April 12, 2014
I ran the Citrus Classic in 2013 for the first time and I loved it. I won’t lie; besides running through LegoLand, it’s five minutes from my house! Without having a 5k through my neighborhood, this is pretty much as close as I can get to having zero race related travel expenses.
Since it is a really close race, and I have this lofty ’52 races in a year’ goal, I need to fill my calendar with races where ever I can find them. And, since the race is 85% in the park, this one is a winner for me.
My alarm doesn’t have to ring overly early since I don’t have much of a drive. It’s almost like sleeping in! Since I put all my gear out the night before, I give myself an extra snooze also. But I can’t be lazy so I’m up after two snoozes.
I’m dressed and the dogs have gone out for a bit. I grab a small bite to eat and a water and head out the door. It’s a little cool this morning which should make for a nice race.
I get to LegoLand and park. I got a nice spot pretty close to the front of the row so I’m pretty close to the race start/finish (just outside the main entrance of the park). I have about 15 minutes before the start and I have a friend who is going to be walking the race because he’s injured. I head off to find him before the start (he was also kind and picked up my packet for me when he got his!).
I find my friend and we chat. I line up with him even though I’ll run and he’s going to walk. The first part is crowded but it will open up very quickly and I’ll be able to get around people easily. We chat for a couple of minutes and before we know it, the gun sounds and we’re off.
I give a shout of encouragement to Leon and I’m on my way. The first part of the course loops through the parking lot. So, once we cross the start line, it’s pretty easy to get around people. After the loop through the parking lot, we head through the main entrance and into the park.
LegoLand Florida used to be Cypress Gardens. Cypress Gardens is a historical, botanical garden that is famous for it’s beautiful flowers and water ski show. LegoLand bought the theme park and gardens and refurbished the rides via Legos. They even Lego-ized the water park. It’s actually kinda neat. I haven’t been to the park to ride any of the rides since LegoLand bought it. But, running through it and seeing some of the stuff they’ve done with Legos is truly incredible. They’ve even preserved the gardens; the gardens are very beautiful although my allergies don’t think so.
The course weaves through the theme park and then around to the water park. As we cross the bridge to the water park and loop by the water slide tower, we head into the botanical gardens. I’m thankful it’s early and the pollen isn’t too bad; Everything isn’t in full bloom yet. I am glad.
We pass mini-town USA. Here there are mini versions of cities like New York, Las Vegas, and San Francisco all made of Legos. It’s incredible. The Stratosphere Hotel in mini Las Vegas even has a working tower ride at the top of it (a must try at the real Stratosphere in Las Vegas if you like thrill rides).
The last stretch of the course is back towards the main entrance and through the gates to cross the finish line. I’ve ran almost the whole thing and I look at my Garmin and see a new PR. My official finish time is 32:14. This is a new PR by almost a minute. I’m super excited about this!
I grab a water and head back to the finish line. I want to cheer for people and watch for Leon. When he crosses the finish line, I find him and we make plans to go grab some breakfast.
I set my 5k PR at this race last year so it’s awesome to do it at the race again. The weather was great and I felt pretty good. I’ve been trying to work some speed work into my training so it’s nice to see some positive results from it.
Citrus Classic in coin…
That’s it. I drove only ten miles round trip so it isn’t worth figuring out the 82 cents I probably spent on gas! This is easily the cheapest race I will run all year!
Off to run…