Running: It's actually more expensive than therapy
Saturday 3/2/2019 was the Best Damn Race Orlando 5k. They also have a half marathon, 10k, and challenge where you can participate in both the 10k and 5k.
I heard great things about these races before and had to try it, so I signed up at their "registration blitz" last year and got the $15 price for the 5k which is a great deal. The first 200 registrants get that price then it goes up from there to $40. It sells out fast too so sign up early if interested. The $15 price sold out in under 15 minutes so the blitz is no joke. They also have races in New Orleans, Savannah, Safety Harbor FL, and Jacksonville. I've always wanted to run in downtown Orlando so this was my chance.
You probably know, I have been struggling with an IT band injury since February. I've probably logged less than 10 miles total since then and still am having issues with it. I signed up for this race a while ago and had to give it a go even if I'm out of shape. I started to feel better the week before but still didn't run much. I just wanted to run easily and not hurt myself more. I knew my times would be bad, but my focus now is recovery and fun.
I stayed at the host hotel which was about a mile away from the starting line and very convenient. I picked up my packet from the Lake Eola Park Friday night and it was super easy. They had vendor tents lined up and they even gave us our alcohol wristband if we were over 21 and wanted one. They also have packet pickup race morning in case you can't make it before. I stopped by the merchandise tent where I bought the shirt for the New Orleans race and the Safety Harbor race.
I must admit, I over enjoyed some of the fantastic downtown Orlando bars Friday night and was not feeling 100%. Add that to my injury/lack of training I knew the struggle would be real. I started out about 6-7 rows back of the front. Surprisingly I felt pretty decent once I started running. My knee did hurt though especially when I tried to run faster so I kept the pace around a 7 minute mile.
The first half mile or so was all cobblestone streets so I had to watch where I stepped to make sure I didn't lost my footing. The race was down the residential streets of Orlando and was super pretty. I made sure to take it all in and didn't even run with headphones. The crowd support here was pretty great; I appreciated the cheering from locals.
My mile splits were 6:55, 6:54, and 6:53 with a mini sprint at the end. I was able to keep the same pace the entire race which is good. Keeping the same pace was interesting too because I was able to pass so many people during the last mile that started out too fast (me in most races).
After mile 3 we ran towards the finish line on a cute downtown street lined with apartments and stores fronts. The announcer even called our name and hometown as we crossed. They handed out our medals in the walkway then we moved on to the party.
The After Party
My absolute favorite thing about this race was the huge after party. While some events just want you to leave after, The BDR encourages you to stay and party with them after by offering things like massages, plenty of food and drinks, and entertainment. The food spread was unreal it included pizza, donut holes, brownies, chips, beer, mixed drinks, water, popsicles, coffee, fruit, and more!
The also do the award ceremonies about an hour after each race. They give awards for 1-3 overall and 1-3 age groups as well. I really like this because most larger races only present overall awards then mail the age groups after. The award medals were huge too probably 4 inches long.
I just love the soft/gender specific shirt. The finisher medals were great, race specific and the 5k had the Lake Eola swan in the center. A+ for the swag for sure.
This race really lives up to its name. I will gladly run again next year (hopefully in better condition). This race is so well organized and put together. I am going to be on the lookout for the registration blitz for next year. Thank you the Best Damn Race!
Results 1st in age group out of 143
Female 4th out of 793
Overall 17th out of 1213