“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”.
Ventured back to the Orlando area for the Track Shack 2023 Winter Park 10k.
This was my 5th time toeing the start line for the race but the first time I did not enter with a set finish time in mind. I spent the past 4 weeks recovering from Piriformis Syndrome and my training was limited prior to the race. Yes, this sounds like an excuse, but I was excited to race pain free again. Decided this race would be my test to determine how well I recovered and make a final decision on the 2023 Nashville Rock N Roll Half Marathon in April. Pain in this race would have eliminated me from traveling to Nashville to tackle the hills up there.
Made my way to Track Shack on Friday before the 10k to pick up my race packet and do some shopping. I’m always looking to get new Track Shack gear and wanted to make sure I had time to check out the new selections and colors. It appears a lot of runners had the same idea—the line was out the door when I arrived. This is the first time I’ve experienced a long line at Track Shack, but this was an indication race capacity was full this year.
I didn’t do a major carb load process for the 10k but made my way to the UCF Buffalo Wild Wings to indulge in wings, potato wedges and beer. This is the meal I leveraged to launch me into the 10k. Made sure to get to bed early so I could make my way over to Winter Park with enough time to warm up, stretch and test out my legs prior to race time. I wanted to get a two-mile warm up before the race to ensure I was ready to complete the 6.2 miles with minimum leg issues. There’s a lot of activity around the Winter Park race village—vendors, runners and the Saturday Farmers Market are all in the same area. Great place to watch people.
Made my way to the 10-minute per mile section of the starting corral. I didn’t want to be too close to the front because my competitive nature would have taken over and I would have pressed the pace. Figured limiting my starting position would keep me from going out too fast and possibly aggravating my leg again.
The race was crowded, and the first mile was slow not necessarily by choice but because there were so many runners. This worked in my favor since I couldn’t go fast even if I wanted too at this point of the race.
The runners started to thin out a bit around mile 2 and again after mile 3. I did not experience any pain through this point of the race and settled into a nice clip and started to enjoy the process of racing again. I leveraged a couple of runners for pacing to help me keep a consistent pace through the middle portion of the race. Mentally processed the concept of speeding up but decided to just enjoy the course, great weather and being around other runners. There was no need to push the pace or myself at this point and didn’t want to create a situation where the piriformis became irritated.
I increased my cadence at mile 6 when we made our way back onto Park Avenue. There were a ton of spectators at this juncture, and I pressed the pace a bit to see what I had available for the end of the race. I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face and no pain in my legs.
Finished in 1:02:39 and made my way over to the race village to get my beer and take a few pictures while there. Got a chance to catch up with a few runners I know from the Track Shack circuit and did some light shopping at the Farmers Market.
Happy with my performance and not aggravating my running injury. Looks like I’m clear to travel to Nashville and tackle the Music City hills.
Of course, I will get in some line dancing and country music while I’m there. 😊