Race Recap: Miracle Miles 15K

28 Sep

I try to write a little bit about most of the things I enjoy on the blog, but one topic has been missing until now: running. Now that race season has started in Central Florida, I’ll try to include some race recaps on the blog and, at some point, I’ll try to share a little bit more about my fitness journey for those who may be curious. But for now, on to the recap…

Miracle Miles 15K

Miracle Miles was my first 15K. I ran the corresponding 5K a couple years ago, but the 15K (9.3 miles) is a personal distance record and, hopefully, a stepping stone to build up my endurance (and confidence) to run my first half-marathon (13.1 miles) in December.

My overall impression of the 15K? It went faster than I was expecting, but it was also much harder. When I hit the finish line, I was done. There’s no way I would have had another four miles left in me. That’s definitely my cue to kick my training up a notch before my upcoming half-marathon. Nonetheless, it was a great feeling to cross the finish line, great experience racing at a longer distance, and a great cause to race for.

Miracle Miles host and beneficiary, Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies

For those of you who are interested, below is a more detailed recap of our day.

Getting to the Starting Line

In many ways, getting to the starting line was the hardest part of the day. We didn’t get to bed until after midnight–ah, the joys of being up with a baby who doesn’t want to go to sleep!–and I ended up snoozing my alarm for an extra 30 minutes. By the time we got out the door, it was 35 minutes later than our planned departure time, and I was stressed. We still had over a mile walk ahead of us and only 15 minutes until the 7:20 a.m. starting time.

We walked as fast as we could while managing the baby stroller and the dog, but as the start time got closer, my husband took over baby- and dog-duty and encouraged me to run for it. I ran about half-way to the starting line, weaving between 5K finishers to get there, and was able to jump in and get started only five minutes after the start of the race. There were plenty of other latecomers to keep me company, so I was never alone on the course (my biggest fear about being late).

The Course

The start of the race was absolutely beautiful. We ran straight up Orlando’s main artery, Orange Avenue, into downtown Orlando, just in time to see the low, slanting dawn light stretching across the shining skyscrapers. It was a great way to kick things off.

Unfortunately, my heart was still pumping from my late start, and I could practically feel the cortisol coursing through my veins. When I looked at my watch at the first mile marker, I was shocked to see I had completed the first mile in less than 10 minutes, which is close to my 5K personal record pace. I’d been doing my long runs around 11 to 11 1/2 minutes per mile, so this was way too fast!

My goal for the next mile or two was just to calm down. I know that stress causes very real physical changes in the body, so I figured the only way to get back on track would be to think very calming thoughts. I spent a lot of time focusing on loosening up my body and enjoying the scenery and the people-watching around me. Luckily it seemed to work. I didn’t write down all my splits, but the next couple miles got gradually slower until, by mid-race, I was close to my desired pace.

The first few miles seemed to fly by relatively fast, but by the time I reached the farthest point of the course, around Orlando Executive Airport, I was starting to feel the heat, as well as bit of a tummy-ache from two poorly planned drinks of Powerade. The middle portion of the course also had the least shade, and the long trek back down South Street toward downtown felt pretty hot and pretty long.

Once we got back into downtown, things were looking up again. There were some great young spectators around Lake Eola giving everyone a good cheer, and as we got back onto Orange Avenue and closer and closer to the finish line, we began to see more smiling faces and more signs as we realized the run was almost through.

But we still had one challenge left! The last half-mile or so was uphill, and wow, it took a lot out of all of us. I could hear the other runners around me either remarking on the hill or breathing heavier, and I saw a lot of serious faces. All of that was worth it, though, as Miller Street came into sight and we turned the corner into the finish. Whee! I did it!

Getting ready to cross the finish line for my first 15K.

I finished with a chip time of 1:38:48, an average pace of 10:35.9 per mile. I didn’t have a specific time goal, but I was expecting to stick to an 11 minute pace, so this seriously exceeded my expectations.

Post-Race

A reminder of the tiny babies we raced to help.

The post-race party was nice. After downing some Powerade, I was reunited with my husband, ‘Lil Buddy and Dixie. We stopped to take some photos and feed ‘Lil Buddy, then moved on to enjoy the festivities.

Panera Bread was the event’s sponsor this year, so there were lots of bagels to be had, including my favorite cinnamon crunch flavor. There was also fresh fruit, more Powerade and coffee, but the bagel was the most I could stomach so close to the race. The only disappointment was that there wasn’t more water. I don’t usually drink sports drinks, so I was really craving water at the finish line, but I was only handed one bottle when I finished and there was nowhere to get more water after that (only Powerade). I realize that the 5K racers finished first, and I was probably one of the later 15K finishers due to my late start, but I’m hoping that next year’s race will feature more post-race water for such a hot, humid course.

That, in a nutshell, was my Miracle Miles experience. If you’re interested in reading other runners’ recaps of the same race, check out Crazy Running Legs, Dina Runs, Running Peanut and Peas in a Blog. (Bloggers, if I missed your race recap, please post the link in the comments, and I’ll add it to this list.)

Readers, what fitness goals do you have planned for this fall? Any races or other events you’re looking forward to?

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5 Responses to “Race Recap: Miracle Miles 15K”

  1. Jennifer Collins September 28, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    Great race recap! I’m looking forward to my first 15k so I love reading how other people have done on that distance.

  2. Victoria September 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    It was sooo hot during the race. I really thought I was going to be sick.

    I liked how they changed the route this year, but in my opinion, they needed a few more water stops, particularly at the end.

    I love the pictures you took of the medals! Very creative and a great way to summarize the race in one photo! :)

  3. dixiejulep September 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting, ladies!

    @Victoria – I completely agree about the water. With this race being so early in the season, heat and humidity are always going to be an issue, so it would be nice if they went a little bit above and beyond in getting water to people both during and after the race.

  4. Lauren October 2, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    Oof. An uphill finish is just mean! Glad it went well, despite the hectic start — well done!

    I’m running the Wine Country Half Marathon later this month, and I’m pretty psyched about it. It will be my third (maybe fourth?) half, and my second race post-baby. My BFF is flying out from Texas and will be running it with me. It’ll be her first half AND her first weekend away from her three kiddos, so good times all around. Nora will be coming up with us, though. I think you’ll love the half marathon distance once you’re all trained up for it — it’s my favorite for sure. Plenty long enough to feel like you accomplished something impressive, but not *so* long that you’re wiped out for days afterward.

    • dixiejulep October 6, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

      A girls’ weekend and a half-marathon–sounds like a great time! Good luck with your race!

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