March 29, 2014
I found this race while I was searching for races near me. With a goal to run 52 races in 2014 and a pretty slim race selection in the summer, I need to get as many in as I can before the summer rolls in. Since this one is in my town and about 10 minutes from my house, it’s a no-brainer to run it.
I signed up early enough to be able to get the t-shirt too. So, I went after work yesterday afternoon to pick up my swag and bib. Packet pickup is at the Winter Haven Police Department and (sadly…or maybe that’s happily) I don’t really know where that is. I had to look on Google maps!
Since this race isn’t far, I don’t have to wake up super early since I don’t have a far drive. I still put my gear out though just so I won’t forget anything. When the alarm sounds, I actually get moving fairly easily. I think knowing I don’t have to go very far is making this a lot easier on me. I’m certainly far less stressed than normal!
I’m dressed and I take the pups out for a few minutes before I have to leave. I grab a bit of breakfast and then I’m out the door. I don’t go downtown a lot so I’m not completely certain where I’ll need to park. I’ve given myself a little extra time just in case there are roads blocked.
Parking is easy and I should even be able to leave fairly easily after the race. I see many other runners around the library so I head that way. The bathrooms are open so I take the opportunity to use a real bathroom. I don’t know if there will be anywhere to stop on the course.
I don’t have to wait very long before it’s time to get going. There are a few announcements made and then the race starts.
The course takes us through downtown and around the lake. We pass by the WHPD and go up a small hill. Then there is an out and back section. The faster runners are heading back towards me on my way out. I cheer for these folks when they pass and many of them are cheering us along as well.
I make the turn to head back. It’s about the two mile mark. I’m not on a PR pace but I’m on a nice pace. The weather is certainly helping as it’s a nice, cool morning. I pass the water stop and grab a water. Two gulps and I’m back running. I head into the park by the lake and up the final hill. Then it’s around Central Park and across the finish line. I’m walking the last stretch before turning towards the finish line and another runner comes up behind me and encourages me to run with her. We share a quick chat and I match her pace. We cross the finish line together.
My time was 35:07 (not official; per my Garmin); not my best or my worst. I enjoyed the course; the hills were challenging to me since I don’t do a lot of hill training (even though I know I should!). The volunteers at the water station were great and cheered for everyone that went by.
I stuck around for the giveaways but my number never got called. There was some really good stuff too. I was hoping for a massage or for the mani/pedi gift card. Alas, it just wasn’t my luck. Oh well.
Overall, this was a good, local race. I’d definitely do it again. And, if I can, I probably will do it again next year. It’s local, it isn’t expensive, and it supports a good cause. All wins.
Torch Run in dollars:
Breakfast: ~$5 (I treated myself after the race to Chick-fil-a; I LOVE those chicken biscuits!)