Tag Archives: ouc half marathon

Race Recap: 2014 OUC Orlando Half Marathon

31 Dec

I knew that I needed to sign up for a half marathon to keep me somewhat running on the regular. My half marathon race requirements for the fall were simple: race has to be local and inexpensive (less than $75). Lucky for me the OUC Orlando Half Marathon is both. I registered early back in September and used a discount code that was in one of my race packets so the race was only $65. And on race morning, I rolled out of bed and had less than five miles to travel to the start of the race, with a slight detour to pick up my friend, Beth.

We got there early and parked alongside one of the downtown streets. I wished my husband good luck and he took off for a warmup, as serious runners do. Beth and I are not quite so serious and instead walked to the start. Along that walk I realized that I had forgotten my water bottle in the car, but my husband took off with the car keys. Instantly I panicked… I train with a water bottle in my hand and am used to sipping as I run. It was an unusually hot day for December and I knew it would be harder than usual to wait for each water stop. But I didn’t have much choice at that point so we carried on to the start line.

As always, the start was crowded, but not so crowded that there’s a need for runner corrals. That’s one of the reasons I like this race, it’s big but not too big.

All of the people.

All of the people.

We settled in to wait for the start. I passed the time by trying to lock in and keep a GPS location on my Garmin. We joked that we could always borrow Beth’s husband’s gold watch instead (like we had to do after a Garmin malfunction left us sans watch during the Chicago Marathon). Thankfully such measures were not needed.

Beth and I ready to run 13.1

Beth and I ready to run 13.1

Our training leading up to the half was rocky: both Beth and I had traveled for work more than usual during the past couple of months and had missed quite a few training runs. Consequently our longest training run had been ten miles. I knew it was going to be tough, and with the heat and no water bottle I knew this race would have an extra level of “fun” attached to it.

Around mile nine, I was started to feel the effects of the heat from the sun in the cloudless skies. Temps were well on their way to the 81 degree high of the day and I was getting angry. Then I saw this:

Did you say cold?? Okay, fine.

Did you say cold?? Okay, fine.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson in life: If someone offers you a free, cold beer, take it. Even if you’re running a race. It might just be the coldest drink you get on the course. I learned this lesson running the Flying Pig Marathon and didn’t hesitate to grab a cup.

When someone offers you free beer, you take it.

When someone offers you free beer, you take it.

The cold beer was like sweet nectar from the heavens. I was temporarily distracted from the hell that was the half marathon. Unfortunately, that only lasted for a short while. Around mile 10 Beth and I celebrated only having a 5k left. We also cursed that we still had a 5k left. We ran in silence and forced ourselves to keep fueling up with peanut M&Ms and pretzels (it works!). Thankfully I had accepted a water bottle from a complete stranger somewhere along the course, so I had plenty of water to keep me hydrated. Also, this is probably a good place for me to remind you that taking food or drink from strangers isn’t the smartest thing to do. However, I don’t know about you, but when I run anything over 10 miles, my brain usually goes to mush. This totally explains all the free pretzels I took during the Chicago Marathon.

We ran on and I remember the heat getting worse. I was legitimately concerned that I would puke or pass out or both. When Beth mentioned that she was scared she was going to puke, I didn’t say a word even though I felt exactly the same way. I was scared that just trying to say it would have me blowing chunks. Instead, I told myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other. WE… WERE… ALMOST… DONE.

Finally, we rounded the corner from Rosalind Avenue to the final stretch on Robinson Street. Seeing the finish line always puts a pep in my step and I have to be careful not to push too hard too soon. It would be a shame to run out of steam right before actually crossing the finish line. 🙂

Alas, both Beth and I crossed the finish line. She captured this pic of me trying to breathe again with my medal.

13.1 done.

13.1 done.

I looked down and saw our time: 2:41:08. I can’t complain.

Not my best, but not my worst!

Not my best, but not my worst!

We walked like zombies to gather important rewards: chocolate milk and beer. Kudos to Track Shack for making sure both were available!

Chocolate milk never tasted so good.

Chocolate milk never tasted so good.

Don't let the cup fool you. This was Mich Ultra.

Don’t let the cup fool you. This was Mich Ultra.

Afterwards we found my husband, who had run into some friends. They captured this awesome picture of him on the final stretch.

My husband finishing strong

My husband finishing strong

Yep, his bionic foot held up just fine. But he agreed that the sun had been brutal. Hence, his topless running. 🙂

This was my third time running the OUC Orlando Half Marathon (you can read about the first two times here and here) and I always like running it. It’s a local, hometown race that won’t burn a hole in your wallet like some of our more famous Disney races do. Plus, it’s easy for friends and family to come out and cheer you on. If I’m not busy next year, I’ll definitely keep this race in mind.

Race Stats:

  • Time: 2:41:08
  • Distance: 13.1 mi.
  • Avg. Pace: 12:10/mi.

PROS:

  • Local Orlando race
  • Easy for your friends and family to come cheer you on
  • Easy, flat course
  • Nice, long-sleeved tech shirts
  • Track Shack always puts on a good race

CONS:

  • There are stretches of shared roads with vehicles (seemed like more than usual this year)
  • The middle of the course is not the most scenic of routes
  • Bumpy, brick roads for much of the course (watch your feet people!)

What’s your favorite hometown race? 

Race Recap: Orlando Half Marathon 2012

7 Dec

After running last year’s Orlando Half Marathon with a good friend and seeing what a great race it would be to get a PR, I was determined to try and do so this year. But then life happened and I ended up having to train for a half marathon in one month. My goal quickly morphed from ‘get a PR’ to ‘just finish and around 2:30 would be nice.’ Last Saturday morning, I set out to do just that.

My morning started off with a mad dash to the red pagoda by Lake Eola. What did I tell you? I’m either a hot mess on race mornings, or calm and zen. On this morning I started off calm and became a hot mess when I realized I was leaving my house late. I had zero cash on me, so I knew I was going to have to find a free parking spot on the street.

Luckily, I found a spot where me and D used to park for Magic games. As I pulled up to one of the last available spots on the street a fellow runner directed me to park as close to his car as possible, leaving space for one more car behind me. Ah… runners… always helping each other out.

When I stepped out of my car, he asked me if I was ready. This man was a complete stranger and I’ve never talked to him in my life before. But I knew exactly what this fellow runner was asking: Was I ready to do a warm-up run to the start line? I nodded and took off behind him. I had a red pagoda to reach soon or feared losing my ladies that were patiently waiting for me.

I arrived at the pagoda to find my friends smirking.

Oh! Look who’s here!

I never imagined you would be late.

Hemarie? No, she’s never late.

Clearly, their sarcasm reinstated my reputation for running on Puerto Rican time. 🙂

As we walked to the start of the race, my friends asked me if I was cold because  I was wearing my favorite Lululemon No Limits Tank. It was around 60 degrees. I laughed and pointed out that I was hot already… I had just run. I heat up pretty easily and rarely ever wear long sleeves to a race. The closest I came was at the Disney Marathon when I had to wear arm warmers at the start (and later removed).

Here was the view as we made our way to the start:

Walking to the start.

Walking to the start.

We had a few minutes before the race started so I snapped this photo of the ladies:

The ladies: Beth, Emily, me and Kim

The ladies: Beth, Emily, me and Kim

Emily (second from left in photo) just ran the Space Coast Marathon Thanksgiving weekend. To her, this was just a shakeout run. 🙂

Beth and I both knew we weren’t going to PR, but wanted to push our pace with this race. When I heard Em mention our fast past in the first mile, I figured the inevitable would happen… we were going to split up. Shortly after, I was thrilled to see Beth keep her pace with me when the others dropped back.

It was a gorgeous morning to take a 13.1 mile run:

orlando_half_2012_running

We started running at an 11:27/mile pace, and slowly settled into an 11:00/mile pace. We ran 5 and 1’s (run 5 minutes, walk one minute, repeat) and felt great. We settled into our conversations about life and the miles seemed to pass us by.

The Orlando Half Marathon course tends to change almost every year, and I noticed that this year’s course was very different from last year’s. I couldn’t help but think that some of these roads weren’t exactly the nicest roads to showcase Orlando for any out-of-town runners.

When we hit mile 8 of our run, I saw that we were running in pace to come close to my PR of 2:27. We did a mini celebration, knowing we were only 5 miles short of finishing.

orlando_half_marathon_mile_8

Along the way we saw familiar faces both on the course and off. I made sure to smack our former running group member, Sammie, in the tush every time we snuck up on her. I made sure to duck afterwards in case she turned around swinging. 🙂

Somewhere in the middle of mile 10 I started to feel drained of energy and stopped talking. Beth must’ve felt similar because she stopped talking as well and suddenly we were running in silence. Our pace started to creep up between 11:30 and 11:47 in our intervals and I forced myself to eat my vanilla stinger waffle. It almost made me gag. It’s funny how being tired can turn the tastiest of treats to a turd.

Speaking of which, these port-o-potties made me laugh:

orlando_half_potties

Think D and I can get some of these for our wedding? 😉

Around mile 12, I started to feel a pull in my left IT band. Since I didn’t run longer than 9 miles in my one month training program, I forgot that this happens. Damn you IT band! I started to focus on picking up my feet.

As we hit the final mile, we started to pick up our pace again and dropped back down to an average of 11:00/mile. I broke our silence:

Me: Only one more mile to go. We can do this, right?

Beth: Yes! We can do this.

Yes, there was doubt in there. And while Beth replied optimistically, she later admitted that she too was dying inside.

The end of the course had us rounding the corner of Lake Eola and finishing with a straight shot. I told Beth I wanted to take a quick 30-second unsanctioned walk break to the corner so we could run out the rest of the race. I got no objection from her.

As we rounded the corner and picked up to a run again, we saw the finish line in sight. I waited patiently for that point where I knew I could sprint out the rest of the race without dying and tried to focus on my breathing. It is often at this point of the race that I start to pray that I don’t pass out right there in front of the finish line. Because that would be really embarrassing. I certainly don’t want a YouTube video of me going viral.

I also must’ve been super delirious, because this picture at the end captures me smiling:

orlando_half_2012_finish

I was happy to catch a glimpse of my love just before I crossed the finish line. It helped me get those last couple of steps in.

And just like that (or two hours and thirty-six minutes later) I finished my fifth half marathon. It wasn’t my best time, but it wasn’t my worst either. I’ll take it!

Race stats:

  • Distance: 13.1 miles
  • Time: 2:36
  • Avg Pace: 11:47/mi

PROS:

  • Local half marathon
  • Get to sleep in my own bed the night before
  • Easy for your friends and family to come cheer you on
  • Easy, flat course
  • Nice, long-sleeved tech shirts
  • Track Shack always puts on a good race

CONS:

  • With all the road closures, your spectators have to get around by foot or bicycle
  • There are stretches of shared roads with vehicles
  • The middle of the course is not the most scenic of routes

After the race I headed to get my post-race refreshments:

Not pictures: chocolate milk

Not pictures: chocolate milk

And as always, it was nice having my number one supporter waiting for me at the end. I can’t wait for this man to become my husband:

The future Mr. and Mrs.

The future Mr. and Mrs.

I will definitely run this local half again in the future!

Did you run this year’s Orlando Half? How was it?

Race Recap: OUC Half Marathon 2011

7 Dec

After my Friday spent downing Emergen-C, I was surprised to wake up Saturday feeling decent. Since I had felt so awful all week I hadn’t gotten around to going to the grocery story so my pre-race breakfast ended up being a bowl of rice cereal with vanilla soy milk and a scoop of peanut butter. Not my finest meal, but it did the job.

Since the OUC Half Marathon starts at Lake Eola, my friend Rox met me at 6:15 am for our warm-up walk to the start line. There we met with our friend T and one of her friends.

Here’s the view from our meeting spot:

And here we were:

When Rox and I trained for our first half marathon, T had trained with us until an injured hip forced her to stop, followed by her short-lived breakup with running. When I found out a few weeks ago that she was training for the OUC Half, I got really excited… we could finish what we started a couple of years ago! I signed up for the race last week and hoped to run it with her.

We headed to the start around 6:55 AM, five minutes before the start. I always love the energy at start lines.

If this picture looks familiar, it’s because it’s essentially the same start as the Seniors First Turkey Trot 5k.

And we were off. Below are some pics from the race.

Here we are around mile 3:

We had just run into Carolina from Peas in a Blog who was wearing the best t-shirt ever:

Shortly after we saw more of T’s friends wearing shirts with T’s mug on them:

I have now requested that Donnie make and wear a t-shirt with my face on it for the Walt Disney World Marathon. He said he will oblige.

I’m sad I didn’t get a photo of the two finer ladies sitting at a small table in the middle of a median around mile three drinking mimosas. Now that’s how ladies spectate!

Somewhere mid-race we saw the local Lululemon ladies:

Here’s T and I around mile 7. One of us had just pointed out that we were more than halfway finished:

The marathon was a mix between running in downtown neighborhoods and some shared highways. Here’s a long stretch of a shared road in front of Boone High School:

Here we are giving it a final push along mile 13. I love that T was a good sport with all of the pics I was taking. At this point she was digging deep to find energy she didn’t know she had. And there may have been cursing…

T finished her first half marathon! I’m so proud of her! Rox finished too… Way ahead of us… I’m proud of her too.

Here’s a shot of me with Rox and two of my running group ladies, Erica and Beth:

I knew I would be facing challenges in running someone else’s race . I wasn’t  able to run my usual pace, which was at times extremely difficult. And I had to play the role of encourager, which doesn’t always come naturally to me. But before the run I had decided that the rewards of being a part of T’s first half marathon would far exceed any personal best time I could get.

And even though it took us 3:01:06 to run the half, this half became a different kind of personal best for me.

PROS:

  • Local half marathon
  • Easy for your friends and family to come cheer you on
  • Track Shack always puts on a good race
  • Easy, flat course
  • Nice, long-sleeved tech shirts

CONS:

  • While it’s a spectator-friendly race, we didn’t really see many spectators outside of the beginning and the end
  • There are stretches of shared road with vehicles

I’ll definitely run the OUC Half Marathon again next year.

Have you run the OUC Half Marathon? How was your experience?

Three Pic Thursday

1 Dec

My day in three pics:

1. How many miles I ran today (though I had a great excuse):

2. Picked up my bib for this Saturday’s OUC Half Marathon

3. Rewarded myself with some delish Hawkers Asian Street Fare takeout. I finally got to try the fried green beans and they were even better than I dreamed they would be!

Is it Friday yet??