Lake Nona Half Marathon

October 26, 2014

This it the inaugural Lake Nona Hal Marathon and I am excited to be able to run it. I did the Lake Nona Pig Run earlier this year and it was a blast. While this race is a serious race, rather than a fun race, I can only anticipate that it will be as well organized and supported.

I picked up my race packet on Friday night at Fit2Run in the Florida Mall in Orlando. Florida Mall is a great mall for shopping but it is always so crowded. There are a lot of great restaurants in the surrounding area so I use any excuse I can to get over this way to eat and shop!

Packet pickup was extremely quick and easy. I walked in the store and was directed to the back area where there were tables setup. I told them my name and was given my race bib, my race shirt, and a bag of assorted fliers and goodies. Runners were also extended an extra discount in the store by showing your bib at checkout. I walked around the store but didn’t really find anything that I needed.

The race shirt for the inaugural Lake Nona half marathon.

The race shirt for the inaugural Lake Nona half marathon.

Race morning is quite cool. I opt for a long sleeve tech shirt and a pair of longer running capris. It is supposed to be cool most of the run and likely won’t warm up until mid morning; around the time that I finish.

It takes me about an hour to get to the race. I follow other runners as we are directed to park in the lots near the UCF medical school building. It is still a bit of a walk to the race start; probably about as long as the walk to the corrals at Walt Disney Marathon and Princess weekends.

I need to go to the porta potty before we start so I find the end of the line. It is LOOOOOOONG! There is about 20 minutes until the race starts and this line does not seem to be moving very fast. I am nervous and as each minute ticks by, I get more and more anxious. I finally get my turn and I go as quickly as I can. By the time I make it to the start area, we have about two minutes until the start. In fact, I have just enough time to get my iPod set and my Garmin turned on.

I spot the 2:30 pacer well ahead of me in the starting block. It’s fairly crowded and I can’t make my way up there so I just plan to keep them in my sight as much as possible. It’s so dark when we start though, that I lose them quickly.

The course map for the Lake Nona half marathon.

The course map for the Lake Nona half marathon.

It is really crowded so I run for the first five minutes. I kept the run easy so I could warmup a little and let the crowd thin. By keeping it easy, I also keep myself from burning too much energy too soon.

The first few miles were around the medical school buildings. Then we headed out onto the main road that crosses over SR417 (better known as the Central Florida Greenway). The overpass that crosses over 417 is a pretty decent incline. I am do my best to stick with my intervals as I climb the hill. The marching band playing certainly keeps me motivated and I give a lot of high fives as I run by.

We continue out Lake Nona Blvd. until we reach Narcoossee Road. At this point, we make a u-turn and head back down Lake Nona Blvd. and back to the start/finish line. I’ve run into a few people that I recognize from some of the Facebook groups I am in. It’s always nice to meet people and put faces and names together.

I am starting to have some cramps around mile nine. I’ve eaten and I know I’ve had plenty of hydration but this isn’t like muscle cramping so much. It’s more like flair ups of some muscles I’ve had issues with off an on (sort of like having IT band issues and having that flair up while you’re running). I do my best to walk it out and stretch some, but it is definitely slowing me down.

I haven’t paid a lot of attention to my time so far other than to just hear my timer for my intervals. I just know that mile nine and ten are definitely slower. I’m walking more and, although my walks are fast, I’m slowing overall. I end up walking most of miles 11 and 12 including walking up the overpass.

As I get closer to the finish line, there are runners that are walking back towards parking to leave. One person recognizes my shirt (a Team #runDisney shirt) and gives me a shoutout. I am struggling but his words of encouragement give me a burst of energy and I start running and finish as strong as I can.

I finished in 2:34:04. When I realize that I have missed a new PR by seconds, I get really angry at myself. I’m so disappointed that I let this one get away from me. I ran such a good race for the first nine miles and then it just started going downhill. I’m not really sure what caused the muscle issue to start so I’m not really sure how to address it. I’ve used my fueling strategy in multiple races so I’m certain that isn’t the issue. I’ve had some knotted muscles recently and though I have been trying to be more diligent with foam rolling, it might be time for a deep tissue massage.

The finisher's medal is a spinner. The colors are so pretty.

The finisher’s medal is a spinner. The colors are so pretty.

I walked through the vendor area and got some doughnuts and muffins and fruit to refuel. I also got some hydration. I walked around some and tried to stretch out a bit. When I sat down to stretch, I could feel the tension in my left hamstring. It was very tight all the way into my glute. I definitely need to foam roll and get a massage!

Even though I missed a PR by seconds, I am happy with my race and I am happy to have been able to run such a great inaugural and local race. The race course was great and it was very well supported. The cheerleaders and marching band were fantastic and each of the water stops were well stocked and supported by the volunteers and even a few spectators. The finish area had plenty of food and water available and the vendor area also had some awesome stuff.

I will likely do this one again. Other than the overpass, the course was flat and fast and I believe I could PR on this course. The incline of the overpass wasn’t bad either. I was able to stick to my intervals and make it up without burning up my legs. Some hill training would easily help me with this “hill”.

As I was walking back to my car, I snapped this pic. The race is really close to the airport so the plane is really close to the ground!

As I was walking back to my car, I snapped this pic. The race is really close to the airport so the plane is really close to the ground!

This is my last race for the month. My tally so far is 11 races of half marathon distance or better and 52 total races. I’ve already met my total race goal for the year and I still have two months to go. And, I’m only three races away from my goal for total half/full marathons. With two halves and a full on my schedule for next month, this goal is nearly achieved!

Lake Nona costs:

Registration: ~$54
Gas/Tolls: ~$20
Food: ~$4
Total: ~$78

Gotta run!

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