March 3, 2016
This race sort of happened on a whim. I’ve been trying to rest and work through some injuries since Gasparilla so I haven’t been running at all. I’ve been getting in my workouts with my trainer but I’m in rough shape. Cheertator is a huge soccer fan though and found this race that supports the Orlando City Soccer Club. So, of course, we have to run it.
The race is on a Thursday night. We are registered early but we can’t make it to any of the early packet pickups. This means we’ll have to get to the race early enough to pick up our packets. The race starts at 6:45 so we plan to leave work early and get to the race site at Lake Eola as quick as we can.
I leave work and head home to change clothes. I move as quickly as I can and then head out the door to meet Cheertator so we can ride together. We leave as quickly as I get there so we can be on our way. The traffic on I-4 is sure to be a mess and we know we are limited on time.
We are making pretty good time using Waze, our navigation of choice. We have to make a stop so I can use the bathroom and we both get a bottle of water and a little snack. We aren’t too far from where the race is but we still need to park. We drive around for a minute and then finally decide to just park in one of the garages downtown. We don’t have time to try to get any closer.
We walk as quickly as we can to get to the park at Lake Eola. We are really cutting it close. It’s 6:30 when we walk up to the check-in tent. We have our ID’s out and we tell the volunteers that we need to check-in. This is when things start to go downhill. No one seems to have a clue of how to check anyone in. We’ve already registered. All we need is our bibs and our goody bags with our t-shirts. Yet, the folks at the tent act like they don’t know how to check us in.
The start gun sounds and we are still standing at check-in. To say we are both annoyed is a huge understatement. This is utterly ridiculous. There are several folks just standing around and the one person trying to take care of us still doesn’t seem to have a clue. She finally pulls out two bibs and sticks the timing tags on the back (why was this not done ahead of time?!). She hands them to us and then hands us each a goody bag and t-shirt. We thank her and scurry towards the start line.
We were the last people to cross the start line. In fact, Cheertator was still pinning the bib to the shirt as we crossed the start line. I stuffed the t-shirts and one of the goody bags in my goody bag and put it on my back. Once our bibs were on, we took off running.
Because we started so late, the road that is the first part of the course had been opened back up to vehicle traffic. So, we had to wait at a crosswalk and run on the sidewalk. We kept running until we caught up with the back of the pack. Once we had caught up, we walked for a minute to catch our breath and then started running our intervals.
The course was alright. It was dark through a lot of it so it was hard to see. In fact, there was a couple of stretches where it was on brick roads and it was so dark that you couldn’t see the terrain of the road. I didn’t want to risk falling or rolling an ankle so we walked a lot of this.
We made it to the finish line and we weren’t last despite being the last to cross the start line! My official finish time; which was listed under the men’s times and did not include my name (I was listed as Unknown Male) was 52:19. This is also incorrect as the net time and clock time are the same and I definitely did NOT start at the front of the pack. I estimate we were 6-7 minutes after the official start which would put me around 45-46 minutes.
Since we also got a free ticket to the opening game, we waited in line to cash in our vouchers. While we were waiting, another runner offered us his voucher because he couldn’t make it to the game. We cashed in all three vouchers and will bring one of our friends.
After we got our tickets, we walked around and decided to have dinner at one of the food trucks. There was a mac & cheese truck that we both decided to try. I had the traditional mac & cheese and Cheertator had mac & cheese with BBQ pulled pork on top. Both were delicious.
I’ve run a lot of races including a lot of smaller races. This was, by far, one of the least organized that I’ve attended. I was really disappointed in the check-in process once we got there. I realize that we were later than we should’ve been. We really tried to get there earlier; traffic did us zero favors. However, the fact that no one at the check-in tent seemed to know what to do was bothersome. Additionally, why wouldn’t you have the timing tags already attached to the bibs and the bibs already assigned to the participants? My results don’t show up because they didn’t assign my name to my bib! That’s just poor planning and poor organizing in my opinion. Lastly, since the course was so dark in areas, it was a real safety issue for participants. Making the course on streets with lighting or bringing in some lights for the event would be a good idea so that runners can see where they are going (or even issuing runners some little flashlights in their goody bag!).
We enjoyed being able to go to the opening game. It was an AMAZING game (and my first soccer game ever!). We’ll definitely be going to another game or two during the season.
Until next time…gotta run!