I was starting to get excited about the OUC Half Marathon. This would be the third time I have run this race. Each time I have run this race the course is different. The course this year was closer to the course the race followed the first time I ran it in 2000.
Last year for the beginning of December, the weather was extremely warm. In the low eighties when I finished the race. This year was warm, but comfortable.
I had my alarm set for 4:20 AM. I had agreed to pick up my friend Cheryl between 5:00 and 5:15 AM. Cheryl ran the Spacecoast Half Marathon last Sunday and decided to run the 5k today.
We ended up in the parking garage downtown at 6:00 AM for the 7:30 AM start. I thought it would take us a little longer to get parked, although I would always take being early for a race over being late any day.
Cheryl and I met up with some of the Team in Training peeps, and as we were checking in our bags, we met up with Marathon Chris Chris, me and Cheryl, post race
Chris and I said goodbye to Cheryl and made our way to the start area just before 7:30. Once the race started it took us about a minute and a half to cross the mats and get on our way. Chris and me showing off our "Pray for Elijah" Bracelets - Not punching each other
Chris and I ran together for the first half mile or so. We then said our good-byes and good lucks and I moved ahead.
Right after Chris and I parted, I passed a runner with a homemade race bib pinned to her back. It said:My age is
Try to pass me!
Based on the race results, she was the oldest female runner in the race today and finished in a respectable 2:32:58. She also took 3rd place in the Women 65 and older age group. Congratulations to her!
Once the course turned onto Hillcrest, which is a brick road, I moved to the sidewalk and ran there as much as possible. While the city of Orlando loves to use bricks as a "traffic calming device" they are tough on the knees and because of their uneven nature, have the potential to cause a runner to take a digger.
Before we turned off of Hillcrest, there was a lone woman, in her late 70's or early 80's watching in awe as we passed. I wished her a good morning. She smiled and said "Keep up the good work." She made me smile.
The good news is, there was a good amount of shade, throughout the course. While there was never much of a breeze, the shade provided a good bit of comfort.
After the halfway point, the course turned onto Michigan Street. A busy road without much shade. The traffic was piling up on the other side of the median. An ambulance was working it's way through the cars with sirens on and the horn honking. The drivers were confused about where to go and the ambulance was so loud! My hope was that the ambulance would arrive at it's destination in a timely manner and that their destination was not a runner.
Michigan Street was my least favorite part of the course.
We then turned onto Delaney Avenue. It is a tree lined street with older homes. OPD was in full force directing traffic and keeping runners safe. A handsome silver haired motorcycle officer was at a small intersection watching a very furry long haired cat stroll toward him against the flow of the runners. I asked him if he was directing that cat. I think he chuckled.
We were headed toward my old neighborhood. The neighborhood I lived in when I was 20 years old. The neighborhood I lived in when my then boyfriend, now husband,and I broke up and I was broken-hearted. In order to maintain any level of sanity a broken-hearted 20 year old may have, I was running 2 - 3 miles a day, in the heat and humidity of the summer. I was transported back to that time in my mind. Not so much the sadness I felt at the time, but the relief I got from running on these same streets.
We worked our way closer and closer to the finish line. And once we hit Robinson Street, I knew we were so close. Just before the mile 13 mark I heard "Go Maddy!!!" Not far behind me, my friend Terri was running and rooting for me. I'm sure she recognized me from my Pink Camo bandanna.
Just a few minutes later, I crossed the finish line.
My Chip Time: 2:19:17
Thoughts, disappointment,observations and next steps in my next post.
After the race, Cheryl found me. She finished the 5k in an awesome 28:37. After I had some water and a bagel, Chris found us. -Chris ran an amazing race for a new PR - Check her blog
for details! We spent some time in the beer garden and Chris and Cheryl celebrated the day with an ice cold draft beer.
We headed to the lake for a few pictures and then we headed home