March 15, 2014
The Winter Park Road Race and Distance Dare are Track Shack events and it is a challenge event consisting of a two mile race followed immediately by a 10k race. The two mile race must be completed in less than (roughly) 30 minutes in order to make the start of the 10k race. This seemed like a fun challenge and I know I can do the two miles in time so I signed up. Besides, the races will count as two towards my goal for the year without extra travel so this is a win-win for me!
I have to arrive early since I pick up my packet the morning of the race. This race series is in downtown Winter Park in the same place the Season’s 52 5.2k was in January. I know where I need to go and where I can park so I won’t be overly anxious in the morning. I still follow my routine though and lay out my gear the night before so I don’t have to worry about forgetting something.
Once the alarm sounds, I negotiate my way out of bed and start getting ready. My dogs must think I’m crazy but it’s been two weeks since I’ve raced so we haven’t had an early morning since BDR. That’s like a vacation to me!
After I take them outside for a potty break, I grab my gear and head out the door. I make my usual DD breakfast stop and then head to Winter Park. I arrive in plenty of time, get a good parking spot near the post office, and then get my packet quickly. This gives me some time to relax in the car before I have to run. I can close my eyes and just rest and relax or a short time and that calms my anxiety about being late and such. I am always a nervous Nancy until I get to the race site especially when I have to drive over. I build in extra time just in case.
It’s nearly time to run so I head to the start line. There aren’t a ton of people doing the two mile race so it’s just a “line up and wait for the gun corral”. There are no signs for paces; just a big group of people standing around and ready to run. The gun sounds and we all take off. It doesn’t seem like long and I’m at the one mile mark. I knew I ran it more quickly than I wanted so I pull back some for the second mile. I don’t need to burn my legs up since I still have a 10k to do afterwards.
I finish the two mile in 26:02 (official time shows clock and gun the same and I did NOT start at the front of the pack). As I cross the finish line, I’m handed a water and shuffled towards the 10k start line. There are some pacing signs and I do my best to try to move towards the 10+ min/mile sign but it’s very crowded and we’re being packed in by the runners coming in from the two mile. I only wait about two minutes before the 10K gun sends us off for the second race of my day.
The courses in Winter Park are really pretty. The area is full of beautiful homes and shady, tree-covered streets. The scenery is so nice to look at while you’re running. I’m using intervals and I’m being cautious because there are some areas of cobblestone-like roads. The brick pavers are tough to navigate and can be really hard on the feet and legs. You have to be cautious as well because the bricks aren’t even and often slant making you lean to one side. I don’t want to roll an ankle or fall so I run with caution through these areas.
I finished the 10k in 1:16:33 and got both my Winter Park Road Race and Distance Dare Challenge medals. I also turned in my voucher from my bib to get my stemless wine glass. This race also gave out some hand towels; this was handy because I was very sweaty as it was rather humid!
I didn’t hang out long and I didn’t stand in line to cash in my beer voucher. The line was super long for the beer and I’d rather have a pancake so I grab a couple of snacks (some fruit and a granola type bar) and head towards my car.
This race was very well done (as are all of the Track Shack races). I would love to do them all every year but they don’t always fit my schedule and it does stink to have to drive an hour to get to most of them. These are the times I wish I lived in Orlando or at least a bit closer.
Neither race today was really a PR; well, I guess the two mile technically is since I’ve never done a two mile race; but I really enjoyed them and would definitely do them again. I like the area a lot and the courses were both nice to run with a lot of nice scenery. I don’t know if I’ll be back in 2015 since my race goals are likely to be very different but this will definitely be on my list of “to-do races” again.
WPRR in dollars:
Off to run…