It’s almost spring! At least, I hope it’s almost spring. Lots of my running coaching clients are training for a springtime race, including a few first time 5k runners. I love 5ks and think they’re a perfect first race. Think a 5k might be for you? Here’s a training plan to get started! Right click and save the picture for your very own printable copy! Or, contact me (follow the link above) and I will email you a pdf of your own.
Dopey Challenge in 3 Parts – Part 2: 3 Days and 22.4 Miles
Florida is supposed to be warm, even in January. Florida is not supposed to be approaching freezing temperatures. When we woke for the 5K, the temperature was < 36oF. Even my hardy Michigan constitution was not prepared for the cold. Normally, I have a full complement of long sleeve shirts and long pants to fight off the cold. I did not pack much and I did not pack anything that went with my costume. This is Disney – you have to run in costume, especially when you are only running 3.1 miles.
My wife and I went as Pain and Panic from the animated Hercules movie. It was awesome to hear people recognize us and compliment the costumes – hand made by the wife. I ran the 5K with my wife and took a nice easy pace. It was crowded and for someone who runs solo 99% of the time, it was the most challenging aspect. I understand people will walk these races but fighting through a sea of people who would walk 5-wide across the road was challenging. The run was fun but too crowded for me. After the 5K, it was again off to the parks and this time Magic Kingdom (super fun times).
Seriously Florida? It was a cold morning for the 10K again. Thankfully we didn’t get rid of the Mylar blankets and hand warmers from the day before. We needed them again and once again found ourselves in a parking lot for over an hour waiting to start the race. Thankfully, Dr.Rachel had brought us some fantastic Lululemon gear (yay Christmas presents) that got put to use immediately. We did family shirts as most of the family was running, thus we could layer up a bit better. Just like the 5K, the 10K was crowded and challenging to move through. I had moved back to my wife’s corral and started last which was likely part of the problem. Again, the course was flat and fun for a rather leisurely pace. We finished in good time and good spirits. Two races down and feeling very good we took the rest of the day a bit easy.
Half marathon time. Third morning of waking up at 0300 and prepping to run. We were tired and tired of being cold. The half was supposed to be warmer during the run but the morning was still chilly. I jumped back in to the wife’s corral and started with her again. After about 5 miles we broke and I headed off alone. I was focused on time and making sure I hit my 16 min/mile pace requirement. There was no stopping allowed for miles 6 to 13.1. I picked up the pace and cruised, catching and passing my mother and Dr.Rachel who started several corrals ahead of me. My Chef Linguine (Ratatouille) costume always draws a few compliments and reminds me why Disney is great for races. People are here to have fun as much as they are to run. I can’t say I remember too many costumes I passed besides a family doing a spectacular “Up”. For me, this race was all about getting through and then resting for the big show on Sunday. I got my snack box in time to wander to the finish and cheer on the wife as she crossed.
After running the 22.4 miles it was time for rest, food, sleep, and worry. Three days and three races down! I had done well and was feeling great still. Next up: the marathon.
In case you were wondering, my brother on the run crushed his goal and was amazing during the Disney Dopey Challenge. I couldn’t be more proud or happier for him. He’s been blogging about the journey to his first 26.2 – here’s how it all went down, in his own words.
Dopey Challenge in 3 Parts – Part 1: Of Parks and Packets
Dr.Rachel always describes it as ‘taper madness’, the lead up to the race when mileage has dropped and the mind starts to waver. It was hard last year for the half marathon but so much harder this year. The last week or two leading up to the marathon had me driving the wife crazy with excess energy and nervous ticks. I couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t shake the feeling I was supposed to be doing something. I put all that energy to work in packing. We cleared the dining room table and laid out running kits for each event; individually packaged, the kits were my carry-on and the only thing that mattered.
We flew in on Tuesday afternoon, getting to Disney’s Pop Century resort in time for a quick dinner and beer with a work friend who was running his first half marathon. Wednesday arrived and like anyone who had plans to run 50 miles over the next four days, I spent the whole day walking around Animal Kingdom. Our Garmin Vivofit put us at 10-12 miles of walking. With the park relatively empty we did everything we wanted to and, since it was my first time at Animal Kingdom, that meant everything. I don’t think we skipped an animal or attraction. It was a great day and a great way to get acclimated to the Florida weather. It was just a lot of walking.
We left the park and headed to Disney’s Art of Animation resort to meet with Dr.Rachel and our parents for hotel check in. Both years we have stayed in the ‘Little Mermaid’ section of the resort and have been very happy with it. Quiet and a bit off the main lobby, it requires even more walking but is less crowded. After check in and unpacking, it was expo time. New this year was the requirement that each runner had to pick up their own packet with a photo ID. Last year Dr.Rachel had picked up my packet so I was not prepared. Chaos. I had no idea where to go or what I was supposed to be doing. Luckily Dr.Rachel shuttled us through the crowds and to each of the seemingly endless tables and booths to pick up our bibs and gear check bags. With pictures taken to prove we did run Dopey, we headed to the Expo to look over all the shiny merchandise. It was loud, crowded, and abuzz with excitement. Things were already selling out in the official merchandise area (this was towards closing) but I was able to find a shirt and magnet to take home.
It was stressful and exhausting – too many miles at the park and too much chaos at the expo to be able to rest immediately on return to the hotel. We spent the night laying out our kit for the 5k and checking the weather report. While MI was a chilly -0oF, Orlando was expected at 35-40oF in time for the race to start in the morning. Arm warmers, trash bags, ponchos, extra layers were pulled from suitcases in order to set for a cold morning and a long day.
To be continued.
Over the Fourth of July, I headed to my home state, Michigan, for a quick visit. While in town, I couldn’t resist a few races. First up was the Volkslaufe. Volkslaufe (German for “the people’s race” is one of my favorite Fourth of July traditions. What started as a small, hometown race has grown over the years. This year, the race was featured in Runners World Magazine. What I love about the Volkslaufe is that, despite its growth, it hasn’t lost the hometown charm. For example, a giant tractor greeted runners at packet pick up, held in a local event hall.
My siblings and I were able to easily pick up our packets without waiting in line, and quickly made our way through the tiny expo. The Volkslaufe includes 4 races, a 20k, 10k, 5k, and 2k children’s race. The races are all held on July 4th every year.
This year I chose the 20k, with a course that winds through some of the best Michigan farmland. The weather was perfect, about 75 degrees and sunny. I had on my Fourth of July best, and was ready to run with my sister-in-law (who raced her way to a HUGE PR, by the way).
Runners exit town almost immediately and head out past corn fields, soybean fields, and pretty much every other crop Michigan has to offer. The views are stunning and the farmhouses are well-maintained. I loved running through the countryside. The breeze was blowing, the birds were chirping, and the course was smooth. The course began to loop back towards town, over a gorgeous old bridge and along a short dirt road. About 10 miles into the 20k, the course heads back in towards town and through lovely, mature neighborhoods. Spectators were few and far between, but those that were out were enthusiastic. Running behind the classic restaurant, Zehnder’s, the course geared up for its big finish. The last mile or so is run along the Cass River, over a classic, wooden covered bridge, and into Heritage Park. The course is one of my favorites and this year was no exception. The weather was perfect, the course was pretty, and the small-town hospitality was in full effect. It was a great day for a run!
Mom and I always do something fun for my birthday and this year was no exception. We decided to participate in the Runners World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon Festival (HHHalf for short). We signed up ages ago, thinking that with Runners World magazine and DMSE as hosts, it would be a great weekend. Unfortunately, like many other back-of-the-pack athletes, we didn’t have the most wonderful experience.
The pre-race communication was excellent. Mom and I were sure we had all the details and were ready to go come race day. We had booked a nice hotel on the Charles River and decided to spend the whole weekend. We got to our hotel easily and from there navigated the few short miles to Boston College, where packet pick up was held. At the pickup, we easily found our numbers and headed to the bib and shirt pick up area. There, we encountered our first problem of the weekend. I was handed two shirts, a hat, socks, a bib, four safety pins, and a race information booklet. And no bag. We were told that the bags would be handed out at gear check in the morning. That was a fine strategy, but there was no way for me to carry my goodies. Had I known, I would have brought something larger than my purse. Luckily, my hat made a handy bag and I shoved everything in as best I could. Later review of the race information booklet would note that for gear check I should use the bag I was given during packet pick up. Hmmm. We made our way around the expo, but didn’t spend much time there thanks to a tuna vendor. Both mom and I can’t stand to be around fish and the tuna smell was wafting around. We made our way to one of the suggested dinner locations – Lee’s Burgers. It was delightful.
Lee’s is a tiny cafe with all the burger basics. Mom and I enjoyed our burgers, walked around Newton a bit, and headed back to the hotel for an early bed time.
Bright and early Saturday morning, mom and I prepared for the 5k. We would have the 10k later that day. We knew that we would pay for parking, but we didn’t know that there would be no re-admittance. That meant that if we wanted to stay for any speakers or other fun events, we had to wait on campus all day, without food. While we had wanted to see the speakers, that didn’t seem like fun, so we parked and planning to head back to the car after racing was over for the day. Parking was close to the race start, and we made our way to the start and got lined up. The race was mass-start, but people generally seemed to have lined up well and it went smoothly. The 5k course was well marked and wound around a nice little lake. The hills were small and the views were lovely, so we were happy. As soon as the 5k was over, we grabbed a water and bagel (no yogurt for us and the bananas were gone) and lined back up for the 10k. The 10k was a big disappointment. Mom was planning to do her first race with hills. Being from Florida, she has only ever raced flat courses. The 10k had a posted cutoff of 15 minute miles – no problem for mom. I had inquired early in the registration process about the 15 minute miles time cut off and was told that there would be a mass start and 15 minute miles counted from the gun. The printed material also noted that the 15 minutes would be counted from the gun. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a mass start. There was a wave start and the 15 minutes was counted from the start of the first wave, not the last. We started 11 minutes after the gun, effectively making the cut off 12 minute miles – and we weren’t the last wave. We were shocked. There was no way mom could do 12 minute miles with the hills. It was disappointing and unexpected. We are very careful about the races we choose and this one, given its advertised openness to back of the packers seemed like a good option. Soon enough, we were asked to move on to the sidewalk. That was fine, but what really bothered me was that the race officials were cleaning up. There wasn’t much assistance at water stops and all the signs were either gone or being removed. The course wasn’t well marked – luckily it’s pretty easy to go out and back on Commerce Avenue.
The course had the famous hills and was an enjoyable course. I liked that much of it was on the shady path and I liked seeing the famous Newton scenery. Overall, it was a great race – just one detail that impacted our enjoyment. At the end of the race, we got a water and a bagel. We were offered a bag of chips and a yogurt, but took neither. Both of us were hot and hungry, so we went to a local restaurant for lunch. Not wanting to pay to park again, we went back to the hotel to rest.
The next day, I ran in the HHHalf half marathon and mom cheered. I was in the midst of a major allergy attack and had taken a massive quantity of allergy medicine, so I wasn’t the happiest of runners. I felt lethargic and hot. And, that whole bit about allergy medicine plus running equals heart palpitations – totally true. Luckily, I found a nice lady from Kentucky, who I ran with most of the race. The course headed out into Newton, through some lovely neighborhoods, and up several of the famous Newton hills. When I signed up what I hadn’t thought about was that I would go OUT via the hills AND back via the hills. It was crazy hilly! It was pretty hot, so I ran a conservative pace and had a great time. I chatted with folks around me and enjoyed the camaraderie of the group of runners. It was a fun race.
As a long time runner, the joy of seeing all the famous Boston Marathon landmarks. I enjoyed the race and found the course well-marked and the volunteers mostly helpful. At the end, I was once again treated to a bagel, water, chips, and yogurt. As hungry as I usually am after a long run, I headed straight for BoLoco Burritos. I had seen their restaurant and recognized it from Ragnar, so we treated ourselves to a huge burrito and headed home.
All in all, it was a fun weekend. As far as the races, they were less wonderful than expected, but still a great experience.
I love small races and, living in a rural area, I get an opportunity to run a lot of small races. Just a week post marathon, I was barely back into running when a friend suggested a local 5k with a “interesting” course. I wasn’t doing anything else and the weather was expected to be wonderful, so I committed to the race. The race in question was the Marlborough Lions Club Round the Lake 5k. Honestly, had my friend not told me about the race, I might never have found it. They don’t have the best website presence and what’s there leaves a lot to be desired in terms of information (Was there race-day registration? If sure hoped so!). The race application wasn’t much more helpful. I had no idea how much the race was and wether I might even be able to register, but I knew where the starting line was and crossed my fingers on the rest.
Race day was clear and bright and I headed over to the park at Lake Terramuggus for the 5k. There were a few people mingling around, runners on the road warming up, and no lines to speak of. I didn’t wait at all to register and walked right up to the table. There was indeed race day registration and it was a bargain price of $20. I gathered my number, my much too big tshirt, and some pins and set off to warm up. The setting was lovely for a spring race – the start and finish line were on the road in front of a small park on a lake.
It was a lovely view, and I kept my warm up to a minimum so I could spend more time enjoying the weather and the view. This would later turn out to be a mistake, but I wasn’t planning to race a week after a marathon.
I lined up with a few hundred others on the country road near the park for the race start. It was perfect weather – 68 degrees, sunny, and breezy. The race began and immediately runners were greeted by a hill. the course featured a significant hill in the first quarter mile. Not great for those of us who hadn’t really warmed up, but excellent for the hill runners in the group. Several speedy folks shot to the top of the hill. The course leveled out and wound through the countryside. It was well marked, but sparsely populated. There were plenty of runners, but few spectators. The road was either closed to traffic or such a small country road that no traffic needed to pass by during the race. In mile two, the course started a small descent and I picked up speed. I was running well, but getting quite hot in the warm air and sun. Volunteers called out mile splits and the course went on. Near the middle of the second mile, the course turned into town and began a long, steady climb up one of the gradual hills in town. At this point, the road was open to traffic and it got a little tricky thanks to sidewalk construction in the area.
Despite some cars and bumpy footing, the runners made their way down the road and back towards the park. The views along the way were lovely, classic New England. I enjoyed looking at the lake and the small salt box cottages. There was one small, not that well organized race stop at mile 2.6, where a nice older couple passed out water in tiny paper cups (the kind my grandmother kept in her bathroom). I did take the water, a few sips worth, and it was warm and clumsily passed. Had there been a few more volunteers, the water stop might have been more effective. The race finished on a bit of an uphill on the road. There was chip timing, so there were timing mats and a small finish line area, but nothing else. Runners had to head back down the hill to get a bottle of water and a few orange slices.
There were few amenities at this race. Runners got a bottle of water and sliced oranges. What the race lacked in post-race food, it made up for in the view. A friend and I sat on the beach until it was time for the awards. It wasn’t a particularly fast race and my slow, post-marathon legs carried me to third place in my age group.
Overall, I would recommend the Round the Lake 5k for the runner looking for a no-frills, low key, local race. It was a fairly ordinary 5k with a nice lake view finish, but little else in terms of race support or amenities.
The last month or so has been crazy! I’ve been traveling all over and getting in lots of fabulous fall races. As my whirlwind month winds down, I’m reflecting on the good, the bad, and the training.
It all started the last week in September with the back-to-back races. On Saturday, I ran the West Hartford Relay. The West Hartford Relay is a local event that lets teams of runners run through the pretty neighborhoods is West Hartford. Never one to pass up an opportunity to run and hang out with my running friends, I happily joined team Lululemon Athletica. We had a great time and enjoyed some lovely fall weather. Sunday was the Rock N Roll Providence Half Marathon. I had a great time, got a shiny new PR, and enjoyed Providence. This was the race I had planned as my peak race, so I was thrilled to know that my training was successful. My race went well and I felt fit and strong throughout the race.
The very next weekend I paced the Wineglass Half Marathon in upstate New York. I had an amazing time, met fun new running friends, and drove 12 hours in a 2-day period. I tried Air BnB for the first time (cool, I recommend it), and even ran in an impromptu local 5k.
Columbus Day weekend in Connecticut means Hartford Marathon. Cementing my crazy-lady status with non-running friends, I changed my registration at the expo from half marathon to marathon (!).
I made the change for lots of reasons. Mostly, I just wanted to run the marathon. I had been considering it since I decided to train with a friend running it as her first marathon. I went through the 16/17 mile run with her in my prep for Providence and felt fit. I knew that I could finish the marathon and, in a fit of impulse, signed up for it. I had so much fun that I was probably bordering on manic. I was the runner no one wants to be with at mile 20 (“we’re running a marathon – how amazing is that?!!?!?!?!?!?”). Everything I said and did had lots of extra exclamation points. I joyfully trotted across the finish line and felt so amazing I annoyed those around me (“aren’t marathons amazing!!”) for days to come.
The next week it was off to Portland, Oregon for a work trip. Portland was lovely and a true running city, so I got in lots of miles and some good recovery/training for my next events.
After a few days at home, it was off to Florida for mom’s first half marathon – an adventure and a great experience. I ran a few miles, but mostly walked with mom. I enjoy every moment we spend exercising together and considered all the miles of walking great time on my feet training. I made it home in time to celebrate Halloween and worked on getting organized again.
Last weekend, I ran the Commercial Services by Glass America Half Marathon put on by my friend at Ocean State Multisport. It was my first real fall race, with temperatures in the low 40s and a steady, chilling mist. Having just returned from Florida, I was frozen throughout the race. It was a the first hint that my racing season might be coming to a close. That motivated me to enjoy the race and the New England scenery. As usual, the event was well organized, and carefully planned. The course wound through neighborhoods and farmland, over bridges, and past fields cleared for winter. Gary and his team always do a great job – the volunteers are plentiful and friendly and the race course is well marked and nicely planned. Local police drive the route repeatedly, keeping motorists attentive. I struggled in the race, but had fun and was fairly pleased with my finish. Gary greeted finishers with pizza, fruit, and Kind bars (my favorite!).
For those of you keeping track that’s 7 races in 5 weeks. I admit it, it’s crazy. There’s just one more to go. When I get back from this work trip (yes, I’m on a plane as I write this), I will run the Harrisburg Marathon to close my season. It’s been a great season, but I think I’m ready for some rest, time at home, and a return to normal training.
I love a fair! Particularly if it’s a good, old fashioned country fair. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in a 5k road race as part of the longest-runnning fair in Connecticut. How perfect! A 5k, fair food, and livestock.
I signed up for the fair late, but early enough to get the early bird pricing. It was a great bargain – the race and fair were just under $20. We showed up on race morning and were ushered into a dirt parking lot. We were a little surprised to have to pay for parking. Another $5 cash allowed us entry into the parking area. Immediately across the street was a very long line, the line for pre-registered runners.
After waiting some time in the line, we got our t-shirts (a surprise since we didn’t expect them having signed up so late), our fair entry wristbands, and race numbers. The t-shirts are attractive – yellow with a cowboy and some cattle printed on the shirt. We milled around the fair until the race start. The race began about five minutes late. This was, in part, due to the long lines at packet pick up.
The race exited the fairgrounds and moved to country roads. The course was really lovely. The race was run primarily along country roads with rolling hills and pastoral scenes. After about two miles on country roads, the race moved towards the fair. We entered the fair and wound through the fairgrounds. Turns were tight and the course on the fairground was confusing. We made many, many turns and wound all around. It wasn’t my favorite part of the course and I lost a lot of time making all the turns. The course ended right in front of the bandstand. It was great to have the crowd support and the big bandstand feel. It’s worth note that this course was a fast course and a competitive group, but there were lots of walkers and walkers were welcomed. The race was professionally timed by The Last Mile Timing.
After the race, we enjoyed the fair. This was a proper country fair, with livestock, canning and flower arranging, and critters of all kinds. The fair was good fun! We enjoyed the country fair.
Plus, there was fair food! What’s not to love.
All in all, I enjoyed the Brooklyn Fair 5k. It was a great course, and most of my group got PRs. We enjoyed the fair and had a great day!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Not for lack of ideas, but for lack of time, energy, motivation…I don’t know what. Things have been a little extra crazy at work, but that isn’t it. I was sick for a while, but that isn’t it, either. I think that it’s one of those perfect storm situations – everything was a little off for a while, making my schedule a mess and throwing off my usual flow. But, I’m back, and hopefully more organized. So, here’s a little post about what I’ve been thinking about lately.
Did you see this amazing Running Times article? In “An Elite State of Mind”, David Alm writes about what he learned from his foray into the ranks of elite runners. While running as an elite is something I can only dream about, the ideas David presents really resonated with me. I loved it so much I read it three times. In a row. David says there are four keys to an elite attitude: 1) Don’t treat training runs or race times as indications of your self-worth, 2) Value every runner’s efforts, success and potential, 3) Don’t beat yourself up in training or in evaluating your workouts and racing, and 4) Recognize that your running ability is a result of many factors, not just how serious you are or how hard you push. It was two and four that really got me. Every runner deserves recognition for her efforts, success, and potential, with the recognition that any success is the result of a combination of factors. Too often, at the slower end of the spectrum, I see runners devalue other runners for any number of ridiculous reasons. So often, it’s because of speed. Now that I’m in the mid-pack, I’ve written about my thoughts on back of the pack life. It isn’t always friendly. Why does this happen? As runners, we should build each other up, support each other, and value each other. Speed isn’t the most important thing, nor is your training log, your PRs, or any other marker of running “success”. What’s important is how running makes you feel. If you love it, and I love it, that’s enough for me.
Want to be inspired by the power of running to give back to a community? Check out the write ups (here and here for good ones) of the Hartford Marathon Foundation’s Sandy Hook Run for the Families 5k. The inaugural event raised over $40,000 for charities associated with the Newtown shooting tragedy. What’s even more wonderful than the huge response and the fundraising was the spirit of the race. Thousands of runners and spectators, all wearing green, holding hands, running together, and being with the families of the Newtown tragedy in spirit. It was a great event, and one that made me proud to be a runner.
Last week, mom and I had a wonderful time at the Gasparilla Distance Classic. Our path to Gasparilla fun started last year. Last year, mom and I did the 5k and immediately after the 5k, mom said she had a great time and wanted to participate in 2013. Soon enough, registration day rolled around. I called mom to confirm that she wanted to run in the 5+3k (the Gasparilla version of a 5 miler) and she surprised me by suggesting that we both sign up for challenges. Gasparilla offers three challenges – events in which one runs multiple races during the two-day festival. Mom signed up for the Mini Challenge and I signed up for the Ultra Challenge. Mom would do the 15k and 5+3k and I would do all four races – the 15k, 5k, half marathon, and 5+3k. Yay!
After quickly and easily getting our gear at the race expo, we explored the shops. Everything at the expo was well organized and helpful volunteers were everywhere. We got some super cute loot.
Race day dawned bright, sunny, and humid. It was a hazy start to the day with high humidity and warm temperatures expected. We had stayed in a nearby hotel and were ready to go bright at early. We did have a few challenges with the water situation – the city of Tampa was in a boil water advisory thanks to a mischievous squirrel gnawing through a power line. Undeterred, we used our bottled water and headed to the starting line. As usual, everything at Gasparilla was exceptionally well organized. We easily made our way to the start line. There were rows of port-potties, helpful volunteers, and clear signage.
The 15k was really fun. The course was lovely. It was an easy down and back on Bayshore Boulevard – gorgeous homes on one side, the river on the other side, and the city of Tampa in clear view. The course was well supported, with aid stations every mile and a half. There were cheering fans, friendly volunteers, and clear course markings. I loved the course.
Mom had this to say about her first 15k:
The first race on Saturday morning was a 15 K, Rachel and I were doing it together dressed in matching Lululemon shirts. Usually I’m a person who likes to check out the route and the maps so I know where to go but this isn’t necessary at Gasparilla . We followed the crowd, stood around people who were weren’t wearing a Garmin, looking as if they might’ve dressed without looking in the mirror that morning (the back of the pack). A roar and we were off shuffling slowly to the front and then finally the pack opened up and Bayshore was before us. The Boulevard is lined with huge homes that overlook Tampa Bay making it a beautiful route. There was music and people cheering, encouraging those of us at the back of the pack. It seemed a long time to get to the turn around and then suddenly we were on our way back towards the finish line. Rachel kept me on my goal pace as my legs got tired and I began to wonder where the finish line went. People were cheering louder as we neared the finish. Rachel and I made the short dash and it was fantastic! I did a 15K! A finishers medal was mine and I wore it proudly.
Here’s what I learned:
1. Don’t sweat, there’s always someone to direct people.
2. You can pretty much tell just by looking, where you should be in the starting lineup.
3. Make use of the bathroom before the race and the water stops during the race.
4. Take time to look at the view, the race is over before you know it.
5. Have someone take your picture after you cross the finish line. There’s a certain smile that comes from people who successfully cross that line.
I had such a good time I’m already signed up for my next race. It’s in October, a half marathon. Let the training begin! (Go Mom!!)
Mom and I finished the 15k with smiles on our faces and I immediately lined up for the 5k. The 5k course was the same as the 15k course, just shorter. So, I headed back out, passing the same homes and scenery as the first race. I hadn’t made it back for the start of the wave of the 5 I was supposed to be in, so I trotted along in a much slower wave. I enjoyed the chance to take it slow and enjoy the view.
Both races were wave start, with very well organized starting lines and plenty of volunteers to ensure things went smoothly. The courses were well marked, properly supported, and extremely scenic. Overall, I loved Gasparilla Day 1. Stay tuned for my recap of Day 2!