Local Race Recap: Volusia County Schools Trails to Success 5K

This inaugural race event followed another new Volusia County Schools (VCS) race event put on earlier this year that I was sorry to miss: the Volusia County Schools Home Run 5K

While the earlier event benefited VCS track and field programs, this Volusia County Schools Trails to Success 5K was meant to support VCS employee health and wellness.

Training & Goals
Due to persistent and very depressing knee pain, I have been struggling for a while. I took a break from running over the summer to save my knees for a big holiday to South Africa. Now that I'm home, the idea is to ramp up my mileage to prepare for two half marathons at Disney in January. It's not really going very well. I signed up for this race knowing I'd need a 3-miler this weekend. I hoped the atmosphere would give me a boost. It's hard to resist races at Gemini Springs, just a short bike ride away for me. I planned to try my easy current interval of choice for the race: 30 seconds running and 90 seconds walking.

Race Day: October of 15, 2023
Cooler days finally started to reach central Florida! I biked over to Gemini Springs in the pleasant, cool dawn. Packet pickup was easy, but finding a place to park my bike wasn't -- the tree I usually used was being crawled all over by a bunch of kiddos. After stowing my bike and gathering my packet, I took a walk over to the fishing pier for a moment of zen and was delighted to hear the familiar PUFF of a manatee coming up for a breath.

I watched the sea cow feed on spring fed vegetation for a while and listened to its gentle breaths before heading back to the race in time for the start. It was about 70°F with 88% humidity and sunny skies when I crossed the start line just after 8AM. 

Mile 1: 13:56

Mile 2: 13:37
The turn-around was unmanned. I didn't notice any race volunteers or personnel on the course except for the water stop and at the main intersections between the park and the multi-use trail. This was a little bit disappointing; I think a well-supported race should include staff or volunteers on the course in case of any problems with the participants.

Mile 3+: 14:18, 1:00 (my Garmin came up a bit short at 3.08 miles)

Shortly after I finished, I said hi to a couple of WVR pals before biking home. 

Recommendation
The trails around Gemini Springs are great for races. This was for a good local cause, but the lack of course support wasn't ideal. I might run this again but I'm not comfortable recommending based on this experience.

Chip time: 42:45
Placement details: 7/24 in Age Group; 155/305 overall
Race Amenities: Soft cotton t-shirt, nice medal, free race photos
Cost: $29.23

Photos (c) Almost There Photography

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