This weekend I ran my first half marathon in over two years at the OUC Orlando Half Marathon. This was the first time I ran this race and by far it was one of my favorite races. This was my 8th standalone half and 10th half counting half-ironman tris. It wasn’t my fastest, but I finished the race within my goal time range.
I was up bright an early and had my usual PB&J and Coffee for Breakfast. I had to be there early so I could find parking and then meet my co-workers for a quick photo-op. I was lucky enough that my company offered to pay for our entries into the race, we had almost 2 dozen runners and walkers, most of them doing the 5k.
The race runs through scenic downtown Orlando’s many shaded residential neighborhoods. All along the course, the residents came out to cheer us runners on. The race is mostly flat, but includes occasional elevation changes which keep things interesting. At various points through the race, you will run on cobblestones, but I found they were well maintained and weren’t too bad as long as you stayed towards the middle of the road. Around mile 11, there was a section that clearly needs to be re-paved, but it was mostly easy to avoid the holes. In addition, there was on-course entertainment every couple miles. There were DJs and various bands that kept the runners moving.
I started towards the back and I found the first four miles to be a little crowded, but after that it opened up. It seemed the 2:30 pace group was rather large and I never had a chance to get past them before my pace fell off. I tried to stay in front of the 2:45 pace group which was my A Goal (B being under 3 and C just finish), but they passed me when I had to stop to take my socks off since they were too tight. I learned the hard way that the compression socks I’ve been wearing are too tight. By mile 6, my 3rd toe was bothering me. I’d had this problem occasionally in training and suspected my compression socks were the culprit. I stopped around mile 8 and took my socks off. My toe pain quickly subsided, but it was replaced by a nasty blister at about mile 11.
There were aid stations about every 1.5 miles with both water and powerade. It was a little humid that day and I found myself wishing there were more. Next time, if it’s humid, I’ll bring a handheld and carry water on me. At mile 8 they had various flavors of gu available. At mile 9, there was a group with several kegs handing out free beer. I passed it up this time because I was feeling a little dehydrated. I slogged through the last few miles and finished in 2:56:34.
The race medal is a big shiny piece of bling that I look forward to hanging on my wall. The race shirt was a super comfy raw threads long sleeve bamboo tech shirt. Now that it’s getting a little cooler here in the evenings, I look forward to wearing it.
At the finish, they handed out water, powerade, bagels and bananas. I had two tickets for free beer, but I skipped it since I had to drive home right afterwards. There is a panera shop right there at the start/finish area so I was able to grab a quick bite and something to drink before heading home
I have nothing but praise for this race. It was well put on and I will definitely be back. If you are looking for a half marathon in the Orlando area, you’ll want to do this one.
Overall, I was happy with how things went, but I also feel like I need to re-examine my nutrition plans. My pace fell off big time after about mile 10. I felt like I didn’t have enough energy to push faster. I’ve been using lara bars every 4 miles which have nuts and fruit. I’m wondering if the fiber in the nuts slows digestion down and keeps me from getting the maximum benefit. I’ve ordered some GU, so I’m planning on adding those back in, and maybe alternating gels and bars.
My ankle held up well. The day after the race, I ran another 6 miles and felt good. Things seem to be on track for Goofy next month. I plan on 18-20 miles on Saturday as my last long run. We are just over 4 weeks out from race weekend