I usually have my races planned out months in advance, so the fact that I signed up for this morning’s race less than 36 hours before the start was a first for me. The race was held on the University of Florida campus where I spent five years getting my Masters of Accounting degree and where I worked for a year and a half. Go Gators!!I missed my three mile tempo run because of the scary incident on Tuesday, so I figured this would let me get it in, although I’m going to have to skip my long run this weekend.
The race started at 8:15 am, and I got there about 45 minutes early. Parking was easy and there was no line for packet pickup.
I wanted to do a last minute bathroom trip, and the stadium was shut, so I did a warm-up jog down to Turlington where I knew they had outside restrooms. Luckily, they were not locked. Here’s my obligatory race bathroom photo.
There were about sixty people at the race and the line up was nice and easy, just a couple of minutes before the start. A lot of the runners started out way too fast and petered out within the first half mile. I caught myself running at a sub nine-minute-mile pace which is too fast for a 5k for me right now. I slowed it down a bit and fell into a good pace with about five other runners (one with a dog!).
It was about 68 degrees, but was 94% humidity, so while it felt cool just standing around, once I started running, I was drenched in sweat. The first part of the race had several downhills, and because I knew the finish line was where we started, I began to suspect that there was going to be a price to pay for those lovely downhill stretches.
We ran next to Lake Alice and I saw an alligator out in the lake (although, my pictures-taken-without-slowing-down didnt’ catch it).
The course was pretty nice and because campus is fairly deserted on a Saturday morning, we were able to run on the road most of the time.
Soon after that, the uphill price had to be paid. The last half mile was just straight uphill. I was trying to keep my pace under 9:30, which was doable on the flats, but didn’t leave me enough gas in the tank for that big (ok big for Florida!) hill at the end. I had to walk about 30 seconds or so to recover about halfway up.
The race was to fundraise for the UF Proton Therapy Institute and they had a nice speech after the race and introduced a dad and son who spoke about how this new Proton radiation therapy was helping cure the son’s brain cancer. It was nice to know that my tempo run was able to help support such groundbreaking research.
They gave awards to the top male and top female but didn’t announce any other results. It’s the first race I’ve run with no age group awards. I was a little disappointed as it was a chip timed race and I was hoping I had a good chance to get an award. Even just a $0.25 ribbon or sticker would have been nice. The winner of the race was in my age group, so after pulling her out, I did end up coming in third which I’m quite happy with. As usual, my 40-44 age group was the most competitive! My husband jokes that it’s due to all of us turning to running because of a mid-life crisis.
For an inaugural race, this was really well run. The course was pretty, but I’m not a huge fan of the final half mile being uphill. The waterstop was well stocked with nice big cups of cold cold water. The only recommendation I’d make for the future is to invest in a few cheap ribbons or something for the age group winners because people really like prizes!
After the race, I picked up some Krispy Kreme (yes, but I did burn it off!) and met Erik and Eli at the park. We went to the Devil’s Millhopper again and I piggy backed my 32 pound preschooler up the 232 steps out of the sinkhole and around the 1/2 mile nature loop. I then came home and mowed the yard! Whew, I’m happy to be on the couch for a bit!