As you may remember, this race took place during my annual non-running tennis vacation in Naples, Florida. I take lessons and play tennis every morning and then spend the afternoon on the beach. Each evening I go out for drinks, dinner and dessert with my nine friends. Eight days of pure relaxation and enjoyment…
I love it. It’s my only vacation that doesn’t include a race. You have to admit that racing during a vacation does add an element of stress.
This year was a little different in that we changed the dates. We were in Naples two weeks earlier and that meant that the temps were only in the 80s (not the 90s) and that the racing season was not over.
I happened on a 5k race that took place on Sunday which was conveniently a day that my friends and I had planned a tourist day. (No tennis was scheduled.)
Here are the description of the race and the course map:
Enjoy a wonderful 5K race that showcases the beautiful streets of Olde Naples. This course is two loops starting on Broad Street.
So I signed up for the race and even convinced one of my tennis friends to do it with me.I still wasn’t sure that we were going to run the race. For one thing – how would we get there? Neither one of us had a car nor were we listed as drivers on the rental car.
However, I guess, this race was meant to be because it all worked out. One of my friends had to leave to catch an early morning flight on Sunday. One of our rental car drivers, Catalina, agreed to drop us off at the race start on the way to the airport. Then another friend, Pat, who currently lives in Florida and had her own car, offered to pick us up after the race.
So the day before the race, Pat picked up our shirts and bibs while we were playing tennis. As usual, we spent the rest of the day at the beach. Afterwards, we went out to an awesome dinner which included a few glasses of wine. (Oops I don’t usually drink the night before a race but I’m on vacay…) Then we went to a show. Obviously, it turned out to be a later night than normal.
Sunday morning, I groggily ate my usual race breakfast at 5:30 am. The only problem was that my running buddy, MaryPat, decided not to run the race with me. (Her hip had been bothering her.) So I was solo.Catalina dropped me off in town around 6:15 am. It was still kinda dark and no one was around yet. I was also a little chilly but I had on my DIY arm sleeves and the race shirt which I planned to hide while running the race. Luckily I found an open coffee shop, bought a cup of coffee and hung out until I saw some other racers walk by.
Around 7 am, I walked three blocks to the start and hung out there. This was not a big race. There were about 400 runners – all ages and very friendly.
Right as I was heading to the start, I looked up and recognized Rebecca, someone that I used to play tennis with back home several years ago. She had moved to Naples. (We had run the Naples Half as our first halfs in 2011 without even knowing it at the time.) Small world!!
The sun was now out and it was starting to get warm. But it was not as warm as it could have been. As you can see from the map, the course winds around town and through the neighborhoods twice. And it was flat!!
I had no plan for the race – finish and get back to my tennis friends so we could leave on our day trip. I started out behind some older ladies but they left me in the dust early on.My legs felt like lead but my biggest problem was that I had cotton mouth. I was soooo thirsty. My throat and lips were parched. Was it the heat? Or maybe the wine??? I couldn’t wait to get to the water stop… It seemed like forever but I think it was halfway.
The course was small so there were spectators cheering all along it. Although we looped, I didn’t find it boring because I didn’t even notice.
I never looked at my Garmin. And I walked at the one water stop. Besides that, I just enjoyed running around Olde Naples and especially along Gordon Drive where you could see the Gulf at the end of each cross street. I was shocked when I crossed at 27:xx.
There was a computer nearby that told you your actual time. Mine was recorded as 27:31. I was very happy. For a second, I thought – why didn’t you check your watch and run faster to possibly get a PR? (it’s currently 27:11 from 2014.) But just for a second. A PR was NOT a goal for this race. ( I just ran a half marathon the weekend before.)
I waited for Rebecca and we hung out for a little while and chatted.I did win 3rd in my age group and I could have had my first podium finish, but Pat was picking me up so I couldn’t wait. Rebecca did convince the race director (whom she knew) to give me my award (a nice tumbler).
mile 1 – 8:50
mile 2 – 8:58
mile 3 – 8:56
.14 – 7:59
The first time all laps are under 9 mm 🙂
I am so happy that I ran this race. I loved the course and it was very well-organized. (Maybe I’ll return next year.)
I am especially glad all the logistics worked out. I got home in plenty of time and my friends and I enjoyed a lovely day.
Since it is Thursday, I’m linking up today with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.
Five Reasons to Run the Tropicool 5K?
- Small yet well-organized local race
- Flat course
- Scenic Route
- Practical AG awards
- Great way to get in an early morning run or speed workout
Happy Running! Ever run an unplanned race while on vacation?