We’ve been coming to Florida on holiday for a few years now and Cool Summer Mornings 5k is a race I always look forward to. Part of the appeal is the route, along the banks of Lake Minneola in Clermont, which is the same route as Parkrun. Another reason is the atmosphere is really good as one of the events in the Central Florida Triathlon series takes place at the same time but the main reason is that Allison’s parents do it as well and so it becomes a family day out especially this year as Allison’s sister Linsey was there too.
We always arrive early as the parking is fairly limited and with lots of triathletes there, you need to arrive early to get a space. While the triathlon is the main event, the 5k race continues to grow each year and there were over 500 in this event alone this time. While I went out on my warm up, I bumped into Jack and Vicki from Glasgow, who I had met through Twitter the day or two before. We always meet some fellow Brits celebrating their holiday by turning up for a race!
The course is a simple out and back and if you can get close to the front, you can run without having to weave in and out of the main pack. It’s common for a good few people to go off pretty fast, like most races, and so it was easy for me to settle into my own pace and let everyone do what they wanted to do. We were less than a mile in when some of the fast starters began to slow and so I jumped up a few places. In the runs I’ve done since coming out, the first half mile can be pretty tough with the heat and so the purpose of the warm up was really to go through that bit before the race started,
We crossed a bridge then on a few yards before going round a few cones then returning the way we came. This can be pretty good at seeing where everyone is behind you but to be honest, I ignored them and simply focused on keeping my own pace and closing on the guy ahead of me. As we came into the last mile, I had moved up from 9th to 7th and closed on the guy in 6th. I avoided going past him straight away as I was beginning to feel the heat and was aware that my pace had slowed a little.
With about 400 yards to go, I lifted my knees up a bit more, got my arms moving more and just felt like I glided past the guy in front. This felt really good as I felt like I could step up the pace again, even though I hadn’t speeded up at all. If anything, I felt like I was going faster without using anymore energy. I could hear the guy behind me as we crossed the start mats and so I dug deep and drove my body a little harder to get me across the finish line in just over 20 mins. Not as fast as last year but I felt more control in my running this time and I had done enough to win my age category so I was happy with that.
Another reason why I like this race is the post-race spread with some watermelon, a hot dog, a few snacks and a free beer. Yes, free beer! There’s also a cooling tent where they have fans spraying cool water so that was nice. Allison finished 2nd in her age category and her dad won his so it was a great day all round. The final treat for the day was to go home and enjoy a dip in the pool followed by a cold beer. Lovely!
Do you ever do races on holiday? What’s your favourite race and what do you like about it?