Best Damn Race Review – Leftover 5K

Yet again this year we decided to do the Best Damn Leftover 5K. We did this race last year and I enjoy comparing year over year data. Also, this race is about 15 minutes from the house so no-brainer!

Have I mentioned how much I love these sunglasses?

So, these guy typically do a really good job. I worked with them for Iron Girl for 2 years and I know they have skills…had skills? It felt like they kinda phoned in the details for the race this year. I don’t remember it being so far apart last year but this year anyone running 30 minutes or less started at 7:15 and 30+ minutes started at 7:55.

This is obnoxious because Not only did we have to get there early but Jon finishes in 20 minutes, then has to wait around another 60 minutes for me to start the race and run the race. I get the point to waives but this is a bit much!

Full disclosure, I wanted to hit 35 minutes. I decided to throw caution to the wind and line up at the back of the first group. I figured what’s the big difference between starting at the back of the fast folks or the front of the slow folks? Apparently, about 2 minutes before the start they announced that they were closing the finish line at 31 minutes and anyone after that would be a DNF. Thankfully, Jon ran back to tell me cause we didn’t hear the announcement in the back.

Annoyed I jumped out of line and listened to the announcer keep saying that “the finish line will close at 31 minutes, you must finish”. Imagine my surprise when they didn’t close the finish line until 38 minutes! They also got mad at the 30+ minute runners who were attempting to line up at 7:50 for our 7:55 run! Then they moved us all to one side so people could cross! I’ve never been so blatantly discriminated against at the start of a race.

Annoyed and hot (8am race starts in FL SUCK) I started my race. I stuck with my 1:30/1 intervals and tried to stay as steady as possible. I didn’t want to push too hard due to the heat and humidity. I also ramped up my Orange Theory that week and adding the race probably hurt more than it should. The did change up the course a bit this year and I like the changes. A lot less turns.

PR bell

Well I didn’t reach the PR I wanted I still finished in 39:23 which was 3 minutes faster than this race last year! I’ll totally take a course PR and taking a minute off each mile! I like this race. I really hope that they make some needed improvements to next year. I didn’t see a race survey come out so I assume that they won’t. I know that since they keep this race cheap they aren’t really concerned about opinions but who knows, maybe they will be.

Post race photos 2016 (L) and 2017 (R)

Excalibur 10 Miler Race Review

Ok, I’m going to start by being totally honest. I’m not a fan of this race. I signed up for this race last year because I ABSOLUTELY loved the medieval theme and the opportunity to earn a CROWN and a CHALICE! However, the course itself leaves a lot to be desired. However, I CRUSHED it this year so they have me for at least 2 more years.

The medals for each year

yay races with photo stops

This was year 2 for the Game of Stones challenge. See the medals above. This was the Sapphire year. We will start at the beginning with packet pickup. It is quick and easy at The Running Zone in Viera/Melbourne. They posted earlier in the week the shirts and items they would have for sale. I was gunning for a pretty blue silipint (these things are awesome). I was happy to see that Tricia and I got the last 2 cups! I LOVED this year’s shirt. A really nice royal blue and even though the women’s sizes suck as usual at least this year’s shirt fits.

yes, I do love this cup!

We stayed about 5 minutes from the start area so it was a pretty easy morning. The best decision I made was to get my own hotel room. I went with my friend Trisha, her twin boys and their exchange student (all 3 are 16).

bathroom lines

One of the nice things last year was there were 2 sets of bathrooms open. This year it was just the one. Now, thankfully it moved kinda quickly but still! Why do races not understand the bathroom importance!!!

The finish line at dawn

We then started the walk to the start area. I say area because they do a sword fight before the race. Now, double edge sword here (haha get it), I love the idea but to be honest we have to go stand in a field for the fight and then walk over to the start. This doesn’t really allow people to place themselves correctly for a mass start.

Ok, side note, when did I start caring about where I was at a start line? I’m not winning this thing! The downside to getting faster is that I’m running with more of a pack now. This course is VERY full! I did 10.6 miles which means I was weaving a good bit and I felt it! The first 2 miles are out on the road and the weather was GREAT! I know this course has no shade so I decided to push in the beginning with the anticipation of slowing down towards the end as it got hotter.

Then miles 3 & 4 are on this sandy back road. Please note this isn’t like a slightly sand covered paved road. This is straight up sand and dirt. Everyone was trying to find the areas that was more packed. Then at mile 5 you made the turn into the sun!

Mr. Sun sun Mr. Golden sun

Miles 5, 6, 7 look just like the above picture. Except a lot of it they are building houses so it a SUUUUPPPEEERR scenic (please note the sarcasm). This is about where it started to get hot. No breeze, no shade, no fun, lol.

At mile 7.5 I started doing the math (for a half mile, I can’t run and do math well). When I ran Gasparilla I hit the 10 mile mark at 2:09:00 so I knew it was possible. My PR from 2011 was 2:10:00 and my average has always been 2:18:00. I REALLY wanted to hit 2:10:00 but would have been happy with 2:15:00. At mile 7.5 I started to realize that if I did 15 minute miles I would finish in the 2:15:00. I was also being generous with time cause 5’s are easier to add then 3:30’s.

1 lane fun

Mile 8 I realize that my PR is possible. Then I make the turn where we get down  to 1 lane, maybe 2 people wide with minimal traffic. When these folks walked they were not walking on the grass and weaving was much harder. This was SUPER annoying. It is a mile out and back with the small lane crap. I actually feel bad for the people slightly faster than me who probably had WAY more people to deal with.

I made the turn at mile 9 into the home stretch! A little math again and I knew I could get under 2:10:00. I had maintained my 1:30/1:00 run intervals and had averaged a 13 minute mile or less the whole time. This PR was mine! 5 years in the making and I was going to get this! I crossed that finish line in 2:08:36 and I started crying. Ok first I got this super awesome finish photo.

The BEST part about this race is the ice cold coke that they have at the finish line! I don’t drink much soda but it is my favorite post-race treat!

Also treated myself to a hat

Is this the best race ever? No. Is it well organized? Yes. Is it the theme that makes it? ABSOLUTELY! They do put an attention to medieval detail into it that is very much appreciated. I just wish they could find a way to widen the course in a few areas!

I LOVE this photo

So if you are in Viera, FL give it a shot. They also have a 2-miler, and a relay so it is fun for all! Hope to see you next year for the Ruby and my CROWN!!!

Lycra & Lace Race Report 2016

This past weekend I did my first and last triathlon of the year. It was a sprint and it was one that I did last year. When I signed up I was excited cause it was the first time I would be doing the same triathlon 2 years in a row. Which meant I would be able to see how I was doing. Then my goals changed. I’ve been working on my weight loss and running and completely forgot that I was doing this race. It was really one of those, where did those 8 weeks just go?

I went into this deciding I was just going to be a “participant” instead of a “competitor”. I just wanted to finish and enjoy myself. Which is always a goal at a race but normally there is an “ideal” goal but not this time.

We could totally call this the Ladies Hurricane Sprint. Cause it was held on Saturday right after Florida was hit by Hurricane Matthew. Now, although the Tampa Bay area came out pretty unscathed, other areas were not so lucky. There will be more on this topic on Thursday’s post.

Anywho, Jon and I met Karen around 6:30am on Saturday. I had to pickup my packet because of storms. It took all of 5 minutes to setup our transition area then we just ended up chatting with others and hanging out.

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Due to rough surf and rip current warnings the swim was moved from the gulf to the lagoon. I wouldn’t have questioned the swim except there were a large number of dead fish all around the water. The lagoon is actually WAY smaller than it looks but you can see it was pretty calm.

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I had a really good swim. I half swam and half breaststroked it. A majority of it was walkable to I found it quicker to kinda push off the bottom. It was one of my fastest swims. I think it was in the ballpark of 6:20. I say this because the timing mat at the water exit didn’t work and then it was a half mile walk to the transition. So my swim and T1 times are combined. Jon said it was the first time he saw me come out with the middle of the pack instead of in the back of the pack.

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2016 – Swim + T1 = 13:01 (half mile to transition)

2015 – Swim 7:16 + T1 – 4:22 = 11:38 (shorter distance to transition)

Then we were off to the bike. This was where I knew I could get a good idea of my training. I’ve been on a few long rides but I’ve felt way more comfortable handling my bike. The bike is a super flat 10 mile out and back. Last year there was a really strong headwind going out and coming back. It was one of the hardest rides I had ever done. This year it was quite nice. There was a slight headwind coming back but I was able to let it rip on the way out. I got passed by a few people, I passed others, all in all it was a good ride. I forget how tired it is to do completely flat rides. There was very little coasting opportunity. I was happy that I had no issue clipping in or out. It was a pretty fluid bike ride for me!

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2016 – Bike – 40:07 (15mph) 

2015 – bike – 43:07 (13.91mph)

I cut 3 minutes off my bike time! I know last year had a crazy headwind but this makes me happy!

2016 – T2 – 2:44

2015 – T2 – not recorded

Then it was off the bike and onto the run. I’ve been working on improving my run big time! More so working on getting used to really running in the heat. I knew the run for this race wasn’t going to be super pretty cause they pushed the swim start back to 8am which means by the time I got to the run it was 9:45am and there is ZERO shade on the run course. To say it was a hot run would be an understatement. However, I had my watch set to 1:1 intervals and I stuck to them. As I started out I met a lady who was doing her first triathlon and was struggling a bit. I offered her to stick to my intervals with me and we finished the 5K together. It kept my mind off the heat and helped her to finish!

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Starting out on the run

All in all I had a great run. It didn’t hurt, I felt good, and was smiling at the end. The boys running the water stop coming into the finish line were offering to throw the cup of water at you and I said yes! It was cold and felt AMAZING!

Finishing the run

Finishing the run

2016 – Run – 44:13 – (14:16mm)

2015 – Run – 47:58 (15:26mm) 

I cut my run time by over 3 minutes!

2016 – Total time – 1:40:06

2015 – Total time – 1:42:40

total time cut in 1 year was more than 2 minutes! I’ll take that improvement! I’m thinking I’ll skip this race next year but who knows!

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Now, I did have some issues with this race. The course is great! However, the coordination leaves something to be desired. I’ll have more on customer service and common courtesy in my Thursday post. One of the most disappointing things was timing. I finished and checked the posted times. Now, this race does awards 5 deep.

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If you look it says Athena overall winners. The bottom is Athena female 39 and under. You will see my name at number 5. I got all excited! I thought I had done really well, my best race ever, and I got an award. UNTIL we found out at the award ceremony that 4 of the overall women were under 39 and counted in the awards. So I was actually 9th out of 9.  It doesn’t take away from my awesome race but it does take the wind out of your sails! Why post it like this??

Also, most of the women don’t have swim times. I was so excited to see the timing mat at the swim out. Last year it wasn’t until you got to transition so your swim time was swim exit plus 1/4 to the mat. I saw the mat at the water and was glad to get a real swim time/T1 time. Since it was a 1/2 mile back to transition. Instead, it didn’t work and I still only got a T1 time.

 

For this race I also switched up my gear a bit and it was awesome!

Swim – I use my favorite Aquasphere Kayenne goggles. I love these googles. Fit great and huge sight range!

Bike – Typically I use the Andy Potts Nathan Pro. Jon and I share for races but he forgot to mention the O-ring when I was cleaning it so I ended up not being able to use it for my race.

Run – LOVE my Boco Trucker hats! This was my Iron Girl one but I collect these! LOVE to run in them! I also have a sweet pair of Under Armour Sunglasses. I don’t think they make mine anymore but I really want some of their new women’s styles! I recently switched to the Brooks Launch for short runs. I use the Ghost for anything over 5 miles. I have also started carrying a handheld for short races. I fell in LOVE with the Nathan Speed Draw insulated. These insulated bottles are pricier so I’m saving to switch all my nathan bottles to insulated cause Florida! This bottle is a great size and kept my water cold even sitting in transition!