Florida 10 Series – Lakeland

October 11, 2015

I ran this race last year; in its inaugural year; and I really enjoyed it. I set a personal best for my ten mile time and I liked the flat course. It isn’t the most scenic course but it was fairly well supported and the race had some great perks, including bonanza pricing so I only paid $15 to enter this year. That is reason enough to run in my book! Plus, ten miles is a great distance to race for proof of time for other races. The Walt Disney World Marathon, for example, requires a race of ten miles or longer for proof of time for corral placement.

I went to FitNiche, my local running store, for packet pickup the day before the race (as directed in the handy race guide). It only took me a couple of minutes to go in, get my race bib, race shirt, race visor, and goody bag. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bib number this low! Number 20 has to be a new record for me! The race shirts are nice although I liked last year’s shirt better. The race visor is a Headsweats brand. I don’t like the design on this year’s as much as last year, but I do love the visor.

My bib and the Florida 10 race shirt and visor.

My bib and the Florida 10 race shirt and visor.

The race venue isn’t far from my house; about 15 minutes. I allow myself some extra time so I can swing through Starbuck’s for an iced tea and a breakfast sandwich. I also have all my gear on the bathroom counter so I have to think as little as possible when the alarm rings. I have been struggling with getting up early so I’m nervous about the race. I have to get out of bed so I’ve tried to make it as easy on myself as possible.

The alarm sounds and I allow myself one snooze. Then I reach over and turn on the light. Both of my dogs look at me like I must be mad. I know if allow myself to stay in bed any longer, I will fall asleep again and I will miss the race. This CANNOT happen.

Once I’m moving, I get dressed pretty quickly. I will be running this race in a Sparkle Skirt. I’ve only done one other race in this brand of skirt and it was a 5k. I’ve also done a couple of shorter training runs in one but this will be the longest distance I’ve run in one of them. I’m not sure how I’ll like it. I love the skirts in general. They’re great for wearing to theme parks and such. There are pockets in the shorts underneath and there is a pocket in the waistband. The shorts don’t ride up and the spandex keeps me cooler than all of my normal shorts. But running presents its own issues and I’m not sure if I love these skirts yet.

After I’m dressed, I take my dogs out for a quick walk. While we’re walking, I realize my stomach isn’t so happy. This is NOT good. I hurry them along because now I have an urgent need.

I finally get out of the house and my stomach is still unhappy. I stop for some breakfast; a ham and Swiss breakfast sandwich; but I can barely eat it. I feel so sick to my stomach. I don’t know why either. I didn’t eat anything unusual last night. It takes me all of the drive to eat the sandwich and by the time I’m finished eating it, I feel like I could barf. I really hope this passes.

I park in the median along the street where we’ll be running as directed. I hang out by the start line and meet one of my new Facebook friends. She’ll be running her first Dopey Challenge in January and I am actually mentoring her and a couple of other ladies. I’m really excited to finally meet Susan and her husband.

We chat while we’re waiting and then head to the start block. There are no corrals so we line up towards the middle-back. The gun sounds and we’re off. I’m going to run intervals so I move over to the side so I’ll have room to stop without impeding anyone. Since this is a small race, the course will open up quickly.

I get through the first minute or so and realize that my Garmin hasn’t jingled at me. Then I realize that I had turned off my intervals. So much for smooth starts. I still feel queasy and now I have to walk and reset my interval timer. I keep moving but I lose some distance on my Garmin because I have to stop it in order to set the intervals. Oh well.

The course is a five mile, two-loop course. Because of this, we will pass each of the water and Gatorade stops twice. There is a stop at every mile. This is good news because it is hot and humid today. Hydration will definitely be important.

The course map for the race.

The course map for the race.

Other than feeling queasy, my running feels pretty good. I am keeping my intervals and feel like I’m running pretty solid for the first mile and half. That’s when I realized I need to go to the bathroom and there are no porta-potties anywhere on the course except by the start/finish line. I won’t be back to that point until mile 3.5-ish. And, there are no bushes to duck behind either. I contemplate what to do for a few intervals. I don’t have to go badly but my bladder is definitely making me very aware of its presence.

I tough it out because, well, I have no choice and, when I pass the start area, I don’t really have to go as badly. I keep going and head towards the turnaround near mile four.

I pass each water table and grab a Gatorade and a water. Most of the stops only had one volunteer working both tables, so I had to stop and fill my own cup from the cooler at most of the tables. The volunteers were working hard; I felt bad that they were manning an entire station by themselves. I couldn’t help but wonder why the race didn’t have better volunteer turnout. It had to be hard on those folks; there was no way they could keep up with the flow when trying to fill and handout cups from the water table AND the Gatorade table.

I don’t quite make it to the turnaround when I am passed by the lead runner. I know I’m running a little slow today but it’s only about 40 minutes into the race and he’s almost to mile nine! Nothing like getting lapped to make you feel uber stellar about yourself!

I pass the finish line and start my second loop. I debated stopping at the porta-potties as I passed them but I didn’t feel the need to go. And, the thought of trying to pull my sweaty clothes back up just didn’t seem appealing. I can definitely wait.

I am doing alright as I approach mile seven. My legs are a little tight and I’m still feeling a little queasy. I have a Honey Stinger Waffle in my pocket but the thought of food makes my stomach turn even more so I am avoiding it right now. I’ve been OK with the water and the Gatorade so I’m sticking with that for now.

I do my best to keep my intervals. Around mile eight, my legs really started protesting. In an effort to get over the mental struggle I was having with myself, I started counting my steps. I generally get about 78-80 steps in a one minute interval. I negotiated with myself to get to 65 steps so that I would at least be running the majority of the interval. This made my interval more like 45 sec/1:15 instead of 1 min/1 min. I was able to keep this up for most of the rest of the race. I did notice that my walk breaks were slower but my legs seemed to be protesting less.

I rounded the final corner and crossed the finish line in 2:17:45.That is about 20 minutes slower than my time last year. I had hoped for better but I am not unhappy. It was a really hot and humid day. Miserably hot actually. This race could benefit from starting an hour earlier. I also didn’t feel that great. I started out the morning with an upset stomach and then I felt queasy almost the entire race. I am really stoked that I didn’t puke during the race.

I collected my medal and went to the food tables. The only food left was a McDonald’s breakfast burritos. And there were BOXES of them! I grabbed one of these and looked for some fruit. There were two bananas and, well, bananas are a big, fat no for me. I can’t stand the smell of them.

The finisher's medal for this year is really nice.

The finisher’s medal for this year is really nice.

I had the water I was given right after I crossed the finish line but I wanted something else cold to drink. The cooler was empty. There were cases of Cokes and such under the table so I grabbed one of those. I would’ve loved a cold drink but this will do. I ate my breakfast burrito; which was surprisingly good considering my stomach at the moment; and drank my lukewarm Coke. I think the Coke actually settled my stomach a little.

I hung out with Susan and Larry for a few minutes while we waited to see if our numbers would win us some cash. At this race, you pull your bib tab off and drop it in a bucket. The draw numbers and the numbers drawn win cash. None of us won anything so we headed to our cars.

Susan and I after we finished. The leg of the lady behind me is positioned just right so my arm looks weird.

Susan and I after we finished. The leg of the lady behind me is positioned just right so my arm looks weird.

The goods:
I got to meet Susan and Larry
I loved my Sparkle Skirt; it’s so functional and comfortable. The legs didn’t ride up at all!
I looked pretty cute in my Sparkle Skirt. (Cause, you know, that’s the most important thing!)
I didn’t get sick.
I finished with a smile on my face.

The not-so-goods:
My time was not what I had hoped for. This is really a testament to how off my training has been. I’ve struggled ever since I returned from my injury.
Because I felt sick, I didn’t fuel mid-race like I needed to.
My legs got really tight. I need to stretch better and work on my overall flexibility more regularly. I also really should get a monthly massage and make better friends with my foam roller.

I will definitely run this race again. I like the flat course and the bonanza pricing and swag are pretty sweet too. The bonus perk of getting a free race picture download is also a nice touch. I hope that the race directors will continue those things. I also hope the race directors will consider putting porta-potties at a couple of the water stops and perhaps moving the start time to 6:30 AM so it will be slightly less hot. Lastly, I hope that the race directors will reach out to more organizations for volunteers for the water tables. The tables were understaffed and those folks worked extra hard trying to keep up. They did great.

Expenses:

Registration: $15
Tolls/Gas: $15
Food: $10
Total: $40

Until next time…gotta run!

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