Tropicool 5K Race Recap

MAY 15, 2022 – 7:30AM

As you may remember, this race took place during my annual non-running tennis vacation in Naples, Florida. I 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.

Well, in 2017. we changed our dates and 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.

Despite the loops and warm temps, I had a blast and did fairly well.

I also unexpectedly bumped into a tennis friend, Rebecca, who had moved to Naples.

As a result, I signed up for the same 5k in 2018 and 2019. I won an age group award each time and met up with Rebecca.

Our vacation was cancelled due to COVID in 2020 and the race in 2021 did not occur during our time in Naples.

So I was pretty excited to run this race again this year.  The downside was that Rebecca died suddenly in 2021 and I knew that the race would remind me of her sadly.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

The day before the race, 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 stopped at an ice cream shop.  Obviously, it turned out to be a later night than normal.

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.

elevation according to Strava – FLAT!!

Race Day:

Sunday morning, I groggily ate my usual race breakfast at 5:30 am.  As she did in previous years, 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 the first year.

Unlike previous years, I did not pick up my race packet the day before.  So I did it before the race. The swag was a towel (instead of a shirt).  It turned out to be very practical. I had to hide it under a tree since I did have a bag or a car.

Then I walked a block to the beach to hang out until around 7:15 am.

This was not a big race.  There were about 300 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. Holy cow!!! 77 degrees. 90% humidity!

I wore my usual race attire minus the compression socks –

no pink top this year

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.

I race a lot.  But I haven’t raced in weather this warm since last August.

This made me a little nervous. Can I run well in the heat? Will I die? LOL

getting ready to start

Mile 1: 

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…

Mile 2: 

It seemed like forever but I think it was during mile 2.  I stopped for water and walked for a while (longer than normal).

I continued my running which was painful and seemed to be like a slog…

The course ran through neighborhoods with a few twists and turns and  then repeated itself.

I walked whenever I felt I had to… I really didn’t care about my time as long as I finished.

Mile 3 – 3.1: 

I actually felt worse after walking so I ran and tried to just get to the finish line without puking.

If you look below, there was more walking in this mile even close to turning into the finish line.

Eventually the arch appeared and I gave it my all.

I was shocked when I crossed at 29:xx. I felt so much slower.

I have never been so sweaty after a race… glad I had that towel

As soon as I crossed, I saw my friend Pat who was picking me up.  I quickly checked the results to see if I won an award.

Senior Grand Masters winners (65+)

Post Race Activities:

I grabbed some water and some refreshments which was only bars and navel oranges. Oranges with no napkins = not a pretty sight!  I was super happy with my towel to wipe away the sweat.  Everyone looked as if they had jumped into a swimming pool.

Then I waited for my ride home and the awards.

doesn’t everyone dream of being on a podium one day?

First they announced the college scholarship winners:

the proceeds from this 5k went to these kids

with the winner of my age group

The age group award was a pint glass…

I have a zillion glasses but each one is memorable

Additional Race Reflections:

Definitely a tough one and one of my slowest 5ks in years but hey, I did it.

And I will do it again!

Racing for me is always enjoyable (at least afterward.)


  • flat course
  • well organized
  • nice swag
  • practical age group awards
  • important charity (scholarships to HS students
  • Podium for winners


  • Rebecca was no longer there. 😦
  • Warm temps and humidity
  • Two Loops

Would I recommend this race?

Yes! There was a lot of enthusiasm and runners of all ages.

Final Stats:


Next Up:

Happy Running! Ever run a 5K race while on vacation? Please share.






There is a link-up organized by Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).

Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these ladies and you should too.

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.

27 thoughts on “Tropicool 5K Race Recap

  1. I love the towel! I’ve gotten small towels like that at a few races and it’s been a nice little memento plus like you said practical. Congrats on your finish time and age group award! I’ve never run a 5k on vacation but I’ve definitely run other distances.

    Liked by 1 person

    • the towel really came in handy after this race!! And I love getting something practical.

      I would never travel just to run a 5k but it worked out for this vacation.


  2. I saw your race on Strava and I realized that I have done this race!! It must have been 2016 or 2017 when we were in Naples. I recognize the streets, the pier, the beach and the finish line. So cool!
    Congrats on placing 2nd in your age group, Darlene! Well done for persevering through the heat and humidity.
    Ha, yes, of course I race while on vacation – it’s usually the highlight!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the towel is a nice, practical piece of swag! I have a few (more from race expos than the actual races) that I keep in the basement, by my bike. Congrats! That’s a pretty strong finish time, especially in that heat and humidity!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations! In spite of the heat (and I feel like the wine the night before didn’t help you either) you placed second, and that’s a pretty good time, especially considering your did some walking. You must have been running fast while you were running.
    I’m sorry about Rebecca- it must have been sad to run that race without her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very sad. It was suicide. Which is very hard to understand.

      I walk a lot these days but I guess when I run it’s still fast.


  5. Warm temps and humidity are so hard for a race 😦 Nice job pushing through and snagging an award as well! I also love that towel, especially because it has the name of the race and the date on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats on your age group award! I take vacations specifically to run races, so I’ve run all distances on vacation! I always like to visit the city and do other cool things while I’m in the area so I typically extend the trip by several days so I can also see other things while there!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats, Darlene! I am sorry to hear about Rebecca. I am sure she was smiling the whole time. Nope, no races during vacation. Unless you count all of the half marathon out of state I did while on vacation. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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