“Life is short…running makes it seem longer”.
Decided to test my fitness again by running the Winter Park 10k with Orlando Track Shack. It should be obvious Track Shack is my favorite running organization but will go ahead and say it again—I love Track Shack and the way they put on racing events.
The 2021 Winter Park 10k was the last event in the Track Shack running series. I was a regular Track Shack Fanatic when I lived in Oviedo but only get to participate in a couple events now. The Track Shack running series consists of 6 scheduled races over an 8-month period which ends with the Winter Park 10k event. You do not have to be a Fanatic to run the Winter Park race, so I made a point to sign up again this year to test myself against the best runners in Central Florida.
My 10k goal continues to be to run faster than my tree branch, Lauren Kume and eventually beat her 10k Personal Record (PR). A quick note, I did not beat her time but was able to shave a substantial amount off my PR and set a new one in 2021. Lauren still has the best time in the family! 😊
Made my way over to Track Shack on Friday afternoon to pick up my race packet and get some last-minute shopping in. I love making it into the Track Shack store to see the new running gear they have. I did not need anything specific but always seem to come out of the store with something new. I try not to run with the same outfit two races in a row, so I am always looking for additional color schemes for my run outfits.
I found a new Track Shack running tank top that caught my eye due to the unique color. Unfortunately, they did not have my size on the rack. Betsy Hughes who is the co-owner with her husband Jon helped me as I was shopping in the store. Small world fact—I met Betsy two years earlier while I was out for a run in Tom Brown park in Tallahassee. One of their daughters lives in Tallahassee and Betsy and Jon were up for a visit. I noticed her Track Shack gear and stopped my run to say hello. Fast forward two years and Betsy remembered me from our quick conversation on a running trail in Tallahassee. Betsy brought Jon over and we got a chance to talk about the great running trails Tallahassee has to offer. Great time catching up with them both—they wished me luck for the race, and I thanked them for being so awesome! 😊
Race day was a comfortable 58 degrees—perfect weather for a run through the Winter Park neighborhoods. Made sure I got there early to make sure I could find parking and get to the start line on-time. COVID-19 has adjusted how races are run so there was not as much activity prior to the race as in the past. There were vendors available but just not as much traffic. We followed Track Shack protocols, and everyone wore their face masks as we waited for the start of the race.
The starting area was organized to ensure we maintained physical distance prior to the race.
The corrals were marked to ensure runners knew how to line up—there were dots placed on the ground to ensure we stayed a safe distance from the other runners. Runners were able to line up based on their projected mile per minute time (example: 6 minutes, 8 minutes, etc.). I decided to line up with the 8 minute per mile group to avoid having to navigate through a crowd of runners at the beginning of the race.
Happy to report I was able to get out without having to adjust my pace to make it through the initial traffic. I set out to establish a fast but comfortable pace and then see how I felt at the halfway point. Luckily, the runners in my immediate area set a good pace and I decided to hang with them to see how much my conditioning had improved since my last big race which was the OUC Half Marathon in December.
Mile 1: 8:35 / Mile 2: 8:54 / Mile 3: 9:12 / Mile 4: 9:18 / Mile 5: 9:16 / Mile 6: 9:18 / Last .2 / 1:27
I was happy to get in the sub 9-minute miles at the beginning of the race. My goal was to clock as many sub 9-minute miles as possible and then hang on to my form to get me to the finish line. Felt comfortable from start to finish this year. There was a steep incline in the middle of Mile 3 so had to adjust my stride to ensure I did not lose much momentum going up. I broke my sub 9-minute streak here but felt good once I made it to the top. Made up a few seconds on the descent but not enough to keep me under 9 minutes for Mile 3. Took advantage of the first water stop just before the Mile 4 marker—new COVID protocols do not allow open containers so we were provided sealed bottled water during the race. I got back to running comfortably after the water stop and decided to see how much I had left in the tank. Happy to see my times did not drop off as I got deeper into the race. I knew at the Mile 5 marker I would not beat Lauren’s time but had a good race going and a new PR was within reach.
Crossed the finish line strong with a new PR of 55:57. Erased close to a minute off my 2020 10k time.
I am happy with my race results and conditioning at this point of the year. Will look to incorporate speed training to increase my endurance and help keep and maintain my pace for the next race. I am not projected to run another race until the OUC Half Marathon in December. Track Shack has a 5k scheduled in Winter Park in April—thinking about coming back to the Orlando area and run that one. The course is flat and may set-up for another PR for me to lower my 5k time—we will see how it goes.
FYI—I added Tart Cherry juice to my prerace routine and believe it helped my performance from start to finish. I did not experience a lactic acid build up during the race or soreness after.
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“I chose running as my therapy”.