Reindeer Run 5k Race Report

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The alarm went off just after 5am and while I was quite bleary-eyed, I rolled myself out of bed to get moving. I tend to not get as much rest the evening before a race, and this time was no different. There's just something about the excitement of a race that gets my mind reeling all night long which has me waking up at least a few times. So much for sleeping straight through for seven to eight hours!
Once I ate my breakfast and got myself ready to go, mom was up trying to put something in her stomach. This was the second race mom was doing with me, as she did the Turkey Trot as well on Thanksgiving morning. She works until 11pm, so she had even less sleep than I did. We got out the door a little later than I had planned, but only by about 8-10 minutes, so it wasn't too bad. The event was being held at Sea World this year, so it's only about a twenty minute drive from my parents house.

Traffic was fairly light at that early morning hour, so I made good driving time. Arriving at the Sea World entrance, that is where the hold up began. It took almost fifteen minutes to get inside and park the car. Neither myself or mom felt as though the parking situation was as organized as it could have been. Heck, it was Sea World, they are used to crowds of people, so I was expecting more organization in that area.

As soon as I parked the car, we followed the crowds of people toward the starting line. I was disappointed to discover that the only available restrooms before the race start would be portable ones. Usually, I expect that when I'm doing a race in downtown Orlando, but seeing as this was Sea World playing host, I thought we would have access to their facilities. We did have access to those restrooms later on, but that was only after the race had begun.

Due to the parking situation taking longer than expected, the race start time ended up being pushed back by about twenty minutes. Once it started, I got a bit confused as to where the actual starting line was since mom and I were in the walkers area. The runners had originally lined up at one point with a starting line banner/line, but once we got moving, the clock was about .1 mile or so ahead of that point. The only bad thing about that was, the clock was not going when I approached that point, so I had no idea how far behind the actual starting clock time I was. I was only going to be able to rely on my own watch and my Nike+ times. Not sure why that happened, maybe some sort of malfunction? It was just a bit disappointing since I looked at the clock time for the Turkey Trot the previous month which helped me see how far behind that time I had begun since the seasonal races aren't d-chip timed.

The first mile or so of the course route was through the parking lot. While I saw this prior to the event, I didn't think too much about it. It wasn't until I was actually doing the beginning of the race that I realized how much I didn't like this portion of the route. It was boring and odd. By the time I reached the park entrance, I was anxious for some new scenery besides parking spaces in Sea World's huge parking lot. The route inside of the theme park was okay. The ground itself inside was made of cement stone which I wasn't a fan of. It's a bit awkward of a surface. Also, the park itself had numerous wet spots so trying to avoid them took some work with the crowds of people everywhere. There were some good things though of course, the decorations Sea World has around it's park were nice to see as was the area where they pumped out fake "snow." My favorite parts though consisted of seeing the flamingos and the cockatoo and macaw the employees had brought out to see the racers. Otherwise, I'd have to say that this route was probably my least favorite of the 2010 races I've done.

At the finish, I felt good at having completed it, since my back had done well as did my sciatica. But, I didn't feel the excitement that I usually do at the completion of a race. Not sure if it has to do with not liking the course or what. I do want to make sure I say that Track Shack did an awesome job as always with helping put the event on. They work hard to organize many races each year and I give them kudos for that. I just think that the venue wasn't ideal. Also, the charity cause this race was supporting was for pediatric cancer. Dan Newlin, a local attorney was the main financial supporter of this event and in doing so, I felt that he seemed to make himself stand out more than the cause the Reindeer Run was for. His name was everywhere and on everything, and it felt to me, as well as to my mom that he wasn't allowing enough of the spotlight to shine upon the children and cause we were racing for. When I saw people wearing shirts with their sick child on them who had passed away far too young, and the firefighters wearing pinned photos of kids on their sleeves, I felt that those people and their stories should have been at the forefront of the race, not this attorney.

I am glad that I did get out there and do the event with my mom, as it was nice to do another 5k event with her. I hope that we can do more in 2011 and maybe get my dad to come out and do a race or two as well.


Maddy said...

Nice race report. I heard that others weren't thrilled with the parking lot portion of the race.

It's cool that your mom has participated at the last few races!

Shannon said...

Yeah, I think that if I come down to FL next December, I'll try the Jingle Bell Run or something, this one just didn't impress me.

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