Race Recap: Melissa's Race 2021

I ran this local charity race for brain cancer in 2019 and participated virtually last year. And in 2021 it was my first in-person race in over a year! I hadn't participated in a race since The House Next Door 5K on March 7, 2020. Even though I'm not running pain-free quite yet, it was super fun to get out and experience the exciting race atmosphere with fellow athletes, cheer on other runners, and cross a finish line once again!

Melissa's Race is put on by Melissa Vosburg, Inc, a charity devoted to supporting brain cancer research through awareness education and fundraising. Last year's event was originally scheduled for April but pushed back, and eventually went virtual with runners encouraged to participate on what would have been Melissa's birthday in September. This year the event was able to proceed in-person, with COVID-19 safety protocols for participants, volunteers, and vendors. 

COVID-19 Protocols
On race day, I was about 10 days out from my second COVID-19 vaccine shot. Small and mid-sized local races have been proceeding for many months now with safety protocols in place, but I felt more comfortable waiting until I was vaccinated before participating. Protocols were similar to what I had understood other events to implement, like runners and volunteers required to wear masks in the start/finish area but could be removed when running; social distancing required at all times; no race-day registration; staggered start times to avoid crowding; number of participants capped at 650 (looks like we had 400 actual finishers out of 471 registered for in-person); water offered in bottles and snacks presented self-serve. At this event, mask wearing was hit-or-miss among participants but in the outdoor setting I felt safe and thought that others were being respectful.

Training & Goals
Following physical therapy in January 2020, my Achilles injury was starting to feel better and I was looking forward to building up my running stamina. As the pandemic began, I was running on my own and seeing improvements. Yay! But in mid-May I started to feel the injury return. I was very wary of catching coronavirus so I postponed getting help for that, and for my aching knees. In my current shape (also having been yo-yo dieting during the entire pandemic and currently carrying more weight than I'd like) I had very low personal expectations for this event. I was going to go with 30/30 run/walk intervals, and hoped to come in under 45 minutes.

Race Day: April 24, 2021
I hadn't picked up my packet prior to race day, so I made sure to arrive in time for that. I managed to shuffle back in time for our group photo. The first runners started at 7:30AM. It was about 66°F with 88% humidity and bright sunny skies when my wave started at 7:40AM.

Mile 1: 12:59
Oh joy, to be in a race again!

Mile 2: 13:19

Mile 3+: 13:56, 1:39*
I went out too fast so I added a few extra walking breaks and had to slow down a bit for each mile. Mile 3 was especially tough. Bummer, but being overweight, under-trained, and out of shape will do that! In the end I was pleased I came in under 42 minutes but I wish it wasn't so hard.

Recommendation
This is a well-organized local race for a very good cause. I hope it will be back as a large event in the coming years. Recommended.

Chip time: 41:46 
Placement details: 19/41 in Age Group, 205th overall out of 400 finishers
Race Amenities: Swag included a nice cotton t-shirt, finisher medal, and drawstring backpack
Cost: $27.95

Report written April 25, 2021

Branded photos (c) Almost There Photography

Race Report: Jenny Albert Hatchling Dash 2017

The Jenny Albert Hatchling Dash 5K race benefits the namesake foundation, which provides support and funds for sea turtle rehab, conservation, and more. I ran the second annual event, which took place at Bill Fredricks Park in Orlando. This was an untimed run with awards only going to...

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...

Local 5K Race Report: Lighthouse Loop 2015

My first race! I started running in August 2015 with a Couch to 5K program. After I was over halfway through the program I decided to sign up for a 5K race that would occur close to the end, and the Lighthouse Loop 5K fit the bill. There was a half marathon race along with the 5K. Lighthouse Loop is a great local race that benefits Volusia County school athletic programs.

Race Report: Orlando United 5K 2016

After running the Remarkable River 10K on June 12 I started texting with Arthur to let him know about my PR and that I was going to stay for a while to watch the awards and enjoy the breakfast buffet. He asked me if I heard the...