This morning was the Best Damn Race 10k in downtown Orlando. The start line was the southeast corner of Lake Eola and ran around the neighborhoods east of there. The race also featured a 5k and a half marathon, but the 10k was the first race, starting at 6:45 am. I enjoyed running around those neighborhoods but I also think it would be nice to run west to Orange and run through downtown. There must be some problem getting those streets for running though because the OUC half marathon also starts at Lake Eola and also runs east instead of west.
Weather was perfect, 54 degrees in the morning and my race would be starting just before sunrise. And, I picked the 10k instead of the half marathon because I knew I'd still be recovering from the Breast Cancer Marathon from last Sunday. My legs were pretty sore Monday-Wednesday, but the last couple of days they finally started feeling better. I didn't know if I would actually race this run, or just use it as a fast tempo. Either way, I wanted to set a new PR. My previous 10k PR was 40:16 from last year. But, that race was in pouring rain, and I'm in better shape this year.
As we started lining up, the starter kept urging the elites to move up and toe the starting line. I didn't see anyone I knew from the local running scene, and I know I'm not elite. But, I figured if no one else wanted the front spot, I'd take it. So, I got right up front in the middle of the starting mat. An a cappella group from UCF, the Gemini Blvds, sang the national anthem and then the crowd counted down from 10 to send us off.
I got out front right away, this was new, I've never led a race before. I think the adrenaline got to me, because about a quarter mile in, I looked at my Garmin and it said I was running 5:30 pace. Woops! My plan was to run anywhere from 6 - 6:15 miles depending on how I felt. So, I backed off a bit, and was kinda hoping that someone would pass me. I'm used to chasing people. Eventually, someone caught up to me, it was a woman and she was running smooth and fast. We ran beside each other and got through the first mile in just under 6 minutes.
At that point, I had to let her go. The pace was a little fast for me and I didn't want to die too badly over the last couple of miles. Around mile 2, another person caught and passed me, it was another woman! She was wearing the same color singlet as the first woman. These women were fast and it quickly became obvious that I was going to get chicked in this race. I don't mind losing to women, I'm not elite or super fast, so it happens quite a lot. But, bystanders kept letting me know that 2 women were leading and that I needed to catch them, like I didn't know! But, it wasn't going to happen. Afterwards, I found out they were wearing Hanson singlets and were from Michigan, no wonder they were so fast.
The second woman soon caught up to her teammate around the halfway point. And, from then on, as each mile ticked by, their gap over me got larger. I just focused on maintaining my pace over the last half of the race. My first 2 miles were under 6, and then I started slowing down. My last mile was my slowest, at 6:11, but it was still in the range I was shooting for.
Finally, I turned right onto Central and I could see the finish line, and somehow I was able to pick it up at the end even though my legs felt dead. I'm always amazed when the last mile of the race feels like I'm going to die or pass out, and yet I always have some energy left to pick up the pace at the very end.
I crossed the finish line at 37:22, almost a 3 minute PR! The top two women finishers both broke 36 minutes, serious speed! I finished in 3rd place, but I was the first overall male winner so they had a banner for me to run through at the finish line. I thought that was really cool! If I can find the pictures for this event, and I don't look too retarded, I may have to purchase some pictures for the first time ever.
Overall, I'm very happy with this race, I did better than I expected to do after only have 6 days of recovering from a marathon. My next race is in 2 weeks at the Winter Park 10k by TrackShack. And, now I know what I'm capable of, so I'm looking forward to that race.
The BDR finisher's medal also doubles as a bottle opener, that's pretty cool. I also got a first place trophy and a huge gold BDR medal! This was BDR's first race in Orlando, and I hope they come back! I'll definitely sign up for the next one they do!
Splits: 5:56, 5:58, 6:02, 6:06, 6:06, 6:11, 5:46 (0.2 miles)