Last week I realized I’d be in Orlando the same weekend as the Celebration Marathon and Half Marathon. I knew I had a 15 mile run on my plan, so of course, I started thinking…. Maybe I can ask Coach Mason about hopping in that half? Now, I know I’ve said I don’t believe in doing a bunch of races during a training cycle and I definitely still hold to that philosophy. However, I do believe that if you have the opportunity to get a medal for a training run, then why not? The key is not over doing it during said “medal” training run so that the following week you are still able to get in your workouts. And guess what? Coach Mason agreed. Score!
I was in Orlando for the US Masters Swimming Coach Certification on Saturday, so I checked to see if I could find a bib for Sunday. And if I did find one, could I legally get it transferred through the race? Being the girlfriend to a race director means I see the chaos that is created by folks who run under other people’s names and/or bandit races. It’s a big no no. Thus, I was super stoked that Celebration would let me transfer a bib from someone else. I posted to the facebook page and found a bib really quickly. And as a final bonus, I had friends racing who offered me a place to stay the night. Double score!
US Masters Swimming coach certification was fantastic, btw. It was paced really well and I passed the final exams for Level 1 and Level 2 coaching. Tada!
Now I did pick up my packet and was thrilled with not only a Raw Threads shirt, but also a sweet beach towel, gear check bag, and a headband! Packet pick up and getting the bib transferred over to my name was a breeze. I didn’t have time to peruse the whole expo but it looked small. However, the shirt and towel more than make up for an expo on the smaller side. I did see running booths so I’m sure they offered anything a runner would need pre race.
|This picture doesn’t do the shirt justice. It’s adorable.
I headed to meet up with some Tribal buddies who were also racing. We had a delicious meal at Bonefish and then headed to the hotel to get to bed. I was pretty happy to have zero race anxiety and did my best to help my friend Kelly relax before her full. I know I’m going to be my normal anxious self before Nola.
Race morning came early and with only a little hiccup in finding our car in the hotel lot. Our driver’s key fob wasn’t working so we wound up driving around the parking lot in my car looking for hers. It was pretty funny and we’ve all been there. We were relieved when it wasn’t stolen and we made it to the race with plenty of time to spare. I even got to drop my gear bag and get in about a two mile pre-race run.
Before the race started I was happy to see a lot of friendly faces from my old stomping grounds/running group, the BRA (Brandon Running Association)! I loved my time with them and it was so nice to see them! Caribbean Steve of course had me cracking up within a minute by telling me how ashy my legs were (lotion wasn’t high on my race day priority list, apparently). And I had a pretty fantastic bear hug with Coach EK and Dr. Pepper Josh. *waves hi*
Ok, back to the race.
This race is flat, flat, flat. The only sections that would possibly slow you down a little are the narrow and winding boardwalks. There were several sections of this and after getting boxed in on one section, I learned to run in front of folks as we headed toward the next one. I took my time easing into the miles and chatting with folks along the way. The marathoners do the looped course twice. I don’t know if I’d like the course for a full, but as I said – flat, flat, flat!
So, the first couple of miles smelled like poop. I had read this on someone else’s blog review and I heard a runner nearby say it was the fertilizer that they were using on the golf course. Mystery solved! It was gone as soon as we left that area though so NBD.
Since I didn’t really have a pace goal per se, I just ran how I felt. I wound up going a hair fast in the middle miles as I chatted with some large (like tall and muscular) dudes who were running the full. I told them it would have been fantastic to run with them if it was windy out. Heh. It was about this point I ran into my Tribal buddy Kelly. We chatted for a bit and then I had to let her go on as I desperately needed a potty stop. My uber relaxed self had forgotten my gels in my gear check bag (see why nerves are good?) so I ate some chomps they had on the course. Apparently they didn’t quite agree with my stomach. Oh well.
I finally neared the finish line and my legs were more than ready to be done. I think I got dehydrated and paid for it the last four miles, even though I still picked it up at the end.
|Me & Janette
I finished with an official time of 2:00:51. I’ll take that for a training run any day of the week! Post race featured mimosas and pizza and beans and rice and lots of other goodies we skipped. I wanted a full meal so Janette and I headed to the hotel to shower and go out for a very large breakfast. By the time we got to Cracker Barrel I was famished!
Overall I’d say this race is really, really well done. It’s not too big, not too small. There was ample parking for both the expo and race day. The swag is fantastic. Instead of post race space blankets we got those sweet zip up paper hoodies. I love to use them for throw downs at other cold races. Plus, the town of Celebration is just adorable and convenient to Orlando attractions if you’re into that. I’d do this race again in a heartbeat.
Thanks for reading.