race report: best damn race orlando 10k {2.27.2015}

Last weekend, I was finally, finally able to run a real live Best Damn Race. In Orlando!


Thanks to the gracious hospitality of Meghan, one of my fellow ZOOMA Ambassadors, I had a place to stay overnight. It was going to be a weekend of good timing: I was going to leave home after getting little man off to school and mixing up some frosting for a cake due on Sunday. After the race, I was going to be driving right home, because Mr PugRunner was off to a bachelor party out of town, and I was supposed to be back in time for little man’s baseball game and photos. I was up to the challenge.

I arrived in downtown Orlando at around 4:30 PM on Friday. I have been to the theme parks many times, but never actually in the heart of the city. I found a parking spot on the street, a few blocks from the Lake Eola Park, where the expo was set up and where the race would start and finish.

Meghan was on her way from work, so I picked up my own packet and wandered around the booths and the park.

It was a bit colder and windier than anticipated and I was looking forward to getting back inside and warmed up.

After chatting with some of Meghan’s friends and making plans for the next day as far as meeting up, we drove back to her place, where we hung out with her adorable pup a bit before going to Bonefish Grill for dinner, courtesy of some gift cards she had earned from a Yelp event.


We enjoyed lots of yummy seafood, a cocktail and we were ready for bed.

We were both racing the 10K, which started at 6:15. Since I wasn’t going to be able to hang out for long afterwards, we took separate cars and parked in a lot a few blocks away from the starting line (we didn’t have to pay for parking because we arrived before the attendant, but most of the race lots do charge for parking).

The only negative of the morning was the weather: it was chilly, humid and there was a heavy mist that was bordering on drizzle. Yuck. I despise the rain, but there was really not much to be done.

While we waited for the rest of Meghan’s friends to arrive, I took advantage of the short port a potty lines. There were plenty of facilities, especially considering the staggered start of the three distances.

Before long, it was time to line up. The start line was pretty crowded and Meghan and I said our goodbyes to find our places in the throng.

I really wanted to PR this race, but I wasn’t too sure I could do it. My only other 10K measured short (5.72 miles) and I was flying that day, so I wasn’t sure I could make up that much out on the course. Only time would tell.

Since the park is right next to some residential buildings, we had to keep the noise level down a bit, so the start was definitely pretty quiet, but once the runners heard “go”, we were off.

It was really cool running in a new city. I had absolutely no idea where we were and I loved having new scenery to see. We twisted and turned through part of downtown Orlando, and through some lovely residential areas, before winding back into the urban area. There wasn’t a lot of crowd support from the houses, but I credit that to the scattered showers and awful weather. There were, however, three or four manned stops with water and Nuun, with amazing volunteers who cheered us on in spite of the weather. Huge thanks to all of them for being there.

The course was challenging. There were a lot of corners, false flats, and uneven brick pavement. I had to really watch my footing because of the slick surfaces, made worse by wet leaves. It wasn’t bad, just very different than the roads where I usually race.

It was great to see the houses give way to buildings again, knowing the finish line was close.

I knew I didn’t have my PR, but I was really happy with my performance anyway.

I collected my medal.

Meghan and Karen weren’t too far behind, so I went to the bathroom and to grab a drink while I waited.

Be still, my heart.

I was hoping to get pics of Meghan and Karen crossing the finish line, but somehow, they slipped past me, so I caught up with them at the runner’s refreshment tent.

There was so. Much. Food. Fresh orange slices and bananas, different kinds of chips, muffins, brownies, and granola bars. Also plenty of water, soda and Red Bull, if one was so inclined.

Karen needed some ice, so we didn’t linger. In the end, we had to get her a cold can of soda, but then? It was time to enjoy ourselves.

We posed for pictures

and then moved on to the after party!

The beer was flowing, but I couldn’t take full advantage because I had a two hour drive ahead of me. There’s always next time, and I absolutely plan on being back.

Best Damn Race exceeded my expectations. It was one of the best organized races I’ve had the pleasure of running. The races were all capped at a manageable amount for the course, and that meant less crowding while running. The location was great and the volunteers were friendly and helpful. There were a ton of resources for runners: a huge variety of post-race snacks and refreshments, massages and restrooms. I absolutely feel like I got my registration’s worth (BDR offers a pretty unique pricing structure. When registration opens, the first ten registrants pay only $1, the next ten $5 and so on, depending on the distance and the number of slots. I was a late registrant for the 10K, so I ended up paying $30, but it was worth every penny). Also of note: BDR works with photo sponsors to try to get free pictures for runners. For this particular race, Make Yes Happen provided the course and finish line photography and photos were available for download within the week. It’s a nice perk.

My extreme thanks to Meghan for taking me in for the night and introducing me to so many lovely people in her local running circle. I can’t wait to run with them again!

Read Meghan’s BDR Orlando report here.

Read Karen’s BDR Orlando report here.


What’s your favorite race series?

What are some things that make a race great to you?




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20 Responses to race report: best damn race orlando 10k {2.27.2015}

  1. Yikes, those bricks look tough! But I bet it was a pretty run!
    Sounds like I’ll have to check this series out. Is it only a southern race, or do they hold them throughout the country?
    I think Disney races are still my favorite (even if I’ve only done the one…) I mean, when we arrived back at the hotel, the entire lobby stopped what they were doing and applauded us! Plus photo ops, etc etc etc.
    There are so many factors to making a great race! Obviously scenery is important, especially for a longer race. I’m a total sucker for swag too (t-shirts, medals, what-have-you).
    Stacie Seidman recently posted…Truthful TuesdayMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      There are only four races so far, and they are allin Florida.

      runDisney events are great. I try to limit myself to one a year because of the travel and expense. I don’t want to get myself locked in to one thing and then miss out on so many others.

      I love the medals, shirts and perks. Perks go far with me.
      runswithpugs recently posted…cabana grill spring break celebrationMy Profile

  2. Rachel says:

    Congrats! Looks like a fun race. Bricks would be challenging, for sure. I’ve heard great things about this race, and your report adds to the list! Thanks for sharing!
    Rachel recently posted…Marathon Training Recap: Week 8My Profile

  3. this race sounds like so much fun, despite the icky weather. a good race for me is definitely made by the course and the after party. i love having a novel loop to run, since i train where i race mostly!
    brittney @ corral b recently posted…spring half training: week twoMy Profile

  4. I’m glad you had pictures of the finisher’s tent – all that was left when I finished was brown bananas. I did enjoy the race BUT I wish it was a little more slow runner friendly.
    Pragati // Simple Medicine recently posted…The Beginning: 7 YearsMy Profile

  5. Angie says:

    It sounds like fun! I love their pricing structure, and free pictures.
    Angie recently posted…On the upswingMy Profile

  6. Meghan R says:

    So glad you came and had a good time! You are welcome to come stay with Pepper and I any time 🙂

  7. Running with friends makes the weather a little more tolerable. Not a PR but you finished with a smile, nice work! : )
    Karen @karenlovestorun
    Karen @karenlovestorun recently posted…Slowing DownMy Profile

  8. Thanks for your review!

  9. Congrats on finishing your race! I want to do this race and love Orlando (but live in NY ), so it was great to read about it. The bling is awesome and they served so much food! Great job
    Lauren Keating recently posted…Apple’s Watch Reveal Features Marathoner Christy Turlington Burns: Why The Apple Watch Is Ideal For RunnersMy Profile

  10. We so enjoyed the race too but wish of course the weather had been nicer! All the cobblestone roads made me a little nervous but I got used to it quickly! We loved the PR bell station and all the snacks! I will definitely be back next year! Nice to see you!
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…Box Wars! Birchbox vs. GlossyboxMy Profile

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