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 tennis friends. Eight days of pure relaxation and enjoyment… (every May since 2005)
I love it. It’s usually my only vacation that doesn’t include a race. You have to admit that racing during a vacation does add an element of stress.
Last year we changed our 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 yet.
I happened upon a 5k race that took place on the Sunday during our stay. One of my friends offered to get up at the crack of dawn and drop me off and another offered to pick me up.
I unexpectedly bumped into a tennis friend who had moved to Naples and despite the heat, did fairly well.
And so I registered for the same race this year.
Here again is 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.
I’m not a fan of loops but at least it was only a 5K and I don’t remember it bothering me.
As she did last year, my friend Catalina agreed to drop me off at the race start. I was familiar with the race location so I didn’t need to arrive as early as I did last year.
The day before the race, on the way to dinner, we stopped at a local running store so I could pick up my bib. Instead of a tee shirt this year, they gave out mugs. 🙂
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 was on vacay…) Then we went to the theatre followed by a stop at an ice cream shop. Obviously, it turned out to be a later night than normal.
Sunday morning, I groggily ate my usual race breakfast at 5:30 am. I got dropped me off in town around 6: 30 am. It was still kinda dark and there were still not many runners there.
i bumped into a runner from NJ and we started chatting. We decided to walk a few blocks to the water and take each other’s pictures.
Around 7 am, We walked back to the start and hung out there. This was not a big race. There were about 350 runners – all ages and very friendly.
The sun was now out and it was starting to get warm. But it was not as warm as it could have been. I checked the weather app on my phone and it said 100% humidity!! Holy cow!!!
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 – just finish and get back to my tennis friends so we could get on with the day’s activities.
From the get go, my legs felt like lead but my biggest problem was that I had a hard time breathing and I felt dizzy. Was it the heat? Most likely it was not being acclimated to the humidity. I couldn’t wait to get to the water stop… It seemed like forever but I think it was during mile 2. I stopped and walked for a while (longer than normal). I actually felt worse after walking so I ran and tried to just get to the finish line without puking.
Eventually it appeared and I gave it my all.
I was shocked when I crossed at 27:xx. I felt so much slower than my last few 5ks.
As soon as I crossed, I saw my tennis friend Rebecca who ran the race last year. We talked for awhile while waiting for the results to be posted.
Last year I was 3rd in my age group. So imagine my surprise when they called my name for Senior Grand Masters Winner.
Apparently the speedy old ladies from last year did not run the race.
mile 1 – 8:35
mile 2 – 8:57
mile 3 – 9:03
.14 – 7:14
Two of my friends who were not playing tennis came to pick me up after the race. Since the others were playing tennis and taking a lesson, we had plenty of time to hang out in town.
We walked to the famous Naples Pier and then went out to brunch on Fifth Avenue.
I am especially glad all the logistics worked out. I got back in plenty of time and my friends and I enjoyed a lovely rest of the day.
So back to the race…
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 enjoyed running around Olde Naples and especially along Gordon Drive where you could see the Gulf at the end of each cross street.
I am so happy that I ran this race again. I loved the course and it was very well-organized. (I am sure that I’ll return next year.)
It’s Tuesday so don’t forget to link up with these wonderful ladies:
Happy Running! Ever run a 5K race while on vacation?