glass pint glass, and a sport towel. A good spread of eats and a free beer for every runner. Cost: $33.00 with $2 coupon code
*I often forget to turn off my Garmin after a race, so the final time is skewed.
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