Local Race Report: Holiday Stress Buster 2021

This was my fourth time participating in the Lake Helen Stress Buster, always on Christmas Eve. Previous reports: 2016 | 2017 | 2019.

With nearly 700 finishers, this was by far the largest Stress Buster I've attended. It was fun to see such a large and festive group, with many runners dressed in holiday gear or funny Christmas outfits.

Training & Goals
In July my persistent but manageable knee pain became acute and I went to an orthopedic doctor for help. Unfortunately, while prescribed physical therapy exercises have helped with strength deficiencies, my knee pain persists. I'll be trying different treatments to get back on track. Meanwhile, I'm mostly walking. 

Race Day: December 24, 2021
Lake Helen is close to home. I arrived with plenty of time to find a nearby parking spot and get my bib. It was about 55°F with 94% humidity and clear, sunny skies as the race began.

There were a lot of West Volusia Runners at the race. I haven't been going to meetups so I saw a lot of unfamiliar faces join in our group photo. 

Mile 1: 16:15
After a five minute warm-up walk, I decided to try running 30 seconds between 2 minute walk intervals. I met up with my friend Lauren during this mile and we stuck together with these intervals for the rest of the race.

Mile 2: 16:52
Course support is provided by local residents who cheer on the runners as we head through the cute town of Lake Helen.

Mile 3+: 16:31, 1:56*

Recommendation
This is always a nice little local holiday race. The course through Lake Helen is pretty and festive, and the event is well-managed. It's flat and fast for racers looking to PR and it's very walker friendly, too. Recommended.

Chip time: 51:10
Placement details: 32/39 in Age Group, 543 overall out of 693 finishers
Race Amenities: Cotton t-shirt, medal for all finishers, free race photos
Cost: $22.17

*I forgot to turn off my Garmin until well after crossing the finish mat.

Race branded photo and featured photo (c) Almost There Photography
Running to the finish line photo (c) Marieann Bannan

Local 5K Race Report: DeBary 5K 2016 or: That Time I Forgot My Garmin

The DeBary 5K is sponsored in large part by a local contracting company, DBK. Proceeds go towards DeBary Elementary School and the Kruid Foundation. The 2016 race was the 2nd annual. Training & Goals I had just come back from a 10-day holiday in Costa Rica...

Race Recap: Running with the Chromies 5K 2019

Running with the Chromies is a local charity race that benefits Welcoming Hearts, a nonprofit dedicated to helping those with special needs, including families of individuals with Downs Syndrome. This was the first year a 10K was offered alongside the 5K. I ran the 5K before...

Local 5K Race Report: Rotary River Run 2016

The DeBary Rotary River Run 5K was a new race that took place at Gemini Springs, just about a mile from my house. A race so close is hard to resist entering. The local Rotary club put on the race along with Florida Hospital Fish Memorial to benefit the Childhood Cancer Foundation.

Local Race Recap: DBK 5K 2018

The DBK 5K is sponsored by a local contracting company. The 2018 race was the 4th annual; I ran this one previously in 2016. Training & GoalsI was finally starting to feel like my injury was behind me following my fall and suspected fractured/bruised rib(s) at...