The OUC Orlando Half Marathon put on by Track Shack has been a local favorite for years. The signature event is accompanied by a 5K. I participated in the 5K event this year.
Training & Goals
My knees continue to be a big problem, with pain hindering any progress I try to make in getting back into running. Regular steroid shots lose their effectiveness before I'm eligible to get a new one and they take longer to provide any relief. So it's not great. But I keep trying.
In the month or so before race day I had been getting out to walk/run a 5K 3 times a week. I planned for easy 1:15 run / 1:45 walk intervals for the race. I had no concrete goal but hoped to come in under 45 minutes.
Race Day: December 3, 2022
I left home around 5:45AM and headed to a downtown parking lot I had prepaid $11 for. There were a lot of runners heading to the Library Parking Lot so it was a slow crawl for about a half hour before I got to the entrance, where I saw that the price to park was $10. What the heck?
I found a spot and headed over to Lake Eola at around 6:45AM, which was perfect for the 7:15AM start. I had time to use one of the park's restrooms and drop off my gear bag before heading into the start corral, hanging out in the back. The corral was very crowded and as the start time approached, lots of runners were trying to cram themselves forward. Both the 5K and the half marathon started at 7:15AM and I think some half runners who didn't get to the start in time were frustrated to be stuck with 5K walkers in the back.
It was about 63°F with 88% humidity and clear skies when I crossed the start mat at around 7:20.
Mile 1: 14:05
I'm not sure why but this run was a huge struggle. My knees weren't worse off than usual, but my lungs weren't having it. I was super discouraged since I've been getting out regularly. My runs have been short but I've been consistent.
Mile 2: 14:51
Anyway, running on the streets of downtown Orlando was fun. Even all the brick stretches. Somewhere in this mile I saw my run club friend Tom and we exchanged encouragements.
Mile 3+: 14:29, 1:51
I was a little worried about missing the turn on the course when the 5K split from the half marathon, but the route was extremely clear. There were multiple volunteers standing by, clearly shouting out directions for each race.
Race announcer John Pelkey did a great job MCing the race and it was fun to hear him call out my name as I tried to run in for a strong finish.
After the Race
There was a long chute after the finish line, with lots of goodies like water, sports drink, full bananas, oranges, and granola bars available. Runners also received a food passport punch card to redeem snacks in the finish area. Before exiting the chute area we also got sport towels and a drawstring backpack to keep all of the free goodies on offer.
Attached to our bibs were tabs to redeem for chocolate milk and 2 free beers from local vendors. The food passport was good for four more treats: donuts or mac & cheese; beans and rice; a small cup of ice cream or sorbet; and a tequila sunrise. I picked up various other freebies from the vendor tents, including race staples like lip balm, a stress ball (which becomes a toy for the kitties) and a small hand sanitizer.
All these great after-race perks are perfect for a half marathon and really nice for a 5K runners! I got my bib at the bargain price of $26 by using a coupon from least year's Best Damn Race, making this one of my best value races ever.
Course support is amazing -- there are lots of road closures and crossings, all manned by law enforcement or volunteers. The organization is great and the after-party is high quality. Highly recommended. I hope to run the half marathon some day.
Chip time: 45:11
Placement details: 43/70 in Age Group; 648th out of 898 finishers
Race Amenities: Gender-specific tech shirt, finisher medal, lots of free swag and a great after-party
Branded & overhead start photos (c) BBAction Photo