So before I get into this race recap, let me start off by saying that I’m super tempted by the idea of geocaching, because I like the idea of finding buried treasure. And not-so-buried treasure. However, my hangup is that if I do it, and spend my valuable time in the outdoors looking for something, and that something turns out to be a book by Joel Osteen or Chicken Soup for the Soul, I’m gonna be straight PISSED.
Guys, let’s just all make a pact that we won’t leave shitty things for geocaching, okay? I need that guarantee before I commit to doing it. And while we’re on the topic, if you’ve done geocaching before, what’s the shittiest thing you found? Or the coolest? The real question is, did you find any real gold doubloons?
Okay, I’m going down a rabbit hole real quick, and I haven’t even gotten to the point of this post, which is the Best Damn Race (BDR) Orlando recap. BDR is one of my absolute favorite races, because it doesn’t disappoint. The rates are reasonable (even more so if you sign up during the registration blitz), your registration fee gets you a lot of quality swag, the finishers medals are always cute and top quality, and the after party has unlimited food and beer from local vendors. Because you deserve to get your drank on after running your 3.1. Or 6.2. Or 13.1.
The race series prides itself on being put on by runners for runners, so it goes out of its way to make sure you get a lot of bang for your buck. Before this year, the only other BDR race I participated in was Safety Harbor, and I enjoyed it every year, both for the reasons I already mentioned, and because the race course was super pretty. It’s by the water in Tampa Bay, and when your legs are burning, it helps to look at the water so you can disassociate and pretend you’re lying out by the beach with a frosty beverage instead of trying to haul your ass through whatever mileage you’ve chosen.
So I was pretty excited to see what the Orlando race had to offer. Like a good little runner, I followed the advice of the informational email regarding packet pickup, and went the day before to get my bib and other miscellaneous swag. I would insert a picture here, but I DELETED IT after posting it to my Instagram story, because who needs to document shit on a race recap, amirite? Just search the hashtag #bestdamnraceorlando on Instagram if you want to see the cute purple tech tees. I also got a pair of race socks, a few one-off snacks (think: fruit squeeze), AND A WHOLE PACKAGE OF BISCOFF COOKIES, those insanely delicious cookies you always get on flights. The race hadn’t even taken place yet, and it was already a win.
For past BDR races, I always ran with a couple of friends who, ironically, I befriended at the race. (Which is another reason why BDR has my heart – it’s where friendships are formed!) This year, I ran with my running club, which I joined shortly after moving to Orlando in order to make some friends. Let me tell you, races are waaay more fun with people than by yourself. At least, in my experience. It’s just nice to socialize, get some excess energy out before the race, and then talk about how well you did (or didn’t do) afterward. And maybe encourage each other to buy shit at the expo you may or may not need.
As the title suggests, I ran the 10K. This was my first race in about a year, I didn’t finish my training program due to a late start and some sick/too damn cold to run days, but I still showed up, and ran the HELL out of it. I hit a PR of 1:22:09, which is about a 13:13 average pace. To put it in perspective, my 10K time last year at BDR Safety Harbor was 1:44 (halfway through, my friend and I said “screw it” and walked the rest of the way), and the time before that was 1:34 (Disney World Half Marathon 2016). So, yeah. I improved. A LOT. I credit CrossFit. Not only did it help build my leg strength, but it helped build my mental game too. Because when dropping out of a WOD because you’re too tired is not an option, you have no choice but to push through.
When I started the race, I told myself I was going to keep to the intervals I left off at in my training program (9 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking). I was going to do the number of sets I last did in my training program (4), and then I was going to push myself to see how much farther I could go. I was hoping for a PR, but trying not to get caught up in hitting one, since I knew I didn’t finish my training. For the most part, I kept to those intervals, and really hit my stride between miles 2-5. Mile 6 was a bit of a struggle, as I had to walk a few seconds here and there outside of my minute walk break, but I got my groove back after a few hits of Nuun and one of those nasty Honey Stinger gels. Sorry, Honey Stinger. It’s not just you. I hate all running gels. It’s a texture thing.
The course itself was scenic in some parts, not so much in others. It started at Lake Eola, which is a pretty lakeside park in downtown Orlando (and also where the Expo and packet pickup were held). From there, we ran around the cute neighborhoods and shops surrounding the park, before heading out into other parts of the downtown Orlando urban jungle. There were a few cute neighborhoods here and there, but there was one stretch where we were just running past construction and down one of the main drags where there wasn’t much to look at. But honestly, that didn’t take away from the overall race experience for me. BDR is still one of my favorite races, and I plan to run it again next year. And bonus: I picked up these sa-weet Newtons at the Expo on sale for $60! SIXTY BUCKS! To put it in perspective, the very first pair of running shoes I owned were Newtons, and my parents bought them for me as a birthday present. I do love the brand, but didn’t buy another pair after that because I couldn’t afford to shell out $130 and they never seemed to be on sale. These babies were a steal, and I had to have them on my feet.
My next race will be the Lake Louisa Half Marathon in November, which I signed up for while still on the high of my PR and Newtons score. So be prepared for a whole lotta training updates this summer!
What races have you done this year?