My 9th race of the season was a 5 mile race in Lakeland which was part of the Florida 10 series. Why oh why did I sign up for a race that was an hour drive from my house on a Sunday morning? Well my friend Amy convinced me to sign up on the day registration opened because it was gonna be super cheap (I got in for $15) and you got a free hat or visor (I went with the visor). Plus I signed up in March and probably thought “That isn’t until October…”
I was up at 5 am for the hour drive to Lakeland and seriously thought about rolling over and going back to sleep. But with the Rock N Roll Savannah 1/2 less than a month away I really needed the practice. So I threw on my running gear and hopped in the car. Has anyone noticed how freaking dark it is on I-4 once you get past Disney? Holy heck! I’m seriously glad I have a car in good working order because I would not have enjoyed being stuck on the side of the road out there.
When I arrived at the race site I was lucky enough to find my friend Amy within minutes of getting out of my car. We headed to the start where I was able to pick up my packet and take my goodies to the car and still have plenty of time before the race. There were only 588 people running the two distances, 5 and 10 miles, so packet pickup was a breeze. And I think this was the first race I’ve ever been to where 2 minutes before the start time the announcer had to talk the runners into making their way to the start line. I swear everyone was still asleep!
I started out with my friend but was only to keep up for a short while. I didn’t really have any land speed goals in mind for this race, so I wasn’t too worried about it. I wanted to finish in an hour or less but mainly I just wanted to finish. With two half marathons coming up in the next month I needed to remind myself that I could run more than a 5k.
Unfortunately the 7:30 am start time meant that the sun was already up and it got hot quick! I was very jealous of my friends that had run in Brooklyn the day before in temperatures in the 60s. What I wouldn’t give for my temps in the 60s… oh Florida.
The race didn’t go as badly as I thought it was going to. My runs haven’t been super awesome or frequent lately, so I was kind of expecting the worst. My first mile was one of my fastest in a long time but I definitely slowed down after that. I stuck to my 2/1 intervals and before I knew it I was done with mile 3. There was a turn around at mile 4 and I was excited to see my friends going the other way for a number of reasons. I got a high-five, it meant I was getting closer to mile 4, AND I wasn’t as far behind them as I thought. Go me!
My intervals got shorter in that last mile, but I was determined to keep going and potentially get in under my one hour goal. Around 58 minutes I stopped looking at my watch and just focused on moving forward. I picked up the pace when the finish line was in sight and was SO happy to finish! A few seconds later I got a text confirming my finish time – 1:00:40. Well heck, 40 seconds off my goal wasn’t bad at all.
I didn’t stick around too long after the race, because it was too darn hot, but I did get a chance to sit down and chat with my buddy and fellow Zooma ambassador Mary Beth for awhile which was nice. Hi Mary Beth! Oh, and did I mention how amazing the medal was? It even had the story of why swans are such a big deal in Lakeland on the back of the medal. Too cool!
Next up: Races 10, 11, & 12 over 8 days in 2 different states! What have a done??