race report: daytona beach lap the track 3.1 {2.5.2017}

The Daytona Beach Half Marathon and 3.1 Mile Lap the Track  came across my radar a few years ago, when I saw the event being promoted at a booth at an expo. I thought it sounded really fun and unique (that whole running on a NASCAR racetrack thing), the bling was pretty awesome, and the theming was cool.

For a host of reasons, scheduling never really worked out, until this year. Mr PugRunner wanted to do a 5K as a family, heralding his return to running (yay!), but the one he chose was the same day as little man’s Pinewood Derby.

I was more than happy to save the day by announcing that the 3.1 Mile Lap the Track event was the day after Pinewood Derby, only an hour away, and not super early… wouldn’t it be perfect????

And so we registered.

tape edges

Since we didn’t want to make two trips to Daytona, we elected to pick up our packets on race morning. Even though the 5K didn’t start until 10:30 AM (there was a half marathon that started at 7:30, with the 5K immediately following for those who wanted to run both the races for a Speedway Challenge), we agreed to arrive around 9:15, in case of traffic and parking. I was also hoping to meet up with Jaime to run some miles with her as she completed her half that morning.

We hit no traffic and were directed to a spot in the infield. Packet pickup was easy as pie (the only “problem” was that they were out of shirts for little man and gave him a choice of a larger size of the cotton shirt, or the correct size of the tech challenge shirt).

We pinned on our bibs and I set out to try to find the end of the half marathon route while the boys hung out at the finish line to cheer.

I ran about two miles through the infield of the Daytona Speedway, before realizing there was pretty much no way out for me. I texted Jaime to let her know that I was stuck, before rejoining the guys.

We wandered around a little to shake out our legs, even climbing to the top of the racetrack. I had no clue how steep it was!

And then it was time to go.

Little man kept saying he wanted to run ahead, so I told Mr PugRunner that I would stay with him. I wanted him to focus on his own race without worrying about his knee.

And then we were off.

It was REALLY cool to lap that track. Most of the 5K took place right there on the Speedway, with maybe 1/2 – 3/4 of a mile as an out-and-back loop outside the track. It wasn’t necessarily interesting, but it was unique and fun.

But back to little man. Traditionally, he starts his runs very strong with great enthusiasm, and then fizzles out quickly. There are a few 5Ks he’s asked to do, only to have us get to the day of the race and insist he really didn’t want to do it, which doesn’t make for a fun time for anyone. I don’t ever want to push him, but it’s a fine line between providing encouragement, honoring commitments and keeping patience.

He sprinted out hard, and I kept him in sight. In his runs with us and at school’s run club, he knows run/walk intervals, and we had talked about running until the crowd thinned out a bit. I just followed his lead until he slowed, and then I suggested we run a little, then walk a little. We fell pretty quickly into a groove, and we went about two miles enjoying the event, which was unprecedented for him.

In the last mile, he started a bit of complaining. He had a side stitch, and those can be completely uncomfortable. That being said, we didn’t break our intervals, and kept pushing forward. Usually, when he’s had enough, he slows down to a crawl, but this time, he kept going. I confided to him that my foot was hurting me, but I wasn’t complaining. He asked me why I was still running and I explained because I wanted to, because I wanted to finish this race for myself and for him, and because I can run when so many people can’t. That running can and does hurt sometimes, but it makes us strong, too. That we had a choice to let the discomfort drag us down or we could choose to dig deep and finish this thing.

I don’t know if he was entirely convinced, but he did stop the negativity and we reentered the track for the finish. At that point, things got fun. I kept him running to the pre-finish photographers, and then I leaned super close to him and said “let’s beat all these people to the finish.”

He couldn’t resist taking off.

This kid? He PR’d by five whole minutes!!!!

And Mr PugRunner finished strong, too!

We collected our bling and found Jaime. I was so happy to give her a huge hug. And then we started making plans for next year’s race.

Post-race offered free beer for runners and there were concessions and food trucks available as well. We opted to take the short drive to Red Robin for burgers, instead.

I loved this race. It was well-organized and well-executed. Volunteers and staff played into the theme wearing pit crew jumpsuits and everyone was very friendly and helpful. Everything from the bibs to the shirts and medals was excellent quality, and I loved that half marathoners also got a beach towel, and challenge finishers got an extra medal and a jacket.

I am fairly sure that next year, Jaime and I are going to take on the Relay Challenge. Neither one of us is up for a February half, but it would be fun to get some more of the Daytona sights on our run.

This was the perfect family race!

Have you ever run on a Speedway?

What’s the most unique venue you’ve ever raced?

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26 Responses to race report: daytona beach lap the track 3.1 {2.5.2017}

  1. We have a speedway nearby that hosts a few NASCAR races each season. They used to have an 8K in the spring, and I’ve run it a few times. The race has a similar format to yours…starts on the track, then we do a few miles on the grounds and finish back on the track. It’s crazy how much the track is banked!
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Red Flannel Run – a Race I LOVEMy Profile

  2. Rachel says:

    How fun! I can’t wait for my little people to race with me. My son and my husband raced together (my son’s first 5K) but my daughter is still too young. Soon enough!
    Rachel recently posted…Real Runners Summit, Utah Valley Marathon + Feetures!My Profile

  3. Congrats! Looks like such a fun race. I love that it was a family event!

  4. This race sounds so fun! I’m so proud of little man for kicking butt! And for Mr Pugrunner making his big comeback!
    Stacie Seidman recently posted…What’s Up WednesdayMy Profile

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever really done a unique race, aside from running down the strip at night in Vegas.

    Such a teachable moment for Little Man — I’d say you did a great job inspiring him & giving him food for thought. He’s becoming quite the little runner!
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…Crispy, new tricks: TOLTMy Profile

  6. I bet that was a blast! I heard that it was hard to run on the speedway because it’s so graded. True?
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Running, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Share 9 Ways that You May Not Have ConsideredMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      False! Apparently, a car has to be going 150mph to make it up the banks, so there’s no way any runner was actually staying up there. There is a flat part of the track alongside the banking, and that’s where we ran. A few people made there way up the wall for pictures and videos, but that’s about it. It was really cool.

  7. Darlene says:

    How fun. A great family event. I bet I see many more in your future. You are a great role model for your son.
    Darlene recently posted…TOTR: Stuff I Love about RunningMy Profile

  8. RFC says:

    5 minute PR! Congrats buddy! We did a color run that ended on the speedway here in Myrtle Beach (much, much smaller than Daytona!) I think it could have been fun…but it was in July at like 11 am. SO. HOT!
    RFC recently posted…Reasons to HurtMy Profile

  9. What a fun race! Congrats to your little guy on his major PR! I love that you made this fun race a family event. I can’t help but smile as I look at the pictures of you guys from this race.
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Putting Together My Chicago Marathon Training PlanMy Profile

  10. Great job to all of your on your 5k!! And your son had a 5 minute PR?? That’s awesome!!! I love the medal too!! I would definitely prefer Red Robin burgers too! Yum!! Lol!

  11. Ilka says:

    What a fun race! Love that your little boy conquered the distance with a PR! I’m sure this meant more to you than your own race, right? Beautiful family event!

  12. Cassandra says:

    How fun to get to run a speedway! I need to find one of those races.
    Cassandra recently posted…7 Not To Be Missed Destinations in BilbaoMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      There is a whole Facebook group dedicated to running speedways. Apparently, it’s a thing. I’m not really into NASCAR or racing, but it just seemed like one of those things you should do if the chance arose.

  13. How cool is this race experience! This must have been so neat to be running right on the race track. I love the awesome role model that you are to your son. He really pushed hard towards the end and I bet he feels very proud! Congrats to your whole family!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…Best Winter Running ShoesMy Profile

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