I decided way back that I wanted to run a race on New Year’s Day if possible. When I came across the Orlando New Year Run by Epic Sports Marketing it looked perfect. There were two races, a 5 mile followed by a 2.5 mile race 45 minutes later. Why do one race when you can do two of course but my 5 mile pb is 43 minutes which cuts it a little fine so I contacted the race organisers and they were lovely, said it wouldn’t be an issue if I was a little longer.

A few months before the race I got an email from the race organisers to say the due to circumstances beyond their control the race could no longer be held on the 1st and we were given the option to either vote to have the races on the 2nd or get a refund (obviously I voted for the first option otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this post).  I was impressed with the communication about the changes and the organises were also very responsive to communications on Facebook before the event.

So, it got to race day and I have to admit that all I’ve drunk since arriving in Orlando three days before is shop, walk around theme parks and eat (A LOT) of junk. Am not exactly in race condition and I haven’t really ran much recently. I was not looking forward to finding out how unfit I was but the race location distracted me from my woe. Harbor Park is located in an area of Orlando called Baldwin Park, a very picturesque neighbourhood about three miles from downtown Orlando. We would be running around the paths surrounding the lake (three times) which was very scenic (and flat!!).

The first race started at 10:30. Race registration was from 9:00am and was pretty easy and straight forward. You gave your name, collected the little brown bag with you bib number and then moved over to the next table to collect a cotton t-shirt. There was a nice coffee shop right next to the start so went in there for a drink to get warm and use the toilets (there was portaloos but they didn’t arrive until 30 minutes before the race).  It was a Coldish day compared to the weather we had been getting but I hate running in the heat so I was quite pleased.

Around 10 minutes before the start we gathered for the usual race briefing and then a US flag was bought out and everyone was silent for the national anthem (I’m pretty sure this happens before every race in the US. I can’t see it taking off in the UK but each to their own). After the anthem we were off.

My only goal for the first race was to get back as close to the start time of the second race as possible. I think I probably started too fast but it was such a nice course that it was really easy to run. The first water station (there was two per lap so 4 for the 5 mile and 2 for the 2.5 mile. Wouldn’t get that in the UK) was at the 1 mile marker but it was actually just under half a mile from the start which confused a lot of people. It started off as a cooling day, like autumn temperatures for the UK, but by the time I got to the second station at mile 2 the sun was fighting to come out and I was starting to feel the heat. My heart rate was in the 180s so I had to stop and pour a whole cup of water over my head. James was waiting for me at the start of the second lap so I stopped and got my Fitsip which made the second lap a lot more comfortable. The first half of the course was in the shade but there was about a 3/4 mile stretch in the second half that was completely in the sun and it was hard going even with the nice flat course.

I crossed the finish line for the first race literally seconds before the second race started. I actually had to fight my way through them all to cross the finish and wait till they had gone to go and get my medal. A quick bib change, drink of water and I was off again, maybe a couple of minutes or so behind everyone else but as both races were chip timed it didn’t matter.

I took it pretty easy for the second race (the first race almost killed me so was more necessity than choice). I spent the first half a mile recovering then decided to do my own intervals. I can’t do them based on time because watching the clock annoys me and it seems like you’re not really running. I much prefer to break it down by miles so with two left to go I decided to walk 1/4 of a mile and then run 3/4 twice. I still had to pour a load of water over my head because of the heat but I still managed a sprint finish for my final lap. Unfortunately they’d ran out of medals but we were given a certificate instead. There was a food area with fruit and bagels too.

I hadn’t really paid much attention to time whilst I was running but turns out I was only a minute behind my 5 mile pb, I’ve not been pb fit for quite a while so I was pretty pleased. Then I saw the results and I was 8th lady out of 58, I’ve never been 8th anything before. I got a special medal for coming second in my age category too (I know it’s all just down to luck of who turns up to run on the day but I don’t care cos I got a pretty medal) so overall it wasn’t a bad morning really. Later when I checked the results (which were online pretty quickly) I realised that I came second in the 2.5 mile race too so I would have got another medal if I’d stayed for the results. Not bad considering I was one of only two people who did both races.

The races are pretty small but very well organised and friendly in a beautiful location. I would certainly recommend them as a warm up for Dopey, I feel a bit more prepared to tackle the 48.6 now even if it gets really hot.

Argh, Dopey is next starting with the 5k on Thursday. By the end of the week there will only be 943.9 race miles to go in 2016. If you’d like to support my crazy ass idea to race 1000 miles for MS you may do so at https://www.justgiving.com/SMMSLondon