Friday, July 11, 2008

Watermelon 5K :: Race Report

It never takes me more than a week to get a race report posted, but the busy-ness continues. I thought summer was supposed to be laid back... I can definitely say that is a myth!

I wasn't planning on running the Watermelon 5K this year. With gas prices climbing, I thought it would be a silly idea to drive 60 miles round-trip to run 3.1 miles. I'm just far enough north of Orlando that it's almost not even worth it.

Then I got an email from my friend Kelly. I ran this race with Kelly two years ago and we also run the 2007 Winter Park Road Race.

Kelly and I used to work together. In the course of some re-structuring the company did in the spring of 2007, Kelly was promoted and I reported to her. Last July, when the company went into phase two of the re-structure plan, Kelly had the task of laying me off. Let's just say that made our friendship awkward.

I was never mad at Kelly - it came down to business and I wasn't exactly surprisedabout the decision my former company made. But I couldn't figure out how to connect with her.

To make things even more interesting, my old employer is a client of my current company, and my role involves working closely with my old company.

Maybe about six weeks or so ago I was planning dinner with my friend Casey I invited my friend Colleen and she asked if it would be okay if she invited Kelly. Of course I said yes. I thought it would be fun for all of us to get together.

Dinner was fun and we laughed, and joked, it was really like old times and it was just very nice. I don't know if that was the turning point or not, but not too much later - maybe two weeks, When I got that email from Kelly asking if I wanted to run the Watermelon 5K. To have a chance to run with an old friend, I said yes without hesitation.

Kelly and I met up in Apopka and rode to Winter Park together. we got there early enough so parking wasn't an issue. We ran into my friend Cheryl and the time flew by before the start of the race.

These races are really interesting. Apparently there were 3,000 + people there with skill levels that spanned the spectrum. We were lined up near the nine minute pace - although I wanted to be closer, because I knew that there would be slower people in front, it never fails...

The first half mile was shoulder-to shoulder. The route starts through a mid-century neighborhood with brick streets and cars parked randomly on the sides of the street. It was a bottle-neck and it took at lot of, luck skill and effort to bob and weave through the crowds. We ran past the tennis courts and a park, made a few more turns and we were in another neighborhood at the one mile mark.

I though it was funny that the cups for the water stop were Disneyland cups. Not Disney World mind you, but paper cups for a theme park 3,000 miles away. We moved through the neighborhood and up the hill next to the Winter Park High School 9th Grade Center. We turned in front and then down the other side of the 9th Grade center where we looped back. I saw Cheryl on my return. She was about 45 seconds behind me. I had an eye out for Kelly but I never saw her.

As I made the turn in front of the 9th Grade Center, I knew I was getting close, I would guess that there was 1/2 or 3/4 mile left. I heard a fire truck behind me. Kelly told me later that she was stopped so the fire truck could continue down the street.

I finished in a respectable 27:52 which considering the crowd and the heat, isn't too bad at all.

After the race we had some watermelon, which was amazing! We hung out for a little bit and I ran into the Running Geezer. He asked if I saw Shirley. I didn't even know that she was planning on being there. Kelly said that she thought she had seen Shirley. I had forgotten that the first time I met Shirley (2007 Winter Park Road Race) that Kelly was also there and had met her also. Running Geezer mentioned that it was only her second 5K ever, and Kelly thought that maybe we weren't talking about the same person. She realized that we were indeed talking about the amazing marathoner / triathlete who has not run many shorter races. I wish I had seen her too.

It was a lot of fun to get out there and run. I'm so glad I decided to run!


At 6:22 PM, Blogger Susan said...

It's amazing how some people leave and re-enter our lives like nothing ever happened.

Great race report. I bet the watermelon afterwards WAS amazing!

At 7:45 PM, Blogger David said...

I just happened to be in the neighborhood and stopped for watermelon and to visit folks. Sorry I missed you.

At 9:54 AM, Blogger Marcy said...

AWESOME JOB CHICA!! That's great that you got to run with an old friend again :-)

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Runner Leana said...

Congrats on your 5K! It is great that you were able to reconnect with Kelly again. Watermelon after a race would be terrific! What a great change from bananas and orange slices...

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Steve Stenzel said...

Nice job in the heat AND the crowd! Way to go!!!

At 8:05 PM, Blogger Faithful Soles said...

Running will always bring people together in a positive way, and this is just another example. Great job on the race, keep up the good work.

At 5:23 PM, Blogger akshaye said...

Nice time! And its great you could reconnect with an old friend.

At 5:31 PM, Blogger Casey McGraw said...

Yay! That makes me happy :) I love you girls... and watermelon too!

At 11:52 PM, Blogger ShirleyPerly said...

Oh man, I wish I'd hung around for longer to see you and Kelly. There were so many people, though, and I had to keep walking for fear of stiffening up (not used to running short races, as you know).

Great that you two had the chance to run together again. That watermelon was great afterwards, wasn't it?

At 1:21 PM, Blogger IrishBlue said...

Sounds like a good race and Kelly is lucky to have you for a friend Maddy!


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