The Best Damn Race happened in Orlando on Saturday. Only it didn’t feel like Orlando. It felt like Seattle. Gray + Rainy. It rained. It drizzled. It misted. Honestly, the weather was just plain weird. But the race went on and it was still lots of fun, despite the crappy, un-Florida like weather.
I woke up at 6:00am to get ready for the race. Actually, I woke up at 4:00am in a panic because I thought I missed the race. I’m glad that happened because I realized that my cell phone/alarm didn’t plug into the charger properly and was dead. I credit my 4:00am freak out with me actually making it to the race on time.
We left the house at 6:30am and we were downtown and parked by 6:50am. We made our way to the start line and immediately I noticed that it wasn’t as crazy or as crowded as I expected. I think that’s because my last race was a Disney race and there aren’t quite words to describe how crowded those races are.
We started sometime between 7:15am and 7:20am and the first 4 miles were smooth. We ran through the neighborhoods in downtown Orlando. They have some of the most charming homes in Orlando, so the view was nice. The thing that wasn’t nice was the cobblestone streets. For some reason running on cobblestone is really hard on my knees. Anyone else have that problem?
Mile 5 brought us out of the neighborhood and into the Milk District. We headed past the municipal airport and towards my favorite lake. As we approached the lake, the rain really started to fall. By the time I made it to the lake it was legit raining. Big, heavy drops. I cursed my failure to bring a hat.
The loop around the lake was hard because of the rain. I felt like the temperatures dropped and it was much cooler, too. The stretch between mile 7 and mile 8 was one straight long shot, on a regular road. It was boring. Luckily, a resident set up speakers outside his house and was jamming to Moulin Rouge. That alone was enough to make me smile.
Mile 9 took us past my favorite creepy cemetery and mile 10 brought us to one of my favorite places in Orlando: Lake Davis! I clearly didn’t study the route because this was a huge and welcomed surprise. This little lake was one that Matt and I ran around often early in our relationship. My apartment was a short walk away and it was definitely our favorite place to go for a run or a walk.
Miles 11 and 12 were the worst! There’s really no other way to put it. They were along a busy road. There was nothing to see. And it was slick. No bueno.
Mile 13 took us back into downtown Orlando. There were more faces to see and people who were cheering. At this point, I felt like I couldn’t run another step. I was cold, tired and wet but I pushed through and sprinted to the finish line. I was so happy to be done. So. Happy.
Overall it was a GREAT race. Well organized, plenty of water, nuun and GU gels. Plus the after party had free beer. As in, all the beer you wanted. As in, no beer tickets but just free beer. If I wasn’t so damp, I probably would have stayed longer to enjoy it. The food was lacking for the slow pokes (aka me) but Matt gave me his Kind bar and I was able to grab a water, a brownie bite (cheating on my no sugar rule) and 1/2 a banana. They also had Pollo Tropical but I don’t eat pollo, so that didn’t really benefit me. Plus, holy line.
The best part, beyond free beer, is that my recovery has been quick. In the past it would take 2-3 days for my legs to feel normal again but the next day I was already feeling fine. I credit all the leg work I’ve done at the gym – I feel strong!
Weather: Rainy, gray and generally depressing.
After Party: THE BEST! DRINKS (free beer)! I’d like to see more snacks for the slow runners next time.
Verdict: I would definitely run this series again.
Your turn: What’s the Best Damn Race you’ve ever run? What was the most fun thing you did this weekend?