Long Overdue :: Orange Blossom 1/2 Race Report
Last Sunday, I woke up and I was pretty excited. For the first time since I moved from Winter Park, nearly four and half years ago, there was a race I was running that was 10 minutes from my house. The closest I have ever been was the 5K in Leesburg back in March.
I drove to Wooton Park along Lake Dora, picked up my goodie bag and wnet back to my car. The temperatures were cool and I was dressed for running. The croud was sparse. I would guess there were a little more than 100 runners and while there were porta-potties there were realy bathrooms in the park without a line. I made my obligatory bathroom stop and then headed up to Main Street. I met three women, a mother and her two daughters who were running together. I thought that was really sweet. They were really nice ladies. They are planning on running Disney's Princess Half Marathon and the mother wanted to see how much work she would need to do between now and March.
Very close to 7:00 AM The Orange Blossom Half Marathon was underway. The course headed West and made a loop then headed down Lake Dora Drive. We then cut into a neighborhood and headed back towards the West and made the same loop and headed AGAIN down Lake Dora Drive. I really prefer a point to point course, but I don't mind an out and back course either. I realized on Sunday that I don't like an "Out and Back and Out and Back Again" course.
Even with a small race like this there were a cast of characters. One person I really wanted to beat was an older man (later looking at race results, I figured out he was 71 years old). Now, I don't take any pleasure in beating old men, but there was just something about this old guy running in jean shorts that I really wanted beat. I finally passed him somewhere during the fifth mile.
I have added to and listened to the same playlist since July. I can judge where I am mile-wise by the song that is playing. Around the six mile mark, I felt like something was off. My Nike+ which isn't always very accurate was saying more than six miles. I was approaching a woman with a Garmin on. I asked her what it said. It was close to 6 1/2 miles. I told her I bet that at the end of the race it would read 13.6 miles.
We ran down the same road until we reached Mt. Dora. Apparently, Mt.Dora wanted nothing to do with this race. And we turned around over the chip mats and we headed back to downtown Tavares. I called this "Welcome To Mt.Dora, Now Get The Hell Out Point".
The legenth of the course played a mental number on my head. I don't know why, but I was struggling with knowing I was going to have to go further than I had planned. And I kept telling myself I was being silly, but it really affected my mental game.
Soon enough, somewhere in the ninth or tenth mile, The Old Man was coming up behind me. He was talking trash to me. It's so funny. I couldn't see him, but I could hear him coming. He was saying "Here I am!", "I'm coming up on you!" "I'm not dead!" and then he passed me. And I just couldn't keep up with him. It was hillarious. And good for him! He ended up finishing about four minutes ahead of me.
I think the out is always a lot better than the back. On Saturday my SPI Belt went MIA. I had it on the table (I know, not a good place for it...) and it was moved. although nobody remembers moving it or where it might have ended up. This played a negative part in my fueling plan. My tank was running low on fuel later in the race. I only brought with me what I could carry. One pack of Sport Beans that I took in about five miles in. Poor planning on my part.
My official finish time (13.6 miles) was: 2:30:43 My adjusted half marathon time is: 2:24:58.
I reminded myself that this wasn't a race I planned on trying for a PR and I really ran it to support a local race and to have fun.
Yes, I was annoyed that the course was longer than it should have been, but overall, it was fun. The weather was nice and there were plenty of water stops. I met some cool people, and hey, I was showed up by a 71 year old man.
It's all good.